Anima: Shadows of the Imperium

History: Gaia 3

The Sacred Holy Empire of Able

The Sacred Holy Empire of Abel was born with the objective to unify Gaïa under a single flag. Zhorne proclaimed himself spiritual and imperial leader, appointing into his crown all the military and ecclesiastical power. The territories annexed to the Empire became principalities, dependent countries to the Sacred Holy Crown that acted as subordinate regions. Following this, Zhorne granted the title of Lords of the War to his four most important generals, giving them control of the armies of Abel, and reconstructed the Church in all of its splendor.

But even then the young Emperor did not rest. He soon returned to his travels, trusting that many principalities would join the Empire of their own free will. By that time, his fame had spread through all parts of Gaia, and in every corner of the world they knew that Zhorne brought with him stability, order and justice. Nevertheless, he didn’t always march peacefully. First he had to face the threat that Nazhael posed, one of the old marshals of Rah who had conquered part of the principalities on the Coast of Commerce. Then he opposed the two remaining powers that had reemerged in that chaotic time, the Lands of Al-Enneth and the Empire of Lannet. For years, he traveled from one place in Gaïa to another, chasing the goal that he had established upon Abel’s conception whatever the cost. Once the entire Old Continent was unified under the flag of the Empire, Zhorne rested his sight on more distant lands, first conquering the island of Varja and later the New Continent. It was a time of changes, on which the majority of the current countries and nations were founded.

It was also during this period when the emperor restored two of the most important organizations today: the Inquisition, created with the purpose of ending supernatural dangers that were hidden among men, and the knights of Tol Rauko, whose mission was to protect and conserve the knowledge from eras past.

Finally, after decades of continuous conflict, Zhorne could now return to his beloved empress and rest by her side. Just as he wished, although his hands had been stained with blood, the legacy that he would leave the children of Gaïa would be a world very different from the dark times that he had had to live through. And it was so, in year 355 of our era, having reached 149 years old, Zhorne Giovanni passed away as he had always wanted; placidly, in his bed.

The Seven Centuries

At the time of his death, the only son of Zhorne, Lazaro Giovanni, inherited the Crown of Abel and the heavy responsibility that it entailed. However, possessing the same talent as his father and having instructed him since he was a child, Lazaro proved to be more than worthy of his father’s legacy. The first great challenge that he had to face was the declaration of independence that Lannet and Shivat proclaimed as a result of the previous Emperor’s death. With intelligent and capable decisions, Lazaro not only maintained the cohesiveness of the Sacred Holy Empire by stopping the insurrection of Varja with minimum bloodshed, but also managed to create a true unity between the different principalities when constituting the body of the High Senate, in which the leaders of all the countries participated. In this way, the long period known as the Seven Centuries began, during which the Sacred Holy Empire, led by the Giovanni lineage, governed with absolute power over all of Gaïa.

It is true that during this time there were problems of great importance, such as the attack of the Thurizung clan on Haufman, that ended in numerous deaths and a certain disorder in the principalities to the north, or the two new armed insurrections by Lannet and Shivat. Nevertheless, the action of the Giovanni emperors was always commendable, proving to be in complete control of their power at any given moment, and having the talent to come out on top in any situation, no matter how complicated it was. Even at the beginning of the sixth century when a violent earthquake passed through the Old Continent, producing hundreds of thousands of victims and causing enormous economic losses, the Empire knew how to confront the problem, preating aid divisions and investing great amounts of money in the reconstruction of all affected principalities.

Without a doubt, one of the best-chosen decisions in part of the emperors of Abel was the one to create the arbitration wars, by means of which the conflicts between the various countries and principalities were solved, following a series of guidelines laid down by the Imperial Arbiters. That way, it was possible to resolve wars as if they were complex games of chess, avoiding damage to cities or unnecessary bloodshed.

As a reflection of this prosperity, great improvements were made at economic and cultural levels throughout the Seven Centuries, and countless advances were introduced in Gaïa the likes of which nobody could imagine happening years before.

For the first time in history, man made exponential leaps towards a brilliant future.

The End of a Dynasty

One may ask themselves if it is possible for a few, or even for one person, to reach world-changing potential. Too frequently history has replied to this question affirmatively, although unfortunately, not always for good; since a single man destroyed the ideals of the Empire with
his own hands.

Even before becoming Emperor, Lascar Giovanni, the last member of the imperial lineage, had demonstrated very different conduct from any one of his predecessors. Ever since he was a child he was prematurely capricious, arrogant and malicious; he held back nothing when it came to getting what he wanted and, despite of having the same talent characteristic of his family for generations, he did not seem to use it for anything but his own benefit. Many people, including his father, thought that he would reform once the weight of the imperial Crown fell upon his head; they could not be more mistaken.

When Lascar ascended the throne, he demonstrated that his behavior up to this point was no more than a shadow of what awaited Abel. Once adorned with the absolute power of the Holy Emperor, he brought with him a time of depravation and cruelty unsurpassed in the Empire. He took women as he wished, ordered executions without reason, and when he grew bored he even caused wars just for pure entertainment. Lascar even got to the point of assassinating his wife (although it was publicly declared a suicide), the former princess of Lucrecio, for attempting to abort Lucanor his first-born son.

His actions reached such a degree of immorality and depravation that the Lords of War even requested that he refrain and yield the crown to his son, just barely a child. Because of his refusal, the idealist Lord of War Elias Barbados, in charge of watching over the safety of the heart of the Sacred Holy Empire, believed it necessary to remove Lascar from power whatever the cost. He met in secret with his companions, as well as with the High Archbishop Augustus and the marshal of Tol Rauko, and between all of them they agreed to carry out a bold plan. Gathering his most elite soldiers in Archangel with the excuse of organizing military games and taking advantage of the fact that most of the Heaven Order, the personal army of the Emperor, were absent, Elias prepared himself for an assault on the imperial castle to force Lascar to abdicate in favor of his son. That way, everything would be over quickly with a minimal number of lost lives.

Going along as planned, on the night of March 11th the year 957, the elite forces of the Lord of War stormed the Castle of the Angel. The knights of the Heaven Order proved their worthiness and, in spite of having an overwhelming superiority over their adversaries, they were only able to restrain the attack for several hours. Nevertheless, Lascar knew from the beginning that resistance would be completely futile, thus he waited calmly in the throne hall with a sardonic smile on his face. Just minutes before Elias finally got to him, he ordered his son to stand in front of them all, and forced the young boy to murder him with the assistance of the Imperial Lawgiver of Zhorne. In the moment in which the first drop of blood hit the ground, the destiny of young Lucanor as future emperor was condemned, because he had just committed a sin against the Empire.

That would be Lascar’s dark legacy and his parting gift to the whole world: the end of his dynasty and the imbalance of Gaïa.

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