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Welcome to Gloria Patri. We are a mature, alternate universe, historical RPG that is set in 1492 Rome, Italy. The Borgia Pope now sits in the chair of Saint Peters and rules the country with a proclaimed divine right and an iron fist.

Behind the curtains his children plot and scheme to secure their hold of power. They seek to carve out an empire on the Borgia name. Lies, treachery, murder and lust drive the forces of the Papal States and blood shall run through the streets of Rome.

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 A New Dawn, At the Palazzo Tremoilles
Louis de la Tremoilles
 Posted: Jan 7 2015, 12:21 PM
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6 Posts • N/A Y.O • Members
Played By Nathan


August 1492

Evening was drawing in. After a cloudless day, showing off acre after acre of icy blue sky, tendrils of red and smudges of pink began to taint the vista overhead. The streets were full of the noise of tradesmen closing up for the day, shutters rumbling down and the click of locks. A last few plucky salesmen continued to hawk their wares to those heading home. Apprentices congregated ahead of a night spent at the taverns and brothels of the City. Hooves clattered on the cobbles and the wheels of great carts creaked and groaned under the weight of unsold produce being taken back out to the countryside. Over this noise came the muffled clanging of a great battery of bells, ringing out from the Campaniles and belfries that punched the skyline of Rome. Laughter, cursing, tears, shouts, curses, songs, screams - the music of Rome.

Louis was stood in his study, staring idly out over this moving tapestry of life from the open window. On his desk sat a stack of letters, still to be read. Business, business, business - it never slept, much like the City. A gentle breeze lapped at the crimson curtains, which billowed softly at its touch. Drumming his hands briefly on the window sill he turned on his heel and eased himself into the easy chair behind his desk.

Despite the open windows, the room was still gloomy and he had required his servants to light the candles around his desk. The previous occupant of this Palazzo, a Cardinal who now sang with the Choir Immortal, had had a drab taste - all the walls of this room were daubed in crude religious frescos in sombre colours, making the room even darker. It was on his 'to-do' list to brighten his inner sanctum up.

He lifted the first letter on the desk. His eyes flicked over it quickly - a petition from some local magistrate in the Romagna who claimed Papal troops had despoiled his vinyard and cost him an obviously inflated amount. He tutted to himself and flung the letter into the pile which his clerk would later destroy, unanswered.

Next in the pile were a series of letters, bound together with rough twine. A cursory look at the writing showed that they had come from the Prior of one of the more troublesome monasteries he was titular abbot of. Likely more demands for money to amend a whole litany of problems. He picked up his pen and scribbled a note to his clerk on the upper letter to tell him to send the usual, template 'it is on my mind and I will get round to it shortly' letter.

Next was an altogether different item. Thick vellum parchment of the better sort, rolled into a scroll and sealed with thick, red wax. He brought the scroll closer and examined the seal. It was what he had hoped it wasn't - three fleur-de-lys: the emblem of the Kingdom of France.

He let the scroll fall unopened back onto the top of his desk and idly stroked his beard with one hand, the other one drumming a tattoo on the wooden tabletop. He guessed the contents of the letter already - King Charles VIII (or more realistically, one of his councillors acting in his name) would be asking him in no uncertain terms why a Spaniard had been elected to the Seat of Saint Peter when he had categorically been told by the French Privy Council NOT to allow such an eventuality to take place. Worse still would await if somehow they had found out that he had disobeyed his instructions and actually voted for Borgia. The ballots of the Conclave were meant to be secret - but nothing in Rome is ever secret for long.

He was beginning to grow agitated, wondering what to do with the unopened letter when there came a gentle tap on the door. One of his servants entered and coughed gently.

"Your Eminence, Cardinal Ascanio Sforza Visconti is in the Hall and asks if you are receiving visitors?" the servant asked.

Cardinal Sforza? The Papal Chancellor? A rare occasion that he would deign to make a visit. In fact, to his mind, it had always been Tremoilles who had visited Sforza at his residence, never the other way round. What could this betoken? Trouble, most likely.

"Show him in," Louis replied, "I shall receive him in here - and see that wine is brought in for our guest."
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Ascanio Sforza Visconti
 Posted: Jan 7 2015, 03:35 PM
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5 Posts • N/A Y.O • Members
Played By Nathan


Cardinal Sforza was unfamiliar with the Palazzo Tremoilles. Oh, he recognised it well enough, but he had never set foot inside. Nor had he when it had belonged to its previous owner. Cardinal...oh, he forgot the name, someone who had failed to make their mark in any event.

