by James Seidel (12 Nov 94)
"If you believe in the light, it's because of obscurity, if you believe in joy, it's because of sin, if you believe in God, then you have to believe in the Devil."
- Father X, Exorcist, Church of Notre Dame.
Humble initiates, we welcome you among the warriors of Christ. We who compiled this work hope and pray that you will honor and serve the Word within, dedicate yourself to restoring purity to this sick and corrupt world, strive to nurture the sick, toil to shield the defenceless, and educate the unlearned in the Will and Mercy of our Lord and God.
To have come so far to be able to hold this tome in your hands you must already have received the blessing of pure faith through the Holy Trinity. By now, you have taken Holy vows dedicating your life and your strength to the fight against evil.
We, the Militant Orders, exist as God's sword arm. As the Church is known as the Cloth, being as they are, like a secure blanket against the cold breath of Sin, so are the Knights of Christ called the Sword - the tool used by the hand of God to administer his Righteous wrath.
My Brother, it is a great burden that we bear - a Holy responsibility. But the foundation of this great purpose is a complex one. Buried deep in the history of our respective Orders are the seeds of our divine purpose.
Do not search for enlightenment within these pages - that is in the domain of your own heart and the grace of the Holy Spirit. But the doctrine and histories contained herein will serve you well in your fight against the Kindred.
Our brotherhood evolved out of the knights and churchmen who fought in the Holy Land during the First Crusade. Then, as now, their lives were dedicated to poverty, chastity and obedience. This devotion in the Lord separated them from the money and land hungry secular knights of the 12th century. While the Militant Orders were quickly endowed with the riches of the land, as individuals they were forbidden the more frivolous and unclean aspects of life. While this removed our brothers from the mainstream of medieval knighthood, it developed their military skills to a degree higher than any other army of that time. God's Sword was blessed in the standards of their training and discipline, the construction and defence of castles, and the tactics of warfare.
Our Lord saw fit to see that the idea of a military monk was embraced with great enthusiasm throughout Christendom. Gifts poured in - especially of land and money - enabling His Orders to expand in the Holy Land. By the middle of the 12th century, there was a Templar or Hospitaller preceptory in every province and in most major towns and cities.
Christ's knights were blessed with a high degree of independence from the Church. After Pope Innocent II issued the bull Omne datum optimum (every great gift) about 1130AD, the Templars were exempted from all earthly authority - except that of Christ's Vicar, the Pope.
To our shame, the relationship between the different Orders (especially the Templars and Hospitallers) was rarely warm. By the 1240s, knights from each Order were fighting openly in the streets of Acre - most likely due to professional jealousy and rivalry. This sin of pride permeated the Orders until well into the 13th century. Only the revelation of Satan's control over God's people was strong enough to bring his knights together.
The Militant Orders were left to themselves to defend the Holy Land - the desire to reap the rewards of pillage proving too much for most Crusaders. Our brother's invested huge sums in the construction a chain of castles, some of which never fell to the enemy.
Their fighting reputation was such that, in 1187AD, after the Battle of Hattin, when the Infidel commander Saladin captured about 200 Templars and Hospitallers, all Church knights were summarily executed on the grounds that they were "the firebrands of the Franks".
Because both the Hospitallers and Templars had to live in the Holy Land and their monastic vows deplored unnecessary violence, they entered into almost continuous negotiations with local Muslim leaders. This often resulted in differing perspectives from that of the Cloth and other crusaders, sometimes resulting in open dispute.
In order to finance our massive commitment of resources to the Holy Land, the Hospitallers and Templars both became heavily involved in banking and diplomacy. By the mid 13th century, the Militant Orders were lending large sums of money to kings and provinces.
Eventually, the Templars were destroyed by the corrupted King Philip IV of France. While influenced by the blood of Cain, he also owed large sums to the Order and had been refused initiation.
The Hospitallers evaded Philip's might through the purity of their reputation and lived on, defending Rhodes first, then Malta, against incursions from the Infidel. The Teutones conducted their own crusades into the Slavic nations east of Germany, destroying many enclaves of Kindred before their powers waned.
"Assyria knew the vampire long ago, and he lurked amid the primeval forests of Mexico before Cortes came. He is feared by the Chinese, by the Indian and the Malay alike; whilst Arabian story tells us again and again of the ghouls who haunt ill-omened sepulchres and lonely cross-ways to attack and devour the unhappy traveller."
