In this essay, I shall try to give a comprehensive summary of a number of mutually related, persistent legends and rumours about the Church of the Thousand Rites; namely the science known as "psychoplasty", and the related legends of the "man-made saints" and the enigmatic "Legions".
For this essay, I have used a number of excerpts trom Myths, legends and rumours associated with the Church of the Thousand Rites, written by Fr. Petros Carswell at the behest of His Beatitude Patriarch Simeon II of our Holy Southern Orthodox Church, along with a few excerpts from The Longest Pilgrimage, by Ephrem Ashrawi, and from various manuscripts attributed to Hadrian of the Grey Order.
- Fr. Jerome Black
(first excerpt - taken from Myths, legends and rumours associated with the Church of the Thousand Rites)
The Secret Sciences: Psychoplasty
In this chapter, I would like to discuss a science that is allegedly practiced and mastered by the more advanced orders of the Church of the Thousand Rites.
This science is associated with, and commonly mentioned in, the most outrageous and least credible legends concerning the Heterodox Church.
This science is known as psychoplasty, and it is best summarized as "the art of altering minds".
According to the legends, it is possible to enhance, and even vastly improve, the capabilities of the human mind by 'touching' or operating the brain with electrical patterns and surgical equipment that are impossibly precise, or even by inserting certain types of living tissue or hair-thin metal wires that can - allegedly - connect human minds with other minds, or even lifeless machines.
Let the reader be warned that, whilst the Radiant Peaks Commune practices what it claims to be a simple form of psychoplasty for the purpose of conditioning the Thinkerers and certain other commercial mutant breeds, there is, in spite of extensive research by the Church and various individuals and organisations associated with it, as of yet not a shred of evidence that (this particular form of) psychoplasty is anything more than extensive psychological conditioning, let alone that it would have the potential and capabilities commonly attributed to this science in relevant the legends and rumours.
And whilst there is some credible evidence for certain legends commonly associated with this science, this evidence is scarce, enigmatic, hard to interpret, and typically raises far more questions than it answers.
What's more; whilst it has been established that the Ancients were masters in the use of electricity, that electricity has an as-of-yet poorly understood role in the bodies of living organisms, and that there are both ancient writings as well as modern theories that postulate that this form of energy plays a crucial role in the workings of the brain, virtually all writings, legends and rumours that mention the more advanced and unrealistic forms of psychoplasty seem to be derived from the writings and confessions of Hadrian, who claimed to be a former grandmaster of the Grey Order who went into self-imposed exile in Nourika.
However, it should also be noted that the members of the St. Anastasios Order, the only Heterodox order that our Holy Southern Orthodox Church has good and regular contact with, consistently refuse to confirm or deny anything about this science or virtually any of the legends associated with it, which could very well imply that information about this subject is deliberately being kept from us.
I also admit that the Church has not been able to do proper (or in fact, any) kind of research outside Nourika, and the Heterodox Church certainly has proven itself to be quite capable of hiding whatever secrets it desires to hide.
Therefore, I would like to advise the reader to read of these rumours, and decide for himself what to think of them.
Hadrian himself gave a few basic explanations of the workings of psychoplasty in some of his works.
Let us start with the basics; Hadrian's claims about the workings of the human brain.
A quote about from an untitled manuscript;
The human brain is a vast network of cells.
These cells are interconnected with one another, and communicate by means of minute electrical impulses and certain chemical compounds that are produced by either the braincells themselves, or certain glands inside of or close to the skull.
To put it simply: the exact pattern in which the braincells are connected, along with their electrical and chemical interaction, is what makes the brain capable of carrying out complex tasks and activities (such as monitoring and regulating the 'subconscious' activities of the human body, but also carrying out 'conscious' activities like thinking and calculating), but it also determines the manner in which a person thinks and feels.
Indeed, even the talents and skills a person has are determined by the structure and patterns of his or her brain.
