The Order of Ancient Mysteries was an occult organisation.
In 1520 a young Markovian named Vigo learned magic. How he achieved this is unknown (some claimed he made a pact with demons or the Devil himself while other sources insist he stole a book of dark magic from his witch paramour), but once he had a taste for magic, Vigo let nothing so trivial like laws, morals, or decency stop him from this pursuit. Using his arcane powers, Vigo became the court magician and then soon took the lordship, too.
Vigo attracted occult specialists from all over Europe and funded their studies and heinous experiments. Uniting these magicians, alchemists, warlocks, and summoners under his banner, Vigo hoped to restore the lost magic of Ancient Atlantis and so named this society of sorcery the Order of Ancient Mysteries. He named himself its first Grandmaster.
When Carpathia was not enough power to continue funding his dark pursuits and arcane experiments, Vigo conquered the neighboring realm of Moldavia as well. He was recognized as a "Prince" by the Markovian crown just to keep him satisfied and prevent him from marching on the royal city and taking the crown himself.
The people of Carpathia and Moldavia were in a constant state of spiritual turmoil thanks to Vigo's despotic rule and the land itself was corrupted by the foul experiments he conducted in his mountain castle. These facts earned him the infamous named the "Scourge of Carpathia" and the "Sorrow of Moldavia."
Across all of Europe, Vigo was said to be a powerful magician and a genius in many ways, but he was also known as a tyrant, an autocrat, a lunatic and a genocidal madman. Vigo slaughtered thousands of his enemies and hundreds of his own subjects. Soon he became known as "Vigo the Cruel," "Vigo the Torturer," and "Vigo the Despised."
When he survived generations longer than his contemporaries, it was obvious he was using dark magic to sustain himself. If Carpathia and Moldavia were ever to be free of "Vigo the Unholy" they would have to do it themselves.
A young Markovian king led Vigo's subjects in revolt. Vigo was poisoned, shot, stabbed, hung, stretched, disemboweled, drawn and quartered, and beheaded. Just before his head succumbed to death, Vigo uttered this warning: "Death is but a door. Time is but a window. I shall return!"
Fawny Rig Cell
It's headquarters were in Fawny Rig, England.
In 1987 in Fawny Rig the Order and a vampire cult called Abyssia tried to summon Death of the Endless but due to being called away by the Manhattaning they trapped her brother Dream instead. Vampires killed the cultists and left, except Mary Seward. She remained in Fawny Rig for a while and assumed the identity of the Order's librarian and when the Order sent more of its members to reclaim Fawny Rig, Mary infiltrated their ranks. With the Lord of Dreams captured, the Order of Ancient Mysteries used power siphoned from the Endless to enable them to explore and exploit the Dreaming in ways they had previously been unable. Mary used the opportunity to improve her mystical power and slowly turn every member of the Order into her vampiric vassal. The Order of Ancient Mysteries ceased to be, at least its Fawny Rig division, and was replaced by the Cult of the Blood Red Moon under Mary's guidance.
But before the cell's fall, the cult's harvested essence from the Endless made its way to the Order's other cells. This essence became a hot commodity among the Order after the rise of Norsefire made most remaining cells of the Order quite skittish about venturing to the English estate where their prisoner was held.
Star City Cell (Shandorians)
In the 20th century the Star City cell led by grandmaster Ivo Shandor made contact with Gozer the Gozerian. Through meetings in the Dreaming, Gozer shared with Ivo corrupted insight into what was needed to prepare for their arrival.
From 1919 to 1929, the Bering Arms Hotel of Star City played host to the Shandorians. Their earliest attempt at summoning Gozer was to summon "hungry demons" which they hoped would wreck havoc on the American food supply. The timing could not have been better as it would have the nation, about to begin to suffer through the Great Depression, a prime target for Gozer's return.
