The Fate of Golden Antioch
The year is 1193, and the Levant is in chaos.
Among those who took the cross and came to the Holy Land to free Jerusalem a few have been gifted with amazing powers. These individuals, whether cursed or blessed, have changed the course of history.
Now, denounced and vilified by the Pope, they have but few options. They can submit to the savage mercy of the Church and hope for absolution, or they might hope to live in secret and eke out a modest life, always fearing discovery and the inquisition. Others choose to fight, some for power or riches and others for freedom.
Amidst the chaos Bohemond, the newly revealed, immortal prince of Antioch has declared his city a refuge for the hunted and hopes to rally to him enough of his new kin to withstand the wrath of the Church.
A Brief Timeline
- 1096 The first crusade is launched by Pope Urban II. It will found the crusader states of Antioch, Jerusalem, Tripoli and Edessa.
- 1098 Bohemond conquers Antioch during the first crusade.
- 1099 Jerusalem falls to the crusaders, who promptly massacre the Jewish and Saracen population. Godfrey of Bouillion becomes leader in Jerusalem but refuses to wear a crown as king in the city where Christ wore a crown of Thorns.
- 1145 The second crusade is called by Pope Eugene III in response to the fall of Edessa to Saracen armies. The crusading armies are routed from a disastrous siege of Damascus. The blame for the sieges failure is placed on a warlock, the unfortunate man is executed before any investigation of his powers can be made.
- 1189 The third crusade is called as Saladin conquers Jerusalem, Acre and Tripoli. Richard the Lionheart, Phillip II of France and Conrad of Montferrat leave for the Holy land by ship. Frederick, the Holy Roman Emperor known as Barbarossa travels by land with a massive army of his countrymen.
- 1190 Barbarossa falls from his horse while crossing the river Selaph and dies, the crusaders hear no further from either him or his army. King Guy of Jerusalem is released from a Saracen prison. He promptly rallies the remains of the army of Jerusalem and assaults Acre.
- 1191 The armies of Richard, Phillip II and Conrad join King Guy and continue the assault on Acre. They make no headway until a knight in service to Richard manifests amazing powers. With the aid of this knight Acre is taken, but Richard quarrels with his allies over who should rule. Phillip II and Conrad leave the Holy Land and bring the tale of the sorcerer-knight to the Pope in Europe.
- 1192 Richard continues his conquests in the Holy Land using the abilities of his empowered servant. As the fighting grows more fierce more of his soldiers develop powers, as do some of their enemies. Richard is eventually able to retake Jerusalem and reinstate King Guy. In Europe, at the urging of Phillip II and Conrad, the Pope denounces all of those with unsanctioned powers, excommunicating both them and any lord who harbors them. Witch hunts are held across Europe, although many of those tried for unnatural powers are whisked away by members of the Inquisition to an unknown fate.
- 1193 Bohemond ‘the third’ reveals himself to be the original Bohemond who conquered Antioch in 1098, kept alive by powers he manifested almost a century ago. He declares Antioch a free city, open to Muslim, Christian and Jew as well as any with powers who would agree to aid in the defence of the city. In Jerusalem King Guy is assassinated by a Nizari ismali assassin and the city descends into chaos. Richard takes his army out of Jerusalem and heads for Alamut to exact revenge upon the assassin. Across the Holy Land word of an approaching fleet from Europe spreads and in June of 1193 it is spotted heading towards Acre. All contact is lost with Acre soon afterwards and on the night of the 16^th^ June a rain of white fire is seen over the city.