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 Guardians of the Veil

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Join date : 2014-09-19

PostSubject: Guardians of the Veil   Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:27 pm

Nickname: Guardians

Rote Skills: Investigation, Stealth, Subterfuge

Summary: The Guardians of the Veil protects the Mysteries from any who would despoil them or dare reveal them to the unenlightened.


Magic is a secret Art. The Guardians of the Veil keep it that way for a reason. It rewarded the fruits of human brilliance and reflected its flaws. The Guardians of the Veil say that perfection belongs to individuals. Societies are always flawed. Existence needed wardens, spies, and killers. The Fallen World is no different.

The Guardians of the Veil, also called the Visus Draconis, or Eye of the Dragon. Even after the Exile, the Guardians practice their subtle arts on Sleeper regimes, spinning useful conspiracies and myths out of the loam of history, and using plots, lies, and knives to protect mages from enemies both Sleeping and supernatural. Even though their aims are pragmatic, they are not without occult significance. The order believes that every Paradox widens the Abyss, so magic must remain hidden. Their own dark deeds are an occult sacrifice. They defile their own karma so that other mages may hone their own, free from witch hunters, and other, fouler dangers.

No order is as hated as the Guardians of the Veil. Mages see them as a necessary evil valued, but distasteful allies. Even the Free Council is more respected, because its own chaotic ethos still emphasizes discovery instead of repression. Awakened wills are trained to shatter barriers and seek freedom, so most mages have an inherent distrust of anyone who would shackle human desire.

Still, the order has its uses, and despite the fact that many mages resent the Guardians, they still come to the group for aid and the order demands aid in return. This is not always voluntary, but experienced Guardians learn to take stock of the skeletons in other mages' closets and leverage them expertly. Above all, the Guardians have mastered the art of moving among Sleepers in a mundane guise, planting useful stories, and careful measures of magical influence to ward off magic's enemies while providing for their own interests. Rumors brag that the order once manipulated nations and civilizations to these ends. Even now, Guardians plant memes and secret signs in the world's cultures. Members of the order might receive assistance by uttering a secret word to a Sleeper, who learned it in the useless (but potent) rites of a secret society that the order created centuries ago. Stories of family lines bred to serve the order across generations and torture chambers reinforced for supernatural inmates fill the annals of Awakened hearsay. And for all anyone knows, half of the rumors may be the Guardians' own lies.

Where slow subtlety fails, invisible knives, silent guns, and killing spells prevail, so that the Guardians of the Veil are feared assassins. Stereotype paints them as death-obsessed, remorseless killers, but again, these mages know their sins. This makes them even more dangerous. They are certain that every deed is absolutely necessary to the goal of Awakened stewardship of the world, and ultimately victory over the Technocracy.

Members

The Guardians of the Veil choose their members carefully, through a process of slow indoctrination that begins as soon as the order senses a combination of Awakened potential and the necessary mindset. At first, they lure novices into a conspiracy filled with other Guardians and Sleepers. Senior members test a novice's ability to keep secrets from the unenlightened, and to commit questionable acts for a greater cause. This stage is called the Gray Veil, the least important curtain over a web of plots that test a mage's dedication and condition her ethics to accept the order's methods. The second stage is the Crimson Veil. Here, a mage must be willing to kill for the conspiracy. Sometimes a sorcerer actually murders someone whom the order has already marked for death, but any demonstration of sincere intent does.

Yet the Guardians don't want mindless servants. They want mages to believe in an ideal so strongly that they will kill, lie, and die for it, but they don't want them to totally abandon individual moral judgment. The final Black Veil therefore presents a quandary to the initiate, asking her to perform an act that is immoral by the order's own standards. If the mage obeys, she can never join the order. The secret society she once knew vanishes. She is not killed, but the Guardians watch her for life. If she refuses to obey, the order lifts the final deception and she becomes a true member. Many people believe that the order prefers initiates who used to be spies, killers, or conspirators in the Sleeping world, but this is based on a misunderstanding. The Guardians of the Veil use mundane intelligence agencies and secret brotherhoods as proving grounds, but most prospects are lured to join the order. Consequently, Guardians often come from innocuous backgrounds before the order takes them. The society would rather mold a moral, pragmatic factory worker into an accomplished spy than hire a government-trained psychopath.

