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Ponce_The_Great

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Oh dear the Reds made a horrible mistake having a fall out with the Este Ravenna, we could have all stayed at his house during the Synod!
 

Mach Twelve

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Oh dear the Reds made a horrible mistake having a fall out with the Este Ravenna, we could have all stayed at his house during the Synod!
And join in on the fun*?

*might involve men blocking all the exits and torches applied to the house.
 

Undead Martyr

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And join in on the fun*?

*might involve men blocking all the exits and torches applied to the house.
I am a forgiving and generous leader.

You are all cordially invited to a glorious feast!


 

CzokletMuss

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COUNCIL OF RAVENNA - OPENING



***​

Ravenna was an ancient city, bearing scars of her violent history. In distant past it served as a capital city for the Western Imperium in the fifth century Anno Domini. Lost to northern barbarians led by king Flavius Odoacer it was soon recaptured by consul Theoderikhos on the order of basileus Zeno the Isaurian, in whom name he was ruling over Italia. With his descendants becoming too powerful and unruly to be relied upon, basileus Ioustinianos the Great sent his most trusted domestikos Belisarius to reclaim Italia, which he accomplished during the devastating Gothic War. The city once more became part of the Imperium, now as a seat of the Exarchate of Ravenna. For over 200 years the Romaioi maintained control over the city before it was stolen from their rightful owners by Longobard barbarians and later claimed by unholy alliance of Charles the Usurper, king of the Franks, and bishop of Rome.

Long and dark night fell upon Ravenna – the Exarchate was no more, its remnants reorganized into Catepanate of Italia soon also lost to barbaric Normans. The first half of the 11th century has came and passes and it seemed that this once great city was lost forever. Under rule of House Doukas little thought or care was dedicated to Italia, suffering first from the oppression of the unholy German kaiser and later becoming a battleground for the devastating Cathar Wars. It was only when Saint Markos himself ascended to the Throne when hope for restoration of Italia became suddenly more than a centuries-old dream. After fiasco of Council of Venice in year 1241 he decided that if words cannot sway the heretics from their sinful ways, then they must witness the power and majesty of the true Emperor and God's Regent on Earth. In merely seven years under his command the Imperial Army recaptured thema of Alexandreia, secured the mouth of Nile, liberated thema of Sicilia, reconquered the Holy City of Hierusalem and broke the mighty Zaiaid Sultanate. It was then, during the Italian campaign of 1247-1249 when Ravenna was freed from yoke of the bishop of Rome. With the Eternal City itself conquered shortly afterward, Ravenna witnessed the beginning of a new era.

In the next centuries the city grew, once again serving the imperial administration, this time as a seat of eparchos of Italia. It took over a hundred years before the Pisans and other Latins were pushed away from the city but soon began a long period of peace and prosperity. Italia as a whole was largely spared the horrors of war, witnessed all too often by provinces bordering Mongol realms, and Ravenna – together with Venice and Rome – became one of the most developed cities in one of the wealthiest provinces of the Imperium. As a center of art, scholarship and political life in the province, as well as banking and trade, it attracted people from all corners of the province, quickly becoming a true pearl of Italia. All of this came to an end however with the arrival of the Black Death. The disastrous Plague of Theodoros, as some called it, affected the city particularly hard, not only killing most of the city dwellers but also destroying many merchant guilds and banking houses – the pillars of its economic might.

But perhaps even more devastating than the Plague was the disease of the soul. The Angelodouloi, having spread to whole Aegyptus in merely several years, arrived in Italia together with leader of the religious movement – Sophia Angelos. The War of Hoi Polloi was still going on, with thousands of revolts and uprisings in every corner of the Imperium and in Italia in particular the rebels openly rejecting authority of the Throne were more numerous than in any other province. Tormented by rebellions and suffering from the aftermath of the Black Death, the Imperium was collapsing under its own weight and it seemed that Lady Angelina, as she was called by her followers, was - inadvertently or not – a harbinger of another dark night for Ravenna and whole Italia.

It was no surprise then that by the decree of His Imperial Majesty it was Ravenna which was chosen as a place to hold Council dedicated to issue of Angelodoulism. It was there where, within the walls and surrounded by the buildings remembering emperors Traianus and Honorius and Ioustinianos, in the city conquered by Belisarius and Charles the Usurper and Saint Markos himself, Roman bishops and officials assembled to witness Angelina give testimony before the Church and sacred Emperor herself – and to hear judgment passed on her and her teachings...


