Quaerentes in Extremis
Mercere is a House of heralds, messengers, merchants, and adventurers. Most members of the House have no magical Gift, yet they are protected by the Code out of recognition for all the work they do for the Order. However, within the House is a very small group of Gifted Magi with secret techniques of their own. There are about 150 Mercere in the Order, traveling constantly but based in special Covenants called Mercer Houses. The Domas is Harco in the Roman Tribunal
History of the House
Mercere was a world traveler whose magic descended from Roman fertility rituals and shapechanging magic. Once the Order was founded, he based his House at a place called Harco, in northern Italy. But in a lab accident Mercere lost his Gift and he went into seclusion for a decade. When he emerged, he began taking mundane apprentices and training them to serve the Order. The selfless dedication of Mercere and his followers managed to persuade the other magi of the Order to accept the “new” House Mercere as full members of the Order even though they lacked magical powers.
These mundane members of the House came to be called Redcaps and over the centuries the Order came to rely more and more upon them — to deliver messages, to maintain trade routes, to troubleshoot problems, and to blaze new trails in Mythic Europe. Redcaps can be recruited into the House from any background or origin, but before Mercere lost his Gift he did train two apprentices, and this tradition survives to this day. There are about a dozen of these Gifted Mercere in the Order.h3. House Activities
Redcaps act as couriers. In addition to simple letters and books which are sent from one Covenant to another, Redcaps also bring invitation to Tribunals and they deliver official notice of Wizard War. Redcaps also act as magical merchants for the Order, exchanging vis, providing vis loans, or pawning enchanted objects for vis. As Hermetic bankers, Redcaps can store vis for magi or extend letters of credit. Finally, Redcaps are adventurers, aiding the Order as mercenaries and guardians, hired as spies or agents by other magi. Some Redcaps eschew their official duties and spend their lives wandering the roads of Europe as minstrels and poets.
Magi of House Mercere are all related by blood to Mercere the Founder. They maintain very close ties to their non-Gifted brothers and often make enchanted items or longevity rituals for other Mercere. Some follow the traditions of the ancient Cult of Mercury; these magi should have the Major Hermetic Virtue Mercurian Magic. They cast ritual spells easier than other magi and are especially good at cooperating with other magi to cast spells in tandem. Those Gifted Mercere who are descended from the Founder’s second son Mutantes display great control over their magic. With the proper training, they can modify a spell’s range or duration during casting, dispel an effect before it runs its normal course, or even grant control of one of their spells to another person.