|For an overview of the holotapes, see Order of Mysteries (holotapes).|
The Order's origins go back to 2077 and the decision to put the Silver Shroud on the small screen. Expecting Shannon Rivers to be picked for the role, her husband, Frederick Rivers, put the fortune they amassed into replicating the gear and lair of the Mistress of Mystery, in a year-long secret effort. Together with Kent Connolly, a die-hard fan who provided input on nearly every design decision, Frederick built an entire, functional lair beneath the Riverside Manor. He's also hired the best stunt actors, martial artists, military trainers, a cavalcade of experts, one after another, to make sure she would master every technique she would need for the screen. Regardless of who would play the Shroud, the Mistress of Mystery would be ready for her debut after months of intense training.
Although the Great War erased Hubris Comics - and with it, the humiliation Shannon suffered when the executives decided to pick a younger, far less talented actress for the role - the Mistress would live on. On July 8, 2078, when the Rivers were accosted by raiders intending to rape Shannon's daughter, Olivia Rivers, her mother reacted instantly. Months of constant drilling and exercise with Frederick's hired trainers gave her a tremendous advantage over the attackers. They didn't expect her attack and were laid low in under a minute with no hesitation, several dead.
Olivia was instantly taken by her mother's heroic defense and asked her for training as a Mistress. Although Shannon was hesitant at first, she realized that the world changed and their daughter needs to defend herself. Shannon decided to fight herself as well - and pick up the mantle of the Mistress. A month later, she started to venture out regularly, donning the regalia created by Frederick, comprising a fully functional set of combat gear. The costume disguised her well and allowed her to fall back on her training. Her first major success was when she saved a caravan of refugees near Lewisburg from a raider attack. Shannon wouldn't know what to do. The Mistress did. An added benefit was that the training helped Shannon bond with her daughter.
However, that was a band-aid on a bigger problem. The Mistress couldn't be everywhere or help the countless orphans filling Appalachia. In November 2078, she started taking in orphaned girls, starting with three: Clarissa, Eve, and Amy, found rifling through the Rivers' garage. The sole boy, Brody Torrance, was sent away, causing no small amount of strife between Olivia and her mother. Together, they survived the winter, but the situation only worsened. By 2079, caravans passed outside the house constantly, with a few coming up to the manor. Shannon decided to keep taking orphans in, focusing on the most vulnerable: Girls. Together with Olivia and Frederick, they converted the Manor into an orphanage. However, something more was needed.
Thus, the Order was born around 2079, as Shannon, Frederick, and Olivia took girls in, gave them food, shelter, and training. They decided to also give them something more, an idea to fight for. The girls would become heroes Appalachia needed. The Order of Mysteries was founded as a sisterhood dedicated to upholding the virtues exemplified by the Mistress of Mystery: courage, cunning, and compassion. Under Headmistress Shannon Rivers, the Order would fight in the shadows to protect themselves, one another, and the people of Appalachia from any threat to their lives or liberty.
Conflict with the raiders
The new Order prospered and training intensified over the next several years. By February 2082, training has been going well and the Headmistress risked sending the older girls out on supply and data collection runs in pairs. Although she kept the more dangerous missions to herself, they're at the point where they could handle themselves with ease. The situation seemed stable, with raider activity at an all-time low since the Great War, except for the organized gangs hiding in the Savage Divide. Everything changed in December when David Thorpe's gang blew up the Charleston dam and flooded the city, nearly wiping the Responders out. The Headmistress, shocked by the savage act, decided that the raiders were more of a threat than anyone suspected and decided to focus the Order on extirpating them from the Divide.
