“Know you not that Allah is able to do all things?”
-The Holy Qur’an, 2:106
The Ahl-I-Batin were no strangers to pogrom. The Technocracy has been hunting them for a century or more. The Batini escaped the worst of the Reckoning’s fires by going outward, not inward. The Batini can still be found in the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, but the majority of the Craft now exists everywhere but there. Disturbed by the flames of the Ascension War, the Craft realized that if it was to make a difference in their war against the Nephandi they would have to change. It was the Batini who put out the first feelers of what would become the Disparate Alliance, bringing their message of Unity to those who could no longer stand alone.
As Technocratic forces escalated under the cover of Middle East violence, the Batini chose global unity over defending their ancestral territories. It isn’t that they can no longer be found in the Middle East. Fare from it. It’s more that they watched the Traditions stumble and fall under the burden of “tradition”, and chose to embrace the modern world as well. Europe, the Far East, Africa, and the Americas all boast numerous little Khanates, the word the Batini have come to call their chantries. Operating in a cell structure, but overseen by the Qtubs from the Digital Web or from afar, the Batini are possibly the largest Awakened global conspiracy outside the Technocracy. Not that you would know it. Having faced off against this massive foe has taught them a thing or two about the modern world, and their practices reflect those lessons. The Batini now weave a web of unity that spans continents, culture, and language.
The Darwushim are the whirling dervishes of the Batini and its foremost experts in the study of Quintessence. Easily its most traditional faction, the once a small sub-sect located outside of Baghdad was forced to abandon its ancient Khanate during the occupation of Iraq. Seeing the preservation of their ancestral home as an impossibility, the Darwuishim all underwent Occultation and vanished. When the Technocracy arrived the operatives found only a Periapt in the shape of tessellation in the tiles of the floor. The Technocratic team sent to sterilize the Node there were never heard from again.
Darwuishim emerged after the Storm to aid their Craft in locating new Nodes to support the Alliance, but their numbers cannot meet the demand. There are currently only 10 Darwuishim able to enter the frenzied state required to perform the potent magicks, and they are now spread out across the world searching for the rare modern individual capable of attempting their difficult and ascetic path.
The Bretheren of the United Soul (Ikhwan at-Tawid)
The Ikhwan-at-Tawhid trains the bulk of the Batini’s warriors and assassins. In the past the sub-sect maintained training centers hidden in the merciless Arabian desert they now train small groups worldwide. Earth, after all, has no shortage of inhospitable places like deserts and jungles – those places have fewer distractions and make for tougher soldiers. The agents of the Ikhwan-at-Tawid are perhaps the most adept hunters of Nephandi on the face of the Earth, trained to excel at the deadly games of cat-and-mouse the Fallen Ones play. The Ikhwan-at-Tawhid began accepting women in the 1990s, but their style has grown increasingly technomantic, adopting many practices and instruments of their enemies in the Technocracy. The
The original Paradise Garden was located in Isfahan, Iran, and this group of Batini maintain their largest training center there, though its operations have gone clandestine worldwide since the Reckoning. The Paradise Garden is responsible for training those who extend the Batini network and maintain the unity of the Craft, including techniques on how to interrogate and resist interrogation, stealth, wilderness and urban survival, self-defense, politics and psychology. The Paradise Garden’s mind sphere techniques are as advanced and as formidable as those of the New World Order.
The Silk Cartel was once dismissed as an outmoded collection of Alchemists practicing outdated techniques, dwindling in influence and prestige among the Ahl-i-Batin. No longer. Since the Reckoning this faction of Batini has modernized in a hurry, developing a rapid understanding of modern economic and social theory and how Magick can be worked through a whisper. They have many responsibilities, including supplying resources and financing for the Craft, in addition to striking against Nephandi and their allies in the economic sphere. This faction knows that society itself has become the Labyrinth, and the Silk Cartel have become guides and navigators. Many of their theories and newly evolved techniques are superficially similar to those used by the Syndicate, but where the Syndicate believes people should adapt to work within the systems that Convention champions, the Silk Cartel know that systems are shaped by and must serve people and their needs and desires. Though the ancestral home of this faction lies in Samarkand, Uzbekistan and its origins in the Silk Road, during the 21st century this faction of Batini has gone global, in order to better provide resources to the other Khanates and the Disparate Alliance. While lessons in High Ritual Magick and Alchemy are still important to members of this faction, its most important practice has become the Art of Desire.
University of Light
The most exclusive of the five Khanates remains the University of Light, all of whom have studied under its Murshid, Miriam ben Hamida. The University still maintains its hidden chantry in the city of Jerusalem, but cultivated several secondary campuses outside the Middle East, most notably in Zurich, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Montreal, Sao Paul, and most recently in Los Angeles. All of these operate covertly within the fronts of major universities from which they are able to recruit new members of the Khanate. Students begin their training locally, but all eventually spend time under the strict guidance of Hamida in the ancestral chantry in Jerusalem.
Batini In Los Angeles
The first mosque in Los Angeles was founded in 1952. Today, there are over half a million people living in L.A. who identify as Muslim or Middle-Eastern in origin. To outsiders who’d study the Ahl-i-Batin, of which there are few – they would assume that is when the Subtle Ones first arrived in L.A. They would be wrong. Though their history is intertwined with that of Sufism and Sunni Islam, the Batini have never been wholly Islamic. In their pursuit of Unity, they have always counted Christians, Jews, and other mystics among their number. In their war against the Fallen, they have spanned the length and breadth of the world.
The Batini work in L.A. the same way they do everywhere – quietly. They do not have a base of power, instead keeping their organization in the city wholly personal and clandestine, assisting and advising and in turn receiving support and succor for the other members of the Disparate Alliance as needed. The Batini are always everywhere and nowhere, but if one knows how to look you’ll find them in plain sight. They operate out of a chain of mini-marts with forgettable names like Joe’s Convenience or Blessings Corner Store. You know the places that get robbed in movies, but in reality are just where you get gas, buy phone cards, and junk food on your way home from work. Simply called The Shop, the Batini operate a tightly organized and paranoid surveillance and espionage operation. How many Batini are present in Los Angeles is unclear, possibly because they operate in a cell structure and numbers change based on need. There is always at least one group on the ground at any given time. The cells are coordinated by a Qtub with the handle Vienna, and their identity is completely unknown. Only Vienna knows all. Everyone else only knows what they need to know. They communicate only via the Digital Web or the dark internet. There are rumors that they are the Sphinx or are involved with it.
The Batini are the supreme authority on Magickal stealth among all the Crafts. Most possess some degree of the Arcane background, and only the Batini can raise it above 5 dots, a process which they call “Occultation.” Undergoing occultation is a choice that must be seriously contemplated, as it carries serious consequences for the Subtle One and their life. As Occultation increases, reality itself seems to progressively edit the Mage out. It begins with close friends and family forgetting who the mage is, and at the very highest level, even the mage themselves will at times forget their own identity, and fade from existence in the material world.
Like Arcane 1-5, raising your Arcane to the 6th and 7th dots through Occultation increases the difficulty of attempts to identify or track the mage per the lower levels of the background. However, when attaining the 8th through 10th dots, the nature of the supernatural occlusion changes so that the Batini’s Arcane rating determines the number of successes automatically subtracted from the dice roll to track or identify them, Magickally or otherwise. For more information, see the Revised book Lost Paths pg. 39.