“If I may continue,” Bishop Anselm coughed with feigned humility. “Philip of Swabia has made clear his intentions to revisit the investiture controversy. Such a claim serves only to undermine apostolic succession.”
Gherardus released a wearisome sigh. “The Concordat of Worms decided that issue once and for all.”
“My Lord Gherardus, the concordats we draft and the laws we implement are no better than the wind itself, apt to shift this way and that, burst asunder in a storm of passion. Commandments need roots…” – Excerpt from THE CRYSTAL CRUX – BETRAYAL by AM WERNER
For those willing to read Historical Fantasy, a passing knowledge of history often helps the readers understanding. If you read general Epic Fantasy, you’ll find the authors creating complex histories that never really did exist, and often times they have the characters speak of these things without elaborating on them. We simply take them as knowledge the character possesses that we don’t need to really understand.
In THE CRYSTAL CRUX series, I will do the same thing with my characters, have them speak and talk of matters that the reader may or may not fully comprehend or understand. These issues give the characters greater depth and help reveal a big world around them that even they can’t control or manipulate.
Some fantasy, in my mind, tends to go to the extreme, and the powers of the character are too extreme, and there seem to be little to no limitations. They may face a foe but there aren’t necessary bigger worlds and forces that dictate to them. I believe that establishing that broader world, makes them more real, more human, and easier to identify with.
In the scene I excerpted above, Lord Gherardus Fabbro is meeting with Bishop Anselm who represents the Roman Catholic Church. It is a secret meeting and there are two plots being addressed.
First – there is the larger plot, the one that is more universal and will effect all of Europe. The year 1197 saw the death of both the Pope and the Emperor. The new pope, Innocent III, tried to influence Europe with Catholicism and used the discord over the choosing of the next Holy Roman Emperor to his advantage. He convinced many, especially in Italy, that the election of Otto IV or Otto of Brunswick, was necessary. Most of the Germans supported Philip of Swabia, the late Emperor’s brother and a direct descendant of the much despised Frederick Barbarossa and House Hohenstaufen. They were sure that Philip meant to re-address the investiture controversy which decided who appointed church officials and lands – the Church or the Emperor. Both had enormous investments in these. This was the real power of medieval Europe – land and those who controlled it. The first plot is minor to the actual story I wrote but it gives my characters motivation for what they do.
Second – the smaller plot, the one the story centers around, is petty greed, jealousy and hate. It is 1198 and early in the year, Pero de Alava had a physical altercation with Parthenope’s native son, the Castellan of the city, Rugerius Fabbro. Pero was victorious but his victory came with a price. He had sworn allegiance to Philip in a room full of people supporting the Church and Otto. There was an incredible surplus of hate for Pero created in that moment. This secret meeting, for the characters in my story, is acknowledgement of their plans to destroy Pero, using his support of Philip as a reason. In truth, they don’t give a damn about Philip or Otto or anything happening on an international level. They are aware but that is all.
So the discussion between Gherardus Fabbro and Bishop Anselm tends to disintegrate quite easily. As I stated, the things happening internationally are secondary to Gherardus, so he mocks the Church officials zeal to bear light and carry forth righteousness. In fact, Gherardus isn’t all that enthused about their plans to destroy Pero because he actually likes Pero.
When Bishop Anselm brings up the investiture controversy, Gherardus doesn’t want to hear about it. He remembers the Concordat of Worms which was signed in 1122 – in the city of Worms, that supposedly straightened out the controversy. Bishop Anselm expresses Pope Innocent’s concerns that Philip won’t uphold the treaty.