Magi attending from the Covenant of the Cave of Twisting Shadows

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Our covenant; that we assume nothing and challenge everything in our journey to enlightenment.
What is the Cave of Twisting Shadows? Like most things to do with the Criamon magi, this is a question with many valid answers and no way to determine objective truth.

It is a physical location high in the Alps, accessed by a cave. The main - or main known - entrance to the vast underground network of caverns within which the Criamon make their home is near the hamlet of Hoellech in the Canton of Schwyz. The cave entrance leads into a vast underground network of caverns, tunnels and subterranean voids, much of which is unmapped and unknown to anyone outside the membership of the covenant. Rumour has it some of the tunnels extend for hundreds of miles underground.

It is a series of liminal, magical spaces which overlap one another and interrelate to each other in ways that are unclear even to those who dwell within them.

Read more about the Cave of Twisting Shadows here

Chapterhouse: The Caves of Glass and Crystal

The Chapterhouse of the Caves of Glass and Crystal normally monitor the entrance cave and chambers and remain near them in order to intercept and greet visitors or messengers and prevent the unwary from venturing further into the caves. This is less to do with security and more a pasyoral function to protect the unwary and foolhardy.

Mater Suspirorum
Maga and Quaesitor ex Criamon
played by Bel Jacob
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Mater Suspirorum models herself on what she perceives a good Roman matron should be like - sensible, pragmatic, wise, above the political fray of her family and ruthless in eliminating threats. She was a Quaesitor before even the fall of House Guernicus and her steady hand ensured the rule of law survived the fall of the House dedicated to it. She was one of three sisters trained as magi in parallel by her master; both of her sisters did not survive the gauntlet of apprenticeship, and now haunt the Mater, acting as advisors, confidantes and, it's suspected, spies. Scrupulously even-handed in the undertaking of her duties as Quaesitor, she has been granted jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to House Criamon. Her claim, that she alone can understand those of her House, seems beyond dispute.

Magus ex Criamon, Portreeve of the Cave, called Louis of Paris
played by Tea Kew

Louis of Paris is one of the magi of Criamon who make a conscious effort to keep the more outré parts of their tradition - blatant occult weirdness, random magical phenomena in the vicinity, tattoos - to a minimum. Fully clothed and making an effort to suppress his magic, Louis can pass for a mundane, and does so on those rare occasions when the Cave has urgent need of business in the mundane world. It also means he understands mundane concerns - money, food, animals, clothes - somewhat better than many of his peers. His is a lonely role though, with one foot in the world of Criamon magic and one in the world of penny markets. As Portreeve of the Cave, it is his role to welcome guests, formally advise them of the risks of wandering off, and see to it they are quartered safely near the cave exit.

Magus ex Bonisagus
played by Dave Townsend

Romulus does not wish to seem ungrateful at the circumstances he finds himself in - after all, in the twenty years since Durenmar burned, many Bonisagus magi have found themselves in much less comfort and facility than he does. Nevertheless, it's clear to any but the most inobservant that Romulus is not enjoying life among the Criamon. Trained to within three years of his gauntlet by a Tytalus magus in Munich and then taken to apprentice by a now-dead Bonisagus, Romulus' attitude to research is best described as combative and challenging. He craves access to the intense auras found in the higher chapterhouses, but seems unable to find his way to them even with the aid of other magi. His frustrations are all the worse for his incomprehension of what he is doing wrong, and inability to define, analyse and therefore defeat the problem.

Magus ex Bonisagus
played by Jon Fowler

Hesiod is of an age with Romulus but is as different as one could be - born at Durenmar, trained all his life by a Bonisagus Archmage, with a natural gift for theory and an innate grasp of the principles of Hermetic magic Hesiod was on the fast track to seniority, if not Primacy, of his House when the disaster struck. Rescued from the conflagration by Romulus, whose understanding of practical magic turned out to be what was needed, Hesiod now tries to repay the life boon he owes Romulus by guiding the latter into the traditions of the House and seeking to explore together what it is to be Bonisagus magi in this new world they find themselves in. Hesiod's gentle, patient and kind nature makes him an exemplar of his House, and some say he should stand for Primacy.

Chapterhouse: The Whispering Galleries

The deeper one ventures into the caves the more intense the magical aura becomes and the less the laws of geography and cause and effect seem to hold. When one has penetrated far enough that one can hear and see the ghosts of magi who have died within the cave, one will have reached the Chapterhouse of the Whispering Galleries - a place where the secrets of the past can be divined from those who held them, and where one can commune with the dead, for good or ill.

