Strange shadows stretch and writhe in the light, as if possessed by malign intent. Eerie laughter echoes from all around, rising from everywhere and nowhere. In the swirling black, shapes emerge–to strike where they are least suspected.
The Black Brotherhood has come, and someone is going to die…
The beginnings of the group known as the Black Brotherhood are lost to history. Some say that they are the remnant of an ancient order of Atlantean sorcerer-priests. Others claim that they are the descendants of a breakaway sect of the Order of Santiago who vanished into the jungles of the New World and discovered a new faith. Whatever their origins, the Black Brotherhood are one of the most dangerous occult societies loose in the world.
With the ability to control and travel through shadows, the Black Brotherhood are exceedingly capable assassins and have been known to track their quarry across oceans, from Rio de Janeiro to London, and even further. However, their code of honour prevents them from catching their prey unawares. Instead, they will warn their target–haunting them for days or weeks with rippling shadows and eerie laughter, prior to striking. Some occultists have theorised that this might be the modern form of some ancient ritual, rather than a communal sense of fair play.
The Black Brotherhood are also known to be the guardians of a number of highly potent mystical artefacts, including one of the infamous Obsidian Mirrors of Tezcatlicopa. Of late, this stewardship has seen them thrust into conflict with the Order of the Cosmic Ram as well as Charles St. Cyprian, the Royal Occultist.
Elliott O’Donnell’s Strange Cults & Secret Societies of Modern London (1934) has a lot to answer for. I’ve used it as the basis for a number of Royal Occultist stories, including “The Black Brotherhood”. Frankly, a secret society of shadow-walking assassins was too good not to employ, at least once.
The Brotherhood, like the Order of the Cosmic Ram, provide a bit of a respite from the usual monster of the week antagonists. They’re human, and have a code of conduct that St. Cyprian is keen to abide by, if only to keep the body count down. They can be bargained with, tricked or bought off, opening up avenues for a more diverse array of plot resolutions.
And while I don’t have any plans to revisit the Brotherhood, I like to keep my options open. They may well pop up again, at some point in the future.
The Black Brotherhood has appeared in the following stories:
- “The Black Brotherhood”
For more on the adventures of St. Cyprian and Gallowglass, as well as past and future holders of the office, take a look at the Royal Occultist chronology on this site, as well as a number of free short stories, available only on Patreon. And be sure to ‘Like’ the Royal Occultist Facebook page, in order to keep up with all the latest news and info on the series!