Echoes of Heaven
The Imperial Age
The modern calendar begins with the birth of the Empire and its existence has shaped everything that’s happened since. There are many histories from this period onward and they are thought to be as accurate as any history can, meaning they were written by the victor. What follows is what the average person in the Mortal Realm can tell of this time.
It began with Eurustace – a military commander who served in the Kingdom of Sorcery. A brutal warrior with charisma to match his skill, men from throughout the land flocked to his banner. And with this army, and his silver tongue, he set out to conquer the world. Nation after nation fell to his forces and were united under his yolk.
The dragons of the Dragon Peaks stopped him for a time. But soon he unlocked the secrets of an old magical transport built by the Protector State. Renaming these the Emperor’s Roads, he was able to magically bypass the mountains, spreading into the continent of Belkanath. He captured every Human, Gnomish, and Halfling nation within five years. The elves and dwarves all fell within another seven.
With the lands conquered, Eurustace looked on his Empire in sorrow. With regret, he set about ruling what he had taken. His Empire in hand, Eurustace settled down in his home city of Durelius and made it the capital of the first Empire. He named the Empire Vurtus and began gathering his power.
He declared this the first year of rule, Ano Imperii. He declared all years previous before the Emperor, Pre Imperetor.
The known world languished under the rule of Eurustace for twenty-one years, until he was assassinated by unknown parties. His son, Stanterius, took control of the Empire.
Stanterius was a good man. He honored his mother’s moral code and took the responsibility of ruling the known world very seriously. He even considered dissolving the Empire, but knew that this would only result in chaos. Over the thirty two years of Stanterius’ rule he codified a comprehensive legal system and created a Senate of elected officials to legislate laws for the Empire (subject to imperial veto). His son began civil works projects to build roads and infrastructure linking the Empire (including improving the passes through the Dragon Peaks. The years of Stanterius and his son Gavinus are considered the golden age for the Empire, full of joy and promise. It showed that even the most horrible beginnings could be redeemed through compassion and honor.
For the next 300 years, the empire continued to grow into its role as protector of its people. During these centuries, the people saw improvements to education (including the creation of universities, magical academies and military colleges.
But as with most cases of power, the seeds of corruption eventually took hold in the Empire. Excessive abuse of taxation and tariffs led to the first attempt at rebellion. While the Emperor held on to power it was not without cost. The emperor himself was assassinated shortly after the rebellion ended. However, his son was just as bad. and is grandson even worse.
The empire seemed to reach a low point by the end of its sixth century when the Church of Bamon and various Demon cults presented themselves to the Emperor. They swayed the Emperor to their will, and that same year, the Emperor announced that all people were free to follow any religion in the Empire. The evil religions were now able to flourish. And within a decade, the Emperor declared the worship of the now Archdemon Eurustace was publicly approved, not merely allowed.
A day of holiday was declared and celebrations held throughout the Empire. Statues were unveiled in the capital, all depicting Eurustace, the Butcher.
In 605, the trend played out as the Emperor declared the worship of Eurustace the official religion of the Empire. People could still worship whom they wished in their free time, but services to Eurustace were compulsory. For the next 350+ years, many woke up each morning wondering if this would be the last day before the mortal realms became overrun by Hell itself.