FPRPGroupLogo This page is a stub. You can help by expanding it.

The End of Eternity
Game Master Milkdairy
Total turns 7
Start date 470 AD
Creation date 10th of August, 2016
Status Ongoing
Link Here

The End of Eternity is a RP made by Facepunch user Milkdairy. Set in post-antiquity Europe, north and east Africa, the Middle East and Iran, starting specifically in the year 470, it could be said that this is Milk's first truly successful RP.

The game has undergone several hiatuses in its past, the longest being between the releases of the Books of Turn VI, during which Milk even GMed a differently-styled game, named "C.A.T.A.L.Y.S.T.". In spite of this, the game's player base had insured its continued existence, similar to Orbis.

If you want to see any of the turns without going to Facepunch, use this link.


The opening post of the thread included the following blurbs, giving more context to the scenario at hand:

"Rome - the Eternal City. Her sprawling streets and spacious forums, her grand temples and sturdy walls. We really thought this could all last forever.

Long ago, the citizens of this once-great republic overthrew a king and vowed that never would one man rule in Rome again. It was those proud few who paid the ultimate price to give us all that the sun touched, only to have our own sinful desires squander all that had been gained. Rome had grown magnificent, but so with it did the greed of those who inherited its endless wealth. Once proud and virtuous Romans now only concerned themselves with show and coin. The people turned away from the gods - turned away from the common good - the people turned their eyes away and made leisure while wicked men tore our republic limb from limb. Oh, how the histories will tell of these days when the capital of the world was brought to its knees by the disease of its own vices. They called her Rome - the eternal city - yet when a Romulus took to the throne for one last time, it would come to surprise nobody that the end of eternity had arrived.

Welcome, Imperator, to Anno Domini 470 - the end of eternity. Things have changed drastically since you last set foot on Mediterranean soil. Great civilizations have risen and fallen, all ultimately destined to be crushed by the mighty senate and people of Rome. But the Romans, who once thought themselves invincible, have long since declined from their glorious golden apex at the turn of the second century AD. Decades of internal strife and unsustainable practices have made the great eternal city a mere shadow of its former self. While the red cloak of the empire still hangs over much of the known world, the res publica itself, much like the city of Rome, has become nothing more than an afterthought to its citizens. The Western Empire has yet to fall, but to the masses that inhabit it, it would make little difference - the roads and public buildings had already fallen into disrepair long ago.

This change has not gone unnoticed by the tribes residing outside the bounds of the empire - Germanic cultures attempting to escape the encroaching frost of a new ice-age steadily pour into the West's once-sacred borders, hoping to stake a claim over its rich and fertile lands. Still, hope remains in East where the rich and cultured empire of the Byzantine Romans lives on. To survive the coming age will not be easy, as new threats approach the Byzantines from all directions - a new Persian empire has emerged in the East, vying to take the fight to the Romans. In the north, steppe peoples from the Northern plains have come pouring down South hoping to settle in Roman lands. The Byzantines are yet to find themselves in a position similar to their Western cousins, but they must be weary and willing to adapt - in this age, even that which was previously eternal can simply disappear before one's eyes."


The Writings of Historian Malven Deodatet: Regarding the 9th Century and Earlier

First Council of the Lateran

With the sudden appearance of the Mohammedan Saracen, many faithful wondered what was going to happen next. It could be a matter of time until the pentarchal cities of Alexandria, Antioch, and most importantly, Jerusalem, fell in the hands of heathens. In the West, following the Merovingian takeover of Italy, the Papal State was formed, distancing the Bishop of Rome away from his equals. While no one questioned it in the west, in the east, people wondered what the bishop might do with the rise of a new emperor in the region, a title only the Roman Emperor could claim. Many factors led to the Roman Emperor contacting the heir of the Franconian Emperor, the King of Low Germania; the Emperor, along with the patriarchates, were getting suspicious of the Bishop of Rome's power, and offered a chance to not only increase faith in the region, but give the King more freedom faith-wise. The Franconian lent his ear and listened to his offer: to maintain the stability of the Church in these sad times, new patriarchates should be established in the West, as to not only unsuspectingly limit the Bishop of Rome's power (through the enforcement of conciliarity), but to allow for greater local representation and diversity within the faith, effectively organizing the church against the expansionist forces of the Saracen. The Franconian liked the idea, and sent his church men to meet with those of the Empire - this would effectively lead to the First Council of the Lateran in 876, once the Pope was pressured by the other Catholic kingdoms joining in (at least in spirit), such as with Brittania.

