1214 RE-- Assassination of Patriarch Balduin III
Date: uncertain (late January, 1214)
Outcome: Death of the Patriarch, assailant uncertain.
By April of 1214, the news of Patriarch Balduin III's assassination has reached the whole of the faithful of the Redwood Throne, although the specific details are still uncertain. It is known that the murder took place one day in late January around sunset, though it is believed that the Church sat on the news for a few days before releasing it to anyone. Hence, the exact date is still unclear. Here is the official report on the subject, as written by brother Elvin Preminger of the Red Heralds:
"Of 1 February, 1214, be it known that our beloved Patriarch, BALDUIN III, born Heinrich Vadim of Vastervik, has returned to the Cycle of Reincarnation, murdered by an as yet unknown assailant of Tharici descent, believed to be a member of the infamous assassins of the Rat's Castle. The Caliph of Dusk has granted the Emperor his personal assurance that he will increase efforts to fight this den of evil and disharmony, and requested a larger contingent of Left Hand Accusers from Grand Accuser Tarresson to assist. Surely, this villain will be brought to a swift and final justice, no matter what hole they have deigned to hide themselves in.
Electors for the Patriarch's successor shall be called immediately, time being of the essence during these uncertain days.
In SUPPLICATION before the THRONE; Brother Elvin Preminger of the RED HERALDS."
Aside of this formal declaration, there are a number of rumors and whispers floating around, concerning both the assassination itself, and the succession.
Many people saw and have consistently reported that the Patriarch was stabbed through the heart just before sunset, on the steps of the Cathedral of Luzerne City by a Tharici of uncertain gender, originally dressed in the guise of a monk. Most believe this person to be a hired assassin of the Rat's Castle. Some say the body was immediately whisked away by the Patriarch's attendant priests; others maintain that it simply vanished. Either way, persons in the Cathedral, and others in the Imperial Palace reported seeing the Patriarch after the stabbing took place. One witness, a domestic in the imperial household, swore absolutely that she saw the Patriarch hurrying through the halls from the Crown Prince's chambers. Another servant therein reported seeing the Patriarch arguing with someone at one of the windows on an upper floor of the palace, then suddenly plummeting into the courtyard in a cloud of red robes. Before this and after, there were also reports of Patriarch sightings in the Cathedral itself, none at the same time. Those with connections in the Church have been able to get still more stories, with varying degrees of minute detail, illustrating how deep the confusion and uncertainty goes. What is much more certain is that the Rat's Castle is taking the brunt of the blame, as no one has been able to identify who might have hired them. As of 1 April, the Emperor has passed an interdict against Tharici in the environs of Luzerne City and the Red Forest, under pain of incarceration.
Originally, it was thought that the matter of succession would be handled in a matter of a week or two, but complications and contention have dragged the process out much longer. It is also come to be known that the Heretic Mathilde of the Lucineans is no longer being held at Maergin's Hold. Some say she has escaped, others say she has been released, and, in light of the death of the Patriarch, her heresy is being re-evaluated. Either way, her followers have, for the moment, quit their efforts in Brezha and around Marath Suvla, and are thought to be moving towards Luzerne City, although not with any of their usual violence. Rumors of a new Revelation (some say second, others, especially in the Red Heralds, say third) have become more solid, as a statement from Brother Tobias Kindle, late of Marath Suvla, has surfaced proclaiming the same. It is presently unknown whether this "revelation" will be declared legitimate (vindicating the Ehrenites, to some degree), or condemned as part of the Ehrenite Heresy, but it is more certain that this debate is part of what is complicating and prolonging the selection of Balduin's successor. It is unknown outside of the Church how many candidates there are for Patriarch/Matriarch, or exactly who is permitted to participate in the election, but it is more certain that members of the Left Hand of the Throne (Accusers, specifically), are not permitted to serve as electors.
Whatever the truth of the matter, the whole affair has fostered an environment of fear and uncertainty in Luzerne City, and throughout the community of the Throne's faithful, and everyone looks with longing for a new leader of the Church.