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The Known World > Abbey of Saint Rose

  • Overview
  • Valley of the Rose
  • The Story of Saint Rosalyn
  • The Story of Saint Catherine

ABBEY OF SAINT ROSE
PE 525 the Monks of Opus Dei began construction high in the mountains on the Grimme side of the Alps. The Abbey of St. Rose was cut from the living rock, and was done on a grand scale. Over three-hundred years (and beyond), master monkish artisans created intricate stonework patterns and sculptures, elaborate wall and ceiling murals, unimaginable tiled mosaics, and spectacular detailing of woodwork.

CIty ViewThe abbey is situated at the high point of the Valley of the rose, a seven mile wide valley nestled in a box canyon. The valley and the abbey are not visible from the valley floor. As such it has remained secret for ages.



Size: Mountain Fortress
Population: Abbey 500, Valley 3,000
Trade: Cheese, Honey, Mead, Sheep, Wool, wheat.
People of Interest
Bishop Sebastian Vittorio - Commendatore of the 8th Military District
The former Monsignor at The Chalice he developed a reputation of being an ardent champion of church doctrine. There were those in the diocese that felt his methods may have been too harsh in rooting out evil and corruption, but his unerring ability to quash evil left him unchallenged in his position. When Bishop Portacio died in the spring of 1428 Sebastian was the logical choice as his successor. When the Abbey of St. Rose was liberated that same year he was appointed to relocate and take control of the 8th Military District.

In their own words:
"Spiritual integrity and the thwarting of vile heresy and moral corruption our the highest duties to one in my position."

Monsignor Luca Stracci - Grand Inquisitor
As a grand Inquisitor and long time associate of Sebastian he is a loyal and effective Monsignor under Sebastian's direction. He and his inquitorious guard are quick to rebuke the encroachment of evil in all of its forms.

In their own words:
“It is easy of the untrained to see what we do as cruel, but it would be far crueler to allow the unwashed to suffer for eternity for their ignorance.”

Sister Patience - Madrigala
Aware of the Bishop's over zealous nature, she maintains a residence at the abbey. between missions she closely monitors the actions of the inquitorios and their leadership.

In there Own words:
"Step aside, I'll take care of this.”

Places of interest
Fort Victory - The climactic battle ending in the liberation of the Abbey of St. Rose culminated in the valley of the rose at a fortification built by Eric Venns. He was overthrown by the forces of the bishop and members of the quest. It has since been fortified and formalized as a fortress. A commeorative marker at the main entrance lists the names of the fallen and the hero's of the rose.

San Marin - This small monastery guarding the rear entrance to the abbey is the original settlement used to organize and design the abbey. Recently reoccupied by the Opus Dei Monks, it is undergoing renovations.

Government
Governance here is the sole bailiwick of the Bishop and his inquisitors.
Merchants & Guilds
Most of the goods produced her are crafted by monks and priests of the order or Cuthbert. The small village at the lower end of the valley maintains a mill for grinding grain. Most of what is produced here is consumed here.

The Valley of the Rose is a rough circle ringed by sheer mountain walls, nearly 7 miles across. It is gently rolling meadow of lush grasses, stands of cottonwood trees and miles of wild roses. A pair of rivers cut through the valley, cold, clear mountain water that at times is rapid and white, and others still and deep and gentle. The water is well stocked with trout. Small game lives in the valley (pheasants, rabbits, ground hogs) as well as herds of fat deer, so hunting is plentiful. It is a place shielded from the savagery of the Alpine winds, and blessed with gentle breezes. Everywhere throughout the valley, well hidden by high grasses, are stone foundations of ancient dwellings and structures, the remaining ruins of the many communities which once thrived under the protective watch of the Abbey.