- The Vampyre, His Kith and Kin, Montague Summers, 1928.
It was only shortly after the Militant Orders were established in 1116AD when our brothers first made contact with the Cainites. The nursing monks of the Knights Hospitaller noted strange injuries and tales among pilgrims who had been accosted while travelling through the Holy Lands, especially Syria.
The knights Templar, sworn to protect the pilgrim routes from robbers and Muslim raids, heard similar tales and lost several brothers under strange circumstances.
Shortly after the death of the Order's founding father, Brother Gerard, the new Master Raymond du Puy began receiving disturbing reports from outlying hospices. Strange incidents of bloodless death, often combined with great violence, were occurring among small bands of wandering pilgrims. Concerned with the matter, du Puy ordered several of his most knowledgeable monks to look into the matter. After some time, these investigators chanced upon a severely ill and delirious pilgrim - ranting about how his soul was possessed by the devil, forcing him to drink blood and commit heinous acts. The pilgrim died before the Brothers could get him to the Jerusalem hospital, but reports of his words hung heavy upon du Puy's heart.
Stories of similar acts of "Satan" continued arriving in a steady stream. The Order became so concerned that it began hiring a new group of pious warriors - the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Jerusalem - to escort the Order's members about the Holy Land.
Raymond du Puy also convinced King Baldwin to allow a detail of 20 armed Hospitaller monks to guard the tomb of Christ, lest it be defiled by powerful demons. These "Canons of the Holy Sepulchre" were the foundations of the Orders militant arm. Du Puy appealed to the Pope to allow the Order to develop its own militant Rule (the Templars had by now become an independent Order) which was to be fully established by the end of the 1130s.
In the early years of the 12th century, a troop of Templars travelling at night came upon a scene of carnage. Their commander, Brother Adrien de Riviere, reported seeing several bloodless bodies lying strewn among their belongings in a narrow pass. With the signs of struggle still fresh and the reek of corruption on the air, Brother Adrien lead his eight knights in a search of the nearby hills. When challenging a lone wanderer, the stranger recoiled from the sight of the Cross emblazoned upon the knights shields and began running faster than any of God's children. Several knights, those mounted upon the fastest horses, overhauled the running devil after a long chase. In the battle that ensued, all three fully armed knights were killed while combating an apparently unarmed man. The remaining knights arrived on the scene and overpowered the weakening creature.
For the remainder of the night, the Knights of Christ tortured their victim for information. The young vampire became panic stricken before dawn, revealing much in an effort to be let free. The knights tarried too long, and as the dawn broke, the creature dissolved in agony.
Upon learning this, the Templar Grand Master Robert de Craon met with the Grand Master Ramond du Puy of the Hospitallers. Together, they formulated a campaign to learn about these creatures and eradicate them. Vampires were one of the few subjects which drew the Hospital and the Temple together in cooperation.
Since that time, the Orders have gathered one of the largest repositories of knowledge on vampires and vampire lore. The existence of Werewolves and other creatures of ill-aspect were also discovered, but none were considered as abhorrent as the Cainites.
When the Teutones were formed in 1190, both the Hospitallers and Teutones warned them about the great evil loose in the Holy Land. The Teutones did not believe it. It was only when they were campaigning in Transylvania for the king of Hungary that their ignorance was revealed. At the centre of one group of pagan dissenters was a blood cult. Here, adolescents were sacrificed during carnal festivals in order to sate the hunger of their god's mortal manifestation in return for protection and favor.
And protect her people it did. The female creature was very old and very powerful. Several companies of Teutonic Knights were wiped out during assaults upon the tribe's mountain strongholds. Survivors told of a beautiful warrior-goddess which descended into their ranks with lightning speed, tearing fully-armored men apart with her bare hands.
Legends about the vampire and her kind sparked the memories of Hochmeister Salza, who swallowed his pride and approached the Hospitallers for assistance. Several experienced Hospitaller officers were sent to the region to instruct the Teutones in suitable vampire combat techniques.
The vampress was eventually overcome - though at great expense in men. Two Hospitaller Knight Captains died while trying to contain her powers, and a Hospitaller Knight Lieutenant was maimed for life. Almost three dozen Teutones died in combat against her ghouls and herd.
