Events preceding the game
The game takes place in the year 1262, in a small town located in a valley in the mountains in what we would call southern France nowadays. Languedoc used to be a part of the Kingdom of Aragon but over the course of two crusades, King of France took control of the region. The justification of the conquest was that the local nobility did not persecute the Cathars – heretics in the eyes of the Church. The religious leaders of the Cathars were called simply the Good People. The Church started mockingly calling them parfait or perfecti – perfects. The people of Languedoc started using Parfait without its mocking undertone. At the time of our game, there are no Parfait left. The last one of them was burned at stake under Monsegur 18 years ago, after the last big battle of the war.
No one likes to remember the war times, there was a lot of looting and pillaging. Many living still remember the fighting. Majority of local nobility was killed in the battles of the war or had to go into exile and many manors were taken by the conquerors – members of the French families of the north who are seen as invaders by the locals.
The Dominicans operate in the region with the support of the new nobility – the pope endowed them with the right to preside over courts spiritual – the Inquisition. Their goal is to find heretics and to bring them back to the right faith or to sentence them for their heresy. The bishop of Narbonne was given governance over the region by King of France and he therefore held both secular and religious power over the region. The representatives of the Church are untouchable for both the locals and the French.
The French nobility brings new habits and traditions as well as their law. The French law is much less progressive in many ways that the local law. Men and women were almost equal in the South and there was also virtual freedom of religious beliefs. It was the norm that people in the South could read, which included reading the Bible and interpreting its texts. However, according to the Catholic Church, people should not own the Bible and reading and interpreting it is absolutely out of the question – that is the domain of priests. The spirit of ancient Rome survived in many habits in Languedoc. On the other hand, the French nobility is used to a very patriarchal and strictly Catholic society.
A person of 21st century would experience the culture of Languedoc in 13th century as liberal, relaxed and tolerant, maybe a bit indulgent and libertine. The new French nobles are offended by this culture and we would see their opinions as uptight, chauvinist and exceedingly puritan.
According to the old laws of Languedoc, there was no issue in Lady Eleanor inheriting the Quillan manor from her late husband Raimund of Quillan. However, according to the laws of Frencdh invaders, she has to pass the inheritance to an adult man, otherwise her manor will have to be surrendered to the Crown. Eleanor plans to give the manor to her son as soon as he gets married. The wedding is about to take place when our game begins.
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