Los Angeles, California – 1 January, 2012

We’ll take it easy
While the world goes crazy
As it’s just another day
And we’ve all been through the mangle
And our pockets are empty
But we’ll live like kings and queens
Hear the choirs of noise sing
Take a load off my mind soothe me
Live like kings and queens

“Kings and Queens,” Killing Joke

Los Angeles is a city on the edge of everything—competing for the least of which are an election year and the Pacific Ocean.
The sun shines in the day and the city shines back at night, blotting out the stars with accreted light. Glowing like a neon scar on the face of the earth, it’s comprised of vast wound channels made from brick and concrete and neon and brushed metal and wood. Its asphalt arteries are clogged with its denizens, struggling to make it or struggling to find it or just struggling to get somewhere fifteen minutes away. Its heart skips beats, slowing.

It is New Year’s Day, and it is snowing in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles’ Consilium is huge, covering a massive amount of both land and willworkers. Insular areas in the Consilium have tried to secede and self-govern themselves, considering the Hierarch in his office so far from both their concerns and their territory—most often Mages from East LA and beyond, frustrated by the sometimes-arrogant and wildly indifferent leadership coming out of the Westside. Recently there have also been a number of quarrels between the Guardians and the Ladder jockeying for leadership, resulting in a series of embarrassingly public comments about the Guardians “just looking for their Wizard Jesus.” Everybody seems to be at each others throats, though no one in particular could say why. As trite as it sounds, the Santa Ana winds seem to have blown in something stranger than just fire in the hills this year.

The Free Council is the most popular Order in Los Angeles—about one in every two Mages are Libertines, though most are basically Libertines in name only, engaged mostly in the affairs of the other Pentacle Orders. Paradoxically, despite being such an overrepresented Order, the Libertines don’t actually run Los Angeles—they don’t have a sitting Hierarch. The Libertines tend to hail mostly from less affluent areas of Los Angeles, though there is some tension between more and less moneyed Libertines—eastern parts of the city find themselves on their own with their problems, and the Order is itself divided on what it should do. The Free Council in Los Angeles is closely allied with the Ladder, the leadership of both Orders finding common ground on humanist rhetoric: Helping Sleepers reach their full potential.

The Guardians of the Veil however, do run the city: Gerent is Los Angeles’ Hierarch and manages both the Consilium and the Veil as he would in his former job, a television producer: The whole world is a production, a story being told for the benefit of both the Awakened and the Sleeping. Some factions in the Guardians find this viewpoint obnoxious at best, preferring to eschew all pretension and simply do their dirty job the way they always have. The Guardians are more or less alone in their tower—most Mages view them a sort of reluctant thanks and slight suspicion. The Mysterium is the Order closest to the Guardians—the Mystagogues’ Censors often find themselves collaborating with the Guardians in an attempt to conceal knowledge humanity is unready for.

The Silver Ladder is the third smallest Order in Los Angeles and allied closely with the Free Council. The Thearchs are by and large united by their interests in the health of humanity, though the Ladder in nearby Consilii (Orange County, in particular) have repeatedly scolded the Angelenos for being so friendly with the Libertines. Daily, more spiritually-inclined Theurges struggle with Powerbrokers for a controlling majority of the order, each often absorbing lesser factions in the attempt. The Order is small, however, and fairly weak in all respects: One is inclined to wonder if they haven’t made an alliance of convenience with the Libertines in an attempt to stay afloat in a world where they’re no longer relevant.

The Mysterium doesn’t run very much of anything. Small and elite, either they don’t find most of Los Angeles’ Awakened worthwhile, or the rest of Los Angeles’ Awakened doesn’t find them worthwhile. To the Mystagogues’ credit, they are extremely talented in terms of work, especially groundbreaking techgnostic workings and a handful of carefully-controlled digsites underneath Los Angeles. Still, a large number of them seem to be operating behind closed doors these days, perfecting a delicate working no one seems to know anything about. Their closest allies are the Guardians, who often cooperate with factions within the Mysterium.

The Adamantine Arrow, last and more or less least, is the smallest Order in Los Angeles, being extremely uncommon. The Arrow itself is politically neutral, favoring no factions—Arrows serve as mercenaries to the Awakened community, with cabals bidding with employers for tasks. The Arrows do, however, maintain a few conventional contracts, including security for Consilium meetings and general-purpose action against non-Pentacle threats like the Seers of the Throne. Conspicuously, the Hierarch’s security isn’t an Arrow contract, which has led to some resentment between the Guardians and the Arrow.

Los Angeles: Land of the Young

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