Wednesday, May 6, 2015

City of Curses: Icons: The Archbishop

The Archbishop
Aspect: In the Name of the Twins!
Quote: "The Summer Rose provided the fire that birthed you, she is in every breath that protect life and helps others. The Black Rose gave you the mind and will to improve on that fire, to make something with it. Don't damn your soul with curses and magick like the rest of this cursed city."

For Othebeans in Crux, both visiting and migrants, the Archbishop has always been the true authority in the city. For the faithful of the Twins, the Archbishop is the voice of their will on Orphos. Through the Archbishop works the semi-secret society of the Eternal Order of the Eagle and the Crow, which hunt monsters in Crux in spite of Ithic laws against that.

Common Knowledge
The Archbishop resides with St. Zyra's Cathedral, near the middle of the Rose Quarter. The massive structure is one of the enduring monuments of Othebean rule over the city. Naturally it has long been the center of many different controversies.

The Archbishop is known for not only being the head of the Church of the Twins, both the bishopric of the Summer Rose and the bishopric of the Black Rose, but also to lead or advise a number of other groups as well. Charities, knightly orders and groups like the Eternal Order of the Eagle and the Crow all recognize his authority in their affairs. Of course his position has a great deal of political power, as the Church of the Twins remains the most popular faith in Crux.

But all the Archbishop influences is met with open arms.  Ithic law restricts the authority of the Eagles and Crows, making it illegal for them to arrest people.  Others, like the Church of Shraxes or the Church of the Machine remember or still have faced harassment and violence at the hands of the Archbishop's authority.  For the Archbishop's part, all such claims are denied or claimed as being part of the self-defense of those who couldn't defend themselves.
The first bishops of the Twins in Crux lived in secret.  The Tomasi empire had outlawed their faith, punishing those caught worshipping the Twins by pitting them against conjured monsters in their gladiatorial flesh pits.  Saints like Zyra acted as archbishop in those days.  When the Tomasi Empire fell, the Church of the Twins became more open among the common folk of Crux.  Its popularity was viral, becoming the major religion among those without arcane or sorcerous privilege.
The idea of an Archbishop, or head of the local church, came in the aftermath of the Othebean Crusades.  The Crusades were called after a series of arcane incidents in Ith.  Eldritch horrors summoned by out of control spellcasters ravaged the region.  The call for paladins of Othebea to cleanse Ith of its dark evils led to Othebea conquering it.
Last to fall in the Crusades was Crux.  The City of Curses came under Othebean control only after those leading the crusade knelt before the Prince.  The leader of the Crusade was also its Archbishop, who would come to reside in Crux as its first Archbishop.  
The Archbishop's early years in Crux sat on a knife's edge.  The Inquisition often would burn masses of witches and heretics, inciting the Prince to react against them.  These back and forths relied on the Archbishop to keep them from boiling over into all out conflict.  The monthly witch pyres would grate too much, helping to spark the revolution wars that ended in Ith's independence.
In recent years, the Archbishop also has become the chief ambassador for Othebea in Ith, offering diplomatic powers in addition to the other political powers of the position.  Memories still echo from when the Archbishop's inquisitors would burn tieflings, pagans and others in the Rose Quarter, sometimes in the forms of ghosts that still haunt.  The Archbishop has never apologized for any of this, maintaining that the Church of the Twins remains focused on helping others and showing them the path illuminated by the Summer Rose and Black Rose.

The Banker has become a prominent ally for the Archbishop. The charities and philanthropic efforts of the Banker often have helped the Archbishop maintain various parts of the faith.  There are those who accuse the Archbishop of being bought; but others ask how else they are to find the funds for the orphanages and other organizations the Church of the Twins maintains in Crux.

The Police Commissioner, despite being enforcing Ith's Laws (and whatever conflicts with the Twins faith that might entail).  The Metropolitan Police are strong allies of the Archbishop, chiefly because a part of their number are members of the faith.  The Commissioner has often acted in concert with the Archbishop, if only to help with recruiting more to the Metro.  The Archbishop helps the Commissioner by providing Clerics for various tasks, out of a need for duty- both the Order of the Black Rose and Summer Rose often seek some sort of civic duty as part of their very natures as faiths.

The Blood Barons are the most unlikely allies of the Archbishop.  Even though the Archbishop commands an order of monster hunters that might hunt or seek to stop them, four of the five elder vampires in Crux are members of the faith of the Twins.  The Inculti are the most fervent in their faith, often recommending some of their dhampir children as deacons or potential clerics for seminary.  Because they believe in the Twins, these vampires work to help the Archbishop out of a need to help affirm that faith.

The Archbishop has long made efforts to spread the faith to others, be they Ursyklon, Maliphi or others, including the  Tengu.  The Prophet of Winds has long seen this as a invasive attack against her people.  Tengu who've "gone crow" are converted Tengu- they've abandoned their people to assimilate into the Church of the Twins and its culture.  Its a derisive subject among the Tengu of both sides, who will refuse to speak to one another.  The Archbishop and the Prophet remain on opposites of this fight for the tengu's faith.

The Maliphi worship the Twins as well, but theirs is a much different version of the faith from the Othebean one.  As such, the Spice Khan and the Archbishop have long been bitter toward one another.  It never has been violent, but most know of the animosity between them.  This is a further extension of their two nations as well; where the Spice Khan represents Maliph, the Archbishop stands for Othebea.  Both mock the other, and both are quick to point to what they perceive as flaws in the other.

The Publisher opposes any religious authority from Othebea, always quick to cite the witch burnings of the past.  But it runs deeper than that.  Ainesia and its Revolution are core to the fervor of the Publisher and what he promotes.  Any traditional authority is something he and his publications oppose.  The Archbishop, however, is fully aware of the Publisher's constant demonizations.  The Church of the Twins has its own newspapers in Crux, promoting a view specifically to counter the yellow journalism of the Publisher.

Sidebar: Joining the Faith of the Twins
The established faith of the Twins places a central part in Othebea.  As such, there is long established series of ways one can join the faith, support it or even work for it.  Each of the classes of Cleric, Inquisitor, Paladin and others have found their own niches, all worth mentioning here.  Race, gender or other origins play no part in taking on these roles, as the Twins "give birth and death to us all."

Deacons, or the Deaconate, are servants, workers and messengers for the Church.  They are the most plentiful.  Many are volunteer deacons- they spend only a part of their time as deacons for the Church, while others find gainful employment as deacons.  Deacons can be of any class, often ones more associated with labor or less divine means, like Ranger, Smith or Bard.

Bishops manage various parts of the church.  The larger the congregation, the more Bishops there are to help maintain the various orders.  Bishops oversee various daily operations, and often report to a higher authority about their specific office and its tasks.  Most often that authority is an Archbishop, such as the one in place in Crux.  Bishops can be of any class, but often are Clerics or Inquisitors.  Clerics act often as Bishops, even when they have no official rank within the church.

Curates are preachers and often deal with congregations on a day to day basis.  Curates the traditional priest who manages his or her flock- they take confession and help conduct minor rites.  Curates are usually Clerics, usually very young or very old.  Although sometimes one might be assigned as a Curate as a punishment- either for something political or perhaps something worse.

Last mentioned here are the Exorcists.  These Clerics, Paladins, Oracles or Inquisitors are "troubleshooters."  Their rank and position often set aside, as they deal with supernatural and other problems first, asking questions later.  Church Exorcists handle different problems based on whether they are of the Summer or Black Rose.  They are the ones who are called by the faithful to deal with ghosts or to deal with a bizarre necromantic curse.