The Old Faith

Discussion in 'The World Stage' started by Touzen, Aug 2, 2019.

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  1. Touzen

    Touzen Administrator Staff Member

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    It had been nearly two years since the conclave. Two years in which the Church, in all its corrupt splendor, its faulty ways, had given itself a placeholder on the apostolic throne. Two years ago, they had failed in their ambitions to install Taft as Holy Father. The conclave had been deadlocked, and when neither Cardinal Meyer or Cardinal Taft were able to unite enough votes behind their bids, the conclave eventually collapsed in on itself. The result - a husk holding the reigns in the halls of St. Peter, frail, neither able, nor willing to do what was right for the Church.

    That was what Juun believed. These past two years had been transitional for him as well. When he had traveled undercover to Trier, he had used a faked Trivodnian passport to bypass Kashtanese and Kadiki border controls. He had met the other cardinals for the first time, his own status as cardinal in seclusion had given him all the theological training he could have ever hoped for, but had made him terribly wanting in the ways of the world that ruled supreme in the Curia. Now Trivodnia didn't exist anymore, taken by the red storm of Ivar's ambitions, and a naive old faithful had not been idle, expanding his network among his colleagues and the traditional orders, of which his own Ordo Solaris was the paragon.

    Under the influence of Taft, whom he had learned to respect and had tried to maneuver into the papacy, the Kashtanese cardinal had eventually joined the traditionalist society. The Ordo Solaris, that much was clear, was a rising power within the Church. And it was time at last to ensure its inevitably ascendancy, if the wretched carrion lords of Old Europe were ever to be dealt with, the Meyers, the Stewarts.

    He glanced at Taft.

    "A plot, then."
     
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  2. Socialist World Republic

    Socialist World Republic Well-Known Member

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    The sudden pain jolted his body. His breath was heavy and he was sweating profusely. The cold, hard stone flooring had reddened his knees, which had already been sore and aching from the last few session. Again, the whip cracked and again, the sudden pain alerted his senses. He could feel the warmth of the blood dripping down his back. Once again, he lashed out against himself.

    Their failure to secure a majority in the conclave had sown seeds of doubt in Tafts heart. Not about his faith, which was the bedrock upon which he had built his life, not in his god, who resided unquestionably above all mundanities and horrors of life alike. But in himself, in his role in this grand game. And in his mission to save the church from corruption and decay.

    For a while, Taft had been sure that his brothers in the Ordo Solaris would carry similiar doubts about him. That they would judge his personal failure as harshly as he himself did. Yet he had met only words of encouragement and kindness in his order. None had believed that Taft had failed them. All had been angered at the rot within the church, that the disease had spread as far as it did. Most blamed the freemasons, homosexuals and jewish elites of Eiffelland, who had manouvered their puppets into the conclave to prevent a rebirth of the church of christ.

    Taft hadn't been so convinced of that. Surely that was what happened. That Lucifers own would attempt such had been obvious even before it happened. But it was also obvious to Taft that the lord had stopped him when he did, had hardened the hearts of some of his fellow cardinals to deny Taft his victory. A lesson in humility perhaps? Taft had returned to a practise of his younger days to refocus and cleanse himself of hubris and pride that may have proven him unfit for the chair of Saint Peter. As he mortified his flesh, Taft could feel his doubts vanish, his path became clearer and gods plan for him once again was laid bare before him.

    No, his god had not forsaken him. Tried perhaps, tested his faith and his patience. Taft had not been found wanting, could not have been found wanting. The time had not been right yet at the conclave. It had been too early. Now christendom lay in ruins for all too see. The pride of the catholic world of nations had fallen apart. The country Taft himself had spent most of his life in by now, Bourgogne. He had been lucky enough, for his mansion lay in the eastern part, where good christian men still held sway. Still, godless communists ran rampant throughout Gallia, drunk with their own power, while the heathens and heretics of the Engellish Dominion struck at the heart of christendom, seeking to drink its blood. All the while the pope had been busy schmoozing with the elites of Eiffelland, lending absolution to the Sodom of our days.

    "Monsieur Taft, a visitor."

