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A Mother's Wrath


Sarah Tintagyl
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The light clapping of footsteps echoed through St. Peter's Basilica as a priest in black robes and a wide brimmed hat walked across the hallowed halls of the church. He passed other priests, nuns, and men of higher rank and smiled as he did so, bowing his head and offering a friendly hand to those who returned the greeting. The priest moved towards the Sistine Chapel in friendly reverence and stood near the back, looking out at the altar and the quiet Mass that was taking place in front of him. He couldn't understand how Christianity had fallen to where it had, once one of the greatest religions of the world was now little more than a footnote in Europe and was diligently persecuted in the rest of the world. How had the Old Ways come back with such force? How could the world be subject to this kind of change? Liberalism? The priest shook his head, no, it couldn't be, Europe and the rest of the world could barely be considered Liberal. Charismatic Fascism and Communism? That seemed more likely. Leaders had risen themselves above the uneducated and had become like gods in the peoples eyes. The Cult of Personality at it's finest and this had left no room for the true message of the Christ, only terrible heresies in light of the Church's weakness. That was what the Church needed, strength, and that was why the priest had come. To give the Church strength.

"Father Mazzi, I was beginning to think that you wouldn't be showing up. It worried me as I was looking forward to this meeting." A man said quietly from across the aisle and pushed himself up from a pew. He wore a long red robe and his bald head sparkled brilliantly in the candle light.

Mazzi bowed low and pressed his lips to the Cardinal's hand and ring as he approached. The smell of incense permeated throughout the chapel making the meeting seem almost ordained by a higher power, the Higher Power. "I wouldn't miss this for the world, Your Eminence, your pamphlets against the non-believers in the north are truly captivating. I believe that many throughout Austria, Italy, and patches in Western Europe surely agree. Personally I wish if our efforts were able to be expanded."

The Cardinal chuckled and wrapped his hand around Mazzi's shoulders. "The rest of Europe will come with time my son. Italy, Spain, Portugal, France. But they are not threats at the moment. Germany has been a thorn in the side of the Church since the collapse of the Fascists years ago. It was the Church's mistake that we did not act when the time was right to once against Christianize the north. But we were weak then and the Germans have always clung to their old ways."

"They always will unless we can remove the current regime. We have Maximilian the Third to thank for Bavaria and Austria."

"These things come with time My Son. Our faith weathered the persecution of the Romans, I am sure we can weather the heresy of the Germans."

Mazzi nodded his head and turned back to the Mass for a moment. "So why have you called me Your Eminence? What can I do to serve the faith?"

Cardinal Lucchesi smiled and began to guide Mazzi out of the Chapel, out to the quietness of the courtyards of the Basilica. There out in the bright sunlight and amongst the sounds of singing birds and the conversations of priests and nuns, the two men talked. "You know of my office, The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith?"

The priest chuckled, "You mean the Inquisition, Your Eminence?"

"Precisely," he said as a bell rang in the background. "While Austria is engulfed in a civil war, we cannot let the weakness of the Hapsburgs to let the Church descend once again into oblivion. The Catholic League has shown that the world still wishes to embrace Christianity, but it is Europe that refuses. The English have only recently given up their own terrible heresies which no doubt have played significant roles into the amount of death experienced by their people. The Germans, however, have persisted to hold onto massive chunks of Europe all the while forcefully converting perhaps millions of Catholics to Paganism and Heretical Christianity. This must stop and German and the other Pagan States must eventually be brought to their knees."

"The resources to do this Your Eminence, would be astronomical. When this occurred in ancient times, the Church had the coffers of the Roman Empire itself."

"Our strength will also come with time." Lucchesi stopped near the center of the Basilica's courtyard and looked up at the statues outlining the church. "This will not be a quick war. This will not be the end of our troubles, but the Church must make it's presence known and that we are prepared to eradicate heresy in all forms. Beginning with these Teutonic Knights and the Templar Knights in North America. Our decision marks their end."

"And the force required to make such a move, Your Eminence?"

The Cardinal nodded and pulled a gold pocket watch out of his cloak. A cross was emblazoned on the front and inside the brilliant designs of Roman Numerals ran around a perfect set of clockwork. He handed it to Mazzi and folded his hand over the device. "The Inquisition will return and I am entrusting you, Giovanni Mazzi as Chief Inquisitor for the Liberation of Truth of these heretics. A shadow force of the Church will be raised and with this force we will regain the strength that has been taken away from us. You will report directly to me and no one else."

