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Word Of Blake
This information was last updated on the: 15th of December, 2012
Core Information:

     Capital: Gibson
     Faction Leader: William Blane
     Military Leader: Cameron St.Jamais
     Intelligence Leader: Curtis Byrd
     Approximate BattleMech Regiment Strength: Unknown
     Mercenaries Currently Under Employ: Black Angus Boys, Blanc's Coyotes, Broadstreet Bullies, Burr's Black Cobras, Heavyhell Raisers, Hsien Hotheads, Jacob's Juggernaughts, Khasparov's Knights, Lone Star Regiment, Martian Cuirassiers, Stealthy Tigers, Swann's Cavaliers

BTM Timeline Events:

24th of February, 3068 to the 8th of October, 3068
Instead of disbanding the Star League as a sham, it is further strengthened with the full inclusion of the Nova Cats and ComGuard into the SLDF. So as the renewed SLDF first order of business they launch a campaign to take back Terra from Word of Blake, pioneered by the newly formed SLDF Triumvirate: Victor Steiner-Davion, the ComGuard Lisa Koenigs-Cober and the Nova Cat Khan, Santin West. The Campaign is won before the end of the year and Terra is made the Star League capital once again.

5th of November, 3068
The Word of Blake Toyama faction is absorbed by other factions due to the failure of holding on to Terra. Precentor William Blane, Precentor Willima Willis and Precentor Curtis Byrd of the strongest 3 factions sign 'Triad Council Agreement' and form single WOB institution, internal wars havoc the WOB for the next few years.

9th of January, 3080
Word of Blake forces are identified fighting against Clan Star Adder in the Davion Outback.

8th of February, 3080
Precentor Avitue issues a Sphere-wide announcement that the Word of Blake is intervening in the Davion Outback, and will drive the Clan invaders back into the Periphery.

15th of July, 3080
Word of Blake forces turn to mass WMD use in order to subdue their enemies.

1st of June, 3083
The War between the Word of Blake and the FWL heat up to an all time high. Forces from the Circinus Federation come flooding in with the Black Warriors leading the way. The Black Warriors are at bridge strength and have Blake equipment.

15th of December, 3083
A splinter group from the Word of Blake calling itself the Covenant forms in the Free Worlds League. The League adopts this organization as a Province of the League, with control of Enclaves of Covenant citizens on several League worlds and a contract to operate all HPGs in the realm. The Covenant is given Hanover City on Gibson as a capital and a seat on Parliament. The Covenant Militia, consisting of 9 Divisions and 4 warships, joins the FWLM as a Provincial force. The Word of Blake is declared an enemy of the realm, subject to arrest and prosecution on sight. The Word of Blake in turn declares the Covenant to be heretics and traitors.

6th of October, 3085
Leaving Abaoji Taizu, The Black Talon Phoenix Mercenary Command are once again approached by the Capellan Confederation to investigate suspected pirate raids against the planet Lyreton. From the first enemy activity, the Black Talon Phoenix Mercenary Command recognizes a certain quality about the raiders, which leads them back to their old nemesis, the Word of Blake! The Black Talon Phoenix Mercenary Command was surprised to find a Taurian Defense Force unit operating on the wrong side of the border. More to follow...

25th of November, 3085
Sent to the Confederated Magistry (Capellan Confederation) planet of Lyreton, to investigate the disappearance of the village of Black Rock, the Black Talon Phoenix mercenary command unearths evidence that the Word of Blake was conducting experiments in cybernetic research on the unwilling residents. Signs existed to support that a nuclear weapon had been used to cleanse the site. Also, a Taurian unit had started demonstrating on the planet, in an attempt to annex it for the Taurian Concordat. The Black Talon Phoenix mercenary command was able to uncover, and defeat all actions being prosecuted against Lyreton and its ruling house. Sterope Legion proved to be a veteran unit of the Taurian Concordat. Word of Blake still operating in the area

26th of November, 3090
For ComStar, the 7th Armored today was able at last to catch the ULTRA recon unit on New Earth. The results while great for the Armored Legion, the findings was anything other than good news. The Ultra unit was piloting old Word of Blake 'Mechs from a missing unit out of Liao space. Even worse was the lance commander was a partial rebuilt cyborg. The question is where is Ultra getting WOB equipment or is there a darker side here. Could the Word do something even more sinister. They didn't just disappear but evolved, why be the enemy when there are people revolting and wanting to fight. Could we all just have missed the curve ball and Blake is sitting back laughing at the whole inner sphere as the puppets do there work? If that is the case, is the FWL still with them or are they being played as well. Either way, Ultra could very well be digging in and fighting them to retake worlds could be the next great war for Terra for all sides involved. Though one thing is for sure, the 7th will be on the front lines giving them hell all the way back to where they came from.

