Children’s Crusade

ooc: Below you’ll find the first piece of player written background fiction. Many thanks go to Caroline Feltham for this first piece, she has done great work.But remember the World of Darkness is rarely completely clear, and occasionally entirely contradictory, so if you do fancy writing on a topic that someone else has already written about, please do not feel constrained.For further fiction possibilities, follow this link to the Reset Wiki where we shall be putting up new plot hooks.
Roderick & Rick

Children’s Crusade

To my esteemed colleague Dr Lincoln Golden,

My sincere apologies for disturbing your research. I am aware you said that you were at a critical point but this simply could not wait. I have found something and I am worried. I know this letter reached you as I sent it via the Guild of Marathon, so I shall expect your reply my friend. I simply hope the one who delivered it wasn’t too offensive in mannerisms; the one who took it was somewhat abrupt.As you know, when we met last time, I spoke of the edifice that is the Alder Miller, and his request to unearth, catalog and, at my discretion, destroy or preserve the library at his estate in Northumberland. It is no exaggeration to say that I doubt he has thrown away any piece of paper that passed his desk in nearly three hundred years. There are simply piles and piles of paperwork here, and I’ve only looked through a fraction.

I think I also mentioned, and we had a good laugh regarding, his request for me to document any references to the Children’s Crusade (that was a particularly good vintage we were drinking – please do let me know where you procured it).

Well, I found it. Not just a few documents either.The Alder had an interest in this topic some years ago, and before his last sleep asked a scholar named Joseph Hawkins to collate documents. This Joseph was very effective and amassed a large and impressive collection of documents. I can only assume that during his sleep, this is one memory the Alder has lost.Herein I describe Joseph’s discovery. Please note, I have the original documents and have looked at them, and believe in their veracity. This is real my friend, and that is why I am afraid.The Children’s Crusade is always assumed to be a Covenant, but I have, until now, not known its likely point of creation, nor its likely purpose.At its root is the Kine Crusade in 1212 when something astonishing happened in Northern France. Amid the furore of religious extremism a young boy encourages thousands of young adults to join his Crusade and travel across the Alps to the Mediterranean in the hope of re-capturing Jerusalem. It later became known as the Children’s Crusade, as the average age of the boys was 13/14 (It is important to note at the time of the crusade these would have been considered adults, and it is through a distorted lens we view these actions).Clearly this boy had some sort of abilities. I cannot hazard to explain it, and whatever actually compelled them isn’t of great import. What is important is that several thousand boys crossed the Alps, and thousands of them reached Genoa, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.Kine reports suggest that many settled here, and here their story ends. Another describes two boats which transported a number straight to the slave markets. Others talk of a few fools who tried repeatedly to cross on foot, convinced God would split the ocean for them.It’s here the Kindred story begins: two covenants crash together and in some moment of synergy, a third is born.There is a little island called Gorgona, south of Genoa. For many years there have been stories about strange shapes in the water, fishermen drowning, ghostly voices… It was (and maybe still is?) the home of an ancient. I’ve found a document, referencing a papyrus that mentions a Lady of Gorgona, or the Gorgon…. I would like to call her Circle of the Crone, but potentially she was something more ancient than them…

Joseph’s conclusion was that she and her acolytes were there at the time of the Crusade, and were there when the boys started trying to cross the water on foot.

One of the other things Joseph found reference to, and I have no idea how he brought all these little snippets together – it really is quite extraordinary – is The Sorrows. They appear to be a Lancea Sanctum group that I would think traveled with the boys from France. They seem to be a quite pious and miserable group; some rather awful things have been attributed to them…. but I digress, I am sorry, it’s all so fascinating.

They were there too, and I don’t really know how or why, but it appears the two groups converged on these boys. Perhaps they recognized the fanatics, liked it, enjoyed it and wanted it for themselves? Peaceable or aggressively, it seems there was mass embracing, and others taken as ghouls or retainers.  And at some point, a ghastly amalgamation of the Circle and Lance was born, and took the name of the Children’s Crusade. The Lady is no longer referenced as such, and a new name appears, the Madonna of Livorno, which I believe is the same Alder.

The newly amalgamated Covenant heads to Brindisi, and there they stay.

Now I don’t really know how to write this part. I guess you are probably thinking this all sounds a little too easy. Two covenants merge – that will never happen. The reason I believe it is; I’ve found a document talking about the Heresy of Belem. Now you know why I’m scared, right? The documents no longer exist. The purge was so exhaustive that all copies, plus anyone who even claimed to have read the texts, were either destroyed by the Lance or had a convenient accident.

Joseph proposed that this was an incorrect name. Belem was simply founded too late; tales of the Heresy are much older. No, there was the suggestion that these had to come from Europe. Phonetically, age, and religious terminology all point to Europe as the source. Well, what if it isn’t the Heresy of Belem, but the Heresy of Brindisi? Why it changed I have no idea. Perhaps it was an attempt by the Lance to hide the origins of the text in case their purge had failed to destroy a stray copy? Any searchers would go to the wrong continent.

But rumours have always suggested that the Heresy is an educated blending of the Crone and Lance faiths…

So what happened to them? The Lance’s reaction to the Heresy was quite methodical and exhaustive. Perhaps the Covenant itself garnered the same treatment? Or as the nights progressed, a covenant composed of child kindred had no choice but to hide? Perhaps the Master of the Sorrow and the Gorgon finally disagreed, and the covenant split as abruptly as it had begun.

I don’t know what to do. Should I destroy what I’ve found? Should I keep looking? For all I know the Alder has a copy of the actual Heresies among all this. If the Lance hear about this…

What am I going to do? The Alder will start asking what I’ve found soon.

Help me, what shall I do?
Your good friend,
Benjamin Small
Scholar of the College of Cambridge

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