Anima: Shadows of the Imperium

History: Gaia 4

The Last Emperor

Your title here…The Last Emperor

When Lucanor killed Lascar, it completely destroyed Elias’ plans, since the boy no longer could aspire to the throne. Without another successor, the future of the Empire was compromised, because up until that moment the conception of Abel was maintained in the quasi-divine figurehead of the Giovanni lineage. The problem was very serious, and to solve it, the greatest powers of Gaïa divided into two factions: those who supported Lucanor’s ascent to the throne in spite of his crime and those who preferred that a new dynasty ascend to power. Ironically, the boy himself gave the answer to the problem when he declared openly that, given the circumstances, he was not fit to ascend to the throne. Thus it came about that Elias Barbados, the closest descendent to the title, would be proclaimed the Holy Emperor due to the backing of the Church and the remaining Lords of War. Incapable of blaming the son of Lascar for the occurrence, the first decision of the new Lord of Abel was to send the boy to Lucrecio and grant him the title of prince, which rightfully belonged to him through his mother’s lineage.

Naturally, the ascent of Elias to the throne caused an enormous uproar throughout the world. Many principalities that had always set their sights on independence took advantage of the moment to try and sway imperial policy, and they even reached the point of suggesting possibly modifying the structure to create something more like the first Republic of Abel. Little by little the atmosphere of agitation increased and there were those that feared that Elias wouldn’t be able to stand the tension. But, contrary to all the rumors, the previous Lord of War demonstrated a great shrewdness in politics just as he always had on the battlefield. Backed by the intelligent Archbishop Augustus, one of the most liberal leaders in the whole of Church history, he was able to maintain imperial unity with bold reforms and refined ingenuity. Compared to Lascar’s old regime of terror, the changes in Abel were welcomed with joy and optimism even by the most radical sectors, so for three decades the Empire enjoyed a time of prosperity.

Unfortunately for Elias, his political successes were not mirrored in his personal life, which was plagued with constant misfortune. The tragedy that hit him the hardest of all was the death of his wife who died in childbirth while bringing his daughter Elisabetta into the world. Torn by the pain of his loss, the Emperor blamed his wife’s death on Elisabetta and separated her from his side, leaving the child in the care of the knights of the Heaven Order.

Your title here…The Beginning of the End

After the death of his friend and mentor, the High Archbishop Augustus, Elias found himself in the difficult position of having to choose a new spiritual leader for the Church. The decision proved to be much more complicated than the Emperor first thought, because not only did it seem impossible to find an appropriate person amongst the applicants, but also that the rivalry for the position was heated and caused great conflicts amongst the principalities. In spite of the time that he had been on the throne, Elias had to be very careful, because a bad decision could cause a shift in the power structure of Gaïa.

After meeting with dozens of applicants, during one of the hearings the Lord of Abel crossed paths with a young abbess who would change his life. Her name was Eljared and, just twenty-six years old, she had reached the highest station that a woman was able to obtain within the structure of the Church. She was completely mysterious, but possessed a supernatural beauty and incomparable talent that captivated Elias at first sight. Elias couldn’t stop thinking about her for a moment, and began seeing her assiduously to pass most of his time. After several months, to the shock of the entire world, he publicly announced that Eljared would be the new Supreme Archbishop, a title that until then had never been granted to a woman. Of course, there were many principalities that were not in absolute agreement with the appointment, but could not openly oppose the throne of Abel’s designs without greater cause.

Once at the head of the Church, Eljared began to accumulate incredible personal power, greater than any other Supreme Archbishop had ever had. The Emperor, blinded by his feelings towards her, yielded her all the imperial prerogatives, which actually converted her into the true Empress of Abel. Once in possession of absolute power, she began to act with impunity all over Gaïa, making strange decisions that very few understood. She put the main organizations of the Empire in the control of several of her confidential agents, while she ordered the unearthing of dangerous secrets of the past. With care, as a meticulous chess player would place her pieces on the board, Eljared prepared to initiate the greatest game ever played.

For a second time the world that we knew was about to change before our eyes, but once again, we would not be aware of it.