Origins and History: The Renegades:
ComStar defeated the Clans on Tukayyid, but the victory was bittersweet. ComStar had negotiated for an end to all offensive action aimed at striking further through the Inner Sphere toward Terra for fifteen years if the Clans lost, offering Terra's subjugation to the Clans if the Clans won. However, this agreement only bound the Clans to cease advancing toward Terra; they considered the rest of the Inner Sphere fair game. As long as it lay "spinward" from Terra, the Clans could assault any world within their reach, honing their tactics and wearing down the Successor States little by little. ComStar had gained a brief breathing space for the Inner Sphere; in less than two decades, mortal battle would once more be joined.

The action on Tukayyid and events following spelled the downfall of the old ComStar. When Precentor Martial Focht returned to Terra after Tukayyid, he confronted Primus Waterly about Operation Scorpion, her futile effort to take over the Inner Sphere by staging revolts to sabotage the Clans' administration of conquered worlds and placing all Inner Sphere HPGs under Interdiction. Though the details of the meeting remain unknown, Precentor Focht convinced Myndo Waterly to abdicate the primacy. One week later, the First Circuit elected Sharilar Mori, Precentor Dieron, as Primus. Together, Primus Mori and Precentor Martial Focht embarked on a series of far-reaching reforms.

Demona Aziz, Precentor of Atreus and a member of the First Circuit during Operation Scorpion, held strictly to the rigid, conservative interpretation of the works of Jerome Blake, and blindly followed Primus Waterly. Precentor Aziz wrongly assumed that Primus Mori's accession and her internal reforms resulted from an illegal coup d'etat by the Precentor Martial. Though the other First Circuit members saw the wisdom of Precentor Martial Focht's actions, Precentor Aziz took her staff and bolted from Terra, traveling to Atreus to meet with Captain-General Thomas Marik. Upon arriving, she informed the Captain-General that the ComStar he once served was under attack from within. Demona Aziz petitioned Thomas Marik for sanctuary within the Free Worlds League for herself and any other members of ComStar who might share her fears and follow her. Captain-General Marik granted her request.

Ignorant of the full scope of the Reformation, Precentor Aziz failed to reveal the true nature and extent of the changes in ComStar to Captain-General Marik, and the eventual depth of response to his offer of sanctuary astounded him. When Aziz fled, Primus Mori had yet to initiate most of the Reformation Acts; ComStar's internal struggle had not yet spread beyond the First Circuit. Judging Primus Mori and Precentor Focht by her own narrow standards of conduct, Aziz mistook the rebirth of ComStar for no more than another round of petty political maneuvering.

Using ROM agents loyal to her, Precentor Aziz sent messages to every HPG station across the Inner Sphere, inviting all ComStar members who rejected the new ways in favor of the old to join her in exile. As Precentor Aziz's call went out, Primus Mori passed the first of the Reformation Acts and began to uproot some of the Order's underlying misconceptions. The situation could easily have erupted into violent internal conflict, but Aziz's rebellion provided an easy way out for those unwilling to accept change. Primus Mori wisely showed great patience by allowing the conservative members of the Order to make their choice and leave unopposed, keeping turmoil to a minimum in the divided brotherhood.

Within months, Aziz's initial handful of followers became a flood of more than two thousand refugees, most arriving in the Free Worlds League with only the robes on their backs. Some of the most fanatical members of the Com Guards managed to smuggle out their BattleMechs, or carried their personal tools and weapons with them. The defectors formed a loose organization, still led unofficially by Precentor Aziz, and adopted the name Word of Blake.

The Word of Blake accepted as members all those who subscribed to ComStar's traditional operating procedure and faith, wrongly believed to be the teachings, writings, and methodologies of the sainted Jerome Blake. While the Reformation Acts unfolded within ComStar, changing almost every aspect of the old Order, members of the Word of Blake held true to the monolithic, repressive ComStar they had always known.

Some remaining traditions are superficial. For example, unlike the new ComStar, Word of Blake followers still wear the white robes of the old Order. More seriously, they continue to recite prayers to the technological devices under their control, praising them for their continued, smooth operation. The reformed ComStar no longer retains this unnecessary and superstitious practice. To an untrained outsiders, acts of techno-worship performed by Word of Blake members appear to be nothing more than harmless, quasi-religious changing. The danger lies in the Word of Blake's sincere but ignorant belief that without prayers, the machinery will not function. They claim that operating an HPG merges technology and mankind, and their prayers both thank and supplicate the machines. By their example, they teach others to emulate superstitious flummery, arming them against any efforts to teach independent thought.