***
25 April 1566
Midday, Basilica of Saint Vitalis, Ravenna



The ancient mosaics shined when the huge south door to the basilica was opened. Almost three hundred of Romaioi and guests assembled in the church were squinting their eyes, clergymen and imperial officials alike, now exposed to the bright sunlight with their gaze focused on the entrance. Loud but distant noise filled the church and those closest to the entrance could see enormous crowd stretching from the Via San Vitale to the thick lines of imperial soldiers surrounding the basilica, their shouts unintelligible and mixed together into one encompassing growl. The men and women assembled in the church stood unfazed in their ceremonial embroidered dresses, heavy with gold and gems on which danced the light of the sun and thousands of candles, waiting.


Shadows appeared in the entrance – Varangians wearing heavy armors under capes and carrying their infamous battle axes. Twenty of them walked into the basilica and formed lines on both sides of the narrow path leading through the ambulatory to the center of the church. The whole space under the dome was empty, separated by detachment of Varangian Guard from people filling the basilica. Not a single word was uttered and if not for the mob's growl the assembled would be standing in perfect silence. The Romaioi waited.

A dark silhouette emerged from the light of the day in the entrance and suddenly whispers and gasps filled the ambulatory - Sophia Angelos, accompanied closely by Varangians, walked inside the church.

The door was quickly closed behind her and the light receded from the church, allowing everyone to take a good look at the person because of whom the Council was convened. The fair-haired woman who entered the basilica was in her late forties and of average height. Loud murmur passed through the assembled crowd – she was barefoot, wearing simple white clothes, now dirty and covered with dust. She slowly walked toward the center of the church and there was peace on her weary face, save for her shining eyes – eyes which, depending on who was describing her, were filled either with hellish fire or divine light.

She stopped under the dome, in the middle of the basilica and a circle formed by Varangians, facing the apse. There was, below the ancient mosaics and before the altar, was a throne and a dozen of chairs, six on every side of it, on which were sitting elderly men, balding and with bushy beards, wearing vestments like sticharion, epigontation, or omophorion of the highest offices in the Church. The man sitting on the throne was holding a tau-shaped crosier – a symbol of his authority as the Ecumenical Patriarch. He waited patiently until the whispers faded and then rose from his seat, followed by the others. Silence like never before filled the ancient building.

***

An eunuch wearing ceremonial robes steps before the Ecumenical Patriarch and speaks loudly.

- His Most Divine All-Holiness, the Archbishop of Konstantinoupolis and Ecumenical Patriarch, Samuel Taronites.


He then turns around, kneels before the Patriarch and the altar and walks back to the apse. The Ecumenical Patriarch crosses himself with right hand and speaks.

– By the decree of sacred Emperor Theodoros I Angelos, basileus basileon by the Grace of God, king of kings and rulers of rulers, Caesar Augustus of the Romaioi and all Men, Autokrator of the Holy Church and Protector of the Christendom... He pauses for a moment. - … this holy Council has been convened in the imperial city of Ravenna to debate on the matters of faith and resolve the controversy of the so-called Angelodoulism.

The Patriarch raises his right hand and looks at the bishops on his right and left.

Sophia of the Great House Angelos, daughter of doux Niketas Angelos, widow of strategos Anthimos Balsamon. You stand today before the Holy Synod of our Mother Church, that is Patriarch of Hierusalem and All East His Excellency archbishop Theodoros Balsamon, Patriarch of Antiocheia, Anatolia and Caucasus His Excellency archbishop Romanos Komnenos, Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa His Excellency archbishop Athanasius Gabras, Patriarch of Rome His Excellency Ioannes of Visconti, Metropolitan bishop of Zadar His Excellency Petar Borković and Metropolitan bishop of Cherson His Excellency Georgios Katakolon… He makes a small pause. - … and 135 bishops of the Imperium, as well as our esteemed guests… Patriarch clears his throat before continuing - … His Excellency archbishop of Kraków and Patriarch of Poland Władysław Drzewicki, His Excellency archbishop of Toulouse and Patriarch of Aquitaine Ebalus of Poitiers, His Excellency archbishop of Barcelona Berenguer de Gualba and His Excellency bishop of Salzburg Ulrich of Ravensburg.

He makes a sing of cross in the direction of Sophia.

- In the name of His Imperial Majesty and Holy Synod and Mother Church we welcome you in Ravenna. You were summoned here as a free Roman to testify before this Council in matters concerning Angelodoulism, in particular regarding accusations of heresy. As it was decreed by His Imperial Majesty you are not charged with with any accusation however and you will give your testimony as a witness. Do you understand your position?

Sophia answers silently.

– Yes.

Patriarch continues.

- In accordance with laws of the Imperium and of the Church you have a right to appoint advocatus to help you present your case. You may also call witnesses in order to confirm your testimony. Do you wish to appoint or call such person?

