Knights of the Temple

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Contents

Information

Templar Mon.gif
Foundation: 1767-date
Capital:

  • Kherson in Polovotsy 1770 - date
  • Corunna in Galacia 1767 - 1770

Religion: Roman Catholic

By Martin Helsdon

Description

The eastern Knights of the Temple were formed from the Cruzadero Kingdom of Spain which resulted from the rebellion of Shawnee armies sent to Spain to combat the ubiquitous presence of the Golden Dawn. Sources within the Norskvarden believe that the mutiny was initiated by an enemy of both Spain and the Golden Dawn, apparently using the Jesuits as a front.

The History:

Still to be written.

NewsFax Entries

1761–1762 T216
Spain: The northern port of Bilbao became tremendously busy as two Shawnee fleets arrived and unloaded a large and battle-tested army (so recently come from Poland) to taste the local wine, women, song and olives. They avoided the bread, though Lord Chesmu had fallen ill on the passage from the Baltic and died soon after they reached the sunny Spanish port.

1763–1764 T217
Bilbao, Northern Spain: The little cantina was dark, even though it was not yet evening. There were only a few small windows to allow light in and those were so dirty that sunlight struggled to break through. A low open fire at one end of the room cast a certain dingy light but it didn’t illuminate, so much as it outlined the gloom. But that was just how the bar’s clientele liked it. Nobody drank here anymore except the Shawnee. Almost nobody.

In the corner farthest from the fire, a figure sat alone at a table. He was wrapped tight in a black cloak even though the room was warm. A wide hat kept his face wreathed in shadow. All his attention seemed to be given to a small plate of cheese and bread, and a bottle of wine, that lay on the table in front of him. The few drinkers in the room avoided this strange individual. Even the fiercest Shawnee warriors had figured that he was bad news.

Time passed and two more Shawnee entered the bar. They wore very plain clothes and no jewelry, but the knives tucked into their belts were ornate and suggested wealth and rank. They walked slowly and indirectly over to the table where the shadowy figure was seated.

The two newcomers looked uncomfortable in the extreme. The Jesuit smiled to himself and wondered whether these great nobles were more troubled by the clandestine nature of the meeting or by the filth of this low dive. Pushing back his priestly hat, the shadowy man spoke, a strange accent tingeing his words, “You’re here at last, so sit. The barman will see that we are not bothered. Have some wine. It’s a rioja. Quite good, really.”

“It is good to see you again, Padre Leon,” said one Shawnee as he sat, speaking quietly and warmly, a shade of relief in his cultured tones. “I have been worried for you, in case the agents of the Enemy had claimed you.”

“Actually, I feared the same thing for you, Isaiah” the Jesuit replied. “You had been so late that I thought perhaps something unfortunate had happened…”

“Nothing happened. It was just hard to get here. We had to take care to avoid… unwanted attentions.” The second Shawnee spoke tersely. Worry seemed to radiate from him, to the amusement of the priest.

“If we were seen, I think we would face death,” Isaiah, the first Shawnee, explained.

“Ah, what dark times, my sons,” the priest lamented, stretching his arms out expressively and smiling “Dark, dark times when a Shawnee could face death merely for meeting with an agent of the Church.”

The second Shawnee cast an unpleasant look at the Jesuit. “You must be making a joke, Father. We are not here to receive a sacrament from the Church. We came here to talk treason.”

Father Leon smiled again, infuriatingly, and refilled his wine glass. He drank and went on. “Treason to evil men can be loyalty to God, Lord Jerome. And be assured that the men you will destroy are evil… Evil beyond your ability to measure.”

“Truly, the cultists are evil and they must be destroyed. For the good of Spain, for the good of Christianity,” Isaiah said in agreement. He picked up a piece of cheese from Leon’s plate and began nibbling at it. “They are godless men who would destroy the resting place of St. James himself!”

“I understand that, General,” the second Shawnee, Jerome, said to Isaiah. “I just don’t understand how overthrowing the government of Spain is going to help defeat these cultic vermin.”

“Because they are one and the same, Lord Jerome” the priest pronounced simply, and sipped his wine.

