How the West was One
The Martyrology of Theoblanc, Holy Saint of Rokarism

First published in Proceedings in Malkionism
Copyright © 1994 by Michael O'Brien

[This is the account I wrote about my exploits in Reaching Moon Megacorp's splendid LARP How the West was One, played at Convulsion 1994 in Leicester, England. I played the role of the Theoblanc the Pious, leader of the Rokari faith in this game, which was set at the Seventh Malkioni Council in Sog City. I have never had more fun roleplaying in a LARP!]

Translator's Note: This document was written by the young curate Guidiam du Tanis, who served as Theoblanc's factotum at the Seventh Malkioni Council. Guidiam's family secured his appointment with a fine gift of imported seafood, and following the Ecclesiarch's murder by King Guilmarn Guidiam penned this polemic in defense of his master, hoping to elevate his demise to a martyrdom and Theoblanc to sainthood. Guidiam assumed Prince Romaine's plot against his father would succeed - when King and Son were reconciled, publication of The Martyrology of St Theoblanc was quietly dropped.

This Martyrology is written for the glory of the invisible god and to venerate the memory of the late Ecclesiarch of Rokarism, Theoblanc the Pious, martyred for his faith at the hands of Guilmarn, the fat and greedy King of Seshnela. It is written to counter the lies being spread about Theoblanc's conduct during his last days at the Seventh Ecclesiastical Council at Sog City, spread no doubt by the king agent's in a pathetic and vain attempt to blacken this holy man's flawless reputation for piety, spirituality and moral probity and therefore somehow justify the king's actions.

While it is true that Theoblanc forgot to vote at the traditional vote of unity at the beginning of the Council due to pressing business elsewhere, some claim that St Theoblanc's sudden decline into senile dotage on the third day of the Council was due to his immortality spells wearing off. Such lies! Theoblanc's longevity was due to his piety and innate holiness, for surely St Rokar himself would not permit a user of forbidden magic to attain the holy rank of ecclesiarch? Nay, I suspect foul means caused the holy saint's decrepitude! Dismiss from your minds the possibility that Theoblanc was using proscribed immortality magic; the true cause was Tapping! While a case could be made for the legitimate tapping of peasants (with the consent of the peasant's lord, of course), only the foulest heretic would dare contemplate tapping a Wizard (and the Ecclesiarch himself, no less!). I suspect the hand of that most disloyal and disgraced bishop Fidele: did he not recoil from Theoblanc in terror and revulsion claiming he too did not want to be Tapped (how did he know?). Fortunately though, by Wild-day Theoblanc was back to his old self. I ascribe this miraculous cure not to a sudden meal of Arktanian Oysters, but as an answer to the fervent prayers of his bishops for his recovery, for did they not crowd around him while he was enfeebled, looking after his welfare and making sure the church would be left in stable hands should he unfortunately expire? Praise Rokar that he did recover! Curse the Fat King that Theoblanc then should be cut down in his prime but a few days later on Royal Order!

What a shame though, that some of the Ecclesiarch's bishops selfishly sought to take advantage of saintly Theoblanc while his brain and body were temporarily crippled! Foremost of these perfidious clergy was evil Ulius, the backsliding Bishop of Deu. To the consternation of the other bishops Ulius began spouting dangerous heresy, speaking up for the rights of women and against male chauvinism! Disgraceful! The Inquisition was naturally enough calling for Ulius to be declared anathema before the crucial subcommittee meeting on the status of women, and Theoblanc was ready to pronounce such sentence to prevent Ulius misrepresenting the Rokari view . Unfortunately, the wily Ulius took advantage of Theoblanc's addled brain, and convinced him to grant him an Indulgence instead of the Anathema! (Before the Inquisition could then get hold of him again Ulius quickly slithered off to the committee and there betrayed our faith).

Dismiss from your minds the rumour that Theoblanc pawned the Holy Ankle Bone of Mardron - our faith's most holiest relic - to Vadeli to extricate himself from some minor personal financial embarrassment! For did not not all his bishops - all but one, the disloyal Audrec, the king's man - gladly proffer all the cash at their disposal when Theoblanc earlier demanded it? This vast sum, amounting to some 700 crowns, was used not to purchase Arktanian Oysters, but rather the ecclesiarch told his bishops it was to pay for a Holy Crusade against the infidels! How gladly did they turn out their pockets when told this! Unfortunately, the precise group of infidels Theoblanc had in mind was never revealed, and the 700 crowns was never accounted for (I suspect the foul Vadeli stole it while Theoblanc was temporarily unhinged and enfeebled). The Vadeli do, I admit, claim to have in their possession, the Holy Ankle Bone, and do pretend Theoblanc pawned it to them to pay for a meal of Arktanian Oysters, but who would believe the word of the Vadeli, who eat their own children? Besides, the True Relic lies safely in its reliquary in the Cathedral at Leplain; the Vadeli have in their possession a mere imitation, a forgery. I'm sure once again the Holy Bone of Leplain will soon perform some miracles, and this tawdry rumour about Sainted Theoblanc will be forgotten.