The core principle of psychoplasty is that not only the thoughts, but even the feelings, personality, skills and talents of a person can enhanced by changing the patterns (which can be either the electrical, chemical or structural patterns, or any combination of the above) in that person's brain.
It should be noted that a number of elements within the basic theory behind psychoplasty are, in fact, in accordance with what a number of ancient works claim or teach about the workings of the brain and the human body.
The notion that the brain, and indeed, the entire human body, consist of tiny units called 'cells' is of particular interest, as this is not only in agreement with teachings that are almost universally espoused by ancient works that deal with the fields of medicine and biology, but it also appears to be corroborated by recent discoveries.
Recent discoveries made through ancient art of microscopy indeed do seem to suggest that the bodies of all living things consist of minute building blocks, and it appears that the same thing goes for human brains.
However, the Church does not yet have the means to research the workings of the human brain on the level required to test the other claims Hadrian made in the manuscript quoted above.
Here follows a basic explanation of the nature and methods of psychoplasty, quoted from the same manuscript;
The 'art' of psychoplasty is divided in four main types, based on how invasive their corresponding techniques are.
The first type is very simple - these techniques rely on stimulating the brain through the senses, and a little something we call "non-invasive electromagnetic impulses".
These are electromagnetic impulses that are administered directly to the brain, but in such a manner that one does not need to open the subject's skull for this.
The second type is more complex and decidedly more risky - these techniques include the careful administration of mind-altering substances in addition to the methods used in the first type. Sometimes these substances are administered orally, but they are typically administered by injecting them into bloodvessels leading to the brain. Another common method is to inject them directly into the brain via a simple nasal probe.
It is also possible to administer such probes via the eyesocket, but this method is rarely used.
The third type requires the skull to be opened in at least one (though usually several) places in order to administer microprobes and microelectrodes directly into the brain. The purpose of this is not only closely monitoring the activity of the brain, but also 'reading' thoughts and emotions, 'inserting' information directly into the brain, and, if neccesary or desired, alter sensory perceptions, emotions, thoughts, etc.
Needless to say, these probes and electrodes are to remain in place for an extended amount of time, and sometimes they're permanent.
Such 'direct interaction' with the brain is possible with non-invasive methods as well, though these methods tend to be impractical and are generally far less efficient.
The fourth type is much like the third type, except that it involves the insertion of certain types of living tissue or 'independant' cybernetic implants into the brain. This allows for the most extensive brain modifications, as well as direct intervention into the brain without keeping the brain directly connected to machinery.
A particularly common fourth type enhancement is the addition of plugs or other cybernetic implants that make linking up to and directly communicating with computers and other machinery easier
Note that this text not only describes the basic psychoplastic methods of operating on the brain, but that it also clearly states that there would be machines that can be linked to human minds using these methods.
Such machines are commonly mentioned in many of Hadrian's works, and they are sporadically mentioned in certain other sources as well.
Whilst the concept of a machine that reads and influences thoughts seems rather fantastic, it could - if Hadrian's claims about the workings of the human brain are correct - logically be within the realm of possebility.
The Ancients had machines that utilized complex electromagnetic patterns as a means to store information and regulate their own operations, and -allegedly - it was even possible to create artificial intelligences this way.
However, the reader is advised to keep in mind that these are assumptions built on other assumptions, and that there is very little direct evidence to support these assumptions.
The following fragment primarily deals with the legend of the so-called "man-made saints", and how psychoplasty and the ability to 'link minds' are/were allegedly used in their creation;
Let's put it like this, the Church has the technology and means to enhance minds, and to hook human minds up to machines, and through those machines, other minds.
The Church used this technology to do a myriad of experiments, at first with the goal to link minds in order to create a flawless form of communication, and later to enhance minds and create 'mind-collectives'.
The early experiments with psychoplasty involved attempts to 'insert' or manipulate thoughts in order to 'augment' that the subject was receiving through conventional means (usually through reading or listening).
