From New Babbage Department of Records and Archives
A letter from one Thomas Baker to one Joachim Daecher
I'm scared, Joachim. I don't know if I'm more scared for myself, or for Babbage, or for the Church, but I think we've made a grave mistake somewhere along the way, and I think I'm only now beginning to grasp the barest hints of what is really going on. I mean I knew something was wrong, it was obvious as soon he was Ordained, but the depth of the problem, I never expected. The tracks are cold and hard to piece together, but they are there. It's almost like he is teasing me, because he could have hid his tracks better than he did.
Sorry. I just re-read that and I'm rambling. I'll try to start at the beginning. It concerns the new High Inquisitor, Ordained First Sword Reitsuki Kojima.
At first I just accepted Kojima as an Edwardite... eccentric, untrustworthy, but cowed. Then he was made First Sword, and sure, that's happened before for Edwardites, but not for a long time. I thought the current High Inquisitor had more common sense than that. Then... Well, you know the circumstances surrounding High Inquisitor Smithwick's passing as well as I do. His last act in passing was to name Kojima as his successor. A dammed Edwardite freak.
I figured there had to be something going on. So I got digging. Well of course only the High Inquisitor has access to current member records, so I started to try to trace Kojima's history before he joined the order. At first all I found was basic common knowledge... That prior to joining the church he had owned a shop in an older part of town, and was well known for his exceptional work in high quality clockwork prosthetics. It seemed a dead end, then on a whim I called up the tax records for that particular address. What I found lead me to look deeper into the records, and I think I've started to piece together a little bit of the truth behind Kojima's past. Not all of it, and it's strange, but I've found enough that I'm scared.
From the earliest days of New Babbage's history, there has been an individual using the initials "R. K." listed in various records. The first known instance dates back to just prior to the founding, one Rowan Kinshellagh. Rowan was, at the time, a figure of minor note, and while he seemed to have connections with the founding fathers of the fledgeling city state, he held no official office. The records indicate he was nothing more than a reasonably acomplished herbalist and physician. The only direct account of this individual is in the writings of one Lady Madaline Tremaine, who wrote thusly of him in an account of a wedding of some note : "...and next in the precession was the Good Doctor Kinshellagh, Red of Hair and Fair of Skin, looking as ever like a Birch Tree in Autumn. The Good Doctor was lacking Most Lamentably and Curiously in Female Companionship, despite Renown as a Healer and Druggist given his years. I think there is not a Woman of High or Low Repute in all the City that does not have some of the Tonics and Powders he sells for their Beauty. The woman who finally Wins him will certainly have a Treasure." Rowan's story ends in apparent tragedy some years later, for a ship he was a passenger on was lost at sea when Rowan was barely in his fourties.
Not long after that, a certain Roland Kirsch appears in the records, as an alchemist, a science by that time already fairly well debunked. Although there would seem to be no direct connection to Rowan Kinshellagh, tax and property records indicate Roland operated his shop - which against all logic was remarkably succesful - at the same address as Rowan. It was at this time where our first recorded contact with this enigma occoured - Mr. Kirsch donated a fairly sizable sum towards the construction of the Cathedral of the Builder. This was Pre-Mucro, obviously.
Mr. Kirsch apparently died peacefully of old age twenty years later, and a short time later one Ralph Kingsley set up shop, once more, at the same address as both Mr. Kinshellagh and Mr. Kirsch. Kingsley was, like Kinshellagh, an herbalist and druggist, although he made no claim of being a physician. Like Rowan before him, Mr. Kingsley was apparently very succesful in his trade, according to tax records. However, after operating his buisness for seven years, Mr. Kingsley closed up shop and joined the ranks of the Church of the Builder, first in the Ordo Monumentum. When the Ordo Mucro was formed three years later, Mr. Kingsley was one of the first members, rising to the rank of Ordained First Sword by the time of his death, which is listed only as "Under honorable circumstances in service to the Church". No burial information is recorded. The recorded physical description of Mr. Kingsley, however, short, dark complected and black-haired, does not even remotely match that of Rowan Kingshellagh.
From this point on, as the population of the city grew, it becomes increasingly hard to track this anomaly, given that there were at several points multiple individuals with the same initials in the city and outlying areas. Two others that I am fairly certain are connected are one Ryszard Kwiatowski, listed also as an herbalist by trade, who donated heavily to the Church, and one Rina Karagea, the first woman to be sworn into the Ordo Mucro, who much like Kingsley rose to the rank of Ordained First Sword and was listed as having died "Under honorable circumstances in service the Church". Order records show that Ms. Karagea was exceptionally skilled with both medicines and poisons, as well as a gifted engineer. In fact, if you look at some of the oldest pipe fittings underneath the church, her stamp is still visible on them under the rust.