This was a shocking blow to the young Order, for it had lost a sizeable proportion of its combatant knights. Humbled that such a small group could do so much damage, the Teutones never again became complacent about the powers and Corruption of the undead.
The Teutones went on to create a comprehensive treatise upon the vampires of Transylvania and the Balkans. Somewhere among these records is likely to be mention of the progenitor of Count Dracula himself.
Throughout the 13th century, brothers of all Orders sought out and confronted vampires across Europe and the Holy Land. None were more dedicated than the Templars who did little to hide the purpose of their quest. The Hospitallers and the Teutones took a more circumspect approach, taking care to conceal the nature of their hunts.
The Templars were affronted that Satan would dare influence God's creation so directly. Ruthless in their commitment, the knights of the Temple of Solomon earned a reputation among the Kindred only to be surpassed in later centuries by the Inquisition. Bands of white-clad warriors, their only device being a red cross, scoured the lands between Marash in Edessa down to Daron on the Egyptian border. Other companies roved as far as Ethiopia and India in their hunt.
Between those of the Hospital and of the Temple, almost all vampires living in Outremer and Assyria met their end by either wood or fire. Not even those hiding in the guise of Churchmen survived.
The Teutones, while maintaining a presence in the Holy Land, centred their attention on the Balkan tribes, hunting down the Damned and openly confronting heathens on the battlefield.
In 1094 the religious control of Egypt was thrown into civil war as two sons fought over the succession from their dead father. The Hashshashin (assassins) were partisan supporters of the eldest son, Nizar, who seized and fortified a string of mountain strongholds in northern Persia These included Alamut in the Elburz Mountains, and Syria. From these fortresses they waged a campaign of terror against both orthodox Muslims and the Christian Crusaders. They often murdered prominent individuals - resulting in the word "assassin" coming to mean a politically motivated murderer in the English language.
Some of the Templars and Hospitallers most formidable castles were built near the Hashshashin's Syrian domain, including Krak des Chevaliers and Saone - arguably the most defensible castles in the world. The presence of such a sizeable and elite military force compelled the Assassins to pay a tribute of gold - a tribute that allowed them to keep their mountaintop realm independent of Christian control for almost a century. Among the Hashshashin was a vampire bloodline - the Assamites. After initially fearing the appearance of God's warriors, an Assamite elder sought to turn their presence to advantage.
Tentative negotiations took place for several years, eventually convincing the knights that the Assamites would be useful in their crusade against the blood of Cain. The Assamites, for their own reasons, also sought the death and destruction of kindred - thus a tenuous treaty was formed. If the Assamites assisted the knights, their realm would be inviolate - never to be attacked by the Church.
While cooperation was limited, both sides benefited from information supplied by the other.
A powerful vampire masquerading as the Patriarch of Jerusalem was, in 1214, killed by the Hashshashin Assamites - hired by the Hospitallers to make it look like a Muslim action.
The Hashshashin made a critical mistake in the murder of Genghis Khan's son, Jagati, who ruled part of Persia. Jagati had offended the Ismali's and Hashshashin by forbidding certain rituals involved in prayer and slaughter of food animals.
In 1256, the Mongols took their revenge. Most of the Hashshashin were killed and their mountaintop fortresses destroyed. The Church Knights, already weakened by Mongol incursions and civil war, did not send assistance.
The Hashshashin leader, Rukn ad-Din Khurshah, sought to negotiate with Mongu Khan. He failed to obtain an audience, and he and his party were murdered while returning home. Later, his family was captured and subject to long and tortured deaths.
The relationship between the Militant Orders and the Hashshashin was always a shaky one. By the fall of the Holy Land in the late 13th century, the alliance had been forgotten. The Hashshashin and Assamites - though greatly reduced by the Mongol Horde - were subjugated by the Mamelukes in 1273 and fought by their side as the Christians were gradually repulsed from the Holy Land.
When the Holy Land fell to the Muslims late in the 13th century, the Templars of the Holy Land turned their attention to Europe. The Hospitallers were greatly weakened by their losses, and set about re-establishing themselves upon the island of Rhodes. The Teutones were occupied carving out their own principality in the Slavic States.
When the Holy Land Templars returned to Europe, they set about cleansing the heart of Christendom of the Corrupt. It was the Templars activity against vampires in Europe that eventually brought about the Order's downfall. Their Grand Master was appalled when he discovered even high- ranking members of the Church - and even their own Order - were Cainites or Cainite-bound.
