The Coldest War
Long ago, before the Madness came, there was a fraternal organization that few gave much thought to. Alongside the Masons, the Oddfellows, the Ordo Templi Orientis and the Rosicrucians there was the Esoteric Order of Dagon. The rites of the Order are said to have revolved around ancient Phoenician mysticism and made heavy use of ocean themes and symbolism. Most everyone thought they were harmless.
When the Madness struck, however, the Esoteric Order of Dagon went a little more Mad than most. They gathered on the beaches of Alki point and began strange and elaborate rites. Other maddened people in West Seattle flocked to the Order and only dark tales of blood and insanity escaped to pass on from mouth to mouth around the cookfires in the dark.
It should have remained just dark tales. But the Esoteric Order of Dagon persisted. The Alki Zone became synonymous with danger and frenzy and madness, and a decade later strange things started to emerge from Elliot bay, half-human monstrosities clambered and crawled from the sea, attacking those gangs and tribes who had settled near the water. They rarely attacked to kill, however, preferring to capture. They would sneak into encampments and drag off women and children, hauling them back into the sea. These “Esoterics” as they have come to be called have increased steadily in number over the last twenty years. They have also become stronger, more dangerous, and more intelligent.
The tribes of Seattle have not been idle in the face of this threat. Many of them have made height their defense, settling in the ruined Spires or atop Queen Anne. Others, however, have taken a more proactive role. A gang calling themselves Pike’s Watch systematically demolished the remaining structure of the old waterfront viaduct creating a makeshift wall of concrete and steel rubble which they have fortified. Pike’s Wall is now a manned and armed bastion against incursion from the sea. The Engineers of the Locks also maintain a constant vigil, fighting back the Esoterics and trying to prevent them from infesting the waters of Lake Union.
But each year the things from the sea try new tactics. Every year more people disappear. Just two years ago the things have become numerous and bold enough to maintain a permanent beachhead. The old Seattle Aquarium has been overrun and converted into a blasphemous temple, and the ragged flag of the Order flaps listlessly in the sea breeze.