He had ridden over escorted by his guards, who were now waiting patiently for him in the loggia of the Palazzo. A liveried servant had welcomed the Cardinal in and kindly bade him wait in the hall whilst he went to check that his master was receiving. Sforza knew the answer - no one was not receiving when the Papal Chancellor came to call. Sadly, such things went over the head of servants, so he indulged this one in his wasted mission. Whilst he waited he paced the hallway, the hem of his crimson robe brushing over green and white ceramic tiles, laid in intricate isometic patterns. Clearly Tremoilles was something of a collector of antiquities, as he was displaying several unearthed Roman busts and urns on pedestals set about the hall. One of the walls was covered in a tapestry which time had aged to such an extent that he was unable to work out what the scene was. The other walls were painted in run of the mill, poorly done religious frescos - the baptism of Christ, the Last Supper. Scenes he had seen painted better over a hundred times before.

His investigations were brought to a halt by the return of the servant who asked Sforza to follow him. He was led up a flight of stairs and along a hall and shown into a smaller chamber, lit by candles, and decorated in the same fashion. Behind a desk sat Cardinal Tremoilles. Although burdened by a stack of papers he rose to meet Sforza but he kindly waved him to be seated, and drew up a high backed wooden chair for himself. As he was settling himself and adjust his robes, the door open once more and another servant tottered in, carrying a gold platter with two silver goblets and a silver jug of wine. Silently the servant poured two glasses which he handed with much ceremony to both Cardinals, laying the platter on the desk and retreated to a corner of the room, there to remain inconspicuous.

Sforza and Tremoilles raised their goblets in silent salute. He knew what would be running through the French cardinal's head - he would put money on the fact that the canny Frenchman was wondering why Sforza had come calling. And that would be a very good question for one of the benefits of Sforza's position was that he rarely, if ever, had to be a guest at another's home - they came to him.

So why had he broken the habit? Circumstances, pure and simple. More specifically, the substantially changed circumstances of the Curia. The election of Pope Alexander VI had not been easy. In fact, it had rather served to show quite how divided the Curia was. The French and Spanish were at each others' throats, the Colonna and the Orsini likewise, so too were the Venetians, Florentines and Neapolitans. The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Empire couldn't agree with themselves and no one cared about the English. In fact, it was the very fact that no one could agree on a mutually acceptable candidate that they had in the end decided to allow themselves to be bribed and elect a candidate who all equally disliked - Borgia.

Although he didn't know the details of it yet, he did know that Cardinal Tremoilles had made a good profit out of the Conclave. He had set his little birds to finding out by quite how much. Tremoilles was the leader of the French cardinals and thereby the pro-French faction in the Curia. Sforza wondered how the French Court had taken the news of a Spaniard's election? His eyes settled upon a scroll, embossed with a seal bearing the arms of France. Ahh, there was his answer.

Sforza himself was under pressure from his kinsmen in Milan. His cousin, Ludovico, was determined to receive a Papal blessing to ratify what was essentially a blatant usurpation of the Duchy of Milan from Cardinal Sforza's deranged nephew, Gian Galeazzo. Ascanio had no great love for either Gian or Ludovico, what he was concerned about was how this chaos would be received abroad. The Aragonese in Naples laid hungry eyes on the rich Lombard Duchy and had a tenuous claim they could use. He had notice how the Neapolitans had cosied up with the Venetians, who would be only too happy to help themselves to a chunk of Milan as their price for helping Naples. More worryingly was the fact that the French King, Charles, had a personal blood claim to the Visconti Duchy of Milan. King Charles was a warlike man - a simple man, yes, but one with more money and time than sense and a head full of military, knightly ambitions. Frankly, even a lesser provocation than Ludovico's usurpation would give the French reason enough to intervene in Milan. If they intervened in Milan then why stop there?

If France swept into the Italian peninsular and was allowed to reshuffle and reorder the delicate house of cards that was Italian politics, then the French faction would logically hold more power in the Curia. With increased power and influence came the increased likelihood that the next Pope would be a Frenchman and not...well, not a Sforza. An Ascanio Maria Sforza to be precise.

Therefore, he needed to sound out the little Frenchman on the way the wind was blowing.

He took a sip of his wine. He then broke the silence, indicating with a nod the unopened letter with the French seal.

"News from France, Cardinal Tremoilles?"
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Louis de la Tremoilles
 Posted: Jan 8 2015, 06:24 AM
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6 Posts • N/A Y.O • Members
Played By Nathan


Louis was a relatively quick man - well, you needed to have quick and ready wits if you were to ascend the heirarchy of the Church. Clearly this was what Sforza was after - news of France.

