by Simon St Croix
Ah my dear fellows, and not a few of the fair sex among you. Some of what will be revealed here today is old hat for many of you, but remember that you have less studious classmates who need the remedial information to gather as much from this overview as you.
All of you have exulted at the strength of the blood of the House Tremere, some chosen few of you have already joined the House fully and advanced a circle or two above your peers. Today marks the next of many steps into the mysteries you will come to master.
This story begins in antiqwity, but we will join it only partway. In the year of our Lord 814 AD the learned mages of the Europes gathered together as was their wont and realized that they were more numerous than 'ere before and several of the most influential stood themselves apart and formed an informal coalition directing their apprentices in unison. Thusly joined in purpose, they assimilated the others into their structure over the next few gatherings. As such things go, the Leaders and their Houses forged a great alliance for research, each specializing, but sharing their resources: The Order of Hermes was born.
Of the several Houses you will learn much later, depending on your assignments, today we focus on only three of them: Diedne, Flambeau and ours.
In those misty times, mages generally fought with one another as much as other men, only with results more dire. They apparantly found it hard to restrain themselves when it was just as easy to throw boulders as hurl insults. Seeing this as an eventually fatal flaw, Tremere and the other House leaders came upon a non-lethal form of dueling, using certamen, or 'inner drive'; willpower, if you will. Fortunately, our House, in anticipation of this paradigm shift, had prepared properly for it and gained no little amount of power and prestige in the following years. Tremere had taken our weakness in direct confrontation, and made it socially immoral to exploit it. Further, he took our strength of will and made it the acceptable way of resolving conflicts, giving our House's voice in council an unparralleled boost.
This is the kind of 'discovered check,' to use the chess term, that you all should strive to master.
In any case, House Diedne was made up of druids and nature-lovers for the most part and they had long argued against the progress that our House favored and History has bourne out. Further, they had recently acqwired several old texts from one of our couriers regarding the raising of demons, intending to use them to discredit us.
Raising demons has uniformly been illegal throughout the world, whenever a society did not scoff at their existence, and this could have proven a temporal setback and a political embarassment, so Tremere preemptively struck by having the bullys of the Order, House Flambeau, become aware that House Diedne was attempting to raise demons to bolster their tenuous position in council. Flambeau lost much to the acceptance of certamen duels and came to us seeking an alliance to destroy Diedne utterly, in direct contradiction to the tennets of
Having promised, nebulous assistance, Tremere's representatives were present as the Flambeau did that which they did best: blatant unleashing of violent forces. No fine manipulation whatsoever. I tell you this, from me to you, your superiors will never be favorably impressed with how much you control, but rather with how well you control what you have. That is the qwintessence of our structure: fine, precise control; but I digress.
All but the luckiest and most paranoid Diedne perished that day. Our representatives were present and witnessed these terrible deeds, unable to prevent the dauntless Flambeau in their conqwest, and testified to such when thematter was presented before the council. Much to their shame, Flambeau was never able to prove their allegations of Diedne demon-worship. The Diedne chantries were emptied by unknown parties, presumably Flambeau, before the Order's official observers arrived.
Our voice was supreme in the council for no short span of time, despite the occasional ugly whisper from other, jealous, Houses.
It is time and past time for your next instructor, so I shall take my leave of you. Next time we'll go over some of the specifics of the lessening of Tass and our uniqwe solution to the predicament presented. Those of you who are a little skeptical of the things I've told you today can find evidence of the events in the Library, once you earn the privelege of fourth circle access. Search under Palms of Ashe and Meneille as crossreferenced to An Herbalist's Guide to Shade's Bounty.
I trust you'll perceive the truth for yourself, hidden between the lines, or should I say 'in the margins?'