"Not even the Holy Father, Eminence."

"The Pope already knows about the Inquisition's creation, but he cannot be bothered with every detail of your progress as the world cannot, under any circumstance know that a war is being waged. But Christianity must be protected from these demons and that job is yours Father, to you and your officers."

"You have my thanks for such a position, Eminence. The Templars and the Teutons, correct?"

"All Non-Believers are enemies of Holy Mother Church, but we will focus on those two heresies first. With strength we overcame the Dragonite Heresy, with strength we will overcome these non-believers as well." Lucchesi took a step away from Mazzi and bowed. "But I have other business to attend to My Son. I expect a report of your progress at the end of the week."

"Of course Your Eminence, Peace Be Upon You."

"And Also Upon You."

With that the Cardinal disappeared amidst the crowds meandering through the basilica and Mazzi stared back up at the sun above the Church. It rose in the sky with such power and light that he was sure it was a good omen, the omen that Christianity, it's true form would return to the world and bring salvation to the divided states of Earth. After the blood of the unpure was split, Europe would once again be Christendom and a peace lasting one thousand years would endure.

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Jacques Perreault was tired of staring at a computer screen.

Getting up, the Quebecois Catholic straightened his tie and slipped through the door of his small office, down a few flights of stairs and out onto the street, enjoying the warm Mediterranean climate. When he'd been transferred to the Vatican he expected to be spending more time here, taking in the sights and basking in the Italian sunshine. Instead, he'd found himself doing even more mind-numbing work than he'd been doing in Montreal. Such was the life of a bureaucrat. Still, as Jacques watched the worshipers pouring out of Mass, it was easy enough to justify the work. Rome was still a beautiful place, even if he was cooped up in an office most of the day, and there were certainly far worse ways to serve the Lord. And besides, the world wouldn't come to an end if he left his computer for a walk in the streets every once in a while. Anyway, he needed some time to mentally compose himself for a conversation he would be having shortly.

It had only been several weeks ago that Quebec had achieved autonomy and become a sovereign nation, and in those past weeks his role in Rome had been changing radically. Before the formation of the Republique du Quebec, Jacques had just been another priest cum low-level bureaucrat facilitating the flow of information between Rome and some backwater diocese. When the new government of Quebec had settled in, though, they decided that they needed a representative in the Vatican, and as the senior official from the Quebec region, Jacques had been the obvious choice. He was still stuck in front of the same computer in the same small office, but these days the emails he was sending were of somewhat more importance.

Earlier that morning, Jacques had received a message from some decision maker in Les Chevaliers du Saint-Jean-Baptiste, the secretive, political paramilitary group under joint authority of the Catholic Church and the Quebec Government, informing him that they wanted to discuss the actions of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Jacques was aware that such an office existed, but what they actually did wasn't really known be anyone he'd spoken to since first seeing the office on a Vatican budget. There was a rumour around the Vatican that they were planning an assault on various heretic organizations, but Jacques had no way of knowing if that were true. Fiddling with the golden cross around his neck, Jacques tried to imagine a way to bring this up with...well, with whoever was responsible for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith without implying anything that would be insulting, or worse, blasphemous!

As he absent-mindedly walked through the courtyard, Jacques heard two Italian accents speaking, and one word jumped out at him. "War". Surreptitiously, Jacques slipped closer to the voices. Jacques had of course been raised not to eavesdrop, but you can't get very far in the Vatican without knowing when to listen and what to listen for, just as you had to know when to keep your eyes shut. The words that he heard, however, were definitely the kind of words you wanted to listen for.

"This will not be a quick war. This will not be the end of our troubles, but the Church must make it's presence known and that we are prepared to eradicate heresy in all forms. Beginning with these Teutonic Knights and the Templar Knights in North America. Our decision marks their end."

"And the force required to make such a move, Your Eminence?"

"The Inquisition will return and I am entrusting you, Giovanni Mazzi as Chief Inquisitor for the Liberation of Truth of these heretics. A shadow force of the Church will be raised and with this force we will regain the strength that has been taken away from us. You will report directly to me and no one else."

Jacques heart was beating the Hallelujah Chorus into his ribcage. As the words sunk in, he realized that this wasn't really anything that he opposed. The main speaker (a Cardinal? Probably. His voice carried the prestige of someone in high office.) was right. The Church needed to do something about the heresies abounding in the world today. And, based on what little knowledge Jacques had of Les Chevaliers, this was something they would be able to get behind as well. Still, it was shocking all the same. Finally, Jacques stole a glance at the bodies belonging to the two voices. Indeed, one of them was a Cardinal. As the two split off, Jacques trailed the Cardinal back to his office. Certainly this had been divine intervention, to bring him directly into the path of the man he had been told to find.

