|“||When I was new-forged, Karras took me away from the foundry mother and said, 'Thou art a child of my endeavors. Follow me and thou shalt inherit the earth.||”|
|— Builder's Children|
The Mechanists were a schismatic sect of the Order of the Hammer that came to full power after the Woodsie Lord devastated the Hammerites. The Mechanists were led by Karras, who was not only a genius but also a psychopath. Throughout the entirety of Thief II: The Metal Age, Garrett encounters numerous steam-based creations of theirs. Though mentioned in in-game texts, the Mechanists do not make a return appearance in Thief: Deadly Shadows as the organization ceased to exist. The Mechanists took a keen interest in Karath-Din.
Origin of the Mechanists
After the Trickster died (and during the discourse of the Hammerite Order), a group of Hammerites began to show disdain for the teachings of the Order, believing that technological innovations should be put before other subjects. Karras was one such Hammerite priest who left the Order with about one hundred other Hammerites, including Cavador. Karras led the rebellious Hammerites and created a new Order that would be known as the Mechanists. Over time, Karras became insane and began to believe that only beings of a mechanical nature could serve the Builder. With this, he decided that he would kill anything organic in the City. The plan would eventually fail as Karras seals his own fate by releasing the Necrotic Mutox within the confines of Soulforge Cathedral.
Innovations and Technology
The Mechanists, despite their unpopular views, introduced a wide variety of technology to the city, including improved lighting and power systems along with automatic security systems. Their inventions and technologies were based on gears, steamwork, clockwork, and other similar devices, and were largely derivative of existing hammerite technology. Some of their most advanced creations, however, were actually based on Precursor artifacts recovered from Karath-Din during the Cetus Project. As weapons, the Mechanists used large maces instead of hammers, each with a head of a four-sided gear. The Mechanists were also creators of large mechanical spiders, sentries and clockwork sentinels that were used for combat purposes.
Ties with the Hammerites
Being a schism of the Hammerites, the Mechanists shared many similar tactics, beliefs, and technologies (albeit more advanced). Like the Hammerites, they also hated Pagans, but with a fervor that even the Hammerites could not match. This hatred involved a genocidal campaign that destroyed entire Pagan villages. Although they also used the Book of the Stone as their holy book[Fact Check], they relied more on the teachings of Karras. During the last year of Karras's life, Karras began writing a new scripture called "The New Scripture of The Master Builder," which contained Karras's plans to destroy all organic life in the City.
The most fundamental difference between the Hammerites and the Mechanists would appear to be their philosophical stance on the distinction, or lack thereof, between human beings and machinery. The practical outcome of this difference is that, unlike the Mechanists, the Hammers are not known ever to have attempted the creation of thinking machines or mechanical organisms like the Children of Karras (though the Periscope Eye seems to be an exception), or to merge devices with living tissue as with the Servants and Garrett's Mechanical Eye (Though Karras was still a Hammerite when he created the Mechanical Eye for Garrett). The Hammers recognize human beings as non-technological in their default state, and believe the creation, possession and use of tools, as taught to them by The Builder, helps them rise above this condition. They still see these things as possessions separate and distinct from themselves, and under their command; all Hammer technology has manual controls and requires a human operator. The Mechanists, by comparison, regard human beings not just as owners and makers of machines but also as simply being another, somewhat less than perfect, variety of machine themselves, which can be improved upon by modification or even superseded by other machines which might not ever need human supervision. In many Mechanist teachings, the human being becomes less and less important to the mechanical works of Karras' inventions.
The Mechanists like their Hammerite cousins have a similar rank structure. Members are called 'Brother', but unlike the Hammerites, the Mechanists have females, which they appropriately call 'Sister'. The Mechanists have priests, but unlike the Hammers, they also have priestesses. Only few have the title of 'Father' besides Karras. The title of 'Friend' is used frequently, but since members of that title have varying levels of importance and responsibilites, it is unknown what relation Friend is to Brother or Sister.
Some allies to the Mechanists do not have a title, but those like Foreman Hobart have a title that reflects their job.
Order of the Gear
Fanon has mistaken the Mechanists formal title as 'The Order of the Gear', such as, "Thief: The Keepers Compound", seen below. Nowhere in all of the canon Thief lexicon, is there ever a reference to 'The Order of the Gear'.
For a similar situation, see Order of the Vine.
Heresy Trials and Disbandment
According to the Keepers' documents, after Garrett and Viktoria destroyed Karras and Soulforge Cathedral, the Hammerites conducted a series of heresy trials to determine the fates of the remaining Mechanists. A document found in the Keeper Compound states:
"Mechanist Religion - A schism of the Hammerite Religion (see) formed by the prophet Karras. The Mechanists were characterized by a focus on machinery and technology, and an overwhelming desire to destroy elements of nature. After the destruction of their primary cathedral Soulforge and the death of Karras, the religion was disbanded. See Hammerite Heresy Trials for more information."
A Hammerite book found in St. Edgar's Church says this on the matter:
"All that is metal is not of the Builder alone, as all that is wood is not of the Trickster alone. Wood canst be shaped and carved, so that it serveth as part of a great house for the Master Builder. Even iron canst serve contrary to its nature, for the glory and service of false gods. If thou doubtest these words, turn thine eye only to the ruin of Soulforge, where the Builder himself smote down the workings of the heretic Karras and his wicked crafts."
It is possible that some former Mechanists have assimilated back into the wider Hammerite religon. In Thief: Deadly Shadows, Garrett can follow a man patrolling the halls of St. Edgar's Church. Eventually, he faces a statue of St. Edgar and says to himself in a nostalgic tone: "Karras's sin twas not his work, for it was well built and didst glory the Builder. Karras's sin twas in setting himself in judgment where the Builder hadst not."
Places of Interest
Persons of Interest
- A (semi-canon) History of the Mechanists and their Downfall, Thief: The Keeper's Compound.
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