The Hidden Order of Sa'aris is a self-confessed 'family' of witches with a common interest in Celestials – more specifically Demons. They are renowned for their secretive nature, and rumours about their conduct are as freely flowing and contradictory as you would find for any such organisation. However, they have a very open - if obviously shallow - public face, which is very open to newcomers – once you have passed a few simple tests, to weed out those who are just doing it 'for a laugh' – and the official line on their secrecy is to prevent them having to answer the rudimentary 'no, Demons aren't actually evil' every hour of every day. That all being said, few could challenge their knowledge and efficacy when it comes to Demonic matters, when you actually manage to get to speak to someone with real authority, and if you have a well-defined question, or problem, they are highly recommended within witching circles. Furthermore, their somewhat illustrious leader, Amy Portis, is never far removed from any important witch you could choose to mention. The same could not exactly be said of many of the other members.
According to history on the subject – most of it curated and told by the Order themselves, so to be taken with a pinch of salt – the order came together in the early Nineteenth Century. The actual details of its foundation are lost1) but it is relatively well understood that it was originally simply a gathering of a like-minded group of friends. At first they would gather in cafés, houses, and even public parks to wax lyrical about their theories on life, magic, and especially the nature of Celestials. There are records from this time of gatherings from this time by those who call themselves the “Truthhunters of Humanity, in Paris”, or the “Promethean Seekers”, or a dozen other fanciful names. The Order lays claim to all of these groups.
What was at first an amorphous and outward-facing conglomerate soon changed into something distinctly more insular. The first reference to The Hidden Order of Sa'aris appears in the diary of one of its contemporary members in 1857; to greater witch culture this represented something of a watershed moment. While they still maintained an outward appearance of wanting to connect with unaffiliated witches, many of their meetings and rituals were shielded behind the barrier of membership. References to Initiates, the Entrusted, and the Beloved also arose around this time, and ever since it has been harder to separate the actions of the Order from simple rumour.
The prominence of the Order has waxed and waned over the years, but they have always been a bit of a fringe group: not viewed with suspicion, but more with bemusement. To many, they seem to share characteristics with entirely mundane groups that will tell you one thousand and one ways to perform magic: all of them wrong. Many have wondered why they should have such secrecy and mystery, when you can find perfectly adequate instructions on how to summon demons from any decently sized public library, or even from WikiHow. Those who have asked the members of the Order about this have received any number of responses from a knowing look and crooked smile, to a frank explanation that “It's not really about the magic; it's just the people, that I go for”. And, to their credit, their reach has spread beyond the confines of the UK, with Entrusted often coming from all over the globe.
Following the reveal of the Omen, and the announcement of the meetings to deal with the cracks in the sky, Amy Portis has made a series of wide-reaching promises as the current leader of the Order, consisting of “unprecedented collaboration with the wider witching community, in these unprecedented times”. What exactly is meant by this… only time can tell.
The Order is based out of an old Georgian mansion in the outskirts of the city of Bath: one which, if looked at with mundane eyes, would surely cost more to upkeep than would ever be worth it unless the owners had money to burn. The leader of the Order, currently Amy Portis, lives in this mansion with her closest friends and advisers: a council of six known as the Beloved. These seven then each have a number of the Order's main members, the Entrusted, attached to them to perform the order's duties and studies. Each group seems – to the outside world – to act either individually, or in concert, depending on nothing more than the whim of the Beloved in charge. Below the Entrusted are the Initiates: these are the new members who, while having proven that they are not here to simply waste the Order's time, have not yet gained the full trust of the group. In practise Initiates act much like Entrusted until they have proven themselves, but one expects that there are secrets that the order has not revealed to them.
As is obvious to anyone with even a fleeting interest in the Order, they like Demons. It is their common interest, and it is where they are reportedly most knowledgeable and experienced. They are often disdainful towards those who are trying to interact with Demons without working with or consulting them – tending instead to view them as inexperienced or even a danger to themselves and others. As a rule they are perfectly civil towards Angels and don't view them as a threat or a challenge, just as beings they're not interested in. However, relations with Gaians, and those that follow them closely, tend to be significantly chillier and the most public the Order tends to get is often during arguments and even outright conflict with them.