The Marik Alliance:
Caught off guard by the sheer numbers of ComStar followers switching their allegiance to the Word of Blake, Captain-General Marik arranged to meet with several of the defecting Precentors that he knew personally to determine the best course of action. Already, each Precentor represented an individual faction of refugees seeking sanctuary within the Free Worlds League borders. Precentor Blane of Gibson, a long-time friend and ally of the Captain-General, led the delegation. Blane offered a more moderate, less overtly reactionary style of leadership, providing a marked contrast to the often-combative Aziz. Thomas Marik's open support for Precentor Blane as the ad hoc leader among the Precentors infuriated Demona Aziz, and still provokes controversy within the Word of Blake administration. Believing that her former rank on the First Circuit entitled her to prominence among the renegades, Precentor Aziz resented her fall in status from founder to leader of a minority faction in the group she helped to forge. She could do little about it, however, except seethe inwardly under a barely civil exterior and bide her time.

The meeting yielded two accords. Thomas Marik agreed to relocate the arriving members of the newly created Word of Blake to the planet Gibson, granting them a landhold there. In return, the Word of Blake signed a contract to service the HPGs the League had gained in the aftermath of Operation Scorpion. Precentor Blane and the other gathered leaders willingly drafted the contract, aware that they would need the resulting income to support the ever-growing number of ComStar refugees.

The HPG service contract between the Free Worlds League and the Word of Blake benefited both parties equally. It provided the Word of Blake with a substantial, steady source of income that their new Order desperately needed. It also placed a formidable political and military tool in Thomas Marik's hands. Knowing that Marik supported their cause, the Word of Blake in return pledged him their aid should the need arise. Should House Marik's upcoming marital alliance with House Liao prove shaky, the Captain-General may use his newfound allies to shore it up. In the meantime, the Word of Blake's trained MechWarriors and skilled, ruthless ROM operatives add considerably to Thomas Marik's personal power. Time alone will show what use he plans to make of them, and how large a threat they pose to ComStar.

Fortunately, even as ComStar struggles through changes, the Word of Blake is also suffering upheaval. Where the ComStar Reformation has the advantage of a clear vision and a strong leader, the Word of Blake has yet to define its true direction and goals. As yet, only blind rejection of Primus Mori's reforms binds them together. Each subgroup within the Word of Blake proposes a different direction for their organization to take, and the sect's leaders lack sufficient control over their members to prevent each faction from acting on its own.

All factions agree on a few points. They decry our blessed Order and its members as heretics for defying the ancient doctrines falsely claimed to be the writings of Jerome Blake. They denounce as forgeries the recently discovered, true writings of our blessed founder on which Primus Mori and Precentor Martial Focht have based the Reformation. They mourn ComStar as lost, destroyed from inside, and claim that salvation is possible only by fleeing from our Order's so-called corrupted vision and joining the Word of Blake. Beyond such narrow-minded hatred, they hold little in common.

Precentor Aziz recently deepened the tension between ComStar and the Word of Blake by unveiling her logo for the growing organization. Wisely declining to widen the schism with a show of anger, neither Primus Mori nor Precentor Martial Focht have publicly commented on the logo. However, Precentor Aziz's act of petty defiance can only dim hopes for an eventual reconciliation.

The logo of the Word of Blake consists of a massive broadsword thrust downward, its hilt decorated with the ComStar insignia surrounded by six concentric rings. According to Aziz, the sword represents the Word of Blake's iron determination to establish what they call the true faith, and their willingness to use force to fulfill their version of Jerome Blake's prophecies and visions. The six concentric rings surrounding the ComStar insignia represent the original seats of the First Circuit during Blake's time. By invoking the Order's earliest days, Precentor Aziz seeks to legitimize centuries of creeping revisionism and false doctrine as the gospel of Jerome Blake.