Philosophy

The Guardians of the Veil have few ancient writings, because writing is a secret shared with anyone who reads. They keep an oral tradition instead. This Law of the Mask is introduced among the earliest Veils, but is only taught completely to a mage who graduates to full knowledge of the order.

Paradoxes strengthen the Abyss as punishment answers pride: A Paradox is more than a discontinuity in reality. It is a flaw that opens the Fallen World to the poison of the Abyss. Guardians point to anomalies and manifestations as proof of this, as well as traditions that seem to show that astral journeys were once far less arduous. The order discourages vulgar magic; Guardians who casually fling reality-defying spells about risk censure or worse. Symbolically, the Supernal World itself is too pure to tolerate vain blandishments. Even as hidden masters, mages have a place in the cosmic order. If they cannot use subtle talents to subdue the Fallen World, their souls might let the darkness in.

Sins for a just end grant wisdom to the Awakened: Wisdom is a real force, not a subjective concept. The Guardians of the Veil hold that enlightenment is an impersonal entity that can be generated and transferred among Awakened seekers. Most mages hone their Wisdom by using magic carefully and clinging to compassion, because magic is the art of perfecting humanity -- not abandoning it. Guardians take another path. Lies and killing are sins, but if they are offered up as sacrifices for the good of the Awakened, they create wisdom for other mages. The order recognizes that their ways erode the integrity of their own souls, but they also provide safety and justice for the enlightened. Though the classical doctrine claims that there is an actual metaphysical transfer of merit, most Guardians are satisfied with knowing that their sacrifice helps mages.

Merit must guide the Fallen World: Rule falls to individual merit. The Awakened are wiser than Sleepers, and masters are wiser than apprentices. Mages should always foster greater wisdom among their charges, but never to the extent that they might overstep their bounds and endanger other quests for enlightenment. Arcane secrets and obscure symbolism must weed out seekers who aren't ready for the higher facets of mystic lore. Sleepers should not truck with the secrets of Atlantis or endanger mages. Mages should be sparing and even mysterious with their wisdom, and give humble but firm guidance to the less accomplished. This meritocracy has no room for chauvinism; sex, sexuality, ethnicity, and the like are almost never used to determine worth. Petty bigotry is beneath the Awakened perspective.

Rituals And Observances

The Veils have already been described. The Guardians of the Veil have many other rites. Two of the most common are:

The Masque: The Masque is more than a new identity; it is a layer of false being that a Guardian uses to perform a particular task. There are said to be 49 archetypal identities, ranging from the Skull Priest who makes killing holy to the Scepter, who assumes command. History and culture provide numerous variations, including the Black Suit, Wise Merchant, and Wounded Soldier. These roles are sometimes assisted with actual enchanted masks, and some of the order's positions traditionally require mages to don them. In an abstract sense, the Masque is a series of spells that conceal a mage's identity in such a way that she may easily assume a particular role. Guardians don the Black Suit to appear to be government agents who suppress evidence of the supernatural, or take up the Scepter to assume command of a corporate or government office. Symbolically, the Masque teaches a mage humility, because he must suppress his own egotism to fit the part.

The Labyrinth: The Labyrinth is one name for the web of secret societies, fifth columns, and spurious cults that the Guardians of the Veil create to conceal magic from the unworthy and exert influence over Sleepers. A novice is initiated through the Labyrinth, penetrating the Veils of deception until he finds the true order. Such organizations rarely assert direct command over Sleepers. Instead, government money pours into black budgets, businesses can't succeed without the support of a certain private club, and Sleeper investigators are diverted to cults willing to ply them with voluminous, useless information. On the occult front, the order showers disinformation upon would-be sorcerers and invents prophecies that Guardians will later fulfill. It is all too easy for Guardians to lord it over their dupes. More than one mage has become obsessed with garnering temporal power through the Labyrinth.

Titles And Duties

Titles and Duties Guardians of the Veil assign internal positions according to function instead of ritual need. Ceremonies are matters for magic and Labyrinth psychodramas, but practical secret-keeping requires clearly defined duties and the right people to carry them out. The majority of Guardians don't have formal positions at all; they are jacks-of-all-trades who perform all necessary tasks. Those who hold titles for any length of time do their best to specialize, but never at the expense of broad studies.

The following positions are filled to perform the order's most common or distinctive operations. The Law of the Mask gives these roles a variety of names, but Western Guardians are most likely to use the ones listed below.

