TREATISE ON THE DAWN OF THE METAL AGE
Disclaimer: The following was not written by, authorised by, nor verified by any member of the Thief development team, Looking Glass Studios, or Eidos.
Much has changed since the death of the Trickster. Not all of it was predicated by the glyphs. It is the intention of this treatise to summarise the events that have occurred to bring about the dawn of the Metal Age.
As it was written, Garrett defeated the Trickster in its own lair, the Maw of Chaos. He exchanged the real Eye for a counterfeit one the Hammerites produced, and so prevented the Trickster's nefarious plan from coming to fruition. However, despite the necessity of removing the Woodsie Lord, his departure and resultant diminution of the Order of the Vine tilted the Balance in favour of the forces of Order - and so the Metal Age emerged.
The emergence of the Trickster's beasts from the portal into our dimension caused widespread panic amongst the population, who fled from beasts they thought only existed in myths. The City Guard and the Order combined to attack and defeat these beasts, and drive most from the City into the forests surrounding it. A few escaped through the portal back into the Maw, and the expeditions that followed them to complete the eradication never returned. The population gradually returned as the City calmed, and began to repair the damage caused by the brief battle.
But the traumatic events ensured that things did not return to their previous course. The Order of the Hammer had lost many of its most devout followers, and the focus of their worship - like the Cathedral before it - had been desecrated and destroyed. The Hammers took this to be a sign from the Master Builder, and increased the strictness of their regime and doctrine once again. Just as they had before after times of crisis, the Order adopted a strict, ascetic, introspective doctrine than was intended to purge the heretical and unbelieving from their ranks. But some refused to conform. There had existed factions within the Order since before the events at the Barricades, but now they became increasingly vocal. Following their leader, Brother Karras, they began to push for development and improvement of mechanical technologies, and research into newer developments. Many believed that the Order had suffered defeat in their temple due to outdated machinery and beliefs, and sought to update Hammerite theology and technology to better conform with the demands of the modern world.
This was unacceptable to the higher echelons of the Hammerite clergy, who felt that their predicament was served least by an attempt to compete with the modern world. Altering the technology the Builder had given was declared anathema, and the clergy began to clamp down on the factionalists who they saw as threatening the integrity and morality of the Order. This heavy-handed approach angered these factionalists, and they began to split apart from the reactionary Hammerites. Despite attempts to repair the ever-widening rift, the two groups began to split further apart as they diverged in their interpretation of the Master Builder's word.
The recent events had awakened in many a renewed fear of the Trickster, and a desire to join the Order to fight him and his minions. Many flocked to join the Order, but found that they were having to choose between the ascetic conservatives and the more liberal progressives represented by Brother Karras. Faced with the choice, many chose Karras's order, which was beginning to dispense with many of the trappings of the Order of the Hammer. Falling numbers and reduced support caused the old Order to consider desperate measures. The decision was taken to recall from the battlefield the Order's army, then on campaign against Blackbrook. All were devout, conservative Hammerites untainted by the 'corruption' of Karras's new teachings.
The withdrawal of the Hammer army proved tragic. Blackbrook had prepared for a major assault that spring, and the departure of the City Army's most feared fighting force boosted the opposing army's morale incredibly. When launched, the offensive caught the City Army off-guard and vulnerable. They were pushed backwards incredibly quickly, and Blackbrook occupied much of the conquered territory, which included most of the City's coal mines. This gravely threatened the City's livelihood and prosperity, and the Baron was dismayed by the speed at which his forces had fallen back before the foe. He departed the City for the battlefield, in order to take personal command of the offensive the City Army was planning. To rule in his stead he appointed a Regency Council - a committee of several powerful lords, such as Bram Gervasius, who would administer the City and collect the taxes while he was gone. The Council had the authority to override the City Council, which had become corrupt and of little real worth.