Currently, ComStar has more pressing concerns than these empty gestures. Former Primus Waterly's influence remains strained within the ranks of the Word of Blake, and some factions call for the death of "the heretic Primus," Sharilar Mori. Most factions also consider the Primus and Precentor Martial to be evil demons who destroyed ComStar and betrayed Blake's work. Their hysterical rhetoric might seem comic, were its potential consequences not so grave. The Order has taken steps to provide protection for the Primus and Precentor Martial. Though the murder of either leader would create temporary chaos, ComStar would survive such a trauma. Destroying our leaders will not destroy our faith or our work. The Word of Blake's most fanatical members pose a danger beyond their threat to ComStar, however. Those who call Myndo Waterly a saint point accusing fingers at the Federated Commonwealth, calling it evil and advocating its destruction. Allied with the Free Worlds League, the Word of Blake may poison relations between these two states beyond repair, possibly even touching off another Inner Sphere-wide war.

Monkey Warfare:
If guerrilla warfare is defined as perpetrating clandestine attacks on the opposition in order to wear them down, in "monkey" warfare, both sides wage a conflict of escalating, annoying pranks that, though expensive and time-consuming, cost no lives. Petty harassment of ComStar by Word of Blake members of the Free Worlds League and the Federated Commonwealth has forced our Order to retaliate in an ongoing war of one-upmanship.

As a gesture of respect for their misguided brethren, ComStar allows the Word of Blake to use the ComStar HPG network, requiring no modifications for alternate methods of transmission or additional security measures. Because ComStar hold a one-year service contract with the Free Worlds League, we also transmit through the HPG stations held by the Word of Blake. However, ComStar has only minimal control over those stations as its personnel are gradually replaced by Word of Blake technicians (as agreed in that contract), and therefore cannot guarantee that the messages sent through them will arrive at their destination unmolested. Mounting evidence suggests that Word of Blake technicians frequently tamper with ComStar message packets sent through their Class A HPGs.

Word of Blake technicians also delight in adding entire, unrelated messages to transmissions. Frequently, they insert recruitment information into private communiqu├ęs. ComStar internal documents bear the brunt of this abuse, often appearing at their destination padded by pages of ranting commentary from the Word of Blake renegades. Though this tampering has a fleeting impact, ComStar loses time and money when forced to re-transmit messages, sometimes several times, to ensure that at least one copy makes it through unaltered.

A more serious interception involved former Primus Myndo Waterly's body, which disappeared from Terra prior to its scheduled cremation. Primus Mori declared the theft a "morbid, callous, and heinous act against the dead." Precentor Martial Focht privately fears that the body of the former Primus may be used as a symbol of worship to enshrine Waterly as a martyr. As of this writing, no group claims responsibility for the theft, but evidence points strongly to the Word of Blake's role in the desecration.

Organization:
The Word of Blake retains much of the organizational structure used by ComStar prior to the Reformation. The three-tiered ranking of acolyte, adept, and Precentor remains the same, and each division's function uses the standard Greek-letter classifications. The Word of Blake has kept the Omicron designation, which represents ROM's internal security and doctrinal purity function.

Repudiating the First Circuit as a corrupt body, the Precentors leading the Word of Blake rejected that portion of ComStar's command structure; yet each are leery of relinquishing personal power and so they formed a loose tribunal, currently led by Precentor Blane of Gibson. One Precentor represents each faction of the Word of Blake, with Blane arbitrating all disputes. As of this writing, no one faction controls the tribunal, and the Word of Blake remains in constant flux.

Splinter Groups:
Part of the reason no one faction can gain control of the tribunal lies in the widely diverse interpretations of the writings and will of Jerome Blake held by the various factions. Though outwardly committed to a single "true vision" they claim to possess, few within the Word of Blake agree on even the smallest doctrinal point. Each faction boasts a certain number of supporters, often centered around a specific person, geographic area, or unique view of Blake's vision. These factions often break down into smaller splinter groups, each of which endorses yet another specific viewpoint or ideology. Precentor Demona Aziz leads the most radical faction, a group known as the Toyama, named for Primus Conrad Toyama, who first turned ComStar from humanity's guardians to humanity's oppressors. The Toyama group militantly follows their namesake's gospel, convinced it is Blake's philosophy, and believes that the Word of Blake should build a large enough army to seize Terra from our Order and reimpose the suffocating religion of the old ComStar throughout the Inner Sphere. The Toyama have made several assassination attempts against our Primus and Precentor Martial, and have launched several terrorist attacks against ComStar HPGs in the Federated Commonwealth.

Even within the Toyama, more extreme splinter groups call for the assassination of all the Successor State House Lords. Though these murderous reactionaries represent only a small fraction of the total group, the lack of centralized control within the Word of Blake makes it impossible to check the movements of each faction or individual. Still other minor contingents lobby for attacks against the Wolf Pack, formerly Wolf's Dragoons, in retaliation for their decades-old ties to the Clans. We of ComStar must not be misled by their small size into underestimating the danger these groups pose. As history has demonstrated time and again, the act of a single zealot can plunge worlds into the flames of chaos.