While the Knights of True Faith had fought valiantly in the Holy Land against the enemies of God, corruption had begun to eat away the Order in Europe. Knights motivated by greed and power forgot the strictures of the Rule, modifying it to suit their own purposes. The Kindred, seeking a means to destroy such a dangerous and powerful group, infiltrated the Orders ranks through their relationship with the Cathars.
When Pope Innocent III proclaimed a Crusade against a band of heretics known as the Cathars in 1213AD, the Templars did not respond to his call. Their reluctance to fight this group, who believed the material world was evil (and openly criticised the Church's extravagance) and that the spiritual world was all important, drew the anger of the Pope and senior Church clerics. However, they underestimated the extent of Kindred power and influence. The Cathars, who the Templars refused to fight and whom they had fought to save, were to become the source of their downfall.
Many of the Cathars were vampires, and some of them were welcomed into the French Preceptories with open arms. The Templars held a particular sympathy for the Cathars, largely because of similarities in their doctrine and beliefs.
Slowly, but surely, carefully avoiding those with the True Faith, these Cainite infiltrators began planting false evidence in AD1305 to bring the Order down. Pope Clement, initially supportive of the Templars, was embraced by the vampire King Philip IV "the fair" of France. Under this cunning vampire's control, the Pope was unable to exert his influence to stop the calamitous allegations being laid against the Order - though his conscience was enough to prevent his open support.
Other Templars, either dominated by the will of strong Vampires or blood-bound, were used to plant false evidence against their comrades. While such testimony was rarely believed, it provided enough confusion to ruin the credibility of the Templars legal defence.
Even though the Order was brought down, its surviving members retained massive public support. Within months of the death of the Grand Master at the stake, our brothers and their friends had worked their revenge with the deaths of both Philip and Clement.
Upon the dissolution of the Templars in 1316, the Children of Cain rejoiced. The vampires involved in the plot were rewarded with prestige and powers - and changed their name to that of their vanquished foes.
Throughout Europe, small bands of disenfranchised Templars milled about in confusion. While their Order was disbanded, their vows were still valid. Most who had not protested their innocence and were thus burnt at the stake were given a healthy pension. Many tried to continue living under the Rule, with one group in Germany having to be removed from their lands by military force.
The Templars elite band of vampire hunter's were also widely dispersed and unorganised. Some actually joined the same Inquisition that destroyed their Order, while others banded together to create the nucleus that was later to become the Arcanum.
Some fled, seeking refuge among those who were once their enemies. Becoming mages of power, they retained their Templar name, though their Rule was heavily corrupted over the centuries.
One small group remained true to their traditions. In the heartlands of Scotland, a country excommunicated by the Church, the Templars remained living under the Rule with the respect and support of the locals. Over time, the Scottish Templars links with the Masons grew stronger, and the need for secrecy changed the way in which they operated. For some time the Scots Guard in France maintained the Templars fighting tradition, though the Order's strong traditions eventually waned even here.
The scattered remnants of the Poor Knights of Christ were gathered together in the mid 1980s - reformed for a new Crusade. Some groups were left alone, for they no longer represented the ideals under which the Order was established. Others were not interested in re-establishing links with the Church. However, enough was recovered to return the Order to its previous glory.
The toppling of the Templars proved to be a hollow victory. Within a century the same Inquisition that was the instrument of King Philip's cause had tracked down and killed many Cainites in the greatest campaign against evil the world has ever known. Thousands of innocents died as the Inquisitors became victim to their own power, but in the process a significant proportion of true vampires, witches, Magi and lupines were rounded up.
The Hospitallers and Teutones contributed enormously to the eradication of Corruption. While refusing to assist the Inquisition directly, the Church Knights used their knowledge and powers to covertly track down and destroy true evil. Very few innocents died at the hands of the Church Knights.
This disastrous age, which saw the rise of the Camarilla's power in 1435, resulted in a desperate ploy to avert the attention of the Inquisition: the Masquerade.
As more and more vampires came under the yolk of the Camarilla, the harder it became for Inquisitors and Church Knights alike to find Cain's children.
Taking this to mean success, both religious organisations turned their attention elsewhere. The Church Knights believed the hold of the Kindred to be broken: that any further encounters would only be with young vampires, alone and unlearned in ancient lore.
