1600 A.D. Peru. The mountain rumbled.
“Faster, men! I’m sensing earth stresses beyond anything I’ve felt before!” He smirked. “I’m guessing the natives’ human sacrifice didn’t do much.”
“Subjugator, we don’t have enough bindings for all the prisoners. We are short by three.”
“Hellfire. And we can’t kill them without triggering that damn nam-shub. Alright. Use the puppetry spells. But stay focused on them. Let’s move!”
Twenty Keeper Magi marched out of an underground base. They pulled seven prisoners along with glowing ropes. Three prisoners stumbled along seemingly under their own power. The Keepers wore metal helms and breastplates of Spanish origin. The prisoners were all native Quechua tribesmen.
And then the mountain exploded. The ash plume burst out into the heavens, blotting the sun. The ash rained down upon the earth. And the Magi ran. The last man in line stumbled. He yelled out, “Transfer the focus!”
But it only took that slip. One of the unbound prisoners rolled to the side and cried, “Zhauwobi zebovad!” Magma opened up from under the feet of the entire group, burning all present.
In gasping voice, one of the guards cussed. “Impossible! He doesn’t have a Codex!”
But the prisoner didn’t stop to explain. He physically tackled the guard who had controlled him and yanked the guard’s Codex away. And then he ran. He did not look back to see how his fellow prisoners fared.
He ran. He ran on ground that yawed and rolled. He ran on ground speckled with burning ash. He ran. Magi Klein ran until he could run no further, his feet blackened and blistered, his breath ragged, and his mind fogged. He collapsed into sleep, the first real sleep, uninterrupted by guards or the screams of others, that he had had in months.
He woke to moonlight. His feet were healed, damaged as they were by natural fire. The burns on his arms were from his own summoned magick — those would take longer. But he sat now beneath a tree in the jungle and considered his next move.
He recalled the words that one of the other prisoners had given to him, whispered to him in the dark one night. “If you get free, when you’re safe and totally alone, if you want revenge, call out for Cain’s Friends. Summon them: Khedgi, Ka’in. Net’eline an’ithobol ozhaub. Inith faresh las lwesa.”
Klein considered. He had refused the advances of Cain’s Brood in the past. They were a crazy bunch, dissonant and dangerous. But now they offered him something he had not had in many moons: hope. And so, to a noisy jungle, he screamed the words. He was silent then, letting the ringing die out completely. And then he felt silly for having done that. There was no spell here, no inscription in his stolen Codex for summoning Cain. He was ridiculous. He slept again.
And he dreamed. A map burned in his mind: steps to take, people to approach, words to speak. When he awoke, he recalled the dream with perfect clarity. It took him two months surviving in the jungle and walking to reach the end of those instructions. But at last he found the woman he was looking for and spoke the secret phrase, “I am chaos born again.”
The woman smiled. “Good. You’re number six. The others are already here.” She lead him inside.
And that was how Magi Klein Scarvel, noted researcher of the Unseen College, branded heretic and reality deviant by the Keeper trials, and prisoner of the same, became a servant of Discord. By the time of his death in 1691, he and his guerrilla cell had found and slain every one of the 20 guards under the mountain that night, slain them in such a way that they would be forced to remember the pain and agony of that death into their next incarnation. And before he took the long sleep, he took the oath that all Cain’s disciples take: to remember when they next awake and to seek out Discord once more.
— Transcribed by Stephen “Archivist Lond” Loftus-Mercer
The Disciples of Cain
- The Disciples tend to be organized as small cells of operatives with limited communication to superiors. Need to know rules.
- The Disciples believe they are lead by Cain. Whether they are or not is a matter of faith as the isolation of each cell of operatives means few know the whole story.
- The DoC are experts in the use of Discord, operating deep in its shadow. They risk themselves to create a warped world that protects them from Keeper control. Beware of Harmony Siphons when combatting any DoC Magi.
- Disciples use the ley line nexus for energy, just like all Magi, but they also appear to be able to generate energy from within themselves. The creation of Will seemingly from nothing is one of the gifts Cain grants to his followers.
- Cain appears to have armed his brood with spells from Soul and Mind that are unique to DoC Codexes. Attempts to wrest control of such spells from captured Magi has failed, often in spectacularly destructive ways.
- The Archivists, Children of Eve and Unseen College have all three tracked the reincarnation rates for all Magi over the previous ~2500 years. All three data sets show that Disciples reincarnate significantly more frequently than all other Magi. Another gift of Cain? The value of this will be greatly reduced in the Age of Awakening because of spontaneous coalescence.