Through the writings of several chroniclers, and several members of the wider clergy of the time, such as those by the Briton monk known as Tremorus, the Greek deacon known as Vassilios, the Franconian presbyter known as Thankmarus, and the Carthaginian prelate known as Leonius, we can easily identify the intricacies of the First Lateran Council.

Alongside the five ancient Patriarchates, the Pentarchy, whose order of preeminence was ranked by the Quinisext Council in 692, four new 'junior' Patriarchates were created, in correspondence to the former Roman dioceses. They are as followed:

  • The Patriarchate of Hispania, based in Compostela, holding jurisdiction over all of Iberia
  • The Patriarchate of Gallia, based in Lugdunum, holding jurisdiction over all of Gaul
  • The Patriarchate of Greater Germania, based in Mogontiacum, holding jurisdiction over the following lands: Low Germania, Middle Germania, High Germania, and the rest of Magna Germania, including Frisia and Cimbria
  • The Patriarchate of all Albion, based in Mincip/Mencipit/Verulam (the name fluctuated between sources), holding jurisdiction over all of Albion, consisting of the islands of Pretan and Hibernia

Along with the foundation of Junior Patriarchates, the council also established the Ecumenical Ecclesiarchy, the governing body of the Church that would maintain regular jobs of appointing archbishops, protecting pilgrimage routes and sites, the creation of new Patriarchates, and large scale missionary projects into foreign lands.

Through writings of the time, we can also identify the rites used in this time, along with the titles of who followed them, which I have written down below;

  • Bishop of Rome, Patriarch of Italia, Primate of Hestia, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Province of Rome, and First Among Equals Patriarch: Lateran Rite٭ (Benedictine/Lateran Rite derivative [Hestian Rite] for Hestia)
  • Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Greece, and of Haemus, Pannonia, and Anatolia: Constantinopolitan* Rite
  • Patriarch of Antioch, and of Syria, and all the East: Antiochene Rite
  • His Most Divine Beatitude the Pope and Patriarch of the Great City of Alexandria, Libya, Pentapolis, Ethiopia, all the land of Egypt, and all Africa, Father of Fathers, Shepherd of Shepherds, Prelate of Prelates, Thirteenth of the Apostles, and Judge of the Œcumene: Alexandrian Rite (African Rite for Carthage/Africa)
  • Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine, and of Arabia, beyond the Jordan River, Cana of Galilee, and Sacred Zion: Liturgy of Saint James
  • Archbishop of Compostela, and Patriarch of Hispania: Hispanian Rite (Gallican rite derivative)
  • Archbishop of Lugdunum, and Patriarch of Gallia: Gallican Rite
  • Archbishop of Mogontiacum, and Patriarch of Magna Germania and Cimbria: Lateran Rite
  • Archbishop of Mencipit, and Patriarch of all Albion: Albanic Rite (Celtic/Lateran rite derivative)

٭Lateran referring to the Pre-Tridentine Roman Rite, and Constantinopolitan referring to the Byzantine Rite

It goes without saying that the influence of the First Council of the Lateran cannot be understated. However, it was only one of many Councils of the Lateran that would be held, seeing as the first only covered one of the major issues of the faith at this time. The Second Council would be as influential as the first...

