The Order of the Black Rose
In a population of 7,791,841,500 in the world only 15% (1,168,776,225 entities) are supernatural or possess esoteric abilities. Be it human or supernatural only 2% of the world population receives an invitation and of that pool only 15% are human. Of these percentages not all of them even accept their invitations or live long enough to make any impact.
Ultimately, receiving an invitation to the Order of the Black Rose is significant and rare. An individual must possess extraordinary capability that contributes to the advancement, preservation, or status quo of the OBR. This could be something about what they can do in abilities, their profession, bloodlines, rare species. or access to someone/thing/place the OBR wants; this can even include an individual the OBR desires to keep and eye on by assimilation.
Invitations themselves are in sealed black and gold envelopes with a wax seal bearing the emblem of the Order of the Black Rose. While traditionally they were hand delivered, invites are more prestige and involved.
A member of the OBR will become actively involved with a potential invitee luring them to the society with intrigue without disclosing any of the information. Such things may be inviting the individual to bizarre gatherings and accessing facilities one should not be able to. Some might lead the individual through cemeteries or halls of history to point out their lineage and expose how much information is known of them, some might get invited to the woods where rituals are conducted; walk the catacombs of the underground to show the opposing world or even display a use of magic or drink a potion that gives extreme visions.
The next morning the invitee will wake in their bed unsure if their experience was ‘real’ but at their bedside table will be an envelope with a task custom tailored to the individual. It is generally something very simple but proves that the invitee is serious about joining.
Upon completion of the task they will find the invitation envelope and a box holding a single, real black rose with a gold ribbon.
Inside the envelope is a quite standard letter, though it is very personalized with their name and references to conversations had or even references to information about them. At the end is generally an address and time somewhere in a 24 hour window for the person to go to and await further instruction.
Because a choice is given to join the Society...
The answer is quite simple; Initially, nothing.
Those who receive invites but do not show or decline going further are not privy to any secrets or information beyond the Order of the Black Rose’s existence. This is not classified; while the Order acts as if it does not exist, it is conspiracy already in mundane society. They could speak of it but would likely be considered crazy or conspiracy theorists and not be taken seriously. Thus, the OBR does not feel obligated to do anything more keep a record of the decline and move on to more interested prospects.
Unfortunately, once one begins the process of induction, there is no turning back. Those who attempt to escape induction will have their memories wiped and wake up without memory of any of the days that included OBR events they were exposed to. In more extreme circumstances, they may even be eliminated.
For those who change their mind after inductions are generally met with members trying to convince them that the OBR is their family, home and soothe them with exposure to perks and benefits to settle them in. If this does not work, it may lead to excommunication as it will be dealt with in an evaluation before the Chapter Council.
In rare cases the OBR might issue a ‘mission’ to follow the individual, have a talk/sign non-disclosure agreement, get paid off, threaten, capture, mind-wipe or otherwise attempt to eliminate them entirely. However, it is a fairly low 1% of individuals who require this level of interest from the Order.
Induction Into The Order
Induction into the OBR is not a peaceful matter. As any fraternity or society, it involves tasks and hazing. These are methods to filter out people who are not truly ready or worthy to be a part of the OBR.
In almost all cases it involves elements of the occult, nudity, spell craft, incations, chants, alchemist positions and even the gaining of a sigil brand.
One must Prove themselves
The first task is generally done as proof of interest prior to receiving the actual invitation. The task is generally something simple and custom tailored to the individual but may come with great internal conflict. This could be something like breaking contact with someone they know, finding someone worth an invite, doing a profession task that would benefit the OBR, showing one’s true self or ability, or even donating all of ones wealth to a charity (which will later be returned to them as the charity is always of OBR). They are ‘tests’ to prove that one is truly interested in shedding themselves to be part of something greater than them and the life they currently know.
The final task is showing at the designated location and stepping into the blacked-out vehicle willingly. It is symbolic to letting go of control and even can be related in the concept of death and being born new. In the vehicle, heads are covered so that they are unaware of the location they are going.
An Initiate may be scared and confused for their senses are muted and where they go is unknown. Upon arrival, they are forced into a room one by one and dropped to their knees where their clothes are removed.
Their hoods are removed, and they witness before them a group of individuals in robes and masks. One by one they are called by their names to stand in the circle before the masked leaders and are questioned. The questions are tailored to the individual often about the struggles of their task. Often humans and half breeds are subjected to deeper questions to test their constitution, often designed to induce an emotional reaction.
They will be asked of their deepest secret and their deepest of desires… if it is not ‘true’ they will be further questioned until truth is all they might speak.
