By Dafydd Flower (email@example.com)
The Circle was founded by an ancient Immortal from Britain, who was born and "died" before the departure of the Romans. The identity of this Immortal is unknown, but he is believed to have died sometime during the early Renaissance. He founded the Circle during the reign of Athelstan, based on the court of one of the Celtic warlords of his early lifetime, perhaps even the man behind the legends of King Arthur.
The Circle has no defined leadership, but there is a small group sometimes known as the Inner Circle who are responsible for organizing the rest of the Circle, especially communications, spreading of information, and the rare joint actions. The Inner Circle are the most respected of the members, not necessarily the oldest; while Darius and Hugh Fitzcairn were both members of long standing, neither became part of the Inner Circle, Darius through choice, Fitzcairn because he was felt to be a little too reckless. Some of the Inner Circle are very young, such as Eric Magnusson who was born barely two hundred years ago.
All members of the Circle join through invitation by another member. If they accept, they are introduced to a member of the Inner Circle who arranges the new member's inclusion in the information network. Often that particular member of the Inner Circle becomes the new member's principal point of contact with the Circle, since members rarely know personally more than a few other members. Many members wear a particular signet ring, a starburst pattern of swords, and all learn the phrase "Remember Avalon" in ancient Celtic to aid recognition of each other. Because of this members of the Circle are more cautious than other Immortals about entering into duels, preferring to ascertain whether their opponent is a fellow member or not.
The Circle had no real agenda, other than sharing information. However, there is one shared belief that could be considered the group's guiding philosophy. The Circle believes that Immortals have a very specific role to play in the World of Darkness, and that the time for that role is imminent. According to this theory, the Gathering will be the immediate precursor to the Apocalypse/Gehenna/whatever showdown that all the other supernaturals seem to be waiting for. The victory of the last Immortal will be like the positioning of the final piece on a chess board, and whichever side that Immortal supports will have a major advantage, perhaps even a certain victory. This theory has led the Circle to be very concerned with the outcome of the Game. While it is by no means forbidden for Circle members to fight each other, the Circle as a whole would prefer to see one of its own members as the last Immortal.
It is rare for the Circle to take collective action, but not unknown. For instance, in the early twentieth century a small group of Immortals was assembled through the Circle to deal with another Immortal who was using a gun to incapacitate his opponents. The Circle felt that this would lead to an unbalancing of the Game, firstly because this Immortal was clearly not the sort of person they wanted to win the Gathering, but also because he was accumulating a lot of power without practising his own combat skills. If one of the major evil Immortals such as the Kurgan got to him, it would be like handing a free power-up to one of the Circle's main worries. Therefore, a group was assembled to go after that gunman. He was not killed, but the warning had enough impact to stop him using a firearm again. The gunman is, as far as is known, still alive and maturing into an excellent swordsman.
Communication within the Circle was usually rather slow, but has recently become both far faster and more secure. The advent of the Internet presented a great opportunity. The Circle now communicates primarily under the guise of a second-rate multi-user role-playing game called "Circle of Swords". Each member has a character and can communicate with any other character whose name they know. In addition to the Immortal characters, there are many other characters played by non-Immortals, which are included as a cover. By hiding behind such a setup, the Circle can communicate easily without much risk of a security leak.