The Albanic Rite

Using the writings of Brittonic clergy men, we can map out the origins of the Albanic Rite, also known as the Mencipitic/Armaghic Rite. The royal family of Brittania, the Padulli, helped set its foundation after one of their kings had the various abbots and bishops go through Albion and collect info on the various diverse forms of the Celtic Rites that existed on the island, uniting them into one rite. Alongside the Patriarch of Mencipit [Verulamium] and all of Albion, and the Bishop of Patricium [Downpatrick], there was also the Irish Archabbot of Armagh, whose particular church, in the form of a territorial abbacy, spanned all of Hibernia and Caledonia, akin to the Patrician Bishop, as the Irish at the time focused more on powerful abbots and monasteries, rather than the episcopal structure of the wider Brittonic Church. This development helped preserve the form of the faith practiced in those areas for a little longer, keeping its distinct elements such as the Culdees and lunar dating for Easter intact.

Christianity in Hestia

To understand the origins of the Hestian Rite, and its position under the Bishop of Rome rather than the Archbishop of Lugdunum, one must consider the introduction of Christianity into the region. Whilst the ancestors of the Hestians have a history with the faith, having followed the teachings of Arius, as well as introducing them to their new pagan subjects, it wouldn't be long before Rome once more attempted to stomp out the heresy.

As such, Pope Gregory I organized groups of Italian monks and priests to be sent not only to Hestia, but to the now-organized Cimbria. The Gregorian Mission, as it is known, had mixed results depending on the region. The group sent to Cimbria suffered harsh resistance, and many of them perished as they attempted to flee to the group sent to Hestia. Contrasting their failure, the slow but relative success of the Hestian group, consisting of Augustine of Hestia, Paulinus, Rufinianus, Iacomus, and Justus, among others, helping the push towards the followings of Rome. Many of those who perished in Cimbria, such as Laurentius, Petrus, and Mellitus, would later be named martyrs. Those that survived, such as Honorius and Gratiosus, would join in the success of those first sent to the kingdom on the coast of the Suebic Sea.

The Apostle to the Hestians, and the proper founder of the Hestian church, Augustine would establish the first Hestian Benedictine monastery soon after their arrival. Other foundations quickly followed, and through the influence of several important characters in the reforming clergy, the Benedictine Rule would spread with extraordinary rapidity, leading to the Benedictine Rite influencing the wider Hestian rite. The evangelization of Hestia by Benedictines would be an important milestone in the history of the faith in the region.

The Saxons following the Saxon War

The fate of the Saxon people is as tragic as it is hopeful. Following the Saxon War and the collapse of the Kingdom of the Saxons, their people were frightened. The numbers reduced, yet some continued the slaughter even after. Childeric's systematic purge was often over-exaggerated by many later historians, such as the ever-mentioned Flavius Alypius, and that was assuredly a case of them never encountering a single Saxon in their life. However, the purge did reduce the number of the Saxon people even further. Formerly reaching as south as Hanover, they were pushed north passed Bremen.

Despite these, in some ways, ineffectual purges (if only because it led to the deaths of non-Saxons too, because of their allegiance to them), many Saxons escaped and settled north across the border into the lands of the Anglo-Jutish. Everyone non-Saxon south of the regions of North Frisia and Anglia had been now completely displaced by the Saxons, and those in the area moved north, displacing the Varines between the Angles and the Jutish, ensuring the creation of the Anglo-Jutish, and later helping in the defense against the Danish invaders. The Saxons, former allies of the Anglo-Jutish, were seen as second-rate citizens, only slightly better than the third-rate status the Danish received once they became a part of the Kingdom of Angland. As the Kingdom expanded further to support its population, they would adapt a more autonomous, "extended" rule to those outside of the Cimbric Peninsula, which is why many historians refer to this period of Anglish history as the "Anglish Confederation", despite Cimbria proper and its south still being a kingdom.

