Muncie Under Fire
The Ascending Ones is a conspiracy of hunters that originally formed in Egypt to fight against the monsters of darkness and continue their efforts to this day, all the while keeping their activities and those of their prey from reaching the eyes and ears of ordinary people.
The Cult of the Phoenix has its origins in Ancient Egypt, as one of two sets of soldiers charged with protecting ordinary people from the supernatural; the Cult of Set worked by night, and the Phoenix by day. The Cult of Set eventually vanished, probably at the hands of the dark monsters, leaving the Cult of the Phoenix to operate on its own.
One of the founders of the cult tried to find a way to fortify himself and his soldiers, lest the Phoenix falls along with his brothers-in-arms. He began to brew potions. The first successful potion allowed him to fight straight for three years, three months, three weeks, and three days before he dropped dead. Other founders attempted to refine his marvelous potion, hoping to temper its effects while keeping its powers. Eventually, a combination of poison and self-discipline caused the potion to turn into an elixir of power.
The cult, eventually called the Ascending Ones, continued to be at the forefront of religious battles throughout the world, particularly intertwining with the histories of the Christian and Islamic religions. They also took to making non-elixir drugs, such as opium, and selling it to support themselves. As narcotics became illegal, the Ascending Ones ended up on the side of organized crime.
Members of the Ascending Ones not only keep the creatures of darkness from attacking the innocent, but make sure the innocent stay unaware of the dark powers that lurk around them. They do little in the way of research on creatures, tending to know types more on their own experience than through any organized forms of data.
Ascending Ones are also as likely to talk a creature out of its actions rather than outright attack it, particularly if that creature is of a type known to be non-threatening to humans. They will even perform actions of diplomacy between rival factions of monsters, but also stand by ready to turn violently on both parties should peaceful ways fail.
The Ascending Ones still retain traces of their organization from when they were platoons of holy soldiers in Africa and the Middle East. This organization has been tempered somewhat by their ties to organized crime, specifically that involving the drug trade, which they continue to use as a way to gain resources and contacts.
Spread worldwide, there are many factions within the group, but three stand out. The Order of the Southern Temple have become intertwined with the ways and methods of Western occult traditions, particularly that of Hermes Trismegistus. The Knife of Paradise are made up of Christians, Jews, and Muslims who believe they are fighting a holy war, while at the same time maintaining peace and open-mindedness between the three ways. The Jagged Crescent work the least through spirituality, instead preferring to operate as street gangs, drug lords, or other forms of organized crime. They provide most of the money and resources the Ascending Ones operate through.