    Taft looked back over his shoulder to his servant standing in the doorframe to the barren, dark chamber he used to cleanse himself of sin.

    "Thank you, Gabrielle, but I said no visitors today."

    "Yes, monsieur. But it is Cardinal Juun."

    He nodded and slowly rose to his feet, gesturing Gabrielle to entertain his guest while he put on fresh clothes. After their failure at the conclave, Taft had spent more time with his brother from the far east and slowly, they had developed a close friendship. Juun was always welcome at his house, that was what Taft had promised him at one point and he intended to keep that promise.

    On his way to the foyer, Taft stopped for a few seconds as he passed his office. Spread out over his desk lay his latest manuscript. It had been some years since he had published his last book and, Taft mused, his style had changed. He had changed. When he had chosen to pursue the papacy, Taft had changed his focus from the written word to the spoken, from literature to diplomacy. It hadn't resulted in the success he sought and so he had returned to writing once again. This time, however, his words carried even more righteous fury, even more justified anger at the state they had left the world in, full of sin and filth. It still shook him with revulsion thinking how mankind had defiled the gifts of god, how Jesus had absolved them of sin, only for them to keep sinning.

    "Each day that passes with Pope John on the chair of Saint Peter is a day that the rot within the church can spread further. Yet, as long as I have brothers such as you, I have faith that god has not yet forsaken us," Taft greeted Juun, genuine warmth in his voice.

    "Maybe," Taft continued. "Maybe it is time for the Pope to retire. He had only been a choice of compromise, a postponing of a final decision and many things have changed in the last two years."

    "For a pope to retire, that is almost unheard of," Juun objected.

    "There are many ways for a pope to retire. And many ways for us to provoke such."

    "A plot, then," Juun concluded.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
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  3. Socialist World Republic

    Socialist World Republic Well-Known Member

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    "...and by the time your plane arrives, the electors should have made their decision. So we will then proceed to the Cathedral of Saint Benignus."

    The Pope nodded gently. Following the election of a new Emperor in Chagny, it would fall upon him to anoint the man - or woman, as it may well be - to weild their worldy powers with the blessing of the church and a mandate from the holy chair itself.

    "Holy father!" A breathless voice behind him exclaimed. Pope John immediatedly recognize it as that of David, one of his servants. "A word, holy father, please."

    David Kilian was a servant, sure, but the young man was hardly a servant of the Pope. At least not of the one currently sitting on the chair of Saint Peter. He was a contact to and a puppet of the Ordo Solaris. A lobbyist, so to speak. A mouthpiece that would occasionally transfer messages to the Pope from that secret organization that was hardly a secret anymore, that had left the last conclave albeit not as a victor, but still much stronger and much more confident than it had entered it.

    Pope John had learned to despise David and his thinly veiled attempts to influence church policy. He was a nuisance, but one that he could not get rid of without needlessly antagonizing a powerful faction within the church.

    "What is it, David," he asked without even turning around to greet him.

    "My best wishes for your trip to Chagny, your holiness, of course." David grinned a fake smile.

    "You exerted yourself like that for just a few kind words? How unusually thoughtful of you, my son."

    "I also wished to remind you..." Here it came, Pope John thought to himself. The Ordo Solaris wanted to make something known to him. "That you are the head of the entire church. You should not be beholden to worldly rulers. Remember, the independence of the church, or lack thereof, remains an issue of contention amongst many of the faithful. If there is any doubt about whether the elected is a good christian, a true catholic, you should refuse to anoint him. You have an obligation towards the church!"

    There was, indeed, more than a bit of worry within the more conservative members of the clergy, that the Pope would play no bigger role than as a chesspiece for something that could change the face of all of Gallia following the drastic changes of the last years. And, what if, so the worry went, someone was elected who was clearly not a good catholic? Maybe not even a christian. What if the Azraqi was the chosen? Would the Pope prove a good lapdog, sheepishly following the commands of worldly rulers... and anoint him?

    "Do not remind me of my obligations towards the church, David," the Pope sighed heavily and with slight annoyance in his voice. "I am the Pope, after all, and know them better than you ever will."
     

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