Precentor Blane leads the moderate True Believers faction, who resort to violence only when diplomacy fails. Precentor Blane considers reconciliation between ComStar and the Word of Blake possible, but only at the cost of extreme sacrifice on both sides. Given the recalcitrance of Blane's fellow Precentors, reunification seems unlikely. In accordance with his hopes, however slim, Blane plays the role of middleman in the struggle within the Word of Blake, balancing the violent factions against those who view ComStar strictly as a religious calling.

The Counter-Reformists, led by Precentor Willima Willis, maintain that the Word of Blake should review the writings and teachings of Jerome Blake and revise them where necessary. Though they disagree with the reforms enacted by Primus Mori and Precentor Focht, they admit that Blake's philosophy may have been tainted since ComStar's founding. They believe that the only proper response to past treachery is to use the past as a building block for the future, reevaluating the existing interpretations of Blake's vision to discover where ComStar went wrong and to avoid making those same mistakes. Predictably, this faction has already been branded heretical by the majority of the Word of Blake. Though its hot-tempered Precentor boasts a number of followers, this faction also lacks a definitive direction or plan.

Reconciliation, if it occurs, will probably come from within the Counter-Reformists or the True Believers. Some minor splinter groups under Precentor Blane see reconciliation as the only way to deal with ComStar, and advocate extending diplomatic ties to our Order as a way to begin healing the breach between the two groups.

The Shunners faction has not splintered, and in fact, seems to be growing in power. Shunners believe that Jerome Blake's prophesied destruction of the Inner Sphere draws near, and that the Word of Blake's only hope for survival is to isolate itself and weather the coming storm. They consider the current contract with the Free Worlds League a mistake, a blatant disregard of Blake's warnings about allying with one of the Successor States. In their own way, the Shunners are as radical as the Toyama group. Though they disagree about how to act on their theology, they will fight for their right to exist. Precentor Curtis Byrd, former Precentor of Florida in the Federated Commonwealth, currently leads the Shunners, the least vocal of but most steadfast of the current factions.

Further splinter groups may exist of which we remain ignorant, making our analysis of the balance of power within the Word of Blake precarious, at best.

ROM:
The Word of Blake retained the name of ROM for its internal security organization. They consider themselves to be the true ComStar, and aside from jettisoning the First Circuit, have made a point of retaining the Order's outward trappings, including the Greek-letter function identification for all military and other rank structures. Along with its structure, the Word of Blake ROM also retained its traditional watchdog role. ROM agents infiltrate every level of the Word of Blake, seeking out ComStar agents and punishing any converts tempted to rethink their loyalties. Most of ROM defected to the Word of Blake in the early days of the Reformation, bringing with them considerable skill in espionage as well as rigid conservative influences. Lacking control by a central authority, they frequently overstep the bounds of their position and of common decency.

ROM agents associated with the Toyama faction recently attempted to bomb Hilton Head Island. One of the few ComStar ROM agents to successfully infiltrate the Word of Blake ROM sent a warning which foiled the attack. If successful, the attack would have killed the Primus, the First Circuit, and the Precentor Martial at one stroke. Instead, the incident only served to further escalate the tensions between our blessed Order and the renegade Word of Blake.

Thankfully, only sixteen altercations between the ROM forces of ComStar and the Word of Blake have degenerated into fatal violence, mainly in the Federated Commonwealth, where the more bloodthirsty factions attempted to punish those individuals who defied Primus Waterly's orders during Operation Scorpion. Given the scope of changes going on elsewhere, our Order views these distressing incidents as minor by comparison.

The News Bureau:
The ComStar News Bureau lost several key reporters in the early stages of the Reformation. Those who chose to join the ranks of the Word of Blake have set up a rival news service.

Calling their creation the Blake News, these reporters originated a series of programs purportedly illuminating the teachings of Jerome Blake. As with their parent, the Word of Blake, the Blake News cannot agree on one way to interpret the work of ComStar's founder; that they managed to produce this program at all is astonishing. As might be expected, the final version sparked immediate controversy. Mirroring the internal struggle taking place within the larger organization, fights sometimes break out during live broadcasts between rival factions and splinter groups. The actual reporting of news unfortunately receives short shrift.

