So now that we've gotten are first look at 2E Theah, I have some ideas about the history and tweaks to the present I want to share. One major change is that rather than "no Hierophant" in the present, which is a bit too similar to the lack of an Eisen Imperator plot for my own purposes, I went with moving the "Avignon Captivity"/"Western Schism" to the 17th Century...
- Modern Iksander was the Ancient City of Parth. Numa fought three great “Parthic Wars”. The first was a naval battle for control of the Widow Sea that Numa won. The second was a land invasion of Theah by Parth, up through the mountains of Ussura using mammoths. After a Thermapoly-style standoff, Numa successfully repelled the invasion of the Vodacce mainland. The third was Numa’s siege of Parth itself (Trojan War based). Caius Phillipus Mercer was the victorious general, who returned to Numa on the shield of his forces, lifted up as Imperator. The Senators strike the Bargain in response (creating the Porte and Sorte bloodlines at very least). The monarch of Ussura today is called the Caius after the vanquisher of the Parthic Empire, and the Imperator who reigned at odds with the Senators the First Prophet spoke against.
- Imperator Constance of the Western Empire combines the roles of Charlemagne and Constantine. He accepted the Second Prophet, calling a great Council of the Church to justify the teachings of the First and Second Prophets together. He also launched the First Crusade against what became the Crescent Empire in response to the death of the Second Prophet. The royal families of western Theah all claim some degree of descent from him.
- Jacob Heilgrund de Aldana replaces "Reifenstahl" in the setting as Imperator Jacob V of the Holy Republic, and King Jacobo II of Castille. He assumed the title of King-Consort of Avalon through marriage to Queen Margaret (Elaine’s elder, devoutly Vaticine, half-sister). He waged the 30 Years War, during which an Objectionist rebellion forced him and Margaret to flee Avalon, resulting in a fanatically-Objectionist Protectorate on the island. They spent the next 10 years in Castille building an armada capable of reclaiming Avalon. Before it could be used however (though not before a failed Castillian-backed bomb plot against the Protectorate), Margaret passed away from natural causes. When she did, Elaine reappeared in Avalon with the Graal – at the same time that the Lord Protector was leading Objectionist forces to colonize Inismore. Elaine and the returning Sidhe threw their support behind Mad Jack O’Bannon, who beat the Lord Protector to death in man-to-man combat. Shortly there-after, O’Bannon and King James MacDuff recognized Elaine as first among equals for their triple-monarchy, while hardline Objectionists began fleeing west over the sea. Rebuffing marriage proposals from Montaigne and the united Castille/Holy Republic, Elaine unleashed the Sea Dogs as protectors of the Glamour Isles. In response, Jacob unleashed the Armada. Their defeat would be marked as the final turning of the tide in the 30 Years War outside of Eisen.
(part of the advantage of the above is it makes Elaine's reign a "Restoration" after the fashion of the Stewart Restoration from which the era derives its names and courtly/artistic themes, while also leaving her Queen Elizabeth and King Arthur)
With Montaigne backing the Objectionists (out of then-King Leon Alexandre du Montaigne’s rivalry with Jacob and House Heilgrund), rising border skirmishes resulted in the Hieophant traveling to Montaigne to try and negotiate a peaceful settlement. She was quickly made a “guest” of the Sun Court, and coronated Leon “l’Empereur” . The naked hostage taking of the Hierophant horrified Vaticine Theah and escalated conflict as the nobility of Montaigne became free to practice sorcery without fear of excommunication.
Finally the 30 Years War came to a close with the suicide of Imperator Jacob V. Without a free Hierophant to coronated a successor Imperator, the Holy Republic remains disjointed kingdoms licking their wounds. The Crown of Castille passed to Jacobo’s maternal nephew Sandoval de Aldana, only 11 at the time.
Now three separate voices claim leadership of the Vaticine Church. The “guest of l’Empereur” continues to issue pro-Montaigne bulls claiming leadership of the Church; the College of Cardinals in Castille recognizes her as the living Hierophant, but do not recognize the authority of her proclamations from her current position (this is the faction that includes Verdugo under which the Inquisition operates with impunity); and a break away minority of Cardinals who have elected a new Hierophant to fill the power vacuum, who has been forced to leave Castille for Vodacce to avoid Verdugo’s wrath. This third faction opposes Montaigne’s sorcery and invasion of Castille, but also would reign in Verdugo and Inquisition (and is favored by the Invisible College).
- Verdugo was allowed during the 30 Years War to hunt down heresy within Castille with unprecedented authority, targeting Objectionists and the Crescent faith. Since the death of King Jacobo II and the captivity of the Hierophant, he has gone further off the rails. He has proclaimed all scholarship by non-Vaticine faithful to be heretical (as only those with faith in Theus can unravel His mysteries), and burnings of Crescent scholarship in Castille (which the majority of alchemical texts are) have been catastrophic. Furthermore possession of such texts and basing research on them is heretical. He also draws strict delineation between the “natural world” that is to be studied to unravel Theus’ riddle, and the “unnatural” that is blasphemy to study. Any empirical research into sorcery or magical entities is blasphemy of the highest order. [this is a slight change because "all research is evil" strains my suspension of disbelief. This creates a clearer agenda in Verdugo's persecution of the sciences]
- While the reality is that Vodacce is governed by its Merchant Princes, the territory is officially divided between different royal Theahn powers. Vestini, Mondavi, Caligari, and Falisci are all Prince Electors of the Holy Republic. Even when there is an Imperator though, their Vodacce “konigreiche” are effectively self-governing. Similarly Lucain and Villanova are sworn to the Crown of Castille, but even when there’s a King in his majority, they enjoy relatively little interference (though Verdugo is interested in changing that). During the lifetime of Imperator Jacob V/King Jacobo II, Vodacce was the most politically united it’d been on a map since the glory days of Numa. Finally the island citystate of Bartoulis is a sovereign pseudo-republic, but where voting rights are proportional to land ownership, making the Bernoulli family unchallenged in their dominance of it.