Meanwhile, while the Angles and the Jutes had largely given up their invasion of Britain, others such as the Frisians continued. Bolstered by the Varines and many Saxons joining them, they finally managed to establish a foothold on the island, north of the kingdom of Linda. While they would have numerous conflicts with Linda over what they considered de jure land, they choose to bide their time, slowly expanding as opportunities arose. The formation of Friso-Saxon would be a curiosity in history, and their continued survival was only assured by Brittania's attempted fraternization with Angland before the age of the Vikings. While Northumbria, or as some would call it Northsax, would eventually succumb to the Romanization all Germanic invaders suffered entering the lands of the former Western Roman Empire, their tongue and writing, the futhorc, survived for long enough that we can easily reconstruct it today, and it has even seen a resurgence of use in recent years by ancestors of those Romanized.

The Germanization of Low Germania

The Germanization of the Western Empire, known today as Germania, is a controversial topic in the history of Western Europe. The Franks, later becoming the Franconians, would aggressively push towards German glorification in the first era of the Empire, prior to its fracturing by Salic law and during the reign of Lothar I.

In an other world, the Franks would've heavily relied on the Gallo-Roman aristocracy that had survived the fall of the Western Roman Empire, but various factors, such as Merovingian supremacy following the Saxon War and the way the fall of Rome had affected the region, would ensure that they, along with House Karling later on, would have no initial use for the Latin-speaking folk, eschewing their influences for what they saw as proper German, leading into the development of Old Franconian.

One of the most controversial moments in this brief period was the retreat of the Gallo-Romans from the northern, northeastern and eastern sections of Low Germania, otherwise known as West Germania by some scholars. Regions populated with Latin-speaking folk, such as formerly Roman Gallia Belgica and Germania Inferior, either voluntarily left the area or were forced out, making way for Germanic settlers to repopulate. However, this would have dire consequences for the local kingdom, with its Gallo-Roman population increasing a good bit, pressuring the ruling Karling branch to reconsider its options. Indeed, Lothar's son and heir, Louis the Roman, would end up breaking away from the Empire of Germania to form his own independent kingdom, known today as Francia, gaining the support of the population and consolidating his power to his vassals, most powerful of which being the family from Bourbonnais, House Bourbon, who ruled the Duchy of Burgundy and, later, the Kingdom of Hispania.

Unknown Varangian proverb [Turn VII Mini-Preview]: Around 900 AD

"God created all European men equal - Jarl Josua Heimskur made them less equal."

~ Unknown Author

Long Live the King, Slayer of Kings [Turn VII Preview]: Late 9th Century

In the coming times, all men South of Angland will know the name of Jósuá Heimskur Ragnarsson, for when they invoke him, it will be as king.

In the year of our Lord 885, Europe bleeds. A once barbarous and godless people have found among them a great King, a man of power and ambition who brings a chill down the spine of the most powerful monarchs of Europa. Wherever the land meets the sea, the Varangians come forth in a deluge, united in the purpose of bringing the world to its knees. Nowhere is safe. No sanctuary is sacred. No man, woman, or child is left untouched by the hardships brought upon them by the Vikings. Villages burn and crops whittle and die. Now is the age of the North.

Hestia. A Kingdom born of perseverance and strength crumbles against Varangian steel. The King bows at the feet of the House Ragnarsson, begging mercy of them. Mercy is given, but at a price. Hestia, the once-great kingdom becomes but a despotate. Lords are replaced with Jarls and sölderun with huscarls. The Varangians, in that year, eat banquets atop the graves of their enemies.

The only question now is...

Who will be next?

Across the world, the great Empire of Sina will fight its last battle in the old world, struck true by the sword of Islam. Their enemies slain, the Caliphate of Al-Mu'tadid bi-llah is one born again. Arabs march the corners of the world, bringing Islam down upon the unenlightened like the skull-smashing swing of a mace.

In this new age, Emirs and Imams enter the courts of Kings as equals, and the mere mention of Arab soldiers brings cities to surrender. In Baghdad, the Caliph commands the swing of a million swords. His mere whim topples Empires and his word rewrites the fabric of history. A deep, endless ocean of vassals, allies, and lords stand ready to protect the interests of his Empire wherever it may go.

