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VIROS

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    High Pontiff James II
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  1. Name of Man: George Kovachev Date of Birth: 1750 Name of Woman: Sabrina Halcourt Date of Birth: 1752 Location of Ceremony: Basilica of the Final Revelation Date of Ceremony: 1778 Clergyman: James II Name of Man: John Charles Helane Date of Birth: 1757 Name of Woman: Wilhemina Beatrix Helvets Date of Birth: 1758 Location of Ceremony: Basilica of the Final Revelation Date of Ceremony: 1780 Clergyman: James II
  2. CHARTER OF THE PALATINE GUARD ORDER OF ALL-SAINTS HIS HOLINESS, James II, By the Grace of God High Pontiff of the Church of the Canon, Archbishop of Visigia, Successor of the High Priesthood of the Church, Supreme Pontiff of the Church of True Faith, Keeper of the Canon, Missionary to Aeldin, High Servant to the Exalted's Testaments, Humble Servant of the Faithful and Vicar of GOD does decree . . . TABLE OF CONTENTS SECTION I - EXHORTATION: CUSTODI CIVITATEM, DOMINE “GUARD THE CITY, O LORD.” SECTION II - MEMBERSHIP SECTION III - HIERARCHY SECTION IV - JURISDICTION SECTION V - OATH OF HOLY KNIGHTHOOD SECTION I - EXHORTATION: CUSTODI CIVITATEM, DOMINE “GUARD THE CITY, O LORD.” Dearly beloved, the priesthood are the guardians of the Holy Scrolls. Because this is so, let the faithful guard the guardians: we institute the Palatine Guard Order of All-Saints for the defense of the Church’s holdings and the protection of the faithful. Our Church has seen the rise and fall of many holy orders, some noble, others base; some large, others but a handful of men. We have found that the faithful are best served by a unified army of God, devoted to the single purpose of their protection, and having no undue worldly power. Accordingly we organize all who would bear arms in the Church’s name into this single order, and we forbid the creation of further holy orders outside of it. We charge the guardsmen of this order to be just and patient, pious and noble. We pray that they will be first to raise their hand against injustice, and last to fall against the wicked. May God bless and keep them. DEO GRATIAS, High Pontiff James II SECTION II - MEMBERSHIP The Palatine Guard Order of All-Saints is organized along monastic lines, with guardsmen constituting chapter houses and swearing certain vows. To qualify for membership in the Guard, prospective applicants must: Have attained the age of 14; Have been baptized as a Canonist and practiced the faith devoutly for at least one year; Not have any public notoriety or cause for doubt of their character; Not owe oaths of service which would override their service to the Church. SECTION III - HIERARCHY AND STRUCTURE AUXILIARY Auxiliaries are the reservists of the Palatine Guard. They do not swear vows, but make a nonbinding promise of obedience. Auxiliaries may discharge their promise at any time; likewise, they are not bound to activity requirements. Auxiliary is an appropriate rank for layman advisors and tradesmen, particularly those providing part-time medical or construction services. Auxiliaries can hold no position of leadership in the Palatine Guard Order. Auxiliary is the only rank appropriate for Canonist priests, who are forbidden from drawing the blood of other Canonists. ARMIGER Armigers are rank-and-file soldiers of the Palatine Guard. They swear binding vows of obedience and loyalty to the Church in fixed, seven-year periods called septannums; at the end of each septannum, the vow may be discharged or renewed, as they desire. Armigers are entitled to a residence in the Holy Palatinate and to bear steel in the presence of Church leaders. Further, an armiger who is assigned to a particular Holy Knight and intends to be considered for that rank is called a squire, and is entitled to the postnominal Esq. HOLY KNIGHT After serving two septannums as a squire, an armiger is qualified for consideration for the rank of Holy Knight. This rank, if it is appropriate and desired, is conferred by the Grandmaster through the armiger’s swearing of the Oath of Holy Knighthood. A Holy Knight of the Palatine Guard is entitled to the title “Holy Sir” or “Holy Dame” as appropriate to their gender. The rank of Holy Knight is permanent until the guardsman is discharged from the Order, and they need make no more vows at the end of each septannum. If a Holy Knight is honorably discharged, he may continue to use the title as a courtesy. HOLY KNIGHT-CAPTAIN A Holy Knight is eligible for promotion to Holy Knight-Captain when two of his squires have completed their second septannum and receive the rank of Holy Knight. A Holy Knight-Captain may be unaffiliated or may be given leadership over a chapter house, which is a division of the Palatine Guard devoted to a specific person, purpose, or location. A chapter house should have a separate base of operations from the wider Guard and should have no less than three non-auxiliaries affiliated with it; typically, these are the Holy Knight-Captain and his two former squires. Chapter houses are particularly appropriate to guard the household of a cleric living abroad, or to tend to a particular place of worship. GRANDMASTER OF THE PALATINE GUARD ORDER OF ALL-SAINTS The Grandmaster of the Palatine Guard Order is the head of the organization. He makes all decisions concerning the membership and internal procedures of the Guard, and all guardsmen owe their obedience to him, second only to the Knight-Regent and the Church. The Grandmaster is entitled to a residence in the Holy Palatine and the Holy See, and the title “Grandmaster”. KNIGHT-REGENT OF THE HOLY PALATINATE The Knight-Regent of the Holy Palatinate is the ruler of the Church’s holdings and temporal territories, responsible for their defense and their development. Ex officio, he has authority over the Palatine Guard Order and all laymen sworn in service to the Church. SECTION IV - JURISDICTION The Palatine Guard Order of the All-Saints