Order Of The Viper

Not all the T’sa are generous. Inside some lurks a hunger for power
and the desire to corrupt others to their ways. Many of these groups are
small, and short lived, but one group has survived since the beginning of
the Growth Age. They are the Order of the Many Horned Viper, the
Order of Vipers for short. The Vipers are more direct action than behind
the scenes, a style that most dark groups fall into.

Thousands of Ch’Nakan, T’sa for ‘guiding spirits’, exist. Many of
them are seen as truly guiding spirits, while a few of them had been
swayed by the desire for power and had fallen many ages ago.
As bold as they are, the Vipers have managed to hide their numbers
safely in the darkness of space. Apt to space stations, trader ships,
Concordian survey teams, and pirate outposts, the Order is scattered
through the galaxy, but is in touch with each other in a unique way. As
part of the initiation rite into the order, an acolyte is instructed to create a
simple item, known as the “Seeing Skull”. This allows each member to
communicate with and track other members of the order. This is
attributed as the key to the Vipers’ success, as they are able to call help
from others quickly and easily, and the others can find them with only a
little time.

The Order is steeped in Psionics and FX and uses a wide variety of
them to achieve their dark goals. Typical Psionics include ESP –
clairaudience, clairvoyance; Telepathy –drain, mindblast, mind wipe,
and tire. Most notable FX are Diabolism, Necromancy and Shamanism.
The agenda of the Order is to remove the current belief structure of
the T’sa nation, bringing them away from the distasteful Ch’Nal the
Creator and bring the dark ‘god’ Ch’Sheen’Esh, literally translated the
[guiding] spirit of ice, into power. While summoning dark Ch’nakan the
Order had learned of a spiritual war long ago, a war that sundered the
Fraal nation, destroyed several sentient species, and brought down
several strong and influential guiding spirits of the T’sa.

A powerful species, yet unnamed, had offered these fallen spirits
power over their races if they aided in their victory. Unfortunately, the
powerful species was defeated, and they dragged the fallen Ch’nakan into
their astral prison. It took centuries before a few budding arcanists had
summoned Ch’Nab, the fallen spirit of fury, and learned of this.
Ch’Nab’s hatred boiled over and the power of his essence captivated the
young T’sa sorcerers, soon corrupting them to the core.

The adepts, through Ch’Nab, had found ways to summon other of
these fell Ch’nakans, and learned much in history and the arcane. It was
Ch’Kril, fallen spirit of knowledge, that taught them how to harness
power into the skull, so that the young T’sa were able to keep tabs on one
another, and converse over distances. It was soon after this lesson that
they formed the Order of the Many Horned Viper, as was the
representation of Ch’Sheen’Esh in many of the holy books of the time.
It was after this the revelation given to them about the “Unnamed
Ones”, as spoken by Ch’Nab, came to light, and their mission was set in
motion. Over the next several thousand years, the T’sa history books are
lined with skirmishes with these dark servants. Each time the victor had
always been the followers of Ch’Nal, though dark times were always
afoot. The most notable battle took place during the Science Age, when
the Order took a major city by force, and held it.

For the next hundred and fifty years the T’sa fought against the
Order and their dark servants, before finally defeating them by sending in
several Ch’Nal adepts falsely seeking to join the Order. Once they
gained access, these priests of Ch’Nal gained the trust of the city officials
and joined the ranks of the arcanist soldiers. Once they had attained the
permission to patrol the city, they simply opened the gates and let the
others in. These T’sa slaughtered many of the Order, captured a few, and
was dismayed to find that several of them had escaped.

Over the years, they have waxed and waned in followers; many do
not make it past the initiation rite before either being driven mad or
becoming fearful for their lives and family. Initiation requires one to
sever his connection with his egg-clutch brethren, a prospect that chills
all T’sa.

With victory and defeat, the Order has maintained its core belief and
mission, while adapting to other creeds as well. They are particularly
fond of ancient earth religions such as the Egyptian necromancy and the
various cults of black magic.

It is feared by the T’sa that the Order will join, or has already joined,
the ever growing threat of the Externals, and bring the fight deep into the
T’sa Cluster, where they may have to relinquish their desire for
individualism and join with the Concord directly. Thus, a new wave of
Viper hunting has begun.

Seeing Skull
This Psi/FX artifact allows the holder to
communicate through the skull (through
several means, such as Telepathy –
contact) to others within the Order. It
also provides a link with the others in
order to find them (such as ESP –
navcognition) in case of danger, or
summons for a council meeting. Each
Skull holds a different source of power,
some Psionic, some FX, but all of them
provide the same effects.

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