When this technology was developed further, it became appearant that this technology was not only useful for giving people a greater scope of information and increasing their ability to comprehend and understand things, but that it could also be used to create 'flawless faith'.
You see, a person's beliefs are built on a few arguments (for lack of a better word), a few strong points, and everyone's beliefs, wether they are political, ideological or religious, has weak points that can be exploited in order to undermine those beliefs, and, especially when it comes to religious beliefs, convert that person.
The Church, being obsessed with perfection and being downright allergic to apostasy, sought to a way to condition the minds of people so that their personal belief system would enshrine the main doctrines of the Church, along with having a profound understanding of all relevant facts and factors, thus making sure that the faith of these people is deeply rooted in their psyche, and that it is prepared for so many different circumstances and confrontations that it is, for all intents and purposes, perfect.
After a myriad of experiments, the Church managed to create such people successfully.
That's how the Church started manufacturing saints.
The Church's manufactured saints are made to be paragons of virtue and true faith, and their psychoplastic enhancements have made them extremely capable of handling polemical debates, as well as doing what is perceived to be "the right thing", even (or rather, especially) when this goes against basic social instincts.
These saints are also conditioned to be masters of psychology, allowing them to 'read' and manipulate people's emotions and hidden intentions without requiring gifts/skills like telepathy.
One has to wonder, though, how much of a 'saint' these man-made saints really are...
How holy is faith, when even the faith itself is so obviously man-made?
There is a number of rather jarring claims in these two passages; not only does it claim that even something sacred like faith merely the result of something as mundane as a collection of brain patterns and psychological quirks.
Even more disturbing is the claim that the Heterodox Church appearantly uses psychoplasty to 'program' people - essentially brainwashing them in a very sophisticated way - and even creates "saints", pre-programmed mockeries of the actual Saints, in the process.
Also noteworthy is the fact that Hadrian himself quite obviously has his doubts about this practice (though he does not explicitly disapprove of it). This may or may not have something to do with the reasons he supposedly went into self-imposed exile .
So far, Hadrian of the Grey Order is the only one who mentioned this practice,
and no other source inside or outside the Heterodox Church has corroborated this.
The existence of thought-manipulating machines, though, is attested in various sources.
"But the Orders that involved themselves with this research quickly reckognized the potential of linking minds together, and it didn't take long before they began developing what would become the first mind-collectives.
But, as it turned out, just linking a dozen minds together and expecting that they'll be able to think and communicate in in harmony... well, turns out it doesn't quite work that way.
It's hard to explain what kind of extreme stresses can result even from merely being linked to other people's minds, but having personally seen dozens of cases in which people quickly broke down and became gibbering, paranoid wrecks because of it, I assure you that this is not a matter to be taken lightly, and indeed, preventing these stresses proved itself to be a difficult issue.
It turned out that we, somehow, had to harmonize the minds in the network
before the network could function properly"
On a side note; the text from which this passage is quited frequently hints or suggests that Hadrian himself was personally involved in the research.
Should he have been personally involved in the development of early psychoplasty, then this would raise (even more) questions about his true age, as the first major developments in psychoplasty supposedly took place decades before the Fall...
"...our earliest experiments with harmonizing minds focused on creating a collective network of permanently connected minds (rather than a network of periodically connected minds - we decided to develop permanently connected networks as this was deemed easier and less likely to cause serious mental problems in the test subjects).
The method we chose (at least for these early experiments) to integrate minds into the network involved what was thought to be the easiest and simplest way to condition a mind for this task.
That is, breaking it.
The preferred method of breaking minds was a radical one, developed from the theorem of selfless malevolence. This theorem postulates that it is possible to archieve a state in which a mind has been exposed to an overload of hostile and malevolent impulses in such a way that it basically collapses in on itself, and, in response, starts exhibiting a similar malevolence towards anything it is into contact with.
It was thought that, if this process was carried out correctly, a situation could be created in which the subject would not only snap, but that the act of receiving, experiencing and emitting malevolence would eventually degrade the subject's mind to the point that it would become a barely conscious segment of the network that constantly emits and exchanges a 'white noise' of 'basic irrational hostility/malevolence'.