Cultor (Status 1): Epopts supervise the Labyrinth and direct Guardian operations as a whole, but Cultors are the ones who weave the lies that turn into secret societies and religions. A Cultor is a student of faith and psychology; he applies what he knows to create a Labyrinth and directs its affairs from within. His closest contact is the Epopt, who is less concerned with the day-to-day operation of a Labyrinth than the ability to use it to win influence and apprentices. The Cultor makes sure the torches light with blue fire and the altar stone levitates. He cashes followers' checks and studies their personalities. Cultors have to be excellent researchers and liars. In the information age, it's easier than ever for a dedicated layperson to uncover historically shaky claims and botched translations. A Cultor has to construct a mystery that will do more than fool the naive men and woman who seek out cults; she has to be able to attract scholars and disciplined wisdom-seekers too. The Labyrinth separates the spiritual wheat from the chaff, so the Labyrinth has to offer something to those who might Awaken and outgrow it. The Law of the Mask calls the Cultor the "second-eldest office." After the fall of Atlantis, the Eyes of the Dragon reorganized itself to make its way through Fallen lands. The Eyes needed to protect magic from profane eyes and disguise itself, but needed a way to justify Awakened miracles. The first Cultors created religions by combining native beliefs with coded Atlantean insight. Guardians turned Hallows into taboo ground and sanctums into mystery temples so that outsiders would hold mages at a distance, but in proper awe. Some of the first Labyrinths were secret warrior societies and cults, nurtured with careful miracles until they could produce Sleepers who could unwittingly further the order's interests and serve as proving grounds for those who might Awaken. Some of these societies have lived long past their founders, but remain useful. The Law of the Mask speaks of symbols that many Labyrinths might have. A Cultor doesn't just use these tools to construct her conspiracy, but to ease her way through the mystery cults and lodges that came before. If they've survived and kept the old symbols, a Cultor can use these cults and lodges to claim membership and even authority. Therefore, a Guardian on the run could bluff his way into a certain lodge, because ancient Cultors prepared the way. Under the direction of an Epopt, the Cultor also directs cult members to act in ways that benefit the order. He produces omens and doctrines that say that a promised ascension is at hand, as long as the society does as the Epopt wishes. This could be as simple as a financial investment or as extreme as armed combat, depending on the needs of the Epopt and the Cultor's skill. Sometimes, the Epopt needs to extinguish an old Labyrinth, too. In such cases, the Cultor sows rumors of the apocalypse, fraud, or inconvenient love affairs, as appropriate. The end of a secret society is a delicate time for the mages involved. Sleepers often feel betrayed and, if they can find the shadow rulers of the organization, can strike back. This is why the most ruthless Cultors prefer to end their projects with mass suicides, but most Cultors are subtle enough to tear everything apart with rumors and come away clean.

Emissary (Status 1): The Emissary has a low-status job with a deceptively simply description: He relays communication between the Guardians of the Veil and other orders. Secrecy and espionage complicate matters considerably, however, and give the Emissary more dangerous duties. The Emissary's simplest job is to relay messages from the caucus to the local Consilium. As some Guardians will not even name their Epopt or indeed, even show their true faces, the Emissary is often the first one to be interrogated by the Hierarch about the order's motives and activities. These meetings can include blackmail, lies, bribery, and threats, all delivered to order from the Guardians' caucus. Some mages get very, very upset when an order flunky drops by to utter a secondhand threat. Emissaries risk the wrath of angry mages who might "shoot the messenger," but Guardians do let others know that they will not tolerate assaults on their chosen Emissary. The Emissary is often belittled, insulted, and goaded into a challenge. Persecutors should be careful, however, because even though the Emissary is a low-status job, powerful and influential Guardians aren't barred from it, either. A good Emissary has an excellent memory. Not only does she need to recite long messages at will, but she is expected to take note of what she encounters during the course of her duties. Later, the rest of the caucus will debrief her, squeezing out any information that the members might find relevant. Finally, the Emissary maintains contact with Guardian agents in other orders and factions. The Emissary rarely knows the purpose of intent of a message. Instead, the caucus designs coded statements for the Emissary to recite. This way, Emissaries bring orders and information to anyone who secretly serves Guardians of the Veil. On other occasions, the Emissary has a more active role, representing the order when it comes time to pay the agent or court the services of someone new. After consulting with the caucus, the Epopt usually gives the Emissary a specific plan: Offers to make, non-negotiable items and relevant facts. Emissaries in these situations need to be able to improvise without overstepping their bounds. Even though Guardians are not above breaking promises, they do prefer to avoid the tactic as much as possible. An Epopt often gives low-status Emissaries chances to prove themselves by sending them to negotiate with agents.

