|Date of birth:||2233|
|Date of death:||2275|
|Status:||with the lord|
A once famous Cardinal of The Papal States, Oscar was known as a champion of the church. He would be struck down due to political machinations and brigands. His death led to his home falling into disrepair and obscurity.
Oscar was born to Hector Montera in La Ermita de San Miguel, the Cardinal of the shrine in 2233. His father would downplay the boy's birth, and claim that Oscar was left on his doorstep. Oscar would have few memories of his father, and was sent away to Soto La Marina when he was six.
Here he would spend the next decade learning all things about theology and governing, as well as history, trade, and war. Oscar would consider the academy his home by the time he was sixteen, but his father's death would call him back to La Ermita. He barely remembered the small shrine, but the workers welcomed him with a small feast. He would be hesitant as a baron at first, always thinking something important would come up. He would eventually settle in and provide the capable leadership his father did however, and the shrine knew a time of peace.
That peace was ended in 2265. with the declaration of the Southern Crusade, with all able men called on to fight. Oscar, now matured and comfortable in his station, was convinced he had been blessed and needed to repay The Lord's favor. He gave a fiery sermon two days after being told of the crusade and fanned the faith of all that heard him. After he had finished speaking half a dozen pilgrims volunteered to follow him to war.
After equipping his followers as best he could, Oscar told his house steward to manage in his absence, and set off. The party headed east preaching as they went, until they reached the border village of Ditch. This community had long been an "open town" and used as a launch pad for raids into Papal territory. Arriving near sundown, the crusaders attempted to find room for the night.
When they revealed their origin, however, the protestant townsfolk became disgruntled, and ordered the Catholics to leave town. Angered at their disrespect, the crusaders refused and quickly found themselves under fire. Taking charge, Oscar rallied his men and ordered them into the cantina, throwing the patrons out. It would be a drawn-out exchange, neither side really having the stomach for a decisive clash, and a little past dawn a group of villagers approached the crusaders.
As they were approaching however, Oscar ordered his men to fire, his pistols barking. The villagers would scatter, but the bullets found many of them. The townspeople began to return fire as they retrieved their dead and wounded, then amassed for a charge. They were stopped by a warband of Lipan raiders, at least thirty strong. Stuck between two rocks, the villagers panicked, some tried to flee while others desperately tried to form a defense.
The crusaders would hide as the Lipan approached, waiting to see how the villagers would fare. The defenders organized around a small stone wall in the center of town, and managed to wait for the Lipan to get in range before firing. Even with their cover, it was clear they wouldn't hold out, causing some of the Catholics to beg Oscar to save them. Despite his dislike of these untrustworthy protestants, he knew it was the right thing to do. He and his men emerged from their hiding spots and began to fire into the backs of the Lipan, sowing death and confusion.
Some raiders turned and tried to fire back, but the reduction of pressure allowed the villagers to push back, trapping the Lipan. The natives would try to fight their way out, charging the crusaders, but they wouldn't be able to reach them in time. The Catholics then went to check on the villagers, many of whom were wounded or in shock. They were in no condition for another fight, and would very grudgingly swear fealty to The Vatican.
Oscar would send two men to back to the shrine to radio word of his success, and continued east. He and his forces would meet up with a larger host led by Count Romel Carateligo a week later, and the Count greeted them warmly. At dinner that night, He would come to view his junior counterpart as a foolish idealist, and took offensive when Oscar suggested gains for the serfs.
Still presenting a polite face, Carateligo offered Oscar first blood at the bandits of the middle Saltlands, sure that he would catch a bullet in the brain. Instead, Oscar would defeat and ambush gang after gang during the year 2268, earning him great fame and prestige. It also earned him the ire of other nobles who viewed this young upstart as a challenge to their own rule.
Montera's following would grow, as commoners, caravanners, mercenaries and others flocked to him, and created a hard time supplying them. Being from a small temple Oscar couldn't possibly support his followers' needs with his land, and retreated north as he attempted to feed and arm the mob. He spent three months begging, borrowing, and pleading to gather enough to supply his followers, many of whom began to go to other leaders.
Montera and his band would finally move south again in late September, this time hugging Carretera 101 as they went, both to receive information easier and to maintain their supply lines. The rest of the year would be spent hunting down Comancheros and Lipan bands that plied the highway, their loot fueling the crusaders. By this time the Papal forces had organized and rallied around Pope Pious, who had taken the field himself to drive south and west.
Montera and his band would meet the Pope's host in August of 2269, where they took their place amongst hundreds of others. It would only be a few months after the host had assembled that victory was announced, Pope Pious halting after the conquest of Blood Money.
The word of the Pope hardly stopped the fighting however, and warbands would continue to raid and burn the countryside. Oscar was one of the nobles ordered to stop them, a task he relished. He and his followers would chase down any rumor of criminals or warbands, arresting or killing them as needed. This would prove almost as arduous as the actual campaign as raiders and warlords exploited the turmoil and power vacuum in the region. The Saltlands Defense League would be the last major opposition the Cardinal faced and after the battle of the black arroyo the warband would finally return home in August of 2272. They were quickly swept up into a festival by the joyous paisanos who had heard of Montero's many deeds.
The Cardinal would hang up his guns, happy to not need them and devoted himself to the shrine. He would find the pilgrims had slowed down during the war, and worked to restore its popularity. He also began to get involved in the Byzantine politics of the Papal States, but found few fellow moderates and lost favor with the new pope Galatius II. While no official sanction ever fell on Montera, when he received word of the SDL's return, he found little help.
Oscar would rally another band of soldiers to deal with these bandidos, thinking it would be as easy as before. He would be proven sorely wrong as his forces were ambushed and harassed before they even entered The Saltlands. They numbered three dozen when they first began to track the League, but this would become twenty by the time they had found their base, deep in a valley.
Oscar would send a runner for reinforcements before leading his men in a battle prayer. With their words said, Oscar lead the charge towards the fort. For all their zeal none would manage to reach the walls of the fort, and the bandits would remove Oscar's hands and tongue.
Oscar was an affable if distant man that few would describe as warm. He tried to be liked but not loved, keeping himself separate from his followers even when at war. His Paisanos mourned his death after they heard, but few would be sad for long. He was driven by a moderate vision of Catholicism, wanting to help the paisanos but also making sure they stayed in their place.