operates as a private military organization, licensed by the Secretary of War under the Private Military Organization Act of 1774. Guardsmen 0f the Order have authority to enforce the laws of the Oren Revised Code in the Holy Palatinate, Church buildings, and the other temporal holdings of the Church, arresting suspected criminals and referring them to the Ministry of Justice for charge and trial. Guardsmen have policing authority but not judicial authority; they may not issue or deliver sentences for crimes. Guardsmen have no authority to enforce canon law, except where a crime falls under the ORC. Outside of the Holy Orenian Empire, guardsmen of the Order have only that authority assigned to them by the local government. In all cases, they act first as bodyguards of the priesthood and defenders of the laity. SECTION V - OATH OF HOLY KNIGHTHOOD Candidates for Holy Knighthood are granted that rank by swearing the following oath before the Grandmaster of the Palatine Guard Order or the Knight-Regent of the Holy Palatinate: “I vow to never falter, to obey and guard the laws of GOD, who is the one true Creator. I vow to be the sword and shield of the Church of the Canon and her faithful, to fight for them when they cannot protect themselves. I vow to resist the temptations of Iblees and strike down those who have fallen under his dark rule. I vow to keep my post as Holy Knight until death takes me from this realm into the next.” With the response by the administering official: “Then rise, [Name], and join your brothers as Holy Sir/Dame [Name and Epithet]. You are a Holy Knight of this land and all the lands of the Church of the Canon, sworn to protect the people of the Canonist faith. You shall be fair and just, defending the innocent no matter their rank: beggar and bishop alike.”
  3. HIS HOLINESS, James II, By the Grace of God High Pontiff of the Church of the Canon, Archbishop of Visigia, Successor of the High Priesthood of the Church, Supreme Pontiff of the Church of True Faith, Keeper of the Canon, Missionary to Aeldin, High Servant to the Exalted's Testaments, Humble Servant of the Faithful and Vicar of GOD signs the treaty.
  4. James II remarks to his Secretariat, “I was just considering this question recently. It is questionable to what extent ‘individuality’ plays a part in God’s expectations of us. But certainly it is emphasized in the Scrolls that each of us has particular gifts and a station assigned to us. Sister Madelaine is correct that sometimes courtly culture strays too far, making what ought to be individuals into mere characters on a stage.”
  5. James II review the thesis as it passes over his desk in a morning meeting. “This Guy de Soissons answered some interesting questions I have had myself. We will watch him with interest, yes?”
  6. CANONIST THEORY OF JUST WAR The 5th of Godfrey’s Triumph in the Year of our Lord 1779 HIS HOLINESS, James II, By the Grace of God High Pontiff of the Church of the Canon, Archbishop of Visigia, Successor of the High Priesthood of the Church, Supreme Pontiff of the Church of True Faith, Keeper of the Canon, Missionary to Aeldin, High Servant to the Exalted's Testaments, Humble Servant of the Faithful and Vicar of GOD does decree . . . TABLE OF CONTENTS SECTION I - EXHORTATION: LEX PACIFERAT “THE LAW WILL BRING PEACE” SECTION II - DEFINING WAR AND PEACE SECTION III - PRECEPTS OF JUST WAR SECTION IV - PRECEPT 1: GRAVE, CERTAIN HARM SECTION V - PRECEPT 2: EXHAUSTION OF PEACEFUL MEANS SECTION VI - PRECEPT 3: SERIOUS PROSPECT OF SUCCESS SECTION VII - PRECEPT 4: GOOD GREATER THAN EVIL SECTION VIII - FINAL COMMENTARIES SECTION I - EXHORTATION: LEX PACIFERAT “THE LAW WILL BRING PEACE” Dearly beloved, God promises us that we shall know eternal peace at the end of times, when each is given a law according to their kind. Because this is so, the Canonist prince knows that only law will bring peace. We have thus endeavored to formulate laws governing just war, that we may guarantee it is waged righteously, for the purposes of peace only. We hereafter consider it the utmost obligation of each Canonist prince to abide by this doctrine if he seeks to wage war; we do not find it necessary to receive his assent, these principles being not a mere temporary agreement between rulers, but the natural expression of the moral law in Scripture. It is our solemn desire that through the application of this doctrine, we shall bring greater harmony to the Sons of Horen. DEO GRATIAS, High Pontiff James II SECTION II - DEFINING WAR AND PEACE Dearly beloved, men are imperfect, and though our heartfelt wish may be perfect justice and peace, this can never be achieved until the return of the Exalted. Because this is so, it may occur that force of arms is necessary to overcome injustice. First in understanding the ius bellum iustum, the theory of just war, we must understand peace to mean more than the absence of war--which is to say, even if all the world were ruled by a single tyrant, having no enemy upon whom to wage war, the injustice of his reign would itself be disruption of peace. Indeed, we know this to be true, for the Scroll of Auspice promises that before the prophets return, Iblees will one day conquer the world entire. We therefore view peace as justice, and justice as peace--and that where there is justice, conflict neither arises nor is necessary. In the Scroll of Gospel, we are told that Ex. Horen waged war on Iblees, Ex. Owyn on the usurpers of Edel, Ex. Godfrey on the pagan rulers of humanity, and Ex. Sigismund on foreign conquerors--in each case, though God commanded us to peace and patience, he also commanded these wars. We intuit that in some cases, war is the only means by which to achieve justice, and from this, peace. However, in the Holy Scrolls we also see instances of unjust war, namely King Harren’s invasion and usurpation of his brothers’ kingdoms. Here, although King Harren asserted that he was correcting an injustice by reclaiming his inheritance, he was in fact perpetrating a greater evil; even