What he wondered now was what exactly was his angle on it? France was the powerhouse of Christendom. Able to field vast armies as well as mustre a sizeable body of cardinals in the Curia. In fact, the French faction of the Curia extended beyond national lines. Ordinarily they could count on the support of the Orsini and the Venetians. Before the House of Aragon had dethroned the House of Anjou in Naples, the Neapolitans used to be friendly to their cause too.

So what was Sforza after? He honestly doubted that he was calling on business of the Pope. Alexander was the sort of person who would summon Louis and demand what he wanted to know from him outright. Not for nothing was the heraldic device of the Borgia's a red bull. They were as powerful as them, but as brutish and ignorant.

Did Sforza then have an agenda of his own to pursue in the Curia? As Chancellor, he weilded a great degree of power and semi-autonomous authority. There were some who whispered that Sforza may even be a suitable successor to the current Pontiff.

Yes, that must be what he was after. He had come here like a hound, sniffing out the scent that France was giving off. Likely he would find it a rotten one. In his recent letters from the French Court he had heard how King Charles VIII was yearning for military glory. He had subdued the Bretons, but had found such a petty campaign insufficient to slake his thirst for la gloire. More alarmingly, he had recently received several claimants of the House of Anjou and various long-dispossessed Angevin lords of Naples. These were dripping poison into his ears, convincing him to try his hand at claiming the Regnio. Was it not the stepping stone to Jerusalem?

What it would be, in fact, was a bloody mess for Italy and a sure fire recipe to drag Christendom into years of bitter internal war.

"Yes, Cardinal Sforza, I do believe it is news from France," Louis said with a wry smile. He picked up the letter, broke the seal and began to examine the contents, under the watchful eye of Sforza.
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Ascanio Sforza Visconti
 Posted: Jan 8 2015, 09:21 AM
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5 Posts • N/A Y.O • Members
Played By Nathan


Sforza sipped his drink as he watched Tremoilles' eyes flit over the letter line by line. Both appeared to be comfortable in the silence, which was only punctuated by the noises of the street outside.

In fairness, his approach to Tremoilles was really more of a courtesy than a necessity. As Papal Chancellor, Sforza had access to a web of informers, spies and turncoats whose missives could fill volumes of elicit information. For instance, and by way of pertinent example, he had a nobleman on Charles VIII's council of state in his pocket. This nobleman, who could for the now remain nameless, was quite willing to part with state secrets in return for a generous regular pension, drawn from Sforza's private coffers. Well, at least they had initially come from there. Now that he was Chancellor he thought it was appropriate to transfer the costs from his purse to that of the Vatican.

So, his little friend in the French Court had told Sforza how Tremoilles was under direct orders from Charles to categorically prevent the election of a Spanish-favouring Pope. Interesting in two regards. Firstly, the fact that Tremoilles was a pawn of the French in Rome would, if such information was made public, likely see him lynched by the citizens, and certainly banned from power by the Pope. Secondly, the very fact that he had chosen to disobey his orders and vote for Borgia meant that something had swayed him. Likely this was money, but Sforza wanted to ease his mind that there was nothing more serious to worry about.

He also knew about the French designs on Naples. He could even go one step further and say that he knew that the French were in preparations for the raising of an army. What they did not yet have was the right cause for war. What they really wanted was Papal blessing. For over three hundred years the Kingdom of Naples had been a titular Papal fief - whose Crown was in the gift of the Pope. When the Norman dynasty had offended the Popes, they placed the crown on the heads of the Hohenstaufen and when they in turn displeased the Papacy they were replaced with the House Anjou and then Aragon. They wanted Papal blessing now and most likely they would try and use Tremoilles to get the Pope to do this. How he would be expected to part a Spanish Pope from a Spanish royal house would be an interesting idea.

As Tremoilles neared the end of the letter he noticed a small frown grow on his face.

"Bad news, Cardinal?"
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Louis de la Tremoilles
 Posted: Jan 8 2015, 10:56 AM
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6 Posts • N/A Y.O • Members
Played By Nathan


"Oh, not at all, not at all," Louis replied, feigning levity.

The truth was that the letter had disturbed him a little. Judging my the wry smile on Sforza's face it was likely that the bastard knew what was in here already. That would not surprise him. Or maybe he didn't! That would explain his unexpected arrival.

The letter was from the pen of King Charles himself. He could tell my the King's atrocious handwriting. The King was clearly enraged as Louis had never known him to send a letter longer than three or four lines. This nearly ran to a full sheet.