She spent the winter of 2082/2083 reconnoitering raider positions in the mountains and having her pupils intercept Responder radio communications. The challenge was daunting: Raiders had multiple bases, dozens of checkpoints and sniper posts fortifying the region, and their numbers kept steadily growing. It was time to let the Mistresses loose against the raiders. The training regimen established by Olivia and Frederick, coupled with the secrecy of the organization, allowed the Order to strike hard and fast, then disappear into the shadows. By September 2084, the campaign was in full swing, with her daughter demonstrating immense competence and hubris. She regularly went above and beyond the call of duty. In one instance in September alone, she performed a flawless raid against the Garrahan Outpost, then went on to clear four sniper nests, a half-dozen beast dens, and a derelict military bunker before finally returning three days late. She dragged her Initiate, Rachel West, along for the ride to boot, on her first time in the field. Shannon found herself struggling to deal with her stubborn personality, mirroring her own. Olivia, once supportive and excited about the Order, was beginning to become disillusioned.
The campaign continued and the Order had a flawless performance record for nearly three years, until the first death. Clarissa, a Mistress, was found dead on February 7, 2086. Her death had a profound impact on the organization, leading some of the members to question the total secrecy and isolation that the Headmistress mandated. Although an alliance seemed wise, Rivers ruled any such action out to keep the Order invisible. Revealing its existence risked giving away the location of the Riverside Manor and opening the Order to attacks. In the words of the Headmistress, "The Mistress of Mystery's greatest strength was always the element of surprise. A lone woman can do anything, because no one expects her to be a threat. If we were exposed, if the raiders knew we existed, they could fight back. They can't fight a shadow."
However, soon the Headmistress made a fatal mistake. In May, she appointed a new Mistress of Novices, and rather than choose her own daughter, she selected Eve Devoir. Dependable and organized, she was the perfect fit for the position to handle training and mission assignments. Olivia did not take the decision well, treating it as a slight - an insult - by her very own mother. Denied a position of power, she decided to abandon the Order and join the raiders instead, to join a faction that she believed could make an impact, rather than cower in the shadows. She buried herself in work, taking far more than her share of missions and staying away from the Manor for most of the time. The Headmistress believed it to be an excuse to avoid her, rather than dedication to her work. At any rate, Olivia's missions combined with the success of the Battle of Huntersville by the Responders and the Appalacian Brotherhood of Steel suppressed raiders in the mountains. All seemed to be going well.
That was merely the calm before the storm. Olivia was actually using the missions to track the raiders and find an opening into the organization. When she tracked down a checkpoint manned by Brody Torrance, of all people, she knew she found one. She attacked them on June 8, effortlessly taking out everyone but Brody, sparing him, save for a nick to the leg. The two agreed to meet again at a remote cottage at the Whitespring, meeting every couple of weeks. By July 12, they had a plan ready. As Thorpe remained indecisive, Olivia offered him a token of her trustworthiness: Intel on the location of Allison Long. Although he had difficulty convincing the raider warlord, Thorpe ultimately relented with an ultimatum: He better bring the Mistress' head or be relieved of his own.
Sure enough, on July 24, Allison was killed at Summersville, and by Olivia to boot. As a veteran Mistress on a supply run, she was too much for the raiders to handle, breaking the ambush and nearly killing Brody. Olivia intervened to save Torrance and with him, her opening into the organization. Brody brought back her head to Thorpe, while Olivia brought Allison's headless body all the way back to the Manor. To secure the inroads, she traded intel on Order operations to the raiders. The Siphon holotape she recovered from Sugar Grove during the very first mission she ran allowed her to put the entire Cryptos mainframe on a single holotape, which she handed over to the raiders at a meet on September 20, 2086.
The casualties suddenly started mounting. In three years between March 2083 and July 2086, the Order lost three Mistresses. Olivia's intel caused the Order to lose seven in just three months, between July and October. Raiders were waiting for the Mistresses at every mission site, killing them with ease. Shannon ordered Eve to accelerate the training program and automate the promotions, but it was too late. The raiders had the upper hand. With Cryptos and the experience gained in the previous three months, they could ambush the Order in any location they wished. The Headmistress locked down the manor as a last resort, limiting excursions to only the four most senior mistresses: Herself, Eve, Amy, and Olivia.