Tales that Rosalyn was the mortal daughter of Saint Cuthbert are false. She was born in Madrigal in P.E. 611, three-hundred years after Cuthbert’s crucifixion. Born & raised in the city of Santiago, the daughter of a blacksmith, she and her family were devout followers of Cuthbert. She lived a normal life until age 14, when she started having visions. Cuthbert came to her and directed that she should spread his word.
When she told her family of the visions, they were horrified by her arrogance and tried to hide it, but the family priest learned of the girl’s claims and declared her to be a blasphemer. Threatened with either renouncing the visions as a fabrication and begging both forgiveness and atonement, or formal shunning by her family and the Church, Rosalyn – with a heavy heart – left her home and took to the road to follow her calling. She joined up with a caravan headed east into Seville (Castille), signing on as a scullery maid, cooking and washing to earn her keep.
While crossing the Crimson Teeth the caravan was attacked by feral Ogres, who slaughtered guards, drovers and families, then made off with draft animals, livestock and anything of value from the caravan. Only Rosalyn and a handful of non-combatant families survived the attack, but they were stranded in the harsh mountains without protection or provisions. At 14, young Rosalyn rose to the moment and organized the survivors, urging them to have faith, that Cuthbert would provide, and began leading them east on foot in a journey which would later be known to Church historians as “Rosalyn’s Passage.” During the travel, she preached, read aloud from the bible to pass the time and to give hope to her starving, ragged band. Miraculously, they found water and game regularly throughout the journey, even locating small caves to shelter them against the elements at night. When ogres and trolls appeared, the band huddled around Rosalyn as she prayed, and the monsters went away. One night when a troll came roaring into their camp, all fangs and claws, Rosalyn took up a sword they had taken from a fallen caravan guard and faced the troll alone, without armor or training. Calling upon Cuthbert, she struck it down with a single blow.
Rosalyn’s band emerged from the Crimson Teeth into the lowlands of Seville, finding shelter in a small cattle community before moving on to Torregidor. Stories about her deeds swept like wildfire through the extremely religious city, and the girl quickly came to the attention of the Church. Her claims of sacred visions were again met with skepticism, and she was generally dismissed by the clergy who considered her nothing more than “A lucky girl with a bible.” The general population disagreed, however, and before long her name was being spoken with reverence and respect. Rosalyn stayed and preached in Torregidor and the surrounding countryside for the next 10 years, following Cuthbert’s wishes, and she grew in popularity, though still not officially sanctioned by the Church as a member of the Clergy.
The young woman was eventually approached by a Brother Marin of the order of Opus Dei (a fighting-monk society), who believed in her visions. He told her that an assembly of monks was journeying to the Grimme, as well as a pilgrimage to Hax, and wanted her to come along to spread the word. Rosalyn agreed immediately, but she would not travel light. Her following had grown, and on the day the pilgrimage departed Torregidor, Brother Marin, his monks and Rosalyn were joined by no less than 3,000 men, women and children, all faithful to Cuthbert. During the journey, Brother Marin began training Rosalyn in the way of the sword, to make her better able to protect Cuthbert’s faithful flock. The pilgrimage traveled north through Fertilium and into the Alps, through Butcher’s Pass (which at that time was not fortified or heavily traveled, and was simply a mountain wilderness.) She continued to learn and preach, and practiced her growing skills with the sword against feral goblins and trolls, strengthening her commitment to defending the weak.
Once in the Grimme, the pilgrimage traveled due east towards Hax. During this journey, Rosalyn preached in small villages and human tribal communities, using her powers of healing (she was growing in strength as a cleric) to fortify, bring hope and spread the faith. In P.E. 585 she knelt at Cuthbert’s sepulcher in Hax, where she received another powerful vision. Cuthbert instructed that she was to do three things. First, she was to found and develop an order of fighting, female clerics (initially called the “Sisterhood”) to champion the causes of the Church and defend the weak. The second task was to build a chapel in the western Alps, which would serve as a Church stronghold and a sanctuary for humans in the Grimme. Third, she was to bring His word to the primitive goblin tribes. Rosalyn set about her task. She was 26.
