|A Knight's Perspective
It seems like all of my life has been spent as an outsider looking in. As a young woman I found myself alone, and too often walking through those quiet places on the edge of night. I have always been attracted to solitude and repelled from the busy world that I was born into. Yet, as I grow older I am made more and more aware of the ties that inextricably bind me with that world.
My name is Susan Donelly and I serve an ancient Catholic Order known as the Knights of St. Jerome. We have existed, in one form or another, since before the fall of Rome. We have preserved knowledge that has been abandoned or simply forgotten, and for fourteen years I myself have watched a noble, stupid race grow and diminish.
Sometimes the mundane is not as innocent as it appears to be. There are countless unseen forces that thrive just beneath the bright illusion of the everyday. There are things that lurk in the shadows that have been always been there. They have followed us down through the ages, sometimes preying on us like cattle, sometimes saving us from ourselves, but always there, always waiting.
It has been a great privilege to have worked with our Order's greatest investigator, Walter De Mesnil. And I have also been fortunate in that I have witnessed firsthand the dark things and walked away unscathed. Their documentation has been my life's work. To understand me though, and perhaps to understand the Order, one must first understand who I was and how I came to be who I am.
I was born in upstate New York in 1969. My father was a practicing doctor and my mother had been a teacher before she married. Two years after I was born though, she was killed in a car accident. After her death, my father buried himself in his work.
My memories of that time, and of my father, are haphazard at best. It seemed to me that he rarely ate, and instead subsisted on cigarettes and a determined will. His practice kept him busy most of the time and when he wasn't working he read or wrote. He did anything I suppose, to keep from dwelling on my mother's death. As a result, he had little time for me when I was growing up.
I was ten when lung cancer finally killed him. It was an agonizingly slow death. He died by inches at the age of fifty-two.
I had no other family and was given into the State's care. Eventually, I ended up in a Catholic orphanage. By the time I was thirteen my father had become a dim memory.
My time with the Catholics was spent mostly in church or in school, and there were many times when the distinction between the two became meaningless. In the four years that I spent as an orphan I discovered a deep love for learning and a respect for God.
In 1983 I was sent to live with a man named Arthur Parrish and his wife Eileen. It was while living with the Parrish's that I first became aquainted with The Knights of St. Jerome. Both of them were historians for the Order. Through Mr. and Mrs. Parrish I was eventually able to enter it as well.
Arthur introduced me to a Jesuit named Walter de Mesnil who sponsored my entry into the Order. When I was eighteen I was granted the rank of Savant Knight of the Cross and made my first visit to the Vatican City in Rome. There I continued to study and train. In the summer of 1988 I became a full temple knight and began serious scholarly work for the Order. I was assigned the task of writing a general overview of the Order's activities and interests for use in the initiation of new members. After five years of research, and another four spent as an actual field researcher, I have compiled the document that you now hold in your hand.
This text is drawn primarily from my original notes, and I must emphasize that as a first draft it is far from complete. This version is organized into five sections, each of which contain descriptions of the primary organizations and individuals who have influenced them. The hidden world around us is defined by conflict. These are wars being waged over ideology and history rather than political borders.
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