The Black Queen’s personal life was full of misery, which was odd for such
a powerful figure. Sad to say, she wasn’t above taking it out
on her slaves.
Necromancy, by Lyndsey Hayes
Secret societies are a mainstay in popular fiction. (Just look at Dan Brown.) In fantasy and science fiction, we have the Bene Gesserit, The Dharma Initiative, The Talamasca, The Sith.
In mundane life, there are many, from the sinister to the accepted. Freemasons are one. But there’s also Aleister Crowley’s occult group Order of the Golden Dawn, the mystical St. Germaine Foundation, The Skull & Bones Society of Yale, and the Opus Dei of the Catholic Church. They may be secular, commercial, community, or spiritual in nature. Often their membership is restricted, and members cannot speak of what goes on in them.
Here’s a list of randomly-generated names you can use for your own.
|Brothers of Euphoria
Association of the Shadowed Sword
Starry Institute of the Bright Seafarer
Egalitarian Sanctum of Enchanters
Mothers of Fate
Coven of the Stringless Lute
Brotherhood of the Savage & Wondrous
The Starry Disciples of Sidefess
Minions of Solitude
Enclave of the Emerald
The Elder Syndicate of Dracotis
Union of the True Lantern
The Mist & Lightning Society
Citadel of the Iron Mage
Legion of the Scarlet Pyramid
The Minds of Profane Silence
Beauty of Ancient Ivory
The Golden Solitude
Apotheosis of Ash
Diviners of the Chimeric Veil
Legion Primal Clay
Order of Unconventional Fire
Utopia Of Hidden Beauty
The Nuanced Silence
The Looking Glass
|Commune of the Twilight Eagle
Enclave of Perfumed Earth
Servants of the Idol
Society for fhe Study of Aquatic Phenomena
The Eternal Sanctum
Mothers of Dauntless Purity
Conclave of Night
Brethren of Harmonious Shadow
Black Alliance Of Tamschim
The Spellmasters Union of Eurä
The Fire & Water Society
League of the Behemoth
Kin of the False Stone
Fraternity Of The Fiery Cowl
The Onyx Hegemony
Brothers of the Contorted Star
Sanctum of the Violent Dawn
The Sylvan Breath
The Salient Shadow
The Free Energy Syndicate
League of Bright Transcendance
The Clear Day Coalition
Kin of Kharmic Discovery
Eternal Sanctum Of Winter
The Spiritual Fire
Dawn of Luminous Gold
by Joe Daly
As I often do, I picked up this graphic novel at random. The name intrigued me, as it implied AD&D gaming sessions, and also the figurine on the cover, which did not fit the name at all. It seemed more Pre-Columbian, Toltec maybe, except for that very big Brainiac head.
The head in question belongs to the titular character, Millennial Boy, who, being bored one day, decides on the spur of the moment to go on a quest, eliciting friends and collecting supplies and equipment on the way. His adventures have a Gen-X, slacker vibe, mixing the fantastic and the mundane. Instead of dungeons and feral wilderness Millennial Boy and his companions trek through vacant lots and back alleys, encountering petty thugs and Molelocs (a cross between orcs and moles.) It’s haphazard and good-natured in the way of underground comic artist R. Crumb. Millennial Boy is snarky and cynical — at times I expected him to betray or take advantage of his companions in pursuit of his own goals — but he’s actually a stauncher companion than you’d think, and someone whom you’d want along on a mythical quest, even if he is too assured that he knows the best for everyone else.
The artwork I found enjoyable. There is some nudity, chiefly penises, but it’s employed in service of the story. For example, Lash Penis, who serves as the generic Fighter of the group, is wounded and enters a Pool of Healing where he encounters a oneness with the universe. I was expecting, given the snarky tone of the story, some ironic punchline for this episode, but it was played straight, and oddly affecting because of it.
In this full-page pic the adventurers trek out of a stand of trees by a canal/sewer. It’s mundane, yet grandiose.
I’ll continue to follow these characters on their odd yet endearing quest.