had his brothers truly usurped these kingdoms, they also ruled their people well and peacefully, and by Harren’s war they suffered unduly. Accordingly we will find that war is just only when it intends, and can actually accomplish, a more equitable, holy, and peaceful state of affairs than existed before it. SECTION III - PRECEPTS OF JUST WAR In order to ensure that a war will achieve a better world than existed before it, we must ensure that the war is just: that it adheres to principles which will prevent the war from, in fact, increasing injustice. As there are four Exalted, there are four principles of just war. In order to be just, a war: Must be intended to prevent or remedy a harm that is grave and certain; Must only follow the exhaustion of all peaceful means to prevent or remedy that harm; Must have a serious prospect of preventing or remedying that harm, such that the war is not cruel, punitive, or futile; And the harm which it concerns, if prevented or remedied, must result in a greater good than the means used to achieve it. Accordingly the war, if it occurs at all, must be of an appropriate scope and execution to prevent any greater harm. These principles, and the Exalted from whom they originate, are elucidated in the proceeding sections. SECTION IV - PRECEPT 1: GRAVE, CERTAIN HARM From Ex. Horen we determine that for a war to be just, it must be intended to prevent or remedy a grave and certain harm. While Ex. Horen sensed the evil counsel of Iblees to his brothers, he did not immediately marshal his armies and invade their camps, forcibly ejecting the sinful. He bided his time, consulted with the Lord, and withdrew, protecting his people and preparing them in case war became necessary. Only when the evil became so apparent that there was no hope it would resolve peacefully, did he wage war. Accordingly, war is only used to prevent or remedy some grave, certain, and imminent harm. SECTION V - PRECEPT 2: EXHAUSTION OF PEACEFUL MEANS From Ex. Owyn we determine that just war must only follow the exhaustion of all peaceful means of resolution. This prophet served faithfully in the court of his own father’s murderer, dutifully recording the Scroll of Spirit and making all efforts to convince King Harren and his people to abandon their wicked ways. Only when Harren and his people became so enraged by Ex. Owyn’s criticisms that they attempted to stop him altogether did he finally stand against that nation. Even then, Ex. Owyn’s great failure was that he did not seek a peaceful resolution--rather than accept God’s judgement and take Harren as his captive, he slew his uncle, bringing about a millennium of God’s Silence. Thus we see, in all things, violence must be prevented by the most peaceful and forgiving of means, that we may prevent an endlessly escalating conflict. SECTION VI - PRECEPT 3: SERIOUS PROSPECT OF SUCCESS From Ex. Godfrey we determine that a just war must have a serious prospect of success. Prior to the millennium of Silence, God prevented Ex. Owyn from attempting to reunite humanity. Scattered and fearful after the prophet slew their king in cold blood, the Harrenites were unrecoverable. It was only by the time of Ex. Godfrey that this memory began to fade, and the kingdoms of man had reached a tenuous peace under St. Daniel’s Kingdom of Oren. St. Daniel’s Oren observed the True Faith such as it was, and this prepared the ground: only then was there a realistic prospect that Ex. Godfrey could restore the true faith and unite humanity. Before this, any war to restore the faith would inevitably result in countless deaths, and could never have hoped to achieve Ex. Godfrey’s dream of unification. Accordingly, we follow the example of the Exalted, and wage only such a war as it is conceivable to win. We thus abjure tragic, violent wars of attrition which could serve no purpose but the furtherance of suffering. SECTION VII - PRECEPT 4: GOOD GREATER THAN EVIL Finally, from Ex. Sigismund we determine that for a war to be just, the waging of the war must achieve a greater good than the evil of war itself. We observe that in humanity’s fragmentation after the Exodus, many petty kingdoms sprung up, some ruled by weak men, others by tyrants, and others vassals to dwarven overlords. Though Ex. Sigismund was burdened with uniting humanity, he was judicious and careful in his waging of war--unlike Ex. Godfrey, for whom the way was prepared, this prophet faced a humanity with a patchwork of foreign and domestic allegiances. Some of these states continued to observe the True Faith. Accordingly, Ex. Sigismund united peacefully with those states for which it was possible. Others, such as Galahar, were ruled by violent mercenaries--for such states he found war to be just, as it was preferable to leaving their tyrannical rulers in place. Thus, Ex. Sigismund shows us that war is only justifiable when the evil of war is outweighed by the good it would achieve. SECTION VIII - FINAL COMMENTARIES Being informed on the principles of just war, we now must continuously recall that they are not mere diplomatic protocols, but very real moral law. This doctrine is the expression of the morality set forth in the Holy Scrolls, and so it weighs on the conscience of every king and prince. All should beware King Harren’s example: it is easy to falsify plausible reasons that purport to conform to these principles. We must view a bad faith effort, which perverts our doctrine to excuse an unjust war, as worse than open malice itself. In the latter case, at least, the perpetrator is honest about his dishonesty, and we may react accordingly. It is paramount, then, that Canonist states in general avoid war if at all possible, particularly against Canonists. One must consider any declaration of war to be suspect ab inito; from this position of skepticism, we then carefully analyze whether the war is just. I am convicted that, if each Canonist prince observes these principles and takes them into his heart, we will find a more just and peaceful world for us all.
