Temple Hall (340,310)
Dame Julia, Konrad Engel
Richard Sonnac is the faction handler for the Templars. His responsibilities are many, but they include serving as the handler for various field agents as well as serving as a mentor to all new members of the organisation.
While not much is known about Sonnac, it is obvious that he at some point had regular correspondence with Gozen, the current leader of the Tokyo based Jingu-clan, a trusted ally of the Templars. One of Sonnac's mentors was Konrad Engel, who used to be a diplomat and an envoy for the Templars. Sonnac himself does, however, state that his former Mentor's bluntness and lack of discretion has lead to him being removed from these positions, both of which are flaws Sonnac does not seem keen to adopt.
Sonnac has extensive knowledge about the secret world, and will often fill in gaps and elaborate on various mysteries field agents encounter during their missions when he replies to their reports. In one such report, Sonnac suggests that he is, or at least at some point has been the primary handler for Rose White as he refers to an encounter she had with a particular revenant.
Currently, Sonnac is trying to reinvent the Templars so that they may reach their old potential, a task which is anything but simple. While the Templars rely heavily on tradition, it is Sonanc's view that the organisation needs to adapt somewhat to the newer era, thus he is often seen as one of the people who spearheads a reinvention of the Templar order as we know it. This view does, however, contradict that of many members of the Templars who believe the organisation must remain as it has always been, thus possibly placing Sonnac in the crosshairs of several Templars who have such a traditional view of the order and its future.
Sonnac spends his days in his office on the ground floor of Temple Hall, where his door is always ajar despite his limited time. As he serves as the faction handler for numerous field agents, it is likely that a large amount of his time is devoted to reading and replying to field reports, except for when Dame Julia manages to sneak in a comment or two, that is.
You should know that I am eternally busy, but for my sins I prefer a more civilised mode of correspondence than “r sonnac at the templars dot org.” So while my time is limited, my door will always be cautiously ajar. Your smooth transition into the Templars is among my top priorities. Certainly in the upper percentile. Should you be unsure of the correct conduct in any situation, come to me in the first instance. We can speak in confidence and largely without judgement. I will take pains to understand. I accepted this position because I saw a new way for the Templars to achieve our old potential. Ours is an organisation with no shortage of history, some might say too much history. But you are our future. Don’t squander it.
You’re quite safe here in London. The old girl is a marvel of arcane geometry, thoroughly warded for your protection, and by degrees, for ours. Londoners are of special mindset, oblivious to practically any outrage beyond raised congestion charges. Thus, over time it has become the de facto capital of the secret world. All are…I wouldn’t go so far as to say “welcome,” but permitted. Be assured that none would dare challenge our authority, not here, where Temple Hall casts a long shadow. Personally, I frown on architectural bullying, but if one absolutely must throw one’s weight around, it pays to erect a cathedral or two. Regardless, we Templars should be seen to uphold the truce. So it is vital that you do not cause a scene in public. If you’re truly champing at the bit to rough up your rivals, I’m sure Dame Julia could use you. The more unsavoury elements about town might also run some form of fight club. Naturally we would not condone such an event, were it even to exist.
You’ll find the locals outside of Temple Court to be a motley crew, but they are harmless. Mostly harmless. They are under our protection, and know better than to mess on our red carpet. Obviously any opinions they impart on our order, or the secret world at large, should be taken with a helping of salt. Still. In the interests of full transparency, I won’t try to dissuade you from hearing dissenting opinions. Take Konrad Engel – someone ought to. The man is a great diplomat, a mentor to me, and a close personal friend. Regrettably, he has been…hmm, less diplomatic with his views on Templars policy. It earned him an extended sabbatical, which he seems determined to spend debating Nietzche with a pint glass. An ever-so-Germanic funk. You must be singleminded, but I want you to arrive at that singlemindedness yourself. To a refined palate, propaganda leaves such a bad taste.