“Perhaps. Or perhaps not,” came the reply. “I do not know if what you say is true. In fact, Padre, I do not even know who you are. The only reason I am present in this room is because the General vouched for you. He asked me to give you a hearing and I owe him enough to grant that favor. Otherwise I would never have come here and would never talk to you.”

“You want to know who I am?” Leon asked without the least trace of unpleasantness in his voice. “I am a simple man – a soldier in the Army of God – and I have been sent here, at the orders of my superiors, to organize this thing. My name is Leon San Sebastian. I derive my name from the town of my birth. I would give you the name of my family, the name I was born with, but I am a Basque and people not of my race will have trouble pronouncing our language.”

Leon waited for Jerome to say something in return. When no reply came, he continued. “Why should you listen to me? I can only say that the Society and the Church have access to certain sources of information that are not available to others. It is our duty to find out the secrets of the Dark Forces who are ranged against us, and we fulfill our duty admirably.”

While Isaiah nodded his agreement, the priest produced a thick leather portfolio from a black satchel that lay hidden by his feet. The front of the folder was embossed in gold with the seal of the Jesuit Society. He pushed it across the table to the two Shawnee.

“This contains most of the salient intelligence that we have gathered during more than a decade of investigations in Spain. You can read it later, once you leave here, and use it to persuade your brothers to join our enterprise. In brief, I shall tell you what we have discovered…” He paused to drain his wine glass before going on.

Golden Dawn and other groups have been active in Spain for some time, but that is hardly a secret. You know about the recent unpleasantness as the cultists try to seize power in Spain – the riots, the purges, the plagues…” The priest smiled ambiguously. “It has all been a ruse. Golden Dawn has been in control of Spain for more years than anyone can really know. The whole Spanish Republic was just a creation of Golden Dawn. Before that… Who knows? I personally think that the cultists have controlled this country for forty or fifty years.”

“I am sorry, Padre, but this is hardly secret. Everyone knows that Dawn has been trying to take over Spain,” Jerome waved his hands in a vaguely dismissive motion.

“Listen to my words, Lord Jerome,” the priest replied sharply. “They are not trying to take over Spain. They have taken it over. The Duke of Parma is an agent of the Dawn. Largo, before that, was another cultist. The whole state, from top-to-bottom, is run by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The so-called ‘Cane family’ is no more than a phantasm, an invention to draw people’s attention away from the true seat of Golden Dawn’s power – Dawn is Spain.”

Leon sat back in his chair and spoke sadly. “We have discovered many of their secrets. They seek to harness the power of modern technology to create a new kind of world. They say they will set the masses free from the lies of religion and the tyranny of priests. They will ‘illuminate’ the world for a thousand years with their perverted science and their satanic arts… They say it will be a ‘Golden Dawn’ for the human race.” A sad smile played around the edges of Leon’s mouth. “Did you ever wonder where they got the name? Now you know. And the first people to receive the ‘benefits’ of Golden Dawn’s brave new world are the Spaniards.”

“Then our duty is clear,” declared Isaiah. “I and my legion will not stand idly by while our Catholic brothers are stripped from the Light of God’s Grace and cast into the darkness. We will crush the cultists!”

Jerome half-nodded but his face suggested he was unconvinced. The Padre went on pensively. “It is the curse of the Society that we must move in the dark, act in the dark. Little of our work is ever seen. When we first uncovered this intelligence, we approached the cultists and tried to bring them into the light. We told them about the truth of Jesus Christ and offered, in return for some small financial consideration, to ease their position in the world. The Golden Dawn would have been allowed to rule Spain but as Catholics. In short, I we tried to convert them… But they did not want to know God. They worshipped only science. They love only power. They spurned us, refused to pay the Society even a single coin in return for our protection.”

“And the merchants?” asked Jerome.

Isaiah answered, speaking with the firmest of convictions. “They cannot be trusted. The greed of traders is such that they can never be trusted. They would sell their own children for sacrifice if it would bring them a profit. They probably do…”

“The Society does not know very much about the merchants,” the priest said slowly, “other than that their money has propped up the cult for many years now.

