The Underground Secular (TUS, or The Secular) is a now-defunct historical occult that was present in Brookham since the Roman Occupation until its dissolution in the 1700s, and its true death after the murder of Sir Benedict Grimsley, the last direct descendent of one of the original founders and only surviving modern member of the organisation.
The Secular was established to harness negative spiritual energy, created by a time of chaos and renewal some thousand years ago, currently remaining in this world. Using this energy, the Secular can summon and attract monsters and mythical beasts for a number of reasons, mostly for studying and understanding the world in deeper inspection. It is theorised that masterful harnessing and comprehension of this energy will enable mortals – or in this case, the members of this occult – to access the deeper aspects of our world that make it full of mystery and wonder, and provide answers to introspective questions posed by humankind for generations.
As of Sir Benedict’s death, this purpose remains unaccomplished.
The Underground Secular originated from natives of ‘a land grieved and deserving‘. This land has never been named, and is assumed to be purposely done to eradicate any memory of it. Nevertheless, the negative spiritual energy created from whatever tragedy befallen this land has been used by members for thousands of years.
The Secular originally believed in a goddess, but that belief has died over time and in favour of the more effective results of the energy, and became secular, hence its name.
This group is nomadic, migrating and returning to many areas of the Mediterranean and cities part of the cradle of civilisation. Examples are Spain, Africa, Greece, Rome, Mesopotamia, the Indus River, and many others.
It eventually evolved into its simplified modern reincarnation during the time of the Roman Empire. Hydras, chimaeras and minotaurs summoned by the secular was wiped out easily, and the political/societal issues of the day prevented the desired fear needed to keep the negative energy circulating.
When Romans begin to occupy Britannia, the Secular followed, to explore possibilities and take advantage of the lack of external disturbance, and the feeling of unknown and apprehension in the new island’s exploration.
History in Brookham
Stationed in quiet, hilly Brookham, its location and dense forests prove perfect for the Secular’s activities. They settled in a territory now known as St. Victor’s Place, built an extensive underground catacomb under the Roman cemetery (now part of St. Victor’s Graveyard), and continued their study of the paranormal and supernatural.
The Secular made strides in progress over the centuries, creating a feedback of fear from the residents’ over unknown sights and sounds (whether imagined or real) in this strange isolated part of the island, and managing a plentiful buffer of negative energy to support these creatures.
Christianity crept slowly and suddenly in Brookham, encasing its people away from the consequences of the occult. Faith began to disturb the Secular, but their presence remained strong in the background of Brookham.
A small church was built close to the catacomb, then it started to claim the field above the catacomb for its burial grounds, and then it wanted to consecrate the field.
The church had to go.
In the summer of the early 1200s, a fire razed the simple and small church, burning it to the ground. Much to the Secular’s surprise, the monks and priests of the church were extremely ambitious, and decided to build a better, and bigger church – a cathedral!
Near the end of the 13th century, Brookham populated and thrived, the cathedral was complete, and the field definitely expanded to keep up demand for burial grounds. The Secular found no purpose anymore in trying to attempt anything with the cathedral, and decided to co-exist with the Yin-and-Yang the church presented.
The 1700s was noted as a very dark time for the Secular. At this point they have already begun to interact with a number of Nightcrawlers, and designated Brookham as a point of ‘purgatory’ a long time ago.
Interacting with Brookham Night has its consequences with Daydwellers, and it started slowly, starting with the sudden deaths of family members for strange and whimsical reasons (kicked by a horse and drowned in the river, a badly-aimed arrow, the second Bubonic Plague), decimating the membership considerably.
The sudden curse drove a majority of the surviving members away, who all died somehow in some way in the end before another generation, leaving the rest despondent and waiting for their deaths, as another century passes.
The Underground Secular was officially discontinued in 1787.
Sir Benedict Grimsley
Sir Benedict Grimsley, of the Grimsley family, until 1841, was the last surviving member of a family part of the Secular. The Grimsley family participated in every ritual and study since Roman times, and their family tomb is one of two access points for the catacomb.
In Central Brookham, he was noted for his over-the-top and eccentric nature, possibly due to witnessing many deaths of close family friends and family members since his childhood. A lonely man, he spent his years attempting to collect Nightcrawlers, feeding his pet crayfish, and dedicating his passion to curiousity cabinets.
He died from a mysterious murder, hinting towards foul play.
The aftereffects of The Underground Secular has been felt throughout the ages since its settlement in modern-day Brookham. Brookham is now a capital for Nightcrawlers and the Spirits due to its excess of negative spiritual energy, and the continual fear of the unholy and the unknown as well as the strong religious faith of Brookers.
Internationally, many strange events that happened (sightings, weird phenomena, etc) are the result of the Secular, along with fellow organisations.
The negative energy has become so strong that if a Daydweller becomes involved in Brookham Night, the same curse that killed the entire Secular is attached to this individual, and if that individual is unlucky to have died in unrest, will become part of Night themselves.
The Ministry of Dangerous Anomaly (MoDA) exists to protect Daydwellers from this fate.