I shall risk the assumption that you’re not a sceptic. It will make explication easier on both of us. Someone I trusted dearly once told me: “There are no monsters, only us.” Advice to live by, but from here on in, you’ll find things have a slight tendency towards complicated. Our world is a strange, dark place, and its strangeness is currently accelerating. To say nothing of the darkness. Every myth, every legend, every dirty limerick created to make sense of what is unknowable and unfair – it’s all true. Or at least sufficiently true to cause alarm. There are monsters. Fewer now, as over the centuries we Templars have done our bit to thin the numbers. But the reality you believed balances quite precariously over the reality you choose not to. You guard that balance now. I trust that you’ll come to think of this opportunity as a blessing. A curse would be to have this awareness, yet do nothing.
I’m courting accusations of bias here, but you have made the right choice by coming to us. The proper choice. The other societies are barely capable of governing themselves, let alone the world. What we possess above them is not measured in wealth, land or resources, as if in some cosmic game of Risk. It is conviction. Our mission is, as it always has been, the destruction of evil in all its forms. We have auditioned many methods for this mission, and speaking candidly, to different degrees of success. In our…less celebratory moments, Templars have been accused of irrational zealotry, of blinkered intolerance. Of fascism. Our line in décor doesn’t do us any favours on the latter. I’m telling you this for the sake of background reading. Strive for purity of thought, and purity of action will follow. Impress this on your fellow Templars, and on all others by example.
I’ll take your question, but you should appreciate this is a…difficult topic within the establishment. The bad blood between our two societies is positively virulent. It goes far beyond some catty mid-Atlantic feud. Even if the British have elevated holding grudges over the Revolution to an Olympic sport. No, this is rooted in the 13th century, when Templars’ empire was ascendant from the Bosporus to the Orkney. Illuminati, already well versed in throwing any game they cannot possibly win, conspired to turn all the societies against us. How to express our most abject of defeats? “We got served.” The balance of power was swept from the table, never to be recovered. In the chaos, they wormed into the New World, and…It would be impolitic to call them a peculiarly American phenomenon, but I suppose I just did. The American Dream, freed from the shackles of dignity and responsibility. Never forget what drives them. They dress Ivy League, but are the fratboys spiking Lady Liberty’s drinks with Rohypnol at a wet T-shirt competition. They are ruin.
To be blunt, little concrete information exists on the Dragon. They thrive on their own mystique. They are variously believed to be a fringe society of inscrutable Zen mystics, or a cell of dangerous, anarchic extremists. It seems increasingly possible for them to be one in the same. Since we withdrew from the Kowloon in ’97, the Dragon have gone unchallenged in the Far East. But their brand of quiet terrorism is spreading outwards, I suppose almost virally. When we attempted to trace their movements, find some insight or pattern, it produced only circles. Discounting them as a major threat to our plans may have been ill-advised. Certainly they have proved adept at undermining them. But I don’t presume to make our strategy. I can only observe how the Dragon rush to fill the void left by our more public struggles. I say “fill the void,” though the curious thing is, they do nothing. As if the void itself was enough.
I would prefer not to dignify that thieves and murderers of the Phoenician navy with an introduction. Sadly, as chivalry endures, so too does piracy. They are mercenaries sans frontiers, sans loyalties, even to the highest bidder. Wherever there is a claim to jump, you can rely on their tasteless gold-ringed fingers to be stained with either dirty money or blood. Over the past millennia, the Phoenicians have been allowed to perpetrate their larceny for two reasons. The one discussed in polite company is that we cannot dredge the Seven Seas to track them down. The other, that their undeniable talent for dirty work is a valuable commodity. Among the more morally-challenged members of the secret world. We, of course, do not make deals with grave-robbers. Particularly ones who are still…tiresomely sore over the fracas at Carthage. All things considered, they got off lightly with a spot of earth-salting.
The regulating body of the secret world convenes in ancient Venice. You might think this would make diplomatic duty an easy sell. I assure you from experience the charm quickly fades. All societies have representatives on the Council, arguing cases and contributing to the air of ritual theatric. The masks are the votes, or the votes are the masks, uhm…Ah, heh, I forget now. Normally I would applaud resistance to going digital, but Venice’s backlog stretches to the Bronze Age. You see, at the time of its formatting, the Council was small, and the secret world simpler to conceal. But our modern lives have proved much less forgiving of the scientifically impossible. In attempts to compensate, Venice have introduced more and more layers of idle management. The net effect is that nothing brought before the Council is ever decided. Their only real achievement is in preventing all-our war between the societies. For that we are grateful.