Abraxus Whitespire (17-72 YE)
Abraxus of the White Spire Ascending was born and raised in Zenith in the early years of the Empire, which Urizen had recently joined. Abraxus was of Merrow lineage and showed a great curiosity around the Net of Heavens, and its potential relationship to the Pure Liao visions administered by the Synod. Consequently, Abraxus made the study of these intertwining phenomena his ambition, and a central theme of the Arete in his life.
These studies, and this journey, elevated Abraxus high within the Synod and the Empire, before his fall from grace and descent into madness and death. To this day, Abraxus remains a controversial, and divisive, figure. There remain those who consider Abraxus to be a visionary and potential Exemplar of Ambition or Wisdom. Others have referred to him as a cautionary tale.
...that I shall, in the following text, provide proofs that the visions received through Pure Liao are not random. Nor are they, as Cardinal Jezebel would have us believe, selected in relation to Virtue, or at least not solely by that means. It will be made clear for all to see that they are deliberately chosen. That they are, in truth, messages.
Messages that are wrapped in metaphor and context, because those sending them cannot communicate with us directly and must use our past lives in order to do so. Messages that are not about the past, but about the present - and the future. Messages from the Divine.Excerpt from ''On the Teleology of Pure Liao'', by Abraxus Whitespire
Abraxus attained citizenship at the age of 17, and served the Empire as a priest of the Synod. By this stage, he was already articulate on spiritual and theological matters and attracted many - scholars and pilgrims - to hear him speak. Trained as an Illuminate, Abraxus would also arrange private meetings with influential people to offer guidance, specifically in relation to the interpretation of dreams and visions.
Aged 30, Abraxus achieved widespread notoriety with the publication of On the Teleology of Pure Liao, for which he was condemned by the Assembly of Vigilance for the religious crime of idolatry. At his trial, Abraxus recanted his claim, and instead attributed the messages he wrote about to the Paragons, though some doubted the sincerity of his retraction. Abraxus received a light punishment, but the idea that the Paragons could communicate with mortals carried with it a popular appeal.
For the following six years, Abraxus enjoyed a measure of celebrity and, as an experimental theologian, obtained repeated access to Pure Liao visions for himself, and his followers. Specific details are hard to come by, but it is rumoured that the Abraxians actively experimented with various ways to influence the visionary process, outside of those handed down by the Scions of Atun. Documents refer to metempsychotic anointing and alchemical concoctions featuring unusual ingredients from foreign and supernatural realms. In this time, there were two attempts to have Abraxus recognised as an Exemplar, but both faltered on the basis of a lack of supporting evidence.
In 49 YE, Abraxus married Jezebel of the Seven Stars Chapter of Highguard, who had turned from his harshest critic to staunchest advocate. They had two children, whom were given to Jezebel's Chapter to raise.
In 54 YE, Abraxus was arrested by the militia. Details are fragmented, but the charge appears to have been treason. Even more curiously, the trial took place in a closed session of the Senate and the public gallery was cleared. The details of the trial, and evidence involved, were classified as pertaining to Imperial security. The verdict of guilty was declared, and Abraxus would have been executed, save for the intervention of Empress Richilde who exercised the Throne's mercy.
After the verdict stripped Abraxus of his assets and citizenship, he elected to leave the Empire's borders. There are no records of what he got up to in the following thirteen years. He eventually returned to Imperial lands in 67 YE and made claims that he had made discoveries that would redeem him. Supported by Jezebel and a number of benefactors, Abraxus was able to purchase a portion of Pure Liao through the Bourse. Covered in runic marks and unusual robes, Abraxus declared that he would emerge from the vision having seen his future lives.
Records state that a large crowd gathered to see Abraxus emerge from his vision. However, rather than emerging triumphantly, he was carried forth by civil servants and followed by a grief-stricken Jezebel. Abraxus was unconscious and no physick, exorcist or magus could awaken him.
Jezebel and the Abraxians took Abraxus to Auric Horizon Spire in Morrow where a vigil was kept, and Abraxus' body was cared for. It is claimed, though not corroborated, that Abraxus would occasionally speak, and his followers wrote down what he said, certain that he had traveled to the future and possessed knowledge of import. Others claimed that this was a deception by the Abraxians to sell fake "prophetic scrolls". This continued for five years, before Abraxus Whitespire passed away in 72 YE.
- There are a number of popular myths about Abraxus, many of which are populist and dramatic, with little supporting evidence. These claims often relate to things that Abraxus is expected to have seen and heard prior to his fall from grace. Equally, there are wild claims as to what treason Abraxus was alleged to have committed.
- Empress Teleri, as part of her reforms of the Synod, worked with the Assemblies to create the positions of the Gatekeepers. These posts were created, in part, to ensure that access to pure liao was safely regulated and kept from unstable, and potentially heretical or idolatrous hands, such as Abraxians.
- It is possible to find scrolls for sale that purport to be transcribed at Auric Horizon Spire from the words spoken by the comatose prophet. Several of these have proven to be modern fabrications and few scholars have agreed on what true Abraxian prophecy looks like.
- There is nothing that definitively links Abraxus Whitespire to the Abraxus Stone talisman. The talismans pre-date Abraxus, though some scholars claim that they held an older name and that Abraxus' association with the anti-venom protective came later as a product of the Abraxians' experiments with toxic substances. Others claim that Abraxus the Prophet was named for an older Abraxus that created the talisman but whose legacy has been overshadowed. Recent research has reinforced the belief that Abraxus simply took his name from the powerful protective amulets rather than having any more profound connection to them. The same reserach turned up references to a Xavier Whitespire who submitted multiple statements of principle which are in keeping with the future teachings of Abraxus. There are no records of judgements from Xavier later than 45YE, providing further (albeit circumstantial) evidence that Xavier may have been the original name of Abraxus.
- In the modern era, there are groups who will identify themselves as Abraxians. However, this label is loosely defined. Some sects or covens may use it to refer to the, potentially-idolatrous, belief that pure liao visions are messages from beyond the Labyrinth, whereas others adhere to the belief that Abraxus saw his future life or lives.