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Atharim Internal communiques
[The following are emails between various Atharim members. These have not been leaked or hacked. They not general knowledge except among the authors and recipients of them. They are here to give a window into the current state of the Atharim after the burning of Bacarrat Mansion, the disappearance of Armande Nicodemus, and the CCD proclamation that the Atharim are a terrorist organization.

With Ascendency]

[Image: images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQVrpZ3qfGAEudsSb12iwi...w&usqp=CAU]
Eddard Theiss
Master at Arms of the Atharim

Subject: [encrypted] Temperature

Fratello Massimo,

I am more than a little weary of meetings. Yes yes, my life has mostly been meetings, at least for the last few years. No. Things are different now. The meetings feel...interminable. Neverending. Pointless. I'd better stop. I can think of many more adjectives to describe them- scatalogical and flourid.

Damn that Jaap Beenks!! No, I will not call him Regus. Never! And not simply because he does not deserve the title. You and I know the truth. The true Regus, Armande Nicodemus is out there. God, I must sound the zealot. And yet, we know the truth. He is out there! I met with him. You helped me place those strange religious fanatics among the most loyal of us in the CCD.

Yet he refuses to return. I cannot help but wonder- even angrily- why he has left his place. I would even go as far to say, abandoned us, even. *sigh*. I suppose I am a zealot. A believer at least. 

But instead of guiding us, instead of leading us, he's left us his pathetic secretary to weedle and weasel his way into this group and that group. You and I are men of action. This man is...slimy. a worm. Useful, to be sure- when kept in his place, a tool with the gift of ferreting out the deepest of secrets and stories. I fully understand why the Regus used him. 

As a secretary!

If I believed in God, I would believe he is laughing at the joke he has played. Somehow, this snake has worked his way into graces of enough of the secret council. I know but one or two (you included, my friend), and have suspicions of a few others. My duties as Vice Commander of the Swiss Guard have kept me from developing any close relationships among the Cardinals of the Holy See. It has to be bribery- or blackmail.

I ramble, Massimo. I'm tired. I told you that, didn't I. Nothing is decided. Nothing is done. We are weak and listless, impotent and driftless. Bah!!! The stench of appeasement fills the air! No one says the word outright. But the idea is there all the same. Couched in euphemism and circumlocutions. Abandonment of our charge! That is what is floated.

The pressure from the CCD is heavy. I cannot deny that. The exposure has been unforgivable. It has wounded us. Baccarat mansion is a shambles, with much lost to the fire.

And the true Regus is off who knows where. Reborn gods walk the earth with impunity. The Archangels are gone. We have no direction. We have no leadership. And the boy at the help, the leadership we DO have, is pushing us in a direction that is anathema to who we are and have been!!

We cannot compromise. You know this. You are of the Sacred Ring. There are still those of us who believe in what we are. In our holy charge. 

We cannot let this happen!!! Speak to whom you can. Listen, Massimo. Push. Beenks is weak. We can bring him down, however he got there. We need to reform.

Whether the Regus returns or not- and frankly, I am to the point that if he did return, he would know my anger, regardless of the danger- we need to keep true to our cause. 

I am tired. I am just....tired. And we cannot slack. Too much is spinning out of control.

As always, commilitone, we stand ready.


[Image: 65405361.jpg]
Cardinal Valter Massimo
Apostle of the Sacred Ring

Reply to:

Ned, I know you are upset. Armande was a great Regus. I still don't believe you, but you are so certain of your conviction, your faith is rubbing off on me. 

It's a new world out there. We assumed the gods would hide themselves away for longer. It was a blow that they 'came out of the closet' so soon before we could control the resurgence. But alas, God's plan is beyond us mere men to understand. I know you don't believe in God. You mention it twenty-ways to Sunday. Perhaps my faith will rub off on you someday?

I'm not so sure of your assessment of Beenks' weakness. He served Armande dutifully, and he has obtained the title. Whether we like it or not, we can defer to him or walk away. For my part, I will remain.

Steadfastly yours,

[Image: images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQVrpZ3qfGAEudsSb12iwi...w&usqp=CAU]
Eddard Theiss
Master at Arms of the Atharim

Subject: [encrypted] Infestation

Sorella Sole,

You were right. The infestation is greater than we thought. They are not only in the servents' quarters, but it saddens me to have seen that even the Master Bedroom has its nest.

