The Order of Hermes in Caledonia
For centuries Caledonia has been the setting for a fierce rivalry between the druidic mages of the Celts and the Pictish shamans known as the gruagachan (singular gruagach). Until recently, the druids had made little headway into the land, but that changed when House Diedne unified the druidic magi, gained access to Hermetic magic, and embarked on a campaign to absorb the gruagachan into their House or destroy them. Details of this ongoing pogrom are not released to the other houses, who know little of what happens in this far northern land.
The only other Hermetic influence in Caledonia involved the infamous wizard Dav'nalleous. Originally from somewhere in Caledonia, in the early ninth century Dav'nalleous traveled to Brittany and formed a powerful magical cult based on rites of blood and sacrifice, oppressing the land in a reign of terror. His power was a direct challenge to the nascent Order of Hermes, which defeated Dav'nalleous and his followers in a great magical battle at Carnac. Dav'nalleous survived and fled back to Caledonia.
Determined to root him out lest he return with more followers, a number of powerful Hermetic magi set off individually to hunt down and destroy Dav'nalleous, but none ever returned. This situation lasted for decades, until the Order eventually organized a full expedition. In May of 864 the maga Pralix of House Tytalus landed in Northumbria, accompanied by half a hundred grogs and several magi of Houses Tremere, Flambeau, and Tytalus. Details of the ensuing campaign are sketchy, but Pralix and Dav'nalleous warred across Caledonia for nearly two years. During this period most of the Hermetic magi and soldiers were slain or fled. Rather than admit defeat Pralix recruited the assistance of the local gruagachan and other hedge wizards. With their help, Pralix eventually overcame Dav'nalleous and his forces, though the enemy's body was spirited away after the final battle.
With the war over Pralix found herself the leader of a large army of gruagachan, witches, beast mages, and other non-Hermetic magicians, all of whom she had promised membership in the Order in return for their assistance. Hermetic leaders refused to honor Pralix's promise, some at the urging of House Diedne, which refuses to accept their ancient enemies as allies, and others simply horrified at inviting a horde of hedge wizards into their midst. Incensed, Pralix broke from the Order in 867, forming her associates into a new Ordo Miscellanea in opposition to the Order of Hermes. Despite calls from some quarters to declare Wizards' War on Pralix, Trianoma of Bonisagus has personally kep negotiations open between the two orders, hoping to reconcile their differences and bring Pralix back into the fold.
In the meantime some in the Order have decided that Caledonia can no longer be ignored and that it's past time for the region to host some Hermetic presence other than the close-mouthed House Diedne. Thus a small group of newly sworn magi have been charged to set up a new covenant in Caledonia to learn the lay of the land and serve as a beachhead for future Hermetic expansion.
More Information on the Magical World of A.D. 875: