House Janissary was for a long time one of the Houses of the Order of Hermes. Acting as a clandestine police force within the Order, the group sought to stretch their influence to also assess the entirety of the Traditions.
After the secret history of House Janissary was discovered in the wake of the Conflagration, the group was involved in a deadly rivalry with the Euthanatoi, which resulted in the near-extinction of the House.
Drawing many inspirations from their namesakes, the Janissaries originally served as a sort of Internal Affairs or secret police for the Order of Hermes, although they sometimes extended their mandate to other Traditions. Members of House Janissary held extremely high standards about self-discipline and self-sacrifice, often derived from the teachings of House Quaesitor.
To their reasoning, this was done to allow the Order to fully prosper. "A Hermetic who seeks to perfect himself needs a perfect environment" was a saying among the House. By rooting out subversive elements and dangerous practices like Infernalism, the Janissaries protected the Order's integrity and assured their brethren the best atmosphere to practice their arts.
The secret roots of House Janissary could be traced to the House of Ixion, a secret cabal of magicians that sought to bring about Ascension. For a time, the group was allied to the Order of Reason, acting as a secret police known as the Ksirafai to the initiated. The alliance between the Order of Reason and the Ksirafai lasted until the 17th century, when members of the Convention decided that the Order had lost its initial purity. In 1716, the Ksirafai destroyed their last Construct, having eradicated nearly all evidences of their former existence as a part of the Order.
The former Fulmen of the Convention, a Turkish mage named Dincer Albayrak, approached the Order of Hermes. Citing the numerous victories he and his allies had achieved against the Order of Reason (mostly blows dealt against Constructs that had evidence of the Ksirafai), he asked to be admitted into the Order. They were accepted into House Ex Miscellanea as House Janissary, after the Turkish slave soldiers that served the sultan as an elite force. While Albayrak's understanding of Hermetic practice was lacking, he nonetheless encouraged his followers to adopt its trappings.
Soon after that, Albayrak searched for an apprentice that would continue to lead the House. He found one in Caeron Mustai, a young Bedouin with remarkable talent. Unbeknownst to Albayrak, Mustai had already been introduced into the philosophy of the Ahl-i-Batini by al-Khidr, the Green Man. When Mustai learned that the purpose of House Janissary was to bring Ascension, he quickly deduced from the Batini teachings that Ascension and Armageddon were one and the same. Choosing to turn away from Ascension in order to prevent the apocalypse, Mustai dedicated himself on making House Janissary his tool to prevent others from reaching Ascension and thus dooming the whole world.
Caeron Mustai knew that, in order to achieve his goal, he would need much more political weight than a mere House Ex Miscellanea. Through battle against the Order of Reason, political intrigue and personal charisma, House Janissary was made into a full Hermetic House in 1764. From this vantage point, the Janissaries encouraged strife within the Traditions (such as covering up the excesses of the Consanguinity of Eternal Joy, while blinding the other remnants of the Ixoi that had formed the Golden Chalice within the Euthanatoi) and used the old contacts of the Ksirafai to leak information about the Traditions to the newly invigorated Technocratic Union. In 1822, Albayrak, having been promoted as Primus of the House before, vanished after a visit to the Shard Realm of Forces. Mustai named himself his successor and launched an investigation to find infiltrators he blamed for his masters death. Since he apparently found several, the standing of House Janissary began to grew and in an unspoken alliance with House Quaesitor, the group achieved much internal power within the Order of Hermes. Mustai himself became a prominent figure in Doissetep, where he lead an inter-Tradition cabal known as the "Janissaries" in a bid to topple the Drua'shi under Porthos and become Deacon of the mightiest Chantry of the Council of Nine.
Eventually, House Janissary contributed to the political warfare-turned-deadly which destroyed Doissetep and some of the great Masters of the Order, in 1997. Mustai himself was responsible for the death of Porthos Fitz-Empress, apparently dying himself in the process. In the time period following Mustai's disappearance, House Janissary lost its stringent focus that had been their main source of strength. While cabals and individual mages of House Janissary still spied and collected information, no one knew to whom they reported. Charismatic figures, like Ah Ben-Shamazz, tried to steer the course of the House by repeating the importance of their group for orthodoxy within the Order, but without much success.
Through intel from the Orphic Circle gathered from the Underworld, the Albireo from the Euthanatos Tradition came into conflict with the remnants of the House. Citing the past of the group as part of Order of Reason, the Euthanatoi initiated a purge of the surviving Janissaries. Those who were found untainted by technocratic procedures, especially the younger members, were allowed to go free, but the role as an internal police force for the Traditions was now the mandate of the Euthanatoi. The remnants of House Janissary had lost all of its former political influence and soon dwindled to irrelevance.
The true extent of House Janissary is largely unknown to the public. Officially, the group consisted only of the cabal in Doissetep and several free agents. Rumors, however, tell that several mages and consors within the Order secretly pledged themselves to House Janissary.
The Janissaries closely worked together with House Quaesitor. Members of the House would visit covenants in an irregular schedule, watching for dissent and treachery before reporting to the next Quaesitor, who would then pay a visit to the Covenant to accuse those the Janissary had found wanting.
Under Mustai, the Janissaries had a public rivalry with the New World Order. Promoting to carry the Ascension War directly to the enemy, the House found applause among numerous younger members of the Traditions who wanted to fight the enemy directly. Rumors told that House Janissary was not above manipulating Orphans and non-Hermetic Tradition mages for their own agenda to fuel war.
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