It was the Hospitallers and Teutones clandestine hunting techniques that saved them the fate of the Templars. While not as effective, the Hospitallers and Teutones still accounted for many more vampires through the ages - especially those attaining high public status.
Both Orders were distracted by other matters, and the Cainite Masquerade had its desired effect. The Teutones were increasingly put under pressure to maintain their Reich in the Baltic nations. The Hospitallers found more and more of their resources dedicated to keeping the Mediterranean free from the Infidels.
Neither forgot the power of the undead. Regular sweeps were made of their lands and members to detect and eradicate any Kindred corruption.
Eventually, such precautions became a matter of course - with little real effort put into them. The Kindred appeared to be vanquished.
Though the Teutones eventually lost their fight against time, our brothers the Hospitallers remain active to the present day. An elaborate international espionage network was established in the 15th century, among its primary tasks was to monitor the strength and extent of Kindred influence. This network is maintained by our brothers even today.
"And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death will fly from them."
- Revelations 9:6
During the early 1980s our brethren in Malta uncovered several documents about the same time as a rapid increase in reported vampiric activity. The various Church denominations became increasingly aware that the Cainites were not, in fact, gone from God's creation. In 1982, the Hospitallers gained evidence of a massive vampire plague in various African Horn nations.
Alarmed by the power the Cainites possessed, the Knights of St John called a general Synod of all Church leaders. Somewhat surprised at the positive response returned from all the Catholic, Protestant and Reformist Churches, the Hospitallers convened the secret meeting in their ancient headquarters at Valletta, Malta. Every Church had a story of undead activity, painting a picture of almost worldwide infestation
The Synod's resolution was to re-form the Militant Orders. All contributed funds, property and members toward establishing what was meant to be a new, combined denomination Order. However, negotiations broke down about the nature of the new Order's Rule - each Church refusing to compromise its doctrine.
The result was an international search to uncover the fragmented remains of the Templars and Teutonic knights. Through organisations such as the Freemasons, who were later to join the Synod, and the remaining Teutonic nursing charities and secret military organisations, the Militant Orders were re-established.
Each Order received the backing of the denominations most suited to it - the Teutones gained the Reformation Churches; the Hospitallers the traditional churches such as the Catholics; the Templars a mix including the Anglicans and Freemasons.
Members of each Order do not have to belong to any particular denomination, though each Order's differing philosophy attract different members.
The Orders, while independent, agreed to put aside their theological differences and unite their skills in the battle against the undead. This cooperation, while sometimes shaky, has so far been effective.
Through the bulk of the 80s, the Orders fought and trained in the African Horn countries of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. No doubt, you have yourselves undergone your advanced combat training in one of these preceptories.
Gradually the Knights of Christ have gained in numbers and strength, and in April, 1993, the decision was made to intervene in established Western countries.
Now brothers, we are taking the battle into the streets and fields of the developed world. Our quest to destroy corruption in its heartland is at its peak. Young knights like yourselves face the greatest challenge since our forbears recaptured the Holy Land almost a millennia ago.
The lessons of the past have been well learned. No-one can become a brother of the Militant Orders unless they can demonstrate the high levels of Faith you have. Only those blessed with the powers of the Holy Spirit can become a knight.
To maintain this integrity, the strict Rule of the ancient Orders has been revived and must be observed. The vows of poverty, chastity and obedience do much to nourish our Faith, as well as focus determination and dedication. Supplementary members of the Orders are being kept to a minimum to prevent a repeat of the infiltration under Philip IV. Remember, brothers, ware the evil within.
Each Order maintains an independent headquarters, guarded by their most powerful knights and warded by our combined Faith. The active knights are dispersed around the world, their locations by necessity kept secret even from each other.
Once a breach in the Masquerade is discovered, teams of knights such as yourselves will be dispatched to destroy the Cainites organisation and power - without compromising either their or our identity to the public.
Low-level cooperation is established with the Arcanum, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Squad, the Centre for Disease Control, the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), the Special Intelligence Service (SIS) and MI5. None of these organisations know the extent or power of the Militant Orders, but believe them to be a militant arm of the Inquisition.
Remember brother, only use these organisations in times of dire need. Their integrity is suspect, their motives unknown.
