Secrets of Detroit
The Silver Ladder
Mages once ruled. Never forget that. Do not believe that hubris felled Atlantis, that humanity deserved to be cast into darkness. That is a subtle part of the Lie. Do not let the Exarchs imprison the dreams of mages as much as they imprison magic itself. The conquest of reality — the war for the Imperium Mysteriorum — proceeds as it should. Expand your perspective and see that the fall of the Awakened City was just a skirmish. A setback? Yes, but there are other battles to be fought — thrones to topple from the enemy’s Supernal strongholds. Cast your lot with humanity and with Awakened destiny, and you will embrace the Silver Ladder.
It’s a potent promise that has lasted through the ages, articulated even as the Exile
forced the théarchs to gaze back at the ruins of Atlantis. They say it is fitting that such devastation should follow a struggle for the ultimate prize, but hardly discouraging, for the Silver Ladder has a potent weapon that the Exarchs can never possess: Sleepers. For all their schemes, the enemy’s minions, including the Seers of the Throne, are slaves concerned with keeping the Sleeping rabble quiet and ignorant. The Silver Ladder claims it supports unenlightened humanity and spreads the flame of Awakening as much as possible. The Quiescence makes this practice dangerous, so it is necessary to release a trickle of the truth so that dedicated men and woman follow it to the flood of full Awakening. Mages must be prepared to accept these new apprentices. They must cooperate to expand Awakened influence and train themselves for the battle to come. The Silver Ladder wants nothing less than an army swelled by Sleepers and forged by conspiracy before it builds a tower to the gods once more.
The Silver Ladder is used to ruling mages. While they were not the official lords of Atlantis, they were advisors who held the balance of power, the Vox Draconis, the Voice of the Dragon. As priests, viziers and judges of old, the théarchs upheld the principles of law. To hold together an entire nation of mages is a feat that has never been matched since, and the order is rightly proud. When the Silver Ladder’s judges ruled fairly, they maintained a balance of power between mages and an unenlightened humanity. As priests, they advocated a wise balance between material needs and spiritual desires. Of course, the théarchs had human weaknesses even then, and more than any other order were swayed by the promises of the Celestial Ladder. To put gods and demons under the reign of humankind — what greater
promise than that?
Other orders were humbled by the Fall, but not the Silver Ladder. Although some of them still speak of balance between the material and spiritual, others use these as words to justify their desire to wrest the Imperium Mysteriorum for all humanity. But their enemies are no longer the inhuman powers of the world. The Exarchs have committed the ultimate sin and have revealed their weakness. By trapping humanity in the Lie of Quiescence, the Oppressors have shown the resurgent théarchs that they fear mortal men and women. If humanity is bound together to challenge the Exarchs, they will be toppled. And so the order bides its time, promoting the office of the sage advisor throughout the world, whispering instructions to
princes, generals and ministers. The Silver Ladder also binds mages together. It reformed the Exile into the Consilium system and rendered down countless interpretations of the Art into a set of customs that all mages may follow. The orthodox orders usually recognize
the inherent worth of the Silver Ladder’s direction, though none would be as vulgar as to call it control. Even when another order reaches ascendancy in a Consilium, the théarchs are there, offering skilled advice to Hierarch and council.
The order has little patience for error or excessive humility. Mages should not let arrogance blind their ability to assess a situation, but they should never make a fawning display of themselves by taking the blame for events outside of their control or bowing to an unworthy master. While this manner causes friction with other mages, it isn’t always a bad thing. A certain amount of conflict keeps mages thinking. Therefore, a successful théarch has a slightly brash but thoughtful personality that cloaks a will of iron. He is politically adept and his occult prowess is unquestioned. He does not dwell on the theoretical aspects of magic except where it would serve his practical needs, but he never uses that as an excuse to skimp on his studies. The Silver Ladder does not always prefer such forward tactics, but it is good for the order to project an image of strength. In other situations, a light touch is required, but this should never be applied in a way that calls théarchs’ prestige into question. “Accuse publicly, apologize quietly,” is a common maxim, but make no mistake: the quiet word is as carefully plotted as the loud one.
The Elemental Precepts describe the legalistic philosophy that the Silver Ladder espouses. The order has spread this doctrine among Sleepers and mages for millennia. No authoritative text exists, and they are often taught as a series of parables or aphorisms.
- Diamond: The Awakened are one nation
Diamond is the sanctified, transformed Earth in the Elemental Precepts, the base upon which all other achievements rest. Under this precept, mages have a common bond in Atlantis and the struggle to exalt humanity. This constitutes a nation, and mages are beholden to its laws. Traitors such as Banishers and Seers of the Throne may be punished righteously. Other mages must respect the Consilium more strongly than any Sleeper government.
- Thunder: Imperium is the right of humanity
The purpose of the Awakened is to secure the Imperium Mysteriorum — the Sovereignty of the Mysteries — for humanity. No Exarch or god has the right to control human destiny, and even natural calamities are an insult to human divinity. Thunder is energized Air, the life-breath of humankind, and the moral duty to seize Imperium is synonymous with the right to life itself.
- Star: The Silver Ladder is the path to victory
The Star is the sign of Supernal Fire, in the form of the Oracles’ Watchtowers. Silver Ladder mages were the priest judges of Atlantis, and it is their prerogative to direct the fruits of the Star against the Exarchs. The order claims that its most powerful members receive instructions directly from the Oracles. Théarchs pledge to arm the Awakened against the Lie. They therefore deserve the respect and obedience due the seneschals of the Oracles.
- Blood: The Sleepers follow
Blood is living Water and heralds the birth of human beings, but it is also the sign of a wound. Sleepers are wounded by the Quiescence and need the direction of the Awakened to prosper. They must be healed and raised up to claim the Imperium Mysteriorum. This is a slow, careful process that must follow the traditional forms of apprenticeship.