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|Friday, January 12th, 2007|
|Why Yes, I Have Issues
Reading the WoW Forums (issue number 1) I discovered a sprightly debate about where the BE female /dance comes from. Popular consensus indicates Britney Spears.
And, God help me, my first thought was, 'wait, so I can play a pretty pretty pop princess who summons demons, defiles her enemies and sucks their souls as they die?
Where do I sign up?'
|Wednesday, September 13th, 2006|
|The Who and What of Gray
If you intend to operate in the Twin Cities, you're going to have to deal with a myriad of things. If it's not Seraphim looking down on your lifestyle choices, Landmark attempting to put you in your place (DOWN THERE), Pan leching on your significant other (and that can include large dogs, so don't get too comfortable), it's sometimes as simple as trying to figure out who's the joker in Block E that keeps sending you pizza.
But you will always have to deal with the Gray Lady.
She seized power by deceit in 1992 and has spent the last decade and change holding onto it. For someone who started her reign by antagonizing both sides, the Senior Citizen (and I suggest you never call her that to her face, in a meeting around her, in public, in private or even in your head) has been not only completely successful in holding her own, but has actually started to expand her power base.
This is a question that occupied much of my thoughts during the period of time I was a resident of the Cities and it has continued to occupy it even as I settle down here in Chicago. In fact, it's been more pressing here than it was there. In the Cities, you just need to accept her. Down here, they need to worry about her.
What we know about her: Female. Mastigos. Powerful enough to apparently have earned the title of 'Master' (from Hector, visiting from Seattle in 97, Judea, San Francisco, 98 and the Judge, Baltimore, 04). It is worthwhile to note that all of the people referring to her as 'master' came from out of town. Takes her name from her shock of stark gray hair. Doesn't look anywhere near old enough to have gray hair. Hasn't demonstrably aged in 14 years. Ethnicity is unknown, probably pointless, but questionable: I've seen reasonable arguments made for Eurasian, Mediterranean, Indian and Arab. Clearly not black or pure Asian. Probably not purely Caucasian either. Skilled in Space, Mind, Spirit and Forces.
What we've investigated about her: first appeared in 1989 in Seattle, known to have spent time in San Francisco, L.A., Dallas, New York and Baltimore previous to her arrival here. This places her age at roughly 35 to 40, younger than both Pan and Seraphim.
What we don't know: No cabal has reported having her as a member (indicating either a spectacular cleaning job on her personal history or, somehow, her flourishing as a Solitary). No known next of kin, names or personal attachments. What her personal magical power and skills are.
She's a target, she knows it and she has apparently decided that the best defense is a preventative defense. She doesn't have to defend herself if no one can aim to take a shot at her. Since she's Mastigos, this fits well. She is probably a master of either Space or Mind (possibly even both) and those Arcana match well with any desire to be 'invisible'.
|Tuesday, September 5th, 2006|
|Snakes on a Train
Hiawatha's Path, Minneapolis
The mid-90s were an interesting time for Minneapolis. A major redevelopment of the Hiawatha corridor (Highway 55 from downtown Minneapolis to the airport) ran into several snags, mostly around Minnehaha Park. Eventually, inevitably, the development went through and the park was changed by the light rail.
Hiawatha's Path is a collection of several small cabals who were in the way of the light rail or were close enough to it to be subsumed into the larger cabal. They claim the territory in and around the LRT tracks and often meet on the train itself. They work from the Warehouse District down past the Metrodome, through the Longfellow and Cedar neighborhoods, past Minnehaha Park proper and through Fort Snelling and the airport, ending at the Mall of America.
The Path is a very loose collection, with internal cliques that almost qualify as their own cabals (Minnehaha's Light, a cabal original based in the park, is the most obvious problem). However they operate as a catch-all; almost anyone can find a reason to join the Path.
