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Abbey of the Everyman

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"There is nothing that keeps men at any one moment out of the cold and shivering Abyss, but the vigilance of the Abbey."
—High Overseer Falke Barrowe[1]

The Abbey of the Everyman, or simply the Abbey, is a religious order in the world of the Dishonored franchise, spread and enforced by Overseers and headed by the High Overseer. Based in the cities of Whitecliff and Dunwall, the Abbey's ideology centers on the belief that "the universe is unknowably vast and swarming with all manner of dangerous spirits and forces, most of which are hostile to man's existence".[1] The primary goal of the Abbey is to stand against the Outsider, but it is also tasked with civil matters, such as officiating marriages and regulating the Isles' calendar and the Fugue Feast.[2] Under Lord Regent Hiram Burrows, the Overseers of the Abbey are granted the full authority of a civilian police force.

The High Overseer during the early events of Dishonored is Thaddeus Campbell, who remains in command until he is neutralized by Corvo Attano. This act throws the Abbey into a state of disarray. Nevertheless, shortly after the elimination of Campbell, Loyalist Teague Martin is named the new High Overseer.

History

Overseer chant

An Overseer and his wolfhound in Dunwall Tower.

High Overseer John Clavering ordered the Abbey to be built in Dunwall, starting in 1701, and in 1705, the Abbey entered the Rectification War,[3] a "large unifying conflict" against the other religions of the area. In this conflict, the offending groups were quashed by the Abbey.[4][5]The war was ended in 1708 by the Siege of White Cliff, during which a great number of heretics were "cleansed" by the early Abbey in the town of Whitecliff. Several days of sermons followed, which were transcribed into the Abbey's holy book. It was in this year that the Abbey's construction was completed.[3]

The Abbey's first High Overseer was presumably Benjamin Holger, who was stabbed in the eye during the siege.[6] High Overseers who have succeeded Holger include John Clavering, Falke Barrowe, Abram Templeton, Francis Perry, Steven Gainsford, Scott Grafton, Rhye Mattson, Tynan Wallace, Gerard, Thaddeus Campbell (1818-1837), Teague Martin (1837) and Yul Khulan (1837-1852).[3] A list of notable clergy in the Abbey can be found here.

The Abbey is centered in Whitecliff, where the invocation ceremony for new Overseers occurs, as well as in Dunwall, where the Office of the High Overseer is located in Holger Square. The old Abbey, their main place of congregation, is also located in Dunwall but was shuttered during the time of plague and the reign of the Lord Regent.[7] The Abbey is divided between the Overseers and the Oracular Order, an all-female order based in Gristol and Serkonos, headed by a High Oracle, and tasked with interpreting prophecies.

Beliefs

Stu03

An Overseer sermonizing in the Office of the High Overseer.

The Abbey has no stated deity (and indeed opposes worship in the traditional sense), although it places special importance on astrological and cosmological movements - the organization regulates the calendar based on the observation of cosmological signs,[8] and in eulogies, the deceased is bade to "fade and merge with the Cosmos".[9] The Abbey follows a strict set of doctrines known as the Seven Strictures, which dictate how followers of the Abbey should conduct themselves. Citizens are encouraged to place all their devotion and faith in the institution of the Abbey, particularly the High Overseer. Thus, the Abbey is generally regarded as a spiritual watchdog.

According to developer Harvey Smith, the Abbey believes that the world was created when "[t]he Void issued forth the worlds and stars, swirling around that great, birthing abyss". He also states that the followers of the Abbey believe that "[p]lant[s] and animals arose from the primordial chaos, with humanity separating itself from the beasts of the earth. Dread spirits poured forth from the Void and set about plaguing all men and women, attempting to create discord in their hearts. And since creation, the entirety of the Cosmos has been slowly returning to the Void, pulled back toward eventual destruction".[10]

The Abbey permits no other religions and opposes all acts of magic and witchcraft, in addition condemning those who diverge from the Abbey's ways. As the Outsider is the source of all magic in the world, the Abbey disavows him and actively combats his temptation of mortals.

The Abbey practices the burning of witches and heretics even in the industrialized age, as well as the destruction of supernatural objects, such as runes and bone charms.[11] Conversely, the Abbey is generally accepting of technology, with electrical lighting and broadcast systems common in the Office of the High Overseer. The Abbey even states that the technological progress of the present time eliminates any excuse for the practice of witchcraft.[12]

Authority

Overseermask

Overseers in Holger Square.

