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|Name:||Grand Financier, the High Guild|
|Faction:||Order of Reason|
The High Guild, also referred to as Grand Financiers, are one of the Conventions of the Order of Reason. Specialists in trade and monetary exchange, the High Guild works to increase the reach of the order.
Trade is more than an exchange of goods — it is a communion between brothers. Through it, both sides are enriched. Granted, brothers fight occasionally, but that's to be expected. On a deeper level, wealth is a manifestation of the soul; trade grants brothers influence over one another, just as a True Name confers power. The more wealth you accumulate, the greater your power over others. A good tradesman is like a shepherd, rending his flock, fleecing the sheep and weaving their wool into clothing. This is part of God's plan: Some people are shepherds, others are weavers, most are sheep. Wealth is a form of magick. Like a god, it draws power from its worshippers. The more people want things, the more power they give those who supply them. From the Crafters' magicks, Enlightened Guildsmen created their own subtle form of enchantment called Ars Cupiditae ("the Art of Desire").
Let clumsy warlocks sing up spells and call down lightning! Ars Cupiditae is far subtler. Every Guildsman understands the secrets of influence and perception, and employs them through social graces, favors and orations. Secret codes and Vtasilicos carry messages across vast distances, while illusions and mind tricks assist difficult transactions. Like the Craftmasons who bred them, Financiers pursue more "mystickal" trades, too. While a handful practice alchemy, many more know small hut potent enchantments. An item, properly prepared, can carry a spell and release it when necessary. Poisons and magickal weapons conduct harsher negotiations; most Financiers — even women — know fencing techniques, too, and carry slender blades of unusual strength and sharpness.
Early History Edit
Drawing from the previous Brotherhood of the Rule, the High Guild is the result of contact with these various disparate guilds and the Craftmasons.
When the High Guild was formed at the Convention of the White Tower, their web of contacts across the world was used to bring the message of the Order across the world via international trade. Because the High Guild had no qualms of associating with heathens, they were met with disdain by some of the more pious members of the Order.
Victorian Age Edit
Each Guild maintains its own lodges (called Houses) in major market towns, ports and trade routes. Within a House, the Master's (Magistrate's) word is law. The usual titles are respected, but given more for cleverness and skill than for magickal prowess or study. Four rimes a year, House Masters meet in capital cities, then address wider concerns through messengers to other nations. Guild members are usually European (often Italian, Jewish or Dutch), although some hail from Africa or the Middle East. Several charismatic women have joined the Convention's upper ranks, and hold their places through wit, seduction, cleverness and threats. In this age, merchants are often richer than nobility; really prosperous ones become nobles in nil but birth, and often marry into royal families. Even the youngest Guild members are rich, and they like to show it.
Wolfgang von Reismann (rumored to be over 400 years old thanks to alchemical immortality) and Margarita Impensi (a Medici by birth).
Some Guildsmen are born wealthy; a poor one must find a sponsor and impress her with his imagination and intelligence. Depending on the House, an apprenticeship may be laborious and slow, or rapid but dangerous. The initiate is expected to take risks — financial, social and magickal — and prevail through his wits. If he survives, he receives a new position within the Guild. If not, he retires in disgrace, becomes a Brother, or perishes.