Also known as the True and Knowledgeable Guild of Cartographers and the Honourable Guild of Cartographers, The Cabal is an ancient and highly mysterious order of nomadic scholars who roam the timelines and and galactic expanses of the multiverse. Its members are known as Mappists, Cartographers, Carties, Cabal members, Cabbies, and so on.
Their ultimate motivations remain unclear to most other people - even the lucky few who have managed to meet them in person, on peaceful terms.
The Cabal, fittingly for its name, is esotheric in its ways and methods, all of which revolve around map-making and the cartographic arts. The members of the Cabal adhere to a mysticist messianic religion that has come into further flux after their first chance meeting with the crew of the MES AH.com.
Thermo - sometimes known as “Saint Thermo” or “Thermo of Pylae”, he is an ancient prophet of the Mappist faith and its principles.
The Mapdi - otherwise known as “the shortening of the latitude” or “The Mapsiah”, the Mapdi is the main messianic figure of Mappist beliefs. DIAMOND left the crew of the AH.com after he was chosen by Cabal members as the long-awaited incarnation of the Mapdi.
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Cabal members regularly train their skills and spiritual oneness with the art of map-making by taking part in the holy ritual known as Map of the Fortnight. Members who do badly in a weekly round are advised to work harder on their skills, in the name of penitence to the coming of the Mapdi. The MoF is similar to The Guild’s ritual challenge, known as the Weekly Flag Challenge.
Though perhaps not as stratified as the hierarchy of the Flagists, and more mysterious and secretive in front of visitors, the members of the Cabal are nevertheless known to possess certain forms of hierarchy.
Maptain - Commander/captain of a Mappist mothership. Mappist leadership seems more decentralised than that of The Guild, with each mothership having its own captain as a ruler, and in times of need, the admiral of the Cabal Nomadic Fleet can be temporarily elected by the Cabal Moot.
Mapdi - though a near-mythical figure, Cabal beliefs state that the Mapdi is or will be the true ruler and spiritual leader of all Mappists, as well as the de facto admiral of the Mappist nomadic fleet. A breakthrough in Cabal history occured some years or decades ago, when they met DIAMOND of the AH.com crew and realised he might be their long-prophesied saviour, convincing him to join the Cabal and become its leader.
Mappestry Council - permanent advisory assembly of Grandmasters and Doctors of The Cabal.
Cabal Moot - rare, temporary gathering of Grandmasters and Doctors of The Cabal. It oversees the elections of new Maptains, and on the off-chance that the Mapdi would be found, the verification of his identity (based on known Cabal prophecy).
Emissary – what it sounds like. Basically, a Cabal ambassador for everything. The Cabal has many such figures.
Cartomancers – specially trained Cabal members with cybernetic implants, which they can utilise to create and project graphics-related illusions (usually holographic in nature).
These are various artists, drawers, colourists, designers, scribes, stewards, technicians, warriors, etc. The individual Cabal members wear simple artwork-themed jumpsuit uniforms, and on top of them, monastic-style or judge-style robes. Photonic paintbrushes and nanotech easels are among the commonest tools of all Cabbies.
Like the people of the Vexilologist Guild, the people of The Cabal also live a wholly nomadic, spacecraft-bound life. They roam the multiverse in fleets of varying size, lead by shift-capable "worldships", several kilometers long (such as the Mercator). These are virtually always accompanied by various smaller ships. While the Cabal members regularly stop over at planets to offer their trade, forge deals or gather the latest news, they very rarely visit planets for prolonged stays on their surface. However, Mappists that weren't directly born into The Guild, but were adopted or initiated into it at a certain age, tend to be planet dwellers in origin.
The fictional(ised) version described on this page are basically “space freemasons and esotherics“ (though cartography-obsessed ones). A lot of their hierarchy and elements parody stereotypical traits of secret societies and popular tropes associated with them, though the “Mapdi” myth is a send-up of the Mahdi prophecy from Frank Herbert's Dune. The interiors of Mappist ships are your typical „hi-tech monastery/temple“ sort of thing, but with lots of nods to the designing of maps, map colours schemes and other map-related artworks.
Guild of Vexilologists and Iconographers - The other side of the same coin.