Iain Tibet Gladstone
Temple Club (250,310)
Templar Head Librarian
Iain Tibet Gladstone is the current librarian of the library located in the temple club in London. He has been working in the library as its overseer for a decade, which he claims has transformed him from a historian who experiences history to an academic, which is something he claims to have fought his whole life. It is Gladstone's opinion that certain historical phenomenons are not comprehensible simply from what one can expect to read in a book, instead one must confront and tackle them directly in order to fully understand such historical marvels. Gladstone claims to have witnessed a number of sights and events in his travels prior to being imprisoned in the library, even stating that he has seen nymphs shower in the waterfalls in the garden of Eden. He also started a sun cult in 1979 to test an hypothesis, and by 1980 he had a hundred thousand people ready to leap off the Masada at his command, likely to illustrate how easy it is for just about anyone to create a cult. The experiment did, however, lead to Gladstone being forced into exile for two years once the cultists learned that it was nothing but a mere experiment.
Gladstone grew his beard over a seven year period during which he traced the ascendance of sun worshipers, a period he claims flew by in a haze of history and hallucinogenics. His hair, however, is the result of his time spent studing the tone-deaf chanters of sunken islands of the Seventh Atoll.
His frequent and unchecked travels throughout the secret world would, however, come to an end when the Templars found him in a soulwell off the coast of Indonesia after he had been on a chemical search for the third circle of hell. He was then put in chains and brought back to London, where he now resides. He claims that a Lanark, likely referring to Force-Marshall Lanark of the Templars, told him that nothing is as dangerous as an unchecked and educated man when everything is true, a statement Gladstone states he is inclined to agree to. During his time in the Templar library, he has taken it upon himself to embed pages which note his own additions to various books in the library within the books, thus adding information, prologues, epilogues and so forth to the already extensive collection of knowledge located within the library.
It's quite ironic that I, an historian, have been imprisoned in the library for, heh, a decade now, seeing how I've always argued that historians need to experience history, not read about it. I've beomce...what I've fought my whole life: an academic. Some things you can't study in books and expect to even begin to understand. The oral traditions of star-forms over Uluru. Latin graffiti bombed on Trastevere stone. Tree-ring calendars from Tunguska, beehive databases writ in wax, chamber music played in reverse to create arcane tone poems - there is much in history you need to confront and tackle head on, preferably wearing some kind of protection. Before they put me under house arrest, I-I-I travelled constantly, I observed and recorded. Secrets. Truths. Legends. Angels battling over Stonehenge - you need these special goggles, they sell them at the ticket office, you need to know what to ask for - the setting sun reflecting off Shambala's walls as the stars aligned to breathe life into its spectral populace; the halls of King Solomon's Temple as it was carved by demons out of the bedrock; oh, nymphs showering in the waterfalls of the Garden of Eden...They... Templars found me at the bottom of a particularly foul soulwell off the coast of Indonesia, : eh, coming down from a spectacular and spectacularly chemical search for the Third Circle of Hell. They put me in shackles and brought me here. Lanark told me himself: "When everything is true, there is nothing more dangerous than an educated man unchecked." I'm inclined to agree.
Oh, the Morninglight? Bah! Do you have any idea how many cults have risen and fallen in the last thousand years? The last hundred? The last five? If there's two things London has enough of, it's Indian restaurants and bloody cults. The Morninglight is no different from a hundred other end-of-daysers, it only happens to be the biggest, but anyone can get to a million disciples; it's simply a question of making people believe you have the answer to all their questions. The Morninglight is only the last in an endless chain of sun worshipping cults, though I sense in them a desire for more than blind worship. Their rhetoric is zealous, like they want to devour their god, not kneel before it. It's a bit...off-putting, to be honest. I myself started a sun cult back in...oh 1979, to test an hypothesis. But by 1980 I had a hundred thousand people ready to leap off the Masada at my command. It was just an experiment, of course, but I was forced into exile for two years after breaking the good news. You'd think they'd be only happy to avoid mass suicide. I don't think most people really appreciate the importance of practical science.
The sun! On no there's a topic close to my hear,: and there's a hundred books on this topic right up here, no need to descend into the vaults where feral tomes stalk ancient shelves in hunt of stray sentences, though if you're serious about it I'd recommend arming yourself and tempting fate. Tuesday mornings would be your best bet, that's when most of them sleep. It's only natural, of course, that the sun has fascinated and frightened humanity from the day we crawled out of the black oceans, and sun cults have been around since the first full eclipse. To stare in awe as the source of life and light is devoured by oily darkness has a way of putting the fear of god into the hearts of savages. There's often been a contrasting duality to these sun cults. Light and darkness: life and death. From Atenism in Akhenaten's Khem, the Mihtraic mysteries of Persia and Rome, to the Fifth Sun of the Aztecs - the further you dig into the texts, the more you wonder which side of the coin these cults truly worshipped. The giver of light...or the eater of light. I myself spent seven formative years tracing the ascendance of sun worshippers across five continents. Tibet! Equatorial Guinea! The Amazon Basin! Greenland! Whoa. Those seven years flew by in a haze of history and hallucinogenics. Mmmm... That's also when I grew this rather epic beard. The hair was during my time studying the tone-deaf chanters of the sunken islands of the Seventh Atoll. Some of the chants, I later realised, were composed to arouse hair follicles in a rather spectacular fashion. Haven't put a brush to it since I lost my last one in there.