Blake Guard/Word of Blake Militia:
Of the thousands of ComStar members who fled to the Free Worlds League, one of the most notable and potentially dangerous refugees is Precentor Trent Arian of the Com Guards. During the battle of Tukayyid, he fought against Clan Diamond Shark, earning several commendations for his bravery and leadership, including the Precentor's Sword. Upon returning to Terra with his unit for refit, he learned of Primus Mori's Reformation Acts. He promptly took more than thirty MechWarriors and their equipment back off-planet and headed for the Free Worlds League.

Precentor Arian met with Precentor Blane on Gibson and pledged his loyalty to the Word of Blake. Precentor Blane, realizing that the number of refugees coming from the ranks of the Com Guards made a Precentor Martial necessary for the organization, appointed Precentor Arian to that position.

Precentor Martial Arian faced the challenge of forging viable military units from the hodgepodge of BattleMechs and personnel that left ComStar to join the Word of Blake. Captain-General Marik provided the assistance of the Free Worlds League Ministry of Defense, and with their help Arian shaped his army around the traditional Com Guard unit structure. The Free Worlds League advisors suggested establishing two primary military bases on Gibson, and remained there as technical consultants. Their true function may be to act as Thomas Marik's eyes and ears, attempting to ensure that the Word of Blake military acts in accordance with Marik's designs and goals.

Despite their philosophical differences, all Word of Blake factions agree that to ensure their survival, they must directly control military assets. The tribunal allocated funding to Precentor Martial Arian with instructions to replenish and increase his forces with new BattleMechs and equipment. He issued an immediate appeal to all ComStar refugees, calling for engineers to design a new generation of 'Mechs for his troops, variously known as the Blake Guard or the Word of Blake Militia. To his delight, many ComStar engineers had joined the Word of Blake and eagerly tackled this new assignment.

Once the engineers had several designs underway, Arian negotiated a production contract with the Free Worlds Defense Industries' Gibson BattleMech factory. The Word of Blake underwrote the loan needed to expand the facility and fund the development of the new BattleMechs, using the proceeds of their HPG service contract with the Free Worlds League. By the spring of 3055, the Blake Guard received its first fresh-off-the-line shipments of Grand Crusader and Pit Viper 'Mechs. Precentor Martial Arian gave several of these 'Mechs to the Free Worlds League to express his appreciation for Captain-General Marik's support. Our ROM agents in the Capellan Confederation report that Sun-Tzu Liao also received at least one Grand Crusader for his technicians to study, possibly from Marik as a wedding gift. If so, Thomas Marik may one day regret that act of dubious generosity.

The Blake Guards currently field slightly more than four divisions of troops, roughly equivalent to three and a half BattleMech regiments. Though slow to arrive, the new BattleMechs have already bolstered the renegade forces. All units use the standard Com Guard numbering and configuration, and are currently stationed on Gibson. Precentor Martial Arian so far has refused to commit his troops to any action until the Word of Blake agrees on a unified theology and a firm direction for its future. Given the reactionaries' fragmented state, Precentor Martial Focht expects no belligerence from them for some time. As of this writing, our Com Guards may turn all their attention to preparing for the coming battle with the Clans with no concerns for an attack from this quarter.

Current Doctrine:
The various factions of the Word of Blake have so far been able to agree on only one point: that the blessed Order of ComStar has been taken over by "heretics." Nearly every faction believes that the tainted writings that masqueraded as the philosophy of Jerome Blake prior to the Reformation remain valid and offer a clear direction for their organization. They also believe that the dark age Blake predicted approaches, and that his believers must save knowledge and lead humanity out of its benighted era. In truth, our blessed Order has not forsaken our belief in the need to save technology in order to preserve civilization. We have come to realize, however, that we can best save knowledge by sharing it, not by denying it to others. The new dark age that Blake predicted began in the misguided actions of the old ComStar. Unless the Inner Sphere stands together against them, the Clans will make that dark age permanent.

The original version of The Word of Blake, written and published by Primus Conrad Toyama, is required reading for all True Believers. Depending on their factional affiliation, some members must also be familiar with Primus Rusenstein's Blessed Destiny. Though ComStar no longer publishes either work, the Word of Blake still produces them through several presses operating on Gibson. When and if the organization reaches theological consensus, their pretender Primus may simply add a chapter containing these interpretations to The Word of Blake.

The Word of Blake believes that ComStar's corruption grew like a cancer for centuries, ultimately manifesting itself in Precentor Martial Focht and Primus Mori, who they claim conspired against Blake's teachings and killed Myndo Waterly. They insist that her death allowed Operation Scorpion to fail, a conclusion they reach only by ignoring the fact that Waterly still held power when the Clans fought off the takeover attempts, and that Precentor Martial Focht graciously allowed her to retire in peace despite her crimes against Blake's vision. Precentor Aziz has successfully managed to gloss over ComStar's initial support for the Clans, revising history to show their support as a ploy to lull the Clans into complacency.

