Character Depth Discussion on KtD Side Project
I have not given him anything in the way of stats as yet.
Father Castanzo “Cass” Augustus21 December, 1832 – d. 21 December, 1901
Father Castenzo (or Father Cass as he was later called) was born in Rome, Italy. The exact circumstances of his birth are a closely guarded secret, but he was raised in a Roman Catholic orphanage, and rumors about his possible parentage were aplenty. Some even said he was the illegitimate son of the pope himself. Whether Cass knew who his parents were was never discovered, and the mystery of his parentage remains to this day.
Whatever his origins, Cass entered the clergy at a young age and, despite a wild streak that drove his teachers and instructors up the nearest bell tower, he displayed an aptitude for ministry and evangelism, as well as languages.
This may be why, in 1850 when the United Kingdom opened its borders to the Catholic faith for the first time since the establish of the Church of England almost 1300 years prior, the newly ordained Father Cass was sent to lead the Roman Catholic temple in London.
1) Early Years (1832-1852)
No one knows exactly where young Cass came from, but he was left on the steps of a Catholic-run orphanage in Rome a newborn infant on 21 December, 1832 with a note that gave only a name and that he was to be educated in the ways of the clergy.
From the beginning, Castenzo was a thorn in the side of his guardians. Naturally inquisitive, fearless, and seemingly impervious to the multitude of beatings he received at the hands of his instructors, Cass did not suffer through his education, rather his education suffered through him. But by the time he was 15 in 1847, he was considered one of the most promising acolytes in Rome.
On 8 April, 1849, Easter Sunday, Castanzo Augustus took his vows before Pope Pius IX himself. Then, less than a year later, Father Castanzo Augustus found himself on his way to London England.
1a. Establishing the Roman-Catholic Faith (1850-1852)
Despite their best efforts, the English monarchy could not block every Catholic from their borders. Father Cass was given a church to begin his ministry, but found it was little more than derelict. But his dynamic personality and willingness to get his hands dirty drew quite a few loyal Catholics out, and over the course of the next two years, they helped him restore the derelict cathedral to its former glory.
2) Middle Years (1853-1881)
2a. Ministry in the Community (1853-1865)
Father Cass built up his credibility as a man of peace and a leader from the grand opening of his cathedral in London until 1865. Throughout that time, he became a pillar of the community, forming several schools and shelters for the poor in an attempt to educate the men and women of the community who were never afforded the benefit of formal education. Also, his orphanages included an education and work placement programs.
In 1864, Saint Anthony’s Hospital broke ground in London due to Father Cass’ direct involvement, collecting donations, finding contractors, and even assisting in construction.
In 1865, Father Castanza Augustus suffered a tragic accident that nearly claimed his life. Afterward, it is said he was not the same man.
2b. The Accident (1865)
On 7 June, 1865 while on the construction site of his biggest project, Saint Anthony’s Hospital, a load-bearing pillar collapsed, dropping several tons of steel and brick down on Father Cass. It took a full week to dig out what all unanimously decided would be the priests’ corpse, but when they found him he was badly injured but still very much alive. His parishioners called it a miracle. Father Cass would come to call it a curse.
2c. Father Castanza Augustus’ Breakdown (1865-1866)
It took Father Cass nearly a year to fully recover from his injuries, and during that time without his driving force behind the project, the hospital fell through. During the course of his recover, Cass was near delirious the entire time, claiming to see the spirits of the dead, claiming he could speak to them. It was not until the end of 1866 when he was visited by the aging Pope Pius IX, whom he had not seen since his ordination. The Pope spoke with him privately and only very briefly, but afterward, Father Cass was more like his old self. None will ever know what passed between them, and Father Cass would not see the Pope alive again, indeed would not see him again until the Pope’s body was moved from its burial place at Saint Peter’s Grotto to the Basilica of Saint Lawrence outside the Walls on 13 July, 1881, three years after his death.
2d. The Fall of a Legacy (1867 to 1880)
After speaking with Pope Pius IX, Father Cass returned to himself. Mourning his dream of a hospital that would cater to the poor and impoverished, Cass withdrew into himself. He began keeping strange hours, sleeping through the day and emerging only at night. He refused to attend or minister weddings or christenings, but accepted all funerals. He turned his congregation over to his trusted brother, Father Michael Farragut, an Irishman and began to pursue strange studies. He became close friends with Sir Raymond Kelly Eddington II, a noble parishioner who had a reputation as having the most complete library of paranormal happenings in the United Kingdom. The two became inseparable as Father Castanza’s obsession with the paranormal and supernatural consumed him.