You spoke to me, once, of the need for exterminators. I fear you were right. Even more disturbing is that some of them may not be trustworthy.

We need to meet. I know you are in your cloister. And your vows mean something to you. But time is running out. And I am not sure we can remove the vermin before the house is lost.

Respectfully your brother,
Eddard Theiss
Subject: [encrypted] Thursday's meeting


I must confess I have been worried, of late, about our future. For longer than most know, we have stood guard over humanity, protecting them against the terrible monsters we know all too clearly to be real. And being part of Mother Church, working alongside her, has let us carry out this sacred responsibility in ways that otherwise would not be possible.

And yet now, at this most important of times, "the hinge of the Age", I think you called, we face a danger unlike any other. The gods once again walk the earth. We know this. Our dear Father Armande made sure that we never lost sight of that. He gave everything he had to us, even unto death. While we are not the Holy Church and I have not the power to beatify, it cannot be denied that Armande Nicodemus was a Saint in every way possible- in example, in teaching, in his very life.

But- and this pains me, my friend, as he was a mentor to me, a father like I've never had, he was still human. The greatest of the saints were still tainted by fallen flesh. And so it was with him. His singular focus, his solitary vision, was so intense that I do not think he could not see the effect he was having, both within and without.

We do not love our fathers and heroes because they are perfect. We love them because of their character and their devotion to what ought to be.

But what ought to be and what is do not often match. In fact, I have learned, they never do. That was our dear father's mistake. And as hard as it is to admit, the Atharim have nearly fractured. Not broken, not yet. Thank God, not yet. But the cracks are there. The seeds were there before Armande left us. They began long before, in truth. The inevitable collision, perhaps foretold, between a sacred past and the secular present.

The reality of every day for millenia, facing literal, snarling, slavering evil had, I fear, simplified the world for us- and for Father Nicodemus. It had washed out the colors, the grays and silvers, until only black and white remained.

But the world is not black and white. And now, we have- and have had- members who do not easily fit on one side of the line or the other. Who have known these reborn gods and seen them for what they are. Human. Who themselves may be different in some way. And the cognitive dissonance tears at them. It eats away at their faith.

And then, there is the old guard. The stalwarts, those who came before, who still see things as then. I have no illusion for how I must appear to them. And in honesty, I cannot rightly blame them. Had I grown up in the world they did, instead of the one I have, I would feel the same.

They are not my enemies.

And if it were simply the growing rift among us, I would hold more hope than I have. But of course it is not just among us. The gods really do walk the earth. And while they are not all monsters, they are formidable. The Ascendancy- himself the embodiment of everything we have feared- has made us his target. His feelings are perhaps understandable. There is much to his story that we have only recently come to know- a thing I will tell you another time.

But the world is changed. And yhe Holy Father cannot simply guarantee our existence by papal bull, enforceable by threat of excommunication.

No, as ancient as we are, as powerful as we are, the numbers are against us. Our influence can get us far. But even should we survive, we would be decimated. And humanity would lose her sword arm.

I have been given this mantle. I confess that I feel overwhelmed at what we face. But at our meeting tonight, your words breathed hope into me. I do believe we can right this ship. We can carry the best of ourselves forward, honoring our forebears, including father Armande Nicodemus, while we still find a way to exist in this new world.

I look forward to working with you further to chart our course. It seems to me that while I question God's placing me here in this position, I do not for a second doubt that you are a here for a reason.

Much admiration,

Your humble servant,

Jaap Beenks

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Subject: Urgent

Regus Beenks,

This is to alert you that the tension within the EOA continues to grow. The Atharim are publicly labelled as terrorists, but it is becoming clearer to me that the Ascendancy knows there is a deeper connection with the Holy Catholic Church and our true cause. What is apparent is that a division of Custody police is being trained in the ways of creature lore. How could that be if not for the awareness of our deeper purpose?

