"It all began," he said, "when we discovered that that the Arthurian story is mostly true history. There was a moment in the Sixth Century when something that is always trying to break through into this country nearly succeeded. Logres was our name for it – it will do as well as another. And then... gradually we began to see all English history in a new way. We discovered the haunting."
"What haunting?" asked Camilla.
"How something we may call Britain is always haunted by something we may call Logres. Haven't you noticed that we are two countries? After every Arthur, a Mordred; behind every Milton, a Cromwell; a nation of poets, a nation of shopkeepers; the home of Sidney – and of Cecil Rhodes. Is it any wonder they call us hypocrites. But what they call hypocrisy is really the struggle between Logres and Britain."
— That Hideous Strength, C. S. Lewis
This haunting is no peculiarity of ours. Every people has its own haunter. There's no special privilege for England – no nonsense about a chosen nation. We speak about Logres because it is our haunting, the one we know about.
The whole work of healing Tellus depends on nursing that little spark, on incarnating that ghost, which is still alive in every real people, and different in each. When Logres really dominates Britain, when the goddess Reason, the divine clearness, is really enthroned in France, when the order of Heaven is really followed in China – why, then it will be spring.
— That Hideous Strength, C. S. Lewis
The Principalities, the guardian angels of peoples, include small groups of human agents amoung their resources. These little Heaven-backed secret societies are the Orders. The type-case of an Order is the group called Logres in That Hideous Strength.
Orders are small. During the events of the novel, Ransom, the leader of Logres tells Merlin, "We are four men, some women, and a bear." Merlin replies, "I saw the time when Logres was only myself and one man and two boys, and one of those was a churl." Most Orders are not that small, most of the time, but they seldom grow beyond a few dozen. China has the most Order members, and they are divided among the Nine Auspicious Orders. Los Caballeros de San Diego, the Hispanic Order, is the largest individual Order.
Orders are long-lived. Logres goes back to the time of King Arthur, and before that to his father Uther, and before that to even mistier and less certain times, perhaps as far as Bran the Blessed, perhaps farther.
Every Order has a Director, an individual charged with carrying on the mission of the Order. Because most Orders are very old, most Directors are rather autocratic, or at least have the option to be. The Director of Logres is the Pendragon. Elwin Ransom was the seventy-ninth Pendragon in succession from Arthur. Presumably one of the two boys with Merlin, mentioned above, was Arthur Pendragon.
Orders work for the Principalities, but may not know that. There is no mention made of the Principality of Britain in That Hideous Strength. Instead, the Oyeresu and their deputies are the angels appearing and discussed. Even if an Order knows or suspects that it has a Principality as an angelic patron, it has no hotline to this patron. It is up to the Principality to make contact. It seldom does so directly. Instead, Order members find they are "weirdness magnets," their luck being steered in ways to bring Order business to their attention.
Orders come in a huge variety of forms. Logres is now a circle of scholarly friends in the English Midlands, but it was once the government of Camelot, the capital of Britain. The Dare Lodge, the American Order, passes as an eccentric Masonic lodge in Philadelphia. The Order of St. Petronella and the Logothetes (the Italian/Catholic and Orthodox Orders) are monastic. The Mahatomarishis, the Indian Order, are a dispersed network of Martoma Christians.
Orders are largely, but not invariably, Christian. Christianity is true in the Inkliverse, so it is reasonable that the Principalities should cultivate it in their human agents. But the Christianity of the Inklings was of a tolerant and inclusive kind, so Christianity among the Orders is a strong trend, not an iron law. Logres is Anglican but recently included a semi-Presbyterian skeptic. Several Orders are all Catholic or all Orthodox. The Dare Lodge is a mix of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and undeclared. The Grandmother Spider Society mixes Catholicism and Amerind spirituality. The Magi of Persia have their own blend of Christianity and Zoroastrianism.
The jurisdictions of Orders are not always clear. The Grandmother Spider Society shares geographical territory with the Dare Lodge and los Caballeros de San Diego. The Nine Auspicious Orders of China are a hopeless jurisdictional muddle, at least to outsiders. On the other hand, Brandon's Mariners, in Ireland, have made it clear that Logres has no jurisdiction there; Logres has carefully not asked, "What about Northern Ireland?"
Orders are not invincible. Arthur's Camelot notoriously and tragically crumbled. Geroldseck, the Teutonic Order, vainly strove to prevent, then undercut, the Nazis.
Orders are not immortal. The Atenist Order of ancient Egypt is long gone. So is the Fianna Order of Ireland. Large numbers of Amerind and African Orders have died out. The current crop has no assurance.
Orders are not infallible. The current Dare Lodge regrets that their predecessors failed to resist the federal government against the Amerinds, in the late 19th century. Les Chevaliers de Charlemagne, the French Order, backed Napoleon for too long, they now realize. Logres merrily and indiscriminately aided the expansion of the British Empire, and was punished, which leads to the next point.
Orders can be "disgraced" and temporarily lose their status. The case of Logres is the best example. The folk of Logres, after backing British imperialism for a couple of generations, found their luck running out. They found they were now nothing but a sort of secret club of military men and entrepreneurs. And nothing weird came their way. If they went looking for it, they suffered for it.