From the deserts of the Nile to the Oxus river, Al-Mu'tadid's grand caliphate incorporates a vast realm of different peoples and histories, and it may only continue to grow.

Indeed, the coming revival of Islam's golden age may be a telling sign of things to come.

The Visigoths are no more.

The court of Burgundy, overshadowing the King's court in Paris, had little need for the monarch's approval before the Duke raised a great army of men, Burgundians and allies, to topple the decadent Hispania of the Visigothi. The Duke - no - the King would prove once and for all that Frankish arms reigned supreme in the Lord's continent.

Their destruction was not without resistance, as a contingent of loyal men was brought to the fight against Burgundy, but this force too little and too late into the fray to save the Germanic elite of Hispania from defeat. The French Duke swept through the countryside unchallenged, and by the time he had chosen the capital from which he reigned, the cities of Hispania had already hailed him as King.

The King and his allies, now basking in the fruits of their conquest, looked toward the South. The distrust of Carthage was earning them no favors among the lords, and with the throne came the responsibility of dealing with one's neighbors.

So too did the Carthaginians realize that a new era was upon them, and that relations with Burgundy would now be paramount to the continuation of the status-quo. They watched the next steps of the King with bated breath...

Bolt in the Knee [Turn VII Mini-Preview]: Late 9th Century

"A comitatense went riding out one dark and windy day - upon a ledge he rested as he went along his way
When all at once a mighty herd of coal-eyed ox he saw - ploughin' through the ragged skies, and up the cloudy draw
Their pulls were still on fire and their hooves were made of steel
Their horns were black as midnight and their hot breath he could feel
A bolt fear went through him as they raided through the sky - for he saw the vikings coming hard, and he heard their battle cry"

~ Unknown Author

The Journey of Tremorus: Late 9th Century

From the writings of historian Comitin Taillefer;

Tremorus is a fascinating figure in the history of Brittania. A low class monk from the north, he had always wanted to travel outside of his home island to discover what further truths were there about the faith he loved dearly. After hearing rumors of the King sending Brittanian church men off-island, he followed every lead he could to find out where they were heading off from, before reaching south into Brerding, where he discovered the ship the church men were using, sneaking in.

Many of his early writings, written in a Brythonic-Brittanian pidgin, using the Irish-created Insular script, mostly spoke of menial things at first. His boat trip was one of a tense nature, as Varangian raiders had risen in the region, seemingly helping Northsax in the meantime, with adventurers arriving for glory. He spent his time playing an early Brittanian variant on the game backgammon, socializing with the Romance and Celtic people on the ship and just keeping himself calm.

Arriving in Armorica for a stop, Tremorus mentions the rise of tension here as well, which was semi-related to the tensions of those in Brittania. Rumors related to their neighbors, the newly risen Jarldom of Normandy, as well as worries over proper Gallo-Roman intrusion into the region, led to fears of invasion, political and/or cultural, and thus the Armorican Gauls, the last of their kind on the mainland, had been preparing defenses in case that happened. Interactions were limited, but Tremorus' comments on their language would help linguists in their quest to reconstruct Old Armorican.

From Armorica, the trip continued by ship, and tensions had simmered as they left the possible reach of Germanic raiders, at least in their opinion. Arriving in Gades for another stop, Tremorus would write about the differences between Betican Garum, considered the best in the entire Roman world, and Brittanian Garum, or as he referred to it, Liquamen, stating that he preferred his homeland's variant more. One would wonder what he would think of caveach. He would also discuss the views of the faith as displayed in Betica, and comment on the cosmopolitan nature of the region, from Romanized folk such as the Moors, the Beticans and the Africans to the non-Romanized, such as the Berbers and the two Bedouin merchants he encountered.

