The Necrosa Order
The Brotherhood of Enlightenment is not the only organization which existed before N-Day. Well before the arrival of superpowers on Earth, there was a legend of a secret-society of assassins which continued functioning centuries after its heyday during Renaissance Italy. Like the mafia, the Necrosa Order survived through codes of silence and family lineages which made it capable of existing far after someone should have brought the sinister group down. Unlike the mafia, the Necrosa Order has never been particularly large and its depravities keep anyone from glamorizing the group too much.
The Necrosa Order was founded not long after the Pazzi Conspiracy
when Lorenzo di Medici purged the family of its membership. In our world, that was the end of the story but in this one, Archbishop Francesco Salviati Riario
managed to escape from the lynch mob which killed him in ours. His death prevented the Pope from galvanizing support against Lorenzo but resulted in Archbishop deciding to create an organization of priests, laymen, and hidden Pazzi survivors to take their revenge.
What followed was a two year war with the Medici family consisting entirely of assassinations, sabotage, and banditry. The Necrosa Order, as it became known, incorporated secret oaths, costumes, and angelogy into their sect as they worked to overthrow Lorenzo. Amazingly, Lorenzo survived but not without the entire affair becoming a massive scandal. Hundreds were killed and the Necrosa Order was as infamous as the Borgias. In the end, Pope Sixtus IV was forced to declare them heretics and order the organization banned.
The fact the Pazzi survivors were engaging in common banditry to supplement themselves as well as leaving rather grumesome messages in public contributed to this. The Pazzi, supposedly, stole over a million ducats in gold during this time.
Quite a bit belonging to the Pope.
Unfortunately, by this time, the Necrosa Order had already established a great deal of wealth and power while becoming extremely fanatical in its opposition to Lorenzo. Pazzi survivors who were eliminated in our world survived and considered their losses intolerable. Changing their name but maintaining their meetings, they soon became involved in numerous plots against both the Medicis as well as the Pope. Both Sixtus IV and Lorenzo died two years earlier on Earth-0, neither of which gave the Necrosa Order the power or vengeance they desired.
The Necrosa Order survived by selling its services as guerilla mercenaries as well as assassins for the next few centuries. Branches even propped up in France and the Americas during the 17th century with New Orleans infamous for the "Satanic rites" of its murderous membership. They were particularly notable during WW1 and campaigns in Africa, where the families linked to the Order made fortunes war-profiteering as well as engaging in gross human rights abuses. Yes, even more so than usual.
The group was supposedly destroyed by Mussolini
in the 1930s but actually gained a revival as their assassination of him six months ahead of his death on our world gained them a kind of heroic reputation they quickly spent by supporting Operation: Gladio
. As always, the Necrosa Order used their situation to line their pockets as well as place corrupt members of their order in positions of political prominance.
N-Day proved a wind-fall for the Necrosa Order as almost 90% of its assassins gained superpowers. Their debased rituals to Samael and other angels of death all granted them supernatural powers, transforming them into a major power overnight. Orgies of succubi, blood-curses, and other weirdness made Italy a very troubled state for some time.
The Necrosa Order suffered a serious setback, though, when Moonatic
, The Innocent
, and The Mysterious Jedi
joined Italy's Five Stars
team in The Cleansing of Florence
. The relatively minor heroes destroyed all of their demonic allies and the majority of their family leadership perished in the fire which resulted from their attempts to summon Samael (and which, instead, summoned "The Archangel"). With the timely assistance of Mister Arcane
, the city was saved and the Necrosa Order destroyed.
Which is why the family has moved its headquarters to their Upstate New York mansions as well as their business offices to Manhattan. They have also signed a permanent treaty with the Netherworld
, proividing that body with access to some of the world's greatest assassins. This doesn't stop them from being employed by the Octagon or Organization, however.
Or PART, for that matter.
As can be imagined, the Cleansing is something which bothers them tremendously. It's not just they lost. It's that they lost to THOSE three heroes. They have standard bounties on all three of them as well as Mister Arcane but no one has collected yet. The presence of Slayer in New York City has given them plenty of opportunities to try and kill him--so many, they've started employing the Wax Works to attack him on a regular basis with clone Italian ninjas.
Necrosa Order assassins come in three varieties. The first are regular humans recruited for their skill as assassins. The Necrosa Order searches the Special Forces of the world as well as the criminal underworld for sociopaths who possess skills above and beyond the call of duty. They have former CIA, Mossad, and even Jihadist members in addition to their family-raised ones. These are called Brothers
in the order. High Brothers
are those members who display a little something extra and by a little something, I mean the non-powered members are more or less evil Batmen. A High Brother of the Order is usually theatrical, insane, and fully possessed of action-movie abilities--only they're the villains. Vega from Street Fighter is a stereotypical Necrosa Order member, though Italian instead of Spanish. High Brothers tend to be members of the Pazzi family and possessed of inherited mental illness as well as sociopathy (particularly narcissism, sociopathy, disassociative personality disorder, or schizophrenia).Bishops
are members who possess supernatural powers. They used to merely handle the rituals of the group as well as financing but have since gone on to become Archangel cultists. Despite this, they remain as greedy and self-serving as ever, balancing their loyalty to the Order with the horrific debased rites they conduct in their god's name.
The Head of the Necrosa Order is the Vicar of Samael
who is, by tradition, the greatest assassin in the group. The current one is a wizened old man who somehow has been energized to be the most dangerous killer in the world. He is also a necromancer of considerable power and stores the souls of every one of the people the Necrosa Order kills. He's keeping this energy for reasons that his Bishops do not yet understand.
He intends to create a Rapture--a non-Catholic belief--which will give all of the world to the Archangel.