Politically, the Path treads lightly; they cross physical paths with Snelling Guard and the Spirit and can't really afford to antagonize either. They occasionally bump up against Block E at the north end. The Gray Lady uses them to safeguard an obfuscated path to the Mall of America, where she holds most of her meetings and they do operate with her support.
|Thursday, August 31st, 2006|
The 7th Street cabal could be accurately called the 'St. Paul, etcetera' cabal. Anyone not fitting into the other cabals, either intentionally or otherwise, tends to end up at 7th Street.
The 7th Street cabal meets on 7th Street, either at Mickey's Diner or the Famous Dave's next door. Visiting 7th Street for ribs is a relatively popular pasttime. Since 7th Street doesn't have an overriding theme a la Capital or Cathedral or a geographic center like Frogtown (most 7th Street mages don't live on or even near 7th Street) the mages are varied and occasionally even laid back. Despite this, or because of the variety of mages, 7th Street is one of the more effective cabals Seraphim has. They tend to act as her troubleshooters, employing a more human touch than Landmark or Frogtown would.
7th Street is an independent group; they meet who they like, do what they like and care little for Seraphim's dictates. They make every effort to do the right thing over the popular thing and their success rate doing so indicates they may be on the right track.
|Out of Towners
The two Greater Minnesota cabals are generally considered to be St. Cloud Cathedral and Duluth. There is some belief that there is an underground cabal in Rochester, but if there is one they aren't speaking to anyone about it, probably unwilling to be coopted by Pan or more likely Seraphim.
Duluth, formerly North Star, was an independant cabal until Seraphim sent some of her people up starting in the early 80s. The cabal was slowly filled with Seraphim's loyalist (mostly from Landmark), eventually declaring for St. Paul. The Duluth cabal is slowly falling apart, requiring Landmark to keep dispatching new blood as local mages chose independent life or, more frequently, contact with the Greater Minnesota Council in the face of obeying the outsiders. Duluth has become a bit of an open sore, draining Landmark power. However, the extra votes seem to make up for it, giving Cathedral and Landmark extra political power at the cost of constant attention.
St. Cloud Cathedral actually has nothing to do with Seraphim's cabal; it was named after a local high school. The name annoys Seraphim and, predictably, Pan hasn't issued any orders to change it. St. Cloud joined Minneapolis almost immediately after Duluth was subverted, chosing to make their choice rather than having it made for them. The St. Cloud mages spend relatively little time in the Cities, chosing to spend their efforts locally, mostly in St. Cloud but also at the colleges of St. John's and St. Benedict's. St. Cloud usually votes the party line and is seen as, and perhaps is, relatively uninterested in politics so long as politics isn't interested in them.
|I Fought The Law (So Who Won?)
The Fraternal Order (not to be confused with the 1876 to 1971 cabal of the same name) is made up of cops and attorneys from Minneapolis. They act in general concert with the Art, but for the most part concern themselves with improving their city through control of the criminal element.
The Fraternal Order is lead by Clay, presumably a DA with the city, though this is currently unconfirmed. Judging by behavior, there are four cops and two attorneys in the Order.
The Order is pretty typical, being very much law and order. They clash frequently with the Northtown Collective over police behavior and their usual arena of battle is the Civilian Review Board. The Northtowners see the Minneapolis police (and by extension the Order) as institutionally racist and the Order sees Northtown as a good place to live ruined by drugs and gangs. The Order also has extremely poor relations with Frogtown, which makes Seraphim happy. Since the Order often oversteps their bounds in relations with St. Paul police and state criminal officials (both in Seraphim's territory) the Obrimos has little love for the Order.
The big bogeyman on the Order's calender is not the Northtown gangs or St. Paul thugs, but the murderous criminal cabal called Khmer Rouge. Although they probably number no more than three and possibly as few as two, the members of Khmer Rouge have a bodycount far higher than they should. It seems unlikely that the members of the cabal Khmer Rouge are actually former Khmer members, or even Cambodian, but more likely undereducated gang members who chose a scary name without bothering to understand the history behind it. Regardless, the Khmer Rouge is a bogeyman for the gangs in the Cities; everyone knows someone 'done' by the Khmer and it is never pretty.
|All The Pretty People Doing Pretty Things
The Art of Art is defined by the man who assembled it and led it to prominence. It is even more defined by his gradual disconnect with his followers.