Magus ex Criamon
played by Cal Brown

Latrunculus was, in his youth, the subject of a fierce conflict between his eventual master Regina (then still a Bonisagus) and Robigus ex Verditius, who also sought Latrunculus as an apprentice for his talents. Regina claimed the apprentice using Bonisagus law, and then shortly thereafter changed house to Criamon, bringing Latrunculus, then ungauntleted, with her. Latrunculus is a master of the arts of genius loci - he researches the ancient network of Roman roads and has a calculation whereby he can find places where the old roads aligned with places of occult power, which often have associated sources of vis. This talent ensures the Cave of Twisting Shadows can maintain its vast number of chairs at Tribunal, and makes the bookish and studious Latrunculus very influential. He remains closely guarded on what his own views around the scandal of his apprenticeship are.

Nec Iterare
Magus ex Criamon
played by Harry Harrold

The only surviving apprentice of Moritamis and much of a piece with his master, Nec Iterare scours the legends and ghosts of the Cave for clues from history, determined that the Order will not repeat the mistakes of the past. He is often consulted by those wishing to know obscure facts from the history of the Order but he struggles to determine the qualitative value of the data he holds - for him, a recipe for Garam is just as important as the cause of the Schism War or the name of the last Primus Criamon. He has purchased several of the timepieces created by Alyx of Tytalus, and set them up in various locations in the Cave to assess the nature of the flow of time in each of the liminal spaces he can access. He and Latrunculus seem to have formed an odd partnership driven by their specialisms and are often to be found muttering in a corner together.

Magum ex Criamon
played by TBC

Avtandil comes from the uttermost eastern reach of the Order's arm; the Georgian Caucasus from beyond whence came the terrible Mongols. Trained as a magum by Moritamis on his early travels, Avtandil was swept into central Europe on the tide of humanity fleeing the Mongol invasion of Hungary and eventually made their way to the Cave where they were reunited with their master after a separation of more than half a century. Avtandil is much more worldly-wise than many Criamon, having had to survive in circumstances many Alpine magi cannot conceive of for much of their life. Do not mistake their serenity for dispassion though; Avtandil chooses not to express their anger at foolishness or conceit. It does not by any means indicate they do not get angry.

Lena Kessler
Magum ex Criamon
played by Jon Cole

Lena Kessler is a prodigy; magically skilled and potent with arts of mind and illusion beyond any of their generation they are seen as a rising star in the House. They have, on three separate occasions broken through into the Labyrinth but has voluntarily chosen to remain in the Whispering Galleries - their reasons for doing so are unclear when everyone in the Cave acknowledges their skills and wisdom are more than the equal of the Labyrinth. Lena is the House expert on the mythology, stories and history of Criamon the Founder, and they will amusedly tell one of three completely different origin stories when asked, while averring that all three are both mutually incompatible and empirically true. Lena has a longstanding relationship with Yrjo of the Shadow of the Moon covenant involving letter exchanges so frequent the Mercere altered their routes to accommodate them.

Chapterhouse: The Labyrinth

Pushing further into the caves, it becomes increasingly difficult to determine how far one has travelled. Compasses, maps and means of navigation are useless here; faith, luck and instinct are your only reliable guides. Magic is so strong in the air here that spontaneous manifestations occur, creatures and beings of legend may enact tableaus of story or prophecy, and few magi can cling onto their sense of self or sanity with any reliability. This is The Chapterhouse of the Labyrinth, where fools, genii and madmen dwell.

Magus ex Criamon, called Master Butterfly
played by Simon English

Phaleni is something of an iconoclast in the House, refusing to acknowledge many of the hallowed traditions of the House and claiming much of the philosophy underpinning it is "just the imago stage of the House's development". His aspect is cold and unfriendly, but he occasionally shows odd flashes of unexpected affection or friendship, sometimes with little or no context. There is something very uncanny and eerie about Phaleni; whether it be the way he dresses in colourful and cheery robes yet always seems cold and emotionless, or his studies of moths, butterflies, amphibians and other animals which undergo profound transformations. He is known to be an associate of Jacque Bones, and has stood to his defence several times. He is one of the magi of the Cave most often to be seen travelling.

Archmaga ex Criamon
played by Rachel Ambrose
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Few Criamon bother to pursue the status of Archmage, but in her youth Kheperi determined that for her, the route to the enigma was through the examination of the concept of fame. She originally came from the Tribunal of the Levant and was active during the Crusades there, although that was all a very long time ago and few if any record of the deeds that earned her her fame remain. She has been in Twilight a long time now - even though she seems lucid and coherent most of the time there is a faraway look to her eyes that suggests she is not entirely present in any conversation. It's rumoured that she's found some way to stave off aging outside the Hermetic paradigm, but she seems profoundly disinterested in discussing it if so. Kheperi was formerly a member of the Chapterhouse of the Great White Space but has fallen back; many thought, a decade ago, that Kheperi would become Prima; the nature of the process that saw Enoch elevated instead of her remains opaque.