It didn't help. The data from Cryptos contained all the missions for the next two months, allowing raiders to pick them off one by one. Olivia just watched, waiting. The raiders were preparing for the final battle, rallying at Summersville, but instead of their attack, the death blow came from the least expected direction. Around November 13, the Mistress of Novices and Seeker Rachel West caught up with Olivia's plan. Backed into a corner, Olivia fought back. As the greatest of the Order's assassins, she slaughtered her way through the ranks of the Order - killing even her father, Frederick Rivers - before finally leaving her mother a parting message, inviting her to one last meeting in the Savage Divide, in their special place. After leaving the last message to any survivors, Shannon Rivers buried the bodies and departed for the last meeting with her daughter.
Confronting her atop the Appalachians, the two assassins squared off, fighting each other in an epic battle on November 16. In the end, all of Shannon's training and equipment put her a single step behind her daughter, decades her junior. Although the Headmistress received a mortal wound, she, too, managed to wound her daughter. Her mother passed from her wounds, but Olivia did not enjoy the victory for long. Her raider ally turned on her the moment he realized her state, gunning her down in the Divide, ending the Order until the Vault Dwellers happened upon it. As of 2287, the only known surviving individual with any ties to the order whatsoever is Kent Connolly.
The Order of Mysteries was organized in a simple fashion:
- Initiates were the newest members of the Order. Initiates worked full-time with their mentor to learn basic skills and mission tactics. They were unable to accept missions until they were promoted to Novice when their mentors saw fit. Initiates were recruited by other members and were given a veil to enter the headquarters. When they have proven that they are capable of handling missions independently, their mentor would approve their promotion to Novice.
- Novices continued to train under their mentor and the Mistress of Novices, working to master the tools and techniques of the Mistress of Mystery. In order to advance to the rank of Seeker, they had to complete a series of capstone missions to earn the elements of the Mistress' regalia.
- Seekers studied advanced combat tactics and reported directly to the Headmistress or Mistress of Novices. When they demonstrated mastery of stealth, infiltration, combat, and tactics" by completing a "mission worthy of the true Mistress of Mystery, they could apply to be promoted to the rank of Mistresses of Mystery. After completing their mission, they could apply to the Headmistress for promotion.
- Mistress of Mystery was a full member of the Order, a master of stealth, infiltration, combat, and tactics, capable of handling herself in any situation. They reported directly to the Headmistress or the Mistress of Novices in her absence.
- The Mistress of Novices was the second in command of the Order, responsible for organizing and assigning missions and coordinating training programs. In the absence of the Headmistress, she also assigned missions to Mistresses and Seekers. Eve Devoir was the last to hold the position before 2102.
- The Headmistress was the leader of the Order of Mystery. The first among equals, she inspired and guided the Order in achieving its goals, as the embodiment of the Mistress of Mystery. She assigned missions to Mistresses and Seekers. Shannon Rivers was the only Headmistress until 2086.
Members of the Order of Mysteries undertook missions commensurate with their skills and experience. Missions were either assigned by a more senior member of the order or accepted from the Cryptos Mission Board.
Initiates reported to their mentor, who reviewed and assessed their progress and approved their promotion to the rank of Novice. As Novices, they could accept missions from the Mission Board. Except for the automated missions associated with their regalia, they reported to their mentor and the Mistress of Novices. Finally, Seekers and Mistresses reported directly to the Headmistress, or to the Mistress of Novices if the Headmistress is unavailable.
Roster reflects the Order's status as of June 1, 2086, before its destruction.
- Mistress of Novices
- Mistresses of Mystery
- Technical specialists
The equipment of the Order was patterned after the Mistress' own, manufactured within the Order of Mysteries bunker buried below the Riverside Manor. Frederick Rivers collaborated heavily with Kent Connolly, a devoted fan of Hubris properties, who provided feedback on the process. The base was a replica of the Mistress' lair from issue #102, featuring automated fabrication facilities (using Frederick's proprietary fabrication techniques), a modular training area capable of fashioning itself into any kind of combat arena (the Hall of Trials), and support facilities like the infirmary and even a nuclear shelter combined with Pulowski Preservation Services tubes. At the heart of the facility was a Cryptos mainframe, procured by Frederick from Zack Hayes at great expense after the DIA canceled its order at the last minute.