“They could be cultists themselves. They could just be blinded by the profits their satanic allies bring them. They could even be innocent dupes. We have not been able to find out anything certain about Norsktrad, but we know that their current leader – Bond, he is called – is venal and corrupt beyond anything that we have seen before. He lusts after women and has sordid and perverted tastes. It is therefore my suspicion, even though I cannot prove it, that his lascivious and sinful heart has been seduced by the darkness.”

“Then Norsktrad shall become my enemy.” Isaiah fingered the rich hilt of his knife. “Your suspicion is enough for me, Padre.”

“Why not discuss this with the Empress?” Jerome asked. “She will help the Church. She is pious.”

Leon laughed long and hard, muttering to himself, between guffaws, in some bizarre language that the Shawnee did not recognize. “Oh, Lord! Valeria was a cultist herself, in her day. She committed her share of ghastly sins before the altar of the Insect God. Our files on her would dwarf anything we have on Golden Dawn. It may be that she is now faithful but maybe not. The Society cannot afford to the chance. Your soldiers must simply be true to the Faith and fight the heretics in order to protect Spain and the bones of St. James. If Valeria is virtuous and devout, she will understand. If she is not, she will be damned.”

“I understand,” said Isaiah.

“Very good, General. I just hope the rest of our men do likewise. They are loyal and it will be hard to convince them to turn on the Spaniards. They have no reason to hate King Charles.” Anxiety was now plain on Jerome’s face and in his voice.

“Your men are loyal,” went the priest, “and that is commendable. But loyalty to Christ comes before all else – and, therefore, loyalty to his Church.”

The table lapsed into silence while Leon drew a little wooden crucifix out of some hidden pocket. It was plain wood, reddish-brown, with a tiny ivory figure of Christ on it. The letters INRI had been embossed on it in silver. He ran his fingers over each letter slowly in turn.

“Iustum necare reges impios,” intoned General Isaiah.

“Precisely,” the priest said, satisfied. He placed the little cross in the palm of the Shawnee general’s big powerful hand. His own was pale and delicate by comparison, a few ink stains on his fingers, such as one might find on the hand of a scribe.“No Prince of this Earth has any claim on you, unless he is both Catholic and devout. You owe loyalty to the Society, to the Holy Father, and to your Fellow Catholics in that order. It is now your duty, delegated to you by Our Lord, to go forth and exalt the cross by liberating the Spaniards from the rule of iniquitous men. Those who would support these iniquitous men, as the merchants do, are themselves sinners and enemies of the Faith. You must treat them accordingly.”

“Very well,” answered Jerome. “I have doubts about the wisdom of this action but I will read the evidence you have given me. If it is as you say, I will act appropriately and so will my legion.”

Padre Leon watched the two Shawnee commanders walk away. “Vaya con Dios,” he said under his breath as they left.

The Cruzadero Kingdom of Spain: Diplomacy Aragon (^t), Valencia (^a)
As fate would have it, when the Jesuits delivered their dossier describing the perfidy and cultic connections of the Bourbons, the Legion consul Farspear had already received other confirmation of the depth of the corruption endemic in Spain. Too, he had already resolved to take advantage of the chaos in the old world to carve his own kingdom from the corpse of the decaying Spanish state.[1]

Even more telling, the Iroquois detachment serving alongside the Shawnee legions was commanded by an old Spaniard, Hector Ramirez Villar, who professed quite strict Royalist sympathies. The chance to oust the Republicans from Lisbon and to reclaim a purified Spain from the Italians was far too tempting for Villar to pass up. The bishop then advised Farspear to immediately make for Corunna in Galacia and to take control of the gracious and sacred Catholic cathedral at Santiago de Compostela and the sepulcher of St. James.

“The third most holy city in Christenden,” Villar exclaimed to the Indio commanders, “and there we may raise the banner of Seven Stars and summon all Christian Spain to war against the heretics and Satanists!”

Having secured Asturias and the port of Bilbao, Farspear then marched his army (and fleet) west, sweeping into Corunna without even the slightest resistance. The walls had recently been torn down to allow the Jesuits to expand the city, and the Shawnee proceeded to establish the holy city as their capital. A great number of sailors were settled there to secure the new homeland. Villar was made archbishop, which pleased him greatly, and the Jesuit’s quarter was affirmed by the Consul.

