Deleted Interlude #6: I’ve Got Your Da Vinci Code Right Here

This Deleted interlude from Charming gives some background history of the Knights Templar. Again, only history buffs and those interested in seeing the underlying logic (or illogic) of the world in Charming need apply.

The Interlude Strikes Back

By now, you might have guessed that the fabled secret of the Knight’s Templar wasn’t the Holy Grail, or a family line that began with the bastard child of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene, or a mountain of gold looted from the Temple of Solomon, or any of the other theories that have cropped up over the centuries. The secret that the Templars still guard and maintain with their lives is the Pax Arcana.

When the Fae created the Pax, they needed the equivalent of secret police to watch over their creation after they bought a return ticket to Elfiville. Someone had to maintain the delicate balance between protecting the supernatural and keeping it under control…and do it without drawing attention to themselves. Just using the spy networks that medieval rulers had already established would have kept everything too political to function. The Fae needed small but effective groups, men who were warriors, apolitical, and used to staying hidden in the middle of a larger society. In Africa, for example, the Fae chose a Berber tribe. In Japan, they chose one of the sects of warrior monks called Yamabushi.

For most of Europe, the Fae chose the Knights Templar.
If all you know about the Knights Templar is what you’ve seen in the movies, here’s a little relevant background information: one of the ways the church got recruits for the First Crusade was that it offered anyone who fought a clean slate. If you were in jail, the church would erase your prison sentence. If you owed money, the church would cancel your financial debt. If you were worried about your soul, the church would forgive your sins.

As a result, the First Crusade was largely fought by criminals, addicts, and people with lousy impulse control. Not surprisingly, after the first crusaders won their war, the Middle East descended into chaos. The Knights Templar were originally formed by the church to provide stability to a lawless region where bandits, opportunists and zealots were running wild. The Templars specifically trained to use a small number of highly organized professional warriors to control a much larger population. Because they operated like spies and vigilantes until it was time to go to war, the Templars were a secretive order. Because they were small in number, Templars started training their sons to kill numerous opponents efficiently and quickly at the age of seven.

If this sounds like exaggeration, consider the following: At Montisgard, it is documented that a force of five hundred Templars basically used commando tactics behind enemy lines to turn back a force of twenty six thousand. If the Templars had only had the grace to be pinned down and wiped out to the last man, that battle would now be as famous as the last stand of three hundred Spartans against a Persian army or the Alamo.

The Templars were also ideal for the Fae’s purposes because they had information networks and communication routes spread throughout all of the Middle East and Europe. The Templars had been forced to set those up when they used the money they’d gained from looting the Temple of Solomon to form the first church sanctioned banking system.

Their banking system, incidentally, was what ultimately forced the Templars even further underground, to the point where they became the historical version of urban legends. The Templars made the classic medieval mistake of loaning money to kings, or to the men to whom kings owed money. As a result, every time a king got into a political feud with the church or accumulated massive debt, he would declare the order heretics and persecute them. Not only did this allow the kings to avoid their debt, it also gave them an excuse to seize the Templar’s properties and holdings. With one stroke, kings could go from bankruptcy to windfall.

Forced into hiding, highly organized, and ruthlessly competent in the use of physical force, the surviving Templars had become legends by the time the Fae approached them. Who better to police mythical creatures in a shadow war than warriors who were near myths and already survivors of a shadow war themselves?


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