Sophia answers after a moment of silence.

- God is my witness.

Buzz and whispers fill the basilica before the Patriarch raises his hand and silences the crowd.

- So be it. You will be questioned by the Holy Synod and all of the bishops, as well as members of the Imperial Council in the name of His Imperial Majesty. The hearing will last for at least three days until the feast day of Nativity of Saint Markos on 29 April, on which day the Council shall not convene. By the order of His Imperial Majesty you are given an escort of members of the Varangian Guard, as well as private quarters in the monastery of Saint Helen where you will rest for the duration of the Council to ensure your safety. Your fellow… companions will be able to join you there freely. Patriarch pauses for a short while - Do you have any questions, lady Angelos?

Sophia looks around before answering.

- Where is he the Emperor? I don't see him among you. Hasn't His Majesty summoned me before him?


A loud murmur goes through the crowd before Patriarch manages to answer.

- Sacred Emperor Theodoros I Angelos, basileus basileon by the Grace of God, king of kings and rulers of rulers, Caesar Augustus of the Romaioi and all Men, Autokrator of the Holy Church and Protector of the Christendom fell ill shortly after arrival to Ravenna. He's forced to pause as buzz of the crowd fill the church - His Imperial Majesty will bless us all with his presence together with his Council tomorrow in basilica of Saint Apollinaris. There the hearing will begin.

Whispers and gasps become loud enough for Patriarch to use his pastoral staff, hitting the floor with its ending. He points at Sophia.

- Sophia of the Great House Angelos, daughter of doux Niketas Angelos, widow of strategos Anthimos Balsamon. Before you are escorted to your quarters and bearing in mind that the holy oath on the Scripture will be given by you tomorrow, it is the wish of the Holy Synod that you confess your faith before this Council.

The crowd immediately goes silent. Patriarch continues.

- As a daughter of Holy Mother Church and observing the Creed of Nikea I ask you - do you believe in one God, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible?

Sophia looks at the Ecumenical Patriarch.

- I believe in one God, the Almighty Father.

Immediately the whispers began anew but despite that the questions continued.

- Do you believe in one Lord Iesus Kristos, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not created, of one essence with the Father through Whom all things were made?

- I believe in one Lord Iesus Kristos, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not created, of one essence with the Father.

Murmur goes through the crowd as the Patriarch continues

- Do you believe that He for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Maria and became man?

- I do.

- Do you believe that He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried, and He rose on the third day, according to the Scriptures?

- I do.

A faint expression of confusion appears on the face of the Patriarch and other members of the Synod.

- Do you believe that He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father and He will come again with glory to judge the living and dead, and His kingdom shall have no end?

- I do.

- Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Creator of life, who proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who spoke through the prophets?

- I do.

Whispers go louder and louder and the Patriarch is forced to use his staff again before continuing.

- Do you believe in one catholic and apostolic Holy Church and confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins?

To the surprise of everyone the question is met with silence – whispers and buzz intensify for a moment but quickly go silent as well. The Patriarch points at Sophia.

- Do you believe in one catholic and apostolic Holy Church and confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins?

No answer comes from Sophia Angelos. Patriarch makes a sing of cross in direction of Angelina and asks again.

- Sophia of the Great House Angelos, in the name of the Holy Synod and Mother Church I ask for the third time - do you believe in one catholic and apostolic Holy Church and confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins?

A single fly could be heard in basilica of Saint Vitalis before the answer finally came.

- No.

Absolute silence fills the room as the last question is asked.

- Do you look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come?

Sophia answers with a faint smile.

- The dead will live but only those of pure souls shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

The basilica erupts. Roman officials and bishops are talking loudly and crossing themselves, shouts „Heresy!” and „Blasphemy!” can be heard. The Varangians tighten their grip on the axes and push the crowd away from Sophia while others step closer to form a circle protecting her from harm. Amidst the chaos stands Angelina, calm and with shining eyes – she lowers her head and raises both of her hands, speaking quietly as if she was praying . Red on his face, the Patriarch speaks loudly trying to be heard despite the noise.

- The Council shall resume tomorrow. Escort Sophia of the Great House Angelos to the monastery!

The Varangians push through the crowd toward the northern door of the basilica. The door is opened and once again light floods the church and with it distant growl of the crowd. Sophia Angelos is escorted out of the building – she steps outside and suddenly the growl of grows louder, now intelligible; a powerful shout coming out of thousands of throats.

- SOPHIA! SOPHIA! SOPHIA!

Dark silhouette of Sophia in the entrance disappears as she steps into the light.
 
