Exarchs
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That you learn when you become a God:
You learn to destroy everything that's not utterly yours.
That's how your reign persists.
—Illyria, god-king of the Primordium

Also Known As: The Iron Seals, Lords of Reality, the Throne, Archons, Tyrant Gods, The Usurpers
Nature: Amoral ascended atlantean archmasters
Faction: Supreme leaders of the Pyramid, while the Pentacle states that its own primary reason for existing is to defeat the Exarchs.

Known Exarchs:
The Father - Paternoster Ministry
The General - Praetorian Ministry
The Unity - Hegemonic Ministry
The Eye - Panopticon Ministry
The Chancellor - Ministry of Mammon
The Psychopomp - Death & Mortality
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Breaking Open the Head, by Daniel Pinchbeck

Every mystical tradition posits the existence of spirits or deities that seek to compel the attention and belief of human beings. (…) The Gnostic term for such entities is “Archons.” The Gnostics believe that the Archons feed on the human soul, “the dew from above,” and they try to keep human beings imprisoned in the fallen world of physical reality and ignorance.

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The Lexicon of Pentacle Jargon

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Exarch: A mythical archmage who resides in the Supernal World; the Exarchs are said to control reality and seek to prevent the Awakenings that rouse Sleepers, since only the Awakened can be a threat to their own supremacy; each original Exarch was supposedly one of the victors in the Atlantean Celestial War. Exarchs are opposed by Oracles.
Seers of the Throne: Mages from a mystical order that seeks control of the world in the name of the Exarchs.
Atlantis: In mage mythology, Atlantis was the Awakened City, the nation-state from pre-history that first codified the Ars Mysteriorum (colloquially known as "magic"). Four mystical orders claim to continue its heritage.
Oracle: A mythical archmage who resides in the Supernal World, one of those who held true to Atlantean ideals in the Celestial War. Oracles oppose the Exarchs.
Watchtower: A mystical edifice in a Supernal Realm, erected by the Atlantean kings or Oracles to oppose the Exarchs and restore magic to the Fallen World after the creation of the Abyss.
Supernal World, the: The higher reality that was cut off by creation of the Abyss in the Celestial War of Atlantis. It is the source of magic and is believed to be the true home for all souls.

(4th edition, published in 2005 by the Mysterium Caucus of Stone Mountain)

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Orthodox Pentacle Lore

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You are a slave
to an insane construct:
You are moral.

A true ruler is as
moral as a hurricane:
Empty, but for the
force of his gale.
All these things came to be due to the hubris of Atlantis. The Celestial War for the Supernal World, when the Exarchs claimed the heavens and threw down the rest of their kind — us.
So we’re the fallen ones? The ones who got screwed and fucked by 'the Man'? You know, Morvran, I respect you and all, but sometimes you can be such a hippy.

Beyond the Seers of the Throne are the Exarchs, prideful wizards who, according to ancient myth, ascended to the Supernal World and wrote their own exclusive and selfish visions onto the whole of reality, and who still rule, beyond the sight, direct knowledge and reach of mere mortals — including mages. These secret masters and dread archons are said to manipulate events in ways unseen by even the Awakened.

Only the truly wise can discern their shadowy hand behind events, and so work to thwart them. Except, of course, for those who give themselves over to the Exarchs, body and soul, and choose to be their servants and slaves, who get to not only see more of how the Exarchs rule, but even help to enforce their will in this reality. Not all mages believe in the existence of the Exarchs and Oracles, but the legend of these mighty mages’ rise and usurpation of the cosmos motivates many in their own quests for power.

So much power, and
you quibble at its price.
If you want to win a war,
you must serve no
master but your ambition.

The Exarchs’ methods are multifaceted and secretive, but their agenda is straightforward. Every Seer knows it and most other mages can guess it without much effort. They want to keep humanity Asleep, so they can maintain their Supernal thrones forever. Each of the Ministries are ruled by one dominant Exarch, who is served & represented on earth by a single Minister, the ruler of all members of that Ministry in the world.

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The Book, Page 219

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The power to warp the very skein of Creation soon outstripped the wisdom of those who wielded it. The hubris of the magi rose unchecked. Many generations after those who followed their dreams had established Atlantis, the first truly human civilization, their legacy turned sour. Mage turned on mage, and so was born the first wizard's war.

The victors claimed Atlantis as theirs, and drove the losers to the far corners of the earth. Then, combining their power, they wrought a great spell and erected a ladder to the Realms Supernal. They spurned the traditional astral paths by which a sorcerer might approach the higher realms by means of a soul journey, for they sought to walk the celestial reaches in their own bodies. They stormed the heights and claimed the thrones of the gods for themselves. Ruling from on high, no longer bound to earth, even their petty dictates and whims became real, for they stood over the lower realm and influenced it with their very thoughts.

The subtle veil were rent, and the higher and lower worlds came together; the pure mixed with the impure, and the universe trembled. Spurred by the imminent destruction and corruption of the world, the exiled mages banded together and assaulted Atlantis, climbing the star-ladder and wrestling with the celestial mages in their heavenly palaces. Their struggles were terrible. The two sides clashed in a chaos of realms, and the losers (sorcerers on both sides) were flung from on high back into the lower realm. The ladder shattered, disintegration into dust, leaving the victors beyond the reach of the earthbound mages.

(…)

Legends tell of five Atlantean kings, the mage heirs of the Awakened City who lead their peers in the fight against the Exarchs, the usurpers. They climbed the ladder and dueled within the celestial palaces. When the Ladder shattered they remained in the higher world and continued to resist the Exarchs. These were the Oracles, their numbers few but their powers potent.

Realizing the danger the separation posed for the lower world, the Oracles broke off their fight with the Exarchs and set off through the Supernal Realms. Using lore beyond the ken of the Exarchs, for they were royal heirs privy to lore and magical knowledge allowed to only nobles, the Oracles each erected by magic a tower in a single Supernal Realm, modeled after the tall spire that had guided the first vessels to Atlantis.

(…)

The Exarchs, the pretender gods, were largely forgotten by most of humanity. No one remembered that their own kind had once become gods; no one, that is, but mages. They, of all people, knew that the Exarchs ruled in heaven. But they did not rule unopposed. The Oracles also existed in the celestial reaches, working to foil the selfish dictates of the first pretenders. Once in a long age, it is said, a mortal mage's soul may attain the Final Key to the Mysteries and ascend across the Abyss to the Supernal World and so become an Oracle or Exarch, and impose his will as them.

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