House ex Miscellanea, the House of Many Parts

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Time to read: 4 Minutes

Credo

The Whole is Formed of Many Parts


Founder

Unlike the other twelve Houses, ex Miscellanea was not formally represented at the Founding. Insofar as ex Miscellanea magi recognise a founding figure, they normally put Pralix, Tytalus' second apprentice, forward as "Founder" though equally often they claim none. Pralix was the first Antares – the supreme warleader of the Order, sent to combat the powerful rogue Pictish sorcerer known as Damhan-Allaidh The Spider in the early 800s. The Spider had slain every emissary sent to him and had, finally, made an attempt on Trianoma’s life, drawing the wrath of the order. Pralix led a force of Tytalus and Flambeau’s apprentices to slay the Spider in his stronghold in Scotland, but was given a bruising lesson in not underestimating the pagan wizard.

Pralix retreated to southern Britain and, unable to call for reinforcements, gathered a confederation of local magicians and minor wizards from across Britain, teaching them the Parma Magica in return for their support and melding them together into a tactical and strategic group to counter The Spider’s magic. This time they triumphed, at the location now known as Cad Goddeu.

Rather than seek admittance to the Order for her ragtag army, knowing they would be looked down on, she declared them the Ordo Miscellanea, a rival tradition to the Order of Hermes. For a few fraught years it appeared the two societies would come to blows, but in her last great act of diplomacy Trianoma won admittance for the Ordo Miscellanea as House ex Miscellanea, the Order of Hermes’ thirteenth House.

“…and as for the wizards and witches of my army, I find them to be braver and truer than the magi of the Order who, retreating from conflict with Damhan-Allaidh and bleating their fear of his bloody rites, left the defence of Britain, Europe and the Order to a hastily-raised army of ill-trained hedge wizards deemed unfit to join the exalted ranks of the Order of Hermes.


Thus do I declare my despite for the Ordo Hermetica and form the Ordo Miscellanea, which shall accept those magicians whom lofty Hermes despises, though they bled and died for him.”

- Pralix' "Letter to the Order"


Whilst not formally a Founder, Pralix is regarded as such by most historians, and House Tytalus has a special place in its history for the maga who took the concept of challenge to the point of creating another Order. Pralix lived out the rest of her life at Cad Goddeu as Prima ex Miscellanea, and on her death in 946 requested that she be buried at Loch Leglean.


Symbol and Iconography

The generally accepted symbol for House ex Miscellanea is the crooked staff, or Shepherd's staff. In iconography, one of two methods of displaying the House is chosen – some have created a mythological image to represent the House, where a human figure is required. It is clad in robes of pink and grey, representing the Robes of Dusty Dawn worn by the Primus Ex Miscellanea. The robes are open, clearly showing the figure's hermaphrodite nature. It has no facial features, and holds a crooked staff in one hand and the other is empty, palm upwards.


Occasionally, though, an image of Pralix is used. Traditionally, Pralix is depicted in pink and grey robes with a scarlet toga trimmed in white, worn reversed as is Tytalus'. Instead of a staff, she holds a great boar spear, it's point down but it's (upward) butt looped as a Founders' staff. In her left hand she holds either a fasces or a small buckler. Her hair is depicted universally as raven-black with a white streak in the centre. The point of her spear, and often her foot as well, rests on an upturned spider.


What The House Was All About

House ex Miscellanea grew to adopt and integrate magicians from non-Roman traditions across the length and breadth of the Order, and was at its peak easily the largest House, twice the size of the next largest. Within the House there were over a score of well-established self-sustaining magical traditions such as the Scottish true namers, the Sha’ireen of north Africa, rune magicians from the Scandinavian countries and shamanic dream-magicians who came east with the Mongols. But it was always strongest in the British tribunals, where, in the Tribunals of Stonehenge and Loch Leglean at least, it usually represented the majority of magi.


Starting in the 1290s, a brief spate of wizard wars between ex Miscellanea magi in the far East of the Order was noted, and was originally assumed to be simply a coincidence. In the following few decades, ex Miscellanea magi from across the Order began vanishing – in fact, in retrospect an exodus of sorts westwards was underway, with the preceding Wizard Wars appearing to be the House removing those who might object to the exodus.


Nothing official was ever spoken of, but many of those who disappeared form the mainland European Tribunals began appearing at the last recorded Tribunals in the three British regions in the late 1290s.


Finally, in 1300, Mercere magi reported difficulty crossing the English Channel – ships became becalmed, lost in fog, or mysteriously turned around and found themselves back off the Normandy coast. The few Hermes Portals connecting the British Tribunals to Europe became nonfunctional. Attempts to raise the magi of Britain through magical means met only a deafening silence. One of the few clues left to the order was a letter, sent by the Scots ex Miscellanea magus Aodach Craicte, to his friend Simeon –

…You’ll hear strange news in months to come. Don’t fear for us – what happens happens by our will and with our assent. You’ll come to make this decision for yourselves in time – you perhaps sooner than most. But we always knew the dragon would wake eventually.


Know that the debts we owe Hermes will always be remembered and honoured. As you well know; nothing is ever forgotten.

No ex Miscellanea magi are known to be extant in the Order now. As for what's going on in Britain - only the British know.



A Timeline of Events - The Houses in 1346 - The Greater Alps in 1346



Introduction to Ars Magica - The Order in 1346 - A Who's Who of Attendees - How the Game is Played