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Johann Johannson

Johann the Good is a mysterious character whose clothes and robe give him the appearance of a Swiss goatherd. He has piercing blue eyes and long blonde hair that falls in untidy ringlets down to his shoulders, and carries with him a crook, resembling something a shepherd might carry but carved with a series of crosses. He is leading a crusade of children to Jerusalem to reclaim the Holy Land from the Ottomans.

Johann claims to have received word from an Angel – a calling from God, urging him to begin his quest. He also claims to speak the word of God, and in his sermons he seems to address the crowd with an intimate knowledge of their lives, talking to many and individuals simultaneously. However although he speaks profoundly, he also says things that are very generic – things that many people in a large crowd could relate to. It is possible that Johann could be a fraud, and not at all what he says he is.

Such pilgrimages were dangerous and very uncomfortable. Pilgrims and crusaders walked for hundreds of miles, often barefoot, begging for food and sleeping in fields and barns. Diseases were rife and many died on the journey.

Children's Crusade

Throughout the medieval period, there were many crusades (religious expeditions) by European Christians to expel Muslims from the Holy Land. There are some reports of bands of children marching into Italy with the intention of peacefully converting Muslims and reclaiming the Holy Land.

Quote

"I can feel your sorrow,' he said. Again his blue gaze swept Luca and then rested on Isolde. 'He did not say goodbye to you,' Johann observed gently. Isolde bit her lip at that deep, essential sorrow and there was a soft moan from the crowd from the many people who had lost fathers – at sea, to illness, in the many accidents of daily life. Ishraq, standing beside Isolde, took her hand and found that she was trembling. 'I can see a lord laid cold and pale in his chapel and his son stealing his place,' Johann said. Isolde's face blanched white as he told her story to the world. 'I can see a girl longing for her father and him crying out to her but she can't hear him.' Luca gave a muffled exclamation and turned to Brother Peter. 'I didn't tell him anything about her.' 'Nor I.' 'Then how does he know this?"

End of Days

In the period Stormbringers is set the church and God played a large part in peoples lives, and many were uneducated and had no explanation for natural phenomena and events such as earthquakes and floods. Because of this people lived in fear of these events, as they were seen as acts of God - events that could herald the end of days.

In the Catholic Church the end of days refers to the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus.

According to the Book of Revelation there are seven signs of the end of the world, the seven seals - cataclysmic events that herald death and the destruction. The first four seals are more commonly known as the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, bringing war, famine, pestilence, diseases and earthquakes. The fifth seal brings a time of great and unprecedented tribulation around the world where Satan persecutes and pursues the church and people. The sixth seal is a time of heavenly signs, the darkening of the moon and great earthquakes, meteor showers and the shifting of seas and mountains. The seventh seal brings more plague and finally the end of the world, the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth and the second coming of Jesus.

Once all of these events had taken place, at the end of days it was said that God would judge all dead and alive, and the chosen ones would be saved to live in the kingdom of God on Earth and all others else cast off into hell for eternity.