Monday, August 02, 2004

Field Report - The Value of Research

I have been doing some work on Molly O'Shaunessey's friend Jean-Christophe Reynard; although I'm told he is going by Jean Batista during the tournament. His cover identity is near flawless; you can't find anybody at his work or among his acquaintances who has a negative thing to say about him.

On the other hand I have definite confirmation that he is a member of "Les Freres de Sainte-Acacius de Byzantium" or, in English, the Brothers of St. Acacius of Byzantium. St. Acacius is a martial Saint, having served as a roman legionnaire before his conversion and martyrdom. They are a secret society, obviously connected with the Catholic Church but not directed by the papal Seat. They have members in Italy, Switzerland and Spain as well as France.

This is where things get interested; they were apparently founded sometime in the late 1840s by an a monk known as Fra Lipello from Turin and his aide, a Chinese convert to Catholicism named Li Seung who had traveled west. Li Seung apparently brought to Fra Lipello the idea of a "Righteousness Society" which was nothing more than a group of warriors to protect innocents and encourage proper behavior. Such organizations were one of the threads that eventually became the Tongs and Triads of China.

However, many of these Righteousness Societies were also just what they claimed to be. Honest men who sought to teach righteousness and defend the innocent. These more benign societies were often under the thumb of the Guiding Hand. And as it turns out, Li Seung was also a member of a Golden Candle Society and was almost certainly a mole for the Guiding Hand.

For those who don't know much about the Guiding Hand, they are kung fu Confucianists from the 1850s. They are pretty good at what they do, and they genuinely hate the Architects of the New Flesh, the Lotus, and all the other nastys we come into contact with. On the other hand, in an ideal world, China would be the center of the world with all us other nations regulated to third world tributaries. A Woman's place would be in the home and impropriety like, say, drinking a lot would be harshly punished. So while we can ally against similar enemies, it's best to remember that we don't really get on with them.

Anyway this doesn't mean that Jean Batista is openly an agent of the Guiding Hand; from all I've seen that seems unlikely. And it's clear that he would have just as much desire to destroy Lao Mao as we would. But it is something to be aware of.


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