Analysis from The Archivists:
Note: The cell isolation practiced by the Disciples of Cain makes data about them quite difficult to come by. Their recruiting and promotion is more stealthy than other factions. Most information herein is verified through heretic prisoner interviews; this document uses blue text for areas where Archivists have delved into speculation.
The Disciples of Cain have existed since time immemorial. As long as any Magi can recall, the majority of us have sought a way to return to Eden. We Keepers know the path to get there, and most of the heretical factions share our goal though not our methods. But there has always been a minority who oppose any effort to return to Eden. That second, much smaller, group are the Disciples of Cain.
The Disciples believe that Harmony, the energy that Magi gain and lose during spell casting, is a drug that destroys free will. How they come to that conclusion is unknown. They may have spent so much time in Discord over the centuries that they now feel uncomfortable when their souls experience healing, akin to the pain of setting a broken bone. For some reason, they believe Harmony must be must be kept down. Their anonymous manifestoes claim that Eden was a prison maintained by exceedingly high Harmony. They are proud of Cain’s legacy. Cain is a boogeyman among the Magi, but The Archives are quite clear that an entity of astonishing power and high Discord claiming that name has appeared several times in history. Keeper forces have always managed to gain the upper hand on the entity, though at great cost. A faction that claims to support such an entity must be treated as a high priority threat in any century.
The Disciples claim to be just as leery of the destructive forces of Discord, and yet they revel in it. Their claim is that because we Keepers insist on trying to build high-Harmony structures like the Tower of Bab’el, the Disciples must provide counterweight. Every DoC Magi we have ever captured has been at or beyond the Discord Threshold.
The Disciples are organized as guerrilla cells — each group is at most six individuals, with only one of those members having contact with the layer of hierarchy above, and potentially each of the members having contact with their own layers below. This provides operational secrecy — the Disciples have survived countless millennia of war with the far-better-armed Keepers by making it impossible for one member to betray the movement. They pass messages in a variety of codes. When they do meet in larger groups, they wear masks or bio-forms and false names. The discipline by which they maintain this isolation is, frankly, impressive, noted even by leaders of the highly regimented Arx Novum. Subverting just one branch of this organization has often required decades of embedded spies.
Being a Disciple is a major act of faith — the members have no way of knowing if Cain actually exists or, if he does exist, whether he really leads their faction. The information isolation of their cells completely obscures any visibility into the higher levels of the organization. Multiple Keeper Magi interviewed express astonishment at the level of blind trust that drives the DoC.
Why do the Disciples have such faith? It may be the insanity of deep Discord, a position held by most Catholica Magi. But we Archivists would be remiss if we did not note another possibility: that it is a reaction to the tactics used by our own Keeper factions. Every DoC prisoner ever interviewed has commented that this was not the first time they had been in Keeper lockdown. They all have a common story of having been held by Archivists, Catholica or Arx Novum and, upon release, have sought out DoC membership. Their memories are so intense that they are retained incarnation over incarnation. Our policy of allowing reformed heretics to go free may very well be a mistake, a point where our attempts at mercy may well be undermining the long-term health of our involuntary guests.
Cain appears to have gifted the Disciples a number of rare or otherwise-unheard-of abilities. Among these appear to be a shorter span between reincarnations (which may imply less memory loss?) and the ability to generate far more Will energy than most Magi. They carry a number of Soul and Mind spells in their Codexes that are unique to them. Do not attempt to extract these spells without extremely advanced and well trained technicians present. The traps on those Codexes are extremely dangerous!
There have been some high-profile Disciples of Cain. We do not know where such Magi stand in the overall hierarchy. Two of particular note:
- Magi Avalon Longinus has several times in past centuries sabotaged our efforts. Of all the known DoC Magi we have ever fought, he is notable for an encounter in 1714 with Catholica in which he measured -21 on the Iannes-Mambres Discord Scale. He sustained that long enough to heal without being ejected from Reality. Our instruments may have been confused by the extreme Discord evident. Longinus has not yet been sighted in the Age of Awakening. We remain hopeful that he shredded his soul beyond repair during a later encounter in 1715.
- Magi Creed has long been a thorn in our sides. Arx Novum operative Magi Lahzarel Thane reports encountering Creed in this century under the name “Jason Creed.” The heretic made claims to have actually interacted with an awakening Cain. If true, it would mark the first time in over a millennia that Cain has made his presence known. Arx Novum considers this a creditable source.