The Societies may be few and their recruitment methods unkind, but a wealth of diverse choices can be found in smaller Cabals of more focused purpose. With so many options for the busy and routinely imperiled Secret Worlder to consider, it is sometimes suggested that recruiters attempt to distill the essence of their organization down to a single sentence. With this wisdom in mind, we present the following question:
“Have you ever clung to an old possession despite others urging you to throw it away, on the grounds that it still has value, or might prove useful in the future?”
If your answer is yes, we urge you to read onward. The Winged may be a good fit for you.
I. Our Mission
The Winged are a long-standing occult historical society. Our driving purpose is the preservation and understanding of the history of the Secret World, not merely the major aspects thereof, but the minor as well—the most obscure occurrences, the most trivial tomes, the lowest classes of cryptids.
Despite brash claims that it is written only by the victors, history knows no master clad in red, green, blue or any other hue. The Societies may compete evermore to possess the most powerful artifacts, and perhaps this is rightly their domain, but knowledge of our past is itself a source of great power. Even the most trivial historical footnotes may one day prove to be the solution to future crises.
Of course, preserving occult history is oftentimes a dangerous and delicate process, and there is a fine line that must be walked to protect supernatural knowledge while at the same time keeping it shrouded from the mundane world. To that end, we work in concert with organizations that share our goals.
II. Our Symbols
Over the years, our Cabal has been represented by two symbols. These are sometimes incorporated into the jewelry or clothing of our more dedicated members, and serve as a means of recognizing one another outside the safe zones of the Secret World.
The first is a winged humanoid figure in silhouette, embodying the concepts of freedom, potentiality and empowerment through knowledge. The wings have seven bands, representing the seven liberal arts of classical antiquity—the cornerstones of a free person’s knowledge.
The second is the Sankofa of the Akan people of West Africa, depicted as a bird that moves forward while gazing backward, carrying an egg in its beak. This symbol represents the importance of learning from the past, reminding us that we must look to our roots in order to achieve our full potential in the future.
While not without resources of our own, The Winged embrace a goal that is far too great in scope to be shepherded by any single organization. As such, we work freely and openly with the British Museum of the Occult, the Sunken Library of the Council of Venice, and assorted Cabals of similar purpose. Frequently the material we recover will be turned over to one of these bodies for safekeeping, rather than remaining in our hands, though we will personally house and protect any findings deemed too trivial by our partners.
Of course, it is well known that the Societies have their own vaults and libraries as well, and that items of significant power fall under their purview.
Where the Secret War is concerned, The Winged take a position of strict neutrality. However, please do not mistake this as a requirement that our members be free of factional affiliation, as we operate under no such rule. We believe that in most cases, it is irrelevant which Society our constituents call home, as we will largely be researching and recovering material that is either too minor to be a source of conflict, or is already known about on some level outside of the Societies.
Despite this, we realize there are circumstances in which affiliation may prevent some of our members from working together effectively, or may permit participation in some aspects of our work but not others. With this in mind, we encourage the formation of Wings, smaller teams focused on specific goals.
IV. The Grey Oath
The Oath below is provided as a reminder that our passion for preservation must be tempered by awareness of why the Secret World is thusly named, and that our findings must never fall before innocent eyes. We also share it for its historical significance, as variations of the verse have been adopted as a pledge of secrecy by numerous occult organizations throughout the years.
Secrets yours and secrets mine
We hold them dear and deep,
Betray them not, nor will I thine
For what is sown we reap,
And if in carelessness malign
This vow I fail to keep,
Then in the bed of my design
I shall forever sleep.
There is of course no other reason for our presentation of this Oath.