Other skewed versions of events have begun to surface. Because neither Jerome Blake nor his successors foresaw the role that the survivors of Kerensky's Exodus would play in the drama of life in the Inner Sphere, the Word of Blake continues to consider the Successor Lords a greater threat to the Inner Sphere than the Clans. Despite the Clans' and ComStar's common background, the dissenters view the Clans as misguided and barbaric. Following the pattern of many religions, the Word of Blake has rewritten their own history, calling their one-time hero Aleksandr Kerensky "the greatest betrayer of mankind" for his "single-handed, self-centered blow to the Star League."

Politics:
With his moderate views, Precentor Blane clearly enjoys the support of much of the Word of Blake's rank and file, and seeks compromise from the extremists. Precentor Blane's call to develop a unified theology that all members can support encouraged many members to suggest that he assume the primacy.

Having received ComStar training and served as a Precentor before he was recalled to lead the Free Worlds League when Janos Marik suffered his stroke in 3031, Thomas Marik easily won the hearts and loyalties of ComStar adepts. When the Reformation turned their ordered world upside down, he offered those same adepts shelter, support, and acceptance for their unwavering faith. Because they also trust Precentor Blane, who fully backs Captain-General Thomas Marik, Marik's eventual election as Primus for the Word of Blake seems a foregone conclusion.

The Word of Blake appears to solidly support Marik for leadership, but some express doubts about his fitness for the primacy because he has so far refused to push for a unified theology. Publicly, he maintains that his current role as benefactor to all factions prevents him from offering an opinion on the direction the movement's theology should take. We believe that Marik is simply biding his time, waiting to gain the formal title of Primus before turning the Word of Blake to his purposes.

Thomas Marik's political position as Primus-in-exile affords him an obvious opportunity to use the Word of Blake as a buffer against his future son-in-law, Sun-Tzu Liao. Regardless of Chancellor Liao's true intentions in marrying Isis Marik, second in the Free Worlds line of succession to rule, the additional military force and fanatical devotion the Word of Blake offers to Marik will serve to keep Sun-Tzu in check. Rumors of several new Free Worlds League 'Mech bases being built within the turbulent Duchy of Andurien indicate that Thomas Marik may plan to shift the Word of Blake Militia to the Duchy, both to better keep Andurien under his control and to position the Blake Guards on the doorstep of the Capellan Confederation. This is, of course, only speculation on our part, but these conclusions are logical based on the evidence at hand.

Chancellor Liao has not acknowledged the Word of Blake other than to send relief supplies and foodstuffs to Gibson. This single gesture is apparently intended to demonstrate the Chancellor's good will toward the Captain-General, but other signs indicate that Sun-Tzu may be playing a far more devious game. In what may be an effort to try and buy their loyalty away from Thomas Marik, Sun-Tzu has dropped hints that he is willing to provide military equipment and spare parts to the Word of Blake. Continuing the complex political dance between Liao and Marik, Sun-Tzu has reportedly asked the Word of Blake to bid on a service contract for his own HPGs, as his agreement with our Blessed Order expires next year.

Recruitment for the Word of Blake has surpassed that of our blessed Order. During the Clan war, enormous numbers of refugees fled from the path of the advancing enemy. Though in the past, refugees gladly joined ComStar, Myndo Waterly's Operation Scorpion debacle has tainted the Order's image among civilians. Despite ComStar's sincere desire to aid humankind and make reparation for past mistakes, we have yet to overcome the widespread mistrust caused by those mistakes. By contrast, the Word of Blake's rigid religious trappings and righteous mentality attract those driven from their homeworlds. Desperate for certainty in the midst of chaos, many refugees have joined the Word of Blake to find refuge from hardship and responsibility. The number of new recruits joining the Word of Blake has risen even as ComStar's recruitment declines.

3058 Update:
The Liao-Marik invasion brought Word of Blake loyalists to the Sarna March in droves, either following in the wake of invading troops or taking advantage of insurrections to overthrow ComStar administration of HPG stations on disputed worlds. On worlds conquered by Marik forces, Word of Blake acolytes immediately displaced ComStar personnel at all HPG facilities. Those ComStar personnel who did not escape the Word of Blake have been forcibly relocated somewhere deep within the League, possibly on the Word of Blake's stronghold on Gibson. The fate of ComStar personnel on Liao-controlled worlds is in question, though the Word of Blake does not seem to be moving onto those worlds en masse.