Often they would be seen at various cemeteries together, and rumor spread that they were performing profane rituals and ceremonies during the witching hour.
During this time, Father Cass came under investigation of witchcraft and heretical practices innumerable times, but none could prove the allegations. However, in 1876, a tribunal was assigned by the Council of Cardinals in the Vatican to seek proof of Father Castanza’s heresy. They scrutinized his life for two years but came to the same conclusion as everyone else: His practices, while unorthodox, were entirely Christian and in keeping with some of the older Catholic traditions.
In 1880, however, Sir Eddington went missing, and Father Cass was implicated in the disappearance. This spawned a criminal investigation that dragged out over the span of a year, wherein Father Cass’ behavior grew more and more suspicious and culminated in him burning down his own cathedral with a dozen of his parishioners inside. He claimed they were demons, but did not resist when the police arrested him.
2e. Incarceration (1880-1881)
Father Cass was incarcerated in Newgate Prison pending his trial. The police investigation was met with stiff opposition from the Catholic Church, who still supported Cass’ actions in the name of God, claiming that if Cass said the victims were demons, then that is exactly what they were. After a very public trial, Father Castanza Augustus was exonerated of all charges and freed. However, his reputation was ruined and he would never again stand before a congregation. He would remain in London the rest of his life, however. Some believe that he received orders from the Vatican to further pursue the investigation of the paranormal.
3) Later Years (1881-1901)
Not much is known of Father Cass’ life after his release in 1881. He lived in near-obscurity in London for the rest of his life. Even the events surrounding his death are shrouded in mystery. On 22 December, 1901, his body was found in a field outside of London, having been burned at a stake after being hung on a crude gallows. To this day, his murder has not been solved. His body was shipped back to Rome for burial, but disappeared in transit and again, to this day none know what happened to it.
4) Strange Facts
4a. While the rumors were never substantiated, many historians believe that Castanza Augustus was the illegitimate son of Pope Pius IX. Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti (Pope Pius IX’s birth name) was not a wild youth, but the rumored custom of the time for a man about to take his vows was to spend one night of indulgence before a lifetime of deprivation. Giovanni Maria Masti-Ferretti was ordained in March of 1832, nine months before Father Cass’ assumed birthdate of 21 December, 1832.
4b. Prior to his accident in 1865, Father Cass suffered from nightmarish visions of the future. He recorded them in his journal, and even reported a circumstance not dissimilar to his death.
4bi. *“2 June, 1845
“Last night I had the strangest dream. I was hanging by the neck from a great wooden beam while simultaneously burning alive while six men looked on. Each man held a torch and each man had the devil in his eyes.”
*From Father Castanza Augustus’ private journal, translated from Latin.
4c. It is rumored that after his accident in 1865, Father Castanza Augustus ceased to show the physical signs of age. This is difficult to substantiate because the only effigy in existence was painted on the day of his ordination when he was 17 years old. There is an old photograph of a man that some claim is Castanza Augustus take in 1897, and while he does resemble the rendering, there is no way to verify one way or the other.
4d. Prior to setting fire to his own cathedral, several reports indicate that the 12 victims of the fire were engaged in what can only be described as suspicious activities. Most cases were simple harassment charges, but by and large the individuals were considered good Christians and had never engaged in that sort of behavior before.
In one extreme case, a butcher’s wife went missing. After the fire, she was found in his cellar, butchered with substantial pieces notably missing.
4e. In 1881, in the height of his public trail, a cadre of armed Royal Guards came and took Father Cass from Newgate and brought him to Buckingham Palace where it was rumored he was brought before Queen Victoria herself. After 12 hours, he was returned to Newgate Prison. Not long thereafter, he was exonerated.
The exact purpose of this visit was never discovered, but certain correspondence from Pope Pius IX have been discovered, suggesting the Queen was suffering from a haunting: The ghost of her late husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. After Father Cass’ visit, Victoria seemed a much improved woman.