Now the Cruzaderos[2] split – Satewaya, Villar and Baron Stormcrow of Elmerland turned east, seeking to gain allies for the crusader kingdom among the disgruntled Basque and Navarese nobles, while Farspear and Tribune Redfang pushed south against Lisbon.

The eastern advance moved through Navarre, conquering the province, and then down into Aragon, where the Cruzaderos were greeted with at least nominally open arms, though you couldn’t say the recalcitrant Aragonese were willing to acknowledge anyone as their masters. The Valencians were far more accommodating, particularly when Archbishop Villar promised Baron Vitumb possession of Tortosa… which fell after a siege lasting less than a week (no city walls, you see.)

Back in the east, Farspear and his army (with the fleet paralleling the coast), burled south for Lisbon and reached the city in time to encounter King Charles and the Bourbon army crossing the plains just to the northeast near Azambuja. Outnumbered by more than two to one, but possessing nearly twenty airships, Charles sent his zeppelins to bombard the approaching Indios while he bolted for the city. Bu the Cruzadero commander Redfang had already sent his cavalry racing ahead to seize the heights north of Lisbon. Charles’ own horse failed to beat them out and a fierce battle brewed up as the Spaniards tried to break through.

The Indios now had an excellent chance to show the unparalleled skill of the Shawnee Legions, and gave Charles’ smaller army a sharp drubbing. In particular, the Cruzarero rocket artillery proved horrifically effective against the Spanish airships. The Bourbon army was crushed between the two wings of the Indio force, their airships littering the countryside in burning wreckage for miles… Charles, though still suffering from his wound, managed to escape south along the river and entered a panic-stricken Lisbon in a borrowed coat.

All Charles could do now was withdraw into the citadel of Lisbon (which had not been stripped of cannon and defenders) with a bare thousand engineers who had been working on the new shipyards and dig in, hoping someone would come to his aid. Farspear’s army entered the city cautiously, every regiment flying a replica of the Banner of Seven Stars, with their Catholic priests chanting and swinging incense. Farspear was careful to pay his respects to the city clerics and to see that relief efforts against the cholera outbreak were not hindered. The Castelo de São Jorge was immediately placed under siege.

Despite the superior siege-craft of the Spaniards, Charles was now too weak to effectively command the defense of the Castelo and the Indio siege had made a breach within two months and his battered, demoralized troops surrendered en masse. Charles himself died almost immediately after, succumbing to his wounds while in hospital. Farspear now held Lisbon, the Castelo and Portugal alike. The Bourbon prince Ferdinand was still a captive in Aragon (Duke Alonso had not, in fact, turned him over to the Cruzadero army which passed through Aragon, hoping to extort a substantial ransom from the Bourbons.)

The Bourbon Kingdom of Spain, bereft of it’s king, government and capital, now devolved to General Sanchez’ small army at Narbonne, lord Ayman (governor of Madrid) and the cult-hunting Bishop Fernandez in the south. Though rumors were circulating in Madrid that a young noblewoman then resident in the city was in fact the bastardo daughter of the late Emperor Largo, no one was foolish enough to step forward and claim the Spanish throne.

Farspear wasted no time, garrisoning Lisbon, and sending Redfang to seize the rich farmlands of Estremadura, Andalusia and then Granada. At Madrid, Ayman retired from public service. In the northeast, Sanchez marched his army to Barcelona and declared a Kingdom of Catalũna, calling on the rest of the Bourbon provinces to follow his rule. Some did, some did not. Leon, Talavera and Murcia became independent, while Madrid and New Castille declared (rather plaintively) for Sanchez.

(whew!)

[1] By chance (well, I’m guessing Gary didn’t choose this…) all three Shawnee leaders in Bilbao had abysmal loyalty ratings (1,1,2).
[2] Cruzado is crusader, Cruzador is “those who have crossed from one side to the other” – in this case, those who have crossed over the water.

