By the early 1400s, during the Hundred Years War, much of northern France was
under control of the English, and southern France was separated into duchies with little
allegiance to the king. Famine and plague had taken a greater toll on the kingdom than
on its neighbors, and the continuing wars left the populace greatly burdened. When
Charles VII took the throne in 1422, France was in turmoil. Things worsened as the
threat of the Necromantic armies to the south and east began to threaten all of Europe.
In 1429, just when it seemed as if France might lose any remaining European authority,
a young girl of 17 named Jehanne D'Arc (Joan of Arc) managed to gain an audience with
Charles. She convinced the king to give her titular command (acting as a figurehead)
over one of his armies.
Jehanne soon assumed full control and with a sword in one hand and a banner in the
other, led her army sweeping across France. Her abilities as a strategist and a leader were
remarkable; within a year her soldiers and most of the populace believed she was a saint.
Her army grew in size as she returned one territory after another to the crown–although
it should be noted that most regions were easily captured due to the extended Fifth
Crusade. By 1431, she had reclaimed lands across northern and southern France and had
recaptured Paris. France's royal authority once again stretched from the Mediterranean
to Guienne and north to Flanders.
Jehanne and her armies shifted focus in 1432 and joined the Fifth Crusade against the
Necromancers. Jehanne and a vanguard of her men clashed with a massive force of
undead at the resting place of a relic, in a series of caverns in southern France. It is said
that the army and the magic-wielding forces of the undead caused the cave to collapse,
killing her and the rest of her men.
Jehanne's death made her a martyr to the people of France, and their support buoyed
the armies of France. The French forces played a pivotal role in the defeat of the
Necromancers and continued to consolidate French holdings. The nation of France
returned to the world stage, and the French people united under their king for the first
time in history.
With the threat of the Necromancers neutralized, the knightly orders returned to their
home territories to help rebuild the cities, while the Inquisition moved to establish its
unequivocal power. Those who spoke out against the Inquisition risked being charged