Defenders of the True Faith
The Clans are not so easily defined that a single word, a sentence or even a volume could possibly suffice. As with any human devised society, we are complex. We number fourteen distinct Clans (fifteen if one counts Clan Wolf in Exile), each comprised of five castes and further divided by Bloodname, specialty or clique. All of the Clans and their various factions have private desires and goals, and different methods for reaching them. Yet one Way-the Way of the Clans-underlies our variety. That Way honors the driving purpose of Aleksandr Kerensky, who first led us from the degraded inner Sphere, and the vision of Nicholas Kerensky, who saw what we might become and shaped us into it. In doing so, he shaped the future.
But that future has not yet arrived. Misled - or perhaps distracted - by the naked ambition of some Crusader Clans, we moved too soon and became the thing we were created to protect the Inner Sphere against. Such has always been the Warden viewpoint. We have not failed, however. The great test, the Invasion of the Inner Sphere, told us much about ourselves. Now it is time to move forward with the strength of purpose we have lacked. And it is the duty of every Clan. Warden and Crusader alike, to revive in our warrior hearts the immortal words of the Kerenskys, which will continue to shape us into all that we may yet become. Crusaders may resist, and it is their duty to challenge the great changes that will come, but in the end we will help them to see. For we, the Warden Clans, have arrived.
The day will come when our descendants return to claim what is our right. With honor swelling their hearts, they will crusade against the dark emotions that have dimmed the Inner Sphere for so long. But with glory comes responsibility: Without a pure soul we cannot give sight to their blindness, but will only blind ourselves.
-The Remembrance (Clan Wolf), Passage 3, Verse 41, Lines 1-8
The Founder, Nicholas Kerensky, held the Return before the Clans as our duty and destiny, just as his father did before him in the Hidden Hope doctrine. But within these visions and hopes lay a caution that many forgot or chose to overlook.
As set down in The Remembrance, Aleksandr Kerensky's Hidden Hope was of how 'their sons' sons would one day return to the Inner Sphere, bringing back the enlightenment of the Star League." Such was "our legacy of blood." The Remembrance is no call to arms; clearly, the self-exiled Star League Defense Force was to bring enlightenment, not military conquest. The Great Father's desire was always to spare us the dark times he saw approaching the Inner Sphere, a truth borne out by the violent Succession Wars that plagued our ancestral worlds for so long after our departure. Even we saw a measure of this, when old hatreds and alliances erupted in the Pentagon Worlds and forced upon us a second Exodus, led by Aleksandr's son and heir to his vision, Nicholas.
In a similar vein, the Way of the Clans that Nicholas Kerensky gave us was meant to be something greater than a plan of military conquest. His own words warned us that to shirk responsibility was to court our own destruction. He called us Guardians of the Peace, Defenders of the Vision. These were our duties; the sooner we acknowledge that truth and return to the path the Founder laid down, the better for the Inner Sphere and the Clans both.
For us, patience is more than a virtue. It is our charge.
The Path Toward Enlightenment
Beginning in the Golden Century, during which the Clans achieved many of their technological advancements, we began to argue over differing interpretations of Aleksandr Kerensky's vision and the Founder's ultimate plan. So fierce did the disagreements become that even warriors within the same Clan were often at odds with each other. Toward the end of the thirtieth century, the line between the two most prominent interpretations had been distinctly drawn, and almost every Clan chose sides for the great debate between Warden and Crusader.
The Wardens advocated patience-a difficult stand to take in a society bred for war-because they believed that the time of Return had not yet come. In the recorded words of the Kerenskys, they found validation for their belief that the Clans were to wait until called, by the arrival of some external danger that threatened all of humanity or an internal sundering severe enough to push mankind to the brink of destruction. The so-called Crusader Clans mistakenly believed that the Kerenskys had never meant us to wait for such dire circumstances. They insisted that the Inner Sphere had already fallen into barbarism from which only the Way of the Clans could save them.
The Crusaders suffered from blind arrogance in their attempts to reinterpret the very foundation of Clan society. Warden efforts to turn them from their goal managed to buy time, but then the unexpected occurred. An Inner Sphere ComStar JumpShip, Just among the stars, found its way into Clan space. Clan Smoke Jaguar seized upon this opportunity to force a vote for invasion, hinting that the Inner Sphere might invade our homeworlds (a real fear, as it turns out, though we drove them to it). Spearheaded largely by Crusader forces, the Clan juggernaut quickly occupied the Periphery and began an inexorable march toward Terra. Clan Wolf, the strongest of the Warden Clans. seized the initiative and surged ahead of their fellow invaders, realizing that only the leader of the invasion could hope to turn it aside or halt it. The tragic death of ilKhan Leo Showers, the Smoke Jaguar Khan chosen to lead the invasion, gave the Wolves a chance to assume that leadership in name as well as in conquest. Wolf Khan Ulric Kerensky was elected ilKhan, and in that capacity engineered the Truce of Tukayyid. The truce ended the war for fifteen years, time that Ulric hoped to use to somehow stop the Crusader madness.
Though political manipulation later discredited Ulric's achievements, the fact remains that the Crusader Clans defeated themselves on Tukayyid. IlKhan Kerensky warned them to prepare well and not to underestimate the enemy, advice they chose to ignore. Kerensky's Wolves were the only Clan to claim two victories on Tukayyid, surpassing the Crusader Clans in their own cause.
The Crusaders did whatever they could to break the truce, even as many Warden Clans worked to uphold it. This division was the driving force behind the Wolf-Falcon Refusal War that almost destroyed the Wolf Clan. The Warden Wolves accomplished their purpose in delaying the resumption of the invasion, though at the terrible cost of two Khans' lives and a sundered Clan. However, even they could not stop the conflict with the Inner Sphere. Only the rebirth of the Star League, an event none of the Clans had anticipated, put an end to the invasion. Coming together as never before since Aleksandr Kerensky led the Star League Defense Force from the Inner Sphere, the Great Houses re-formed the League and coordinated their efforts against one Crusader Clan, the Smoke Jaguars. They accomplished what only the Clans had ever done before; the complete Annihilation of a Clan. When the new Star League then came to Strana Mechty and demanded a Trial of Refusal to end the invasion, the Warden Clans wisely backed away and allowed the Crusader Clans to defend their right to invade. They lost the Trial, providing beyond doubt the error of the Crusader cause.