True Cross

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Introduction

One of the Anchors, the destruction of which heralded the beginning of the Ice War.

Newsfax Entries

1649-1650 T162
The New Sultanate of Syria: The Egyptian fleet arrived first, blockading the port. Now Dirgham's situation was dire indeed and Prince Ephraim saw the only solution to this conundrum. His men he whipped into a frenzy, brandishing the True Cross (found by his agents in the city).

1657-1658, T165
Empire of Swedish Russia: Soon after all of this had percolated through the halls of power in Riga the Pope himself landed at Stockholm to view the pieces of the True Cross in the Cathedral of the Blood of the Lamb.

...

Alexander, after recovering from the impertinence of the press, held a great open-air mass in Huddinge outside of the city and then processed to the Cathedral of the Blood and spent some days and nights fasting and praying before the massive platinum and emerald reliquary that holds the True Cross. At the end of this time the stained glass windows of the Cathedral were suddenly lit by a bright actinic flash and the Papal Guards rushed within. There they found themselves blinded by a coruscating light that poured forth from the reliquary. Alexander himself cowered before it as the acid light coiled and hissed around the great columns and statuary of the sanctum. The six guards fell screaming to the ground, their eyes burned out, their flesh seared to the bone. Then the light snapped off, leaving the vast nave of the cathedral lit only by the guttering light of burning hangings and puddled pools of flaming wax where once a thousand candles had stood alight in the glory of God. Alexander was carried from the burning building by groundsmen drawn by the smell of smoke.

Thirteen days later the Pontiff woke from a comatose sleep, his sightless, blind-white, eyes turning this way and that. During all that time he had raved and ranted in a security of a chamber in the Solna Palace, under heavy guard. The transcripts of that long delerium were then brought to him and, with shaking hand, he turned the heavy vellum pages one by one. As he read his face grew paler and paler, at last he thrust the heavy book from him as he would a poisonous asp. Destroy it, he groaned, render it to ash and dust, scatter that dust to the four directions of the earth, turning ever leftwards whilst doing... The book was taken away and, some say, destroyed. Others did not feel so and rumors oft surfaced in latter days of the Book of the Sight of the Lamb, which contained all manner of strange marvels and alchemical formulae.

1661-1662 T167
Danish Empire: Alexander turned and walked back towards the door. "My vision was of a gateway. This year I am told a "wild white man" cut a similar picture in the wood of his cage." Alexander looked at his bible and slipped a small piece of paper out. Carefully unfolding it he bent down to the food slot and pushed it through. "I wrote down these notes to remind me of what I saw. Perhaps you would like to look at them." Leopoldo reached down and picked up the paper. Unfolding the last crease he began to read. Slowly, with out looking he sat back down.

After reading the paper and hearing Alexander's words, Leopoldo thought for a spell. At length he replied.

"An interesting picture you paint, Alexander, though not quite so complete as I might prefer, or even deserve. For starters, assuming that you had this vision, how am I to know that it came from Our Lord?"

"Surely you do not think that the forces of Evil could speak through the True Cross."

"Yes, this thought has occurred to me. Still, I find it hard to believe that the Lord would bestow a Holy mission upon you. In any event, although you have told me of your vision, there are so many things which you choose not to tell me. What is your interpretation of the vision? Why are relics and artifacts the key? What are the artifacts that we confiscated from you? I know that you and the South Africans were part of the trouble in the moors of England -- what were you up to there, that so many had to be killed? Who were you fighting? Perhaps most importantly, assuming you gather together these artifacts, what are you going to do with them?"

"I am not truly certain myself... the Lord is only illuminating enough of my path to guide me for a few steps at a time, and I cannot yet perceive the ultimate destination."

Leopoldo was silent, thinking yet more.

"What this comes down to, I suppose, is the extent to which I trust your word. I certainly would not want the forces of Good crippled by petty infighting while the forces of Evil gain an upper hand."

"Quite so."

"And yet, there is still the ultimate question as to whether you are the force for Good you claim to be. On the one hand, there is the fact of your vision at the Cross. On the other, you claim to know you were destined for this place, and yet you had your missionaries continue to erode the Hussite Church. Most telling to me, you have refused to take any responsibility for the actions of the Free Companies, which you brought into being -- you haven't even shown much regret for them! They are the truest incarnation of evil I have seen, and they were working for you. You did not even distance yourself from them even after they committed the most heinous crimes ever conceived of by man!"

