Mother Rachel de Courtney, Abbess of Dartley [Christi]

Player: Christi
Rank: Abbess (Rank 1)
Religion: Church of England
Reputation: Respectable

A younger child of the de Courtneys of Eastmarch. Abbess of the nunnery at Dartley, a quiet and contemplative location with a fine library.

After being appointed Court Astrologer, has worked closely with the King's most trusted advisors to ensure that the course of Albion is smooth and free of pot-holes.

Church of England Abbess.


Following the catastrophic revelations of her involvement in as-yet untold numbers of murders, and reports of Possession by some sort of Angelic or Spiritual force which seems, to all intents and purposes, to be utterly insane, Mother Rachel de Courtney, Abbess of Dartley and Court Astrologer, is stripped of her post and imprisoned, at the instigation of the Archbishop of York. Archbishop Augustus Wells-Lacy of Schijndel intercedes for leniancy, and with the approval of the Queen, a Heretics' Gaol is founded on an island in the Thames Estuary; Mother Rachel is its governor and first inmate.

Mother Rachel seems by all accounts a model prisoner, gaining the respect and sympathy of the guards. The occasional unexplained deaths of other heretics at the establishment - mostly Catholics - are never, at first, positively linked to de Courtney, and in the war-torn years following King Henry's assassination, little attention is focused on affairs at the Gaol. Indeed, nearby towns and villages begin to think of her as something of a repentant saint, as her uncannily clear astrological predictions enable the residents of the area and of the Gaol itself to make appropriate provisions for the worst of the flooding and the effects of the war. Much of the Island itself is submerged during the Great Flood, but the gaol tower remains above the waves, making for a lonely but effective prison.

Supplied with adequate writing materials and relatively comfortable quarters, Mother Rachel spends her declining years in writing letters and treatises on theology and astrology. Many of the young Protestant men and women disillusioned by the secular and sectarian fighting in England during the Flood Years turn to her treatises for solace and guidance; and soon, the Order of the Aligned Cross, a Protestant society for religious contemplation and metaphysical speculation, is founded. Occasional dark rumours which link the Aligned Cross to mysterious rituals and the disappearances of individuals - and sometimes entire families - with Catholic sympathies are never corroborated by fact, and in public the Order seems to be a quiet and genial society for pious amateur astrologers.

Eventually, the rate of unexplained Catholic deaths at the Heretics' Gaol begins to garner attention from higher powers, and an investigation is launched. In late 1617, Mother Rachel de Courtney is finally re-tried for heresy and murder, though there are mutterings that the affair of the trial has more to do with Church politics than justice. Following her execution - which is almost overturned by a mass protest by the Order of the Aligned Cross - wide reports of bright lights, angelic voices and strange manifestations in the sky are variously explained as the effects of the sudden release of an Angelic possession, or holy miracles. A brief move to canonise Mother Rachel is firmly stamped on by Canterbury, but locals to Dartley and the Heretics' Gaol still sometimes pray to “Blessed Mother Rachel”, and local churches often boast discreet plaques noting her involvement.

bio/rachel_de_courtney.txt · Last modified: 2007/09/23 23:05 by helen