Tenebris | E. Christopher Clark


Tenebris is a secret society in the Clarkwoods Literary Universe which is dedicated to keeping secret the nature of reality. The men of Tenebris have been tasked by the Sister Goddesses to act as their representatives inside the CLU, and with preventing the sapient beings of the universe from discovering that they are living inside a simulation.


Since The Second Age of Eden, Tenebris has headquartered themselves inside the Faux Ben in Reekian London. They also maintain offices in Kirbyville, where they can oversee the operations of The Unwrecking Crew, and on The Skerry of Souvenirs, which grants them access to the universe outside of Eden.


Tenebris is infamous for infiltrating governments and organizations through the CLU, though the general public believes Tenebris to be nothing more than an urban legend which has been exaggerated by conspiracy theorists. Their most egregious act came in the Second Age when they, aware that they were part of a simulation themselves, prompted the The Democratic Republic of the Reek to begin the social experiment of Reekian London—where lifelike humanoid robots roam the streets of a replica of the English capital as it stood in 1904.


This experiment was supposedly greenlit in an effort to determine what factors may have led a Londoner to travel through time during the Earth-666 iteration of reality and cause a Calamity in the process. But now that the city has persisted for over a thousand years and its citizens have never been allowed to learn the nature of their reality, many Edenians view the existence of Reekian London as the ultimate sapient-rights violation.


And the Sister Goddesses, the patrons of Tenebris, what do they think? Well, they grow more and more nervous that Tenebris is losing their grip. And if the citizens of the universe the Goddesses created ever learned the nature of their reality, what then? What would there be left to do but reboot the whole damn thing—Eden included this time around?


Tenebris consists of five handpicked members, and no more. Though they occasionally interact with each other in the outside world—as when the five of them snuck their way iinto the Second Age government of The Reek—they mostly pretend to not know each other.


No one member has more power than the others, and any who try to elevate themselves above the rest are summarily dismissed by the Sister Goddesses.


“Dismissed” in this case meaning death by immolation or drowning.


Because they know they are living in a simulation, they are driven to spare other sapient beings from learning the truth and going mad as they did. And yet, given their actions in Reekian London, they’re not above doing what the Sister Goddesses have done to them to other beings they consider artificial. Some members of Tenebris struggle with this. Others see it as a necessary evil.

Secretum nobiscum moritur.
Founding Date
February 16, 1998, Earth-1
Secret, Brotherhood


Author's Notes

This article’s name was inspired by AuthorGoddess, who told me on December 20, 2022 that “Illuminati means enlightened; Tenebris means dark.” The first draft of the article was written longhand in Central Park, New York City, on Saturday, July 29, 2023, during a World Anvil meetup with Janet, Dimitris, and lots of lovely Anvilite beans. Thank you to all of them for the creative energy and the inspiration.

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Aug 1, 2023 01:48 by Chris L

So these are the guys keeping the secret of the Matrix! The simulation thing is still blowing my mind!

Learn about the World of Wizard's Peak and check out my award winning article about the Ghost Boy of Kirinal!

Aug 1, 2023 10:42 by E. Christopher Clark

Yeah, I'm not sure how much I'll lean on the Matrix/simulation part in anything that's "in-world." I'll probably save that for a story about the Sister Goddesses at some point.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Aug 2, 2023 11:16 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Yeah, sounds like the power of the knowledge has gone to their head a little. XD

Aug 3, 2023 00:28 by E. Christopher Clark

Just a little. :-)

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Aug 3, 2023 20:36 by Zero Sum Games

Well, wow! This is just pretty darn amazing. I'm going to have to spend a lot of time reading through the ECC, and I'm already sure I'm going to enjoy the heck out of it!

Aug 3, 2023 22:48 by E. Christopher Clark

Thank you so much, both for reading it and for the wonderful comment.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Aug 29, 2023 22:21 by Haly the Moonlight Bard

I always love it when esoteric words inspire An Entire Thing. It makes me happy deep down in the pit of my solar plexus. Especially because I knew already what tenebris meant from way back in the olden days when Mark and I were writing spycraft stories together. Sigh! Those were the days, and reading this was a surprisingly refreshing flashback. And while our tenebris was not protecting White Block Secrets as yours is, I can say we were role-playing it on AOL, so...you see the immediate connection.   As a side note, I desperately want Faux Ben to chime with modem sounds. But I'm a weirdo.

Aug 30, 2023 10:49 by E. Christopher Clark

Ooh, I like the idea of Faux Ben chiming with modern sounds.   Also: thanks for reading, and for the phrase "White Block Secrets," which also feels like it should be used at some point.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Aug 30, 2023 16:14 by Haly the Moonlight Bard

I do my best to respect spoilers for those who wish them preserved. I do not want to remove someone else's right to choice simply because I chose to read them. They are secrets hidden behind white boxes, and being human, I name things what they are, LOL! It leads to many easter eggs and spoilers in my own writing because when calling it by it's name would give the game away, I jist name it in Ancient Argentin.

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