Meanwhile the Order of the Hammer had come apart totally, and, although there was no physical conflict, enmity between the two groups was at its height. Each professed to follow the true doctrine of the Master Builder, and Karras's star rose as those of the old Order fell. Eventually the two became totally divorced, and Karras renamed his faction. From henceforth, they were to be known as Mechanists. The new order had attracted much of the mechanical talent of the Hammerites, and this was put to use for the improvement of existing technologies. Research led to the development of the oil lamp, which shone as bright as a powered light, but cost less and did not require expensive cables and conduits. The Mechanists produced the new invention themselves, and sold it to the middle classes, who were eager to improve their quality of life.
The profits from this spurred further innovation, and great advances in clockwork led to the development of a whole new range of inventions and technologies. Objects such as spiral lamplighters attracted the nobility, who possessed the wealth to buy these novelties at extortionate prices. The Mechanists gained increasing power and influence among the nobility from this, as they competed with each other to obtain bigger, better and more complicated novelties.
Some of these technologies filtered down to the secular industries, which, free from the supervision of the Order of the Hammer, were able to improve their products. Trade picked up, and income began to increase as more and more products began to be sold overseas. The Regency Council levied new import taxes to take advantage of the upturn in trade, and was able to afford the repair and renovation of the most damaged sewers and power conduits. Individual landlords effected repair on damaged tenements and apartments, although some proved beyond repair and were sealed up.
However, all was not satisfactory. The discovery of several new trading cities led to the appearance of spice in the City, a potent addition to meals that was immediately subject to great demand by the rich. Sensing profit, the Regency Council levied a large tax on spice that rendered it uneconomic to import. Smugglers began to tranship the forbidden condiment illegally, and soon a large spice-trafficking ring was in existence. The City Wardens were quick to enter this new market, which soon began to comprise a significant proportion of their incomes.
The City Guard were unable to cope with the City Wardens, and were mired by justified accusations or corruption, greed and incompetence. Many of the officers were on the payroll of the City Wardens, some even on more than one. Corruption reached to the very heart of the Guard - Commissioner de Navan was taking 'donations' from Ramirez to ignore his tough boys, and many of the Sheriffs were greater criminals than those they arrested. The situation became intolerable, and there was widespread discontent, especially as the Hammerites were too weak to guard the streets, and the Mechanists showed no inclination to do so.
Eventually the situation changed, through a surprising but well-concealed series of events. A certain Sheriff Truart of Shoalsgate was in the pay of several of the City Wardens, each of whom was unaware of the others' involvement. Truart managed to obtain through them compromising information about the criminal dealings and possessions of most of the members of the Regency Council. He went to them with the information, and made a blunt offer: he would destroy the information if they would effectively cede the City to him. Well aware that the proletariat would probably revolt if they found their rulers were as corrupt as they were, the Council had no choice.
Truart was given control of the City, under the cover of a reform of the City Guard. The Commissioner, the Baron's appointed representative, was sidelined and rendered powerless. The City Guard was amalgamated into a single unit, renamed the City Watch. Its headquarters were at Shoalsgate, and Truart set up several departments to deal with the rising crime rate - the City Wardens, confident that their presumed pawn would play into their hands, felt it safe to increase their power and influence.
However, they were in for a rude surprise. Truart betrayed his paymasters, and launched an offensive on them. The new Warden Affairs Division at Shoalsgate collected information on the Wardens and began a process of rolling up their organisations. The City Watch targeted the clerks and administrators of the Warden's organisations, rendering it impossible for them to control their diverse and tangled wards. Vassals and semi-independent guilds began to break away, but with no one to fence their loot they too experienced problems. Gradually, organised crime in the City disintegrated as the criminals were rounded up and the remaining Wardens attempted to protect themselves by paring their organisations to the bone.
Despite the assault on the Wardens, crime remained relatively high. The Wardens had been superseded by a new criminal organisation - the Watch itself. The holdings of the Wardens were forfeited to the City Watch, and most of its lieutenants and Sheriffs helped themselves to the profits. Arrested criminals were often enrolled in the ranks of the City Watch, and there was increased disillusionment amongst the populace and the few honest Watch Officers that the new City Watch was no better than the old City Guard.