Interfector (Status 2): Executioners, torturers, and scapegoats, Interfectors are well-known to the other orders. Outsiders hate them in accordance with ritual and genuine sentiment. Masks play a prominent role in many Guardian ceremonies, but the Interfector's office is defined by his mask: An expressionless iron visage with slits for the eyes and mouth. The Interfector traditionally wears a dark, flowing garment and either gloves or stains his hands with a deep red color. In some regions, Interfectors use henna to paint Atlantean runes and the signs of local death gods on their faces and hands. In other places, Interfectors replace the dark garments with naked skin, covered with whip and burn scars. Not all Consilii employ Interfectors; they are signs of authoritarianism and a strong Guardian influence. The Interfector is the Consilium's headsman and interrogator. The Guardians of the Veil permit her to kill or torture any mage selected by both the Hierarch and a simple majority of attending Councilors. The Interfector will even hunt other Guardians. The Consilium may employ the Interfector secretly or refuse to justify the decision to other mages. Furthermore, the Interfector is immune to normal rules against killing or offending the persons of other mages and may ignore challenges to duel. This creates a sense of uncertainty, because nobody can be sure who ordered the Interfector to act -- or whether the Interfector killed for his own reasons. Guardians employ Interfectors for assassinations in situations where this uncertainty can work to their advantage. Obviously, then, most mages despise Interfectors. This is useful, because the presence of such a loathsome figure draws attention away from the leaders of a ruthless Consilium. Atlantean tradition holds that the Interfector is unclean. Mages may not touch or even stand in the shadow of the Interfector without being symbolically tainted. Many modern mages don't believe in the position's taint, but follow custom anyway and, in any event, think that anyone who'd volunteer to kill for the Consilium is a heartless bastard anyway. A Guardian caucus may rotate Interfector duties amongstthemselves, relying on ritual garb to muddy the difference between one titleholder and the next. Sometimes, Guardians don't even let the Hierarch know that they've switched positions and let the mask and a bit of magic disguise the change. An Interfector must be able to kill and interrogate mages without flinching. This seemingly violates the rule of the Crimson Veil, save that the act does not demonstrate loyalty to the order as much as humility. The Interfector is the willing slave of the Consilium, even at the expense of his own order. The Interfector thus symbolizes the strengths of the order as a whole, because she will do the unthinkable for other mages and by sinning, spare other sorcerers from sin.

Susceptor (Status 3): Susceptors are the order's elite spies. All Guardians of the Veil learn to pluck the Divine Thread, but Susceptors don't rely on intermediate agents and Labyrinths as much as their own wits. Susceptors go straight to the field with the stealth, disguise and efficient violence needed to succeed. Susceptors are usually the most competent warriors in the order because they specialize in direct action. Long-term strategies and friends of friends are for Emissaries and Cultors; Susceptors work with knives and lock-picks in their hands and their objectives in sight. A Susceptor needs physical ability, social skill, and the ability to make snap judgments. A veteran Susceptor might appear to be the ideal Guardian until one looks outside the scope of his operations. Many Susceptors are not the best at long-term planning and have trouble looking at the larger implications of their work. As long as they stay focused on a single assignment, however, they can be formidable figures. Epopts make sure that the sharp swords of the Susceptors point in the right direction. Susceptors develop specialties based on their aptitudes and interests. A strong, agile Susceptor trains to be a hand-to-hand fighter. A smooth talker specializes in seduction. Hackers, linguists, and marksmen all have roles to play. These concentrations add to a base of competency. While caucus standards differ, the average Susceptor earns the title after she learns skills equivalent to those of a field agent in a Sleeper intelligence agency. It's a dangerous job; smart Susceptors don't count on political advancement or long lives. If a captured Susceptor knows too much, she might have to commit suicide, and jobs such as stealing artifacts and penetrating enemy sanctums carry their own risks. Other Guardians believe that Susceptors tend to be impulsive and overly passionate, so even if they do survive, they aren't often made into Epopts. Instead, experienced Susceptors take novices under their wings to share professional insight and moral support.

