Song of the Earth
The Homunculi are living, Awakened beings created by Kal (known to be at least a Master of Life, Mind, Spirit, and Prime) to act as his proxies. They are both independent beings and extensions of his own self. Fríða theorized there were 9, one in each Tradition, and that as an Archmage of Prime he was able to use them to act as Archmages at will, and absorb the Paradox he should have received for his actions.
The original 9 Homunculi were:
Akashic Brotherhood – Albrecht Kisler
Celestial Chorus – Unknown
Chakravanti – Unknown
Cult of Ecstasy – Johann Erdoğan
Dreamspeakers – Unknown
Order of Hermes – Victor O’Hannigan
Sons of Ether – Alda Neuman
Verbena – Unknown Australian
Virtual Adepts – Katerina “Kate” Vasilyeva
It is also worth noting the Virtual Adept Master Kibo is working under the thrall of Kal/Kate, and was used to assassinate the Traditions Council.
Will doxxed Kal and Kate, sending many living mages and especially the Virtual Adepts after them. He, Fríða, and America identified the resonance common between the homunculi and publicized it. As a result, only Kate and Johann remain alive among them.
In previous cycles, Johann was more closely connected to the cabal—the best friend of Aaron, a bandmate to the Unawakened Daniel, and others. In this iteration he has appeared twice—once in an attempt to kill Fríða in Greenland that was spoiled by Matt Coronas, the other to America and Will in an attempt to reason for them. He revealed that because of his friendship with Aaron, he asked Kal not to kill him, and Kal complied, containing him somewhere.
Victor was operating in St Louis out of the Order of Hermes chantry. He may, or may not have had some hand in Yorick making Jahan into a Marauder. He or Kal certainly helped Karasi assassinate the 45 Nephandi who were “widening the wound”. After Karasi is revealed as an ally and Matt attacks Yorick, Victor incapacitates them. He is in the process of gilguling Alex and Karasi when the combined attacks of Alex, Karasi, and Xifeng result in his death.
The closest to the cabal, Kate was responsible for Awakening Will, guiding him, and ultimately, sabotaging him. Most of the misfortune that befell the cabal happened through Kate. On New Year’s Eve, she teleported most of the cabal, as well as Linda, to her lair to watch the Cataclysm unfold (ultimately saving Will and Linda from the lobotomy that befell half their Tradition). Alex and Ava were able to stage a rescue, taking them back to Kite’s realm.
Before Kite could travel through time, Kate appeared and artificially aged him to death. She revealed that Ren was the reincarnation of Sonia’s rapist, causing her to mystically sever ties with him, and revealed that America has never been in any of the other loops, calling her “nothing.” Ultimately Niña Bonita sacrifices herself to let Kouamé escape with the Avengers.
In Houston, America is forced into the Digital Web where she can be repeatedly tortured for the amusement of others. Kate reveals to Jianyu that she filmed both America’s heart-to-heart with her father James (establishing their connection) and James’ detonation of the Network under the Yellowstone Caldera (causing the Cataclysm). In the 11 weeks since she’s spread the footage to nearly every mage survivor in the world, and America is public enemy #1 by proxy.
However, Will published EVERYTHING he had on Kal, the Network, Kate—everything. He was able to redirect the mob’s wrath to her, and she was carried away to a Restricted Sector to be tortured in America’s stead. She later escaped with Kal’s help, but has not been seen since.