Aviario: The Archivists
Purpose & Philosophy
The seal of the Organization, the cracked yin & yang seen in the campaign banner, symbolizes their philosophy: that balance is all-important, but it must constantly be in fluctuation. The Organization as it exists today is a marginally secret establishment, with members & locations all around the world. Its members are charged with maintaining the overall balance of the world: between good and evil, poverty and prosperity, war and peace. They do so by harnessing the energy in the ley lines of the world, and by bonding themselves with the anima that live within them. Some people who are actively and extensively involved with the lines, and the study or practice of magic, know of their existence, but few outside of the Organization are able to gather enough information to piece together the full picture. There are very likely as many Organization theorists in the canon reality of Aviario as there are alien hunters or cryptozoologists in our own.
History Thus Far
There are etchings and artifacts that hint at people with anima-like powers dating back to ancient Greek times. It is rumored, but not proven, that the Oracle of Delphi was simply someone with exceptional skill at convening with ley spirits.
Individual establishments were recorded as early as the Middle Egyptian era. They were all secular, with their own sets of rules and customs, until the Renaissance, when the spread of communication made it possible to unify all the sects under a common banner. That common banner brought along with it separate orders: Spiritus, Ignis, Aquatis, Terra, Aether, Rowland, and Discord. Rowland was basically an order of paladins, while Discord worked to keep abusive power in check – but still active, as it recognized that even corruption can have a time and a place. Each order had a Lord, and all seven Lords were led by a man named Kanri Karsa, who claimed to support the tenets of universal balance. However, over time, his true colors began to show…
In the early 1600s, a feud broke out between the Lords of Discord and Rowland, Elmin and Jacob. Jacob believed that Elmin and his Order were taking their fostering of the darker nature of the world too far, and ordered the members of Rowland to begin eliminating the Order of Discord. An envoy of twenty Discord members to London were killed by a few members of Rowland behind a bakery on Pudding Lane … beginning both the Great Fire of London and a much longer, drawn-out affair known as…
The Scalar Feud
The other five elemental Orders were left to pick up the pieces and patch up the damage that Discord and Rowland were leaving in their wake. As the Feud grew in both scale and scope, it remained underground in a magical sense, but echoes of its impact on the world at large can be seen in wars and disasters that sprang up over the course of its duration. After a few decades of overall floundering and unsuccessful attempts to bring peace to the Organization, one of its members proposed the clandestine founding of an eighth order: Trutinae. The new order would be dedicated to ending the Feud, and split into two groups, each working undercover as allies of Rowland and Discord. In this manner, Trutinae geared each Order – for the five elementals had, amongst themselves, come to choose sides in the Feud – up to a final battle. At the battle, both Rowland and Discord were effectively crippled by their underground agents, the ley lines beneath the chosen battleground sealed, and thus robbing all the combatants of their power.
Karsa confronted the Lord of Trutinae, Janus, furious at his impudence and an act that he considered outright treason against the Organization itself. Janus told his superior that to the contrary, he was the one who knew nothing of the truth behind balance, and reopened the ley line. With the resulting surge of energy, Janus gained the edge in a battle between the two, and ripped Karsa’s anima from his soul before killing him.
The New Order
After the Feud, Janus was declared the new leader of the Organization. Consolidating all eight Orders into one unified group, he drew up a new set of tenets and guidelines, and began a return to the barest concepts of worldly and magical balance. The chain of command and seniority within the Organization was streamlined, as well. He refused to kill any opposition – those who posed any true threat had their powers sealed away, so that they could be taught reason and balance through humility, much like the simplistic life of monks, or the practice of fasting.
In 1875, Janus chose Aviario as the base for their Headquarters, due to the proliferation of ley lines beneath the town – though larger locations exist in other parts of the world. Purchasing an abandoned textile mill from its former owners, the Pazziola family, Janus transformed it into a base of operations, replacing the underground network of crypts formerly used as a headquarters beneath the North End.
Chain of Command / Ranks
Informers: The only members indoctrinated without anima, they are the mundane eyes and ears of the Organization: allies who respect the cause and mission who are somehow incapable of (or unprepared for) wielding power.
Enforcer, 2nd Class: Operatives with anima. 2nd Class are basically rookies still in the process of adapting to their anima. Once they have, they are given proper field assignments or duties within the headquarters.
Enforcer, 1st Class These people have sufficient experience, control, and wisdom to train other Enforcers. This rank cannot be applied for, and is only assigned by a Division Leader. Many Enforcers have achieved balance, though there are a few who have not, but are close.
Division Leader: The head of any specific branch. A Division Leader makes assignments, monitors the area, maintains the branch’s cover for the location, and helps choose new initiates.
NOTE: True Balance – see Anima – is not considered a rank, merely a state of mind. Any rank from Enforcer to DL can obtain True Balance.
All initiates must be finalized via a council review of at least 3 division leaders. Aviario’s council usually consists of the DLs from Aviario, New York, and Las Vegas (…and the East Coast only has two divisions because Nathan Hollinsworth wouldn’t shut his big fat Manhattan yap until Janus gave him one). Once chosen, the initiate is assigned a Supervisor who spends time teaching them the rules, customs & history of the Organization, before they are deemed worthy of an anima.
h3,. The Ceremony
The initiation ceremony is held in a sacred space, at a secluded place where a ley line runs close to the surface of the ground. A council of Division Leaders and local Enforcers form a circle around the space, with the initiate in the center, and open the ley line. A ley spirit (the anima incumbent) comes out of the earth and makes itself known to the initiate. Once the two come to an understanding of some sort, the spirit binds itself to the initiate’s soul, giving them a constant and direct link to the energies of the ley lines.
On very rare occasions an anima will, for one reason or another, reject the initiate or force them to prove either their worth or the strength of their will. Most of the time, however, the ceremony is a peaceful, positive event, and a cause for celebration like many other cultural rites of passage. Once initiated, however, a sort of physical and mental trial by fire follows: the initiate must adapt to their anima, and the changes that the merge has made to their body and mind. For some, this period of transition is easier than others, but the average adjustment time is about three months. Once the initiate has acclimated to their anima, they are promoted to Enforcer 2nd Class.