The Knights Divine have had a chapter of their own within Rosewood since their founding and initial spread across Europe. The efforts of their Knights were crucial to the continued safety of pilgrims coming from the lands of France, the faithful of France, as well as the many rulers who would go on Crusade. The Rosewood Chapter was one of the largest in the world, even hosting the Grandmaster before the Knights were granted the island of Elba. Throughout the City and the Empire, they were regarded as the most faithful and pious members of the Church, and the defenders of those who could not defend themselves. This would all change come 1116, and the death of Torrino I.
With the death of Torrino I, and the ascension of his son, Emperor Philip I, begins a period of decline for the Sirius Empire, as he is known as the Emperor who started the Fifty Years’ War; a conflict that left tens of thousands of dead, if not a hundred thousand and more. However, it not only decimated the peoples of Frankia and Germania but also soured the blossoming friendship between Rome and Rosewood. In 1116 when Torrino I passed away, his son and heir Prince Philip was to be crowned as Emperor of the Sirius Empire. However, Pope Clement II refused, instead claiming that the only legitimate continuation of the Roman Empire and the Empire of Charlemagne is the Holy Roman Empire of Germania, under the divine rule and protection of its Kaiser. In response, Philip was crowned by the Archbishop of Rosewood, Caroline I; assuming not only the title of Emperor of the Sirius Empire but of Rome as well. This was a declaration of war, and so in 1116 the Fifty Years’ War begins with Frankia and Denmark facing off against Germania and the Papal States and its allies.
This, however, is not about the war itself, but the fate of the Divine Knights within Rosewood. As the Knights Divine are the Knights of Christ, they answer wholly to the Pope. So some 600 Knights associated with Rosewood’s chapter found themselves in a precarious position. Support the Pope, or support the Emperor. For two years, no one minded them. They would only get strange looks on the streets of the Capital as if they were unwelcome, but none dared to do anything about them. In 1118 the Master of the Rosewood chapter recalled all Knights to Rosewood in order to finally discuss and take a stance either against Rome or against Rosewood.
We watched them enter the City. Hundreds of men clad in the armor of Christ, his warriors, his sons and protectors. Those very same men who were the pride of Christendom and the Empire were met with a silent crowd as they passed in a column through the gates and streets leading to their fortification. They were moving to the castle in order to hold a vote on how to move forward. In the middle of a war, in the middle of enemy territory, and they still had enough valor to hold their heads up high and carry themselves with honor. I wish I could say the same for what we did.
By order of the Emperor, Philip I Sirius, we were to enter their courtyard during their vote and wait for them to finish. His Excellency, against my advice, and the advice of my closest officers, decided to annul their decision in the matter altogether. Their vote was irrelevant, as Philip had already made up his mind. While they locked themselves inside, I marched an army of two thousand strong and surrounded their castle. We killed their sentries quickly, and began to free their horses. While waiting, we were reinforced by the City Watch. They had no chance.
I was never a stranger to war, or its horrors. I know what happened in Horrnet, in Gensen. I have seen the Folkking Uprising, and the many wars around Rosewood. But this was different. Nevertheless, good soldiers follow orders. I left the Army precisely because of that. I was too loyal.
We waited outside for hours. The air smelled of fire as the many hearths and forges gave smoke to the sky. There was no wind, no sun, no birds. I stood beside hundreds of men and none of us spoke, because we knew what would happen in a few moments. We stood as witnesses to history, silenced by the gravity of the event about to take place. Beside me were hardened warriors who knew exactly how this would play out; but also green soldiers who had yet to taste true combat. I was less certain about what was going through their minds. Nevertheless, they chose not to speak.
Once they stepped outside they noticed us. Truth be told, it would be extremely hard not to notice, even had the moon been shy that night, but no. God made it so that there was no mistake that day. We could see their faces, and they ours. I gave the command, and I set Hell loose. With my right hand, I unleashed death upon these men of honor, of God. Some of them knelt in surrender, some began to run, the rest fought. We killed everyone. Those who surrendered we hanged, those who fled we shot with bolts, and those who fought, we met in battle and slew them like swine. I still remember the screams, the cries, the pleas. Were my soul any less black from decades of service, I might have shed a tear. But dark as it is, my heart had no sorrow to spare. What hope I had for this world died with Nicholas. From then on, and even now as I write this, my only light are the beams of sunshine brought into this world by my son, and his wife. So you see, these Divines had to die. They forfeited all name, all claim, all of their humanity. Killing them was mercy for them, and duty to me.
In the morning, a few dozen remained alive, and as the curfew was lifted, the streets began to crowd with people, like sheep they flocked to see what had happened that night. We told them the Divines had betrayed us, like Judas unto Christ. The Emperor expected their rage, but the sheer ire that erupted that Monday morning could surely burn. The people of Rosewood demanded their heads, both Philip and Robbert II were happy to oblige them. Eighty-four men were hanged for High Treason, and the people talk about Bloody Sunday as if it were a failed insurrection, stopped by the brave men of the Empire. Long live the Emperor, may his reign be remembered throughout. My ass. He began to undo all I had worked to achieve with his father. This was the last straw. I told him I’d let everyone know what he had done, what he had ordered. In exchange for my silence, he guaranteed my safety and freedom. That was the last day I breathed that Rosewood air, the last time I set foot into the Capital I had devoted my life to. The place where all my friends lived. I pray I might return one day if this war were not to last too long. No matter who reigns over it, Rosewood is the only place on this Earth that I could ever call home. If only you were still here, Nicholas, my boy. Muriel, my love. If only you could share in the growth of your kin. So many ifs in this life. I pray nothing like this ever happens again.Dated 1121, found among other entries in the residence of the Emrils. Written in Common, and transcribed within the Imperial Library of Rosewood as the only account of the Massacre of 1118, known as Bloody Sunday, or the Day of Blood.
After their failed coup, the Divines were crushed and tried for High Treason, Heresy, and Sodomy. Ever since 1118 Rosewood has lacked a Divine chapter within it, and their castle was torn down completely. The public does not support the Divines, as they are seen as untrustworthy due to incidents like St. Mortem, Bloody Sunday, and the Siege of Constantinople, while on the other hand, the Knights Divine are hesitant to return to Rosewood as they are sure that their brothers were framed, and would never actually choose violence. Rome, however, treats the chapter as a political win for the Papal States, as it would represent reconciliation between the two cities. In 1220, the situation remains unchanged. Most people are indifferent or opposed to the idea of a new chapter being founded, and the Divines are hesitant to raise a chapter on ground soaked in the innocent blood of their brothers.
In Nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti,
I, Lord Philip, first of my name, of the Imperial House Sirius, Protector of Rosewood, King of the Franks, Emperor of both the Sirius and Roman Empire, whose reign is guaranteed by the good grace of our Lord God, do hereby order the Imperial Army, headed by Lord Marshal Argonon var Emril, aided by the City Watch, headed by Overseer Santiago, and the Inquisition, headed by High Inquisitor Marcas, to go forth and arrest all members of the Order of the Divine Knights of Elba that have been granted their own charter within the Capital City of Rosewood. The Knights have been found guilty of High Treason against the Emperor, Heresy as they believe in the Old Gods, and Sodomy among their ranks, as they pervert their faith. Once they were the defenders of Christianity, but now they show their decadence, and therefore must be tried and arrested. If they show resistance, they are to be crushed by the might of the Imperial Army.
By the grace of God, the Empire’s victory shall be swift and our enemies defeated, be they foreign or from within.Dated 1118, bearing the Imperial Sirius Seal. Written originally in Common by Emperor Philip I Sirius, ordering the arrest and execution of the Divine Chapter within Rosewood.