How, you might ask, could someone declared Anathema by the Holy Monk Notslor be himself considered worthy of Sainthood? For it is true, Theoblanc was anathematized by Notslor, not long after he had the Holy Monk proclaimed a Living Saint by the vote of the council. This came about because Theoblanc had found irrefutable proof that Gaiseron the Mystic, leader of the Hrestoli Church - who had earlier cast Smother on Theoblanc as he was delivering his homily - was using pagan magic! Therefore, quite reasonably in my opinion, Theoblanc led the Rokari faction in a chant of "Burn the heretic, Burn the heretic!". Notslor, Living Saint though he was, took exception to this and declared Theoblanc anathema. Rather than risk the fragile unity of the Council any further, our ecclesiarch resolved the problem by pronouncing an Indulgence Remitting All Sin on himself, and so reversed the Anathema! Truly his bishops stood back in wonder at such a ploy! Such piety, such wisdom! (Notslor then shortly afterwards attained Solace through spontaneous combustion, obviously brought on by the great remorse he felt for mistakenly cursing the ecclesiarch: no doubt St Notslor the Holy and St Theoblanc the Martyr have now reconciled themselves in Solace).

Were it not for the intemperate actions of our Fat King, it would be Theoblanc the Pious enthroned at Akem as Ecclesiarch of All Malkionism, not that pagan magician Gaiseron! It pains my soul to write of it, but here is how Theoblanc's glorious martyrdom was accomplished: Guilmarn, ever suspicious, got wind of the impending Glorious Revolution, which would see him replaced by his worthy son and successor, the noble and pious Prince Romaine. His jowls no doubt quivering, the Fat King hatched a counter plot of his own, sending to Theoblanc a secret missive. In it, did he offer Theoblanc and the church riches, relics, lands, seafood? No! All he offered was to recognize the church's rights to its lands in perpetuity! Of course, such rights have been sacrosanct and indisputable since the reign of King Bailifes, so in effect the Fat King was offering Theoblanc nothing! Theoblanc righteously replied in such manner to Guilmarn. As a holy man, the ecclesiarch resolved to stay aloof from the worldly struggle between father and son, though of course he continued to offer advice of a spiritual nature to the young Romaine as would be expected of a wise mentor.

I am told King Guilmarn was squatting upon the vast Royal Commode when Theoblanc's reply arrived, for his old age his bowels have joined his mind in their obstinacy. The message was passed into the Regal Privy and shortly after the Fat King was heard to lament, "Who shall rid me of this turbulent priest?". Unfortunately, a knight, awaiting his orders outside, overheard the king and rode off at once for Sog to carry out his wishes. On the pretext of bearing an important message from the King, Theoblanc was lured from the safe confines of the council chambers and stabbed mortally on the steps of the Great Cathedral of Holy Law. Great gouts of blood spouted from these wounds and he fell. His last words were not, as reported, "You bastard", but , "You're bless-ed", for even as he fell, this sainted man forgave his slayer. Though you may be told he was murdered on the seventh step, he was in fact killed on the twenty-fourth, his blood miraculously trickling upwards towards the holy altar.

Although the Healers were called for, there was nothing they could do: Theoblanc's soul had already attained Solace and Glory at the bosom of Saint Rokar and so joined the panoply of Holy Saints (also, after Romaine had been murdered three times in the past two days by agents of his father, there was no one left in Sog able to preform the resurrect ritual).

I call upon all the faithful to join me in venerating the memory of St Theoblanc, Holy Martyr of Rokarism, a pious and holy man, cut down by the intemperate act of a greedy King. The faithful will no doubt be interested in the large number of holy relics of Theoblanc that I have been able to save, for I was the Ecclesiarch's trusted factotum and attended to his bodily needs on a daily basis...

Translator's End Note: Only in the far-flung kingdom of Ramalia, recently converted to Rokarism by Theoblanc's former rival Baudwan, is Theoblanc revered as a Holy Saint. This is because one of the Ecclesiarch's last acts was to ratify the status of Tartelemona, daughter of Baudwan, as Bishop of that land (and honorary man).

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