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- Main article: Methos
Methos was able to successfully ascend and became The Thing Beyond The Door.
Several Ascensionist cabals popped up during the rule of the Mage Imperium.
The Cabal Excarnate Edit
The Cabal Excarnate, or "Excarnists", were the most numerous group among the Ascensionists. They had no care for the politics of belief or the Imperium, merely wishing to transcend their own bodies. Some hoped to ascend to the planes of the gods, while others merely sought to replace their putrid, feeble mortal forms with something more enduring. Many “Materialist” Excarnates ritualistically removed their limbs, organs and even segments of their brains in favor of cybernetic replacements.
This would generally speaking make Excarnatists the "tamest" of the Ascensionists cabals, although of course the price of this full transcendence is so astronomically high that even the Excarnates would have been likely to blow away entire subsectors at a time attempting to become a "true" god. Proposed means of ascension were almost sui generis to specific Excarnate cults, and they ranged from forcibly binding demons to oneself and keeping them satiated with a steady supply of souls to inducing psionic properties in oneself and turning from individual to hive-mind. Additional methods included uploading one’s soul into a computer (or into an etheric network), and mad designs of rewriting the rules of creation so that a given Excarnist Prince was always a god. Unlike other Ascensionist cults, however, the success of any individual in the cult would not likely have destroyed the entire Imperium. However, there were certainly enough of them that if even a tenth succeeded, civilization might actually have been wiped out in and around the Imperium.
The Cabal Exanima Edit
The Cabal Exanima, or "Exanimists", went one step beyond the Excarnists, intending to transcend the very structure of the soul itself. What would replace it as the organizing principle of the self is unclear, but whatever form the Exanimists chose, it is likely that the very rules of The Partition may need to be rewritten. The energy required to do this would be beyond Astronomical — the entire gross energy production of the Imperium would not even have been enough to make a dent in the rules of reality, even if it could be harnessed in one location. What insane methods they intended to use in order to accomplish the feat are likely best not thought about for the weak-willed. Some Exanimists were Excarnists who intended to include in their rewrite a provision making themselves gods of various descriptions. Others saw the "shortcuts" to ascension (uploading, hive mind) and wished to take these while preserving their individuality. For these princes, Ascensionism was as much a philosophical problem as a technical one, and changing the rules of logic itself can make any proposition valid.
The Praeterdeus Cabal Edit
The Praeterdeus Cabal, also known as "The Praetorian collective", was unique among the Ascensionist cabals in that it did not intend to ignore or do away with the Imperium, but rather use the power of godhood to recast it. In place of the Seer Council and the Diet, the Praetorians would have ascended one or more of their own to become their titular "Praeterdeus," a God-Emperor of Aeldrum. This Emperor (or pantheon of Emperors, should many of their council have succeeded in granting themselves godhood) would then have enacted their policies across the cosmos, and used the pre-existing might of the Imperium to create a new religion centered around the worship of the new Imperial pantheon and the God-Emperors. Rival Praetorian sects emerged over decades, some favoring Excarnate solutions (including designs for a compulsory cybernetic hive-mind) and others believing they can replace Adalna with an Exanimist approach.
The Transcendentist Cabal Edit
The Transcendentist Cabal had the most ambitious program of any of the Ascensionist groups. They were in some sense extremist Exanimists, hoping not to supplant the nature of the soul but to exit reality altogether by piercing the veil of The Aether. They would not only stare into the terrible beyond but invite it into the cosmos or step outside reality to join it. Such lunatic princes were driven by a quest to discover whatever outer dimension contains the tapestry of creation as we know it. For the Transcendentists, Elder Script was but one of infinite possible mechanisms of creation, and they would not be constrained by the designs of the Elder Gods.
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