  7. TRANSCRIPT OF THE IMPERIAL QUADRICENTENNIAL MASS Delivered 10th of Sun’s Smile, Year of Our Lord 1778 in the Basilica of the Final Revelation by His Holiness James II “Dearly beloved, We gather today to celebrate the quadricentennial of our Empire--four centuries ago, Ex. Godfrey founded our nation, and his patrimony lasts into this day. We have struggled, and we have stumbled. We have even fallen. But like the phoenix which is the symbol of Ex. Godfrey’s kingdom, we have always risen! The Scroll of Gospel tells us that our prophet consecrated the Throne of Man unto God, setting it aside for a special purpose. Thus so long as a single Canonist still draws breath, our Empire will never perish. What a miraculous permanence God grants us, and what holy eternity lies before us? We stand at the axis mundi--from this wellspring, like the waters of Gamesh in which Ex. Horen was baptized, the Virtue flows out into the world. Who among all the nations of the world can rival that inheritance? The four Exalted, our beloved Horen, Owyn, Godfrey, and Sigismund, were born into the bosom of humanity, and each reigned as its ruler. No other culture in this world reveres its God as we do, for ours is the true God, the Creator of all those lesser beings who reign in heathen temples. We do not scrabble at the feet of imperfect Aenguls, trading idolatrous offerings for meager magicks. We kneel to a single God, trusting in Him utterly, giving Him nothing more than the truest faith of our hearts. Ex. Sigismund commanded that the Church and the Empire are two in harmony, like unto our first High Priests, the twins Evaristus and Clement. Thus, as the priesthood is to Canonism, humanity is to the nations of the world: you and I are shepherds, nourishing our flock, admonishing them when necessary, and guarding them from wickedness. I say again to each of you that you are like unto priests! Whatever virtue you expect of your priesthood, expect it of yourself, for the world watches you just as you watch us. So as he did with our prophets, God has entrusted our Empire with a very particular and perilous dignity. He commands us as an example to all the world. Nothing less. We are the priest of nations, and thus our triumphs are the greatest triumphs--but our failures are also the greatest failures. We must always be wary, for God has given us a privilege and a duty. Neither without the other. We have a duty to Virtue. We have a duty to bring order to the world, to protect the innocent and strike down the wicked, to instruct the heathen in Virtue and admonish the Canonist who is lax in his faith. In the Gospel, when a prophet fails God, he fails the world. Ex. Horen failed in his sloth, neglecting to admonish his sinful brothers; Ex. Owyn failed in his wrath, slaying his own uncle; Ex. Godfrey in his pride, accepting praise due only to God; Ex. Sigismund in his envy, seeking the comforts of his predecessors. Only the Lord is perfect, and in his mercy, He forgives us of our follies. And look what his forgiveness has wrought: a blessing beyond blessings, our faith and our country. Always, always, our Empire walks upon a narrow bridge, with sin calling perilously below. But what a reward awaits at the end of that bridge! For God promised us Sons of Horen that we would walk the Seven Skies. And to earn this great reward, our trials must be equally great. Take heart when our nation triumphs, and take heart when she fails, for God has sworn us that great treasure for which we all pray: salvation, eternal life, glory in the court of our Father and our Maker. Read your Holy Scrolls, for they are a gift unlike any other: to our people alone the Lord delivered His Scripture, entrusting that we should share it with the world. Venerate the Exalted, for they are an inspiration unlike any other: to our prophets alone the Lord promised the Sixth Sky, beneath his throne. So if you love the Lord and His blessings, return the favor! Go out, walk the path of Virtue, and show our Empire as an exemplar for all kinds. Now go in peace, my friends.”