Which brings us to the purpose of this letter. The current leader of our order, one Reitsuki Kojima. Reitsuki Kojima has admitted freely that he has knowledge of things declared anathema in the Litany, yet he walks among us still. Ok, the Order of St. Edward goes back generations, true, and I'm willing to put up with them normally, when they have a proper understanding of their place. But Kojima never has! He's never carried himself like a good Edwardite should. He acts like he's an equal to the rest of us... or even better. Worse, one does not even need his admission of heresy - evidence is there for all to see. When Kojima was first inducted into the order, he was a young man of at least partial Japanese extraction. He currently appears to be of gypsy descent - and that's ignoring that horrific black-skinned, pointy-eared, glowing-eyed demonic form he has been known to show his face as. As well, when Kojima first joined, he himself had some of his own clockwork prosthetics, from the middle of his left thigh down, as well as his right eye. Yet some time later, it was noticed that under his clothing the prosthetic leg was gone, replaced once more by flesh. The eye to this day seems to come and go almost at random.
Although the records are sealed, I was able to - briefly - skim through the official records from his admission to the order. Our superiors at the time knew all of this, I am convinced of it! Oh, I don't claim that they knew the full extent of what I have begun to suspect, but they knew of Kojima's heresy, they even seemed to be expecting him. Here is a copy of a section of the transcript from his initial interview that I was able to make:
High Inquisitor Smithwick, OFS: "For the record, what is it exactly you are? I know Babbage is being lost to the demons and heretics, but I don't fancy...
R. Kojima: "I'm not a demon. I'm not a lycanthrope or a golem or sidhe, either, rest assured, no matter what you may have heard. I'm human. As human as you. More, you might say." <laughter>
Smithwick: "But you're applying to join the Brotherhood of St. Edward. That's only for confessed heretics and... the others. Those who have seen the Truth and wish to try to turn against their own kind."
Kojima: "Well, I felt honesty was the best policy. I'm certainly a heretic. By your standards. It was never supposed to be this way, sadly. None of it was supposed to be this way. It's all been twisted and perverted, and the heretics I see every day are the ones nobody sees anymore. But life is funny that way, isn't it? I should know. <laughter> In any event, you can classify me as a shapechanger if you like. If it will help your precious book keeping. It's a lie, of course. Well, it's misleading, anyways. You could also classify me as... immortal, I suppose, if you don't like the other. Although that's another lie. So much for honesty is the best policy, hmm? <laughter> In any event, we both know this is a formality, Brother Smithwick. I'm human. Put me in whatever brotherhood you like, I don't really care. Just do your job.
Smithwick: "Now look here, if you think..."
Kojima: "You haven't the faintest conception of what I think. I'd truly be scared if you did. <laugher> You think you have an uppity heretic, someone to turn out of the Church and watch closely, but we both know that isn't going to happen."
Smithwick: "Be that as it may, I'm still the High Inquisitor, and I demand a little more respect than you're showing. I may not be able to stop you from joining the Order, but By the Litany I can make sure you don't rise beyond Third Sword."
Kojima: "No, you can't. You are incapable of hindering me in any way. This was all set in motion long before you were born. You aren't a critical cog in this machine, I thought you understood that. Your function is redundant, and you are easily replaced. But to be honest I like you. You're arrogant, and almost as blind as the rest. But only almost. <laughter> And I think you honestly mean well. So if it's all the same to you I'd prefer not to replace this particular cog. The next one might not be cast quite so well."
This was all I was able to copy in a hurry, it seemed the most damning part of the conversation. What in the name of the Builder is going on here? Nobody should have been allowed to be that insolent to a high priest, but that High Priest Smithwick not only tollerated it, but seemed to accept it? And what "job" is Kojima refering to? What has been "set in motion"? And what, in the name of the Builder, is Kojima?
Kojima is an Edwardite. That he somehow rose to the leader of the Ordo Mucro as an Edwardite is problematic on its own... The Edwardites are tools, not real people! They're the freaks and blasphemers who have seen enough of the light to help us bring others of their kind to justice, and are allowed to retain some of their powers or abilities in aid of that. But worse is that I'm convinced that nobody has the first clue of how long there has been a problem, and how deeply ingrained in not only the Church but in Babbage. And still worse is even now, in our enlightened age, we have no idea what this creature is. For all Kojima claims to not be a shape changer, he has been seen in multiple forms, without bothering to hide this fact. And to this day, Kojima - who now isn't apparently Japanese in the slightest - doesn't look any older than when he joined. In fact, reportedly he looks younger. And if he is somehow connected to this "R. K." that keeps showing up in the records...? I shudder to think of the implications.
We have a problem, Joachim. We have a big one. You're the only one in the order right now I know I can trust.
Thomas Baker Ordained Second Sword July 7th
Taken from the New Babbage Cog:
Thomas Francis Baker tragically lost his life yesterday, July 9th. At approximately two in the morning, fire crews were called to his residence to extinguish a blaze, which claimed Thomas' life. Investigators believe an overturned lantern started the fire which cost the tailor his life. Long-time friend Joachim Daecher, who had visited him that evening, said that they had both been drinking heavily and Baker was quite drunk by the time he left the man alone, but declined to say more, citing grief over the loss of his friend.