Meanwhile, the Mechanists continued to gain power. Advancements in the field of clockwork mechanisation and several unknown arts resulted in the development of the Mechanical Eyes, while the exploration of the much-ignored science of chemistry produced gunpowder. The influence of the Mechanists in the fields of architecture and interior design gained pace. Mechanist styles became popular in order to display their mechanical innovations in their proper setting, and the materials of tile, metal, marble and plaster became increasingly favoured over stone and wood.
Like the Order of the Hammer before them, this increasing wealth and acclaim convinced the Mechanists that they needed a new place of worship worthy of their magnificence. They had already occupied, and renovated considerably, the old Hammerite Cathedral in the Old Quarter - now actually part of Eastport - as well as constructing the Mechanist Tower, called Angelwatch, at Dayport. But the Mechanists wanted something more. Their new Cathedral became called Soulforge Cathedral, and was a massive building that sprawled over the remains of Wayside. The Mechanists demolished many of the structures in this ancient district, and razed the rest, in order to find enough space to construct their Cathedral. When finished it was an impressive construction, containing a massive space for worship as well as several items of machinery that allowed the production of their latest invention: the Builder's Children, developed by Friend Coltus. The demolition of Wayside, and the construction of the Cathedral, revitalised the former slum district, and led to the building of many new warehouses and factories to supply the Mechanists with machined components or transport their finished product.
Thanks to their growing wealth, the Mechanists were able to take over Markham's Isle, and install new subterranean and submarine structures in the caves beneath it. There they developed the Cetus Amicus, intended as a demonstration of Mechanist prowess and construction ability. However, on its maiden voyage it made a highly unusual discovery. On a cruise around the coastline of the City a stone building was discovered, torn by time but still recognisable as a structure. Further investigation, spurred by the presence of Karras on board, revealed a faint network of buildings and a beckoning cavern. There was growing excitement aboard the vessel, made greater when the Cetus Amicus ground on a gravely shore, and scouting expeditions found several tunnels that led to an abandoned city.
The Mechanists had discovered Karath-Din, the legendary Lost City, and the treasures within it. They also discovered burricks, fire elementals, and a strong encampment of Mages from the Brotherhood of the Hand. They had remained down there in their quest for further relics of their past, and fortified certain areas to withstand attack. The Mechanists were cut down, but survivors returned to the Cetus Amicus to tell the story. Karras was incensed, and appointed a certain Brother Cavador to eradicate the Mages, and find whatever treasures they had been digging for.
This was accomplished after several months shuttling men and equipment to the site, with the rust gas taking out most of the Mages and a large proportion of the burrick population as well. Some of the relics recovered greatly excited Karras, for reasons unknown to us, and he gave orders for as many of them to be collected as possible. Meanwhile, Mechanists engineers had found the exit to the City we had used, and installed machinery to make it possible to enter and exit Karath-Din without having to come via water. However, the need to be circumspect to avoid arousing suspicion, as well as the precariousness of the precautions taken to avoid flooding, meant that passage through it was restricted to important personages.
Above the subterranean tunnels of Karath-Din, the City became increasingly dominated by both the Mechanists and the City Watch. Truart continued his crackdown on crime, now targeting all found disobeying even the most minor of offences, as well as those guilty of serious crime. Many lauded the City Watch for these remarkable efforts, despite the climate of fear that began to prevail amongst the innocent, but the more cynical wondered at why some of the 'criminals' arrested were among the Watch's most vocal opponents - before they too were arrested, imprisoned, and never heard of again. The regency council could do nothing to prevent this, nor could any of the lesser nobles. Truart, with his lieutenants Hagen and Moseley, gradually eradicated almost all crime from the City, with the exception of the best, and assumed almost complete control.
Yet, at the same time changes were noticed in Truart's behaviour. As clockwork cameras and watchers appeared in City Watch stations around the City, people observed that increasingly beggars and vagabonds began to be rounded up, sometimes in preference to criminals.
We, of course, know why this is. The Metal Age is upon us, and only Garrett, the one who is both brethren and betrayer, can act where we cannot.
Treatise, 'Dawn of the Metal Age'. Keeper Library; City, Recent Events - 3856