Kingdom of Catalũna: The King himself set out for Madrid, where his agents reported a festering cyst of Dawnist influence, and had toiled across the hot plains of Estremadura (the local rojas, though owing no fealty to the Duke of Parma, let him pass unmolested) and into Talavera when news came of the Shawnee mutiny at Bilbao and the ‘cruzadero’ advance upon Lisbon.

While wild rumors swept Lisbon as the two armies approached, the city sewage workers were struggling to contain a dreadful cholera outbreak which killed thousands in two outlying districts. By the brutal means of burning infected houses and buildings, and shutting off the city water supply, the disease was stopped. Matters would have been worse, but a pair of Lencolar nurses from the hospital in Belem had noticed the symptoms within the first day of the infection and had immediately informed the authorities. Later investigations found decomposing bodies clogging the western and southern aqueducts.

Shawnee Empire: The Empress received a flurry of reports from the Old World and read them with mingled ire and pleasure – the vaunted armies of the corrupt regimes of the Europeans proved as weak as their devotion to the Church… and her men, though rebellious, proved the honor and glory of the Shawnee on the field of battle. “Send each of these generals the Order of the Lance of St. Martin, first class,” she commanded her secretary, “and also issue an edict declaring them traitors to the state for disobeying me.”

Valeria smiled, amused at the conceit, and pretended to ignore the fulminating stares of the Papal legate. Spain would be a rich province for the Empire, she thought idly, considering the maps laid out before her.

1765–1766 T218
Jesuits: Angered by the vile calumnies making the public rounds, Karok ordered the formation of an “Army of God” to punish the Cruzaderos and hunt down the idolators and devil-worshipping heretics in Spain. Reverend-Father Woodrunner was dispatched to the south of France with a small fleet and 6,000 musketeers to fight the rebel crusaders.

Father Kiernan, who had been dispatched to Spain as well, in an attempt to convince the Cruzaderos to “return to the light” returned in haste to London and then vanished abruptly. Nearly six months later, his body (or the decayed remains of same) was found in a Southwhark warehouse, stuffed into a barrel of pickled eels. Despite a vigorous police investigation, the murderers were not apprehended.

Cruzadero Kingdom of Spain: Diplomacy Murcia (^c)
Despite the storm of accusations and falsehoods lodged against the Cruzadero leadership, the rank and file of their armies, and the Spanish peasantry under their dominion, obligingly paid tithe to both the Jesuit Order and the Papacy.

Indeed, a number of missives were dispatched both to London and to the Vatican, pleading with the Pontiff and the Vicar-General to see the truth – the Cruzaderos were loyal soldiers of God, fighting against a corrupt Bourbon regime riddled with heretics, idolators and now plainly allied with the heretical Hussites.

“How can we stand against Evil,” many priests and lay people in Spain began to wonder, “when the Holy Father allows the Hussites to strike at us with impunity? Does he countenance the murder of innocent Catholics? Is he in the pay of the Dane?”

More interestingly, rumors soon circulated that the mysterious man who had convinced the Iroquois and Shawnee expedition to take up the Cross and drive the heretical cultists from Spain (and to liberate the people from the tyranny of the Bourbons) was in fact a high-ranking Jesuit who had apparently broken with his own Order over the “Spanish Question”. Was the Church then divided in its own councils? How deep did this rot reach?

