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Sunday, November 22, 2020

Mappae Solis: The Cloisters of the Engels

The engels of Jupiter are united in a single common cause: their re-ascension to godhood. Fractured posthumans seeking a lost past, they are nominally a unified front. However, over time different opinions and philosophies arose as to the best way to reawaken their godminds permanently, resulting in several different organisations, each based on a different moon of the Jupiter system. These Cloisters still work together, but the exact nature of their alliances and cooperation is baroque and inscrutable to outsiders.

Source: Patrycja Wojcik

Here is what is commonly known:

  1. Orthodox. These Cloisters are the core of the Jupiter system. The balance of power rests with them, and they function as moderators to the other sects. Most of their time and effort is spent in bureaucracy and leadership than anything else, but it is through this effort that the engels remain an united front.
  2. Conservative. While Orthodox Cloisters define the standard all engels are expected to adhere to, Conservative Cloisters seek more long term behaviour. As immortal beings, their survival is more important than a quick attempt to return to godhood, and time does not matter. As long as they are there to see it, a hundred years or a thousand years are not so different.
  3. Radical. Completely opposing the Conservative Cloisters are the Radicals. These engels believe that nothing can be acquired without risk, and certainly not reascension. Whether dangerous missions, explosive experiments, or unstable alliances, everything is fair game to a Radical engel.
  4. Gnostic. Allied with the Radicals but less excitable are the Gnostic Cloisters. Knowledge, understanding, and personal growth of the engel-self are the hallmarks of these Cloisters, and they seek knowledge wherever they can find it. More likely to be found in a library or dig site than on an adventure, they nevertheless are rarely found in the Jupiter system, wandering far and wide seeking truth.
  5. Heretic. Although they object to the term, these Cloisters follow ideas and creeds that align them more closely with the devils than other Cloisters like. For all of that, they are still useful allies, willing to do what others may not, and ask questions others would rather not think about. In general, they focus almost completely on the engel-self as a full entity rather than merely a vessel for the returning godmind, and seek ascension rather than a reclamation of their old selves.
  6. Secluded. These Cloisters are almost always sealed, and communicate rarely with other engels, and less often with strangers. The two best kept secrets of Secluded engels are why they are doing this, and how many of them there are. The truth is that every other Cloister most likely has a few secret Secluded members, as they function as the intelligence arm of the engels against an enemy that only they truly perceive: the dark machinations of the Beast in the Pit. Something caused the Fall after all, and reascension means nothing if another could come again.

Source: Taregh Saber

The moons of Jupiter that are the home of the engels are varied. Further, engels themselves can use their nanoware to sculpt their environment, and repair damaged technology. As a result, all Cloisters are beautiful places, although they may seem strange to visitors.

  1. Ganymede. The largest moon in the solar system and more massive than Mercury, Ganymede is home to the more orthodox sects. Deep pre-Fall boreholes bring up water from the massive inner ocean in its depths, and ancient terraformer stations process it into atmosphere. Solar mirrors orbit it, making its surface warmer and brighter than the other moons. From the ground, it is a paradise world, with calm, perfectly maintained walled gardens lit by what appear to be dozens of small suns in the sky.
  2. Calisto. Calisto has one of the oldest surfaces in the system, and has almost reached impact saturation: no new craters can form except on top of older ones. It is craggy, pock-marked, and stable. The habitats on its surface are baroque masterpieces, cathedrals whose every curve is a calculated act of the sublime. Dark stone and metal feature prominently, and the weight of its halls reflect the importance of the engel's goals.
  3. Io. Volcanic, tormented, and shifting; Io is the perfect location for dangerous experiments. Mobile bases are the main habitat on Io, trundling away from dangerous areas of volcanism. Io also receives a massive amount of radiation, so visitors are advised not to leave the safety of the Cloisters. 
  4. Europa. Icy and oceanic, Europa hides many secrets. Its underwater Cloisters are in decline, their need for constant upkeep making them less popular than the more modern ones carved from ice.
  5. Amalthea. Amalthea is closer to Jupiter than Luna is to Terra, and is shaped like a bullet. One of its craters is 20km deep, and in its depths the Amalthean engels live. The numerous domed bases here are not the only Cloisters, but there are few indeed on Amalthea’s true surface, though the view of Jupiter dominating the sky tempts many.
  6. Himalia. Slightly smaller than Amalthea but twice as dense, Himalia lies ten times further out than Calisto, the most distant Galilean moon. Dark, cold, and much harder to access than the other moons, it keeps its secrets well. The tunnel network beneath its surface would shame a dwarven hive, and its great carved vaults and sculpted caverns would bring a tear to the eye of an elf.

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