Company Spotlight - The Order of Souls
Company motto: “Omnes In Servitium Animarum”
With the arrival of Emissaries and a choice of allegiances to be made, we’re delving into the histories and priorities of the Sea of Thieves’ current Trading Companies and the precarious balance they strike to keep this pirate paradise relatively peaceful. Following our Spotlights on the Gold Hoarders and Merchant Alliance, we now turn our attention to those secretive sages who comprise the Order of Souls.
The Order of Souls have long been considered the most mysterious and unusual Trading Company on the Sea of Thieves, rivalled only by the emergent Reaper’s Bones. They are always seen robed and adorned with occult trinkets and surrounded by the strange artefacts of their craft. All their prominent members have eyes stained purple-black, rumoured to be caused by using Kraken ink to invoke stronger visions – of the future, past or present, as their needs require.
The leader of the Order, Madame Olivia, founded the group in pursuit of a vision of power. Not just magical power, but a more powerful version of herself, with the knowledge and drive needed to forge her own destiny. That drive blossomed as she sought the Sea of Thieves with little more than her fledgling abilities and two companions with an equal understanding of the need to make their own way in life.
Though the Order now possess access to a host of bewildering and miraculous enchantments, a single ritual transformed them from what most would consider a coven of witches into a full-blown Trading Company with a vital role on the Sea of Thieves. This ritual allows the extraction of memories from the skulls of the dead, especially those that have returned as skeletal marauders. Those memories include routes to buried treasure, arcane know-how and some secrets that perhaps should remain in the grave.
Seeking more knowledge and therefore more skulls, the Order of Souls soon fell into the role of unofficial bounty office, paying pirates to locate the risen dead and send them back to the Sea of the Damned… while returning the skulls, of course. Their actions put them in direct opposition to the Skeleton Lords and other forces lurking in the shadows, so it is fortunate that Olivia’s strong moral compass keeps her willing to fight against the dark rituals conducted by the likes of Captain Flameheart. She seems to have a high regard for life, judging by the translated Company motto: “All in the service of souls”. The Order take their struggle against darkness seriously, so despite operating in a mercenary fashion, their preference is to work with those who believe in the cause.
The Order keep their secrets close, training and teaching only a few mystics, so the full extent of their power is unknown. Many pirates also suspect that they are not merely content to maintain the status quo and must have other designs; they certainly offer more gold for the skulls of the oldest and most powerful skeletons. Exactly what lost knowledge lies at the heart of their search remains a mystery to those outside their inner circle.
The Order of Souls have a very simple modus operandi: they learn of risen Skeleton Captains and pay pirates to hunt and defeat them, bringing back their skulls as proof and for the purpose of scouring their memories. Since fleets of Ghost Ships returned to blight the seas, the Order have also placed Bounties on the crews of these spectral terrors.
Using memories extracted from the skulls of conquered foes allows the Order to locate buried treasure chests, funding their continued operation. However, rather than seeking the treasure personally (and unsettling the détente between the main Trading Companies), members of the Order lay out Voyages leading to these chests and sell them to the Gold Hoarders. This way, they don’t need to tread on any golden toes. From time to time, the Order will also ask pirates to seek out occult objects that ought to rest in safer hands.
Pirates just starting out with the Order of Souls will begin as a Mystic Follower, but may rise from this humble rank to Master of the Order – and since the introduction of the Emissary system can even go beyond rank 50 into lasting greatness, while collecting the Order’s robes and ship livery. Loyal pirate servants of the Order are rewarded with lanterns and tankards, the former useful in seeking out skeletons at night (and defeating rare but deadly Shadow Skeletons) and the latter for settling the nerves after a fierce battle.
The Gold Hoarders:
“We have a good arrangement with the Hoarders, despite their… associations. Better the devil you know, as they say.”
The Merchant Alliance:
“These prim and proper types are harmless enough, but will be swallowed up by the Sea of Thieves if they fail to embrace its strangeness.”
The Order of Souls:
“We started out by simply dealing with mischievous revenants. Now, we must seek more power if we are to resist the true darkness that gathers.”
“We have an understanding with The Pirate Lord and the veterans who aid in our struggle. He knows the true value of magical power better than anyone.”
The Sea Dogs:
“Their antics have nothing to do with us. At least they keep everyone’s skills sharp for those times when the skeletons pose a threat.”
The Hunter's Call:
“The salt of the earth. Merrick and his family are the kind of good-hearted folk we strive to protect from evil.”
The Reaper's Bones:
“Speak not their name! What accursed fools would willingly court chaos and darkness? This ‘Servant of the Flame’ will be the one who burns!”
Madame Olivia is stationed at Plunder Outpost. Olivia is the face and founder of the Company, but shrewdly plays this down and speaks to outsiders only of smashing skeletons.
Madame Olga is stationed at Golden Sands Outpost. Olga firmly believes in the cause and seeks to connect with pirates of the same heart, not just mercenaries out to fulfil a Bounty.
Madame Olive is stationed at Sanctuary Outpost. Olive seems a little disillusioned with the Order and perhaps even plans to leave their ranks, but her power is real enough.
Madame Oksana is stationed at Galleon’s Grave Outpost. She dislikes pirates who consider the Order to be fortune-tellers and cheap conjurors, instead seeking true mystical fulfilment.
Madame Olwen is stationed at Ancient Spire Outpost. Olwen is up-front about the fact that the Order needs pirates to do what they do, for the dead will always outnumber the living.
Madame Oprah is stationed at Dagger Tooth Outpost. She is disdainful of over-familiarity, taking pride in her title. She suspects that few pirates can handle her Voyages.
Madame Oya is stationed at Morrow’s Peak Outpost. Oya’s belief in the spirits of the land seems to help her accept the perilous nature of her posting. She speaks in dark, portentous tones.
Becoming an Emissary of the Order of Souls entitles a pirate to a greater profit for every skull returned, as long as that pirate rises through the Emissary Grades by being an exemplary bounty collector. Completing the Order’s Voyages and Quests will raise your Grade, as will picking up Bounty Skulls, delivering Mermaid Gems and other Order-enriching activities. Stowing skulls on your ship also raises your Grade, as does suppressing greater hazards of the seas including Ghost Ships, Skeleton Ships and Forts, limiting the ability of the undead hordes to wreak havoc on the living. Hold on to your prizes as long as you can, thus guaranteeing the greatest rewards when you finally cash in at Grade 5. Reaching this Grade will also entitle you to a special Quest!
To find out more about the Order of Souls…
Play Sea of Thieves and embark upon the epic Shores of Gold series of narrative-driven Tall Tales, especially ‘The Wild Rose’, in which Madame Olivia plays a vital role.
Read the Athena’s Fortune novel, which reveals a little more about the Order’s ritual of extracting secrets.
Read Sea of Thieves: Origins Volume 3 – The Vision of Order, which tells how Madame Olivia came into her power and founded the Order of Souls.