Virtually everyone here knows at least the basics of Inquisitorial factionalism; radicalism vs. puritanism. And most of us also know the major sub-factions within these broad categories. However, even these philosophies are themselves divided, and nowhere is this more clear than it appears in the Thorians.
Thorianism is one of the major factions within the Inquisition, and is considered to fall along the puritan side of the spectrum. However, as with so much about the shadowy world in which the Inquisition operates, this is an over simplification. From the very start, the origins of the Thorians are complex and shrouded in the depths of Imperial history. While considered to be on the puritan side of the spectrum, the origins of the philosophy were considered so dangerous that they caused a schism in the Inquisition between its first proponents and the other founding members before that infamous body was even formalized. Curiously enough, Thorianism and the Horusian philosophy both had their origins in the same philosophical conflict, and in some ways can be considered mirrors of each other.
In the immediate aftermath of the Heresy and the Emperor’s Ascension certain individuals believed that the Emperor could be restored to humanity. With Guilliman and his brother Primarchs struggling to re-forge an all but shattered Imperium, the Sigillite dead, and the heart of the Imperium and very focus of the debate unable to communicate, a fierce debate took shape in the shadows. Four individuals, among the founding members of the Inquisition, came to a fundamental point of disagreement. They believed that the soul and body of the Emperor could be reunited, but should such a thing be done? To two of them, the answer did not even require consideration; of course he must be restored. The other two were not so sure, what if the procedure were botched? Or if the being that returned were… changed? What would his restoration do to the rapidly growing Cult Imperial that spoke of his Ascension to a transcendent state? In the end, the first two went into voluntary exile, seeking to pursue their goals on their own, with or without their colleagues consent, and the two left behind began their own efforts to ensure that their former comrades should never succeed. Each would found a separate philosophy; one would become known as the Horusians, the other as the Thorians. The fortunes of these groups waxed and waned, and the original dispute eventually became lost to history. In time, in an ironic twist of galactic proportions, both were absorbed into the Inquisition.
At its most fundamental level, Thorianism still desires that the Emperor be reunited directly with his Imperium, though where they differ is in the precise way in which this should be accomplished, and for the most part revolve around the concept of the Divine Avatar; the vessel through which the Emperor may be manifest.
Thorianism: Thorianism proper is, in broad terms, concerned with finding the Divine Avatar, a being who can channel or perhaps even hold the essence of the Emperor. The archetype of this is concept was also the namesake of the faction; Sebastian Thor. Thor, revered as one of the most important Imperial Saints, the one who overthrew Gorge Vandire, and the great architect and reformer of the Ministorium. To the Thorians, their namesake was a direct mouthpiece of the Emperor, channeling his very essence and coming to his people in their time of need. With this in mind, they seek to find a suitable candidate who might channel the Emperor fully. To some of them this vessel might be one of those miraculous individuals that become known as Imperial Saints (indeed, it is maintained by some that partial manifestation by the Emperor through these individuals is the source of their abilities). Another slightly less prevalent belief however is that only the Emperor’s own body is a suitable vessel.
The Horusians: Though large enough to be considered their own distinct faction, the Horusians in essence share the ideals of the Thorians. The fundamental difference is that they see the powers of the Warp that manifested in Horus as being the key to the Divine Avatar. If a being, even one who was already a demigod, could be elevated by the power of the Warp to all but the level of the Emperor himself, then could it not be used to elevate another to a level where they could serve as a vessel for that essence? And even if that were not possible, then to what heights could a normal human be raised, and how much could good could such power do for the betterment of mankind?
Anomalian Beholders: The Beholders believe essentially in the same tenants as their “generic” Thorian brethren, and in some sense could be considered the classic and archetypal Thorian sub-faction. However, they believe that the emergence of the Divine Avatar and manifestation of the Emperor will be a natural and inevitable process, and that under no circumstances should it be interfered with. To this end they continually seek out potential Divine Avatars and observe them, shielding them so that the natural course of events will have the chance to unfold, only acting if it becomes clear that the potential candidate is corrupted and unsuitable.
Ardentites: This sub-faction believes that the essence of the Emperor is too vast and mighty to be contained by any one vessel. Instead, they look to the increasing psychic potential of mankind for the sign of the Emperor’s manifestation. According to their beliefs, when humanity reaches a critical point, the Emperor will be able to act through his people as a whole, manifesting not through any one being, but through humanity ITSELF, able to see and act through the psychic potential of any and all humans, the ultimate union of deity and followers.
Casophilians: This sub-faction is concerned with a very specific, very subtle point within the purview of the Thorian agenda. They are centered around the legend of Saint Casophili, specifically his death at the hands of heretics and subsequent resurrection after 5 days. While the very fact of his return to life is validation of the Thorian goals, this is hardly paradigm shifting fact, after all, Thorians by their very nature already accept that this is possible. What concerns them is Casophili’s later recollection of the realm where his soul resided in the 5 days between death and return. He told of a bodiless realm of pure sense and mind, and one where he was not alone but rather surrounded by numberless other souls and a great essence of light and that suffused all, and which he believed to be the Emperor. The Casophilians pursue the subtle nuance of the transition of a soul, be it that of a man or non-soul of a daemon, from one side of the great divide to the other.
Revivificators: This sub-faction is among those that believe that the only vessel possibly suitable as a Divine Avatar is the body of the Emperor, only the body that was meant from the start for it could ever hold the awesome essence of the Master of Mankind. To this end they are preoccupied with the mechanics of death, more specifically the means by which it can be slowed, halted, or even reversed. Beyond the purely metaphysical the Revivificators study the temporal methods of preserving or restoring the body. This very specific area of investigation has the effect of giving the Revivificators a ghoulish reputation that is not entirely undeserved. The ultimate goal and interest of this faction is the study of the Golden Throne itself, and the restoration of the Emperor’s body that it might be reunited with his essence in the Warp.
These are of course but a sampling of the many potential interpretations of the Thorian philosophy. As with so many things pertaining to the Inquisition, made up as it is of distinctly independent individuals, each of whom has all but peerless resources and capabilities, the true breadth of possible different variations of Thorianism is probably approximately equal to the number of Thorian Inquisitors, plus one. What is a very curious fact in considering the Thorians is that while they are considered Puritans, their origins and some of their sub-factions stray very deeply into the realm of radicalism.
What do you all think of the Thorians? Who was “right” in the original conflict of ideas? What seems to you to be the most likely route of the Emperor’s resurrection? Do you think that such a resurrection is even possible?
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