Events in Spain
February 1765: The Cruzadero co-consul, Longlance, arrives by ship from Corunna within days and takes command of the Lisbon garrison and the troops formerly commanded by Farspear. He orders the incorporation of the captive Spanish government into that of the Cruzaderos – and ships everyone off to Corunna.
April: Even though battle threatens, Pope Benedict XIV arrives in Barcelona, holds a mass for the city, crowns the Infanta Constanza Iuana “Queen of Spain” and bethroths the nine-year-old girl to Prince Ferdinand Bourbon. A blistering encyclical is issued against the “disloyal” Cruzaderos.
May: An abortive mutiny by the Cruzadero garrison of Lisbon is put down by Proconsul Longlance and his Shawnee heavy cavalry.
A Cruzadero army under the command of Redfang arrives in Lisbon, having marched up from Granada and on its way to known Golden Dawn sites in northern Spain.
Hector’s Cruzaderos observe that Barcelona is undefended… so they capture the town and the remaining Catalunan government without a shot. The Pope has just left, which is good, or he would have picked a fight with the Indios himself and that might have gotten messy.
June: Fernandez and his Catalũnan army charges back into Catalonia to recapture Barcelona from the Cruzaderos.
In Barcelona, Bishop Hector’s Cruzaderos wreck most of the town, looting everything in sight, and capture a large number of merchant ships in the harbor.
August: Hector’s Cruzaderos return to Tortosa by sea.
Redfang is still marching across Asturias and complaining about the lack of good roads. “Back in Amerika,” he grumbles, “there are fine highways everywhere…”
September: In Valencia, Hector is forced to give battle (as the Baron of Tortosa is his ally and the city has no walls). This is the Battle of the Two Bishops. Though outnumbered more than two to one, the Cruzaderos are not without options… Baron Vitumb spent the loot of Barcelona lavishly, turning the allegiance of the Frisian mercenaries in Catalũnan pay and forcing Fernandez to meet in disorder – now the wheel of fate turns and battle is met! (and indeed, when all the mods were in, the battle stood almost perfectly in the balance) until the Frisian guns opened up, shredding the Catalũnan ranks and the Cruzadero infantry raised a wild whoop and scream and their right wing swung in hard… Fernandez’ Catalũnans collapsed like a rotten fence.
Bishop Fernandez escapes the debacle in Valencia, his army scattered, and Hector mops up.
October: again. They immediately encounter the surprised Royal Vastmark Expeditionary Force and battle ensues south of Barcelona at Vendrell. Outnumbered and outgunned, Kruhmah’s Afriqans put up a staunch fight but are smashed decisively. The survivors join the general migration of demoralized and defeated Catalũnans streaming northward and pillaging the countryside.
November: Hector’s Cruzaderos seize Barcelona (and the remains of the Catalũnan government) once more. Bishop Fernandez also flees to Narbonne, where he finds a seat at the prince’s table beside Prince Ferdinand. The bishop becomes nervous, however, when he notes that the Narbonese are also entertaining a secret delegation from the Duchy of the Isles.
In the woods of Navarre, in the snow, the Jesuit captain Woodsrunner and his “Army of God” clash with a fellow-Iroquois, Redfang, and his Cruzaderos. Outmaneuvered, outgunned and then out-fought, the novice Jesuit force is slaughtered by the Iroquois and Shawnee veterans. In the aftermath, Redfang is horrified to find he’d slaughtered 6,000 priests, novices and lay-brothers. “What madness!”
March 1766: In Barcelona and Catalonia, the Cruzaderos sweep the city and countryside, searching for cultists and other heretics. They are disappointed to come up empty-handed.
July: Redfang and Stormcrow invade New Castille, which is undefended. They approach Madrid and find (a miracle!) the city is both defended and walled. The Norskvarden general Xho, tasked to defend the city, sends out an emissary. The Cruzaderos’, having no quarrel with the Norsktrad, agree to let the mercenaries ‘protect’ Madrid, while Stormcrow and his Faerosians will patrol the province and suppress banditry.

1767–1768 T219
Knights of the Temple (Cruzaderos): Diplomacy Aragon (^a)
The turn of the winds of fate and politics blew in Longlance’s favor once more. Now Papal gold flowed into his coffers, and the Norsktrad and even Catalũna paid him tribute in grain. In exchange (and in the course of many agreements, trades and oaths) Longlance elected to withdraw his armies from eastern Spain and to heed the counsel of the Pope to take upon himself the mantle of Grand Master of the Knights of the Temple of Jerusalem (the Proconsul being, in fact, a high-ranking member of the western Temple, which had long endured in North Amerika).

While this seemed hopeful, even as the Papal delegates were putting ink to paper to seal the arrangement there was a scuffle on the road outside of Corunna as bandits attacked a Cruzadero arms caravan. The attackers were beaten off – not one man of the Cruzadero nation is not an accomplished warrior – and examination of the fallen found they were Germans – indeed, they were Taborite landshneckts in the garb of Basques.

