Sightseeing in the Cluster

Order of St. Tetrimon Fortress Monastery

Stay gold, Amarr.
The Fortress Monastery and associated support structures.

Towering cathedrals. Gleaming golden spires spread over dozens, if not hundreds, of square kilometers. Bustling, luminous starships everywhere you turn. You might be forgiven for thinking you were at the very heart of the empire in Amarr, just a few kilometers off the Emperor Family station in orbit of Amarr VIII. Instead, I found myself 3 jumps out from the Amarr homeworld, in the distant outskirts of the Thebeka system. Surrounded by over 220 AU of complete nothingness and the nearly 250 AU-distant local star merely a glint of starlight on the many towering cathedrals, the Order of St. Tetrimon Fortress Monastery is an imposing sight and a striking reminder of the power of the fanatical orthodox sect of the Amarr religion.

The smaller structures seem to act as an honor guard for the main base.

Founded nearly two millennia ago, the titular St. Tetrimon (born Inire Ardishapur) earned his sainthood in the most Amarrian of fashions: by killing an emperor who also happened to be his grandfather. To be quite fair, the emperor, Zaragram II, probably deserved it, given that even today he is known as the Mad Emperor. Zaragram II is probably best well-known today for attempting to construct the City of God in Shastal, a disastrous engineering project meant solely to stoke Zaragram’s own ego and proclaim how great he was. It didn’t work. But beyond his poorly-thought-out engineering projects, Zaragram II also attempted to rewrite the Amarrian religion, rewriting the sacred Scriptures as he went to give even greater power to the Emperor. Plenty of clerics disagreed with the rewrites and other changes being proclaimed by Zaragram II, but it was Inire who sought to solve the problem permanently. As he plunged the dagger into his grandfather, he allegedly yelled “a manu dei e tet rimon”, which roughly translates to “I am the devoted hand of the divine God” in ancient Amarr. A new saint was born.

The entire complex is oriented directly starward.

Since its founding, the Order (some call it a cult) has dedicated itself to restoring the Scriptures to its original, pre-Zaragram II state. Unsurprisingly given its initial mission, the Order since its founding has served to maintain the orthodoxy of the Amarr religion; it frequently objects to any attempts to modernize or update the religion. Its power over the years has waxed and waned, but its impressive fortress monastery in Thebeka demonstrates that even at the lowest ebb of its power, the Order is a force to be reckoned with in Amarr society. Indeed, even Aura seemed to be stepping lightly as she collated relevant information for me as I dropped out of warp at the monastery:

This heavily fortified monastery serves as a regional chapterhouse for the Order of St. Tetrimon in Domain. As a major base for this powerful religious and military order, it is defended by fanatical followers of the Tetrimon’s radical scriptural, theocratic, and militarist doctrines.

The construction of this fortress monastery within the Thebeka system was made possible by Royal Heir Arim Ardishapur who sees the Tetrimon as valuable allies on the politically conservative and religiously militant side of the struggle for the future of the Amarr Empire. Order of St. Tetrimon military forces were involved in putting down a number of slave rebellions in Ardishapur domains, including a major uprising in the Thebeka system. The construction of this fortress monastery in the system marks that service and underlines the political alliance between House Ardishapur and the Order.

Although the monastery is officially sanctioned by the local Ardishapur authorities, many observers have noted the Order’s choice to construct their facility at the very outer reaches of the Thebeka system, far from the populated inner planets and public space stations. This choice of location is viewed as a clear signal that the Order of St. Tetrimon continues to see itself standing apart from the temporal politics of the Empire, with its mission distinct, deeply spiritual, and remaining fully inspired by the example of St. Tetrimon.

The Order was founded in 21460 AD in the name of St. Tetrimon, an Ardishapur noble who assassinated his grandfather the Emperor Zaragram II, in response to the increasingly megalomaniac and heretical actions of the “Mad Emperor”. The Order of St. Tetrimon was tasked by the Council of Apostles with the role of preserving the original Amarr Scriptures and purging all apocryphal and non-canon texts, which included the majority of Zaragram II’s decrees. This mission later brought the Order into tension with the dominant powers of the Amarr Empire during the era of the “Moral Reforms” that began in 21875 AD. This tension grew until 22762 AD, when the Order of St. Tetrimon was officially suppressed by the Imperial authorities. Surviving members of the Order fled to the Khanid Kingdom where they received political protection.