"We've already been through this, Leo..."

"Yes, we have, Alexander. I am rehashing these things for my own benefit, since within them lies what I know, as opposed to what is merely told to me. It is my belief that a good and responsible ruler will hold himself accountable for egregious crimes done by his subjects and in his name. I also believe that, if you really wanted to work with me, you would have told me more of the purpose, status and destination of this "quest." You supposedly also wanted us to work out our differences, but you have yet to make any such gesture or proposal. Instead, your only suggestion is that we put them aside for now."

Leopoldo paused briefly, as an idea occurred to him. "Really, about the only thing you have going for your credibility as far as I am concerned is the Holy Cross. But now I dimly recall in reading of this that your guards were either maimed or killed at the moment of your vision. Although I am not one to presume to judge the workings of Our Lord, it seems strange that the merciful and loving God which I worship would do such a thing to faithful servants. Perhaps they were wicked men?"

"They were pious and good."

"Then I am yet more confused."

More time passed in silence, as Leopoldo struggled with the decision before him. At last, he said,

"You shall remain here. You may have access to the library of the university, as all freemen have. However, two guards shall accompany you at all times. You may send your bimonthly messages, but only after they have been read by my men. They will be free to censor anything which they deem to be in any sort of code, or having any obscure reference. For my part, I shall pray for guidance. If you have anything more to say, I will listen."

With this Leopoldo left the dungeon, and went up to the chambers where young Prince Basil slept. Quietly sitting on a stool, the Danish Emperor pondered the dim outline of his sleeping son in the moonlight streaming in from the window...

1669-1670 T171
Swedish Empire of Russia: There was a minor stir in Stockholm when it was discovered that one of the Captains entrusted with guarding the True Cross and the other holy relics in the Cathedral of the Blood was in the pay of no less than that same 'Europagan Empire' of which the Empress had recently spoken. Both the guards captain, a number of local malcontents and a Marôcain ship were taken in custody by the Stockholm police. None were ever seen again, despite protests by the Marôcain trade delegation in the city.

1697-1698 T185
Partial Transcript of the Meetings held at St. Michaels Basilica during the Summer of 1668 concerning the Cultic Problem.: "I relay to you gentlemen", said Chigi, "today, the words as I myself have heard them from his Holiness, the Pope Alexander. Aside from myself and a scribe, no others have ever heard the fullness of this tale before. As many of you know the Holy Father was blinded some years ago - before his captivity in Venice - while praying before the Shards of the True Cross that our Swedish brothers maintain in Stockholm. He was blinded, gentlemen, by the full force of divine revelation. After his vision he has had no further use for mortal eyes, yet he sees as well as your or I, to this day!"

1699-1700 T186
Case Hammer: So while the bold stroke against Riga had been turned aside, Jaenisch and his Aesir army had striven against Stockholm itself. Suvlenko, attempting to regain some of his honor after the disaster at Helsingør, commanded the defence. Aesir numbered 65,000 men, many of them siege engineers or artillerists. This was good, as Suvlenko had 17,000 men under arms in the city as well as one of the most extensive sets of fortifications in the world. It was really too bad - the Swedish Royal Engineers had set great stock by their mastery of siege warfare - that Jaenisch's siege assault shredded the defences of Stockholm and captured the Cathedral of the Most Holy in less than two months! Suvlenko managed to escape to sea with his squadron, returning them to Riga in disgrace (again) where he committed suicide.

In the ancient city, Jaenisch was grimly delighted to let his troops loose at last to plunder and burn and slay. While the island districts sparked and then were consumed in roaring flame and his men slaughtered the men of the city and raped the women in wild abandon, he and a chosen troop of his most hardened veterans betook themselves to the Cathedral itself. There, amid the scattered bodies of the priests and acolytes who ha fallen in defence of the Cross, the General found the Cross itself, mounted above a high altar. Dim sunlight, filtering through the smashed windowpanes, bathed it. Distantly, the sounds of the agonized death of a great metropolis filtered in the church.