A crazed artist vented her rage at the mannequin’s seeming perfection.
Shortly she moved on to human subjects.
Not as glamorous as evil societies or those dedicated to dark magic. But every sizable town and city in a typical Medieval European society has them. There are guilds devoted to workers and tradesmen, merchants’ leagues, secret societies like Freemasons, civic leagues dedicated to improve some aspect of city life, and even rebels lurking below the surface. Can they serve the plot? Yes and yes. At the least, they will round out your world and make it whole.
|The Provident Townsmen of Bitterend
Fraternity of Benevolent Buskers
The Iron & Bronze Society
League of the Unconventional Key
Glorious Citadel of Labor
Allegiance of Youth
The Hand of Charity
Axe & Snuffbox Fellowship
The Hand & Hoof Brigade
The Charitable Syndicate of Nungeska
The Temple & Sandal Fellowship
Munificent Coalition of Physicians
Lucid Association of Egalitarian Courtesans
Townsmen of Unprejudiced Good
Benevolent Coalition of Ironworkers
The Ear of Emancipation
Lodge of Plentitude
Company of Enlightened Witches
Consortium of Unprejudiced Husbandry
The Noble Handmaidens of Starsweet
The Dignified Ladies of Lovebegone
Kinship of Congenial Hospitality
Brotherhood of the Fetid Sandal
League of the Copper Wyvern
The Diligent Brethren of Greenchild
|Association of the Orange Cravat
Fellowship of Bright Butchers
Provident Goodwives of Saltsark
Apprentices of Skeleton Mountain
Exalted Townswomen of Gingervot
Coalition of Beneficent Landlords
Brothers of Summer
Followers of the Precise Empress
League of the Playful Jewel
Pro-Farming League of Landowners
Ancient Gathering of Explorers
Citadel of Invisible Ecstasy
The Stonemasons’ Union Of Valerüch
Caravaneer’s League of Rumilady
Commune of the Cat
Sisterhood of the Yellow Iris
Society of Astrological Adventuring
Numinous Order of the Rainbow
Allegiance of the Humble
Brothers of the Fox
Esteemed Blacksmiths of Chanverandis
Society for the Study of Celestial Navigation
Pro-Exercise League of Magic-Users
Esteemed Kin of Wings
Gentle Tailors of Swanfest
Her visage was so terrible she always kept it masked….
until the day a handsome man was able to pierce it. But that’s another story.
Fantasy fiction (and science fiction, for that matter) is full of secret societies, thieves’ guilds, Hellfire clubs, and other associations for like-minded individuals. Often these are major drivers of the plot. Frank Herbert’s Dune would not be the same but for the Bene Gesserit, or The Wheel of Time series for the Aes Sedai. H.P. Lovecraft had all matter of secretive covens plotting for the return of The Old Ones. And who can forget the brutal Owsla of General Woundwart in Richard Adams’ Watership Down?
Here are some randomly-generated sinister societies for you to use in, or inspire, your own fiction.
The Savage Alliance of Saxluft
Brethren of Whispering Sorcery
The Fingers of Destruction
Order of the Bloody Whip
Brotherhood of the Damnable Dawn
Eldritch Allegiance of Villainy
Shadowed Acolytes of Darkness
Circle of Unmentionable Thaumaturgy
Sisters of Searching Doom
Worshippers of the Black Bee
Fellowship of the Fiery Cowl
League of Cthonic Triumph
Order of the Hideous Hood
Conclave of the Undead Eye
Confederacy of the Shadowed Prophet
The Shadowed Wives of Garamshire
Fathers of the Jackel
The Scabrous Trillium
Coalition of the Faceless Cobra
League of Malefic Dark
Conclave of the Red Tower
Brotherhood of Scarlet Abomination
Fellowship of Hell’s Bookbinders
Coven of the Amber Badge
Society of the Black Crocodile
Scarlet Legion of Villainy
Handmaidens of the Hooded Order
Matriarchy of the Demon Scarac
Sisterhood of the Infernal Gorgon
Kinship of the Hellbound
Brothers of Monstrous Mayhem
Townsmen of the Bewitched Wizard
Enclave of the Vulture
Sanctum of Inexporable Darkness
Brothers of the Squamous Solstice
Society of the Vampiric Trousers
Coven of the Scabrous Claw
Legion of the Hook and Hand
Cenobites of the Mumbling Void
Vile Disciples of Pestilence
The Squirming Basilisk
The Monstrous Shadow
The Eldritch Sisterhood of Stabworth
Brethren of the Twilight
Minions of Cloaked Decay
Gray Company of Death
Slaves of the Blind Ibis
Sanctum of Despair
Silent Bone Society
Kinship of the Iron Sphere
Disciples of the Red Claw
I was going to list some ideas for evil societies for this week, but the randomization software needs more tweaking. So here are some more random magic spells and items.