  8. THE PALATINE CONCORDAT The 9th of Sigismund’s End in the Year of our Lord 1778 Brethren in God, the Church of the Canon does decree. . . TABLE OF CONTENTS TITLE I - EXHORTATION: VICTORIA AUT MORS “VICTORY OR DEATH” TITLE II - STATEMENT OF ARMISTICE TITLE III - PLENARY ABSOLUTION TITLE IV - CRUSADE AGAINST THE INFERI TITLE V - SIGNATORIES TITLE I - EXHORTATION: VICTORIA AUT MORS “VICTORY OR DEATH” Dearly beloved, when Iblees first threatened the world, it was Ex. Horen who sought his three brothers and united them against evil. Because this is so, it is mankind’s duty that we stand together; that we, by example, lead the nations of Arcas against the darkness. No lesser cause can be accepted, for in these times we will have either a great victory or a terrible death. By what authority God has granted us, the Church of the Canon forges a truce between the Holy Orenian Empire and the Kingdom of Sutica. The forces of the Void trouble us once again, and so we must follow the example of our forefathers. As in the time of that first invasion, when the four brothers fought amongst themselves, Iblees’ power waxed; when they stood together, his influence waned and fell. DEO GRATIAS, High Pontiff James II TITLE II - STATEMENT OF ARMISTICE Dearly beloved, the Denier despises harmony among men. Thus peace among nations is the greatest war upon him. Because this is so, the Church of the Canon commands an immediate truce between the Holy Orenian Empire and the Kingdom of Sutica; as both Peter III and Corwin von Alstreim are Canonist monarchs, they are bound to this. All armies, all auxiliaries, and all civilians in this war must immediately withdraw and cease their attacks upon one another, on pain of excommunication. Concurrently, these armies must be redeployed to a prompt, continuing effort to vanquish the infernal invaders. Any attempt to escalate, prolong, or renew this conflict, or any state action which evades the terms of this concordat, will be viewed as a violation of the Canonist faith in itself, which commands harmony among these Sons of Horen that they may destroy the servants of Iblees. TITLE III - PLENARY ABSOLUTION Dearly beloved, it is our divine duty to assure harmony among the Sons of Horen, that we may be priests to the nations and an exemplar for the Sons of Malin, Urguan, and Krug. Because this is so, we grant immediate and plenary absolution of sins committed in the Oren-Sutica war, and no stain of infamy will mark the former combatants or belligerents. Accordingly, the Church of the Canon puts the matter to rest in its entirety and for all ages: we forbid that any further conflict resumes on the pretexts of this war. TITLE IV - CRUSADE AGAINST THE INFERI Dearly beloved, there is no war so commendable, so assuredly virtuous, as war upon demons. Because this is so, we extend further plenary absolution of sins to all who commit their forces to the holy war on the Inferi. Every demon vanquished is a thousand lives saved, and by this, we are purified before God. TITLE V - SIGNATORIES HIS HOLINESS, James II, By the Grace of God High Pontiff of the Church of the Canon, Archbishop of Visigia, Successor of the High Priesthood of the Church, Supreme Pontiff of the Church of True Faith, Keeper of the Canon, Missionary to Aeldin, High Servant to the Exalted's Testaments, Humble Servant of the Faithful and Vicar of GOD HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY, Peter III, By the Grace of God Holy Orenian Emperor, forever August, Defender of the Faith, King of Renatus, Curon, Kaedrin, Salvus, and Seventis, Prince of Malinor, Grand Duke of Ves, Duke of Lorraine and Roden, Baron of Sedan, Vitzburg, and Sedai, Protector of the Heartlanders, Highlanders, and Farfolk, etcetera. HIS ROYAL MAJESTY, Corwin of the House of Alstreim, By the Grace of God King of Sutica and in Atheran Salvus, Triumvir of the State, Sovereign Lord of the Whispering Isles, Lord of Alstreim and Blackwater, Renatian Knight of Alstreim and Waldenia, Blood-Raven of Lorraine, Pilgrim to Aesterwald
  9. VIROS

    HOUSE HOREN

    “Peter III was crowned by the Church of the Canon, and we alone determine the rightful Emperor,” comments James II to his court. “Every human is the blood of Ex. Horen; nearly every noble is a relative of Ex. Godfrey. Do not worry yourself with these pretenders.” He then quotes the Gospel 7:2-10 “But it came that Reynard, Godfrey’s seneschal, envied the blessings of the Lord. Long had he held the crown of Renatus in waiting for the line of Horen, and now he hated that he had not taken it. So Reynard went to Godfrey’s servant, Zacarias, and spoke ‘See, Godfrey has stolen your kingdom. You are the blood of our last king, who took the throne in Daniel’s departing, and who is Godfrey to steal it? Who can know his lineage and his claim?’ But Zacarias was loyal and he said ‘You have forgotten the blessings of the Lord, who by Eshtael brought Godfrey to us. He is a pure son of Horen, as are you and I, and that is lineage enough; God gave him over to us as our king, and that is claim enough.’ And Zacarias told Godfrey of Reynard’s treason, and Reynard was banished from that land.
  10. Epistle to the Imperial Throne 18th of Sun’s Smile, 1778 Your Imperial Majesty Peter III, Holy Orenian Emperor, @ARCHITECUS In 25 years of my reign, I have never known you to command me; nor I, you. Though I am loath to break that cordiality, circumstances demand it. The world is at stake, and for reasons beyond me, you have not reacted accordingly. I fear that hatred has blinded you, for I see no other likely motive to your choices. The Church maintained our neutrality when you proclaimed your war against Sutica. When pagans and heretics formed their coalition, we then aligned with the Empire, defending the homeland of humanity. Now, less than a year later, circumstances have changed beyond recognition. The Church is reorienting itself appropriately, and I have ordered that our Palatine Guard proceed to the front in Korvassa immediately. Yet you have continued to wage war on Sutica, despite all else. Your Imperial Majesty, you are prosecuting a war of vengeance on Corwin von Alstreim in the midst of an infernal invasion. We have received countless reports of a demonic siege camp in Korvassa; we have witnessed the sun eclipsed by Ibleesian magic in Helena. The world is bleeding, calling out to Oren to defend her, and yet you persist haughty and hardhearted, with eyes only for victory in Sutica. Each day this war is allowed to continue, another thousand souls perish in the gaping jaws of the Inferi. Does the fear of loss weigh so heavily that you would forsake the world before suspending your rancor for Corwin von Alstreim? If this is your idea of victory, I dread defeat, in this contest where the sacrifices seem to exceed the prizes. The Church cannot stand idly by as the world is driven to the slaughter--not for an Emperor, nor indeed any man. God charged me with the same duty as you: to guard all men against the wickedness of Iblees. As your spiritual brother, if you fail in your duty, it is my obligation to admonish you. If you fail to see the errors of your ways, it is my duty to correct you by all means available to me. Accordingly, Peter III, Holy Orenian Emperor, in my station as High Pontiff and Vicar of God, I command that you end the conflict in Sutica immediately, allowing your army to focus on the pressing matter of the infernal invasion. If you refuse, this will be apostasy of the highest order, the penalty for which is excommunication. I will pray that you reconsider this folly, for the sake of humanity and the world, High Pontiff James II