Pan formed the Art of Art as the original Fraternal Order started to disintegrate, throwing Minneapolis up for grabs in the late 60s. The Art of Art was a performance/praxis group, fashionably socialist with just a hint of decadence. As it formed, there was little to distinguish it from any of the other cabals popping up as the Order lost their grip on the city.
Pan's masterstroke was to somehow spirit away the accumulated library of the Order, hiding it in a place that has remained hidden to this day. The most probably rumor is that Pan managed to convince Jupiter, the Mastigos leader of the Order, to hide the library from Jupiter's rivals (how Pan persuaded Jupiter is not often elaborated). Jupiter died in 1971, supposedly accidentally, though, again, Pan is generally credited with assassinating him.
With the power of access to the library backing him, Pan assembled a loose coalition. Once it became clearer who was going to win, Pan's collection of friends snowballed and he ascended to leadership in 1974. The ascension wasn't clean and a few years of chaos (paralleling Seraphim's purges in St. Paul) was necessary. Pan and Seraphim clashed repeatedly through the Seventies and Eighties, but when the Gray Lady engineered her coup in 1991 (reminiscent of Pan's ursupation of the Order), Pan seemed to lose interest in competing.
The Art of Art is based in the Walker Arts Center and the Guthrie Theater. The recent building of the new Guthrie Theater has led to two 'factions' of Art forming, the older and larger part staying with Pan at the Walker and the more ambititious second faction assembling around Swann at the Guthrie. The Art is a social cabal, throwing parties for the rich and famous and beautiful, making connections to further their objectives. A fundraiser run by the Art of Art can see hundreds of thousands of dollars change hands in a night and an Art member can find a way to access nearly any person of importance in the Cities. Art members are excellent glad-handers.
Currently Pan is sinking deeper into a self-imposed mire, drinking too much, paying too much attention to the attractive friends his social circle brings and paying very little attention to actually running anything. De facto control of the cabal has falled to the Moros Swann, but not everyone inside the Art is comfortable with this. With the disarray inside Art, the other Minneapolis cabals have scented blood and are waiting to see if Art can maintain itself, either by Pan waking up or in a brief, bloodless purge. If Art continues to fall, or if Art rips itself to shreds in a civil war, there are more than enough people ready to ursurp its place and friends.
|Down In The Boondocks
The University Avenue corridor starts out just north of the capitol building and extends east to Minneapolis. Perhaps only three blocks east of the capital begins the multi-cultural, economically questionable part of the avenue, defining part of Frogtown.
Frogtown's cabal is made up of local boys and girls attempting to make good while still staying at home. The Frogtown neighborhood is probably the worst in St. Paul and the cabal that calls it home is a bit on the roughside. Like University Avenue, almost anyone can make it in Frogtown, given enough stubbornness. The cabal is made up of all ethnicities, containing Somali refugees, Hmong, former refugees, Vietnamese and part of the black community moved from Rondo by I-94.
Generally Frogtown members have a chip on their shoulder, prepared to prove themselves given any opportunity. They take pride in the effort it took for them to get where they are and are quite willing to prove it. Frogtown mages are often more intense than others of their type (terrifying in the case of Obrimos) and value a good education more than most. However they also tend to have slightly worse than average impulse control.
Frogtown has close ties to Seraphim. The uptight Obrimos was one of the first to reach out to the new Frogtown cabal in the early 80s and they've stuck by her as she's stuck by them. Mostly unsubstantiated rumors put Frogtown in the role of Seraphim's illegal operators, serving a covert role similar to Landmark's overt role. Some people have noted that Seraphim often acts as a surrogate mother to the cabal, an authority figure who accepts them. This is not often commented on in earshot of a Frogtown mage.
|Off To School (College and the Gopher Glee Club)
The cabal called College is one of the largest in St. Paul, often rivaling or overcoming Landmark. However, since most of the mages are, surprise, in college, only a few mages in College have any sort of seniority. The rapid turnover of College is responsible for the relatively weak power it can apply in society, but the raw numbers and enthusiasm of the young mages often makes College practically powerful.
