The Court of the Raven

der Ordensrat des Raben

In the late fourth century the village of Mammucu, in what is now the east-central Heremonian Duchy of Mancunia, established its reputation as an important destination for traders, merchants, travelers and religious pilgrims. Strategically located on the Great Trade Road where it crossed the Marmeck River, the village rapidly grew into a thriving trade city. As the city prospered and grew over a relatively brief period of time, economic power and social influence was consolidated within fifteen extremely wealthy and influential great families who became known as the Tribes or Stämme. The heads of those families formed the first Steuerung as a leadership council for the city in 416.

With the imposition of Kiltic rule in 837, the ancient Steuerung ceased to exist. The Stämme went underground to preserve their wealth, power and influence, forming a hereditary secret society which they called der Ordensrat des Raben (The Court of the Raven). Completely unknown to all but its own members, unknown even to the Dukes of Mancunia, The Court of the Raven has secretly controlled every aspect of public life in Mancunia for over 1000 years, and has infiltrated every corner of Mancunian society, including National Government institutions, The Corporation of Manchester and even the Directorate.

The Ordensrat des Raben is an extremely secretive organization, as evidenced by its remarkable ability to remain virtually undetected for over a millennium, although rumors of its existence have persisted almost from the beginning. Throughout that time, there have been several efforts to expose the Order, all of which have been ruthlessly suppressed. Like virtually every aspect of the Order, its total number is unknown, even to the members themselves. Members adopt aliases within the order to avoid detection even by other members. The Order has three degrees – Novice, Acolyte and Master. Each degree has associated with it a secret password and handshake. The Order is said to have secret halls, rooms and other spaces located within otherwise public buildings throughout Mancunia, including even government buildings, where members can rendezvous and conduct the business of the Order.

Initiates are recruited from among the most prominent descendants of the original Steuerung, and enter the Order into groups called Wachtürme, which remain distinct and isolated, reporting to a Wachtmeister known to them only by his alias. It is said there are members of the Order from the same immediate family who do not realize that their relative is also a member. A complex network of internal spies assures the fidelity of all members. It is suspected that the Wachtürme are coordinated by a ruling council made up of the highest ranking members, and that there may even be a supreme leader of the Order, although no one knows for sure.

Current suspected members of the Order include Chief Minister for Justice R. Pierce Barry, Chief Minister for Commerce Leyton G. Krownensheld, Deputy Chief Minister for Defense Policy Erskine Hoffman, National Councilors Michelle Conrad, Sem Kelley-Kneller, Trenton S. Kornblut and Kirk L. Schultz, Supreme Judicial Court Justice Karl B. Krownensheld, Constitutional Court Justice Viktor T. Schultz, Border Control Commissioner Wilton S. Graff, Director-General of International Travel Max P. Traurig, University of Manchester Chancellor Leonhard Blumenthal, Corporation of Manchester Director Eugen Kornblut, Manchester Aldermen Richard J. Barry and Dora Rieger and Special Counsel to the Lord Mayor of Manchester Gottlieb S. Schultz.


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