Beware most of the Society of Leopold. This name disguises the Inquisition. Their misguided beliefs and corrupted powers are an offence in the eyes of God. Do not trust them, and report their presence whenever encountered
"O outcast of all outcasts most abandoned! to the earth art thou not for ever dead? to its honors, to its flowers, to its golden aspirations? - and a cloud, dense, dismal, and limitless, does it not hang eternally between thy hopes and heaven?"
- Edgar Allan Poe, William Wilson.
The bride of Christ (The Church) is a unruly partner: given to jealous fits of self interest and power. The history of the Church has not been left untainted by greed or corruption - many of its activities have proven regretful and narrow-minded. Schisms within the ranks have left a widely divided Church spread over a broad spectrum of theology, some bordering on the extreme.
Some churches are even controlled by organisations such as the Mafia, others by the Kindred themselves. These groups will try to impede the Knights mission at every turn - but they are also among the highest priority targets of the Knights themselves.
Interference of Militant Order business is one of the best leads in tracing influential vampires.
But the Church remains the House of God and the channel for his Word.
Because of this, all Churches are respected and Holy institution to all Knights. While each Militant Order is completely separate of any particular denomination, all have recognised the importance of inter-denominational cooperation. While the Order's are all independent of direct Church control, the relationship remains close with continuous dialogue between senior representatives.
However, the purity of the Church is itself largely suspect. Only those which the Knights recognise as having True Faith are truly trusted. Other members of the Churches are only allowed to know a knights corresponding rank within the clergy.
Vampires and those they control can even be found within Church hierarchies. These Corrupt will do all they can to discredit the Orders and revoke the support of their denomination. However, there is a strong ground-swell of support among the pastors and priests in the field, those who actually have to deal with the discarded residue of kindred activity. The internal wrangling is continuous, with the pendulum swaying from one side to the other continually. The outcome cannot be predicted.
Nevertheless, the sanctuary of the Church can be sought world- wide. Assistance in almost any form can be obtained from individual congregations - if the right people are approached. This help is often vital during the first and final stages of any campaign against the Kindred.
The Church Knights are no longer on a religious crusade. Their new role is to rid the world of Satan's presence in the form of Vampires and Lupines. Religious tolerance is required at the present - the order of the Synod of Malta being to leave preaching of The Word to the Church. All Orders accept this, recognising their method of worship differs from the traditional sense.
Cooperation with "heathens" is not unheard of. Knights cannot deny that American Indians can possess almost Holy blessings - as can Muslims and Buddhists. While the theological implications of this is wide-reaching, it is not the place of the Sword to wonder why. It is a matter for the Cloth.
The blood of Cain is among the most ancient, and most vile, of mankind's sins. Cain, and his progeny, have been cursed for all time. That it remains on this Earth is an affront to all that is Holy. By its very nature, a vampire mocks the image of God - the form in which all men were created. It is God's work tainted - fouled by the blood of ancient betrayal and murder.
The origin of the kind is derived from the very essence of the Fall of Man. While the tainted blood of Cain remains, mankind will continue to be one-step further away from God.
A vampire is no longer human. Is a devil incarnate. But the creatures origins must not be forgotten. The belief that the original tormented soul is trapped deep within a vampire's being is a strongly debated point between the Orders. Those of the Hospital believe the lost soul may re-assert itself, and can be saved if given the chance to stand before God in judgement. Thus, repentant vampires must be given a chance to prove their repentance - and save their soul from damnation.
No vampire clan is considered better or worse than any other. Wheresoever such disciplined organisation exists between the Kindred, it must be broken down. For too long the Cainites have exerted their influence over the destiny of God's children. The yolk of their kind must be removed forever.
The philosophy "any enemy of mine enemy is my friend" does not apply to the Garou. Through their own actions the natural order of things has been upset. Only mankind has the authority to change his environment: the Garou wish to resist this - even though they have upset the balance themselves. The lack of were- animals, exterminated by the Garou for their own political and religious reasons, has left a gap in the chain of life.
This is not the knight's greatest concern: rather, it is the Garou's policy of decimating the human race.
The Garou are not on the top of the list of enemies - vampires hold that honor. Groups such as the Black Spiral Dancers are considered especially dangerous and must be eliminated as soon as is practicable. Normal Garou tribes should assessed, catalogued and then left alone. They are the problem of another day.