Epopt (Status 4): The Epopt is the living hub of a Guardian caucus. While her formal duty is to supervise a region's Labyrinth, she also coordinates the activities of nearby order mages and communicates with Epopts in other cities. Most Epopts are not particularly authoritarian. If a mage makes it through the Veils and into the order, he's competent enough to work on his own. Instead, the Epopt consolidates local intelligence and caucus members' concerns into a few general directions, setting priorities for each project. Cultors help create and maintain the Labyrinth, but the Epopt uses it. When the caucus needs the Labyrinth's members to act, the Epopt makes a plan and gives the order to carry it out. Epopts also guide the newly Awakened through the Veils. Cultors may assist, but an Epopt is responsible for an honest ordeal; Cultors might get personally attached to a Labyrinth member. Furthermore, there's always a chance that the Epopt will guide the new apprentice to another order, maintaining the balance of favors that keep Guardians of the Veil respected. There is almost always only one Epopt per caucus. Guardians protect him well because he often knows secrets that mustn't leave the stewardship of the order. As a spymaster, he makes sure the individual Guardians don't blunder into each other on confl icting missions. The Epopt is trusted to hold and disseminate information at will. Not only does he inform Guardians, he determines what they need to know. This is necessary to maintain the caucus' cell structure. Under a conservative Epopt, a caucus meeting can feel rather disjointed, as members must avoid broaching subjects that the Epopt hasn't given them permission to talk about. Still, Epopts trust Guardians to act on their own and keep them informed. In return, Guardians of the Veil must trust their Epopt to share what is necessary, protect mages' covers and make the best use of what they know. This can be a lonely, morally challenging duty, so it isn't unusual for an Epopt to confide in a single Guardian of equal or greater status. This mage traditionally becomes the Epopt's successor if she retires from the post or dies. It is customary to weave one lie into this confi dence, so that if it gets loose, the Epopt can trace the lie back to her treacherous ally. Epopts are always respected members of the order, but don't always have to be the greatest mages or even the highest-status Guardians of the Veil. Epopts choose successors from the best communicators and secret-keepers. This is more important than raw magical ability. If a caucus lacks an Epopt, the caucus usually chooses a new one with a vote. Such an Epopt could even have less status than is normally required, but without it,Epopts from other regions won't share information.

Factions

The Faceless: The term for the members of this faction derives equally from the fact that their frequent use of the Masques leaves others wondering about their true faces (or if they've ever seen them) and the fact that, like all Guardians of the Veil, their duties in service to other mages and the Diamond Wheel cause them to suffer shame, or the loss of face. They are the Dalits -- the Untouchables -- of Awakened society, so low that they can slither under every wall in pursuit of their quarries. Other mages sometimes refer to the Faceless as "the defaced" or "the debased." Note that membership in this faction is especially popular with mages following the Subtle Ones Legacy; the Legacy's innate stealth abilities perfectly complement the other deception skills mastered by the Faceless. Mages on the Paths of Ecstasy and Scourging are also well represented among the Faceless' numbers. Members of the Faceless hold mages personally accountable for their hubris. The Faceless do not accept excuses like "everyone does it," "no harm done" or "it's no big deal." They are steadfast in their belief that the Fallen World is imperiled by the actions of vain and careless mages, and the Faceless harbor a deep resentment against each and every mage who's too stupid, irresponsible and vain to adjust her magical practice to reflect the dire reality of the situation.

Inheritors: As they see it, the Inheritors are the only faction within the Guardians of the Veil really dedicated to keeping the Mysteries from the eyes of the unworthy, and there's little the Inheritors won't do to keep the unAwakened from nudging aside the Veil and seeing what they're not supposed to. When mages from the Inheritor Guardians step in to enforce their particular perspective on those mages, all the temper, resentment and hubris of the Awakened can quickly bring the situation to a flashpoint. Mages of the Inheritor faction endeavor to keep magic out of the hands of the unworthy. This definition doesn't distinguish based on whether a person has Awakened or not, it judges others based on their intelligence, prudence, and discretion in dealing with the Mysteries. The Inheritors are the ones who most often set up and manage cults so they can control what Sleepers do and don't know about the truth of magic. Because of the role the Inheritors play in establishing many branches of the Labyrinth, Inheritors slip easily into the role of Epopt, and it's a role they fulfill frequently and well. The Inheritors, primarily, are also the ones who are responsible for covering up incidents in which Sleepers were exposed to vulgar magic or other direct evidence of the Mysteries. And when circumstances warrant it, Inheritors are the ones, more often than not, who kill to keep the Mysteries mysterious.

