It is official. We have a (new) Pope. After five days of conclave, the cardinals finally voted with a clear majority. White smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel announcing the new Holy Father and was met with loud cheers on St. Peter’s Square (as well as all over Rome where I am still joining the Party), where people had been camping for days looking and blogging for signs or black or white smoke.
After the recent death of His Holiness, Pope John XXV, about three weeks ago at the venerable age of 111 (and this without any known or visible léonization or other genetic treatments), the Cardinal Carmelengro, an official in the Vatican, sealed his apartment and destroyed the Papal ring (or not, if you believe rumor-mongering in Rome) as has been customary for centuries.
After the funeral and the nine days of mourning, the Cardinals of the Conclave were sealed in the Sistine Chapel. Since the Sacred College congregated for the first time after more than sixty years for a Papal vote (the last time was in 2013, shortly after the Awakening) a lot of precautions were taken to prevent the cardinals from having contact with the outside world. Buildings were scanned for bugging devices and explosives, clerics and servants of the Vatican examined for weapons, hidden commlinks, or devices able to breach the installed signal jammers (due to the historic nature of the Sistine Chapel the use of WiFi-inhibiting paint wasn’t really an option). The chapel was even warded with an astral barrier by magicians of the Order of St. Sylvester and theurg envoys from the French and German Catholic Churches to prevent spirits (or any other type of astral forms) from disturbing the holy election. Despite the tight security measures it is rumored however, that some the installations were still tampered with by experts from the shadows working for or with clandestine groups including the Church’s own orders (e.g., Vigilia Evangelica), the Black Lodge, or even great dragons (and these are just the common suspects who would likely meddle with one of the major world religions). There is also a good chance that a number of intelligence services were listening in from the outside to be prepared if the church would be taking a turn for the worse, which is still feared by many who had the chance to meet to the previous open and devoted Paul XXV who fought for his Enlightened cause and the role of the Catholic Church in the Sixth World.
Whether Pope Sixtus VI, a former Italian cardinal (still not a metahuman, but Awakend if my sources are correct), who just presented himself to the people on St. Peter’s Square to give his first papal blessing will fill the former pontiff’s shoes remains to be seen. According to Vatican sources, he wasn’t the Roman Curia’s first choice, but he is known to be a skilled orator and negotiator (so he is basically a politician who has been serving the Papal States for decades also behind the curtains) who has the ambitions to strengthen and unite the Catholic Church and lead the dialogue with other sentient races (to show them the way).