These magicians of great power follow ancient traditions - most based on pagan religions and rituals. While the powers they use are not inherently evil, the purpose for which they are used often is. Most seek arcane lore in order to give themselves power over others. It is this thirst for power which is considered evil in the eye of God. Magi are not high on the list of Church Knight enemies, though information on those discovered is usually passed on to other hunters.
Much is rumored about this nebulous group of mages. Some claim they were responsible for the initial founding of the Knights Templar, basing their work on the independently evolving Hospitallers, and later loosing control of what became an immensly popular organisation. Some claim the whole First Crusade was instigated by a group of the Celestial Chorus based in the French Province of Champagne. Almost all of the original nine Templars came from this region, as did the first Christian King of Jersualem and St Bernard de Clairvaux. Interestingly, the original author of The Grail legends also came from Champagne: Chretien de Troyes. The link between the Celestian Chorus and the Templars is unknown to the rank and file, and the Grand Master refuse to be drawn into the discussion. They do not appear on the Church Knight's list of enemies.
Ghosts are pitiable creatures. They are lost souls, trapped through some extreme event or emotion on this plane until relieved of their bind. Ghosts, whether placate or poltergeist, must not be judged by the knights. Exorcism is their only change of judgement before God - lest they be trapped between heaven and hell forever.
Releasing these spirits from their agony can involve a variety of methods. Quests may be necessary to right ancient wrongs, ensure the safety of their progeny - or even righteous revenge. Others may simply require the appropriate ritual to satisfy their "souls".
The process is not always approved of by the Ghost. Some may not realise the knights good intention, others may not want to change their existence or face their own judgement day. Strong resistance can make an exorcism extremely difficult.
Essentially, avoid at all costs. While most of the lower-ranked public servants and decision makers may be completely innocent and of good intentions, the higher echelons of power are almost certainly Corrupt. It is this degree of vampiric influence that caused the Church Knights to be reformed. Destroying the vampires which use governments as puppets is a primary goal of the Militant Orders. The task of ridding the world of evil is made extremely difficult while Kindred have such positions of influence within their grasp. Once this organised protection is removed, the scattered remains can be "picked-off" at leisure.
Contacts must be chosen with care. Public servants can be motivated by honor and concern just as easily as they can be by corruption and vice. Some are even prepared to put their job on the line for "the better good of the community".
Journalists are often in this category, though the media proprietors may not. The journalistic principles of freedom of information and community protection (plus the enjoyment they find while "hounding" prominent and powerful people) can often be useful to employ.
"They who should have used their strength against Christ's enemies fight now in their cups and drunkenness, waste time in sloth, moulder in debauchery, and dishonor the name and office of knighthood by their degenerate lives."
- Peter of Blos, 1170, in Knights, Andrea Hopkins.
In your quest to combat Cain's blood, you will find several groups which claim to share your task. Brother, beware. Many have a chequered past, and others exist only to serve their own needs. Some, such as the Inquisition, may even seek our own destruction. But among this collection of thorns there is the potential to find a petal - a budding rose of Faith that may be brought within the nursery of the Church. The following is a synopses of available reports. Heed the information well, for it may be vital during your Crusade.
It is generally acknowledge that the Roman Catholic Church learned of the Kindred during the Inquisition. Instituted in 1229, the Inquisition concerned itself with the suppression of various heresies spreading through Europe. Partially in response to the rise of the Catharist heresy in the south of France and northern Italy, Pope Innocent IV approved the use of torture in 1252.
The Militant Orders refused to take part in the Crusades against the Cathars, and were aware of the Kindred at least 20 years earlier than the Church. There are tales that Catharist beliefs were supported by many Kindred in the south of France. The knights Templar also supported the Cathars both overtly and covertly. Later, Cathars became an important part of the Templars French preceptories.
Some Kindred fell into the hands of the Inquisition when their brethren were forced to confess their heresy. This came as a major shock to the Church, and it overreacted. Ignoring the advice of the Militant Orders, the Church authorised the Inquisition to take extraordinary measures to eradicate the "Cainite Plague". Working independently of each other, the Church Knights and the Inquisition caused the death of many Cainites - prompting the Masquerade.
The Church remains aware of, and concerned about, the existence of vampires. The Inquisition continues still - though the Militant Orders have as little to do with this organisation as possible.
