Dark Orchid Society
A secret Elw nationalist group, the Dark Orchid Society considers the indigenous Elwynnese to be the last uncorrupted bastion of Humanity on the continent of Benacia and are dedicated to the unification of Shireroth under the Banner of Kalir and also to the eradication of all non-human sentient life on the planet.
It was the Dark Orchid Society that approached Daniel Simrani-Kalirion with the proposal to participate in the Coup of 1604 and in the recruitment of Tokaray al-Osman, one of the last surviving members of the Osmanid Faction to lead the attack on the Bailiwick of Mariyechelân which caused the government of Steward Isurui to rapidly collapse.
The Dark Orchid Society retreated into the background during the era of the Coordinated State, although its symbol was adopted as the banner of the Union Defence Force and the Hall of Tranquillity. The purging of many of its key operatives and supporters during the brief interlude of Communist rule saw the Society severely disrupted and unable to capitalise on the counter-coup organised by Tokaray al-Osman which cleared the way for the Kalirion Restoration.
The abdication of Prince Jonathan on the 9th of Vixaslaa in the year 1623 and the appointment of Hallbjörn Haraldsson as Steward, and effectively as regent, for Thorstein Noah, a man strongly associated with the culture and identity of Stormark in the popular imagination of the time, sparked widespread concern and alarm amongst secularists and Elwynnese nationalists. From this moment on there was a quiet but steady uptick in recruitment and fundraising by sympathisers of the Society. Many cells at this stage were self-organising and rather inchoate groupings of dissidents.
The Dark Orchid Society was accused of involvement in the poisoning of Noor Bint Simrani-Kalirion, the Queen of Goldshire and Royal Consort Mortal to the King of Elwynn, an episode that resulted in the miscarriage of their first child. It subsequently transpired that it was, in all probability, the work of the Assayers.
The Society has agents spread through out the human populations of Eastern Benacia, particularly in Alalehzamin and Utasia, Goldshire, Shirekeep and the Ancient Midlands, where it is believed to have forged links with the Brotherhood of Lest. Its strongest presence however is in the sparsely populated Vale of Angularis where its supporters work alongside brigands such as Sighvat the Yardistani.
After an unsubstantiated rumour of a threat to the life of Queen Noor, following close on the previous miscarriage, resulted in the issuing of the Royal Decree of 18 Araroqpinu 1635 and the deployment of Longship Guards, Cudgellers and local enforcement officers to the Bailiwick of Allswell, the Dark Orchid Society began to step up its activities in the Vale of Angularis.
Under the cover of suicide bombings attempted in against hospitals and the garrisons of Gentlemen-at-Cudgels in Tielion Loki and Azeroth, 09 Elroqpinu 1635, the disparate terrorist groups and brigands sponsored by the society began a steady withdrawal westwards towards the untamed frontier with Minarboria and Tellia. There the Society began to try to organise the militants into the core cadre of what they aspired to have become the Elwwehr, a national liberation army, although shortages of manpower, weapons and munitions, means that this 'army' is scarcely equal to a division of light infantry, currently with around 18,000 men and women under arms, only a third of whom have undergone any formalised basic training. The best that most will hope for is to be given a gun and some rudimentary instruction whilst on the march to the west. The rebels for the most part attempted to travel by night and avoided settlements and main roads, reducing the risk of detection whilst considerably slowing their progress. Under orders from the society, no band is to be greater than one-hundred and fifty men in number whilst on the move until they reach the mustering zone, in an attempt - probably forlorn - to prevent the movement being compromised by having any greater number caught in security dragnets. The rebel groups are cellular in structure and currently known only to the leaders and their handlers who remain concealed in civil society, to limit exposure if any one band is captured and interrogated.
Tokaray al-Osman temporarily parted company with the Dark Orchid Society, sensing that they are moving too fast towards a direct confrontation with the Kingdom of Elwynn, which was able to call upon superior firepower, air support, artillery and the massed ranks of the Longship Guards, the Union Defence Force and the Gentlemen-at-Cudgels. As such his priority at that time was to secure the removal of his newly acquired family and retainers out of the Vale.
Sighvat the Yardistani remained aloof from the rising tide of insurgency, focusing instead on his own depraved holy war, which revolved around trying to isolate and storm the Elwynnese administered Tellian enclave of Scoglitto. This lack of unity amongst the rebel groups ultimately doomed the uprising, which was brutally subdued by Thorgils Tarjeisson in 1642. The revolt itself however transpired to be a piece of strategic misdirection on the part of the society's higher leadership.
The Dark Orchid Society was instrumental in the funding and creation of the ESB-Jörmungandr Group as a deep cover sleeper cell intended to subvert the Froyalanish occupation of Elwynn. The Oustfest Massacre and the assassination of Kaiser Dominus occurred after the Dark Orchid Society became concerned that the Kaiser, whom they had sponsored since before his founding of the ESB in Teldrin, had become corrupted by a love of luxury and an inclination to compromise. Instead they wished to install Tokaray al-Osman on the throne and to unleash a war between humanity and Liches that would have destabilised the continent of Benacia and cleared the way for the overthrow of the Elwynnese Monarchy. The conspiracy was fatally compromised however by the inclusion of Adam Ayreon-Kalirion in its ranks; his intemperate bragging and lack of discretion, resulted in the leaking of an audio-transcript of an argument between himself and Tokaray in which, inexplicably, they resorted to listing their respective crimes to one another. From that moment the coup lost all legitimacy and the path to the Imperial throne was cleared for a vengeful Noor. Tokaray barely escaped into the torments of the netherworld with the Sword of Vengeance whilst Adam was set upon the convoluted path that would lead finally to matricide and his own squalid death in a cell on the island of Ura'Bos.
After the Year of the Four Kaisers, the Dark Orchid Society was once more on the back-foot. The only saving grace of a disastrous year was that Daniyal Dravot, the last surviving founder of the ESB, was able to secure the wealth and offices of the Tarjeisson Trust and the hand in marriage of Adam's former wife, giving them access to the Imperial Bloodline, the stewardship and the Kingdom of Goldshire. By now however, enemies were circling and Daniyal and Liv, whose hatred of her son - born of rape by Adam - made her an ideal recruit to the cause, were obliged to flee once more in 1648; pursued by the daemonic shade of Tokaray al-Osman who was possessed by the frenzied desire to torment and destroy every living creature who had failed him.
With the return of Liv and Daniyal, now with the wife as the dominant member of the pairing, in 1651, the events that began with the Struggle for the South and culminated in the Auspicious Occasion saw the genuine unpopularity and brittleness of the House of Ettlingar Freyu exposed and subjected to shattering blows. By now however, the Dark Orchid Society was an almost powerless remnant of its former self, incapable of little more than capturing the White Orchid Temple in Araxion, which it subsequently rededicated to Lest. The society remained on the margins whilst popular democratic and nationalist forces seized control in Eliria and began to reforge the Elwynnese Union.