College controls the St. Paul higher education system. They maintain their base on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, where Macalester College and the University of St. Thomas both make their homes. They draw a number of mages from Hamline, Bethel and the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus. All of the current leadership are professors at the member colleges and the regular meetings vary between member campuses.
College is engaged in a twenty-year cold war with the Gopher Glee Club, who serve the same purpose on the Minneapolis side. The older, more stable Glee Club has control over the immense University of Minnesota campus as well as the Minneapolis campus of St. Thomas. The Glee Club can trace its roots back to the early 1900s and has been a formative member of nearly all Minneapolis councils. The GGC also has designs on controlling all of the Twin Cities colleges, with College and Seraphim resoundingly reject.
The current dispute between the two is the St. Paul campus of the U of M. The GGC is continually attempting to snipe members or even control of the campus from College. Since GGC members do have a legitimate purpose to be on the St. Paul campus, College is not allowed to simply ban the recruiters and an uneasy game of espionage is always in progress there. Not to be outdone, College mages use the St. Thomas expansion to raid into Glee Club territory. As might be expected, Seraphim takes the side of College while Pan (and more often Swann) take the side of the Glee Club. The Gray Lady has stayed scrupulously neutral through the whole thing; neither Pan nor Seraphim have accused her of bias on this subject.
|Where The Elite Meet To Greet
Where the fine edge of idealism and pragmatic politics meet, that's where Capital lives. Capital is a group of mages who move through the lobbyists, politicians and no few number of staffers to make... things happen. While they are certainly willing to promote causes in exchange for cash, they also do a fair amount of 'unpaid' work pursuing goals too large for even a cabal to perform alone.
Capital is lead by Hammurabi, a mage always fascinated by the power inherant in humanity. He collected a group of like minded mages and they began a relatively innocuous program of infiltrating the political scene, giving a project a push here, encouraging delays there. Despite that, they're also quite willing to accept a contract for lobbying that doesn't affect their over-all goal. Capital tends to attract Moros mages; government has a great deal of material things and power over life and death.
Capital is one of the more powerful cabals in St. Paul, enough even to worry Seraphim. Their priviledged position and access give them almost enough power to work independently. Depending on Seraphim's mood and the current situation, Cathedral might end up flattering and favoring Capital or might freeze them out and impose sanctions. Both Swann and the Gray Lady have used the Capital mages for their own ends (Swann in pushing for the Twins ballpark and the Gray Lady on behalf of the light rail systems) but Seraphim has managed to keep Capital in her camp. How long Seraphim can balance things and how badly she would react to Capital being poached from her are both open questions.
|Tuesday, August 29th, 2006|
With the raw firepower of Landmark behind her, Seraphim often seems as if she's leading her own Praetorian Guard. Several people act surprised that St. Paul hasn't simply leveraged Landmark and overrun Minneapolis. Fortunately for Pan, it turns out that organized firepower overcomes raw firepower.
The Snelling Guard is not actually based on the real Fort Snelling, but in the Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building just to the north. They only recruit active or former military personnel (one tour of duty or several years of National Guard or Reserve experience). Despite not being a traditional Obrimos cabal, they maintain the same military discipline that they were trained in. All members are expected to maintain firearms proficiencies, making Snelling one of the more dangerous groups.
Though Snelling is much smaller than Landmark, they have much better organization. Landmark is rife with the usual cliques, arrogance and self-importance that plagues most mages. Snelling is a dedicated and focused crew. The four known battles between Landmark and Snelling have been very much in Snelling's favor. However a combination of Snelling's small size, Pan's lack of interest and the military's traditional dislike of politics has keep Snelling from invading St. Paul. They seem content to guard the Mississippi and Minnesota and help out the Spirit of St. Louis at the airport for now.