  11. James II weeps for the noble Father Jago, who served his people until the end.
  12. Your Imperial Highness, I am glad to be of comfort, but I confess that your response causes me concern. I must admonish you that all men are capable of sin, and we are at no greater risk of this than when we believe we are beyond it. Men like you and I, in positions of great power, must remember the example of Ex. Godfrey. Though our prophet waged war virtuously and never lost his faith, he still sinned grievously against God through his pride. So we do trust that God will judge us fairly--but a fair judgement may mean damnation, if we have chosen sin. Only God is absolute, and as sinners we are cursed to fall short of him in doubt, in arrogance, and in every kind of iniquity the Holy Scrolls warn us against. Nevertheless, I am assured of your righteousness and devotion. I caution you against becoming enamored of your own faith in God, and thus allowing it to be perverted into pride in yourself. For the faithless, Iblees seeks to draw them into atheistic amorality. For the faithful, his task is harder, but not impossible: He instead seeks to make what is unholy appear holy, as he did with Saul, Malin, and Urguan. While we may trust God’s judgement, our own decisions must always be examined for the trickery of the Void. But you have good moral sense, and I have confidence you will always seek the Lord’s counsel. Remember that there is always hope, no matter how grievously we fail. God forgave Ex. Godfrey and all the prophets; in the time to come, he will redeem Malin, Urguan, and even Krug. I weep for the girl that perished in your attempt to save her, and I weep that this trial has been thrust upon you. Were that you were a boy again, safe in the walls of Helena, far from the difficult choices you must make. Were that all children had the safety of young princes. But know that the Lord tells us our trials will strengthen us. Though it may be little comfort, the poor girl has entered the Skies and rests safely in the bosom of God. He promises us refuge in all times and all places. Your latter question, whether you are guilty of your commander’s negligence, is as difficult as you say. I will offer what counsel I can, though I beg your forgiveness if it is inadequate. The Canticles command us both to fidelity, which is obedience to our station, and to patience, which is the charitable love of all people. I’m sure it is apparent to you how difficult these commandments are to reconcile. How much fealty do we owe to a wicked superior? How much fealty do we owe to a pious fool? The answer is found in the Gospel. When Ex. Owyn served in the court of Harren, he was witness to blasphemies and atrocities we cannot imagine. Yet he served patiently as the Lord commanded, raising objection when he could, until such a time he outraged the people of that kingdom and they spoke against him. At this time, he rejected Harren entirely and indeed commanded him to release his slaves. Thus according to Scripture, we are told to serve our superiors, but we must resist sinful commands when it is necessary to instruct them in Virtue. Ultimately, we are accountable for our sins, not those of others. The Lord judges our intentions, and if we truly sought to model the virtue of fidelity, rather than carelessly tossing aside our obligations, we can be forgiven. But we are not mere tools in the hands of others: each of us makes the decision to obey or to disobey. In the future I admonish you to examine your obedience more carefully--do you obey because it is easier, or because you believe you must model fidelity? As you have confessed your sin and made penance through her burial and your prayer, I so absolve you. I suggest that you tell Captain DeNurem to seek the same penance. I am proud of the man you have become. I will leave you with a passage from the Canticle of Patience. “And as I have created for you the struggles of the world, so too do I create the struggles of the spirit. And as I have created the struggles of the world and the spirit, so too do I bring their remedies. For I have given you the pains of the world, and I have given you their cure. And you shall know the trials of this theater of virtue, and know that they shall strengthen you.” (Virtue 5:5-8) Your Eternal Friend, James II
  13. FIFTEENTH GOLDEN BULL OF HELENA The 13th of Sigismund’s End, 1777 HIS HOLINESS JAMES II, High Pontiff of the Church of the Canon, Archbishop of Visigia, Successor of the High Priesthood of the Church, Supreme Pontiff of the Church of True Faith, Keeper of the Canon, Missionary to Aeldin, High Servant to the Exalted's Testaments, Humble Servant of the Faithful and Vicar of GOD does decree… TABLE OF CONTENTS SECTION I - EXHORTATION: HOSTI HUMANI GENERIS SECTION II - DIOCESAN RECONSTRUCTION SECTION III - CURIA APPOINTMENTS SECTION IV - SYNOD APPOINTMENTS SECTION V - PONTIFICAL LEGATES SECTION VI - SUSPENSION OF GENERAL ANATHEMA SECTION VII - PLENARY INDULGENCE SECTION VIII - THE PALATINE ORDER OF ALL-SAINTS SECTION I - EXHORTATION: HOSTI HUMANI GENERIS “THE ENEMY OF MANKIND” Dearly beloved, Iblees is the enemy of mankind. As