Cults of the Past:
The Brotherhood of Death

Hargin of Selna

  The Brotherhood of Death was a chaotic evil order dedicated to the worship and service of Orcus through the promotion of chaos especially in sadistic orgies and human, demihuman, or humanoid sacrifices.

  Although open to evil chaotics of any race or class, the inner circle was made up of outstanding adventurer types, and the hierarchy headed by human clerics and demons.  Peasants and idle nobles could only be initiates; initiates were not generally aware of the secrets of the society.

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Adherents today promote the idea that the orgies and sacrifices are all things of the past, and indeed there is evidence to support this.  However, there is still a high incidence of missing persons in areas where the Brotherhood is known to be represented.

  Whatever illicit activities may still be around must be underground.  No longer do we hear of such horrors as Groth the Bloody, who sacrificed 750 slaves in a single drunken orgy; or Simona Sassa, who ensured that she was the last lover each of 1500 men in a small city ever knew; or Black Goron, who sacrificed one entire village a week for four years before he was slain.  these cases and many others are extremely well documented (see especially Brockton and Heart, "Deeds of the Brotherhood", and Ronton Clere's excellent monograph, "Orcus' Brothers").  Today's leaders maintain an image of respectability, disavowing the activities of their predecessors.  Yet rumors continue to claim that these things happen, that full moon services to Orcus on the three nights of the full moon, with their ritual of the terrified victim dragged behind the curtain are only the beginning of a nightmare of torture and abuse which can include being slaughtered and resurrected to be slaughtered again, with the final charred and scarred remains fed dead or alive to dragons or demons or other creatures of the darkness.  The possibility of truth in these rumors is unknown; there is no monograph on the subject, and no record of an eyewitness report of any of these alleged atrocities.

  The Brotherhood of Death claims to trace its origins directly to Orcus, who it is alleged hand-picked one hundred faithful clerics and appointed them to form such a league based upon death and chaos.  Over the centuries several outtstanding members have claimed either to have in their possession or to know where to get the legendary Wand of Orcus (on the Wand of Orcus, the probabilities of its actual existence, its alleged powers, legendary wielders of it in ancient times, and its possible current location, see the work of Si Si Di, especially "The Death Wand", "Orcus' Power", and the excellent concise paper "Profiles of a Death Brother").  The largest cults are always tied closely with an Orcus temple, although it cannot be demonstrated whether there is any causative relationship, or whether (as would be logical) the connection is purely due to the fact that all members of the Brotherhood stand for the same values (such as they are) as Orcus.

  In addition to the above mentioned authors, see the works of Justice William, Tob Noz, and the excellent book "Cults of Our Time" by the ancient druidic author Mysas.  Also, compare the activities of an apparently related group, The Ring of Blood, also in these pages.

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