Thursday night meeting, 8 Central, for the nWoD Mage game. I'll post more cabals and information as we get closer.
|Monday, August 28th, 2006|
|Fly Me To The Moon
The Spirit of St. Louis is a cabal based out of the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport and more specifically out of the Lindberg Terminal. All members of the Spirit are dedicated aviation buffs and the cabal is made by and for travellers.
The Spirit first formed in the early Fifties during the age of elegant air travel. The cabal was made of crew members, mostly pilots and co-pilots. They accepted their first flight attendant/stewardess in 1968 and have been co-ed ever since. The cabal slid easily into Pan's structure; they have very little interest in 'real' politics and offer a sort of vague support to whatever happens to be garnering attention at the time. Since most of the members tend to spend an inordinate amount of time traveling, the cabal is often down to a single caretaker to attend any official business.
Although most people are familiar with the member of Spirit as aviation buffs, relatively few think about the lower cabal of Spirit. This 'second' internal cabal is made up not of pilots and air crews, but of maintenance and other workers at the airport. After the 9/11 attacks, the Spirit assembled a group of mages that could watch out for trouble and help keep the airport safe. They surrepitously check not only for traditional threats, but watch for any magical problems attempting to enter the Cities via air. This cabal receives support not only from the Art of Art (mostly from the ambitious and relatively sharp Swann) but from the Grey Lady as well. The relationship between the 'flying' cabal and the 'ground' cabal seems relatively secure, but Pan (well, Swann) spends time worrying about the Lady splitting off the ground cabal and backing them as her own.
|Saturday, August 26th, 2006|
|By The Pricking Of My Thumbs
The Scottish Cabal came out of the Summer of Mastigos (August to September 2003) that saw six new college-age Mastigos mages arrive in the Twin Cities. Five of those six (Jazz, Smoke, Songbird, Antioch and Eve) bypassed the usual college cabals of College and the Gopher Glee Club. Antioch joined Cathedral, Eve gravitated to 7th Street and Smoke, Jazz and Songbird formed the Scottish Cabal.
From the start, the Scottish Cabal annoyed and scared people. They embraced every stereotype of Mastigos and took it to the point of parody with a hint of amusement. Despite the fact that the Scots seemed to be making a joke, no one entirely believed it. They openly flaunted the fact that two of the members were the mind-controlled thralls of the leader, but the leader changed nearly every week, as did their behavior. While no one has confirmed the status of the members, it is well known that all members stay in constant mental contact, giving them the ability to talk without being overheard and to spread information at the speed of thought. They were also openly promiscuous, all three showing no sign of morals or inhibitions.
Demon-worshipping, mind-controlled perverts is not a portfolio destined for much success in the face of Seraphim and the cabal found themselves fighting an uphill battle from the start. Seraphim leaned heavily on College to root out the Scots, leading to the infamous censure of Songbird. Songbird had been seen on the campus of St. Thomas and Seraphim had urged Machiavelli to lodge a complaint against the Scottish Cabal for attempting to gain access to the College library without permission. However, when Seraphim quizzed Songbird as to her destination on the St. Thomas campus, Songbird's answer was that she was trying to pick up drunk sorority chicks. No one said anything. Songbird then clarified that she really meant drunk sorority chicks with small noses. Subsequent, very nearly violent, cross-examination showed that Songbird was telling the truth, in as much as any Mastigos would, and the Scots escaped with a one month ban from St. Thomas. Subsequent investigations have pegged the Macalester campus as the base for the Scots.
The elevation of the Scots to Public Enemy number 1 in St. Paul occured from August to November of 2005. A rumor campaign targeted Antioch as a spy for the Scots, either that she had been turned or had been in league with the Scots from the beginning. Although Antioch denied it vehemently, more and more coincidences began to pile up and by November Antioch came to realize that there was no way she could maintain her position in Cathedral. She fled from the cathedral a half-hour before a squad from Landmark came for her, disappearing from sight. The Scottish Cabal denied knowing anything, but did so in the most weasely of ways, allowing them plausible deniability when Antioch reemerged at the Ascension Ball, being introduced as Ghost. This perversion of Seraphim's justice sent the Obrimos into an apoplexy and the Scots overtook Guadalupe as her main target.