Meanwhile, the "Men of Sherwood," a minor and mostly inactive esoteric group, suddenly became more and more active, and were effectively the Order of Britain through much of the 18th and 19th centuries. Apparently, the Principality of Britain prudently kept a backup Order around. When Logres was down to no one but its Pendragon, that man realized their fault, repented, and, on his death bed, handed the Pendragonship over to the man later known as Col. Michael Fisher-King, the 78th Pendragon from Arthur.
Col. Fisher-King rebuilt Logres and devoted most of its energies to reversing or at least abating the damages caused by the British Empire. The Men of Sherwood faded back into obscurity. World Wars I and II came and went. Logres lost people again, this time heroically, until Logres was only Fisher-King and Dr. Grace Ironwood. Col. Fisher-King passed the Pendragonship on to Elwin Ransom. Ransom faced the challenge of the N.I.C.E. He then ascended and left the Pendragonship to Camilla Denniston.
Denniston found that, though the records of Logres included communications with other Orders, nothing had been heard from them or from the rest of the esoteric world since before the Colonel's time, except for a little contact with the Surya, Director of the Mahatomarishis, the Order of India, where Col. Fisher-King has spent most of his military career. Logres, evidently, had been placed in quarantine, or in Coventry. It was left to Denniston to plug Logres back into the community of Orders.
Orders can "fall" and permanently lose their status, becoming Cabals or "neutral" esoteric groups. The Order of the Dragon, in Romania, still believes itself to be the Balkan Order, for instance, though the other Orders now reckon it a Cabal.
Orders often had little to do with each other, but that has changed. Logres' re-emergence at the end of World War II has started a new era of international commerce – cooperation, sometimes – between Orders. The circumstances of the modern world require it.
See the Summary List of Known Orders.
"Some of the Pendragons are well known to history, though not under that name. Others you have never heard of. But in every age they and the little Logres which gathered round them have been the fingers which gave the tiny shove or the almost imperceptible pull, to prod England out of the drunken sleep or to draw her back from the final outrage into which Britain tempted her."
— That Hideous Strength, C. S. Lewis
Opposite the Principalities stand the Tyrannies. Opposite the Orders stand the Cabals. The type-case of a Cabal is the National Institute for Co-ordinated Experimentation, the N.I.C.E., which flourished briefly in Britain just after World War II.
Cabals are small. At least, the inner cores are. Cabals often steer large organizations, but most of the members do not realize the true purpose of the organization. Thousands of people worked for the N.I.C.E., but most thought it was just a government-backed post-war recovery project. A few dozen thought it was "only" going to institute techno-fascism in Britain and wanted a good place in the upcoming hierarchy. Only a handful knew about the "macrobes" that were their invisible patrons and the plan to take over and re-make the human race.
Cabals are short-lived, usually. Tyrannies usually craft a Cabal to attempt a specific spiritual disaster. If it succeeds, the Tyranny lets it evolve naturally, which usually means cut-throat in-fighting among the victors, and may then use the survivors to start crafting the next Cabal. If it fails, the failure usually renders the Cabal members permanently useless to the Tyranny, which cuts its loses by claiming prey that no Heavenly power will ever make a move to defend. A few Cabals are exceptions. The government of P'o-lu, a tiny Pacific island-nation, is a centuries-old Cabal.
Every Cabal has a Director, a boss, who usually got there by murderous competition. Whether his sway is absolute or whether he holds a delicate political balance through a web of threat and bribery varies from one Cabal to another.
Cabals almost never realize they work for the powers of Hell. Some may realize they have some very nasty patrons, allies, or resources – abyssal polyps, "macrobes," gnostic angels – but they rarely make the identification. Others have not even that much of a hint.
Cabals come in a huge variety of forms. The N.I.C.E. was a non-profit institute that had arranged loads of government backing for itself. The Illuminators of the Republic are a secret society, as are a lot of other Cabals. The Committee for Psycho-Physical Unity was a well-buried piece of the Soviet government and is now a "think-tank" corporation, or at least has one as a front. P'o-lu, a South Pacific Cabal, is the government of a whole (tiny) nation.
Cabals do not pair off neatly against the Orders. After the destruction of the N.I.C.E, there simply was no British Cabal for several years. Los Caballeros de San Diego are up against los Amos del Sur in South America and the Perfected Catholic Church in Spain. Although the Illuminators of the Republic are the "official" Cabal of America, there are several other unpleasant and infernal esoteric groups in the US that might just as well be Cabals for most purposes.
Cabals often have a pet ideology. They almost always have a secret "edge" of some kind that they mean to exploit to achieve their goals. Several, like the Perfected Catholic Church, the Dalmanutha Sanhedrin, and the Hashashin, believe they have a divine mandate to conquer the world. The Illuminators of the Republic, in the US, cultivate weird technology. The N.I.C.E. had as their patrons, the "macrobes," which they understood to be superintelligent energy-beings, but did not realize were devils from Hell...
Cabals have a variety of goals, though world domination is certainly the favorite. World domination by their Cabal, that is, not any other. Others may "only" want a whole nation or continent or religion, or to be obscenely rich.
If a Cabal survives defeat, it is most likely to try to rise again. Next most likely, it will fade and dwindle into a "neutral" esoteric organization. Least likely of all, it will be "redeemed" and become an Order. You can count the number of times this has happened on the fingers of one hand.
Cabals are naturally competitive and so do not contact each other happily, but they may still find it useful to cooperate, very, very cautiously, and for short periods of time.
See the Summary List of Known Cabals.
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Copyright © Earl Wajenberg, 2010