Upon the completion of questions they are clothed in a black robe with a standard mask as symbolism of regained dignity and the preservation of their identity through the unity of identical masks. They are to hide the different faces and show that in the end the OBR is the same, family united.
The final part of the induction is a shown greeting that goes back to ancient times. A hand shake of right hands, between the bodies arms are turned wrist up to expose the flesh, and then the other way to expose the other member’s wrist.
One by one, a masked leader will come to an initiate and expose their wrist to show bare skin. Once their hand is gripped the initiate’s wrist is upturned first and branded with the Mark of the Order that will illuminate. Upon the twist of the leader’s wrists it will show their mark that was not seen before. It is to show without words how the mark works. How a member might know each other.
Upon this last ritual, applause is made, and the new initiates are guided to a room where they will receive new clothes and a chance to wash up. They are then ushered to a new lounge room where may meet other members in celebration of their arrival without masks.
The brand received upon initiation is an ancient ritual from the beginning of the Order. It is an ethereal brand done through esoteric means of an enchanted tool. The brand burns the skin as one might expect in any traditional brand, however once the wound heals (how ever fast or slow that may be) the mark vanishes entirely.
When a hand is gripped with another who bears this brand; this is only way to get the mark shows itself, illuminating in golden glow in the flesh. It is the best way to know if someone is a member of OBR for it cannot be compromised the same way as phrases and security cards.
However, this does not include the retired, excommunicated, or ex-members lapsed in dues. The mark remains until death (or the acquire of a new vessel). The mark lasts beyond death and this can be removed from a person and used to expose other members until the flesh itself rots away.
It is always on the inner right wrist unless the entity is missing that limb.
In practice, the Order of the Black Rose throws Masquerade Balls and other functions frequently which masks are required. This is for several purposes…
To create anonymity among members in more public events that include outsiders.
To allow Leaders to be clear and present by rank title rather than their personal identity by other members.
To create the illusion of equality among all members by hiding faces.
To enjoy occult activities anonymously that are rather…. NSFW
To remind members of their Inductions and rank rituals.
To remind members to mask secrets.
The functions in themselves are often symbolic. The OBR likes the shroud of secrecy and actively uses it in many functions throughout the society.
Rising in ranks are far more dramatic and theatrical for good reason. The theatrics are, in fact, real when thought to be more symbolic. Such events are done in full robe and mask to conceal the identity of all present in rank. Gestures are given in shroud for a member to come forth and obtain their tasks.
To rise in Rank, a member of OBR must show mastery in their training, knowledge and skills of their level. Lower rank rituals may be simpler such as: the reciting of oaths, drinking of symbolic wines with incantations or prayers, or tests of ones aptitude or character.
Though, as members rise in higher ranks, rituals become gravely more intense. From ancient druidic rituals, drinking of dangerous concoctions to simulate death to actual controlled death and resurrection to ‘see the other side’… Others may involve more dangerous tasks such as a labyrinth of illusions; obtaining a very secure artifact on the premises; facing a particular beast in the Pendulum; or even the murder if someone. They are not for the faint of heart and are designed to test the strength, fortitude, focus, temperament, control, stamina as well as loyalties.
Despite the danger, it is rare for anyone to become seriously injured without a full recover or to permanently die. With so many masters of their craft around for the rituals, members are always monitored and supervised even if they don’t believe they are.
One might ask what happens if one fails the ritual or task?
In truth the retort is ‘what is failure?’
Perception is everything when it comes to rituals as success is not often seen in the results of the ritual or task itself but how a person faces, accepts, and copes with it. While the individual is not aware of this matter, those watching the test and judging it are. If the individual is deemed a failure in what is being judged, then they might find themselves unable to achieve the next rank. Those who expose aspects of themselves that are brought to question may find themselves on watch in the case of evaluation or tribunal.
*There are horrid rumors that some individuals may have persuaded or bought their induction rank even though they technically didn’t pass. The validity of these rumors is up for debate, but of course no official word will ever be said on the matter.
Nudity, Sexuality and Gore are common themes among a Secret Society enriched in magic and occultism. They are ingrained in rituals, festivals and spell craft. In essence, it is what the Catholic Church and most humans find uncomfortable where supernatural entities and immortals find natural.
While some ‘public’ events may be fairly normal, most are ingrained with dark atmospheres, nudity and open sexuality. The more gore filled events are often behind closed doors where Outsiders might not witness. However, some rituals cannot be done in the building or city and can be witnessed deep in the woods.