Dark City-Requim Morte
The Saint James Society
The Society of St. James
This esoteric order of monks, and its parallel order of Sisters of St. James, are named after St. James of Antioch, a lesser known religious figure of the 2nd century AD who was a exorcist. The Order has chapters and cenacles around the world, where they selflessly tend to the poor with food, shelter, and medical treatment. All this gives them a good reputation for selfless works, but the truth underneath is far more sinister. The order is a front for a multi-purpose society of monster hunters sanctioned in conjunction with the Inquisition. The events of the Red Star and the rise of Ravna, led the Inquisition to do something it hadn’t done in years, attempt to unite the disparate factions opposed to creatures of the night that had become scattered over the centuries into a semblance of a unified front. This movement was so strong that the so called ‘Iron Maiden’ herself, head of the Inquisition, was told in no uncertain terms, that she would comply, or find herself removed. Unwilling to abandon her goals in the face of such a strong movement, she acquiesced, reasoning that she could extend her influence eventually from the Society of Leopold to these other groups as well.
Insiders and sympathizers, led by Cardinal Scarlinni, managed to attract enough of the scattered sects into a a semblance of agreement. A new Office was quietly formed in the depths of the Roman Curia, hidden in plain sight in the labyrinthine bureaucracy as am outreach program to smaller breakaway sects the Church wished to bring back into communion with the Papal See. This granted the Office for Spiritual Continuity, under cardinal Scarlinni, a degree of hidden authority that allowed him access to the highest level of the Church, while keeping the Office’s true goals secret. He formed a council composed of the leaders of the various sects, the strongest being the Grand Inquisitor of the Society of Leopold(the Inquisition in new guise), the Tertullian Society under its Host of Hosts(devoted to exorcism of wraiths), the Order Militant of St. Micheal the Dragon Slayer(the final chapter of various disbanded and extinct crusading orders determined to keep their martial traditions alive), the Society of Bernard of Samothrace(An order of monks that keep extensive records on all supernaturals world-wide), and the Order of St. James the Martyr(An ecumenical group bringing members of the other groups together in field teams to hunt the creatures of darkness.) These five groups form the core of the Office’s new mission to oppose the foul creatures of the night, a new Inquisition that seeks to protect mortals in these seeming end times.
The Society itself organizes into cenacles, led by a Prior, each with a geographical area to cover, who in turn answer to a Prior General, who is responsible for a country, who in turn answer to the Master General of the Order. Each cenacle maintains a Brotherhood of Friars who provided the maintenance and care of the hunters themselves. The hunters are highly trained, with military training as well as religious indoctrination, and are organized into lances of three, who train together from a young age from the orphanages of the Society that serve as the recruiting grounds of the Society. These lances operate independently of each other, though some larger cenacles maintain larger groupings, called Tercios, formed of 12 to 15 men who tackle larger operations, or more formidable monsters. Each lancer besides being trained in military style special operations tactics and religious instruction, is also well versed in the habits of the various creatures of the night they pursue. By day, they seem to be merely humble friars, tending the poor and sick. This selfless degree of service makes them very popular with the poor they minster to world wide, and these poor provided the Society with a great deal of information to aid their cause, as poor people are often considered easy, anonymous prey my the lords of the night, who reason that society will never care about what happens to those who live on its fringes. The predation among their charges in turn drives the lancers on with intense fervor, installing in them a sense of devotion and duty against the horrors of the dark. This serves the Society well, as it soften suffers serious casualties in its never-ending war against evil, and this sense of devotion draws in new recruits, once they have been exposed to the truth about what lurks beyond the light.
The Society in the City was established when the City was rebuilt after the second sack. The Inquisition knew that some dark monster, most probably a vampire, caused the City to be built, and that it made war with the native heathens and their werewolf allies. While the Inquisition went about its usual bloody work in the City, drawing the weight of the supernaturals wrath down upon itself, the Society worked quietly in the shadows, building up its network among the City’s poor, while studying and hunting monsters in the shadows. The Society thus managed to survive despite the often violent upheavals and internecine wars among the creatures themselves, and preserved its base and strength, while the showier Inquisition was often purged and decimated by internal and external conflict. Following the Millennial Reforms that brought the Society back into communion with the Mother Church and its long separated brethren, the Society has adapted, slowly integrating individuals and teams from the other orders into its operations.
Now, in these modern nights, the Society is at its peak efficiency in the City. The Society, under Prior Jonathan Zachariah, is well entrenched and unsuspected. Its brown robed friars and nuns have weathered disasters and conflict, both man made and God sent. They have tended the poor and are often the helpers of last resort for the unfortunate of the city, running shelters and food kitchens. They have alliances with such groups as Universal Charities, UP-Front, and the Catholic Society of Poor Fathers, though some of these groups they suspect are infiltrated by creatures of the night seeking to feed and hide themselves from the watchful eyes of the Holy Church. The Society’s six lances are very active, practically untraceable back to the Society, and even if caught, would appear to be a faction of the Inquisition that has infiltrated the Society. This gives the Society the freedom it needs to hunt the nights and scourge the horrors that plague humanity in these dire times.