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The Templar Knights in the Fortress on Wales Island had been expecting something from the Church for years now, and it wasnt a surprise when the Church decided to send an Inquisitor to scope out them out as being heretics. It would seem the ignorant, bigotted stigma that King Phillip IV placed on their history had not been forgotten by the Catholic Church. The Church had also seemed to have forgotten the Chinon Parchment, the record of the trial of the Templars and shows that Clement absolved the Templars of all heresies in 1308. The Grandmaster of the Templars was Albert Wesker, wanted warcriminal, a man whom the world believed to be dead and so for the purpose of the Papal visit, his daughter, a well respected scientist, economist and soldier in the now exiled Malvinian civilisation and the forgotten French Colony of New Caen, would act as Grand Master. Her father and Barney would be staying well below the Fortress conducting experiments of varying degree's of downright weird.

The Knights on Wales Island were made to prepare their ceremonial uniforms. Whilst on the outside, to look at a modern Templar would feel like looking back eight hundred years. But under the white surcoat and signature red cross, lay a highly advanced full body armour suit. The swords and shields were for fully ceremonial purposes and remained locked up in the forts armouries until they were needed. Their helmets were a full head helmet with an intergrated respiration system,(ooc built in gasmask) and slung across their chests lay their rifles.

Alice was in the observation tower of the fort looking over the Island when she felt the cold metal fingers of Barneys hand brush against her shoulder as he greeted her.
"Alice whats bothering you kiddo? its the middle of the night and of all the places you could be where it isnt below freezing, your up here" he joked as he took a seat behind her.

"Oh Barney I dont know, the Teutonic Order in Europe rebirthing itself and all of a sudden the Church decides to send and Inquisitor to ensure we are not heretics. Theres going to be a war Barney and Im sick of fighting. My Dad wont reveal himself to be alive for anybody, not even God. I did my fighting at Goose Green Barney. Its Ashleys turn to fight but shes too wrapped up in her own training. Do you know what Dads told her to do?" she said back at Barney, her voice coarse and strained.

Barney was mentally cursing himself for even bothering. His leg was killing him and his arm was aching, and the electronic eye he used was giving him headaches.
"Yes, it was my idea Alice. We have to spread our influence to other continants. Our Australian office hasnt been heard from for years. Britain is a perfect place to establish a Templar mission."

"Bah, bunch of condesending wankers. What of the nerve of the Vatican? how dare they send an Inquisitor here? how the hell am I supposed to explain why they cannot enter the Fortress? Jesus Barney, the Cathederal isnt even finished yet."

"Alice, just do what your father asked you to do. Dont question it, dont whine about it, just do it. It will be better in the long run for all of us." he replied in a resigned voice before he turned and made his way back into the depths of the Fortress. "Get some sleep kiddo, its gonna be a long few weeks" he called up to her before he entered the elevator at the bottom of the stairwell.

Snow swirled around the towers windows as the wind toyed with the flakes before letting them settle on the sentries below.

"If it is Gods will, then so be it." she whispered to herself.

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Porto Cathedral
Porto, Athenian Controlled Portugal

There were advantages to an Athenian Mediterranean in that one didn't even need a passport to see some of the most beautiful regions of Antiquity and the Medieval World. Athens also held claim to perhaps one of the largest Catholic populations on the planet, in that people were allowed to openly express their religious views. Thus aside from Austria, the Iberian Peninsula would be the best recruiting ground of devout Christians for service in Cardinal Lucchesi's Congregation of Truth. Father Mazzi had left Rome right after his meeting with the Cardinal and had journeyed to Portugal. The Congregation already had a small number of operatives scattered about the Mediterranean World, but if it was going to become a force to oppose the Teutonic Order, the Templars, and other Heresies, that number would have to grow and strengthen. Organization was key and Mazzi had a plethora of ideas on how to institute this new Inquisition on the Pagan and Heretical Majority of Europe.