It was thought that the combination of this with the experience of being extensively connected to other minds and being forced to operate as a segment within a much larger network/system would an effective way to erase the subject's sense of individuality (the tendency of most subjects to stubbornly holding on to their own sense of individuality turned out to be one of the main problems experienced in early mind-linking experiments. Methods to integrate individuals in mind-link networks without destroying their sense of individuality were developed later on, though).
Anyway, the theory turned out to be correct.
The experimental mind-collectives that were held together with the principle of selfless malevolence turned out to be far more efficient at integrating unprepared or unwilling subjects than those applying any other method, and these mind-collectives proved themselves to be extremely coherent.
And as expected, the assimilation of the individual mind within the collectives went so far that attempts to extract individuals from the aforementioned collectives always proved itself to be an extremely traumatic experience for the test subject, and the psychological damage sustained by such individuals as a result of both integration within the collective as well as extraction from it, is consistently described as extreme (even to the point that more than one psychologist stated that it "defied explanation").
As a footnote, it should be noted that the theorem of selfless malevolence is also called 'the Hadean principle', as this is essentially how hell is thought to work..."
I don't think I need to explain just how unsettling the implications of this passage are. Some of the legends/rumours about man-made afterlives (and particularly man-made hells) could very well be derived from this text, or worse yet, the technology described therein.
The same manuscript also suggests that these 'Hadean mind-collectives' were, somehow, applied in experimental warfare;
Of course, creating networks of minds that exhibit and are indeed held together by endless malevolence will not get us closer to realizing ideals like perfect communication, greater understanding, and becoming part of what is essentially a higher consciousness - it should go without saying that these things require completely harmonious networks that do not traumatize or irrevocably damage the minds of the participants.
However, that does not mean that the Hadean collectives had no practical use.
It only seemed logical that such a Hadean mind-collectives, or "hellminds" as they were commonly called, could be frightening weapons of war if, say, given control over an automated or robotic army.
Thus, a hellmind with an affinity for warfare was conditioned for handling the tasks of maintaining armies, making strategies and handling combat situations, and then it was made into one of the first experimental mind-collective legions.
Various sources mention that the Church of the Thousand Rites at some point (presumably around the time of the Fall) created "legions" - armies that, according to the various legends, rumours and fragmentary sources, consist of "mostly machinery", "cyborgs", "enhanced organisms" or "mind-collectives".
The exact nature of these "legions" remains unclear due to fragmentary and/or contradicting sources, but the sources and legends generally agree on four things;
- sixteen of such legions were created.
- these sixteen legions are the Warden Legions and Hadean Legions that are (very) commonly mentioned in the more popular legends about the Heterodox Church.
- these legions are said to have taken part in a major war said to have taken place decades after the Fall.
- for reasons unknown, nine of the sixteen legions went rogue after the aforementioned war; the rogue legions became known as the Hadean Legions, while the seven remaining loyal legions became known as the Warden Legions.
The nine Hadean Legions are particularly prominent in most of the Heterodox legends about the start of the current dark age.
As mentioned earlier, the legends commonly agree that the Church of the Thousand Rites took part in that war and faced an alliance of several other powerful factions.
The exact nature of this war, as well as the identity of the Church's enemies remain vague at best - the leading faction among the enemies is referred to as "Babylon", but this is propably yet another case of Biblical imagery that has permeated throughout these legends. The "Babylon" of these legends is depicted in pretty much the same way as the Babylon described in Revelations, right down to its extreme wealth, its countless sins and vices, and its explicitly anti-Christian politics. And though the legends claim that several other factions fighting "under the banner of Babylon", most of these factions aren't even named, let alone properly described.
But, one of the more credible things that these legends agree upon, is that the Church sent seven of its legions out to block "the main corridors and trade routes of the world" in an attempt to "prevent the enemy from seizing control of the world's economic arteries" - which would be a sensible tactic in such a scenario.
