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The Orphic Circle is an ancient organization (totaling approximately 300 members at the turn of the millennium). The members of the Orphic Circle are a varied bunch of scholars, visionaries, rogue members of the Giovanni vampire clan, and Euthanatos death mages.
The Circle's manifest purpose is to discover the true nature of death. Many acolytes of the Circle scout the Underworld, performing experiments on the realm itself as well as its inhabitants to determine if there is a way for one's spirit to move beyond the need for both life and death. Members of the Circle are often willing to experiment with anything from drugs to sacrifices (of the living and the dead) in order to gain even a shred of useful information.
Members of the Circle view the legendary Orpheus as a hero who discovered a way to transcend both life and death. Orpheus was the only mortal man known to journey into the Underworld and return again into the realm of the living, supposedly carrying the sacred tomes that outlined the great Mysteries themselves. Some members of the Circle even claim that Orpheus journeyed into the Underworld specifically to find knowledge.
Of all the Skinlands societies, this group most assuredly has the best grasp on both the political and physical nature of the Underworld. What the Circle plans to do with this information is unclear, but the most persistent rumor involves a plan to rip away the Shroud that now separates the world of the living from the world of the dead. There are also rumors that some members of the Circle have made pacts with certain Underworld figures, actually participating in "assassination" of other Wraiths. Officially, however, the Circle maintains a stance of strict neutrality in such matters.
The End of the Orphic CircleEdit
In an attempt to learn more about the secrets of life and death, the Orphic Circle secretly acted as a cult devoted to the worship of a being that they called Diké. Unbeknownst to the Circle, "Diké" was actually the Onceborn Malfean known as Zyras the All-Consuming. At almost the same time as the beginning of the Sixth Great Maelstrom, the entire cult had gathered together at their headquarters in Thessaly. The cult was beginning a ritual, possibly as an attempt to bring down the Shroud. The Maelstrom in the Shadowlands caused the ritual to backfire, and resulted in the Skinlands and the Shadowlands overlapping. The area became saturated with many Wraiths and Risen, which were forced across the Shroud. It may have brought Zyras the Destroyer directly into the Skinlands, where it took the shape of a hideous tree, which is currently at the centre of what remains of the Thessaly headquarters. Needless to say, practically the entire cult was wiped out by Spectres.
Xerxes Jones, a Void Engineer who had infiltrated the Orphic Circle, was provided with the materials to build his Spirit Nuke by the cult. The cult (aware of his experiment) was expecting a full report from him when he returned. Jones's nuke was set off prematurely by the detonation of the relics of the nuclear weapons Fat Man and Little Boy, which were released by relic bombers of the wraithly Hierarchy in the assault of Enoch, the fortress of the Black Hand. The combined effect resulted in the Sixth Great Maelstrom, the awakening of Grandmother, and the creation of the Stormwall. Thus, Jones's “experiment” resulted in the destruction of the cult's headquarters and most of its members. Only two helicopters containing several of the Circle's leaders managed to flee the stronghold in the face of the Spectral onslaught.
Background Information Edit
- According to unpublished material written for Giovanni, the Orphic Circle, and other groups want to tear down the Shroud is because Necromancy was memetically poisoned by Voormas ages ago (using Entropy 6+) in order to hasten the destruction of the Cycle of creation. Others who shared this goal included Lazarus, known to the Circle's Giovanni allies as the Capuchin, and Midian, Guildmaster of the Haunters. , the reason the