The Order of Knights of the Sacred Divine, the Followers of the Storm, the Greyscribes, the Knights Divorum, or simply the Archivists were originally a Catholic monastic/military order recognized in 1109. The goal of the order, as tasked by the first Grand Archivist, Peter of Vermandois, was to seek superhumans, then known as witchbreed or divine. To that end the first Archivists served as keepers of knowledge of the extraordinary, taking careful record of their encounters and incidents involving the impossible.
Throughout the centuries the Archivists sought to increase their knowledge of the unknown and safeguard these secrets from those who would abuse them. Intensely secretive, the order established peculiar methods of communication and tradition which led to those in positions of power to regard them as seditious and untrustworthy. In the modern era they have continued to adapt and change with the times, an unmatched source of knowledge on the superhuman, and an organization shrouded in mystery.
After Europeans established a holding in the County of Tripoli, north of Jerusalem, in 1109, there were numerous impossible stories circulated about the Christian Crusaders and Muslims possessing divine power. Although these stories were mostly seen to be superstition and myth they was a contingent of believers that magic of some kind or another had touched the warring soldiers. In very same year, 1109, the French knight Peter of Vermandois approached the Count of Tripoli, Bertrand of Toulouse, and proposed the creation of a monastic order to investigate the potential heretical stories surrounding divine soldiers and witchbreed. Count Bertrand tentatively agreed, granting them a headquarters in the ruined Dar-em-Ilm Library in the city of Tripoli. Peter, of humble beginnings himself, collected a number of poor knights in his employ, rebuilding the library as the Archium.
In 1111 the County of Tripoli, along with all of Jerusalem, was drawn into a conflict with the Turkish-Persian Seljuk Empire. It was in this conflict that the Archivists began tracking stories about a monstrous she-wolf that tore apart catholic soldiers on the battlefield. Soon into the conflict they tracked down Asena, the Gray Wolf, a young woman gifted with a magical tattoo imbuing her with incredible abilities. Asena had been gravely injured in battle and was recovering in a cave. The Divorum Knights nursed her back to health, taking record of her unique condition. By the time she was well again the war had come to a close, Peter and his compatriots let Asena return home with her defeated countrymen while they returned to the Archium with the first proof of the extraordinary.
Peter managed to convince several wealthy noblemen of the veracity of his claims about the Gray Wolf and similar empowered individuals. Though the church would not recognize this heresy benefactors would come to the aid of the Knights Divorum, offering money, land, businesses, and noble sons eager to learn the forbidden truths of the world. The papacy worked to diminish the influence of the Divorum and the heresy of their work, prompting them to engage their trade in secrecy. Despite these setbacks continued encounters and the trade of knowledge caused the order to grow rapidly.
On the surface the Divorum took the role of inquisitors, seeking to root our heresy and those who practiced immoral acts. In secret they had created a system of seeking, containing, tracking, and protecting those with peculiar abilities. They created the first permanent system of cataloguing and recording superhumans and supernatural objects, all recorded in carefully managed codes and stored within the Archium. A vault deep within their headquarters housed objects which they collected and the coded books of their discoveries. Their meticulous nature made the Divorum well equipped to pass their record keeping skills to the management of trade companies, helping to facilitate business between Europe and the Holy Land. Connections within these trade companies allowed the Divorum to discretely transfer objects and information throughout the regions without causing suspicion.
Based on the patronage of noblemen and their own business dealings, the Divorum established complex trade networks throughout Christendom. They managed tracts of land in Europe and the Middle East, often in secrecy with ownership guised under pseudonyms and misdirection. They became heavily involved in building new fortifications to act as secret vaults, imports and exports, manufacturing, and more.
The Crusades End
On 29 June 1170, within Tripoli, the Divorum were tracking a conspicuous witchbreed with terrakinetic abilities, interested in adding his powers to their catalogue. In the course of first contact the witchbreed became enraged and untrusting of the Knights, causing him to lose control. A massive earthquake struck the region causing buildings to collapse and numerous lives to be lost. It was from this point that the Divorum understood that they could not be content with simply recording the existence of these individuals. If it would serve the public good they believed that they should imprison or otherwise put an end to those whose powers were too great to be left unchecked.
As the tide of the Crusades turned the Divorum expanded their cause to secretly include Muslims within their ranks. As time went on they identified less with the outward inquisitorial military order they started as, and more as the secretive Archivists they had become. No longer bound by Catholic virtue but rather by the necessity of their mission, the ranks of the Archivists came to include all people who could appreciate their creed; understanding, peace, and knowledge. As the Crusaders lost their foothold in the Holy Land by 1303 the Archivists maintained a secretive control over the Archium and numerous other locations throughout Europe and the Middle East.
Hundreds of Archivist strongholds existed between Europe and Near East, disguised as a variety of services. Archivists retained membership in numerous courts and businesses, using their connections to smuggle artifacts and superhumans, and gain new leads. Donations ceased to flow into the organization as the Crusades came to a close but by this time the Archivists had become a self-sustaining entity, operating in secret with hundreds of agents.
The Hundreds Year War
In 1428 the Archivists learned of Joan of Arc, a superhuman who had attained the power of clairvoyance. Archivists sent to contact the girl had warned that involving herself among the conflict between the French and English would set a dangerous precedent for the use of empowered people in conflict. Despite their protestations Joan had pressed onwards and contacted the Dauphin in 1429, joining the siege of Orleans. The Grand Archivist had deliberated on the decision to arrest the girl or allow her to decide her own fate. Ultimately he determined that someday superhumans would come to fight in the affairs of mortals, it may not be their place to interfere in every circumstance. After Joan's death in 1431 the Grand Archivist stepped down prompting a debate within the Archivists on the status of superhuman heroes.
- Lord Ruin Born in 1670
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