Far underneath Porto Cathedral, adjacent to the cells of the catacombs, Mazzi and two other priests, Father Esdras Árias Marrero and Father Valentín Leyva Polanco sat across from him looking over a map of Europe with red circles drawn across many of the northern regions. Both Marrero and Polanco were Papal Inquisitors and underneath their calm gazes and smiles, both had a deeply sinister side. Marrero was one of the most avowed exorcists in Athenian Portugal, his services had even been banned by the government due to the vivid and horrific yelling and convulsing a Pagan or Christian might go through in being exorcised. That said, Marrero had one of the largest followings and could attest to converting nearly twenty thousand Pagans from the Portuguese and Spanish regions. His eyes were dark and the red scar on his cheek from when a demoniac had attacked him drew in the dim candle light. Polanco was softer, with a spotted bald head and thin wire glasses, his sentences were short and staccato, but as one of Lucchesi's most trusted aides, his fervor for the elimination of heresy and paganism knew no bounds. For Polanco, this was a life or death struggle and one that the Church had either win or crumble to dust.

"It won't be all that difficult to move people into at least the Germanic Union, Father Mazzi." Polanco began, running his hands over the map. "The benefit of this tri-European Hegemony is that friendly government borders tend to be lax. Given that a great deal of our operatives are Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, there should not be a problem. The problem will come from actually engaging and eradicating the Teutons after their positions are discovered."

"What is the percentage of Germanics following the Teuton Heresy?" Asked Mazzi.

"No more than three percent of the total population and I am sure that their order of knights is much smaller than that total percentage." Marrero groaned and leaned back on his wooden chair. "Once the command structure is severed, the heresy will die and the fools will run back to their gods." He sighed, "Sometimes I wonder if perhaps the Teuton Heresy should be allowed, at least they're worshiping a form of Christ."

"Yes, Brother Marrero," Polanco spat, "A Christ that draws parallels to Martens himself. It's disgusting nationalism. Everyone in that country is brainwashed with nationalism. The Teutons are no different. Could you imagine if they gained followers?" His tone began to rise. "Think if such a thing would catch on. Martens as the Christ. They're just as bad as the Dragonists. Dragonists and Teutons are one in the same. They need to be destroyed."

Mazzi placed his hands in the air and smiled to both priests. "Brothers, please. Let's save our anger for the Pagans. At the moment our efforts will focus on Eastern France, the Germanic Union, the Confederation of American States and of course the Templar Enclave in North America." The priest paused for a moment. "Though they haven't been very loud have they?"

"I wouldn't want to waste my time with them personally Brother Giovanni," said Polanco. "They're fanatics of the worst kind and murderous too."

"Aren't we all Brother?" Marrero chuckled.

"Not like this. Their leaders are hunted by most of the world any move against the Templars or along side them would have to be strictly monitored."

"Then a representative can be sent, they can do our dirty work on the North American continent, away from possibly screwing things up in Europe. It would be a good test of Papal Loyalty. Do you both agree?" Marrero and Polanco nodded in agreement with Mazzi's words. "Well then," the priest said folding his hands. "All that we need to is finish creating our roster of the faithful who will be infiltrating these countries. Along with building up our ranks. I understand that this organization has existed for some time before The Cardinal placed me in charge."

Marrero smiled and pushed himself up from the table. "There is an abbey not too far from the cathedral, brother, out in the Portuguese countryside where the facilities exist. I think you'll be quite surprised what young, faithful men and women can be turned into with some of the right tools. Assassins, engineers, scientists, soldiers, from all walks of life. These faithful are the vanguard and the first line of defense from the dangers of Paganism, Heresy, and Ignorance. If you would follow me," Marrero said as he approached the doors exiting the catacombs asking Mazzi to follow him. Mazzi did so, but after Marrero had disappeared just beyond the cusp of the door, Polanco rose up from the table and took off his glasses holding them nervously in his hands.

"Brother, if I may speak."

Mazzi turned and smiled, nodding his head. "Of course Polanco, what is it?"

Polanco sighed and rested his glasses back on his nose. "I didn't want to speak about this while Brother Marrero was still in the room, he is an exorcist and believes in the demonic but cannot grasp the other powers that Christ has placed on the Earth."

"What are you talking about Brother?" Said the priest.

"You know of such artifacts as the Holy Grail for instance?"

"I know that they are mythic and most likely do not exist, yes Brother, I know of them." Mazzi said watching the fervor die from Polanco's face. "But what of them?"

"I've done what research I can on the Germanic leadership, dating back decades. The rants and ravings of the Procintians may have credit here as well. But I believe that the Germanic's unnatural love of this Martens is tied directly with his unnaturally long life. He is after all mentioned in memoirs of leaders long dead years ago and still manages to pop up today. Not only in mad rants, but in private memoirs. The memoirs of Claire Delacour for instance states that he was the one who killed Therese Zelle outside of Lille. That was ten years ago, it would put his age in the hundreds. Alchemy or some kind of Demonic Force is at play here. To soundly end this plague of demoniacs and heretics, we will need something a bit more powerful."