Messianics: The Messianic faction of the Guardians might be thought of as the order's fundamentalist wing as well as its spiritual center. More even than the rest of the order, these mages experience their defense of the Veil as a spiritual calling and a religious struggle, and even though it may take a toll on their souls, they believe that their efforts and their pain are for the noblest of all possible causes: the defense of the Fallen World and, ultimately, the defeat of the Crats. For that reason, Messianic Guardians carry out their duties with the zeal of sacred soldiers in a holy war. Like the infantry in any army, Messianics know that they will have to kill, and they know that their own choices will inevitably take its toll on them, but they are convinced that they must play this role if the Fallen World is to last long enough for the Hieromagus to manifest and lead the refugees to victory over the Crats. For the members of the Messianic faction, the Hieromagus is the keystone around which the Guardians' philosophy takes shape. The work Messianics do, the lies they tell and the murders they commit -- all these they do in order that others may work to bring about the great deliverer of the Awakened and end the reign of the Crats.

Ordeal Keepers: All Guardians of the Veil value and reward achievement and individual merit, but none more than the Ordeal Keepers, who pride themselves on their constant pursuit of perfection. They don't just test themselves, however, but those Sleepers who would earn the right to study the Mysteries and the Ordeal Keepers' fellow mages as well. Just as all Guardians of the Veil, Ordeal Keepers defile their own karma in their subtle crusade to prevent Sleepers from seeing the Mysteries at work in the world around them, but, unlike the order's other factions, the Ordeal Keepers seek to make up for that spiritual defilement by honing their minds and bodies to a particularly keen edge by way of compensating for their spiritual deficits -- and keeping them sharp through constant quests and testing. Ordeal Keepers are firm believers in the Greek ideal of maintaining a strong mind and a strong body so that the two can reinforce each other. The world throws all manner of tests at the Awakened, and those having only a single strength or skill set are less likely to master themselves and the world around them than those who strive to have a myriad of talents and abilities honed to an edge at any given time. Due to certain philosophical similarities, Ordeal Keepers are by far the most popular Guardians faction among Thyrsus mages, who also tend toward a certain "survival of the fittest" mentality. Of all the Guardians of the Veil factions, Ordeal Keepers are the most willing to enter into direct physical combat. While they aren't usually masters of direct physical conflict like the mages of the Adamantine Arrow, the high degree of mental and physical training among the Ordeal Keepers makes them fierce opponents; some of them have trained themselves to the very edge of human physical potential through their rigorous physical regimens. More even than other Guardians factions, the Ordeal Keepers are advocates of a strict meritocracy, or rule by the most competent and skilled. Consequently, they are ardent foes of cronyism or any system of assigning authority in which competence is not the sole criterion for assessing worth and fitness to lead. Even after an Ordeal Keeper's competence (in whatever arena) has been established, it is expected that such skills will be constantly tested and reinforced to ensure that the mage is not "resting on her laurels." The zeal shown by Ordeal Keepers for strict meritocracy has occasionally brought the faction into conflict with the local Consilium and even their own order when key figures in the local power structure, especially positions such as Epopt, Sentinel, or Hierarch, rise to prominence for any reason other than sheer capability and talent. Ordeal Keepers have been known to lead the rest of the Guardians of the Veil into full-on rebellions when key Councilors are put into position without due attention being paid to their actual merit.

Prophets: Often described as the most liberal of the Guardians' factions, the Prophets are easily the most diplomatic wing of their order. They are, without a doubt, more affable than most other factions of the Guardians, and much more adept at cultivating good will. When the Guardians need to reach out to other orders, they usually do so with mages from the faction of Prophets. Prophets are not so concerned with ordeals, or punishment or even with preventing mortals from seeing through the Veil (at least not compared to their fellow Guardians). What Prophets are concerned with is gathering information. That information might be mundane or magical; they might get it from an informant or from a Tarot reading, but living, current, vital information is their stock in trade, and they are particularly fond of secrets.
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