Oikos tou Eleous
Oikos tou Eleous: The Ladies of Thessaloniki
Few of the House Jerbiton covenants of the Tribunal remain, but one of the few that does is that of the House of Mercy (Oikos tou Eleous), situated in Thessaloniki. On the fall of Constantinople, the covenant’s three male magi chose to leave for Rome rather than face the end of civilization in the Theban Tribunal, but two nuns remained within their convent and have recruited new members to the covenant, all of whom are holy magae (see Realms of Power: The Divine, page 66). The covenant’s patron is Saint Demetrios.
Oikos tou Eleous is situated in the city of Thessaloniki. In 1185, five thousand citizens were slain by the invading Sicilian army, and a strong Infernal aura arose over the desecrated holy places and ruined streets.
The covenant was founded by two holy magae in response to that outrage. The sack of the city was marked by atrocities against the religious, and deliberate sacrilege and desecration of holy places. The covenant soon uncovered evidence of a widespread diabolist group in the city, linked to the Paulician heresy. They set about defeating this evil, and attempting to uncover the demonic influence that was corrupting the citizens, as well as actively preaching against and debating the Paulicians who still legally dwell within the walls today, their evil unsuspected by most who assume the nuns are religious bigots. While the Infernal auras have greatly diminished, the struggle for the soul of the city continues.
The covenant did what it could to help with the healing of the physically and spiritually wounded. When the tragedy of the sack befell Constantinople, the example of Oikos tou Eleous showed what could be done to restore a wounded city. Yet even in Thessaloniki some despaired, and three of the magi decided these things were signs of the end times, and set off for Rome belieing they were needed there. Only the sisters remained to continue the struggle in Thessaloniki. They successfully invoked Saint Demetrios in 1207, calling for him to save the city from the Bulgarian Tsar, and believe it was the saint himself who slew the tsar on the fateful October day.
Since 1205 the city has become the capital of the new Kingdom of Thessaloniki, and has come under attack from both the Bulgarians and Epiros. Furthermore, the city is rent by political struggles, mainly focusing on the boy-king Demetrios and his regency, and the rival claim of William of Montferrat. It is likely that within a year the city will be under siege, unless the new Latin emperor intervenes.
In 1207 a pair of twins from Lesbos, who belong to the Ex Miscellanea Seirenes tradition (see Houses of Hermes: Societates, page 137), were attracted to the covenant. They immediately involved the covenant in royal affairs by their covert support of Queen Margaret of Hungary, whose son (also called Demetrios) was already a great favorite of the nuns.
Setting and Physical Description
The covenant is not a single location, but consists of an alliance of maga bound together by a typikon (charter) for the mutual defense and restoration of the spiritual and physical health of Thessaloniki, in a similar manner to a lavra.
Sisters Anna and Theocharista maintain the tiny convent of Koukoubiou, housed in a walled villa with a small orchard and beautiful flower garden within the city walls, with six nuns loyal to them. Their personal chapel with a Divine aura of 4 serves as their laboratory, and their prayers and liturgical chanting act as the focus for their magical tradition. The rest of the villa has an aura of 2, the walled gardens 1.
The twins reside in the royal palace, with just four slaves as personal attendants, and have a room in their apartments that serves as a cramped laboratory. They are actively seeking better facilities, especially given their tendency to argue with each other.