Synopsis

Despite its defeat on Gnox, under the Mechari and Luminai the Dominion flourished, spreading throughout the galaxy. Then came a final cryptic transmission from the Eldan: Today we will seize the power of gods. Followed by endless silence. It was surmised by imperial leaders that the Eldan had ascended to godhood, with Dominion citizens becoming the true inheritors of their divine legacy. Led by Emperor Jarec the Vigilant, it was now the empire's responsibility to spread the good news...

1376 AE Ascension of the Eldan

Synopsis List
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Part One Moment of Truth

His normally bright bronze eyes now dimmed with solemnity from behind the massive smartwood lectern, Jarec, Emperor of the Dominion, regarded his subjects. The entire population of Meridia had come out in unseasonably rainy weather to huddle and exchange apprehensive whispers.

He had been lip-reading their edgy speculations all morning, each hypothesis wilder and more dire than the last. They were about to board Mechari ships and migrate to Nexus. The Royal Houses were bankrupt. The world was ending. The Emperor was an imposter. There were no Eldan. The sight of his glorious figure, he reflected, would put the lie to them all.

“A matter concerning the designs of our glorious allies,” he intoned with a severity that his audience surely considered at unsettling variance with his famous amicability, “has come to light. A new mandate I am now privileged with the honor of delivering to you.”

Silence reigned throughout the square.

“The Eldan, the greatest race that has ever bestridden our universe,” Jarec’s deepening voice continued, “saw in Cassus an exceptionalism, a unique capability for magnificence. We alone could be entrusted with the responsibilities of supremacy. Rejoice, my friends. The day we have long awaited is at hand.”

A fresh salvo of murmurs arose from the assembly, this time ones of relief, mingled with excitement. Already he could feel the fresh infusion of hope seeping into the farthest reaches of the crowd. Considering the centuries of tradition about to be rewritten, Jarec found it invigorating. He hoped it would be enough, even as he congratulated himself for his pitch-perfect performance that had wrought it.

When the gods vanished and left you in charge of the galaxy, it was sink or swim.

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Part Two Leap of Uncertainty

Long ago, Dominus had arrived on Nexus to forge an empire and found a populace quite eager to embrace his rule. Despite all the contingency plans that he had spent years rehearsing, there had scarcely been need to resort to rhetoric or miracles. Over the following centuries, his successors had likewise found themselves rarely called on to perform theatrical maintenance.

All of that had changed with the message from the Eldan. Since Axis Pheydra’s earliest memory, correspondence on either side was highly unusual. Just as the Cassians had flowered when left to their own devices, so the Eldan entrusted the Mechari to use whatever methods they deemed expedient to discharge their agenda across a vast and unpredictable galaxy.

All of which made both the substance and tone of the transmission as cryptic to Pheydra as it was unsettling: Today we have reached the unattainable. Soon we will seize the power of gods.

Since then, silence.

The import of this message and debate over its dearth of context, let alone the irrefutable absence of details on how to proceed, had occupied the full computing power of the network ever since. Finally, after considerable and acrimonious deliberation, the consensus among the Mechari and Luminai was that the Eldan had ascended to godhood.

They simply needed to spread the good news.

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Part Three Cardinal of Virtue

The day was growing warm. Jarec knew as his hierophantic disc floated above the crowd that this was largely the result of covert Mechari weather manipulations. But the suns would have shone regardless. All was in alignment.

Fervently he caressed the virginal edition of the Vigilant Codex to his chest with one hand, while his other clenched the gold scepter into which his crown had been melted, periodically tipping it in response to the joyous cries below.

Even in its inaugural pressing, the Codex was a substantial volume. Its contents ranged from writings by Azrion, Koral, Seraphel ,and other esteemed emperors, along with a number of passages from Cassian scholars. Boiled down to its essence, however, its tenets were simple.

“The masters of creation have ascended,” Jarec’s voice rang out from speakers placed discreetly throughout the city. “Soon we, their chosen people, shall follow.” A million throats repeated his words, the litany rolling back to engulf him in a tidal wave of sound.

“On Nexus…the holiest of worlds…But first we must prove our divine worthiness…to the less fortunate…And if in their ignorance or malice they choose not to recognize it…we shall dispel their misconceptions!”

Fireworks exploded across the heavens in a coruscating constellation of his likeness. Jarec waved and waved. The multitudes knelt in crescents as his shadow glided through them.

At the proper moment, stained-glass banners shimmered into being behind him in blinding sheets of crimson and gold: Dominus brandishing his mother’s sword. The Mechari visitation. Jarec himself, holding the Book. A bolt of energy lanced down. Ka-KRAK! A holographic edifice materialized, dominating the skyline like a freshly formed mountain. The apotheosis of cathedrals. Below, the crowd screamed and swayed.

Jarec smiled, the beams from the stained-glass radiantly backlighting his white-gold mane in a nimbus of polychromatic haloes.

“All hail Emperor Jarec,” the heavens bellowed. “Jarec the mighty…Jarec the Vigilant!”

The cheers of unbridled joy made the ground quake.

JAREC! JAREC! JAREC!

Echoing the deluge of confetti that soon submerged his faithful waist-deep, Jarec wept.