"Pagan relic," snarled Jaenisch as he and his men threw ropes around the baulk of wood that was the Cross. "Burn it and this whole idolatrous place!" Napathene oil was splashed across the dark old wood and the altar and the pews that fronted it. Moments later a lucifer sparked and then sputtered in the heavy oil. Green flames lit around the match and then the last of the Danish marines abandoned the vaulting doors of the Cathedral as the inside was filled with a blossom of flame.

Standing on high platform that fronted the Cathedral, Jaenisch looked out upon a tableaux of hellish delights - buildings collapsing, torn from within by flame, the citizens in flight, screaming for mercy. His men, dark shadows, stalking amongst the crazed survivors, hands dripping with blood. In the darkness, his grin was bright. "This is victory," he exulted and went down into ruin to join his men.

Papacy of the Roman Catholic Church: The later news that the Danish army under Jaenisch had destroyed the True Cross brought a chill to his heart. Recent revelations, including certain passages of text in a cruel old book brought by the Spanish to the conclave convinced Alexander that not only were in the Danes well versed in the schemes of the forces of Darkness, but that Kristatos may well be the "dark man" whose appearance had been foretold in the Secret Books.

1701-1702 T187
Danish Empire: The Pronouncements of the Council of Padua…

Kristatos convened a council of Danish nobility, governors and generals, Hussite Church delegates, and representatives of the various Hussite nations (Lybia, Wallachia, Burgundy, Outremer exiles, and any other India countries who could make it). Also invited were any other ambassadors available, including a Papal representative, if there is still one in Venice. Kristatos said:

