Order Of Odin
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n an earlier age, in the cold and distant lands of the north, a power rose that made the Order of Hermes, indeed, much of Christendom, tremble before it. The Order of Odin, mysterious and hidden for centuries, is nonetheless still the Order's single greatest enemy, and may lie in wait, plotting and planning and gathering strength, to this day.

History

Origin

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From The Norse Wars:

The first rune wizards are said to have been followers of Odin, god to the peoples of the North and called by them the All-Father, whom legend tells learned magic through a great ritual of sacrifice and taght this knowledge to his followers. Like we magi in the good lands further south, those with his Gift of power inspired supernatural feelings of envy and malice in the common people, but as priests of Odin they were also respected and feared by them, and were as one with both the kings and the leaders of the pagan faith.

Of these chieftain-priests, little can be said. It is rehearsed that all men knew of their prowess in battle, dressing in bear skins from which they take the name bearsarkrs and, never tiring, fighting until all of their enemies lay slain.

That these ancient people were shipbuilders of the highest degree is also plainly known, and in the fifth and sixth centuries of our Lord they spread throughout frozen Thule and eastern Britannia. Many of them hailed from Saxony and a part of Danemark that is called Engle. And as the monk Gildas writes, their invasion of Britain succeeded as God's punishment for the Britons' many sins.

As the seasons changed and the years buried one another, the rune wizards seized and settled all fo England, mercilessly fighting back the Welsh in the west and the Cornish in the south, though it is rehearsed that they suffered great losses in these battles. And the chieftain-priests ruled the island during those years, who drove their people to conquest and victory, and it is said that in those days every village had its own rune master in stead of a lord.

War Against the Order

From The Norse Wars:

In the eighth century of Our Lord, raiders from the north lands bean to attack sea-towns and settlements, and these war parties were often in the company of rune-wizards acting as lieutenants to lords and generals. For the most enterprising among them had set sail for Christian shores, believing that their magic and battle-prowess would bring them great wealth and power, should they strike swiftly.

They pillaged the shores and demolished villages and monasteries, taking anything of value: silver, vis, food, weapons and prisoners for to hold in thrall forever more. And that which they did not value, they burned. These raiders often attacked the saxon settlements in addition to those belonging to the Welsh, Cornish and Irish.

And so it was that in anno domini 800, the most powerful rune wizards in Britain allied themselves with a Pictish sorceror that men called Damhan-Allaidh the Spider. Together, they proposed to eliminate all of their rivals from across the sea: the wolves of the north as well as the Order of Hermes from the south.

The Spider and his allies desired to lure their Hermetic enemies to England to attack them directly, for their power was far greater when defending their halls and laying traps than when attacking. In the first days, thsi plan was successful, and many bold magi fell trying to confront the Spider and his army. But when Pralix ex Tytalus (as she was known in those days) managed to gain a foothold among the other hedge wizards of the isle, the Spider and his allies took up arms against them. And this was the downfall of the saxon rune-wizards, for they were fearsome in battle, but lacked the means to defend against magical counter-attacks, and their numbers were sore lessened by the toll of the war.

According to the tales of the Ordo Miscellany (as it was known in those days), all of the rune wizards were slain in that final battle or hunted down and destroyed, such that they were driven completely from the shores of England in the years that followed.

The Viking Invasions

From The Norse Wars:

Independent of the war against the Spider, the rune wizards and warriors of Thule in the northern places continued their attacks on Christendom and Britannia. Starting in anno domini 830, the sea-reavers led a great assault upon Ireland, sending over an army of raiders and a great fleet of ships. They landed on the eastern shore and builded fortifications from which they could ravage the entire country. From their town of Dublin, they pillaged the whole of the Emerald Isle, such that it was said that no village be it ne so mean was safe from them.

It was there that the Thulic wizards first met with the Order of Hermes, who were a group of Diedne magi from a covenant several miles north-west of their camp. The two parties made a great battle on the grounds of the Diedne covenant, as they were unable to communicate ne more than threats to each other. And each assessed the other's magical strengths and weaknesses.

Though much of the rune-wizard's magic was unhindered by the Parma Magica, they were in the main part unable to affect the magi directly, and the norsemen were routed in the last. Then the magi were sore troubled, for they realised that they were unusually vulnerable to these new attackers. They brought word of the strange wizards to the Grand Tribunal of A.A. 1021, where those who had heard of their pagan faith and their Saxon kin named them for members of the Order of Odin.

In anno domini 837, a host of Irish magi from many Houses, led by Mael-tuili ex Merinita, sought out the rune wizards and did parley with them. At the first, the norsemen were abusive and demanded to know the secrets of the Order, but after many hours of careful speech they agreed to leave in peace if the magi would pay to them a tribute of 3,000 pounds of silver and forty pawns of vis, which they named for makt.

This price was arranged, but soon after they had it the norsemen proved false of their word and attacked the magi of the Order. And the leaders of both parties fell in the battle thereafter, and were many other magi and wizards slain also, and those in the Order who heard of this betrayal were stirred to rage.

Soon more norsemen arrived in Ireland and greatly reinforced their camps, and the frequency and range of their reavings increased as the norsemen learned of the wealth that was to be had thereby. The invaders came in ever greater numbers, and others landed in Scotia, England, France, the Germanies and the pagan lands. A great raiding party was beaten back from Paris in anno domini 845, and in anno domini 865 a great host of norsemen did land in East Anglia and made great slaughter, and those who made war against them were enslaved, an they were slain.

So were the norsemen a great menace to all Christendom throughout the ninth century of Our Lord, and the Order of Hermes quailed at their threat.

Hermetic Reaction

From The Norse Wars:

Many of the magi in the northern Tribunals felt that it was the interference of Mael-tuili that had brought danger down upon all their lands. And the most part of these magi went liefer into hiding than face the rune-wizards, especially they of House Diedne. At the Britannian Tribunal of A.A. 1040, Primus Obregon of Diedne declared that the magi of his House would no longer protect their undeserving sodales from the general enemy of Odin, but would instead respect the Code from within the safety of our secret mounds and hidden dales.

Thus did the greater part of intercourse between covenants and magi in Britain break down for a score of years, and remained meagre for much of the following century. But forever after the Irish Diedne remained apart from their sodales and never no more came to participate in the meetings of the Tribunal.

And others took up arms, for to fight back the Order of Odin to their fastness in Ultima Thule, and many magi won great glory striking the camps and ships of the enemy. And they made forays into the North to wreak havoc in their homeland.

And yet, the war is not won, though it be fought these many score years. The kin and descendants of the sea-reavers make to settle the lands they have stolen, and the talk of the Tribunals is of war within the Order.

The Order Today

With the spread of the Christian faith amongst the Norsemen and Danes, the Dominion has come to most of the former viking lands. So too has a disdain for the old, warlike ways of their pagan ancestors. Most of the rune-wizards are believed to have retreated into the wilderness, in the thick forests and high mountains of Scandinavia, or to isolated islands in the northern seas. There, they hide from their own civilization as much as from vengeful Hermetic reprisals, becoming little more than a legend, even among their own people.

Despite this, there are those who periodically mount expeditions to contact the Order of Odin, for fair purposes or foul. Marius ex Flambeau is one such in the Loch Leglean Tribunal, and he boasts of some dozen rune-wizards slain by his hand. Another approach is demonstrated by the covenant of Occulus Septentrionalis in the Rhine Tribunal, who claim to have made peaceful contact with the rune-mages on several occasions. Whether either party is telling the truth has never been fully determined.

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