Despite the fact that all the members of the Scottish Cabal are Mastigos, there is no known link between them and the Grey Lady. The austere and restrained Grey Lady seems an odd match for the libertine Scots, but they seem to amuse her and she gives them a bit of leeway (which they promptly overrun).
If you want to know how Seraphim keeps everyone in St. Paul from triangulating on her, look no further than Landmark. Not only is it the largest official cabal in the Twin Cities, but it is one of the best organized and equipped. Seraphim buys their loyalty and they repay it in spades.
This cabal operates from the Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul. Currently led by Jupiter (replacing Kali, wounded in a recent unofficial spat with Guadalupe mages), Landmark was one of the first to back Seraphim and has maintained their role as her above-the-board muscle ever since. Landmark is heavily biased towards Obrimos mages and Adamantium members. The cabal is best described as para-military. There is a definate rank structure and everyone in the cabal has a vested interest in making sure they get the respect they think due them. Since Seraphim is more than willing to look the other way at any scrapes or contusions, Landmark has nearly carte blanche to impress their rank upon others.
Although Landmark is made almost completely of Seraphim loyalists, they have flexed their muscles once or twice. Most recently they cast several symbolic votes against Seraphim until she bowed to their demands and appointed Lucifer to head the Duluth cabal over the more experienced Superior, who had led North Shore before ending up on the losing end of a power struggle. Lucifer took over Duluth and Superior left for Canada. Since that time Duluth has become little more than an appendage of Landmark, a fact which has not been lost on the Duluth members, resulting in a slow drain of mages. Landmark has been earmarking more and more local mages to Duluth, attempting to keep the cabal there relevant.
St. Paul's cabals are all named after the geographic feature they meet at or around. Most people think it an amusing conceit, a local habit. In fact, this is nothing more than Seraphim's atrocious memory. Not only couldn't she remember the official names of the cabals but she was too arrogant to bother, simply referring to them in her own shorthand. This shorthand has become habitual. The singular exception is a cabal of exceeding wariness that has never disclosed any location.
Minneapolis cabals are more traditionally named, either representing themselves or what they do.
The Art of Art
The Fraternal Order
Gopher Glee Club
Spirit of St. Louis
St. Cloud Cathedral
Greater Minnesota Council
|Friday, August 25th, 2006|
|My Mage Likes To Party All The Time
Block E, voted 'Most Likely To Get Dead In An Inopportune Manner'. Formerly the Downtown Cabal.
Block E works in the, surprise, Block E area of downtown Minneapolis. They float between the Target Center, 1st Ave and the Warehouse District on a regular basis. The mages in Block E tend towards hedonism, outright chaos and the occasional bit of heroism. Block E and the preceding cabals have a well-deserved reputation as canaries in coalmines. When bad stuff happens, Block E tends to start in the middle of it. Despite the high body count, Block E is still one of the larger cabals in the Cities.
Block E mages want to have a good time and take you along. The typical Block E party has three 'zones', Ground Floor, Upstairs and Downstairs. Everyone starts on the Ground Floor. This is where the meet and greet happens and the drinks are issued. Depending on reactions, sensitive sleepers are escorted Downstairs. While the location isn't always in a basement, Downstairs is slightly isolated from the Ground Floor, but not so much that the Ground Floor people can't tell there's a better party going on. Anyone going Downstairs gets treated to some of the better underground (hah) music, dancing and occasionally illegal pharmeceuticals. If a sleeper shows the proper signs, they're snuck out and the rest of the cabal goes to work on them. Upstairs is Awakened only. If you don't know there's an Upstairs, you'll never get there. But if you do, well, welcome to the party circa 1999.