However, due to errors in the summoning ritual's construction, a semi-corporeal manifestation of gluttony was conjured instead. Looking for food, this entity immediately tore into the Order's stockpile of essence which had been stored in liquid form in vials. The Order tried in vain to banish their mistake, but as they failed to identify what the entity was they used incorrect exorcism rites and watched as a decade of essence collection was devoured in minutes. When it finished, the entity went in search of more food in other parts of the hotel. When the Order moved their operations to the newly constructed Shandor Building, they left behind a binding ward on the hotel which sealed the entity inside the hotel. Shandor failed to see the fruits of his efforts, thwarted by another secret society, but his work would later be continued.
In the modern times member of the cult Albert Davis had been given the assignment of conducting an inventory on the cell's relics. Most of the relics he found were beyond his skill level but there was one amulet of which he became quite fond. The foolproof amulet contained a special essence crystal that acted as an incubator, producing more of whatever essence it was fed. Davis had experienced a lucid dream during a group ritual which used up most of what little Dream essence the Star City cell had remaining, but in his cataloging, Davis found one more vial of the essence which he fed to the forgotten amulet. The process of replicating the potent essence of an Endless was slow, but the amulet produced enough 'juice' in a twenty-four hour period to allow one person, Davis, to practice a particularly vivid means of lucid dreaming on a nightly basis.
While Davis had only intended to use this as a private diversion, his nightly escapades in the Dreaming eventually would lead him to go exploring the castle at the center of the land. Davis had learned enough tricks in his prior lucid adventures to avoid the detection of the guards and servants of the castle. The only being that was likely to discover his trespass was sealed away in a basement in Wych Cross. During one of these explorations, Davis felt a tug at his consciousness that drew him to a cupboard where he found a jar filled with an inky black substance. The jar itself urged Davis to take it from the cupboard and shatter it on the floor, but when Davis touched the jar he set off a warding spell which summoned the castle's guardians and steward at once. In his panic, Davis left the jar and threw himself out the nearest window, causing him to awaken abruptly.
While he continued to explore the Dreaming, Davis did not return to the castle. He constantly found himself thinking about the jar and what it may have contained, but he dared not risk exposing his ill-gotten amulet to the castle's occupants. But while Davis was content to no longer seek out the jar, the same could not be said for the occupant of the jar's interest in Davis. The glass container was the prison of Azazel, one of the Fallen Lords of Hell, trapped there for his offending of Morpheus several years prior to the Endless' imprisonment in the basement of Fawny Rig. Azazel's limited connection to Davis gave the demon the means to track Davis through his limited ability to act in the mortal realm. When Azazel discovered Davis' access to the Order of Ancient Mysteries, Azazel began forming a plan.
Azazel confronted Davis, urged him into making a pact. Azazel's followers helped Davis with accumulating actual sorcerous power and relics which, in turn, allowed him to rise to the ranks of the Order's grandmaster within Star City (once the previous grandmaster was dispatched). In exchange for Azazel's help in helping Davis gain power, respect, and prestige, the newly-minted grandmaster used the Order of Ancient Mysteries to give the demon greater influence in the mortal realm... at least, that's all Davis thought he was doing. In truth, Azazel was also planting his own cultist and infernal followers within the ranks of the Order. With Davis easily bent by Azazel's manipulations, Azazel was able to use the OAM of Star City to lay the foundations for a grand plan. But in order to accomplish what Azazel had engineered, the OAM needed a greater source of power than the architectural conduit was harvesting. To that end, Azazel urged Davis to capture a being of immeasurable power, similar to the imprisoned entities of other cities and locations. Davis suggested the Endless in Wych Cross, but when the OAM ventured back to England to attempt a transport of their prisoner, they found Morpheus had been freed.
Around this same time, Azazel's activity had been discovered by the recently returned Morpheus. To remedy this, the Endless placed the glass jar in a cupboard with more powerful warding. While the demon could still exert some power on the mortal realm, it took him some time to develop countermeasures to his new confinement. During this period, Davis and Azazel lost contact with one another, and Davis was forced to devise an alternative means of finding a powerful entity. Whatever it was he found was not able to be properly confined or the esoteric properties of the Order's building were not aligned to those of the imprisoned entity. There was a lot of extra essence being bled out into the surrounding city, essence which drew supernatural predators and caused restless spirits to grow in power.
