Saint Isidore is commonly regarded as the last scholar of the classical era. He served as Archbishop from c.600 to 636 in Seville, on Europe’s Iberian peninsula. Unlike many others of his time, he pursued civilization and cooperation. He sought to convert the Visigoths to Christianity and integrate them into the society of Hispania, uniting the Roman and barbarian cultures that had been in conflict.
Even after his death, his legacy endured. The Muslim Arabs who conquered the Iberian peninsula in the early 8th century considered him a figure of great respect. The Mozarabs – Iberian Christians who nonetheless adopted Arabic language and culture – took this farther, and venerated his tomb until the 11th century, when his body was turned over to the Christians of Castile. He was eventually canonized as a saint, in 1598, and in 2003 was recognized as the patron saint of the Internet.
The Isidori claim an additional legacy from the great scholar. According to their records, Isidore pressed upon one of the monks attending to him a copy of a book he had been compiling in secret for much of his life. Isidore said that the book was a compilation of secret visions and insights granted to him in dream-conversations with all manner of beings – gods, angels, and classical philosophers and heroes of antiquity. He sought to keep it a secret, fearing what the heresy contained therein might do to the community of the faithful he had so carefully tended, but could not allow it to be lost.
The Isidori have no evidence that Isidore himself was Awakened, but the monk he bequeathed his secret heresy to Awakened as a Mastigos upon reading it. While maintaining his status as a monk, the man joined the Silver Ladder and organized a secret community to study and enact Isidore’s secret teachings, drawing together those of diverse backgrounds to form a stronger whole. His name is lost; surviving records from the 9th century refer to him as Al-Quti – “the Goth”.
The first known Proximi among the Isidori did not emerge until the 11th century, during a time of vicious warfare. The secret society founded on the basis of Isidore’s teachings saw the threat to the scholar’s tomb posed by warfare and the momentum of the conflict. The Isidori claim that they engineered the transfer of Isidore’s sarcophagus to Fernando I of Leon, and that five of their number handled the actual transfer. The children of four of these adherents soon manifested fantastic abilities, and were adopted and groomed by their Awakened patrons. The fifth vanished in the strife of the period.
As a result, the “Isidori” are, in fact, five different Proximi Dynasties. Four – one for each of the Atlantean Orders – have served those Orders for centuries. A fifth dynasty was recently rediscovered during the Spanish Civil War, and now serves the Free Council.
Since their foundation, the Isidori have pursued their divine mission: weaving together civilizations, encouraging cooperation, and facilitating communication. They have served the Atlantean Orders as couriers, scribes, secretaries, accountants, telegraph agents, and countless other roles. Their Blessings provide them with the tools to carry out these duties with discretion, even in the face of Awakened magic, while their Curse promotes the Orders’ trust even as it hobbles the Isidori themselves.
The Isidori practice communal living. Several families will share a large rural house or a group of houses or floor of an apartment building in urban areas. These communes are very well-defended against magical assault, and Awakened or Sleeper visitors are discouraged, apart from specially secured receiving rooms. Sleepwalkers and other Proximi are welcomed, and the Isidori court them for marriage into the family. A given commune will generally be dedicated to one Order’s branch of the dynasty, though sometimes two or even three will pool resources. Isidori will hire themselves out of the commune for specific jobs, sometimes staying away for years at a time before returning. Those that Awaken are immediately turned over to their sponsoring Order for training and, while not prohibited from visiting their family, treated with extreme caution.
In the modern era, in addition to their traditional services, the Isidori provide secure electronic communications to the Pentacle Orders, including mailing lists, encrypted dead-drops, and other similar services. The infrastructure for these services is magically protected, and, while not immune to infiltration or hacking attempts, common-sense security protocols guarantee that such compromises are rare. While the Pentacle Orders and their Cabals and Consilia are still locally-focused, it is a rare mage who does not appreciate the ability to confer with colleagues half a world away.
The Isidori are on good terms with many other groups in the Awakened community that serve similar functions. Occasional cabals, for example, will decide to adopt a messenger role, particularly if one of their number is appointed Herald. Isidori who Awaken as full mages tend to seek out these Cabals, to put their training to use. A good example is the Order of Mercury, a Cabal that provides courier service throughout the North American Great Plains and Rocky Mountains.
Mages who Awakened from the ranks of the Isidori may be created at the usual Low Approval, but retain no privileged knowledge of or access to Isidori resources. Proximi from the Dynasty who presently have no access to or knowledge of Isidori infrastructure or resources are also Low Approval, but the US aNST Awakening must be notified of their existence. PCs who are active members of an Isidori enclave are Not Sanctioned; NPCs are Top Approval.
Heritage Path: Mastigos
Appearance: Isidori are most commonly identified by tools of their trade – messenger bags, comfortable shoes, and laptop computers or tablets. They tend to keep their hair short, and many have a “runner’s build” from competing in marathons or hiking, even if their work keeps them trapped behind a desk. Even if not religious, members of the Isidori dynasties typically carry a cross, pentacle, hammer, or other symbol of faith. Lightning bolts, wings, or caduceus (representing the gods Mercury or Hermes) are also common.
Blessings: Third Eye (Mind 1), Aura Perception (Mind 1), Mental Shield (Mind 2), Incognito Presence (Mind 2), Augment the Mind (Mind 3), Psychic Projection (Mind 4), Correspondence (Space 1), Finder (Space 1), Ward (Space 2), Destroy the Threads (Space 3), Supernal Vision (Prime 1), Counterspell Prime (Prime 2), Tune In (Forces 1), Enduring the Elements (Forces 2), Speak with the Dead (Death 1), Spirit Tongue (Spirit 1), Peer Across the Gauntlet (Spirit 2)
Curse: When questioned about their motivations, the Isidori must speak honestly and completely. They may not lie, nor may they voluntarily omit relevant information.
New Spell: Enduring the Elements (Forces 2)
Duration: Prolonged (one scene)
Rote Pool: Stamina + Survival + Forces
Through this spell, the mage protects against inclement weather. The spell only works against natural weather – it offers no benefits against the effects of supernaturally-induced weather conditions. While under its effects, a subject:
- Reduces all environmental penalties from natural weather by the caster’s dots in Forces.
- Takes no damage from intensely cold or hot conditions; they tolerate any natural weather-based temperature between -40ºF and 120ºF as at worst merely uncomfortably cool or warm.
This spell offers no protection or benefit against heat or elements that do not originate from natural weather. While it protects against heat waves and biting cold, and helps the subject cope with flooding or heavy winds, it’s wholly ineffective against fire, a blast from a hose, magical lightning bolts or biting cold, or falling into a river that’s following its natural course.
This spell may be cast on others at Forces 3.
This spell is not a secret of the Isidori; it may be cast by any mage and the Rote learned by any mage at the usual Low Approval.