"Friends and honored guests! We have come to a critical juncture in the history of our blessed nation. Though many have cheered our victories against our northern rival, and sensed the nearness of their ultimate defeat, the minds of the learned are made rightfully ill at ease by the precipitous nature of my action, and perhaps still more by the fate we reserved for their holy places, and indeed the True Cross itself.
Long have I, and my ancestors before me, toiled to grasp the nature of the conflict that shapes our world. The ancient struggle of good versus evil is in evidence everywhere, but the precise nature of its boundaries are maddeningly diffuse. Witness the Catholic Church, which though vile to the core and thoroughly committed to subverting the true nature of the Word of Christ our Savior, has undeniably spread His name as well, and I cannot help but believe that souls have been saved thereby. Of this the purity and goodness of Itoyo my wife convinces me beyond doubt.
We also know the Papacy to voluntarily and pervasively consort with mystical and occult forces of a nature inimical to human kind. This we discovered in our numerous encounters with the so-called Fishermen, the particular extent of whose abominations were revealed in the tunnels discovered under Galway by the late General Tartakoner. The nature of these forces is also revealed in the fate of the guardsmen who accompanied Pope Alexander at his transformation by the True Cross; for these hapless lackeys a lifetime of faithful and selfless service was rewarded by a fiery and grotesque death.
Can it be that these are necessary descents in the war against the forces of evil, on battlegrounds which the soldiers of light are powerless to choose? Or, are they symptoms of a cancer that has infested the very core of this world, and whose growth has become irreversible and fatal? Or, is there an alternative?
Our first clue as to the nature of the current struggle came from the writings of Roger Bacon, discovered by my grandfather Romanos. In them he told of a pair of societies created during the fall of the Roman Empire to preserve Imperial knowledge and traditions through the approaching and inevitable chaos of the Dark Ages, and afterwards hasten the return to dominion of the then-conceived forces of civilization. The first and more obvious of these societies, called Foundations, was according to Bacon established for the preservation and enhancement of Technology. This Foundation he theorized, based on historical development since that time, to be our northern foe.
The second and more subtle society concerned itself with matters of the Spirit, and the extra-technological domain of the occult. Once the existence of this organization is known, it is obvious that it can only be the Catholic Church, which was even at that ancient time well along in its process of subverting the teachings of our Lord into an offshoot and extension of pre-existing pagan traditions.
These theories troubled my grandfather greatly. For, in truth, what did they portend for the future, and what would be Denmark’s place in this future which has long been planned? The answer to these questions, and indeed the question as to whether there was any true basis to these theories, eluded Romanos, and my father Basil after him, and my mother Claudia, and eventually myself, until but recently.
My experience has been that of no other Dane or Hussite. I was sent by my mother to wander the dark and hidden places of this world in search of a cure to the evil forces that invested my spirit after my kidnapping as a child. The things I found and witnessed, and the travails I had to overcome, I can no longer even remember. For in truth the quest itself nearly cost me my soul, and I was halted at the brink of the abyss only by the purity of the Judean princes, and by my beloved wife.
And yet, even with these experiences, I still had no better inkling of the nature of the global struggle than when I began. This troubled me more deeply than ever, as my goal has ever been to wisely direct the future of my countrymen, and the knowledge required to make these choices now seemed unattainable. But eventually through this thick skull of mine reason seeped in, and by the grace of Our Lord, the path has become clear.
The fate of Denmark was cast in stone in the year 1052, when after banishing the Swedish kings from Scandinavia and conquering all of northern and central Europe, Richard II invaded Italy and directed that that cathedral of St.Peter in Rome be destroyed, and a temple to Odin be built in its place. The rage of the Catholics who peopled our new domain tore Denmark asunder, and though in the decades and centuries that followed we recovered to take Europe twice more, in the end the power of the Catholic Church proved the undoing of our ancestors, and we were banished from our lands to wander in the East amidst the ruins of Byzantium. Only after total exile were we humbled enough to accept the Word of Christ. This Word did not come through the forked tongues of the Papist priests, bishops, and cardinals, but through the unadulterated Scripture.
Thus was born the Hussite Church, which cast aside everything the Catholics had corrupted: hoarding and brazen display of wealth, idolatry, empty ritual, wicked men "buying" their way into heaven and vainglorious Popes claiming to speak for the Lord Himself.
How obvious it was! How obvious it is still! The mere notion that the Papacy represented the Word of Christ is an insult to the thinking and reasoning mind the Lord has granted us! Recall that when Christ taught, he spoke against what were then the leaders of God’s one church; before Christ, what better place would there have been to find and learn of God than the Temple of Jerusalem? Do not be surprised, then, when the process repeats itself, and the avarice of man again corrupts the highest levels of God’s "One" Church.
I need but utter the name of the Freikorps, sponsored by Papal gold and originating in Swedish-controlled Normandy, and the darkness which comes over our hearts reminds us all of the true potential for evil in all of their works.
This, then, is the nature of the struggle yesterday, today and tomorrow: it is a struggle of mysticism again reason, of predetermination against free will. Mysticism has long held sway in this world, though the progress of science threatens its hold on our minds and spirits. The Catholics, with their True Cross and magic flutes, scrabbling in the dirt looking for corpses of saints to worship, seek to preserve this hegemony, in concert with the Swedes -- technologically advanced but idolaters just the same. The Hussite cares not for these tidbits of mystical force they so devote themselves to, for we know that true power is with the Lord, and he distributes it to one humble soul at a time, through the solitude of prayer and a good, honorable life.
And what of the mystical forces of evil, you may ask? Must we not muster the spiritual might of our Lord to combat them? To this I say two things. First, here in Europe, these mystical forces have not seemed so strong when confronted with Danish and Burgundian steel, and thus they have ever been condemned to lurk the under the rocks and within the swamps. I would suggest leaving them there. Second, and more pertinently, I feel it possible that the forces of occult for good and evil draw each other like magnets: where there is white magic, there must also be black. Thus, the victory is not though increased conjuration, but rather total negation of both sides. Only then can men live in freedom from the otherworldly forces that beset us, and control their own destinies.
And herein also lies the second conflict. Are we to have our futures ruled by the decisions of a few self-important thinkers of Roman antiquity? Roman civilization, though impressive in its achievements, is not worth repeating. We have already surpassed them in every respect, and even moreso in justice and morality then simple technology and conquest. We have grown past their ken, and thus their grand plans for our future are not merely facile, but potentially disastrous as well.
This is what guides my hand. Denmark and the Hussite world have been given the tools and the opportunity to remake this world. What is now required is will and faith. Join with me, and let the Age of Science and Reason truly commence!"

1743–1744 T207
The Church of Rome: “Our search for the rest of the Cross will continue,” Clement declared – giving several of his cardinals a hard stare. Their faces were like stone, but no one would speak in the face of such apparent anger. “One section remains in English hands, yet I would have the others! Our situation is too dire to let any possible advantage go.”

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