Soon, they left by ship once more and crossed the strait of Gades, and it would be during this ship trip that Tremorus would be discovered, but the church men allowed him to stay, as one of them recognized Tremorus and embraced him in brotherly love. Arriving in Italia, Tremorus would part ways with the group, now headed on his own faithful adventure. He would spend some time in Roma before heading south from Parthenope, or Napoli, through what was known in ancient times as Magna Graecia. As he commented on their faith and language as well, noting the increasing amount of Greek the more south he went, he commented on their food too. A proper foodie, if one could call a monk that. Focaccia would be a dish he would enjoy very much.

Arriving in Hydronton, he crossed the strait of the same name by boat and landed in Corcyra, from where he arrived in the Hellad. He would traverse many of the monasteries in the region, discovering more and more of the faith in its most orthodox form. He would stop at Mount Athos, or as he called it, the Holy Mountain, and spend some time there, before continuing on his journey. It would be around this time that he would discover the classical philosophy of cynicism, its later incarnations and the stories of many of its philosophers, from Crates of Thebes and Peregrinus Proteus, to Sallustius of Emesa and Diogenes of Sinope.

As he traveled across the Aegean into Asia Minor, he would also discover many Hellenic terms, such as Hesperia ultima for Hispania, as well as quirky devices, such as the aeolipile, which demonstrates the physical properties of the weather. Along with his own discoveries in the faith, he had so much to share with those back home. He carried many documents, many of which are now displayed in the Museum of Cavelot, containing them.

With lasting peace achieved between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Abbasid Caliphate, Tremorus would be astounded by the cosmopolitan nature of the region of Syria, commenting how it in some ways eclipsed what he had seen in Betica. His tales exploring the many different types of Christianity, the awkward story of him attempting to discuss with an Arabic-speaker by using an Arabic Bible he gained in Gades, and visiting the Holy City, among the Pentarchal cities, are just many of the things he wrote about. He would even encounter a man of the East, speaking of an enlightened man named "Buddas".

His time would come to an end in the region, and he soon arrived south in Egypt, where he would visit its many rich towns, including the last Pentarchal city of Alexandria. It would be about here when he would express that he was getting homesick, and feeling as though he had finally seen the greatness of his faith upclose, he left the region by merchant boat in order to finally return home. He would make comments as the ship stopped in Sicily and Sardinia, expressing his opinions of the areas, before reaching Bourbon-owned Hispania, which he began referring to as Hesperia. He would travel north, first by foot, and then by horse, before once more reaching Armorica, discussing his encounters with the local Gallo-Romans, including when he haggled with a merchant over the price of food he was offering.

Once in Armorica, he would start reflecting on his journey, with his writings ending before his boat trip back to his home island. His travels are currently assumed to have lasted from about 876 to 883, with many references to them found by local writings commenting on "the foreigner who spoke Latin weirdly." While his discoveries would at first be only local knowledge to the north he was from, some aspects would spread among Brittanian culture in the period, including classical cynicism and the introduction of Greek terms he brought along. The town near the monastery he inhabited would end up having a public aeolipile as well.

Tremorus' re-emergance in popular Brittanian culture during the times of romanticism would be indicative of the era he came from, one of growing development under High King Gervase, a time when spirits were high and the threat of the Varangians was still decently far away. Unlike other characters who became popular in the time, Tremorus' stories, whilst possibly slightly exaggerated at times, were based in reality, whilst the previously mentioned characters were imaginary. As such, many adaptations of his stories exist today.

The Writings of Historian Malven Deodatet: Regarding the 10th Century

Second Council of the Lateran

The influence of the First Council of the Lateran resonated throughout Europe, with those who orchestrated it celebrating a minor theological and geopolitical victory, as those two went hand in hand around this time. However, the opponents to the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome knew they needed to seal the coffin and ensure that he is, as his title says, only the First Among Equals. But something that they hadn't considered was what the Patriarch himself was organizing. In the time between the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and the First Council of the Lateran, the Pope had weaved a strong web of connection throughout the former provinces of the West, both with the bishops (and the common folk consequently) and with the kings that inhabited the region. It helped not that Pope Adrian approved of Carolus Magnus' crowning as Imperator as well.

