Inhabited by House Guernicus and House Tytalus in what some call a sinister alliance, the covenant of Hedyosmos deserves its ominous reputation. By all accounts the covenant squats over a portal to the Underworld, and its members are expert wielders of magic associated with stygian forces — the earth, the dead, and malicious magic. In practice, Hedyosmos has been a strong supporter of the Hermetic polity throughout its existence. While some question their motives, noone could question their loyalty.
Hedyosmos is one of the oldest covenants in the Tribunal. Wizards dwelled on the site for at least a century before the Order was founded, and possibly longer. In antiquity, the site was the site of a temple of Hades, the god of the Underworld. Indeed, it was one of the few cultic centers of this god, since the Eleans were the only men who were known to worship Hades. Three members of the original Theban League hailed from Hedyosmos, and Guernicus himself taught the youngest of them Hermetic magic. Already allied to the veneration of chthonic spirits, its membership welcomed Guernicus’ restored Terrae Cult (see Houses of Hermes: True Lineages, pages 36 & 68, and the insert), and the covenant became one of its most important seats.
It is commonly believed that magi of Hedyosmos were pivotal in the Sundering of Tremere in 848 (see Houses of Hermes: True Lineages, page 113). It is certain that the alliance of Guernici and Tytalan theurgists that constituted the covenant were both motivated and appropriately skilled to conduct a campaign that destroyed Tremere’s plans to dominate the Order. Although officially House Tremere has no interest in the details of the Sundering, individual members of the house would be very interested to read Hedyosmos’ records for that period. But Tremere magi are not welcome at Hedyosmos.
The covenant weathered the Corruption of House Tytalus and the Schism War with equal nonchalance, and has remained unperturbed through mundane conflicts and Hermetic turmoil alike.
Setting and Physical Description
The slopes of Mount Minthe in Elis bear the ruins of a nekyomanteion (a shrine to the dead), beneath which is the covenant of Hedyosmos. The covenant is entirely under ground, in a series of labyrinthine caves connected by twisting passages. Each cavern has several entrances, and it is easy to get lost in the lightless depths. Each magus has a cavern (or several caves) set aside as a sanctum; such caves are always blocked with a door. To the touch of anyone with Magic Resistance, a sanctum mark is briefly revealed in a silver glow to prevent accidental violation of sanctum law.
Beneath the occupied levels of the covenant is a labyrinth of passages and caverns. The Magic aura of this labyrinth is aligned with Terram (see Realms of Power: Magic, page 16), and as one progresses further into the maze of passages, the strength of the aura increases. It is widely believed that an entrance into the Magic Realm can be found within the labyrinth, specifically one that leads to the Underworld prison of the titans. The covenant strongly discourages people from entering the labyrinth, although it utilizes several chambers for its cultic practices.
Several of the covenfolk have the Dowsing Virtue. Through its use the covenant has located several seams of gold, silver, and gemstones, leaving them fabulously wealthy. All these mines are operated through intermediates to avoid accusations of meddling with mundanes.
Hedyosmos’ Patron: Minthe
According to legend, Minthe was the lover of Hades. When the Underworld god abducted and ravished Persephone, Minthe boasted that Hades would return to her and banish Pesephone from his halls. This angered Persephone’s mother, Demeter, who trampled Minthe to dust underfoot. From this dust grew the mint plant, and the mint became Hades’ sacred herb. Minthe, who is a magical Daimon, guards one of the entrances to the Underworld, which is believed to be a way to gain entrance to the Magic Realm. For many centuries the inhabitants of Hedyosmos have venerated Minthe rather than Hades. Since she is set over a gate into Tartaros — where the titans are imprisoned — she is vital in the plans of Hedyosmos to restore the dominance of the Magic Realm over the lands of the Tribunal.