Were you to peruse the shelves of my library - as few do, unfortunately, preferring to peruse periodicals or their electronic reading devices rather than these musty books - you'd find embedded in-between the pages of many tomes my own personal additions. Secret chapters, prologues and epilogues, written over the course of fifty years. Tens of thousands of pages, in multiple languages - some dead, some forbidden, most in the Queen's English; record of my travels and experiments, accounts of the people I've encountered, living and dead; rituals I've unearthed and performed, to varying degrees of success. I've left them here for posterity, but they were never meant for publication. As a young man, I revered historical records and treated them as fact. I followed in the footsteps of Herodotus, and I sought to experience history first-hand, even when it meant taking dangerous leaps through time and space, aided by chemical agents that are, at best, prohibited. I came to realise at last something fundamental:
history is interpretation. There's no singular truth. There are no facts. History isn't only written by the victor; it's rewritten by subsequent victors, or losers who come into possession of the victors' texts, or, or, or, the mistresses of victors who figured they'd write themselves into history to ensure immortality. History is-is mutable, history morphs, in form and shape, context and content. History lives and breathes and never dies. It moves on, a vast beast, lumbering across millennia, leaving chaos and destruction in its path. All us historians can do - arcane or not - is pick through the wreckage and attempt to piece together the broken bits in the hope that it'll teach us something.
I discovered the Templars long before they discovered me. It was deep below the sand-blown ruins of the Tower of Babel. I was attempting to decipher, through the use of a rather massive water-pipe, the intricacies of a forgotten smoke-code language - in the pleasant dialect of a potent local leaf - when I came across a beautiful mural. At first I thought it was merely the lingering effects of the mind-bowing hallucinogenics, but when I came to, days later, I realised I'd found proof of a long-held theory of mine. That the Templars - or what we now know as the Templars - arose in the city states of ancient Mesopotamia. Crusaders even then, they were merciless in their war on evil. And also on anyone who didn't, uh, adhere to their rather stringent moral code. There is evidence of their activities already in cuneiform script which takes them back, oh, at the very least, to Sumerian times, and their presence and influence reached ever new heights - in Ur, Babylon, Nineveh and Persepolis. 'Course they are no less powerful today, but you don't hear Templars speak of their origins. Partly because they are blind to it, and partly because there are secrets they would not wish to share with the world.
Digging through the sands of the Egyptian deserts can be a riveting experience. Living on rainwater and rations alone, not so much. But it was among the nomadic peoples of the Eastern Sahara that I came across the first clues to the origins of the Illuminati. The cabal appears to have originated somewhere in Central Africa, before moving towards the Nile Valley during the height of the first dynasties. This seems particularly plausible considering their affinity for the pyramid in all of their imagery. The Illuminati never advertised their successes to the same extent as the Templars, but everything points to a prosperous time for them during the Golden Age of the Two Kingdoms, when they had the regions largely to themselves. But nothing lasts forever. The might of the Egyptian Empire waned, and so did the influence of the Illuminati. At least for awhile. They are, admittedly, very good at reinventing themselves - a sight better than, um, than our own rigid organisation. Although...yes, yes, we are trying, and Mr Sonnac is our best bet in generations, I must say.
The mystical corners of East Asia are...well, somewhat chaotic. There is none of the rigid structure of Europe, or the fierce ambition of the Americas. The Templars and the Illuminati are well established. The Dragon...is in perpetual motion. They claim ownership of nothing, control of nothing, but...everything points to their involvement across the entirety of the Far East. And yet our understanding of them is limited at best. References to them as...as a coherent entity pop up here and there, throughout time, in various documents and historical records, but then eh, the-they vanish, without trace...uh, just like my guide through the underbelly of Ulaanbataar. Left me stranded for weeks, but I did lean to navigate by sound and smell alone. Eyes, as it turns out, are rather superfluous. Finding good sources and identifying historically important members of the Dragon eh, he-he, is, quite impossible. It's almost like their organisation is an unified entity that moves instinctively, like an ascension of skylarks. Or, indeed...Or indeed, one dragon. They do have a head, known as, naturally, the Dragon, but it is not quite clear, not quite clear, what, if anything, this head does. Whether it's a...a ruse, like most of the Dragon's operations, or if he, or she, has some actual power to control the body. Incidentally, the Dragon is always a child, and when the child is grown, the Dragon dies and is reborn, in a new place. It is fascinating. Ineffective, one would assume, but fascinating, and a complete mystery to us, which is, one suspects, entirely intentional.
In my youth I was fascinated with Dido. The queen of Carthage, not the, uh, the songstress. I walked from Tyre to Tunis searching for the source of her conviction. It was a lot further than it looked on the map. But there were secrets hidden in her footsteps. No "Deification for Dummies," unfortunately, but I found some fascinating facts about the Brotherhood of Phoenician Sailors, AKA the Purple People. Yeah, a real find, considering how secretive they are. Despite popular belief, these people didn't start out as petty thieves or mercenaries. They were once, in fact, part of our organisation, of the Templars. Given the current climate between the factions, you can just imagine why this has been a closely guarded secret. There was a tragic love triangle involving two brothers and a sultry Salome of a woman which set everything in motion. Hearts were broken, a blood bond was severed, and control over the Middle East was divided in two. I have been apprehensive of the gentler gender since that run-in with the Four Whores of the Apocalypse in Timbuktu. Eh, no, it's not a topic fit for discussion, believe me, heh. I'd rather forget all about it.