Thursday, November 21, 2019

Coventicle of Black Blood

A NE/CE order; semi-religious.

The Conventicle of Black Blood is an organization that potrays itself as being a "hunting club", and many are organized among the upper classes (and ambitious folk of the middle class) as such. Those who are able to hunt or fish as a pleasure, not a necessity. It seldom goes openly by the name, but will instead mock names associated with The Great Huntress; The Sacred Order of the Sable Arrow, in Brandobia, is one such group, it symbol a black arrow, with a black drop of blood dripping from the tip, painted simply on a sign of wood or a background of green. Massive hunts, where every member is encouraged to bring back some game of some sort, will sweep through the land on nights as the Veshemo is new or Diadolai wanes. Prizes are awarded for the largest trophies, and scorn is heaped upon any who do not return with at least a rabbit or al-miraj. Midwinter hunts to roust bears and boars from their slumber, and events where children are given a sling and pigeons are released for their sport are all popular, and kill far more than can be eaten.

While the open orders recruit, an inner circle works more sinisterly.

The Coventicle of Black Blood engages in rites which profane the hunt, and seek to cause pain, famine, and pestilence. They do hunt, of course, but they seek to overhunt an area, so there will be a dearth of food animals to eat. The inner circle leaves corpses to rot and cause disease, or leaves animals wounded to draw predators. To this end, they are popular among the priests of the Locust Lord, the Flaymaster, and the Rotlord, with different groups within the Coventicle organized towards one or the other, and providing at least lip service to the rest.

The members are varied, though it is popular with assassins, fighter/thieves, and fallen rangers (indeed, remaining one of the few sources of training for rangers who fall away from good). Some Patient Arrows, drawn by the open orders, will join Coventicle-associated hunt clubs, but find their message strangely rebuffed by the most influential members. The open orders count among their number many noblemen and knights; men for whom hunt is a sport, not a way of life, and who care little how the meat is used, so long as the trophy comes home with them. This provides them a fair degree of political protection, though respectable huntsmen, frequently associated with (at least loosely) the Patient Arrows, tend to have little truck with them.

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