Saint Cycle

Perhaps the Lord of the Universe does not rule the Cycle of the Saints, but rather is a part of it, as we all are.

This is the time of the Albatross, and it's supposed to be a cycle of vengeance for that Saint. Vengeance against whom? And from where? Can we as an empire survive another Ulia?

The Saint Cycle is a naturally occurring phenomenon that defines different Ages, as well as years within those Ages. The Saints of Marinasta are believed to identify a single person to act as a vessel during their specified Age, in order to overcome a great obstacle for their people. Each Age lasts 52 years and is divided into four thirteen-year parts, with each year being dedicated to a different Saint with the exception of the Saint whose Age it is; this Saint's year is represented twice.

The Cerasan Calendar

Most origin myths for Marinasta describe a planet that lies in the space between the Europa, Asiatica, and Aprica Systems, orbiting no star. Almost always, this planet is named "The Beginning" in whatever language is used to tell the story, and is the celestial home of the Lord of the Universe and the Saints. The Cycle's length in days or years is derived from the length of days on this mythical planet, versus the length of days on the dozens of planets throughout the Systems. However, depending on the planet a person is from, they will adjust the Cycle to accommodate their seasons and years.   During the early years of Imperian colonization, astronomers discovered an actual dark planet in the mythical location of The Beginning. Desperate to solve the ancient riddle of the celestial calendar, they attempted to gather the planet's rotational data, only to discover that the planet orbited no denser object and had no discernible rotation, meaning its days and years were either infinite or nonexistent.   This discovery took place in ACI 166, so the various planets checked their Saint Cycle calendar to see whose calendar placed them in the most appropriate Age and Year. At first no calendars lined up, but eventually a tiny village of Cerasan ranchers living on Cappadocia brought forth their planet's ancestral calendar, which defined ACI 166 as a Gannet Year within a Petrel Age. The universal Saint Cycle calendar going forward is broadly referred to as the Cerasan Calendar


Disciples of Marinasta believe there are twelve ethereal helpers who assisted the Lord of the Universe in creating the universe, and who continue to help by imbuing selected people with their essence in order to overcome great trials. Notable examples are Saint Erasa saving the Lighthouse of Hispania and thereby saving Iberia and Lusitania; Saint Tasa preventing a volcanic apocalypse on Mauretania; and Saint Cosmiana's cure of Bithynia's Great Plague.   During the Third Age, which was an Age of the Chough, The Great Plague afflicted the planet Bithynia and decimated the population in a matter of years. The plague was on track to cause the extinction of the people of Bithynia until Saint Cosmiana discovered that the extract of the Cosmia flower could cure the disease. She then walked the world and distributed the cure by hand to any person who was left alive, led by a chough that always seemed to know where the survivors were hiding.
Nzahrip volcano by Midjourney


DARK MATTER by Jeff Bartzis
Imperian settlers into the Systems likely would have written off the Saint Cycle as religious superstition if not for the arrival of the Renanim into Europa, and the magic powers that were seemingly bestowed upon them. Imperians colonizing Europan planets became familiar with Marinasta from many Mariners, but no Imperian was exposed to a Saint until the Fourth Age, upon entering the Aprica System and nearly destroying the Lighthouse of Hispania. Saint Erasa managed to mitigate any damage and escorted the Imperian ships to safety.   After this, cults dedicated to certain aspects of the Saints began to appear in Imperian circles, especially in the Imperian Fleet and among harpastens.

Saint Basta, the sister of all sagittarii, guide my aim, light my eye, and narrow my path.
sagittarius prayer

The Law of the Saints

The acceptance of Saints as a natural law versus a religious tradition became even more entrenched among Imperians when Caesar Immortalis endorsed the danger of the Twinned Saints, Illyrican sisters Andrara and Petrha, based upon their ability to publicly lead a revolt for years and never lose to Imperian forces. Caesar used captured knowledge of Saints to find the Twinned Saints' true goal--to return the bounties of Illyricum to its people--and agreed to lift tithes if the Saints surrendered. They did, and were executed, and while Caesar kept his word about Illyricum's tithes, he then colonized the planet and pushed many of the native citizens to other worlds.   Caesar continued to use knowledge of the Saints to target and eliminate them as quickly as he could in the future, although this proved a difficult venture that he would soon officially abandon after pressure from the Mariner Federation.

The Order of the Saints
The beginning of each Cycle, the Albatross is defined by the completion of the last Cycle.

The Pelican trends toward treaties and cooperation.

Chough Ages and years are commonly years of leaps in medical advancement, or of terrible plagues.

The Petrel heralds upheavals, but never without warning.

The Kestrel presents a time of ostentation and performance.

The Cormorant means hard work will provide riches and bounty for whoever seeks it.

A Seaduck Age is the best time for diplomacy and forging new friendships.

During a Shearwater time, connections with others are tested.

The Gannet brings an Age of exploration and discovery.

An Auk Age or year is the best time to begin new monetary ventures.

The Gull brings a time of challenge, wherein one's ability to persevere and progress is tested.

The closing of each Cycle, the Tern trends toward calm but can just as easily swing into terror. The success of the Tern Age determines the state of the Albatross Age.


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