Chaos reigns as King of Christendom. In less than two centuries Roman authority has been reduced significantly, the East and West have split, and now religious turmoil brews within France, Italy, and farther. Pope Alexander V, previously Cardinal Angelo Fieschi, came to power in 1214 and inherited the burden of modern Christianity and the looming threat of another schism.

His first challenge came from Rosewood. Upon the ascension of another Pope in such a short time period, the “Rosewood Patriarchate” made moves to officially split from the Roman See, with Archbishop Baudouin II leading the charge. Sources describe him as a pious man, but with an apatite for autonomy. Over the years, especially after the Fifty Years’ War, the Rosewood See has been slowly drifting away from Catholic Dogma. In an attempt to mend the breach before another schism fractures Christendom further, Pope Alexander V decided to hold permanent residence within Rosewood every half-year, as the Cathedral of St. Leena has reserved some of its land that is de jure within the Pope’s demesne. This show of fidelity has begun to sway the French clergy and indicates a positive trend. In addition to making Rosewood his de facto second capital, the Pope has also granted the City unusual liberties in enforcing Dogmatic Law, with an additional promise to hold a Second Council of Rosewood in the near future. According to the deals made the Archbishopric remains the primary religious authority for the Kingdom of France, answering only to the Pope; Rosewood has been granted special status within the Christian world, especially since it holds many relics within its churches. In exchange for this, the Archbishop will not refer to himself as a Patriarch, and will not secede from the Roman See. Additionally, the Archbishop must begin to organize the return of the Divines within Rosewood. Given such terms, most clergymen and clergywomen are pleased with the deal and support papal authority. They are called Papists; on the other side of the argument are those who support the Archbishop, and further French sovereignty over their Church. They are called Baudouinists. As time progresses, and the Pope has yet to call for the Council, Baudouinists cry betrayal, and further seek to widen the divide between Rome and Rosewood. However, the majority of clerics support unity. That might change radically depending on how the Second Council of Rosewood plays out.

While working to resolve the Rosewood Crisis, on the other side of Europe, the Eastern See has become outwardly hostile towards the Catholic faithful, even denying them safe passage through their lands to the Holy Land; this comes as a consequence of the siege of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade, where the Catholic Crusaders put Constantinople to the torch and looted it for days, leaving it in a decrepit state upon their leave. This resulted in a civil war within the Roman Empire, leading to the death of the then Emperor by the hand of his own Varangian Guard. The Loyalist faction won, and his daughter Anna II Komnenos was installed as the Basileia. Her aristocracy calls for punitive action against the West, while some have even begun to raid Italian coasts and Venetian merchant routes. The Pope is expected to broker a peace between Rome and Constantinople. One way that could be achieved is through marriage. The realms of France, Denmark, Spain, Naples, and even the Holy Roman Empire have shown interest in marrying the Empress to one of their Princes or even their Rulers. Were this to happen, it might not only deescalate any tensions that have been building up since the end of the Fourth Crusade, but it might finally mend the Schism, and bring unity to Christendom. Many call for this discussion to be had in the next Council and the Orthodox of Byzantium are expected to be there.

As the followers of Christ hold blades to each others’ throats, the Mongol horde wages war in the East. Come spring, they mount a new campaign into the lands of the Muslims. Jerusalem calls for another Crusade, while the followers of Muhammad rally to protect Baghdad at all costs. Pope Alexander V is expected to tackle the issue of another Crusade against the Mongols only a half-decade after the previous one. Antioch and Constantinople are weary of the Catholic Crusaders, as they know what happened to Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. However, Alexandria and Jerusalem plead for aid, knowing full well that if the Muslims are pushed too far west, they will eventually come upon their realms, and assume control of the Holy City.

Meanwhile, the young Spanish Kingdom continues to battle the Muslims in its lands. The Pope is requested to grant support. A Fifth Crusade, not against the Mongols of Asia, but against the Moors of Iberia. Alternatively, there is always the option of neutrality. So much weighs on the Council that is to be held in Rosewood. The coming years will determine the future of Christendom for all eternity.

Categories: History

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