The legends describe how those eight legions were successful in their mission, and that the war, which had lasted two or three decades at that point (again, the exact lenght of this war differs per legend), and culminated in the 'Siege of Babylon' (the description of which is replete with Biblical and apocalyptic imagery, even more so than the rest of the legends), after which "the armies of the world" were broken and annihilated.
Another thing that all legends about this have in common, is that, after the fall of Babylon and the end of the war, they mention Genesis 3:15;
"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
The exact meaning of this verse in this context is unknown, but after the fall of Babylon, legend has it that the Church lost control of nine of its legions, which either rebelled or simply stopped following orders from the Church's authorities (depending on the legion and the legend). Coincidentally, these nine legions included all seven of the legions that were sent out to "block the corridors and trade routes of the world" earlier in the war.
There are a few theories that the enemies of the Church somehow managed to deal a crippling blow to whatever organisation controlled the Church's armies (and specifically, the Legions), resulting in the legions gaining the opportunity to go their own way or even turn against the Church.
There are some clues in various legends as well as some of Hadrian's writings that the obedience of the Warden Legions is pretty much voluntary, and that the Heterodox Church does not have the means to truly control them.
But again, these are rumours and theories based on hearsay, so the reader should not give them too much credebility.
And though there may be a few grains of truth to the legends of the Hadean Legions, the reader should remain aware of the fact that the Warden Legions and Hadean Legions are the stuff of legends - legends that are rife with apocalyptic Biblical imagery and often contradict one another at various points - and that even the Heterodox themselves do not seem to know exactly what is true about the various legends about these Legions.
Some Heterodox monks even flat out stated that these legends are mainly allegorical, and that one should be very careful to assume anything mentioned in them to be a reliable fact.
Nonetheless, it should also be pointed out that there is an interesting relation between the Legions of legend and the mind-collective legions mentioned in Hadrian's works;
This particular legion [the one whose creation is desribed in the previous passage], became known as Hell's Wardens.
It quickly developed an effective strategy that involved brainwashing enemy soldiers and civilians into fanatical, obedient soldiers and guerillas by simply linking them up to the hellmind, and using them as cannon fodder. It is obvious that this brainwashing process severely damages the mind and sanity of the victims, and the people who are 'recruited' lack any desire for self-preservation, and are prone to committing atrocities and use downright suicidal tactics.
The core of the legion consists of automated and cyborg units that either avoid frontline combat, or only enter the fray in order to support the 'recruits'."
This passage is particularly significant for several reasons.
First of all, Hell's Wardens is the actual name of one of the most infamous Hadean Legions.
Then there is the fact that many of the tactics and characteristics attributed to the Hell's Wardens Legion in the legends bear more than a passing resemblance to the basic tactics and characteristics of the legion described in this passage.
Hell's Wardens is the only Hadean Legion that is actually named in Hadrian's writings, but in several of his writings, he does agree with the legends that seven legions were stationed along some of the world's most important trade/transport routes.
He even mentions which regions were blocked off; the Straits of Gibraltar, a channel called "the Suez Channel", the Red Sea, "the straits and bays of the Arab Gulf", the Strait of Malacca "and surrounding straits", and a channel called "the Panama Channel".
Now then, the reader should keep in mind that it is incredibly difficult to gather any information about exactly what happened in any of these areas (and the fact that all but one of these locations are almost certainly in the Old World doesn't help either), so one should not treat this information as facts.
But nonetheless, some information about three these locations was gathered by the pilgrims of the Longest Pilgrimage.
Two very relevant passages;
I asked Gabrial, the ship's navigator, why we were heading for the Congo river. I pointed at the map, and said; "...would it not be more logical for us to head towards Gibraltar, and sail through the Mediterranean?"
"The Withered Land Legion" he said.
"I take it you know of the legends? Gibraltar, along with the deserts and ruined cities that surround it, is an impassable barrier because of it."