The Fracture of the Heavens

The behavior of Eljared did not go unnoticed by the principalities near the Empire for long. Soon, many governors began to publicly protest her acts, warning her that her decisions and behavior were not proper of her position. Nevertheless, the Supreme Archbishop turned a deaf ear to such warnings, and she even began to act more brashly without any apparent justification. It was as if, at heart, she wished to push the world into a rebellion. The situation reached critical mass when Maximillian Hess, Lord of Remo, openly accused her of witchcraft and having the Emperor subjugated. Investigating on his own, prince Hess had unearthed the fact that the abbess called Eljared had never existed, and that her entire past was nothing more than a convenient lie. It’s a matter of debate whether or not it was Eljared herself who leaked that information to deliberately set the stage for her next move.

In response to those accusations, the Supreme Archbishop ordered the complete destruction of Remo and to reduce everything there to ashes. A personal friend of Elias, the Lord of War Tadeus Van Horsman, refused to carry out such an order and asked his old companion to reconsider, but Eljared responded by jailing him and replacing the knight with someone who would carry out her designs. Just a week later, the proud principality of Remo lay in ruins, and the lifeless body of Hess hung like trophy surrounded by the rubble of his own capital. The general reaction within the Empire was deafening; many countries immediately tried to cut their ties with Abel, which caused the Supreme Archbishop to declare war against all their leaders. A conflict of titanic proportions threatened to devour all of Gaïa for the first time in seven centuries.

And even as she brought chaos to every corner of the world, Eljared prepared to put her true plan into effect.

What did she really want? Perhaps we will never entirely know. In her own way, she carried a heavy legacy on her back, one that pushed her to her limits regardless of the consequences. Just as Rah had done in the past, she also wished to change the world in her own way.

On New Year’s Eve, a chain of events would take place during a tragic festivity: the fateful night known as the Fracture of the Heavens. From every corner of the globe, the agents of the Supreme Archbishop initiated a complex supernatural ritual centered in the city of Archangel that created an alteration in existence. The earth shook, the oceans darkened and the skies of Gaïa turned red like blood.

What happened next is shrouded in uncertainty. Officially, forces commanded by the Lord of War Tadeus Van Horsman attacked the Castle of the Angel that night, attempting to stop the madness of the Emperor. However, recent studies confirm that Tadeus was not released until the following morning, making the previous versions unverifiable. At any rate, the truth is that while the armies raged through the entire city, an explosive battle ignited inside the imperial palace, reducing much of its infrastructure to rubble. At the height of the attack, the Emperor’s daughter approached her father begging him to stop the madness, but he, completely insane with grief, tried to kill Elisabetta, accusing her of being the cause of the sad situation the Empire was going through. Seeing that the girl who he had mentored for years was in danger, Kisidan, one of the highest-ranking knights of the Heaven Order, was forced to slay the Emperor. Only minutes later, Eljared, appeared in the tower of the great guardian angel of the city, with her arms extended towards the sky. Her last words resonated through the entire city.

“Is man only a failure of God, or is God only a failure of man? Everyone, who have wandered in the darkness of your own history like small children, open your eyes. It is about to begin. Be witness to how we take this step forward. In the end, to deny God will be the only way to save the world”.

For better or worse, in less than an hour everything had ended, and Eljared disappeared forever.

The death of the Holy Emperor produced serious consequences for the Empire. Anticipating the great instability that hung over Gaïa, the young Elisabetta demanded her right to the throne and began working hard towards world stability. Unfortunately, many of the principalities that had declared independence from Abel months before refused to accept her as Empress, while one of the Lords of War named Matthew Gaul and some select principalities formed the Azure Alliance, an
opposing faction of power that struggles towards the ideal of becoming the center of the new empire one day. Without knowing with whom to side with, the Church has remained a neutral faction for the moment, proclaiming a new Supreme Archbishop on their own without the approval of the young Empress.

And Now…

Now it is the year 989. Six months have passed since the death of Elias and the tensions between the Empire, the Azure Alliance and the Church have only increased. With Abel fragmented, the young Empress makes an effort to maintain control of her remaining principalities to avoid devouring the entire world in the flames of war, while other countries prepare for imminent conflicts. Due to the influence of Eljared, reality has been seriously altered and the supernatural forces grow more intense every day, while the barrier that separates the real world from the Wake is thinning. And in this time of change, the unseen forces have decided to intervene again.

The dark legacy that man inherits is on the verge of fruition. Nothing is over. Deep down, this story has only just begun.

And as I was present at the beginning…

So shall I be here to witness its end.

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TyrDoshan

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