By P.E. 576, at age 34, Rosalyn had built the Chapel of San Marin (named after the late monk who had befriended her) which became the center for the Order of Opus Dei. These monks dedicated themselves to Rosalyn’s work, and to defending her and her flock. The valley below San Marin started sprouting villages of devout followers and pilgrims. She selected young women with the appropriate piety and will, and trained them in combat and clerical teachings, growing the Sisterhood. And she obeyed Cuthbert as she began her ministries among the goblin tribes. This proved dangerous, and although numerous goblins began practicing Cuthbertism (this was a time when the Goblin Clans were in their infancy), many missionaries and monks of Opus Dei lost their lives to violent goblin bands.
In P.E. 561, at age 49, Rosalyn was in Gristmil overseeing the construction of a large gothic chapel which would be dedicated to Cuthbert, supposedly surrounded by faithful goblins as well as human workers, missionaries, monks of Opus Dei and several fighter-clerics of the Sisterhood. A goblin lord of the Bloodhand Clan had decided the filthy humans and their false god challenged his authority, and so he attacked the chapel with a large force. In an epic battle which lasted throughout the day, over 1,200 hostile goblins fell, but their numbers and the ferocity of their attack proved too strong for Rosalyn’s forces. Workers, missionaries and even devout goblins fought bravely to defend the chapel site, but were overrun. Three of Rosalyn’s Sisterhood members went down heroically battling boar riders, and monks fell trying to defend their patron.
Rosalyn used Walls of Fire and Flamestrikes to decimate the goblin ranks and protect a dwindling number of humans and devout goblins, and once it was clear the battle was lost, her monks urged her to save herself by using a Word of Recall to escape. Rosalyn refused to abandon those she was sworn to protect, and stayed on to fighgt. In the end she was captured, along with a remaining few missionaries. Four monks of Opus Dei and one of the Sisterhood were cut off from her, unable to help, and managed to break off and hide nearby. From concealment they watched helplessly as the aftermath unfolded.
The victorious Bloodhand rounded up all surviving goblins who had converted to Cuthbertism and beheaded, then piked their heads as a warning to others of their kind. The human missionaries were boiled alive and eaten during a great feast. Rosalyn was crucified hands and feet, and forced to watch. After the feast, the goblin lord made a great spectacle of holding a “trial,” finding Rosalyn guilty of inciting treason, and ordering that she be skinned alive. That process lasted 6 hours, and the hidden monks wept over her screams, praying for a swift and merciful death which didn’t come soon enough.
When darkness fell and the goblins were drunk on swill and victory, the monks and the Sister crept out of hiding and pulled down Rosalyn’s remains, then carried her away into the night. They traveled back to San Marin, but the Abbott was unable to raise her from the dead. With great sadness and ceremony, Rosalyn’s remains were buried in the Valley of the Rose. Almost overnight, wild roses began sprouting up by the acre where they had never grown before. (Her remains were later unearthed and transferred to a proper crypt deep beneath the Abbey after its completion.)
The remaining members of Rosalyn’s Sisterhood renamed their order the “Madrigala” in honor of Rosalyn’s homeland, renewed their oaths to fight evil and defend the weak, then scattered to recruit and train members, building the order. The Madrigala have endured, and remain a small and little-known but effective weapon in the Church’s arsenal. By their custom and ritual, only female paladins or clerics may be selected to the order. Sister Rosalyn remained the inspiration for the order, and was highly revered. Over 400 years later, when Rosalyn was canonized, the Madrigala took her as their Patron Saint.
Thirty-five years after Rosalyn was martyred, the monks of Opus Dei began construction of a great monastery at the site of San Marin. Three-hundred years later it was completed, and in P.E. 125, the year Rosalyn was canonized, Cardinal Giovanni IV renamed San Marin as the Abbey of Saint Rose, to honor the fallen saint.
For the next 1,300 years, St. Rose served as a Church foothold in the Grimme, a place of healing, study and worship, and a base for Church-sponsored military operations. In I.C. 1,161, at the end of the massive failure which was the 3rd Crusade, Cardinal Umberto II declared that, “The Grimme is lost,” and ordered the evacuation and magical sealing of St. Rose in order to protect it from the triumphant goblin hordes. The hope was that one day, Church forces guided by Cuthbert’s strength would reoccupy this most holy of places…

