The Leaden Key is a secretive organization dedicated to the goddess Woedica and the preservation of the secrets of the gods. The Leaden Key has existed for thousands of years, and since time immemorial it has been led by its apparently deathless grandmaster, Thaos ix Arkannon.
The Leaden Key has been around for ages, allegedly by the blessing of the gods. Its origins are more mundane. Thaos founded the organization more than two thousand years before 2823 AI, as an Engwithan religious organization focusing on proselytizing and spreading belief in the gods the Engwithans created. Following the collapse of Engwith, Thaos turned it into a fundamentalist terror organization focusing on destroying people, factions, and ideas it views as a threat to the gods and belief in them, such as animancy and its followers.
The list of atrocities carried out by Thaos and his followers to ensure the existence of the gods goes unquestioned is long, exhausting, and mostly lost to history. However, it is known that they exploit and even set into motion events such as the Saint's War to recruit people to its cause and push the people of Eora towards belief. In the 2800s, Dyrwood became the focus of the Leaden Key. The free nation was at the forefront of animancy, the very science that allowed Engwithans to create the gods. As such, the Leaden Key has worked to sabotage it, by engineering the Hollowborn Crisis and framing animancers for the orchestration of atrocities such as the activation of Teir Nowneth and the assassination of Duc Aevar Wolf-Grin.
The Leaden Key is an opaque and strongly hierarchical organization, organized into independent cells. New members are inducted only after rigorous background tests and kept in the dark as much as possible: Their role is to obey, knowing as little about the overall plan - and each other - as possible. No one member knows the identity of more than a handful of other members. They are kept in the dark of missions they are not involved in, or sometimes of those they are involved in. Despite that, they are very good at what they do, owing much to their founder, who will take matters into his own hands when necessary. And he does not fail.
His knowledge of Engwithan technology is a key asset in the endeavors of the organization, as it allows him to utilize machines and facilities contemporary kith have little to no knowledge of, and cannot counter their effects.
Under Thaos' direct guidance, the Leaden Key has:
- Convinced the Glanfathan to protect the ancient Engwithan ruins in the Eastern Reach.
- Attempted to convince the Huana at Ori o Koīki to vacate the Engwithan ruins they inhabited. Thaos failed to convince the tribe and was executed.
- Restarted several Engwithan machines around The Dyrwood in an attempt to re-empower Woedica and discredit animancy, causing a hollowborn crisis.
- "When plague arrived at the great city of Arborensis, I saw to it that the cure did not. They piled their dead outside the city in heaps that rose above their walls."
- "I plunged the peaceful kingdom of Tolosus into civil war."
- "I slew the monarch of Desontio, whose people never knew hardship under his rule, and replaced him with a cruel despot who brought them to ruin."