Lamp of Grim Digging: Enables the owner to find and dig up buried bodies quickly and easily.
Yungamel’s Levitating Unicorn: Causes a unicorn to rise into the air for maximum of 50 feet. The unicorn can be willing or unwilling.
Pipe of Lengthy Wonderment: A lightweight metal pipe of 1” diameter that can expand up to 20 feet and contract back again. May also be cast on the owner’s genitals to impress the ladies.
Saddle of Kicking Turmoil: When placed on any equine, it causes the animal to go into a frenzy of kicking so nothing can sit on its back.
Incense of Sorrow: When burned, it causes all smellers to lament loudly.
Dice of the Shape-Changer: A very rare magic item that can range from five to twenty sides. Each side is inscribed with symbols, glyphs, numbers, or icons. When rolled, it enables the user to turn into the creature or thing depicted on that side.
Sandals of Persistence: Enables the wearer to walk all day and all night as long as they have a clear goal.
Whistle of Unseen Grease: This item is covered with an invisible greasy coating that makes it impossible to hold or blow.
The Automaton of Singing Torture: This magical item sings so badly anyone in its presence will immediately capitulate to the owner’s demands.
Olnimea’s Squamous Bracelet: A bracelet in the shape of a coiled snake that becomes a real snake on the owner’s command.
Scissors of Hideous Brass: Doesn’t do anything but look ugly.
The Sarcophagus of Meddlesome Bones: When a body is buried in this, in time it becomes a skeleton that doesn’t know it is dead and keeps trying to return to the land of the living.
Rhianista’s Alluring Comb: Makes the wearer attract flirtatious attention.
Jandchel’s Napping Quest: A minor spell that points the caster to the perfect location for the ideal nap.
Vuatëha’s Amazing Charcoal: A stick of dark pigment that can sketch a scene, portrait, or map on command.
Arrow of Fetid Fog: When it hits the target, it releases a large cloud of stinky mist.
Missile of Vermin: Creates dozens of rats, flies, termites, and fleas around any target it hits.
Bell of the Celestial Vacuum: When rung, it creates a pocket of deep-space vacuum around the ringer. Probably hazardous to one’s health.
Snuffbox of Angry Thorns: When any of the snuff is inhaled, it turns into hundreds of small, painful thorns that clog the victim’s nose and throat.
Beniam’s Glass Improvement: Strengthens glass so it doesn’t shatter.
Book of the Blue Chameleon: A magic book long thought to be lost.
Yunöbalin’s Accursed Tentacles: Causes strong green tentacles to appear out of nowhere and grab the target.
Oiramusa’s Opal Lightning: Looks like a regular lightning bolt, but is attractively colored in glimmering pastel hues.
Ledger of the Unwashed Glove: No one knows what this book, purportedly owned by Sir Churnus Of Chivekettle, contains.
Skeleton Key of Gibbering: When put in a lock, this key gibbers uncontrollably, attracting unwanted attention.
Do you like read a lot in the summer, and live in Seattle?
The Seattle Public Library is hosting a book bingo, where you read some books in the categories printed on the card, and then turn it in in September with your comments. The contest runs between May 17 and September 5. Drop off the finished card at an SPL branch and you will be entered to win a gift card to an independent bookstore.