he spoke to God “I shall devise of no virtue until I am your equal” (Gospel 1:23). Because this is so, we are called to frustrate him at every juncture. Whatever is the devil’s cause is the ruination of our people; whatever is the devil’s ruination is our cause. And once again, the descendants of the Four Brothers are threatened by heretofore unseen servants of Iblees. These beasts are called Inferi, standing 30-feet high and feasting on the flesh of sapients, have made their camp in the southern desert of Korvassa. Thus, acting on the advice of Friar Boniface and Wilhelm Cardinal Avalain, we call a general holy war against the demonic incursion. The faithful are commanded to frustrate these servants of Iblees by whatever means are available to them. DEO GRATIAS, High Pontiff James II SECTION II - DIOCESAN RECONSTRUCTION We, the High Pontificate, do affirm the following dioceses and reappoint their shepherds accordingly: THE METROPOLITANATE OF HELENA - Encompassing the City of Helena and surrounding countryside, stretching from Lake Ari to the northwestern forests of Westmarch, and south towards the Urguanian Mountains. To be administered by His Eminence, Arthur Cardinal Helena (Neon123) with the assistance of The Reverend Vicar of Ves, Father Manfried (_GoldWolf_). THE ARCHDIOCESE OF JORENUS - Encompassing the dioceses of Kovacs, Northmarch, and Petrovic. To be administered by His Eminence, Alfred Cardinal Jorenus (Froschli). THE DIOCESE OF KOVACS - Encompassing the city of Johnstown and its surrounding countryside. To be administered by His Grace, Bishop Isidore of Kovacs (Totalitarianism_). THE DIOCESE OF PETROVIC - Encompassing the city of Reza and its surrounding countryside, stretching from central River Rubern to glacial Nenzing. To be administered by His Grace, Bishop Alfred of Petrovic (Froschli). THE ARCHDIOCESE OF ALBAROSA - Encompassing the entire Commonwealth of Kaedrin and the dioceses of Avalain and Ves. To be administered by His Eminence, His Eminence Erasmus Cardinal Albarosa (BigMacMoMo). THE DIOCESE OF AVALAIN - Encompassing the snowy northeastern regions of former Curonia, and the pine forests north of Mont St. Catherine, as well as the region of Suffolk. To be administered by His Eminence, Wilhelm Cardinal Avalain (Porkgasm). THE DIOCESE OF VES - Encompassing the village of Brandybrook, the City of Owynsburg and surrounding countryside, stretching from the northern tip of Mont St. Catherine to the eastern half of the River Rubern. To be administered by His Grace Bishop Bram (PuritanPope) with the assistance of The Prelate of Ves, Father Seraphim (Chrysorrhoas) and The Reverend Vicar of Ves, Father Lajos (CrowndLime747). THE PRELACY OF SUTICA - Encompassing the lands of the Free State of Sutica. To be administered by His Eminence, Vice-Chancellor Amadeus D’Aryn as Prelate of Sutica (Caranthir). THE TERRITORIAL ABBACY OF ST. EVERARD OF AL’KHAZAR - Encompassing the city of Vuillermoz, to be administered by His Eminence, Wilhelm Cardinal Avalain (Porkgasm). SECTION III - CURIA APPOINTMENTS We, the High Pontificate, do receive and affirm the following members to the Curia: VICE-CHANCELLOR - HIS EMINENCE, Amadeus Cardinal Sutica AUDITOR OF THE TRIBUNAL – HIS EMINENCE, Wilhelm Cardinal Avalain PRELATE OF THE PRIESTHOOD – HIS EMINENCE, Arthur Cardinal Helena PONTIFICAL CHAMBERLAIN - HIS EMINENCE, Jasper Cardinal Renzfeld SECRETARIAT OF HIS HOLINESS - HIS EMINENCE, Alfred Cardinal Jorenus REGENT OF THE HOLY PALATINATE - THE REVEREND MONSIGNOR, Johan Lay-Cardinal Aquila MONSIGNOR - THE REVEREND MONSIGNOR, Everard Sheffield MONSIGNOR - THE REVEREND MONSIGNOR, Lajos Sándor Károly MONSIGNOR - THE REVEREND MONSIGNOR, John Everard Pruvia MONSIGNOR - THE REVEREND MONSIGNOR, Simon Basrid SECTION IV - SYNOD APPOINTMENTS We, the High Pontificate, receive and affirm the following members to the Holy Synod: HIS EMINENCE, ALFRED CARDINAL JORENUS HIS EMINENCE, AMADEUS CARDINAL SUTICA HIS EMINENCE, ARTHUR CARDINAL HELENA HIS EMINENCE, ERASMUS CARDINAL VES HIS EMINENCE, JASPER CARDINAL RENZFELD HIS EMINENCE, JOHAN LAY-CARDINAL AQUILA HIS EMINENCE, WILHELM CARDINAL AVALAIN SECTION V - PONTIFICAL LEGATES We, the High Pontificate, on the recommendation of Vice-Chancellor Amaedeus Cardinal Sutica, do receive and affirm the following appointments to the office of pontifical legate to the following courts: PONTIFICAL LEGATE TO THE FREE STATE OF SUTICA - Vice-Chancellor Amadeus Cardinal Sutica PONTIFICAL LEGATE TO THE HOLY PALATINATE - Wilhelm Cardinal Avalain PONTIFICAL LEGATE TO THE IMPERIAL COURT - Arthur Cardinal Helena PONTIFICAL LEGATE TO THE ROYAL COURT OF HANSETI-RUSKA - Alfred Cardinal Jorenus PONTIFICAL LEGATE TO THE ROYAL COURT OF KAEDRIN - Erasmus Cardinal Albarosa SECTION VI - SUSPENSION OF GENERAL ANATHEMA Dearly beloved, Daemons who forsake God for Iblees are beyond redemption, having sacrificed their conscience and free will. Because this is so, it is always commendable and holy to slay such a servant of Iblees. Accordingly, we suspend the general anathema against apostate nations until such a time that the demonic incursion is defeated. Canonists are commanded to model God’s