Block E acts as the main recruiter for Minneapolis mages, collecting teens and party people who aren't already aware of it. They clash most requently with College and the Gopher Glee Club over college-age mages who awaken at a Block Party, and occasionally the Art of Art slaps them down for attempting to raise their social status too high. Due to their relative openness, they get sniped the most often; it's hard to pick off a Capital member who spends all day lobbying, but much easier to find a party mage actively trying to find new people. All things considered though, Block E has the most friends around the Metro; everyone's tried Upstairs at least once or twice. They also get some respect for the efforts they make to find new mages and the risks they take for society.
Block E is currently led by Euphoria, Acanthus of the Free Council, backed by Hunter, Mysterium Thrysus. Although many scoff at the thought of a Mysterium partyboy, the big and dark mage has had a surprising run of success finding things before anyone else had heard of their presence in the city. Euphoria seems out of it ninety percent of the time and seems to be channeling not only Delirium's fashion sense but mental state. Luckily, her timing on the last ten percent is astonishing. Catching Euphoria off-guard is either pathetically easy but meaning nothing, or almost impossible.
|Greater Minnesota Council
Following the lead of Guadalupe, we next come up with the Greater Minnesota Council (GMC), also allied with the Grey Lady.
The GMC isn't considered a 'serious' cabal. Instead of occupying an urban presence the GMC is a core of four mages who tour Greater Minnesota (i.e. not the metro area) keeping contact with mages unwilling or unable to relocate to Duluth, St. Cloud or the Cities. The four core mages tour in a van that they live out of, stopping in for a week or so to meet, greet and check up on mages and then moving on. The actual count of rural mages varies greatly as teenagers grow up and go to college, but there are at least three longterm rural Thrysus mages (near Branierd, Bemidji and International Falls) who show no signs of 'coming in out of the cold'.
The lack of interaction with mage society hurts the GMC's reputation. They enter the Cities perhaps once every two or three months, certainly not enough to maintain a political presence. They act as a stabilizing agent, keeping mages from ending up isolated or, worse yet, untrained in the hinterlands. However they do serve a large role in channeling talent towards the Cities and, incidentally, towards the Grey Lady. Mages to their credit include Smoke and Jazz of the Scottish Cabal, Euphoria of Block E, Demosthenes and Bacon of College and Sicilian of Frogtown.
The GMC is almost exclusively Free Council. Neither the Silver Ladder nor Adamantine Arrows are very comfortable with a group of potential renegades patrolling the depths of the Minnesota woodlands. This has led to a few conflicts. Until either the Ladder or Arrows step up however, it seems unlikely the GMC will care much.
More than almost any other cabal, the GMC is spiritually oriented. Their history has seen a preponderance of Thrysus. Unlike the bustling urban city cabals, the GMC finds themselves in places that haven't been domesticated yet. While the farmlands of the southern plains and Red River Valley are in hand, the northern Minnesota forests are still home to things that aren't particularly tame. More than anyone else, the GMC deals with things on their own; when the nearest reinforcements are three hours away, self-sufficiency is the best option.
Lastly, the GMC is suspected of running an occasional bit of smuggling to the Cities, mostly from the northern edge of Superior past Duluth. Everyone's heard a story about a van looking like the GMC van pulling up to a warehouse or garage and unloading a mysterious chest. While it remains unproven, it seems likely that the GMC is in fact shuttling various items to the Grey Lady, past the eyes of Seraphim in Duluth or Pan in St. Cloud.
|Guadalupe, Rogers Street and the Church
Guadalupe is a cabal based in and around the Latino community in St. Paul (and to a greater or lesser degree with other Latinos in the Twin Cities). They are unusual in that they are one of three cabals in the Twin Cities with a direct allegiance to the Grey Lady (Guadalupe declared for the Lady in 1999) and in that they have made efforts to go head to head with Cathedral.
