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Rhomeian Dark Age

The events that spiralled out from the "Russan Feud" would throw the Eternal Empire into a century-long Dark Age and nearly snuff out a civilization that had existed for over ten millennia.
— Victaria Gale, Rhomeian Archivar
  Following the end of the Vardanian Occupation of Rhomeia, a series of political and military conflicts tore the Rhomeian Empire apart and very nearly resulted in the complete dissolution of the realm. The constant state of civil unrest ensured that the Empire would play no role in the world that emerged from the collapse of the Second Hegemony. After over three centuries of decline, the Dark Age would end with the Kanassan Reformation.  

Prelude

  Following its defeat in the Vicarian War, Rhomeia had fallen under Vardanian rule. A state which would last for over five hundred years. Rather than control it through military might, the Second Tarquinnian Hegemony chose a series of senators to act as its representatives. Over the centuries, these Custones began to change the political system of Rhomeia, transforming the Empire into an oligarchic state ruled by them and their descendants.  

Fall into Darkness

  Seron the Red's death in late 2242 effectively ended the Second Hegemony and by extension its rule over Rhomeia. When the news broke, many began to demand that the Custones lay down their titles and return the Empire to its old ways. At first, the Custones gave themselves conciliatory. In the small city of Russan, they gathered a large number of Rhomeian senators and nobles, ostensibly to restructure the Empire. It turned out to be a trap, as guards and mercenaries in service of the Custones stormed the assembly.   Hundreds were slain, but the attempted coup was not entirely successful. Several nobles escaped to the various islands of the Melian Archipelago and raised forces from among the local populace. They were unable to take the city of Rhomeia itself, however. Similarly, the Custones were able to take control of the city, but couldn't push toward the outlying islands. The bloodbath and ensuing conflict would become known as the "Russan Feud". The following centuries saw the emergence of so-called "Island Kingdoms", as the various nobles declared themselves rulers in defiance of the Custones. While nominally still part of the Empire, these states acted on their own, the united front against the Custones giving way to infighting.   As the "War" continued, the Empire began to decay. Economic stagnation, crumbling infrastructure, abandoned mines and fields, what had once been the beating heart of the oldest nation on earth was now closer to an ancient ruin. To make matters worse, a series of plagues washed over the nation from 2510 on, killing up to one-third of some islands populations. By the end of the 26th century, the conflict increased in violence again as the rise of the Acimian Cult unleashed a new age of war on the Empire. Their bloody reign, which saw thousands executed, lasted barely two decades. Beginning in 2599 DA, an alliance of Rhomeian Colonies, led by Methlan, invaded the archipelago and freed the city of Rhomeia from the cult. By 2601 DA, all remaining Custones and Island Kings had been subdued, officially bringing an end to the Dark Age.  

Reformation

  Rhomeia emerged from the Dark Age a shadow of its former self. The damage it had endured would take centuries to heal and some historians claim that it took until the 33rd century for all scars to vanish. Under the guidance of Aetius Vegaris, Primarch of Methlan and overall commander of the Alliance, the Eternal Empire was restructured. It reemerged a Confederation, with Rhomeia at the helm but its various colonies given greater influence and freedom. The senate was reinstated, new checks and balances made to prevent another abuse of power as had happened under the Custones. The Kanassan Reformation officially ended in 2605 DA and the order it created would last until modern day.  
Not everybody looks favourably on the Reformation. It ended institutions and traditions that had lasted thousands of years, had become part of what it meant to be Rhomeian. But it was necessary and allowed us to rise once again.
— Helia Vegaris, 31st Century Historian
Start Date
2243 DA
Ending Date
2601 DA
Conflict Result
Near-complete dissolution of the Empire. General Decay of the Melian Archipelago. Kanassan Reformation.
Filii Acimia   An ancient Rhomeian cult that worshipped the goddess Acimia, the personification of purity. it emerged during the Age of Wrath, one of its main tenants the "superiority" of the Rhomeian people, culture and state. Anything that was deemed "corruptive" or "detrimental" toward any of those three was vilified and to be destroyed. Its first incarnation vanished together with the old era in the cataclysmic Oblivion Hour. Its ideas, however, would continue on in Rhomeian thought and the cult would reappear multiple times throughout the Dawn Age.  
Embrace the Flame,
Cleanse the Spirit!
Purge the Filth!
An Empire Ascendant,
A Goddess Eternal.
— Creed of the Cult
 

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Cover image: by Phuoc Quan
  • 2242 DA

    9
    /3

    End of the Hegemony
    Political event

    With Seron the Red's death, the Second Hegemony ceases to exist. Vardanian rule over the Eternal Empire comes to an end.

  • 2242 DA

    12
    /6
    2242 DA

    13
    /6


    Betrayal at Russan
    Disaster / Destruction

    Under the guise of wanting to reshape the nation, the Custones lure those they consider a threat into a trap. The massacre sees hundreds of Rhomeian nobles and senators perish. The survivors flee to the outlying islands. Later known as the "Russan Feud", the conflict spiralling out from this act would lead to an age of civil war.

  • 2313 DA

    12
    /7
    2314 DA

    5
    /2


    Battle at Eternity Gate
    Military action

    Anti-Custones rebels, aided by forces from the islands, manage to take the citadel of Eternity Gate. Fighting over it and other outlying bastions continues for over a year. Eventually, the Custones regain control, but Eternity Gate ends up a burned-out ruin. Defeated, the Rebel Alliance begins to break apart. Within three decades, almost all of them will have declared themselves "Kings" in their own right.

  • 2431 DA

    11
    /12

    Crushing at Misiza
    Military action

    The Indelibles manage to unite the squabbling lords of Rhomeia and start a new campaign of unification. A series of victories culminates at Misiza, where their army annihilates the last big rebel forces. At the height of their power, the two are assassinated by a group of nobles out of fear that they will attempt to crown themselves Emperors. The ensuing civil wars see all previous gains vanish.

  • 2510 DA

    2514 DA



    Scarlett Breath Washes over the Empire
    Disaster / Destruction

    A viral plague, the Scarlett Breath erupts in the Melian Archipelago. The first in a series of plagues, that will continue to emerge throughout the century, its effects are intensified by the total breakdown of the Empire's infrastructure. Some islands will lose up to one-third of their population.

  • 2578 DA

    2599 DA



    Acimian Era
    Revolution

    Filii Acimia, a fanatic religious cult takes over the city of Rhomeia and begins a violent campaign against the rest of the Empire. Preaching a message of spiritual purity and Rhomeian superiority, the cult launches bloody inquisitions against its internal and external enemies.

  • 2599 DA

    2601 DA



    End of the Cult
    Military action

    With Rhomeia degenerating into a bloody ruin, its colonies throughout the Great Divide, band together to free the Eternal City. The alliance smashes the Cult in a costly battle and easily subdues the remaining Custones and Island Kings. By early 2601 DA, the Archipelago is completely under their control. For the first time in nearly 400 years, the Empire is at peace.

  • 2601 DA

    2605 DA



    Kanassan Reformation
    Diplomatic action

    The alliance convenes in the city of Kanassa to decide the future of the Empire. After lengthy debate, the present parties manage to decide on a single plan. With the near-complete political restructuring begun at Kanassa, the Empire can begin its long road toward recovery.

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