The Vermillion Shroud
"The Sleeping God Must Rise."
Type of Organization
Type of Members
|Phellysian mages only|
|Number of Members||25|
|Demographics||Phellysian 92%, Avarian 4%, Human 4%|
|Prekari, phellysian male mage|
|Year Founded||1402 CY|
|Symbol||Represents the unity of the nine clans.|
The Vermillion Shroud is a very small group of phellysians. The group is also known as the Crimson Scourge or simply the Shroud. The members of the Shroud themselves have referred to themselves as "Rexilar's Children" and "the Searchers". Sometimes they are referred to simply as the Shroud. They dwell in the ruins of Rexilar’s castle, which predate the Sundering, and they maintain little contact with outside world. Talis is unaware of the nature of their god and of the existence of this group. Since phellysians view visiting the ruins as a cultural taboo, privacy is not a problem for the Crimson Shroud.
The name of the group, the Vermillion Shroud, refers both to the red cloaks worn by members, but also to the shroud of secrecy that the group operates under.
This group was formed when a phellysian mage named Einar broke phellysian law by exploring the ruins of Rexilar and made several important discoveries. It took his entire career, but Einar eventually pieced together clues in the ruins with the results of divinations and he was able to ascertain the shocking truth. Before he died, Einar passed his work and his discovery on to his apprentice and made him vow to continue the work and pass his knowledge on to his apprentice. It was Einar's hope that one day, one of those who followed would realize the dream of freeing Rexilar.
For more than 300 years, the secret was passed on from master to apprentice while the work continued. Each in turn continued the work, adding to the clues and lore already gained. Ancient texts were slowly and painstakingly translated. Ancient ruins were explored and relics unearthed. In 2190 CY, the successor to the line, a phellysian mage named Migalu, was nearly killed in the wilds. She decided it was folly for the secret to be carried by only one person. She chose to share the discovery with her two closest friends, both also phellysian mages. From that year on, the secret has been kept by a very small group of close friends. Over the years, the group has slowly grown. The group is always evolving and changing as members grow old and die only to be replaced by new members. Despite this, the group has maintained its mission and its secrecy.
In 2340 CY, the group established a permanent hidden lair underground in the ruins of the in the ruins of Rexilar's fortress castle. It was small at first, but has been expanded and improved with each generation. Now, some four centuries later, the underground stronghold is an impressive architectural feat. It houses more than 50 chambers including a great library, a spell research chamber and a great central meeting hall.
The Vermillion Shroud functions very much like a secretive wizards' guild. Their daily activities include gathering herbs and spell components, practicing their magic, studying arcane lore, translating texts and manufacturing potions and enchanted objects for sale. This is, in fact, where most of their profits come from. They also spend time digging in ruins scattered throughout the southwestern part of the continent.
The ultimate goal of this small group has not changed in over 1300 years... the resurrection of the phellysian god, Rexilar. Rexilar is a slumbering wizard (whose vast power makes him a near demi-god) who is trapped in a magical stasis. To the phellysian people, he is a god. In order to bring their dream into reality, they must understand the magic which binds him and discover the ritual which will free him. But more importantly, they must find the mythical statuette that houses their god. Only then can they perform the mystic ritual that will free him from his magical bonds and release him back into the world.
This group has no real allies or enemies as it maintains a veil of secrecy over itself. The Vermillion Shroud believes that if the outside world were to hear of their work, they would be hunted down mercilessly and wiped out. It is believed by the members of the Shroud that many would be threatened by the sudden appearance of Rexilar. Despite history and custom, the clan elderkets would not be easily persuaded to give up their positions of power. The clans of bathynia would wage outright war upon any who would try to resurrect Rexilar. Priests in nearby nations would also not take kindly to the birth of a "false god" on their borders. The Vermillion Shroud dares not risk such complications and is vigilant about preventing discovery. All members are sworn to absolute secrecy.
As is, this small group is little more than an obscure myth to the general world with only the rare sighting of a red cloaked sorcerer to give any evidence to their existence. Little is known about the group and many myths and folklore stories about the group contradict each other. The Shroud encourages such contradictory myths and false tales to obfuscate the matter and dissuade the curious.
Incidentally, a mage from foreign lands wearing a red cloak will viewed with suspicion by phellysians.
As can be imagined, this group is exceptionally selective about who it lets into the ranks. Membership to the Vermillion Shroud is by invitation only and typically is only extended after the groupd has studied the intended guest extensively (in some cases, for years). In centuries past, only phellysian mages were invited to join this group. But in the last few centuries, a few non-phellysians have been invited. Currently, there are 25 members which includes 23 phellysians, one avarian sorcerer and one human mage.
Members of this group pool their resources, wealth and knowledge. Each member has access to excellent lab facilities, spell components and magical paraphernalia. The group also is blessed with a secure and secret underground stronghold buried beneath the ruins.
Each member is given a special red cloak... the red cloaks from which the group derives its name. These cloaks are much more than a symbol of membership. They are powerfully enchanted. The red cloak grants the wearer the ability to turn invisible, to walk through walls, to wrap themselves in silence and to cloak their minds from magical intrusion. The cloaks also allow the wearer to enter the hidden stronghold. The cloaks themselves can change form. On command, the cloak can become a red feather, a red bead or a red sash. Members keep their cloaks with them at all times and, when mingling with phellysian society, will keep the cloak in an alternate (and less conspicious) shape.
Membership is for life. In the history of the group, few have ever chosen to leave. Those who did were still considered "honorary" members and were kept under magical surveillance. Upon leaving the group, one would surrender their cloak. Any member chosing to leave the group and return to phellysian society would do so knowing that they were being watched. There is an understanding that the secrecy of the group is more important than the life of any one individual person. Although it has never come to such measures, the Shroud would use deadly force without hesitation to protect itself and its mission.
A rather lengthy oath is sworn by new members during a secret ritual held in the hidden stronghold. Vows of secrecy and loyalty are fundamental to the oath.
Because of the small size of the group, most things are kept informal. Rank is simply based on seniority and also influenced somewhat by magical ability.
This website was last updated October 5, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.