During this time in exile, the Order of St. Tetrimon worked to increase their martial strength and increased their militarism to ensure that they would be able to defend their beliefs if another conflict erupted. This served them well when the Minmatar Rebellion began in 23216 AD. The Order reached an agreement with Emperor Heideran VII as Amarr forces were overstretched by the spreading rebellion. The Order would be allowed to once again travel through the Empire freely in return for assistance against Minmatar forces. In subsequent decades, ships flying Tetrimon colours became much feared by the young Republic Fleet for their fearless attacks and the suicidal fury shown by their pilots.

I tried so hard to center things in this pic and it was nearly impossible.

During the remaining reign of Heideran VII the Tetrimon were left untouched, on the understanding that they would not attempt to undermine Emperor’s authority. The agreement did not survive under Heideran’s successor Doriam II, a ruler with liberal views and a history of releasing slaves. Increasing conflict with the Theology Council during Doriam II’s YC105-107 reign led to the Order of St. Tetrimon being suppressed once more following a political struggle that involved several Royal Houses and even capsuleers. Returning to their secluded fastnesses in the Khanid Kingdom and beyond, the Order remained relatively quiescent during the Karsoth Interregnum, building its strength and continuing its mission.

I really like this pic. The ships getting dwarfed by the larger structures give a wonderful sense of scale IMO

Following the Elder Fleet Invasion of the Amarr Empire in YC110, and the return and coronation of Empress Jamyl I, the Order of St. Tetrimon welcomed the new Amarr ruler and pledged its continuing fealty to the Holy Amarr Empire. Upon the death of Empress Jamyl I in YC117, the Order returned to the Empire as a neutral arbiter and guardian of the Imperial Succession process, in an Empire that had become deeply factionalized and corrupted by “Red Chamberlain” Dochuta Karsoth’s rule.

I will never not love the little cathedral windows on this model.

During the rule of Empress Catiz I, the fortunes of the Order of St. Tetrimon have continued to improve. Under the leadership of Grand Master Khemon Dulsur an-Tetrimon, the Order has established a role as a force useful for seeking out and suppressing rebellion and heresy. Increasing conflict across New Eden has revitalized the “Religious Reclaimer” tendency among the Amarr Empire’s powerful nobility and brought support for the Order. Militant and conservative houses such as the Ardishapur and Sarum have forged cordial relations with the Tetrimon, in an Amarr Empire with royal houses, powerful ministries, and religious factions carefully balanced against one another by a relatively new Empress.

The main fortress monastery. Note the moat-like ring structure around it.

I was surprised to discover that the monastery in Thebeka was only a regional chapterhouse for the order. Its grandiosity and the bustle of nearby ships could be mistaken for the main headquarters of the Order. The main structure is a grand building of classic Amarr design: a soaring structure with two main towers clad in gold that very much evokes the feelings of an Amarr cathedral that wouldn’t be out of place in the heart of Dam-Torsad, the capital city on Amarr. The gently curving twin towers are surrounded by a golden ring that emphasizes the “fortress” side of the fortress monastery, making it feel as if the central cathedral is surrounded by a protective moat.

It was surprisingly difficult to get a good view of the side structures. I suspect it has to do with their very skinny dimensions.
A closer view of some of the surrounding support structures and ships.

Serving as a sort of “honor guard” leading up to the main structure are 11 pairs of smaller, though no less resplendent, structures. The smaller structures, all of identical design, reminded me of nothing so much as giant golden apostrophes. The space apostrophes appear to serve as the main spacedock facilities for the base here, as well as the barracks. My assumptions are apparently confirmed by the numerous Paladin- and Zealot-class ships that can be seen swarming around these smaller structures. No larger ships can be seen around the main monastery, almost as if the ships were also too afraid of the leaders of the Order being too aware of their existence. I strongly sympathize with that feeling.

Reaching for the sun
The insignia of the Order superimposed on the local star.

Indeed, I was quite glad that I chose to fly Professor Science in today’s visit. Not only would the 220+ AU trip out to the monastery have felt interminable with a slower warp drive, I found myself nervous being near so many combat vessels, so I stayed cloaked my entire time. To be quite clear, I was deep in high security space Aura didn’t mark any of the vessels swarming around the base as a direct threat to me, but you can never quite tell what will set off a fanatical follower of the Amarr religion.  I wasn’t about to take any chances, as I had heard some horror stories of the forced conditioning that some of the more… enthusiastic adherents to the religion were willing to carry out. After taking one last look at the gleaming spires of gold, I initiated the long warp back towards the stargate.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Order of St. Tetrimon Fortress Monastery
  • System: Thebeka
  • Security Rating: 0.9
  • Region: Domain
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.

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