“Remember that, however wicked you may have been, you have now the chance to win pardon for all your sins. He who strikes a blow to rescue the Holy Sepulchre from the pollution of the unbelievers has thrown open the door of heaven for himself.”-Peter the Hermit
It is the year 1171, between the Second and Third Crusades. Nearly a hundred years have passed since Pope Urban called for holy war at Clermont and the gathered crowds responded: “God wills it!” The Western residents of the Crusader states have managed to establish stable settlements throughout the length of the Levant, though raids by local mountain tribes and the Seljuqs to the East continue to threaten pilgrims to the Holy Land. To the south, the last Fatimid caliph has fallen to the new Sultan of Egypt: Saladin. King Amalric has journeyed to Constantinople to request Byzantium’s help against the increasingly united forces of the Saracens, but no help is coming. Already, Saladin’s forces have begun to claim territory in the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
Even here, thirty miles north of the Sea of Galilee, the news is clear: war will come again to the Holy Land.
Atop the summit of a rocky mountain, a hard day’s journey east from the major roads that run south to Jerusalem, the modest fortress of Domus Boni Latronis stands near the frontier of Crusader territory. Allegedly, it marks the birthplace of the Good Thief, who was crucified alongside Jesus but repented before his death. Now, it is a lesser-known pilgrimage site for desperate sinners seeking redemption as well as the headquarters of a small garrison of Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, known to most as the Templars.
Fort Latronis seems an odd place to house a squadron of Christendom’s elite warriors in these uncertain times. The frontier is a dangerous place, and the Templars are dedicated to the protection of pilgrims, certainly… but the site is so obscure, its location so isolated. The Templars’ vows of obedience discourage active questioning of their leaders, so they continue their daily routines of praying, escorting pilgrims, and maintaining their readiness to battle the Saracens.
It will soon become clear that there is something older and far more malevolent in these mountains than Mohammedans. Something that the Order hopes to harness as a weapon in the war for the Holy Land– if it does not destroy them all, Christian and Saracen alike.
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Scenes played: 19
License: Community License