To Death or Glory
The Celebrants’ Circle is one of those few secret societies whose membership has remained unknown, even after the society itself was discovered. Soon after the Great Nexus Fire burned down most of the city, leaving Brookside untouched, the neighborhood experienced an unexpected surge in property values — the inhabitants of the city had seen just what fire could do, and there was an eager migration to places considered safe. Habit, however, proved stronger than the instinct for security, and most of those who migrated to Brookside left when they became impatient with its lack of proximity to the city’s center and major neighborhoods. Still, for a short time it experienced a renaissance, and that was when — in a previously unknown and neglected building — the headquarters of the Celebrants’ Circle were discovered.
It was a small, rickety, rundown place, with little to see save on the top floor. There, in an airy studio with grimy windows, were found no fewer than three altars, stained with the blood of minor sacrifices and wreathed in flowers and herbs. Magical diagrams crisscrossed the floor, and one book of occult significance was discovered (a minor treatise on spirits). There was an unsigned letter left folded within the tome, addressed to one Avid Amber, that discoursed on the blessings that could be had from a god of the forge. From all this, it was gathered that the Celebrants’ Circle is devoted to something to do with magic, and probably with spirits, and possibly with evil and wicked sorceries of doom; but no one really knows what it is, how long it has been in existence, or who participates in its strange rites.
It is known that it still exists, though — for now that the society is no longer a secret, the Celebrants’ Circle has occasionally done public things by means of hired intermediaries and unsigned messages. For example, their petitions to the Council of Entities regarding the Shrine of the Forgotten were always discovered on the relevant secretaries’ desks early in the morning, with no evidence of who brought them. These petitions were well-reasoned and polite, asking only that the gods of the Shrine not be deprived of their proper worship; after the Council wholly ignored no fewer than three such requests, the Circle stopped sending them.
These days, few attempt to discover the Circle’s membership or purpose. The Council of Entities had several thaumaturges and other magical beings examine the site when it was found so long ago, but they reported no traces of demonic or otherwise “evil” Essence — merely, they said, life-Essence with a particular tendency towards creation and growth. This apparently satisfied the Council, which has put forth no further investigation; and the people of Nexus soon settled down and largely forgot it as well.
Perhaps the Circle is composed entirely of crackpots; if so, most agree that it’s not worth bothering with. If it’s made up of sane men and women, well, fine for them — but your average good and honest Nexus citizen (or something) knows that meddling with Strange Forces leads to a bad end more often than not. And whatever it is that the Circle actually does, it seems clear that there is some form of meddling going on.