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  1. The official recordkeeper of Pope Gregory IX, Julian of Minot, kept an extremely detailed record of the Pope’s life, but his most detailed record is of the Synod of Trinity. The manuscript has been preserved for hundreds of years. Trinity, the Sanctum Imperium Catholicum April 24, Year of Our Lord 1551 Our Lady’s Cathedral The stiff humid air hung over the huge gathering of clergy like a blanket. Cardinals and bishops around the world originating from the Iberic Empire to Tagmatium and beyond, numbering some thousand, were crammed into the expansive Our Lady’s Cathedral. The noise was incredible- thousands of people, including some support staff consisting of nuns and sisters- talking in various tones of confusion, stress, boredom, annoyance, and excitement. A word between two people had to be shouted into the ear, the din combining the heat crushing any who would enter, audible to the guards outside and to anybody who walked within half a mile. All of a sudden, the church bells tolled. First quietly, then growing louder and faster, before becoming a constant clang over the roaring voices of the assembly. The voices died down, listening to the banging of church bells, until as quickly as they came they fell away. The clergy were seated in ascending rows that came down from the sides, as well as up on the second level and in front of the altar. Behind the altar were two ornate and very decorative thrones, one for each patriarch of their respective churches. In between them both, set back, was a large statue of the Virgin Maiden, holding the baby Jesus and looking upwards to the Heavens. The stunning beauty of the thrones and massiveness of the statue was enough to take the breath away of many that visited the cathedral. A stout friar walked in front of the altar, prostrated before it, then rose and bellowed in a loud and strong voice. “All rise.” All present obeyed, a roar echoing out from the action, the creaking of wood accompanying it. The friar paused for a moment before continuing. “In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, Amen. Esteemed Servants of God, we convene in this holy spot in the Great Synod of Trinity, as ordained by His Most Holiness Pope Gregory IX of the Salvian Church, Vicar of Christ, Successor of the Prince of Peace, Diarchic Pontiff of the Universal Church, Archbishop of Deopolis, jointly with His Most Holiness, Patriarch Hilarius XVI, Bishop of Madrí, Vicar of the Messiah, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Diarchic Pontiff of the Universal Church, Archbishop of Intreimor, Servant of the Servants of God.” The friar paused once more, before beginning to chant, a chorus of nuns and friars joining in. All eyes turned to two different sets of doors on either side of the altar, the chant announcing them like lordly kings, and the many icons and stained-glass windows of saints and other holy people watching with the assembly. The door swung open, a column three across of priests and other holy men began to process out. Many had holy water, sprinkling it on the crowd. Other carried incense, burning it in a spherical chamber closed and attached to a chain, the priests gently swinging it to let the incense burn and waft out into the air. The already hot and stuffed air only worsened as the incense burned and hung over. In the front of both processions came a priest carrying a banner. On both held the Chi-Rho, while each also had another their own sign below it- on the Salvian, a dove, and on the Tacolic, a taco. On both, above the Chi-Rho, had a picture of the Holy Family. Followed behind the banners came the patriarchs, heads bowed and hands clasped in prayer. The banners came in line with the altar before turning towards it, processing to the front of it, and stopping. They hung next to each other, motionless. Some of the processors came to stand in front of some benches in front of the altar- those with incense came to the altar, circled around it while swinging their incense, before finally kissing the altar and standing behind both patriarchs, the smoke continuing to rise into the air. The procession marked the beginning of the synod, a thing that touched any present in the assembly and moved any with just an inkling of faith to devout and pious acts. The Virgin Mary sat quietly, observing the assembly with a caring maternal stare. The patriarchs walked to the front of the altar and prostrated in front of it. The chant finished, and their was total silence. They lay there in prayer for minutes, before finally rising, kissing the altar, and walking behind the altar to their thrones. The assembly sat. Another minute passed before Pope Gregory rose from his throne and walked towards the front of the altar. He was dressed in his full papal garbs, his hat sitting on top of his bald head and the staff loosely gripped. An older man in his 60s, the pope seemed troubled as he cleared his throat, took a large breath, and began to speak. “My dearest brothers in Christ, Shepard of your flock, you come from the many corners of the wurld. From the Iberic Empire to Limonaia, south to Aurelia, to Marenesia, north to Europa, and even the far reaches of Thalassa, you slaves of Christ have come to this most dire and important Synod of our holy Church. For while our Church grows in both faith and outreach, the wurld is simultaneously attacked by evil forces. Wickedness and heresy, from the most evil Lucifer, are cultivated in people and nations around the Eurth. I am of course talking about the ever-growing threats of the Yellow Empire [@Fulgistan] and Sultanate of @Sayf. These nations, home to demon-worship, heresy, sodomy, hedonism, and many other wicked evils, are rapidly expanding, pushing out native Christians, slaughtering them, and spreading their wickedness across the New Wurld. As good Christians, we cannot sit by and let Christian land be taken by the forces of Satan.” His speech continued for much longer- a rallying cry for all Catholics to join their Christian brethren on an attack of wicked evils. Men shifted in their seats attentive to every word that left his lips, nodding in agreement, shaking in anger, or yelling their support. “A crusade, needed to beat back the forces of Hell, must be rallied! The only thing stopping the wickedness of Lucifer from taking over the wurld is God’s only Church! Rally your kings, lords, barons into battle, for they shall be rewarded richly in the kingdom of Heaven! Deus Vult!” At this, the assembly erupted in cheers and shouts, clapping and whooping, the loud din from before returning once more as chatter quickly swept through the assembly once more. The stout friar once more returned to bellow at them to remain silent. Many Iberican cardinals stood and began to list their concerns. (Here Julian paraphrases much of the Iberian Tacolic concerns and the counterarguments, summarizing them in a basic sentence. Authors from after Julian’s death have added in the margins, and with historical context in mind, edited it to fit the many problems they faced in as small a space as possible. This is most likely not literally what they said.) “We face much civil and political troubles in the Iberic Empire. A greater tithe will most certainly upset the populace, and the barons and lords will most undoubtedly be divided over whether to send their men to a crusade.” Other cardinals rose to protest and support these concerns, while still other Tacolic cardinals rose and debated with them, arguing it was for Christendom and that civil and political strife were triumphed by the orders of God and the dual papacy. (Here the writings are faded and illiterate. Looking back on the history, it is known that the cardinals of the Tacolic faith, specifically the Ibericans, remianed privately split throughout the crusade, although those who sided with the Salvians and other Tacolics threw their full support behind it and led barons and lords into battle.) (Julian continues) The debate ran for many hours before both sides had been tired out. The dissenting cardinals submitted. Both pontiffs rose from their seats, and with a nod of approval from the Iberian patriarch, Pope Gregory turned towards the assembly, and cried out. “A papal bull, signed by these Vicars of the Most High, Jesus Christ, declare the crusade to retake the Christian lands and put an end to the Yellow Empire and Sayfi Sultanate, shall bless and declare these crusades a quest of God.” A few assistants came up with a sheet of paper with writing on it, ink, quills, and both pontiffs’ seals as the two signed the document and gave it their seal. “Seek glory in God! Deus Vult!” The assembly erupted, louder then ever before, as the great bells rang out in a courageous call. The screams and cries of the cardinals rang out, heard by those even in the outer reaches of the city a mile away and farther. “Deus Vult! Deus Vult! Deus Vult!”
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