"It is said that the entire peninsula is now a massive, inhuman fortress, and that dozens of mechanical flyers continuously circle above it."
"It is also said that the entire area is 'covered' in an overwhelming, almost overpowering silence..."
Seeing that I regretted my appearantly ignorant remark, he smiled, and said; "Trust me, the route through the Congo Basin and Ethiopia is much safer than venturing into the Mediterranean."
The second passage;
We [the pilgrims] went from Ethiopia to Yemen by dirigible.
When I [Bulus Ashrawi, one of the pilgrims] asked why they were travelling on large, slow airships instead of ships or airplanes [the Ethiopians possessed and produced working airplanes], the reply was that the seas were far too dangerous for shipping thanks to the presence of the Leviathan Legion, and that large-scale use of planes was impractical due to the scarcity of fuel and the Legion's tendency to target small, fast flying objects, such as airplanes.
When I asked why the Legions didn't target the large, sluggish, and very vulnerable dirigibles, the captain shrugged and said "God only knows. I can only guess that they don't reckognize balloons and dirigibles as potential threats or targets...".
He added that this approach has proven to work nonetheless, and that the Ethiopians, Yemenis and other peoples of the region have been using dirigibles for generations by now.
After the conversation had come to end, I started into the distance while the letting the captain's answers sink in.
Soon, the beautiful view made me forget my worries as I watched the beautifully decorated airships, their allegiance reckognizable by the colour of their banners, float by.
Most of them flew the red banner of the Ethiopians or the green banners of the Muslims, though there were some with indigo banners, of which I was told that these are flown by foreign Christians, as well.
Both the Withered Land and Leviathan Legions are explicitly mentioned to be Hadean Legions, and the locations of the Withered Land and Leviathan Legions do match with two of the locations Hadrian claimed were occupied by the soon-to-be Hadean Legions during the war.
And there's also the fact that the activities of another Hadean Legion, the Nine Plagues Legion, is mentioned to have been one of the main reasons why the pilgrims couldn't enter Jerusalem at the end of their journey. It should also be added that ancient maps show that the Suez Canal is not far from the Holy Land, and that the Suez Canal is one of the occupied 'corridors' mentioned in Hadrian's writings.
But, the reader should realize that even this is circumstantial evidence at best - "The Longest Pilgrimage" explicitly states that there were no encounters with any of the Hadean Legions, and the accounts of such encounters listed in that book are third-hand at best.
The closest thing anyone associated with the Holy Southern Orthodox Church has ever gotten to an encounter with one of the Hadean Legions, was the Panama Expedition that was organized for the purpose of finding out the truth about the legendary Panama Canal, forty-two years ago.
It was an expedition of seven ships, paid for by the Church and mostly manned with experienced Rasta sailors/corsairs recruited in Nawlins.
The expedition got into a storm off the Mizquita Coast, which only four ships survived. The expedition did reach a land that may or may not have been Panama, but as it was appearantly devoid of any kind of human life or activity, it was impossible to tell wether the expedition had reached its goal.
The expedition tried to find the entrance of the legendary canal, but an outbreak of an unidentified fever forced it to return after about a week of fruitless searching.
The only real clues that the expedition managed to gather, are a lot of rumours from local tribesmen living in a land much further west (these rumours claimed that the region of Panama is cursed and completely devoid of human life), and a rather remarkable object recovered from the (presumably) Panamese coast.
The object is described as "a clockwork hornet", though this is definitely an inappropriate name.
The mechanisms of this insect-like object are infinitely more complex than a simple clockwork.
But our knowledge of the Hadean Legions is very limited nonetheless - eight of them are named in the sources available to us; Hell's Wardens, Silent Force, Peacemakers, Leviathan, Nine Plagues, Hellhounds, Withered Land, and Emerald - but though we have a fairly elaborate description of the Hell's Wardens, our knowledge of most other Legions is sketchy at best,
Then there is the fact that all relevant Heterodox writings that are known to us consistently speak of *nine* Hadean Legions, suggesting that there is a ninth Legion, even though its name, and in fact, its very existence are never mentioned in any of the documents known to us.