The King opened by his sense of rage and betrayal that Louis had proved incapable of preventing a Spaniard from being elected to the Seat of Saint Peter. Several lines were then devoted to the cowardice and avarice of priests. This venting was made more sinister by a tacit hint that Louis' success in Rome had a direct impact on his family's success (and maybe even their very safety) back in France. That had made his blood run cold. Louis well knew that King Charles was unhinged - he well believed that he was capable of anything. If he found out that Louis had blatantly disobeyed him then he dreaded to think what may await his brothers.

The letter had then modified its tone slightly. Recognising that the battle for the election was lost, the King remained confident that they could still win the war of Papal favour. Yes, Borgia was a Catalan my birth and so a subject of King Ferdinand of Aragon. However, Ferdinand and Isabella, the joint monarchs of the zealously Catholic Castille and Aragon would likely be loath to honour a Pope who flagrantly flaunted his bastard family. King Charles, however, was a more liberal man. He was no stranger to bastards and the pleasures of the flesh. It was said he kept on his person a book containing the portraits of all his mistresses. When the mood took him he would flick through this catalogue and select which one caught his passing fancy.

With these 'liberal' notions in mind, the King recognised that if Borgia was one thing he was a doting and besotted Father. The letter instructed Louis to seek a private meeting with the Pontiff and make it clear to him that the King of France would be pleased to bestow a French ducal title upon Juan Borgia and find an aristocratic match for the young Lucrezia. All he asked for in return was Papal favour...and for the rights of the French crown to Naples to be heard in open court before the Pope himself. In so doing, the House of Aragon's tenuous hold on Naples would be given a public airing, much to their detriment.

And the King expected him to do this all himself. Just have a private meeting with the Pope, sway him from the habit of a lifetime, organise a public affront to the House of Aragon which could well lead to war and do all this in the face of hostile factions in the Curia and the nobility. He didn't ask for much, did he?

Louis decided to essay some honesty with Sforza - sinking a line out to see how far this slippery fish would bite.

"His Most Christian Majesty Charles VIII is concerned that the Holy Spirit may have perhaps been misguided in steering the Conclave to elect Rodrigo Borgia as Pope. He suggests that this election may have been better suited to a candidate less objectionable to the interests of a united Christendom and is, if anything, more likely to push existing divisions further rather than closer."
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Ascanio Sforza Visconti
 Posted: Jan 9 2015, 05:46 AM
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5 Posts • N/A Y.O • Members
Played By Nathan


"Does he indeed?" asked Sforza rhetorically.

What Tremoilles was saying in the subtext was exactly what he already knew - namely that the French were irate about the appointment of a Spaniard. Any fool could have told you that. The only thing they would have hated more was an English Pope.

So how would the French react to this now that the damage was already done? Were they plotting a body of organised resistance within the Curia?

"I trust then, Cardinal Tremoilles, that His Most Christian Majesty is now reconciled to the decision of the Holy Spirit? Far be it from mortal men, Kings included, to question the ineffable mysteries of the ways in which God moves."

He finished his wine and set the goblet down on the table. The servant roused himself to fill it up again but Sforza halted him with the wave of a hand and the servant retreated to his corner.

"What I also hope is that King Charles can be prevailed upon to accept the decision of the Conclave with all the good grace becoming of a King and will not take any actions which may...how shall we put it...prove detrimental to the stability of this Papacy and the peace of Italy. Do you understand?"
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Louis de la Tremoilles
 Posted: Jan 9 2015, 07:46 AM
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6 Posts • N/A Y.O • Members
Played By Nathan


So he had been right - the Cardinal was here to see whether Charles would take the election of Borgia lying down. The letter which Louis had just read made it clear that he only would on certain terms. The question now was whether Louis ought to impart this information to Sforza.

No, he decided that he would not. Such would not be a wise course of action. If Sforza knew that the French sought to flatter the Pope away from Spain, with the decided intention of opening up war in Italy he would likely cling to his own family interests.

The Sforzas had a vested interest in keeping the French out of Italy. They most certainly didn't want the French rummaging around and opening up long forgotten claims because one of the first they would come across was the strong claim to the Duchy of Milan. A claim, he hastened to point out, which was much stronger than that which the Sforzas used. So, if the French came into Italy they would likely, sooner or later, oust that family from Milan.

So, it now appeared that Tremoilles was pitted against Sforza - the former requiring French intervention, the latter determined to keep it out.

"Well, Chancellor, I cannot speak for the French King's mind. I do know, however, that there is nothing he wants above all things than for the peace of Christendom and its unity so that it may turn itself to the threat of the heathen Turk on our doorsteps. It is that very notion which he writes to me about, and would have me arrange a private conference with His Holiness at his earliest convenience. I can say that, as far as I am aware, King Charles has no intentions of upsetting the balance of Italy and visiting those rulers with whom he may have grounds for dispute. Do you understand?"
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