Every order practices essential occult defense techniques, but the Adamantine Arrow goes further, internalizing the metaphor of war. It is the order's political stance and occult praxis. For some, it's a hard, ascetic path that burns away cowardice and encourages action over contemplation. Others see the order as the perfect platform to lead the secret battles of the Awakened, selling services to the highest bidder or even seizing places of power away from the weak. Above all, though, the Adamantine Arrow acts. It is not given to purposeless cloistering, navel-gazing meditation, or weak pacifism. It knows the Awakened are in the midst of an esoteric war, and it brings a strong hand to bear for the right side.
But there's the question: Which side is the right side? Once, the Arrow protected Atlantis against all threats, internal and external. It was called the Ungula Draconis, the Talon of the Dragon. None could deny that this was righteous work, because it kept the flame of human power alive in an age rife with conquering monsters and renegade witches. When it came to Atlantis, there was no doubt and no compromise, even if the hinterlands suffered raids and ruins for its Awakened glory. In time, the ideal turned to warmongering and conquest. A mere soldier in the gleaming streets of the city could become a god in the wilderness.
Arrogance led to the Fall, and the Fall led to the Exile. Atlantis fragmented and the Adamantine Arrow guarded the shards. The Arrow has always claimed to be above politics, devoted to the pure duty of defending the secrets of magic from its defilers. Now, however, doubt and opposition wracks the old orders. Every time an Arrow mage chooses a side, she shapes the political arena. It's little wonder that such mages often grow impatient with mere guardianship and strive to seize power for themselves.
Character concepts Edit
An Arrow is a warrior first, but this isn't as narrow a calling as many suspect. For every frontline fighter who rends the horrors of the Abyss with bare hands and soul, there's a strategist who sees and manipulates the secret patterns of the world. Economic, ecological, and esoteric conflicts are studied, mastered, and beaten into any shape the Arrow desires. Mages see reality as a many-layered thing, full of signs and movements invisible to the uninitiated. The Awakened art of war follows these pattern using a thousand techniques.
The Adamantine Arrow is assured of its roots in Atlantis, but it does not claim any particular historical event as its own. Instead, it champions the common virtues of warriors from many cultures. An Arrow might claim that these virtues are the spiritual radiance of the order's legacy after the Exile, a torch burning to guide soldiers of all ages away from petty violence to a common ethic of justice. If this is true, though, it poses a paradox, for the order carries within it the capacity for atrocity, rule by junta and a thirst for violent, self-justifying power. Like the occult art of war, this flaw can manifest in endless varieties, making it hard to detect and check. The Adamantine Arrow recognizes the essential problem but is not always sure whether a particular action upholds its ideals or sins.
Only righteous service gives an Arrow's life meaning. After the Fall, the order defended other mages from the new dangers of the Fallen World and swore oaths of loyalty. Today, this is still the Adamantine Arrow's primary role. Their mages defend sanctums and cabals as long as they are legitimate heirs to Atlantis. Some Arrows purportedly guard evil things that cannot (or because of some cruel fate, must not) be banished from the world.