The greatest limitation for the Order was the lack of expertise in certain critical areas. Medical care was the most noticeable, as none of the members had real medical training, and members were expected to account for that. Furthermore, without alliances, they had to rely on what they could scavenge from the wasteland. Supply runs could only help so much and the availability of critical items, such as antibiotics, waned with time. As Headmistress Rivers was against reaching out to the Responders for help, the situation grew dire with time, especially after a dysentery epidemic wiped out the Order's stockpile.
The use of chems for performance enhancement was strictly forbidden. Chems promoted dependency and addiction, while recovery could be long and painful in the absence of Addictol, hampering mission readiness. Any chems recovered in the course of a mission were to be turned over to infirmary staff for safekeeping.
The most important gear was directly based on the equipment featured in the series and included a Garb of Mysteries. Collectively, these tools were known as the Regalia of Mystery and members would receive the equipment as they were promoted. The Regalia included:
- Veil of Secrets: A veil that protects the identity and also against gas, smoke, and fumes thanks to a tight seal and protecting the Mistress from the effects of the gas thanks to a multilayered asbestos liner.
- Garb of Mysteries: A formal dress woven from ballistic fiber (much to Kent's chagrin, Frederick went with the practical, dress-like design planned for the TV series, rather than the traditional full-length gown).
- Phantom Device: A stealth tool that creates a smokescreen for rapid escape, combining the functionality of a Stealth Boy with HalluciGen's proprietary gas.
- Blade of Bastet: A blade tailored to the fighting style of each mistress, created by combining a historic sword with a swing analyzer to create custom blades tailored to the individual Mistress' fighting style was child's play.
- Voice of Set: The greatest design challenge, originally a plot device used by Mistress writers to extricate themselves from various narrative conundrums. Frederick settled on creating a hybrid .44/EMP pistol after the contradictory properties made both his and Kent's heads spin.
- Eye of Ra: A jeweled brooch designed to interface with the regalia and amplify their performance.
Order of Mysteries appears in Fallout 76.
- Cryptos terminal entries; Mission Statement
- Riverside Manor terminal entries, Headmistress' terminal; Personal journal 6/29/77
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Headmistress' terminal, Personal journal 6/26/77
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Headmistress' terminal, Personal journal 6/29/77
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Headmistress' terminal, Personal journal 7/8/78
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Olivia's terminal, Personal journal 11/11/78
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Headmistress' terminal, Personal journal 4/29/79
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Headmistress' terminal, Personal journal 8/2/82
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Headmistress' terminal, Personal journal 12/25/82
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Headmistress' terminal, Personal journal 3/5/83
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Headmistress' terminal, Personal journal 9/8/84
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Olivia's terminal, Personal journal 9/8/84
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Headmistress' terminal, Personal journal 2/8/86
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Headmistress' terminal, Personal journal 2/14/86
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Headmistress' terminal, Personal journal 5/22/86
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Olivia's terminal, Personal journal 5/22/86
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Headmistress' terminal, Personal journal 6/1/86
- Pleasant Valley cabins terminal entries; Brody's terminal, 6/9/86: RE: Checkpoint Massacre
- Pleasant Valley cabins terminal entries; Brody's terminal, 7/19/86: RE: Deal
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Headmistress' terminal, Personal journal 7/24/86
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Olivia's terminal, Personal journal 9/21/86
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Headmistress' terminal, Personal journal 10/7/86
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Headmistress' terminal, Personal journal 11/10/86
- Pleasant Valley cabins terminal entries; Brody's terminal, 9/13/86: RE: Spruce Knob Ambush
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Headmistress' terminal, From Olivia
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Headmistress' terminal, Personal journal 11/18/86
- Shannon Rivers' recording
- Cryptos terminal entries; Ranks and Promotions
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Kent Connolly, 3/8/77
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Infirmary terminal, Emergency Care
- Riverside Manor terminal entries; Infirmary terminal, Chem lockup
- Order of Mysteries - The Blade of Bastet