Catherine of Notrenoc was born in that high city in the Grand Province of Fertilium in I.C. 1,010, the daughter of a cherry grower. She grew up amid the family’s lush orchards, in a land rich and bountiful. She was a girl of some wealth and privilege, and a follower of Cuthbert as was customary, but not particularly or overly devout. Both she and her family intended that she would marry well and further the family’s prestige and fortune. In her early teens, however, she began to see things which began to cause her increasing distress, things which she began to realize were morally wrong; The draconian methods of rule employed by the dominant Spade Family; The accepted (though not talked-about) practice of enslaving the two non-human races indigenous to Fertilium (Dervi’s & Wogs) and forcing them into agricultural servitude; A growing tendency in the society to worship Cuthbert for social purposes only, while greedily pursuing wealth, power and the enslavement of weaker races. Cuthbert’s words started having increasing impact on the girl.
By her 18th year, she could no longer stomach the immorality and hypocrisy, could not stand idly by while the weak were forced to toil and die under the harsh hands of wealthy families, her own included. The local Church, her family and friends were willing participants in this ongoing sin, and would not understand, so throughout her youth her only solace lay in prayer and the teachings of Cuthbert, which she had been practicing in secret for years.
When Catherine bravely announced to her family that she had no intention of marrying someone they chose for her (or anyone else, for that matter) and wished to journey to the Capital of Florenta to enter a convent and prepare for life as a cleric, her father was enraged. He beat her savagely, but she would not change her mind. He locked her in a tower for a year, but still she would not relent, and her commitment to her path only grew stronger. Finally, her father sent her away in disgrace to a “finishing school” a facility on Spade lands, run by the Spade family. Here she would learn to be a proper and obedient girl. Her true nightmare began.
The school was little more than a prison, filled with violence and sexual assault. Girls who managed to survive were pimped-out as courtesans for Spade Family parties, balls and events, the threat of violence and death hanging over any girl hesitant to comply. Catherine was a survivor, and despite being enslaved and forced into prostitution, she kept her sanity, her will and her faith. This time in her life hardened the girl, and she began learning the fundamental (though crude) skills of a fighter and a rogue, while still maintaining her faith in Cuthbert and studying his teachings whenever possible. She also became a sort of protector for some of the younger, newer girls, and even killed several female aggressors at the school in their defense.
One night, while she and a handful of girls from the school were at Iron Tree Estates (the great home of the Spade Family), assigned to be “party favors” for wealthy merchants at a Grand Ball, Catherine’s life took a dramatic turn. She had just finished with a drunken nobleman and was walking down a hallway when she heard the muffled screams of a child coming from behind a door. Without thinking, she went inside where she found two fat, sweating, naked merchants, reeking of wine and forcing themselves upon an 11-year-old girl (another plaything brought in by the Spades for their guests’ amusement.) The horror and pleading in the child’s eyes were too much for Catherine. She pulled a longsword out of the gauntlets of a suit of armor in a corner, and butchered both men, hacking at them until they were unrecognizable, sobbing and shaking while she did it.
The guards of the house found her kneeling over the bloody mess, sword in hand, whispering a prayer, and hauled her away. The Spades were enraged and had her locked in a small cottage on the property. Lord Douglas Spade himself, master of the house, paid her a visit. He announced she would be executed in the morning… unless, of course, she agreed to willingly join his “private collection” of girls. He liked her fire, and wanted to break her personally. (Lord Spade was known to be especially depraved and sadistic with young women.) Catherine defiantly announced that he could do what he wished with her corpse after she was executed, that this was probably more to his taste, then spit in his face. He beat her viciously, then left her with until morning to change her mind, That night, with only hours to go before her death, Catherine prayed. She received a ghostly visitation from Saint Rosalyn.
Rosalyn’s spirit told the 23-year-old that her work was just beginning, and that Cuthbert had much for her to do before she could join him. She spoke of the Madrigala, of their works and calling. She spoke of the Abbey of St. Rose, and instructed Catherine to go there. She said the journey would be perilous, that Catherine must be clever and strong and trust in Cuthbert. As the vision faded, the door to the cottage clicked open, revealing the night. Catherine set out at once, filled with a light and hope she had never dreamed of. She traveled alone across the vastness of Fertilium, moving by night, stealing food and clothing and weapons, evading Lord Spade’s pursuing troops, for a considerable bounty had been placed upon her head for murder.
Along the mountain road which led to Butcher’s Pass, Lord Spade’s men caught up to her, and Catherine was forced to turn and fight. She felt Rosalyn’s presence and strength, and waded into her hunters in wrathful fury, killing them to a man and emerging without a scratch. She buried her would-be killers and prayed for them, then continued on.