Of the newly formed minor powers within the March, only the Terracap Confederation has allowed the Word of Blake to take control of its HPG stations. As far as can be confirmed, ComStar retains its ownership of the HPG stations in the Sarna Supremacy, the Styk Commonality, and the Saiph Triumvirate. At this point, no one knows for certain who controls the HPG facilities within the Sirian Holds.

On several of the Chaos March's independent worlds, ComStar and the Word of Blake are engaged in running conflicts, with forces from one side or the other taking a facility one week and then losing it to their opponents the next. This low-level warfare has severely disrupted offworld communications on these planets, further isolating them from outside influences. Offworld communications from these disrupted worlds, when such communication exists at all, functions through a "pony express" system in which a JumpShip collects messages and then jumps to the nearest star system with a stable HPG facility. This facility then transmits the messages to their destinations.

Of particular interest to mercenary commanders looking for a berth, reliable rumor has stated the Brion's Legion recently left ComStar's employ on Terra to accept a rather lucrative contract on the planet Pleione and become one of the key units in the Tikonov Reaches. Of all these events occurring in the late 3050s, this was the one which led most directly to the Word of Blake conquest of Terra.

After skirmishing with the Second FedCom Regimental Combat Team on Hsien, the 21st Centauri Lancers seemed to need a chance to rest and recover from that bloody battle. After recruiting new personnel to fill their losses and arriving on Terra, the Lancers drilled with ComStar's Terran Defense Force. Impressing Precentor Lisa Koenigs-Cober, charged with the defense of Terra, as being more skilled than the new recruits would have suggested, the stage was set for the Word of Blake's conquest as the new recruits proved to be Word of Blake agents.

On February 28, 3058, the Word of Blake struck. The day was a rather symbolic one, being the 276th anniversary of Jerome Blake being given control of Terra and what would become ComStar. It was also the 38th month since the official naming of Sharilar Mori, and Jerome Blake had a 38-year reign, a terribly complicated matter and bound up in the malignant theology of the Word of Blake terrorists. The Word of Blake and 21st Centauri Lancer forces attacked and destroyed Hilton Head and the Sandhurst Royal Military Academy, inflicting considerable losses on the ComGuard 201st Division. As the attack continued, Precentor Koenigs-Cober destroyed everything of value which could not be taken and retreated offworld with Primus Mori, the First Circuit, and remaining ComGuard forces.

As the news reached Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht as he was on his way to a strategy session with the St. Ives Compact, Federated Commonwealth, and Draconis Combine on Tukayyid, it was decided not to contest the Word of Blake conquest at that time, leaving them the trouble of defending Terra should the Clans break the truce. With three Word of Blake regiments burning in to bolster their forces on Terra, the decision seemed a wise one, especially in light of rumors that the Word of Blake is in the process of hiring mercenaries to further strengthen their garrison force. With this conquest of Terra, ComStar has moved its base of operations to the Free Rasalhague Republic world of Tukayyid, where it prepares to once again defend the Inner Sphere when the Clans continue their invasion.

While ComStar continues to defend the Inner Sphere, the Word of Blake further entrenches its forces, waiting for the ComStar counterattack that could very well never come. With the Word of Blake in control of the cradle of humanity, the entire Inner Sphere has cause to worry, as the old ComStar is back and its name is the Word of Blake. With the Blakist terrorists in control of Terra, the Successor States can once again expect the frequency of terrorist bombings, assassinations, and technological thefts common in the old days of ComStar to increase, as the Word of Blake concentrates on its own twisted view of the writings of the blessed Jerome Blake instead of the greater threat known as the Clan invasion.

3087 Update:

Not much is known about the Word of Blake today. After a disastrous and bloody campaign against the Confederated Magistracy, and the loss of the Free Worlds League during the Purple Reformation when moderate True Believers formed the Covenant, the Word of Blake has seen nothing but failure after failure since they lost Terra in 3068. The only lasting victory the Word can cling to has been seizing a number of worlds in the periphery.

Today its widely believed that the Word of Blake is really controlled by a mysterious "Master". The dreaded Manei Domini are the new cornerstone of the Word of Blake, with few "frails" (normal humans) left. The actual military strength and power of the Word appears to be relatively weak. At the same time no one is moving to finish them off or declaring them dead. There is evidence that the resurrected ComStar is moving assets into place to more closely monitor the Word and gather intelligence, suggesting that the Order is regarding the Word as a potential threat.