The evening of December fifth was going to pass into history as one of the most memorable nights in recent memory. In Lotharingia there was a wholesale massacre taking place in a small border garrison, and this would prove to have a good many implications. But an even more dramatic occurrence was being revealed in Fanolania. Specifically in Refuge du Rouge, the opulent palatial home of the Archbishop of Avondace, Robert Richelier. This was not just a magnificent chateau filled with priceless treasures that the head of the Fanolanian Church had managed to hoard away for himself. It was also a heavily fortified and well-defended stronghold that was defended by the Garde Ecclésiastique. It was here at this estate that Richelier spent an increasing amount of his time.
On this particular night, however, there was something terrible afoot in the Refuge du Rouge. Nobody there could explain what had happened save that the Archbishop went completely off his gourd. Shortly after dinner the Archbishop retired to his private suite and only moments later there was a piercing scream. The paladins and men-at-arms of the Garde Ecclésiastique responded immediately and were met with the full fury of the enraged Archbishop. He cast a number of spells at them and even took a swing at some of them with his ceremonial mace. While a number of the guards were injured, some of them quite severely, they were able to overwhelm him to the point that they could subdue him. Richelier continued to shriek the darkest and most profane curses upon everyone within earshot.
Word went out quickly to King Carlobar Martel that there was a crisis brewing at Refuge du Rouge. The Royal Musketeers were dispatched immediately along with a detachment of the Knights of the Domaine led by the High Cleric. Knights of the Crown were ordered to surround and secure the Refuge du Rouge and prevent curious locals from prying into whatever was happening. Knights of the Hammer took custody of the Archbishop who was still acting completely unhinged when the reinforcements arrived, and Knights of the Iris began to delve into whatever must have triggered this complete and total mental breakdown of Robert Richelier.
It was past midnight when the Knights of the Domaine had fully secured Richelier in chains at the royal prison in Avondace. Not long after that King Carlobar Martel stripped Richelier of his titles and convened an emergency council to address the situation. By sunrise the next day a new Archbishop of Avondace was selected by the king, and word began to spread like wildfire among the bishoprics that a dramatic change in leadership had been made. After a day of reflection and self-appraisal the collective of bishops and other high-ranking clergy had to determine where they would align individually. Complicating things were the revelations being made by the Knights of the Domaine as to specific heresies that the former Archbishop had seemingly embraced. Anyone wishing to seek to defend Richelier was now having to reckon with defending his unsavory tendencies and questionable theology. There were a couple of bishops that found themselves on the wrong side of this equation and were summarily arrested by the Knights of the Hammer and incarcerated pending further investigations.
This is how in one long, terrible night the power dynamics of Fanolania shifted. The new Archbishop of Avondace is Gerard Mallet, the former Bishop of Rhys, a devout royalist and respected man of the cloth. All movements within the Church of Fanolania to align itself more closely to the Holy Imperium Church were abruptly halted and reversed. Any clerics, paladins, priests, monks, nuns, and other clergy that resisted these changes were immediately arrested by the Knights of the Hammer and turned over to the Knights of the Iris for further investigations. The King himself issued a declaration to the whole of Fanolania announcing that there had been a “critical change in the leadership and direction of the Church” and announced the ascension of Archbishop Mallet. A special holiday was set aside for the following weekend in order to give the faithful a chance to give thanks and rejoice in the new leadership of the Fanolanian Church.
It looks as though the Knights of the Iris are going to need a lot more time to piece together why all of this happened in the first place.