After the assassination of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin and the ascension of Hiram Burrows to Lord Regent, the Overseers are given leave to work with impunity within Dunwall and are on occasion deployed to act as police alongside the City Watch.[13]

The Abbey has the authority to prosecute civilians for religious crimes and sentence guilty parties at their discretion - logs found in library at the Office of the High Overseer note that seizure of property,[14] financial recompense,[15] public humiliation,[15] service to the Order,[15] prison time,[14] and execution[16] are all sentences that have been carried out by the Abbey.

With this extended authority, the Overseers become fanatical in their efforts to cleanse Dunwall of occult practices. The Heart tells Corvo that "[t]he Abbey is dark - its doors are locked, and no more the great sermons. The Overseers have taken to the streets".[17]

Practices

Seven Strictures

The Seven Strictures as seen in Dunwall Tower.

The Trials of Aptitude

Children who have the "proper inclination" for the position of Overseer are "marked" by the Abbey and observed for several months to "determine whether this inclination is supported by cosmological conditions and other signs, ongoing throughout the year". Those found to be worthy are abducted from their homes and, after several months of spiritual preparation, make a pilgrimage to Whitecliff. There they undergo the Trials of Aptitude, which determine who among them is worthy to become an Overseer, and who must be "put down".[18]

The Feast of Painted Kettles and the Dance of Investiture

In the event of an acting High Overseers' death, a group known as the Ascending Circle made up of senior Overseers, Vice Overseers from various enclaves, senior Sisters of the Oracular Order and the High Oracle[19][20] announces the Feast of Painted Kettles, commencing deliberations over who should be appointed to the position of High Overseer.[8] When a new High Overseer is chosen, a ceremony called the Dance of Investiture commences.[20]

The Fugue Feast

The Fugue Feast occurs after midnight on the last day of the calendar year, a period which is said to exist outside time. Any events that occur during this period are not recognized to have ever happened, giving the population free reign to commit inappropriate, immoral, and sometimes criminal acts without official consequence. Although it is unknown if the Fugue Feast is strictly a religious holiday, it falls to the High Overseer to officiate the ceremony, and to the Overseers to observe cosmological signs, which determine when the new year begins.

Trivia

Overseermask

Sigil on an Overseer mask.

  • The symbol of the Abbey is a capital C with what appears to be a trident passing through it. This symbol features heavily within the Abbey, from its use on ink fountains to tablecloths, and the masks and uniforms worn by the Overseers.
    • According to Harvey Smith, the symbol used by the Abbey was based off of a farming fork. [21]
  • According to Harvey Smith, there was a time in which "[p]eople just joined" the Abbey, and children were not taken from their homes.[22]
  • High Overseer Campbell is skeptical of Sokolov technologies.
  • The Abbey forbids the consumption of rats.
  • Sokolov performed rituals under the old Abbey while it was shuttered in order to contact the Outsider.[23]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Official Dishonored website: Discover Dunwall - The Abbey
  2. The Fugue Feast (book)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Dishonored: The Dunwall Archives
  4. Developer Commentary - Religion, part 1
  5. Developer Commentary - Religion, part 3
  6. Notable Clergy: Benjamin Holger
  7. Developer Commentary - The Abbey's location
  8. 8.0 8.1 The High Overseer
  9. Loudspeaker Announcement:"May the High Overseer's spirit fade and merge with the Cosmos."
  10. Developer Commentary - Creation Story
  11. More Tools
  12. The Bone Charm Situation
  13. Loudspeaker Announcement: "...in this continuing crisis, the Overseers of the Abbey of the Everyman remain in service of the state, and are empowered to enforce whenever and wherever necessary..."
  14. 14.0 14.1 Confiscation Log 2749
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Disclosure Log 965
  16. Deposition Log 73826
  17. "The Abbey is dark - its doors are locked, and no more the great sermons. The Overseers have taken to the streets."
  18. The Trials of Aptitude
  19. Developer Commentary - Ascending Circle
  20. 20.0 20.1 Loudspeaker Announcement: "Attention Dunwall Citizens: The Ascending Circle has chosen Teague Martin to be High Overseer. Let us praise their choice. The Dance of Investiture will take place without delay."
  21. https://twitter.com/Harvey1966/status/745580725257248768
  22. Developer Commentary - The Abbey of the Everyman
  23. "Sokolov believes there are specific words and acts that can compel me to appear before him.[...]He performs disgusting rituals beneath the old Abbey."


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