We have yet to find a satisfying explanation for this, but common theories are that this missing Legion either committed a crime or sin so heinous that the Church saw to it that it was completely destroyed and subjected to a particularly thorough act of damnatio memoriae, or the Heterodox Church has reasons to keep its history and even its very existence secret from both outsiders as well as plenty of orders within the Church.
Alternatively, it is possible that this ninth Legion was never developed beyond its conceptual stages, and that the Heterodox' obsession with numerology is the sole reason why their legends mention nine Hadean Legions rather than eight.
In the philosophy and symbolism of the Heterodox, the numbers from one to nine each have a symbolical value, and these numbers also seem to be associated with various elements in a manner quite remniscient to alchemy.
In Heterodox symbolism, the number eight is one of the numbers that represents perfection, and it is associated with wholesomeness, transparence, balance, science, understanding, and man-made things that are flawless. The fact that it can be divided by two and four also seems to have a special meaning. It is also associated with the element gold.
The number nine, however, represents man-made evils and the act of 'embracing the philosophical Wilderness', and it is associated with disharmony, the act of seeking conflict, and insanity. It is also associated with the element lead, the "heaviest of the stable elements", which is known for its poisonous and insanity-inducing properties.
Taking these facts, along with the importance that numerology and symbolism have among the Heterodox, into account, it is not unlikely that a ninth Hadean Legion never actually existed, and that the exact number of these fallen legions is yet another case of symbolism in legends that are already rife with symbolism and allegories.
 as demonstrated by the research of Fr. Dominic Santyago and Valery White, who, using crabs' pincers, demonstrated that exposure to small amounts of electricity makes muscles contract.
 an order that allegedly existed within the Church of the Thousand Rites. This order is not mentioned in any of our sources other than those produced by Hadrian himself. Though it is fairly certain that Hadrian himself was a member of the Heterodox Church at some point, we have no evidence to corroborate the existence of this order, and whilst it is possible that the order was dissolved at some point or that its existence is kept secret, it is equally possible that the order never existed at all and that Hadrian's backstory is merely an elaborate lie.
 it should be noted that the monks of the St. Anastasios Order refuse to speak about many things, though - particularly things concerning the past or the exact fate of the outside world.
 in addition to this, it should be noted that on a few occasions, members of the St. Anastasios and Red Kingdom orders requested to look into the writings attributed to Hadrian of the Grey Order, and in some cases they even tried to confiscate them. There is also a few instances in which notes and writings of Hadrian were stolen by unknown individuals.
 it should be noted that not all of this technology is lost. The Southern Orthodox Church posseses a number of appearantly functional machines and devices that use this technology (even though we haven't yet succeeded in learning anything meaningful about their inner workings, let alone mastering or reverse engineering this technology), and there are certain communities that appearantly succeeded in retaining or reproducing this technology to some degree.
 in spite of the fact that Hadrian left plenty of writings, he left virtually no clues about his motives for breaking with his Order and leaving the Old World.
 "the Longest Pilgrimage" is not only the name of the book that describes this pilgrimage, but it is also a popular name for this pilgrimage itself.
 according to a common theory, Emerald Legion is the legion thought to be occupying the Panama region.
 a non-absolute form of perfection, that is - the number eight represents relative, man-made, non-divine perfection. Only number seven represents true, absolute perfection, which only God can create.
 'embracing the philosophical Wilderness' is synonymous with 'obedience to the law of beasts', and is essentially what the so-called "Lost Souls" described in the main article about the Heterodox Church do.
 the exact meaning of this phrase eludes us. We presume that it ties in to various Heterodox alchemical theorems that are unknown to us.
Much better is it to distinguish ourselves through our choices,
rather than to impose our values upon a world that disagrees with us.
The Cradle of Man and Beast