Cortez in Granada was returned to Arfen control, and Catalonia, Navarre, Valencia and Granada were abandoned – reverting in name to Bourbon control. Sateweya and Hector marched their armies back west. But as they left lands still looking to the Bourbon regime as their rightful rulers, they found some provinces were not minded to accept Ferdinand as king, not unless forced, and in those lands the Cruzaderos were begged to stay – for the Templars brought a just and mindful rule, one free of the corruption and malice which had marked previous regimes.

Andalusia, Estremadura and Aragon therefore, remained in Cruzadero control; while Portugal itself and New Castille and the town of Tharsis once more raised the Bourbon flag. From all across Spain, armies marched and leaders gathered to Corunna where the flag of Seven Stars was raised and the Pope himself appeared (as though lowered from the heavens) to anoint Longlance as Grand Master of the Order…

The War of the Spanish Succession
January 1768': In a night-time ceremony, gently falling snow glowing with the light of thousands of torches and lamps, Longlance of the Cruzaderos is anointed Grand Master of the Knights of the Temple of Jerusalem by Pope Benedict himself.
A vast crowd gathered in the Plaza de San Anton, filled with fiery zeal and great piety. Near every man and woman understood great darkness threatened the world and the Templars would stand against that peril – stand, aye, and cast it down as the Ice Lords had been cast down, and the Daemon Sultan hurled into the fiery pit! Longlance appeared on the steps of the cathedral to take their vows of obedience, which were rendered with mighty acclaim and distrinction. Among those who swore themselves to the Temple, as it happened, were the mayor of Tortosa and Duke Leopoldo of Aragon who arrived in secret, intending to bite their thumbs one more time at Ferdinand and the Bourbon pretenders.
March: In the south of Spain, where the weather has already cleared, a Carthaginian army of 17,000 men suddenly issues forth from the mighty fortress of Gibraltar and invades Andalusia. As the Cruzadero armies have withdrawn to Corunna for the reformation of the Templars, there is no one to stop the attack.
May: Spain itself, for once, is quiet. Longlance has too much to do with the organization of the Templars and the Bourbons are stripped of anything like power or the ability to affect events.

Church of Rome: The Curia, in fact, pleaded with Benedict to remain in Rome, focus – as they argued most cogently – on the problems at hand. But the pontiff was not to be swayed and was almost immediate at sea, on his way to Corunna in Galacia, to anoint the Iroquois warchieftain Longlance master of the Eastern Knights of the Temple.

1769-1770 T220
Knights of the Temple: And what of the Cruzaderos?

The Proconsul had entertained many messengers and emissaries during the winter, as he sat - master of Spain - in Galacia. And some of those ambassadors spoke a familiar tongue and carried news which - after all this struggle in the peninsula - turned the Grand Master's heart.

"There are worse enemies of the Church than the Hussites," Longlance confided to his aides and counselors. "We have crushed the cultists here and I fear we have done the Bourbons a disservice…"

"But my lord!" Tribune Satewaya nearly leapt from his chair, "the Carthaginians have already invaded the southern provinces, burning churches and enslaving good Catholics, we must--"

"They are no concern of ours," Longlance growled. "Prepare the fleet, for we will soon be on the move again."

Despite the continuing anarchy in the peninsula, the Jesuits attempted to make amends to the people of Corunna for plaguing them with the invasion of the Cruzaderos - a number of new orphanages were established, and alms given to the poor. Father Westhaven (who had come down from England to supervise this) also spent a bit of time loitering in various pubs and dives, attempting to determine if "heretics" were at work in the city. All he got for his efforts was a knife in the side and a missing purse.

The Cruzaderos were in a frenzy of activity through the late summer of '69, the port at Corunna ringing with the sound of hammers, the rasp of lathes and saws… then, all of a night, the sounds ceased, and when morning came the harbor was empty. The Templar fleet had put to sea, leaving only a minimal garrison in the town. The Proconsul had already departed with the Templar horse, journeying south and west across an embattled land…

Grand Masters of the Temple of Jerusalem

  • Longlance 1767-date

The Players

  • Phillip Baird T217-date
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