ELLIUM: PAST

After Jerusalem fell to the crusaders in 1099, most of the crusaders who did not return to their homelands became dedicated to establishing independent Christian states. There arose two problems for the remaining crusaders: how to protect the pilgrim routes to the newly won holy places – and the defense against Moslem’s surrounding the narrow strip of re-conquered lands.

At this time there were only about five hundred knights available to maintain the kingdom of Jerusalem. Therefore, small groups banded together to take on these tasks. One such band was formed in 1115 by Hugh de Payens of Burgundy and Godfrey de Saint Adhemar, a Fleming, who recruited seven other knights from northern France. This small voluntary group escorted pilgrims from Jerusalem on to Jordan, the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism. In 1118 the group swore an oath to protect the pilgrims and observe the monastic vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity.

The two founding members had initially only one horse between them. Under their vows, they were to wear only clothes which were given to them and to own no possessions other than their weapons. Impressed by their devotion, the king gave them quarters in a wing of the royal palace which was located on the supposed site of the Temple of Solomon. This soon gave rise to a new name for the group – the Knights of the Temple, or Knights Templar. The number of knights had grown by that time and eventually became a powerful army, inspiring fear, and jealousy.

Years later, as resentment continued to grow, King Phillip sent sealed instructions for the seizure of all members of the Order and their property throughout France. The brothers were thrown into prison where all except three eventually confessed – under torture – to the charges. Powerless in the light of the confessions, the Pope issued a command to all Christian princes to arrest Templars in their lands. Soon, under torture, Templars were confessing to homosexuality, devil worship, blasphemy, and corruption. In England, Spain, Cyprus, and Germany they were found innocent of the charges; but in France, the persecution continued, and many Templars who retracted their confessions when the torture ended were burned at the stake as heretics. Finally, in 1312 the Order was suppressed; its vast wealth passed on to the torch-pin Knights Hospitaller.

Having to flee the accusations, the Knights Templar changed their name, but maintained their role in society. Now under the name Ellium, the former Knights power continued to grow as did their mission.

Over the centuries, the Ellium has evolved considerably from its beginnings. Now spanning the globe, it serves as a political and scientific motivator and influencer. The Ellium has been content to guide humanity through its trying times casually, but a belief in an ever-looming threat to the human race as a whole has led to a more militant faction. A vast majority has decided to play a more aggressive role in human destiny. Basing their decision on centuries of knowledge and accumulated wealth, that the Ellium would in fact, be a more productive governing body for the entire world.

ELLIUM: PRESENT

Ellium members are brought together from a variety of fields including law enforcement, espionage, technologists, biologists, and more. Ellium works hand in hand with a variety of governments around the world, with the intention of bringing order to chaos and building a network of resources and political connections. Investigative roles can run from research to field work, but Ellium also serves as a private security firm, specializing in cleaning up messes governments seek to keep under wraps.

Ellium recruitment seeks out the independent, often brilliant individuals that ideally have limited familial ties. Government programs would have snapped up these candidates, including the N.S.A, C.I.A., or F.B.I., were it not for Ellium’s ability to reach these gifted individuals first; easily done when one of the services of the Ellium includes filtering extensive background checks and psych evaluations for a variety of governments.

Behind the veneer of a reputable government contractor, the Ellium have utilized their government contracts and international ties to develop weaponry far beyond the nations of the world. A gradual internal conflict has caused a rift between members, with traditionalists adopting the title “Templar” for their sub faction. Traditionalists hold to the belief that the Ellium should maintain its presence in the world without seeking to control it. A guiding hand opposed to actual control flies in the face of the new breed of Ellium members, who prefer direct and open conflict to secure control and correct the problems of the world immediately and with force if needed.

Ellium remains unified for now, but as world affairs become more hazardous, a growing number continue to drift from the Templar traditionalists. Recent uncovered experimentation has only served to strain the relationship even more. Project: Legion, a program designed to infiltrate and monitor all electronic forms of communication seemingly achieved a fully functioning artificial intelligence, renaming its self “Hastur”. The result of its emergence cost the development team their lives along with the complete destruction of the facility developing it. The destruction of “Hastur” has not been confirmed.  Other forays into weaponizing animals among other controversial projects continue to erode the morals of the Ellium but opposing entities like the Plato Continuum provide a reason to hold the Ellium together.

