The Story at Dawn
This Epoch is not “completed” like the others. It is still unfolding, but here’s what’s happened so far…
2237: The Witches Rebellion. A war between the Roanoke Colony and it’s northernmost outposts. The rebelling faction in question calls itself the High Consortium, a powerful, but small, league of city states that sprang up in the edges of the Azure Zone in central Missouri, near the Illinois border. Simultaneously, the Scarlet Sovereignty began raiding Roanoke from the South. This was a dark and difficult time for Roanoke, beset on every side by supernatural adversaries. Roanoke and the Empire Arcana had been trade partners for the better part of two decades, and so implored the Empire for aide, but received no reply. The Empire thought to leave Roanoke to die, and so become the most powerful remaining nation on the continent. They will regret this choice. Roanoke pulled back its southern border, abandoning many outposts and cities in what used to be known as Southern Texas. The people left behind were embittered towards Roanoke. This sowed the seeds for what would eventually be known as the New Pecos Empire.
2240: The Sorcerer’s Slaughter: A defining battle not only in the war, but in the history of Roanoke as well. The High Consortium had Ragwort as it’s Commander, a long-lived and bitter Skyland Elf.
He was a brilliant and cruel, an efficient combination if ever there was one. He lured the majority of Roanoke’s forces into the Ozark territory and opened several rifts surrounding them. He wasn’t trying for anything in-particular, just chaos. And chaos he got. The 3 rifts opened and unleashed a horde of alien predators into the midst of Roanoke’s forces. While the troops floundered, a small strike team of High Consortium mages opened 3 rifts on the outskirts of the Roanoke Colony. They used an esoteric ritual that they acquired, it was later proven, from sympathizers in the Empire Arcane. Beyond simply opening the rifts, it linked them and formed a Sorcerer’s Triangle. This Triangle opened straight into the Chaos, allowing the demonic creatures from that horrid plane into Roanoke’s ‘burbs. This wasn’t a battle, this was a slaughter. Most of the men were employed in the battlefield, leaving only the women and children in the path of the monsters. Tens-of-thousands died. For the next week the surviving citizens of the ‘burbs retreated into the walled city for refuge. The demons ran rampant, destroying everything they could. By the time the Omega branch of Roanoke’s Intelligence- the Cobalt Hand had figured out how to shut the Triangle, the damage was done. Entire neighborhoods were nothing but smoldering ruins, tens of thousands were dead, and morale was shattered.
The current Head Counselor of the Colonies, Jonathan Renent, was grasping at straws to keep it all from falling apart. Lucky for him, he found the savior he was looking for.
Nicolas Graymark graduated at the top of his class from the University and was a colonel in the war. He was honorably discharged after loosing a leg in an earth elemental attack. Nicolas had only met the High Counselor once, but his sharp mind and outstanding charisma had made a mark, and so Renent went to Nicolas for help. Nicolas agreed, seeing the opportunity for glory he thought he’d lost, along with his leg. His first order of business was to restore morale. The plan was two-fold. Whip the general populace into a frenzy using the fear and anger already prevalent, and deliver a crushing defeat to the High Consortium. He was an effective propagandist, perhaps a little too effective, for within a few weeks he had the citizens of the Colony crying for the blood of Omegas, all of them. Seeing an unexpected opportunity to impress the public, he began holding public “trials” of Omegas, which always ended in a public execution. He even began preying upon members of the Cobalt Hand, and before long all the members of the group had either fled or gone deep into hiding.
It was also during this time that he began what later came to be known as Graymark’s Campaign. Using the boosted morale of the people and all the tactical genius at his disposal, he began an offensive against the forces of the High Consortium. Within 6 short months he had brought them to their knees and had killed Ragwort in a public execution. It was done with such stunning swiftness and grace that the hearts of the people were Graymark’s. Quite by accident (or so the official history vids say) he had undermined the mediocre rule of Renent with his own brilliant charisma and military genius.
2241: The Rise of Emperor Graymark. When the soldiers returned from the war, they sang Graymark’s praises which provided all the momentum he needed. Though the history vids don’t report it, it was his own initiative that started the movement to have him made Emperor. A few whispered words in the ears of the right officials and he had all the “official” support he needed. Playing on the desires of the people he usurped power from Renent and became the ruler of Roanoke. But not just high counselor, they called him “Emperor Graymark”. He disbanded the counsel and took all power for himself, claiming it was necessary in the face of the supernatural threats that Roanoke faced.
2241-2271: Over the course of the next twenty years, Emperor Graymark began fortifying The Colonies, establishing The Factories and the Enclave. He began production of most of the technologies used in Roanoke’s military today- Sunwalker Power Armors, Warden Drones, and the development of Moreaus, to name a few. He also began implementing Roanoke’s anti-alien policies, demoting all non-humans to the class of second-class citizens.
2275: Emperor Graymark passes away, apparently from natural causes, and indeed, he was 68, so it is not unfeasible. Still, there are those who (quietly) insist that it was foul play which ended his rule. In either case, his son, Nicolas Graymark II, who was 32, took over by default, with virtually no resistance.
2284: Many of the technologies that were developed by the first emperor were now perfected and commonplace by his son. And if his father was an effective propagandist, Nicolas Graymark II was a true master of the art. He fed the people a steady diet of anti-alien, anti-Omega, anti-Empire propaganda. Those with an ounce of foresight realized what was happening. There was another war brewing. The literacy rate dropped in Roanoke to a measly 30%, and the people were content to listen to whatever Graymark’s propaganda department fed them.
2286: The Appearance of The Mists. During all this time, the Empire Arcana was not idle, and they were not stupid, they knew that Emperor Graymark was gearing up for war. They too had been researching and developing techniques and tactics for war. Led by the Major Arcana, They were developing new TW devices for the war they were sure were coming, they began establishing cities firmly along ley lines or on nexus points, and they were discovering and inventing spells for war. However, up until now, they had not made any overt moves. Everything changed when the Mists came. It was a powerful working of magic which brought the Mists. It was swift and silent, one night it simply rolled in, appearing as any other weather phenomenon might, but it never lifted. No matter what direction or strength the wind, the mists would remain, rolling and and roiling in their own enigmatic fashion. The Mists have a way of meddling with the minds of all who enter, and an effective defense they would turn out to be.
2291: The first offensive. It began slowly with an amassing of troops at the Enclave, and then with the establishing of military outposts along the border of the mists. They attempted to send small scouting parties through the mists, but those they sent would, at best, appear several hours later at the same place they entered, disoriented. Some would reappear quite out of their minds, and others would never return at all. Beyond just muddling the minds of its victims, the mists also blocked long-range communications and sensors of all sorts. So Roanoke satisfied itself establishing outposts and defensive perimeters.
2293: Roanoke realized that this would be a different kind of war than the Witches Rebellion. These foes were clearly more capable than the High Consortium had been, and better prepared. Tey discovered that there were ways of defeating the mists. If one could fly high enough, they could be circumvented altogether, and dog boys proved capable of navigating their treacherous tricks and leading troops through to the other side.
2294: And that brings us up to date. Roanoke has begun establishing outposts inside the Empire’s border, and small skirmishes have broken out. Tensions are running high and it won’t take much to start a large scale war.