On June 13th two demonic entities, Zuul and Vinz Clortho, managed to possess Dana Barrett and Louis Tully. The pair headed over to Dillin Tower and ascended to the rooftop where a number of occultists with the Order of Ancient Mysteries were waiting for them. Albert Davis welcomed the demons to the event. Vinz Clortho used the energy taken from the containment unit to fashion "the key" and then began an infernal ritual with Zuul and with the occultists in attendance opened the gate between dimensions and unleash Hell on Earth.
As Ghostbusters arrived at the rooftop, so did Gozer from an infernal gate on the rooftop, looking like a beautiful woman. During the ensuing battle Gozer agreed to quell the storm if the Ghostbusters could defeat her champion. Gozer demanded the Ghostbusters choose the form their champion will take. Ray Stantz inadvertently recalled a beloved corporate mascot from his childhood, and Gozer summons forth the remaining essence in the clouds and uses it to materialize the "Stay Puft" Marshmallow Man.
The Ghostbusters watch in horror as the Marshmallow Man lays waste to the city, smashing buildings and seemingly unharmed by the actions of the police, Team Arrow, and other responding heroes, much to Gozer's delight at the carnage. The Ghostbusters demand that Gozer bring the Marshmallow Man to them so they can end this. Egon Spengler tells the team to ignore the advancing Marshmallow Man and instead tells them to ignore his earlier advice about never crossing the streams of their proton packs. Egon insists that they need to cross their proton energy streams at Gozer. With not much else to lose, the Ghostbusters rally up and confront Gozer directly. The archdemon laughs it off as the Ghostbusters fire their streams at her again. She appears to be absorbing the energy and possibly becoming supercharged by it. She taunts them, telling them they are wasting their time. At Egon's signal, they cross their streams and get to see Gozer's reaction as the energy she was absorbing suddenly shifts polarity. The resulting explosion destroys Gozer's physical form, banishing her from this dimension, and causes Stay Puft to explode into a sticky, delicious paste that scatters over nine city blocks.
This wasn't the end as more demons, including Trigon, entered the world. This proved to be a trial by fire for the re-established Justice League and after weeks of battling and waves of heroes coming to Star City's aid, the curse was lifted by the Green Arrow killing Albert Davis whose own lifeforce turned out to be the key needed to seal the gateway he had opened.
- Vigo the Carpathian - Founder and the first Grandmaster. After his death he became a revenant bound to his painting. In his evil painting, Vigo bided his time, waiting for an opportunity to return.
- Ivo Shandor - Shandor was an architect and a doctor (according to Tobin's Spirit Guide he performed a lot of "unnecessary surgery.") After the First World War, Shandor decided that society was too sick to survive. He wasn't alone in his assessment and his sect had grown close to a thousand followers. Ivo wanted to bring the end of the world, and made contact with Gozer the Gozerian. Ivo design many buildings in the city: City Hall, the Bering Arms Hotel, the Science Building at Seaview island, and the Shandor Building (currently known as Dillin Tower).
- Albert Davis - The youngest grandmaster of the Order. Albert joined the Order to pursue a "goth girl" he hoped to romance. After being rejected, Davis stuck around due to having made some friends within the Order (his first real meaningful social group) and also found that the Order had means to make his fairly miserable life more palatable. Killed by Green Arrow.
- Zoe Davis - Daughter of Albert, initiate of the Order, and member of Oliver Queen's political strategy team. She took her father's death hard, but she appears to be responding well to treatment and she is fully cooperating with the DEO.
Trivia and Notes
- The order studied the Endless. They managed to steal Death's ankh once to uncover its powers but found it worthless and when Death was next encountered, she had simply replaced it with an ankh bought from a novelty shop.
- Desire of the Endless is written rather favorably in the texts of the Order of Ancient Mysteries, despite having a vicious cruel streak.
- Death buying an ankh in a novelty shop is a nod to Death: The High Cost of Living.
- The Hell on Earth event is a nod to Green Arrow storyline "City Walls" from Green Arrow, Vol. 3 #35 - #39, and Ghostbusters movie, but with modifications.