mercy in their treatment of apostates, working alongside them to defeat the Inferi. As usual, Canonists are under no spiritual obligation to obey the rule of apostates per se, but they are bound nevertheless to aid them in their struggle against the servants of Iblees. SECTION VII - PLENARY INDULGENCE Dearly beloved, to slay a demon is to serve God. Because this is so, we grant complete and plenary indulgence of venial sins to whomever successfully slays an Inferi. Furthermore, we grant complete and plenary indulgence of venial sins to whomever should provide vital aid to those affected by the incursion, including medical attention, food, or shelter. SECTION VIII - THE PALATINE ORDER OF ALL-SAINTS Dearly beloved, the Palatine Guard are the defenders of the Church and the faithful. Because this is so, in times of strife and danger, we are called to swell the ranks of the Palatine Order of All-Saints, providing them with all means necessary to defend the faithful. Thus we call on Knight-Regent Johan Cardinal Aquila to consider for Holy Knighthood all candidates of appropriate age and aptitude. We further recommend that candidates for Holy Knighthood be granted that status immediately upon slaying an Inferi.
  14. Your Imperial Highness, Nothing strains our conscience more than war. Who can say, truly, whether each soldier on the battlefield deserves life or death? In every conflict, one side has the wrong of things; some causes are more just than others. Yet there are many who fight against their will. Others care not for who rules their homeland, but for their own kin who live there. Can we hold a servant accountable for the commands of his master? To consider this is commendable, and it is foremost in the virtuous exercise of war. But only GOD can judge a man’s intentions. We, with our feeble senses and finite minds, must act according to the path set before us; to have faith is to trust that GOD will not mislead you, that He will judge your heart before your body. Though the physical world tempts us, the decision to give in is the heart’s alone. You told me once that you wished to study magic. I cautioned you that such individuals walk the edge of a knife, with sin calling perilously below. I will warn you now that war is even more perilous. Though we are all tested, the choice between life and death is the most uncertain we can make. Nevertheless, some wickedness is so brazen that to question it is itself a lack of faith. Unlike men, demons have no hidden place of conscience, where we may worry that they regret or repent. To kill a demon is to be assured of righteousness. Having voluntarily accepted the touch of the Void, which is separation from GOD, they have set themselves apart from such moral considerations. They are sinners who have left their prison, and must be struck down or sent back. Unlike the servants of Iblees, however, the men of the Begrudged Alliance remain men. Who can say what moral quandaries they face, what hidden thoughts drive each one to battle? It is likely that many soldiers on both sides of this war will perish, only to meet as friends in the Seven Skies. So we envy those who reside in that timeless place, who are free of misinformation, of filial obligation, of the gulf between GOD and man. Free of flesh and judged by their heart alone, they are eternal and unambiguous. Thus I do not doubt there are men in Sutica who truly believe their king is innocent, who fight to repel an Empire they were taught to reject. We may trust that God will see their desire for justice, rather than the accidents of history which condemned them to battle. The Canticle of Faith says that we must not judge our own virtue, be it great or small. This is the first commandment GOD gave to man. Once we believe we are assured of our place in the Skies--or even in the Void--we are already lost, for we have lost faith in GOD’s judgement. It is this uncertainty which gives weight to our morality. So take heart when you doubt yourself, for it is an opportunity to trust in GOD. We cannot regret a decision we have yet to make--a sin cannot be forgiven before it is committed. If the Lord calls you away from the battlefront and into the hinterlands, go into His arms joyously, for to fight demons is assuredly virtuous. But if your heart weeps for your brethren who fight in the war, go to them and defend them as well. God does not keep a tally of good and evil: he who never sins is equal in virtue to he who sins and is forgiven. I will leave you with a verse from the Proverbs of Godfrey. “The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings, his heart is ready to hope in the Lord: His heart is ready, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established, he shall not be afraid until he see his desire upon his enemies.” (Proverbs 3:12-13) Your Humble Servant, James II
  15. Name of Man: Koru Toshimoto Date of Birth of Man: 1758 Name of Woman: Aisling Galbraith Date of Birth of Woman: 1758 Location of Ceremony: Basilica of the Final Revelation Date of Ceremony (Year): 1776 Name of Clergyman who performed ceremony: James II
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