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CzokletMuss

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The Synod has finally started! :)

First interactive part starts tomorrow (expect more details as well) - it's really late and I have to go to sleep right now.
 

zenphoenix

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Oh my...Sophia is like the Imperium's Joan of Arc?! We're all dead, aren't we?
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Oh, this is going to be good. I'm going to need popcorn for this one...
 
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RedInc

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To be honest, I'm surprised nobody's *BLAMMED!* anyone else yet, considering how things got so tense near the end.

Oh well. It can be done, hand cannons are presumably a thing now.
 

Mach Twelve

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To be honest, I'm surprised nobody's *BLAMMED!* anyone else yet, considering how things got so tense near the end.

Oh well. It can be done, hand cannons are presumably a thing now.
Mandromenos has been carrying a pistol with him at all times, if that isn't a hand cannon then what is?
 

Ponce_The_Great

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Mandromenos has been carrying a pistol with him at all times, if that isn't a hand cannon then what is?
Better make sure we have a few dozen Varangians to cover Gavrilo Princip over here.

As for the Synod, this is a really cool opening, applause for our great writer.

That said, I'm genuinely unsure how this will end, though I will be surprised if we make it through this without bodies piling up. Good thing we've got so many clergy here for all the funerals.
 

Mach Twelve

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Better make sure we have a few dozen Varangians to cover Gavrilo Princip over here.

As for the Synod, this is a really cool opening, applause for our great writer.

That said, I'm genuinely unsure how this will end, though I will be surprised if we make it through this without bodies piling up. Good thing we've got so many clergy here for all the funerals.
Hey, it didn't save the Archduke, why would it save Sophia?

In other news, I just realized that I am a funny hat away from the closest equivalent from the WH40K Commissar. I mean I threaten to burn the heretic instead of blamming, but that may change very soon.
 

luciusmalfoy012

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Oh my, this is intense, chilling even. For a non-native speaker, you've really learned how to manipulate the English language, Czoklet. As someone raised Catholic, I can recite the Nicene Creed from heart; I was waiting for when she'd go against it. The buildup to that was great.

What the hell (heh) does she mean by the dead will rise, but not go to heaven? Zombies?

This is also going to be infuriating not being able to talk but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

Serpent

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Well that proves it, by her own words. She's clearly a heretic . So when does the trial start? ;)
 

Mach Twelve

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Well that proves it, by her own words. She's clearly a heretic . So when does the trial start? ;)
Soon as my pistol and her are in the same room.

HERESY! *BLAM!*
 
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Ponce_The_Great

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Soon as my pistol and her are in the same room

HERESY! *BLAM!*
Imperium Romanum gets:
"Some madman shot the heretic queen!" modifier.
-3 stability, a whole f*** load of heretic rebels spawn, -10000 ducats for a wasted Synod, and Blues get -50 influence.
 

zenphoenix

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Imperium Romanum gets:
"Some madman shot the heretic queen!" modifier.
-3 stability, a whole f*** load of heretic rebels spawn, -10000 ducats for a wasted Synod, and Blues get -50 influence.
And +5 progress modifier towards "Wars of Religion" disaster.
 

Mach Twelve

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And +5 progress modifier towards "Wars of Religion" disaster.
I don't think you can have a second disaster when one is already active...

Bring me my funny hat, Commissar Mandromenos is here to ensure that we are ready to combat the horrors of the enemy, by teaching our troops that there are greater pains in this world than that which the enemy will do to you...
 

ParrotGuy

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This is great. Awesome writing, Czoklet- it's amazing how you created a whole almost new world from an interesting CK2 game. I'd do a standing ovation if it wasn't kinda odd to do a standing ovation from a continent away.
Anyway, it seems like the Angelodulid belief is different than what we have been told- I don't see any mentions of believing in diabolo as the creator (maybe it's just me not having much theological knowledge about Christianity though). The Synod may shake some foundations.
 

Teutonic King

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Well from everything I see, she is not much of a heretic. Hardly making up things that will threaten the established order, just a little more radical than the norm. To be honest, a woman like her should simply be exiled from the empire. She will gain a following, and her power will grow, but she does not seem intent on doing any real harm to the empire or her family so exile her. Then her following can follow her to what ever nation she winds up in. ;)

Mandromenos has been carrying a pistol with him at all times, if that isn't a hand cannon then what is?
EDIT: A pistol is most certainly NOT a hand cannon. A hand cannon usually has an extremely long wooden shaft that is pressed into the ground so that it absorbs recoil, meanwhile the "cannon" section is usually made of cast bronze or iron with a single, or in some cases multiple, hole(s) in it that allows for a single, or multiple, shot(s). It is also fired not with the usual hammer impact but an ember on the end of a lit stick.
 
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