In the future of the world of the Silver Hunter trilogy, things aren’t as peaceful as they were in Kieran and Cory’s time. The future is ruled by conservative factions who have turned back the clock on many of the great social and political gains made during the early 21st Century. Europe’s clock has been dialed back to the Middle Ages by a pair of very powerful popes who took advantage of the turmoil brought on by The Great Upheaval in 2084. Pope Pius XIII, using his great oratory skills persuaded the citizens of first Rome and then the rest of Italy to follow his lead. Legions of priests, monks, nuns, and laity organized relief efforts across Italy and into the rest much of continental Europe. Aiding the effort and keeping a sudden upswing in shifter activity in check was the Order of St. Hubert of Liège, a militant order reporting directly to the pope. Shortly after unifying most of Europe under the control of the Church, Pius XIII died under mysterious circumstances. Knowing that the new age would need a dynamic and energetic pope, the College of Cardinals turned away from their own membership and chose the young Grand Master of the Order of St. Hubert as the next Holy Father in Rome. The former Grand Master ascended the Throne of St. Peter as Innocent XIV at the age of 45 in 2093. One of his first acts as Pope was to bring the leaders of the new nations together to sign The Holy Accord in 2094, in which it was agreed that they would all ban the redevelopment of flight and missile technology in and effort to prevent anyone from launching a new Great Upheaval.
St. Hubert of Liège in the World of the Silver Hunter:
Saint Hubert (c. 656-727 CE) became Bishop of Liège in 708 CE. Saint Hubertus was born in Toulouse around the year 656. He was the eldest son of Bertrand, Duke of Aquitaine, and spent his youth at the court of Theodoric III, King of the Franks, at Paris. Like many nobles of the time, Hubert was addicted to the chase. Around 682, Hubert joined many other Frankish nobles in departing the palace in Paris for the royal household at Heristal in the Austrasia region of the Frankish kingdom. Here he married Floribanne, daughter of Dagobert, Count of Leuven. His wife died giving birth to their son, and Hubert retreated from the court, withdrew into the forested Ardennes, and gave himself up entirely to hunting. However, a great spiritual revolution was imminent. On Good Friday evening while the faithful were crowding the churches, Hubert sallied forth to the chase. As he was pursuing a magnificent stag, the animal was smashed to the ground by a giant black wolf. As the stag was torn to shreds, Hubert heard a voice saying: “Hubert, unless thou turnest to the Lord, and leadest an holy life, thou shalt quickly go down into hell.” Sensing a great evil about the wolf, Hubert dismounted, drew his sword, and drove the silver chased blade deep into the wolf’s side and through the beast’s heart. He was startled when the monster transformed back into a man. Hubert prostrated himself, and said, “Lord, what wouldst Thou have me do?” He received the answer, “Go and seek Lambert, and he will instruct you.”
He set out immediately for Maastricht, of which place St. Lambert was then bishop. The latter received Hubert kindly, and became his spiritual director. Hubert, losing his wife shortly after this, renounced all his honors and his military rank, and gave up his birthright the Duchy of Aquitaine to his younger brother Eudon, whom he made guardian of his infant son, Floribert. Having distributed all his personal wealth among the poor, he entered upon his studies for the priesthood, was soon ordained, and shortly afterwards became one of St. Lambert’s chief associates in the administration of his diocese. By the advice of St. Lambert, Hubert made a pilgrimage to Rome and during his absence, the saint was assassinated a pack of shifters. At the same hour, this was revealed to the pope in a vision, together with an injunction to appoint Hubert bishop, as being a worthy successor to the see. Hubert was so much possessed with the idea of himself winning the martyr’s crown that he sought it on many occasions, often hunting shifters alone, but his quest to die a martyr was unsuccessful. He distributed his episcopal revenues among the poor, was diligent in fasting and prayer, and became famous for his eloquence in the pulpit. In 720, in obedience to a vision, Hubert translated St. Lambert’s remains from Maastricht to Liège with great pomp and ceremonial, several neighboring bishops assisting. A church for the relics was built upon the site of the martyrdom, and was made a cathedral the following year, the see being removed from Maastricht to Liège, then only a small village. This laid the foundation of the future greatness of Liège, of which Lambert is honored as patron, and St. Hubert as founder and first bishop. Liège offered a better base of operations because of its size. The Hunter-Bishop trained several young men in the ways of detecting shifters, before his death by natural causes.
The Order of St. Hubert in the World of the Silver Hunter:
Pope Honorius III founded the Order of St. Hubert of Liege in 1225 in order to gain the support of the powerful House of Beauty in his battle against a powerful shifter clan near Rome. The Order’s foundational commandery is located in Liège near the cathedral. Pope Gregory IX expanded the Order of St. Hubert into a full martial/religious order in 1229 after the discovery of vampires during examinations under the Inquisition. The training given by the House of Beauty was expanded to take in dealing with vampires as well as shifters. The members of the Order of St. Hubert developed methods for detecting vampires and in rare cases adopted the use of mages they rescued from their more zealous Dominican brothers. Distinct divisions developed within the Order to cope with the various supernatural and natural threats. When the Order was established its Grand Master was an abbot. Over the centuries, the clerical rank of the Grand Master has risen with the Order’s fortunes. Today the current Grand Master is Cardinal Valentine Ketcherside. The Vicar-General oversees the running of the military and hunter arms of the Order. The current Vicar-General of the Order is Bishop Fabrizio Fabbri. A Master and Commander, most often an archbishop, but sometimes a bishop oversee the regional commanderies. The local commanderies are lead by a Master and Commander, who is either a bishop or a monsignor, sometimes an abbot if the location is mostly religious members.
The divisions of the Order of St. Hubert are:
Religious Division: Some members of the Order are strictly religious members; monks, priests, and a small order of nuns. They very rarely leave the confines of the Commanderies unless a powerful vampire or shifter is encountered and someone of powerful faith is required to drive the monster out of its lair or protect the base of operations being used by a team of hunters.
Military Division: Knights, squires, and militant brothers make up the majority of the armed forces of the Order of St. Hubert. The Hunters of the Order are also part of this division.
Law Enforcement Division: By order of the Holy Father in Rome, the Order of St. Hubert took over the duties of Interpol. The Knights and priests of the law enforcement division may cross provincial boundaries as needed and command the assistance of any level of regional law enforcement with in the Holy Roman Empire.