In the latter half of the ’80s, after Chicago’s Mage War, there was an insurgence of interested parties who wanted to “pick up the pieces.” Understandably, the Mysterium had more interest than any other order in finding out the truth about the Celestial Flange, and the Mercurials were created out of necessity. Prior to the war, a cabal called Delphi had represented the Mysterium in Chicago for more than 20 years. The Delphi cabal was very traditional and had less interest in politics than in the gathering of Arcane lore for the cabal’s sizeable Athenaeum. Cabal members were mostly older mages who spent their time hoarding knowledge and protecting the cabal’s secrets; they were not at all prepared for the trouble that was brewing. When rumors of the Flange began to circulate, they were the first mages to fall; powerful forces from numerous factions believed Delphi must have had what they were looking for. The Athenaeum was stormed, ransacked and ultimately destroyed. The Hip Flask, also primarily Mysterium, wasn’t hit nearly as hard because that cabal had shirked the responsibility of maintaining an Athenaeum in favor of more investigative pursuits.
When the city’s remaining mages were forced into a period of reconstruction, new Mysterium mages arrived. Even though a war had ravaged Chicago, the Celestial Flange remained at large. Clues could probably be sifted from the remains, and someone would have to protect the knowledge that was left behind. One powerful mystagogue, a woman called Libra, swept onto the scene and began an effort to salvage any remnants of Delphi’s Athenaeum. As a well connected representative of her order with powerful allies, she formed a new cabal, the Mercurials. The Mercurials made it clear from the beginning that they would never find themselves as vulnerable as their predecessors, and would uphold Mysterium traditions for whatever new political order surfaced. There may be older cabals in the city, but the Mercurials are, without question, one of the most powerful.