PLATO CONTINUUM: PAST

Plato sought to abandon his military career for a political one. At the end of the war, he joined the oligarchy of the Thirty Tyrants in Athens set up in 404 BC, but their violent acts meant that Plato quickly left.

Plato founded in 387 BC a school of learning which was called the Academy. Plato presided over his Academy in Athens, an institution devoted to research and instruction in philosophy and the sciences, from 387 BC until his death. He had been bitterly disappointed with the standards displayed by those in public office, and he hoped to train, in his Academy, young men who would become statesmen.

In 347 BC, the great philosopher Plato was sentenced to death by the Grecian State. His disciple, Aristotle, carried on his teaching in more ways than one. During the reign of Alexander the Great, Aristotle realized his former master’s dream could be realized under the rule of the right man.

Shortly after Alexander’s death, Aristotle gathered his most loyal pupils and told them of visions he had and how they must shape the leaders of today to save the world of tomorrow. And thus the Plato Continuum was forged in 323 BC. Aristotle died two days later.

For many centuries, the Continuum would teach and educate many potential leaders throughout history, in hopes to bring about world peace through tyranny. While this was not exactly Plato’s teachings, it would lead to the desired results much faster and more directly. To avoid persecution, the Continuum kept their society secret from all outsiders. For fifteen centuries, the Plato Continuum was a total mystery.

Eventually, a theory arose that through war and plague, world order could be attained. But the war would have to be sociologically engulfing, and no war at that time could be big enough to engulf the whole known world. So they opted for the use of a plague. The Continuum forged a virus which could carry itself on the back of rodents and vermin. History would come to know this plague as the Black Death.

The intention was through this scourge, the world would gather under a new world order. But it was the discovery of the New World in 1492 that their plans were thrown in discord. Pope Julius II, groomed to be the public face of the Continuum, let his position of power corrupt him and eventually turned on the Continuum revealing them and ordered their execution. To carry out the executions, the Pope in secret reinstated the old order of the Templar Knights under the leadership of Roland II, whose father was killed by the Black Death. The Templars would eventually become the organization known today as the Ellium.

The Plato Continuum barely survived the assault and went into hiding once again. The Catholic Church considered the matter closed, even though the Templars did not.  The two organizations have manipulated various world powers throughout the centuries and continue to do so to this day.

PLATO CONTINUUM: PRESENT

The Continuum has always shrouded its self in superstation, mythology and wealth. This mix of fact and fiction has created a larger then life persona for both the group and its leadership. A man described as more creature then human, named Sarganthas heads an organization of bored aristocrats, politicians and more, all in the service of an ideal long ago corrupted.

Where the Ellium attempts to find the more service oriented individuals, the Plato Continuum is more likely to recruit from the descendants of its senior member, people that number among the wealthiest in the world. Accustomed to a life of privilege, the Continuum puts the emphasis on maintaining, if not increasing its collective influence. The lack of moral fortitude amongst many of its members means a greater propensity for violence in achieving their goals.

While the ultimate aim is still to save humanity from its self, the methods used would be seen as barbaric by most, though efficient. Viral weapons have been a long standing favorite of the continuum leading to countless dead. The argument, however, is that more would have died had the Continuum not acted. Simply put, the ends justify the means, a concept most of the Plato Continuum is well versed in, either through the individual’s past actions, or indeed their guardians and parent’s actions.

The Plato Continuum vigorously employs Viral weaponry. Whether it stems from confidence in their ability to wield such uncontrollable weapons or if it’s based on a mad desire to be the best, the Continuum strides where no one else dares go. Even the Ellium is wary of the sheer number of viral contaminants created by the Continuum and their willingness to use them. It is believed that they have access to an Omega level virus – incurable, highly contagious, and 100% fatal. Details are hard to find, but the codename “Wormwood” has been used recently.

Cybernetics are a goal the continuum have sought after for a long time, but never quite mastered. They enjoy the use of such weaponry where it can be salvaged but seldom has the continuum created anything that isn’t already based on another design.

Genetic Engineering is another skill closely linked to virology. While the Ellium has a variety of engineered skills, the continuum has perfected specialized skills that far outweigh the Ellium’s counterparts. Utilizing cutting edge genetics and (if the rumors are to be believed) alien D.N.A., soldier creatures known as Quatall carry out the continuum’s bidding as enforcers, while other enhanced individuals fill out the remaining leadership rolls.