Mazzi tapped Polanco on the shoulder and looked back at the open door. "Brother, I do not doubt your faith, but I am a man of the modern era. Ghost stories about vampires and demons do not exist to me. Nor do such artifacts of Christ hold any power. We are told to shun idolatry in any form. Such things are idolatry."

"Ah yes, of course, Brother, my apologies, I do not mean to speak out of line."

The Inquisitor nodded. "It isn't a problem. But we must focus on what can be done, not what exists in the realms we cannot understand."

Polanco nodded and then watched as Mazzi went along with Marreno. He stayed for a moment in the catacombs staring back at the map on the table and then taking out the faded paper in his robes. The alchemical symbols that coincided with the Christian Grimore sparkled in their gold ink, tracing a path through Europe towards the lands of the East. Somewhere, somewhere out in the wilderness the Spear of Destiny, the very weapon that pierced the side of The Christ sat, waiting for the faithful to retrieve it and use it's great power against the enemies of the Church. He would be traveling to the same monastery as Mazzi and Marreno, albeit later, to talk to his niece, a nun at the convent and the dire need that existed to make sure that the Spear would fall into the hands of the Church.

---

Meanwhile Cardinal Lucchesi would allow Perreault into his office to discuss for what reason the man had requested an audience and on the other side of the world, the Inquisitorial Representative would arrive on Wales Island to discuss with the Templars the changes of the Church and of Christianity in the world itself. He had various demands to hand to the Templars and anxiously awaited the audience.

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[i]The Temple of Mary Magdalene, Wales Island[/i]

Alice wore her Grandmasters Robes, the hood drawn about her face as she knelt at the altar in the shrine of Mary. The tomb infront of her lay the bones of a woman who died millenia ago, or so the Templar librarians taught anyway. Wether it was true or not remained a different story but that wasnt the point. It was a most ancient relic smuggled to England in the 1300's from France. During the days of the English Inquisition Templar agents smuggled it to the Fortress in North America where it was then eventually placed in New Caens when the French Empire collapsed.

"Amen" she murmoured before standing up and making her way downstairs to the Temples catacombs and archives. Carefully stepping down the stone corridors before she reached her fathers office. It was bare for a word. On one wall hung the Great Sword of Saint George, a relic that vanished from England during one of the final purges sanctioned by the Inquisition. Her fathers Templar Armour and robes had been removed and placed into a sealed cabinate in the fortress, her own fashioned armour replaced it. A large Guido Reni painting of Saint Michael hung on one wall and a crucefix on the other. A large oak desk rested towards the rear of the room, a large wingtipped chair with intricate carvings tucked neatly under it. "but something that looked remarkably like the Ark of the Covenant lay in a six inch thick glass case reflected the light and seemed to fill the room with a gentle, flowing gold colour. If it was the real Ark or not would always remain a mystery to those outside the Grandmasters office. Her desk was pretty empty, pens and paper all neatly kept in drawers, although an old wooden cup sat on the end of the table in yet another glass case. It looked very out of place.

Alice seated herself in the chair after walking around the room slowly, tracing her fingers along the various trophies and treasures the Templars kept safe from prying eyes and heretics. It was perhaps thirty seconds before there was a knock at the door.

"Come in!" shoutedd Alice as she rummaged through the drawers of the table.

The door opened and a Knight stepped into the doorway, his huge frame blocking a view to whatever or whoever was behind him.

"Ma'am, a representative from the Vatican is here to see you" he said, the sound muffled ever so slightly through the full face mask that was built into his helmet.

"Let them in, close the door behind you and let nobody enter this room once the door is shut, do you understand brother knight?"

"Yes Ma'am" came the reply.

The Knight briefly entered the room and snapped to attention to allow the Inquisitor space to enter and sit down before he marched back out of the room and closed the door behind him. A faint clicking sound was heard as the door was locked.

Alice looked up towards the guest before she stood and bowed before sitting again.
"Take a seat Inquisitor, the Vatican has offended the Templars enough without sending their Inquisitors. What heresey does his Holiness believe us to be undertaking now? One more thing before you speak, the Chinon Parchment absolved the Knights Templar of the past hereseys laid against our Order by the King of France in 1308. Now, what can I do for you?"

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