Kheperi's Deed of Note was recorded and acknowledged by the College of Archmagi many years ago, but for unclear reasons none seem to be entirely clear on what, precisely, it was. Her challenge is to achieve a fame demonstrably greater than hers; given the nebulous nature of this challenge and the increasing lack of clarity around Kheperi's own fame, hse has lost five challenges against this.

Velum Lachrymarum
Magus ex Bonisagus
played by Ben Hodgson
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Velum Lachrymarum is the leader of the small group of Bonisagus who, after the fall of Durenmar, chose to call the Cave their home, seeking to take advantage of both the intense magical aura and their philosophical alignment with the Criamon. He has resisted calls to join House Criamon, and retains a fierce core of pride in his own House. Velum Lachrymarum is a researcher in the interstices between life and death, and focusses on trying to determine the precise, exact point that a human soul is beyond the reach of Hermetic magic.

Prior to joining the Cave, Velum was famed as one of the "Three Furies" with Simeon and Nauvi - a group of magi who in their youth accomplished wonders and achieved great fame and notoriety. That is far in the past though - he has lived in seclusion away from the society of his peers for over half a century and had been thought dead by some. Much of his work now is with the ghosts of the cave and he remains a very private figure.

Chapterhouse: The Great White Space

Beyond the Labyrinth is a barrier; most magi have their own names for it. The Great White Space, The Wall Of Time or The Mountain Unclimbed. Only a very few magi have managed to make a space for themselves within this barrier; this is The Chapterhouse of the Great White Space, the Primum and their immediate associates. Only they know what lies within - and beyond - the Great White Space. It is, in the opinion of some, the location of the Axis Magica, around which all of the world turns, which ascends to heaven and descends to hell.

Magum ex Criamon
played by Simon White

Regina was trained originally as a Bonisagus and is that rarest of things, a fully trained magum who has successfully changed House of their own free will, having gauntleted for the Criamon in the late 1200s. Their specialism is in the study of and understanding of liminal spaces - magical realms where rules can be changed and impossible things made possible - and they are arguably the only magus since Criamon himself to fundamentally understand the workings of the Cave of Twisting Shadows. They and Exeunt Omnes have always been very close, and since the latter ascended to primacy, they have been Exeunt's spokesperson and right hand. They are less overtly odd than most of the senior Criamon and are therefore the one sought out by other Houses when interaction with the central clutch is called for. Regina still has the whiff of scandal hanging about them for the nature of their acquisition of their apprentice, now the magus Latrunculus.

Exeunt Omnes
Magum and Primum ex Criamon, formerly known as Enoch
played by James Stuart

Exeunt Omnes has only recently (in 1336) taken that name, having been known generally prior to their ascension to primacy as Enoch ex Criamon. Exeunt Omnes, like many of the previous Criamon Primi, made a prophecy of the end of the Order upon ascension to their position; but unlike the cryptic utterances and riddles of their predecessors, Exeunt simply stated "Nothing beyond ten years hence matters." Exeunt Omnes did not attend the last Tribunal meeting in 1339, but sent their voting sigil with Regina; since becoming Primum, Exeunt has never left the Cave, and seldom left the Great White Space.

Magus ex Criamon
played by Michele Minett

While Exeunt Omnes may be the heart of the House and Regina its head, Moritamis is its soul. A visionary and an experiencer, Moritamis travelled widely in her youth in the east and south, seeking out prophetic traditions and experiences of altered consciousness in pursuit of her own understanding of the enigma. Old, now, and unable to safely travel, her wanderlust has turned inward, and it's said by some that her deep exploration of magic has led her mind to become untethered in time. Or, it's fair to say, she may just be as mad as a fish, and is clearly often intoxicated. There is a cult among younger Criamon that seeks to record her every utterance and examine it for prophetic value.

Magi attending from the Covenant of the Ends of the Earth - Magi attending from the Covenant of Carthago in Montibus - Magi Attending from the Covenant of the Icy North - Magi attending from the Covenant of Valnastium - Magi Attending from the Covenant of the Shadow of the Moon - Other Magi Of Interest - Possible and Petitioning Attendees

Introduction - The Order in 1346 - A Who's Who of Attendees - Rules and Techniques