The First Age of Hycath
The First Age of Hycath was a period in history stretching from YE 1 to YE 238, in which the Temple of Hycath first flourished as a sociopolitical power in place of the Church. It had its roots in England and the Hycathic victory in the First Hycath War but gradually spread into Europe over two centuries, culminating with the Sacking of the Vatican and immediately preceding the Second Age of Hycath.
See also: First Hycath War
Europe before 1141 AD / YE 1 was largely in the grip of the Church, and states were run as patriarchies with little to no opportunity for female succession to the thrones. In addition, Hycathism was severely persecuted and, therefore, generally practised in a quiet, clandestine manner.
In December 1135, Empress Matilda “Maud” Beauclerc – a Cyntha named heir to the English throne by her father, King Henry I – was usurped upon Henry’s death by her cousin, Stephen of Blois. Stephen took advantage of family connections to the Church to undermine the oath of fealty he and several others had sworn to Maud. Enraged, she set to work gathering allies to reclaim her throne, kickstarting a six-year conflict now known as the First Hycath War, or The Clash of the Cousins.
The war culminated in the Battle of Lincoln on 2 February 1141 where, despite casualties on both sides, the Hycathic forces won with the death of King Stephen and then captured several of his cavalry, many of them Church men. Maud had also negotiated the capitulation of Henry of Blois – Stephen’s brother, who had played a large part in the events of 1135 – by handing the Church in England to him. Upon her victory at Lincoln, she swiftly turned on Henry and his acolytes and had them arrested, thus entirely subjugating the English leadership of the Church.
The First Age
Maud proclaimed the First Age of Hycath in an official ceremony in London on 7 April 1141, in the newly-established Hycath Temple. With the Church gone from England she restructured the calendar from 1141 Anno Domino to Year of the Empress 1. Present were several Hycathae and Hycathi who had contributed to the war effort and served in battle. Those who had given the most distinguished service were formally rewarded with one of sixteen new Marcdoms supporting London, created by Maud in a restructuring of England. Maud crowned herself Empress of England, adapting the title originally afforded her by her first marriage to Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor. Her descendants would rule as Empresses until their line ended at the Sacking of the Vatican in YE 238.
The years immediately following the Hycathic victory saw a flurry of activity in England, now a pioneer state in Europe in rejecting the Church. Society was extensively remodelled by Hycathic design, based heavily on the knowledge that Elmira of Aktau had provided during the war. Elmira’s knowledge was then in the custody of Roosmarijn Doolaard, 1st Margrave of Oxford. What had been a patriarchy became a strict matriarchy, so strict that succession could skip a generation for lack of a female successor. A rare case of a male authority figure at this time was Robert of Gloucester, Maud’s half-brother, whose rejection of King Stephen and continued service to Maud throughout the war as both a go-between and a soldier earned him the Marcdom of Gloucester. Nevertheless, only his female descendants could inherit his Marcdom.
Maud and her Margraves strove to expand the reach of science and education, founding and updating universities in a Hycathic mould. Education was tailored to and preferential of women and girls, Hycathae or not. Hycathism, in its new capacity as the officially designated religion of England, was openly practised and encouraged, and numbers of Hycathi rose exponentially.
The first few generations struggled with the swift transition from one system to another, creating instances of rebellion and dissent. These would naturally become scarcer as the generations passed and the English became used to the Hycathic society. At the same time, England’s unique status intrigued various groups in Europe, inspiring Hycathae and Hycathi whilst perturbing the Church.
See also: Sacking of the Vatican
England became involved in the affairs of the French throne in YE 188 when Empress Ivette II protested the Salic law, laid down by the Avignon Papacy, then based in France, that prohibited female succession. It thus prevented the recently deceased King Charles IV’s daughters from inheriting his throne. Ivette’s descendant and successor, Matilda V, travelled to France in the early-200s YE to help Charles’s second daughter and rightful heir, Blanche, fight to reclaim her throne. They succeeded after a decade of war in France and driving the Papacy back to Rome, where the Church shortly began the Inquisition in retaliation.
Matilda V’s daughter and successor, Matilda VI, travelled to Rome in the mid-230s YE with Mary-Anne Fitzwalter, 9th Margrave of East Mercia, and Adelaide Loxley, where they succeeded in defeating the Church at the Sacking of the Vatican in YE 238, banishing it from Europe and consolidating Hycathism there. However, Matilda became obsessed with power, wanting to subjugate Europe to her rule specifically, and so Mary-Anne felt compelled to kill Matilda, the last of the line of Beauclerc.
Not wishing to kickstart another war of succession back in England, the ruling sixteen Margraves decided to split the country into eleven autonomous Queendoms. Some joined forces, like Somerset and Dorset, and others installed themselves as sole rulers over their Queendom. As the 9th Margrave of East Mercia, Mary-Anne installed herself as the first Queen of East Mercia.
The fall of the house of Beauclerc and the subsequent split of England into eleven autonomous Queendoms ushered in the Second Age of Hycath.