Combining what we've stated with the fact that, unlike the other patriarchs, the Bishop of Rome controlled his own lands, and one would quickly realize that he had ensured his popularity, power and prestige in the West, excluding Brittania for reasons we will get to. While unnoticed during the First Council, the Pope's so-called lobbying group, colloquially named the Adrian Group, would stand toe-to-toe with those who threatened to reduce the Bishop of Rome any further than he already has, de jure or de facto. Not even their local patriarchs could challenge the might held in the Pope's hands. This is the position the Catholic world had found itself in as it began the Second Council of the Lateran in 910.

The main initial points of discussion were that of the title of Pope, which generally referred to a bishop or patriarch, just being a colloquialized term borrowed from Greek, and the stance on Unisedism, or Monosedism as some insist, referring to the belief and promotion of a see's superiority over others within the church. Those standing against the Adrian Group hoped to adopt the title of Pope as an endearing title for all patriarchs, not just the Bishop of Rome, and attempted to see the idea of Unisedism declared a heresy, for it stood against the equality between the patriarchs, among other things. Both of these were inevitably blocked by those within the Adrian Group, and as such ended up on the cutting board.

To most, this may make the council a failure, but some things were achieved and recognized. Carthage's actions prior to the First Council were addressed, and as such, they had to prove their loyalty to the faith by intensifying its actions against the heretics which still laid in its lands, acknowledging the First Council at the same time. With Arianist holdouts discovered in Western Hispania, a similar demand was made to the King of Hispania, and to make sure they followed their local patriarch, as they should. The general state of the Catholic world was also discussed, with regions being examined to discuss what heresies may still muck about where, and the threat of the Varangians being discussed as well. Due to the insistence of the several parties, including the Brittanian delegation, several church figures were sent to the region where Hestia was located, to inspect and report the state of the faith there.

The influence of the Second Council resonated just as strongly as the First, but not for the success it had made in uniting the faith even further and ensuring the conciliarity of the church, but by displaying the true strength of the Bishop of Rome. It was going to be a long battle, if one could call it that, and the most resilient would be the victor.

The First Domino Falls [Turn VIII Preview]: Early 10th Century

For long has a reign of peace and prosperity cloaked the lands of the East as the Roman Empire of Constantinople lay dormant, holding its own amidst the ever-changing backdrop of the known world.

A precarious balance held in place by the powers that be.

But when the right man takes the purple, angered by past transgressions, how will the world react as iron meets flesh?

The mobile legions of Emperor Varazes, the first Arabic-speaking emperor, march northwestwards toward the reaches of Illyria...

Away from the Roman sphere lies the grand city of Baghdad - a place of splendor, but one that is gilded. Between the Tigris and Euphrates, decadence is a virtue.

Long has the strong arm of the Caliph wielded unimaginable holy power, but now disrupted by boiling religious feuds. A rebellion crushed with the help of Greek arms, and vassals that grow stronger every day.

Chief among the Caliph's vassals is the Sasanian dynasty - the Iranian empire of old has long dominated the lands of the East, in strife but forever eternal in the minds and hearts of its subjects. As the bond between empire and land has grown stronger, all forms of identity have been co-opted to conform as-well. Now, men and women convert to the new, imperial cult of Zoroaster - an old faith, evolved to adapt in new, tumultuous times.

So long as tribute has been paid, the tolerant Caliphs of Baghdad have not minded the Iranian heresies being spawned in the East.

But now, the coin no longer flows West. No tribute paid. No emissaries dispatched.

A storm brews in the East.

A gust of wind. A skip in the hearts of men.

Bells ringing.

Horns sounding.

Drums thumping.

From sheer cliffs the lords of Cavelot look on toward a picturesque scene.

The most intricate waves, flutting about. Ocean spray crashes against the shore. A hundred sails or more dot this dark blue backdrop.

Just another Saxon raid, like those of old, the lords of the West concluded.

But how times have changed, that these were no Saxons.

The Brittanians would forever remember their first real introduction with the men of what they call Svedia.