“Beware, many a man have been burned for much less!”
The words of Pontifex Conrad to Roland the Proud.
Pontifex Conrad became the new head of the Church of Emrys, the Only God, in the Empire. He was elected the head of the church after a rather long period of decline for both the church and the Empire.
The previous pontifex, Pius XIII, was not really respected among the people. They accused him of all manner of offences that he indulged together with Emperor Maximilian, who was no less lubricious and whom the capital residents named the Emperor of Two Suns for his love of luxury and jewellery. Pius XIII suffered terrible fate. When the cataclysm caused by the breath of Vortirus descended upon Signum, Emperor Maximilian hid in the Iron Nest citadel under the protection of the Praetorian guard and ordered that services to Emrys were held night and day, in order to propitiate the wrath of the god. But sirenic singing and burning precious incenses were not able to feed the common people or provide shelter for them. Riots broke out in every corner of the destroyed country. The Emperor ignored any calls for help and anarchy swept the country lying in ruins.
The desperate people blamed the unchaste pontifex for everything that was going on. A crowd of citizens, who burst into the temple during a service, tore Pius XIII apart. A lot of high-standing church dignitaries died with him.
After this catastrophe the church of Emrys was almost squeezed of existence. Only a person with iron will and faith in his heart could win back its prior authority and influence. Father Conrad did not have an affluent family or connections in the Iron Nest. But his cunning mind, preacher’s eloquence and fanatical faith helped him take over the leadership in the church. The new pontifex sent hundreds of preachers to city streets, and they started collecting their honey as industrious bees. People willingly listened to the sermons delivered by the monks right in the middle of bustling streets and squares. Very soon thousands of adepts returned to the church.
Conrad created military squads of zealots — ardent faith champions — from the most devoted monks. Thus he got his hands on a powerful weapon — an army of fanatics.
Pontifex Conrad turned out to be a very ambitious and power-hungry man. Having conquered power in the capital with the help of the Illuminati Order and zealots, he announced the creation of a new Theocratic empire of the Only God. From now on the head of the church ruled the state. Inquisition courts started operating around the country, ruthlessly exterminating any heterodoxy by fire and sword. Pontifex Conrad declared all “non-humans” — representatives of other races — enemies of the church. This led to a new civil war. Only intervention of the Templar Order helped Roland and grypharims, his allies, defeat pontifex Conrad and the church in this war. Pontifex Conrad was forced to accept the power of Emperor Demian over the church and submit to the demands of Roland the proud. But this man’s strength in the empire is still indisputable. Pontifex Conrad firmly stands for the interests of the Church of Emrys. And he still looks at the young emperor and grypharims, his allies, with resentment.