|The Emblem of Orthodox Necro-Mesmerism|
All Necro-Mesmerists travel fully armed at all times. Since their rather abrupt mass-expulsion and subsequent condemnation following a (trumped-up, they claim) board of inquiry into Gaillardion's alleged '...atrocious lack of regard for the well-being of his test-subjects; unprincipled predation upon the poor, indigent and uneducated; unorthodox and unfounded claims, unproven techniques and total disregard for the scientific process...' there has been a state of discord, disharmony and destructive internecine rivalry and outright violence between the Necro-Mesmerists and their former colleagues. Neither side formally acknowledges the other, except to vituperatively castigate one another in increasingly esoteric and convoluted dissertations delivered with great malice aforethought, often followed by staged demonstrations, small riots, or the burning of each other's effigies, etc.
A Process Both Violent and Violating
They have learned to strip out of the cadavers and corpses of their experimental subjects and store within their personal 'Necro-Capacitors,' special Leyden Jars of (supposedly) unbreakable glass slung in a series upon elegant bandoliers, each one linked to the others by a skillfully woven array of wires and cables. Each Initiate-Member of the Contrafraternity of Necro-Mesmerists is expected to assemble their own professional regalia, tools of practice and prescribed appurtenances both by dint of their personal ingenuity and the liberal application of their ill-gotten wealth. Not only do they strip the bodies of the dead of their dignity and their residual energies, they take everything else they can get their hands upon as well, resorting to Notaries and the Courts if they must, relying upon the brute violence of their legions of abdead thralls and servitors when necessary. These arrogant adepts of questionable science have no shame when it comes to seizing whatever they want, when they want it. They do not explore the boundaries of life and death to merely become spectators or passive observers. They delve into these deep mysteries to gain power and to use it.
If nothing else, Necro-Mesmerists are notoriously stylish. Each one competes with their peers and fellow Initiate-Members to out-do one another in the elaborateness and effectiveness of their personal array of accouterments, arsenal of mechanisms, and repertoire of unique new techniques derived and inspired by their research, experiments and accumulation of knowledge. The pressure to discover new applications of the Necro-Electrical Fluid, or to develop fresh new spells, discover new secrets of the abdead states, establish new behavioral routines for their various thralls, or other such sanctioned and permissible results is intense. Each Autumn the Necro-Mesmerists gather together to convene an Autonomous Congress that deliberately inverts and makes a mockery of the old traditions of the Hypnogogues. Each and every Initiate-Member in good standing is expected to attend; only a very select few proxies are ever allowed, and then only by previous dispensation from Gaillardion Himself. It is at this Annual Congress that reports are filed, papers are presented, findings are debated, inquisitions are held, duels are fought, and the general pecking order is adjusted based upon the elevation or decline of each attendees' status, reputation and overall contribution to the field of Necro-Mesmeric theory and/or practice.
Their continued promotion and crass pursuit of any number of questionable, even dangerously experimental 'remedial necro-electrical fluid mechanics' that they claim are intended to cure various and sundry illnesses, ailments and diseases is either a cruel farce or a horrible swindle costing their gullible and vulnerable clients what remains of their health, occasionally their minds and sometimes their very souls. But the Contrafraternity is powerful, wealthy and their higher echelons know a great many volatile secrets. They also have a lot to answer for, but few are in any position to force them into any sort of accounting for their actions, malpractice or misdeeds. Indeed Necro-Mesmerists only willingly submit to scrutiny and review of their work by a duly constituted panel of their peers. No one else is deemed qualified nor knowledgeable enough to judge their efforts. Thus they have become something of a law unto themselves, answerable only to their own thoroughly corrupt hierarchy.
The overwhelming majority of the Necro-Masmerists' patients do not get cured so much as they find themselves converted into mindless drones, abdead brutes, or even the Shrouded. The Necro-Mesmerists do not hide their track record. Far from it. They seem ruthlessly honest about their seemingly continual failure to actually address the maladies they say they claim to be treating. Everyone knows that these techniques are incredibly risky. But still they come. Because for some, this is their last hope to beat a wracking, insidious infection that simply should not exist and that conventional methods can do little or nothing to treat. So, in the last hours of life left to them, while they still possess some shred of dignity or resolve, some pit themselves against the pseudoscience of the Necro-Mesmerists in the hopes that maybe...just maybe...they might be that one test-subject who beats the odds and comes through it all stronger, better, even cured.