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Since long before the Fall, certain among the Awakened have acted as intermediaries between the spirit and the flesh. Ancient records within the Silver Ladder tell of feats like those performed by the Keepers of the Covenant, often far outside the lands considered "civilized" by city-dwellers. The Elders consider this to be evidence of the venerable age of their Legacy, as the majority of them have ever been far more at home in the wild places than among the works of men. As with the mages described in those old tales, the Keepers walk within the material and unseen worlds with equal facility, developing strange magics of Shadow and commanding the services of the spirits to be found there. Leaders and mystics among their people, as well as bastions of tradition and aspirants to the grandeur of the Supernal, they embody the primal majesty of the invisible world, tying their own destinies forever to that other plane. But human beings -- both Sleeper and Awakened -- fear the things they do not understand, and the Keepers of the Covenant often became scapegoats for those of differing faiths. Their ways were labeled "unclean" and they were suspected of consorting with demons and other, far fouler things. The explosive spread of monotheistic religions, particularly Christianity, was the most grievous blow to be dealt to the Elders, whose membership was almost exclusively drawn from among peoples practicing a considerably different sort of relationship with the spiritual world. Before then, Keepers were often able to bring feuding parties to an equitable compromise; in the shadow of the Cross, however, when conversion by the sword became an acceptable practice, their magics were dealt with as unpardonable sins.
Modern accounts of the gathering that brought about a revival of the Elders in the early 20th century are both sparse and convoluted. Indeed, most such stories are mutually contradictory. The rare few scholars within the Ladder who've studied them to any degree note that the tales seem to be deliberately labyrinthine, so as to eliminate any possibility of piecing together the truth. On only one premise do they agree: A handful of Keepers from around the world, none of whom had ever met, contacted one another to assemble a Great Council and discuss the future of the Legacy, and the majority of Elders were somehow convinced to attend. Some records indicate a grand ritual was conducted, rearranging the skein of fate to perpetuate the Keepers of the Covenant. Others say the most skilled and powerful of the Elders all resolved to take on apprentices, regardless of their personal wishes, so that the Legacy's secrets would live on. Still others recount dire pacts with spirits, mysterious omens, and the invocation of long-forgotten magics.