Guadalupe is currently headed by Quixote, with his second being Panza. The names are apparently intentional as Quixote and Panza grew up together and have been friends for some time. The cabal's strength lies along Roberts Street, south of downtown St. Paul, across the Mississippi river. The roster tends to vary; the accepted strength of Guadalupe is seven, but it can spike as high as fifteen or as low as three, depending. Many of Guadalupe's mages move in and out of the city on a regular basis, heading to Latin America or other areas of interest and returning to the fold when they have finished or need rest.
Guadalupe has two obvious goals: they want to improve 'their' neighborhood and they want to limit Cathedral (and possibly only Seraphim's) influence in the St. Paul religious community. To date the battle has taken place mostly in the Roman Catholic church, but some sniping has occured in the southern and eastern suburbs in Protestant congregations.
Although Cathedral has attempted to excommunicate them from St. Paul affairs, Guadalupe maintains excellent relations with Frogtown, with both cabals having a great deal of interest in immigration issues. Frogtown's Latino mages are also known to cross the river for a bit of food, culture and perhaps some inter-cabal discussions. Other than the Grey Lady and Frogtown, Guadalupe is also working hard to cultivate relations with Capital, in an attempt to influence the legal process. Capital, already on thin ice with Seraphim after a few too many dalliances with Pan and the Grey Lady, has not been amenable to discussion. Individual mages in Minneapolis maintain informal connections, but no Minneapolis cabals have official relations with Guadalupe.
Guadalupe is a cabal that seemed to be on a path to suicide. Seraphim has never tolerated any opposition to her rule and even less so to her strength. However, the discreet backing of the Grey Lady (who has vetoed a few of Seraphim's more virulent ideas) and Quixote's leadership has allowed Guadalupe to forge a new path in St. Paul's history.
|Who's Who, What's What and the Occasional Drama
Cathedral. Operates out of the St. Paul Cathedral. Official seat of the Hierarch of St. Paul (Seraphim). This cabal is older than average. Seraphim is currently the youngest and she's been active since at least 1972. Jerusalem, Rome and Constantinople are all patriarchal types, with the robes and the beards and large tomes of knowledge. They're also quite under Seraphim's thumb. Cathedral spends most of their time studying religion and magic; Cathedral has been confiscating libraries from their opponents for decades now and has the largest known library. Pan's Hidden Library is probably bigger, but the exact details of that one are known only to Pan.
Seraphim spends her time organizing. She has nearly limitless energy combined with a ruthless will; she's sort of an uber-nun with an uber-mission. She is tireless in pursuing her own personal goal, which seems to be nothing less than imposing order on chaos. Since she has imposed order on herself and her cabal, she's currently still working on getting St. Paul ordered. Should she ever succeed, it seems likely she'd strike for the metro, then the state, then the world, muhahaha. Seraphim was close to ordering St. Paul in the late 80s and early 90s, but the Grey Lady has spun St. Paul around several times, requiring Seraphim to run to stay in place.
Recently Seraphim groomed a young Mastigos calling herself Antioch (part of the Mastigos Summer or September That Never Ended) to add new blood to Cathedral. Seraphim had never been seen as partial to Mastigos, probably due to their not-entirely unearned reputation for demonic dealings, but Antioch was brilliant and effective. Antioch quickly earned a place as Seraphim's number two in the cabal.
Unfortunately for Cathedral, Seraphim's paranoia quickly flared up. The newly formed Scottish Cabal was doing entirely too well, acting as if they knew things they probably shouldn't have. Rumors began to spread that Antioch was in league with the Scots. Antioch denied everything, but the rumors continued and Seraphim began to take steps to purge Antioch. Antioch fled, reappearing a month later as Ghost, in the Scottish Cabal. The Scots claim that Antioch was never working for them, that the whole thing was a set-up to bring Ghost to them, but popular opinion is divided; many people think it entirely reasonable that Antioch was a plant.
Currently Cathedral is engaged in two major efforts. The Scottish Cabal is to be run out of town and the Guadalupe Cabal on Roberts Street is to either be suppressed or coopted. Current Mood: chipper