Not unlike Renaissance Italy on Earth, Questerra is a land of City-States and the large areas they held. The church is the center of all morality and authority. They contest ideas that oppose their ideas in business, arts, governance, and even the continually evolving philosophies.
That was before the strange metal ships came from the Heavens and created a dome of blue light over the City and the land surrounding it. Then the ships occupants reveled themselves. To any good believer, it was obvious they were sent by Him to impart his Glory on His people.
The newcomers wore armor of magnificent design and complexity and wielded no weapons against anyone. The few people who dared attack them would not penetrate the armor. They spoke in a language only the most learned of the Church could understand.
They instructed the people to do the work they needed and that they would impart valuable lessons on the world.
For 70 years they stayed and the City changed. The round city with the radiating roads became a square with grid streets. Huge and strange buildings were crafted to process the material they had mined from the local hillsides. The dome made contact with the villages outside it impossible, but for when they opened the gate and escorted the people to interact with a learned clergy to monitor the interaction.
The processed ore was loaded into the metal sky ships. Then the material was flown out of the dome and into the Heavens. The ships would return empty, or with supplies of tools and other items needed in the process.
After the 70 years, less ships returned when they left. Eventually, none returned and all of the armored beings were gone.
The city was confused for several weeks before the Church stepped in and brought about order with the help of the one Knightly Order that remained. That is when the Cardinal was put in charge.
Now, there is chaos and factions vie for control.