When she finally reached St. Rose she told her story and begged for sanctuary. The monks of Opus Dei immediately took her in, and the ranking bishop not only gave her sanctuary and absolution for her sins, but a chance at a new life. She was educated and trained in the ways of a paladin, and served with distinction. At age 28 she took the vows of the Madrigala and went forth to fight evil and protect the weak.
Not surprisingly, Catherine’s path took her back to Fertilium. The land was rapidly turning into a godless place of vice, corruption and evil, the practices of slavery and exploitation of the weak in full swing, all in the name of wealth and power. Certain elements within Fertilium were even consorting with and employing the undead. The Church in the Grand Province paid lip service only to Cuthbert, ignoring the pleas of the common folk and even trading their true faith and clerical powers in exchange for riches, prestige and forbidden physical pleasures. Driven by an indomitable faith in Cuthbert and St. Rosalyn, Catherine became a crusader, bringing down corrupt clergymen, freeing slaves and forming a devout resistance movement.
At the Basillica, the debate about Lady Catherine raged. One group claimed she was a rogue, a heretic intent upon the destruction of the Church, and called upon the Cardinal to excommunicate her and turn her over to the hands of the Inquisition for purging (the Spade family had a long history of being Inquisitors, and their Church connections were strong.) Another group counseled that Catherine was an Avenger, sent directly from Cuthbert to wipe out corruption and the sins of a Church-gone-astray, and therefore her mission was divine and should not be interfered-with. The issue of slavery was little discussed, since although it was officially illegal and against Church doctrine, the Church took a sizeable percentage of slave-generated profits out of Fertilium.
While the debate went on, Catherine pursued her Holy War against injustice and evil, putting corrupt clerics to the sword, destroying their undead servants, helping freed Dervi’s and Wogs escape into Northern Castille, and burning churches which had become little more than money-counting houses and brothels. She cut down Spade Family troops wherever she found them, and was aided by a core of freedom fighters and Opus Dei monks.
In the meantime, the Cardinal remained silent. There was no question the Church in Fertilium had slipped into “unsavory and unsanctioned practices,” and there was no denying the outlawed practice of slavery taking place. Lady Catherine had the support of the Bishop of St. Rose (a bit of a maverick himself in clerical circles), and it was said she received visions from St. Rosalyn. Cuthbert himself had apparently abandoned the clergy of Fertilium, stripping them of their powers and spells. Yet there was tremendous pressure from the opposition, comprised of Inquisitors and other forceful powers within the Church, high ranking members of the Imperial Court, and the powerful Spade family. Their massive agricultural interests represented a considerable flow of gold directly into Church coffers. Added to this was the simple fact that even a Cardinal could quietly be eliminated with something as subtle as poisoned tea… Weighty decisions indeed, and the Cardinal feared to make the wrong choice, so made no choice at all.
In the end, it was the Spades who decided the issue. Frustrated with the Cardinal’s indecision and inaction, and increasingly harried by the young paladin’s campaign against them, the family decided that since the Cardinal had not decreed that Catherine wasn’t a criminal, they were free to defend themselves and their interests as they saw fit. They used their wealth and influence with the Mage community in Florenta at Torri Duo to contract a trio of high level sorcerers, and turned them loose on the rampaging paladin. The result was a deadly confrontation, ironically in the cherry orchards of Catherine’s family north of Notrenoc. Spells and battle leveled the orchards and left Catherine’s loyal cadre dead, but she survived to put each of the three contracted sorcerers to the sword.
Mortally wounded and knowing her time was short, Catherine managed to carry her broken body back to St. Rose, where she died curled up against the sepulcher of her patron saint. It was 1,042, and the young woman was only 32.
The Spade family considered the matter closed, as did the Church. Allegations of corruption quietly faded away, and life quickly returned to Fertilium as it had been before “Catherine’s War,” though many humans, Dervi’s and Wogs owed their freedom to the fallen paladin.

The following occurred after the evacuation of St. Rose, and will not be found in their library or books, but anyone with Knowledge-Religion can make a check versus DC.12, and any paladin or cleric makes an Intelligence check DC.8 to know the rest of the story.

140 years later, Fertilium began to dry up the same way Madrigal had so many years before. Within 10 years the once-rich land was transformed into a wasteland, cities and structures abandoned, and the Spade family reduced to jailers of a desert prison. The Church officially declared that this phenomenon was Cuthbert’s will, harsh judgment for Church corruption and the evil practices of Fertilium’s population, nothing less than holy retribution. The late clergymen and Inquisitors who had been most vocal and active in opposing Catherine’s War were denounced, their remains taken from burial places of honor and interred in common crypts. In I.C. 1,200 the Church recognized Catherine as the only soul to rise and fight against this depravation and evil, never faltering from her course or her faith. She was canonized, and has since become not only a patron for many paladins, but an inspiration for women everywhere. Saint Catherine is now the patron saint of Paladins and Prostitutes.