You are aware that Ijiraq appeared in the great hall of the palace. The evidence disappeared, but the rumors remain. Someone knows who the Atharim are, but my position is not compromised. I will continue to remain diligent, to listen* and report, but my access to our channels is becoming more risky. Once the headquarters on Nikolskaya street are refurbished, I will have safer paths and a direct line again. It is likewise unsafe for me to travel to Rome.

You should also know that the newest consulate on channeler oversight is systematizing the finding of more channelers. There are probably millions of people who have the powers of gods, and at our greatest, not even the Atharim could defend against so mighty a group. We are at a cross-roads, Regus Beenks. I implore you to reconsider your predecessor’s vision. We cannot eradicate all gods. Perhaps we can police them. Or we can advise those who would police them. There is one god kept under house arrest on the Kremlin premises that they say has extraordinary abilities to help people. He is so important to the Ascendancy, his very identity is kept a secret. All I know are the whispers - that he wanders in a mask of white like a ghost. My point is if there is one so special, there should be more. 

Furthermore, I would advise us to reconsider calling them gods at all. Words have power. The CCD uses the term 'channeler' as you are aware. The Consulate on Channeler Oversight is near fully operational at this point, but whatever word is used should be carefully considered.

I share my opinions with respect. I am your eternal servant.


*Semyon means Listener
Subject: re: Urgent [ENCRYPT]

Brother Semyon,

Your words echo my own feelings. You and I see the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. It cannot be denied that Regus Nicodemus was a visionary. His image of what the Atharim must be was...all consuming. It was something out of the past. He was a crusader in the most literal sense of the word. The Inquisitors, the hardliners, the zealots, unsurprisingly, loved him. His desire to return the Atharim to their mythologized past glory, was palpable.

And I think we all have to confess, invigorating. For a while at least.

The Dedication changed all that. What we- no. I will speak of myself. What I pushed aside as rumor, as misunderstanding, as....exaggeration- murders, pogroms, capricious executions- suddenly came to life. It was all true. All the things we didn't want to believe came to life with the thud of that pathetic priest's lifeless body. That quiet sound rings in my ears.

I remember what you said to me that night. I remember the fear and horror in your eyes. Trust me, my friend, I haven't forgotten what we talked about. The murder of that priest exposed the fracture for all of us. For me, it exposed the truth of what I had pledged my life to. Suddenly, the histories and myths, the stories and tradition- my world- seemed very flat and lifeless compared to the dead body of a holy man who only tried to protect his child.

The Sacred knowledge and sophistry stood revealed as weak flimsy toilet paper compared to the magnitude of what we had become.

You were then and are now right, my heart. The Atharim are at the crossroads. I feel the eyes of the zealots like Theiss on me. I feel their scorn and disgust. They assume my appointment was from the outside- an imposition from Patricus- arm twisting of the Apostles of the Ring. And I do not deny he played a role. But a secret ballot hides a bigger truth. The zealots are formidable. But they are not the majority.

Armande- I call him that not out of disrespect, but to emphasize that I am speaking of the man- was out of his time. He was of a bygone Era. Perhaps even a mythological one that never existed. The world had changed. And no amount of extra judicious killings or interpretation of ancient texts can change that.

The Ijiraq. Yes, my friend, I know of it. And I know how it came to be. The ancient tools of the Atharim still hold power. And they must still be used. We still have a purpose. Humanity needs us.

We must evolve. We must adjust. We can still right this ship. The CCD does not have to be our enemy. There can be peaceful coexistence. There must be.

I will meet with you soon. When I can break away. It is to you that I can be myself and bare my soul. Can take off the mask if wear for this game. The Ascendancy must know that we can work with them. That we have the same goal.

Until then, keep listening, dearest (one of your greatest strengths I know.) And put together a list of people you think are the most influential in the EoA and where they stand with respect to the appearance of magic and the channelers (not gods. See? I listen too) And where they stand in regard to us.

We have some influence among the sphere as well as among some in the commercial and governmental world. Those too will be leveraged. The resurgence of magic and channelers is what we were created for. The world was more simple when it was just ijiraq and rakshasa, djinn and queztalcoatls that we hunted.

The danger is greater now than ever. But take courage, my love. We will navigate this storm. We will survive because of people like you.

Keep yourself safe. I count the days until I see you again.

Yours faithfully,
Jaap Beenks

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