The Temple

In the twelfth century, the international brotherhood of warrior-monks known as the Templars - or more formally, the Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon - founded a Church in the city of London. Like many of their foundations, it incorporated an unusual, circular chapel design taken from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The building survived the dissolution of their Order, and still stands today. In front of it, a column holds a statue depecting the symbol of the Templars - two poor knights, sharing a horse.

Such is the commonly known mortal history. London's supernatural community, though, has a footnote to the tale. It was in the street outside the Temple Church, in the middle of the seventeenth century, that a clandestine conspiracy of Kindred, Uratha and Mages came together to fight against the scourge of the plague, and against the vampires and spirits who were aiding its spread. They came to call themselves "The Temple".

The Templars rose from their humble origins - two knights with only a single horse between them - to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful organisations in Europe. The Temple, too, has come a long way since its days as a rag-tag conspiracy of disaffected young idealists. These days, it's a constant, if subtle, factor in the politics of all the Big Three supernatural communities. And on the rare occasions when a problem arises that threatens all three, it's the Temple that co-ordinates a unified response.

In its early days, the Temple would meet in front of the Church because none of them were willing to entrust the others with the locations of their own havens and sanctums. These days, its members probably know each others' addresses, unlisted phone numbers, and for that matter, Facebook accounts. But meeting near the Temple Church has become one of those British habits - like slamming the door in the face of Black Rod during the State Opening of Parliament - which endure for ceremonial reasons, even though its practical purpose has gone. (Not that the present members of the Temple trust each other any more than the originals. It's just become a lot harder to keep secrets in the modern world).

Since the 1970s, however, the Temple have started to meet, not at the Temple Church, but in the nearby Temple Underground station. (The Underground, informally known as the Tube, is an underground railway connecting most of central London, similar to New York's metro). A pack of Uratha who call themselves the Temple Guard maintain the security of the station, and a subtle application of Mind and Fate magic ensures that the Temple's members always have a carriage to themselves (not that there are many people on the Tube late at night, in any case). The Temple's usual habit is to discuss business while hurtling through the darkness at high speed, without a particular destination in mind. The symbolism does not escape them.