Today the Inquisition is an organisation of scholars and researchers of the occult, as well as a gathering place for many of the greatest vampire hunters. Many freebooting hunters have been trained or equipped under the Inquisitors instruction, and many more are being brought into the fold each year.
Though no longer officially supported or sanctioned by the Church, most of its members are Catholic. Under their new name, the Society of Leopold, they claim to be scholars interested only in research. They are well aware of the best ways to immobilise and kill vampires, and have access to the Vatican's massive library of occult records.
Among the most influential members of the Society are the Dominicans, who can trace their involvement back to the first Inquisition, which they partially oversaw. The exact interest and concerns of the Dominicans remain unclear today.
The Jesuits, linked to a group called the Assassins of Christ, are currently in dispute with the Holy Office. Rumors persist that they are taking vampire slaying to an extreme, even killing innocent and implicated Church members in the process.
- The head of the Society of Leopold is Monsignor Ameliano, a long time hunter who was taught by his father (a Catholic priest). After encountering a vampire in a graveyard, he was able to drive it away through the powers of his faith alone. While trying to ease the Society into modern times without loosing its important traditions, he believes too many hunters have been corrupted by the ways of the world. Based in Rome, missionaries are sent all over the world to establish Chapterhouses and educate the unaware.
The Arcanum has existed for less than 300 years, though some trace its origins back to a group of white-clad monks during the period of the Inquisition. The core of the Arcanum is a group still known as The White Monks. Speculation is rife among the Templars that these may have been Brothers that survived the tragedy of their Order's excommunication and continued the fight against the Kindred. However, they maintain no formal link with either the Inquisition or the Militant Orders, and do not engage in Witch Hunts. The word that the Arcanum studies, but does not destroy, has been around for a long time. While on the whole true, the Arcanum does not tolerate interference from Kindred who are concerned about the masses of data collected on their kind.
The Arcanum has three known Foundation houses - one in Boston, one in Paris, and the third in Vienna. Other Chapters can be found all over the world. Its members, recruited from the cream of intellectual society, are devoted to the gathering and studying of occult-related information, and are focused primarily on the past rather than the modern world. There are some members who show interest in the here and now, but it is understood many in the Arcanum believed the Kindred to be a long weakened, dying power. However, this has not stopped the Arcanum from initiating routine blood tests for its members in an attempt to weed out any Ghouls who threaten their work.
The Arcanum has evidence of the Kindred, werewolves, fairies and the spirits of the ethereal plains. More is being gathered through archeological digs and searches of old libraries
- There is no overall head of the Arcanum,. Each nation has its own head and matters of international policy are resolved through mutual consent.
The Freemasons are the latest incarnation of a secret society which dates back thousands of years. Based among the architects and stonemasons of antiquity, the Freemasons have taken several mystic organisations under their wing during the centuries. This included a group of Templars which survived the Inquisition by fleeing to Scotland. The Templar traditions, records and treasures were preserved. When the world's Churches approached the Freemasons for help, everything was ready and in place. Many ancient books and artifacts were preserved in secret vaults under Rosslyn Chapel, deep in the Scottish Templar heartland.
The massive worldwide organisation and wealth of the secret society has been placed at the feet of the knights of the Temple. All Lodges have been warned to assist members of the Order in all ways possible, without question. So far, this assistance has been prompt and forthcoming.
The resources of the Freemasons are staggering. Almost every city and major town in the Western world has a Masonic Lodge, with members drawn from the intellectual and business elite. These people are in positions of influence, often using contacts through their organisation to serve their own needs The public have a strong interest in Freemasons and the secretive organisation has undergone much scrutiny during the past decade. A flood of books have been published, each claiming to be the final revelation on the Freemason's "true purpose".
Mounting pressure has forced the organisation to become more public than ever before in its history, but its innermost ceremonies and traditions are still a jealously guarded secret. While assisting in the re-establishment of the Order, the Freemasons are themselves concerned with Kindred activity. Moves have been taken to analyse its own membership for corruption. Any Freemason discovered to be undead, or implicated thus, can be assured a swift death.
But the Freemasons are an extremely large organisation, and it is unlikely this purge will have any lasting effect.
The society's ancient traditions and records are being scrutinised for all things Kindred related. Some of the Societies best minds have been given the task of finding a way of eradicating vampires once and for all.