23rd Century Universe Wiki

A note of importance: Because the Tarsin year is 415 Earth days long, the dates mentioned here can be up to 1370 years off at their earliest. As you travel closer to the present, the dates become more accurate.

The Elder Days (???, ~10,000 BC)[]

The Old Coalition is something of a mystery. Fragmentary evidence implies it had a greater diversity of political systems than the current Empire, but not much else has been gleaned from what little information is left. What is clear beyond all doubt was that the Old Coalition was reliant on a network of navigation systems routed through etherspace beacons, great relays in the ether, anchored to a fixed point in real space, which provided fixed points to navigate by, and instruments to facilitate interstellar communication. 

The Beacon Cataclysm (~10,000 - ~8000 BC)[]

Main article: The Beacon Cataclysm

~12,000 years before the current date, disaster from beyond the World's edge struck. The etherspace beacon network was weaponized against a terrible threat, and the cost of victory was the loss of the network. As the network collapsed, a malevolent force was released into it, turning all technology linked to the network against its masters, including the Undying Legions. The World descended into chaos, and a great turbulence swept through the ether, rendering interstellar flight impossible, and scattering many beacons. It would take two thousand years for a recovery to get under way, such was the scope and scale of the cataclysm. 

The First Empire (Many Dynasties, 0 – ~5000, ~8000 BC - ~3000 BC)[]

A note of importance: Because the Archive cannot organize itself well, the dates have been rounded to the nearest century, except for when a precise year is known and agreed upon.

See also: The First Empire

Another note from Awe to Awe and Thomas: deal with the Thyrendi in here

The Age of Resurrection (~8000 BC – ~6000 BC)[]

  • The first Emperor, the reconquest, recontacting the Zaian and Vasîv, the birth of the New Faith, death of Atheran the High Chronicler and Niren-Sûl the Prophet, and long secrecy of the zaian  

The Age of Stillness (~6000 BC – ~3000 BC)[]

  • Digondarians are met, recovery of some Old Coalition technology, Sarthîon's treason, the first plague, the decline of virtue and the rise of the Shadow Emperor

The Age of the Shadow (~3000 BC – ~2550 BC)[]

  • The Savior of the World faces down the Shadow Emperor

The Second Empire (Many dynasties) ~5500 – 10819, ~2550 BC – AD 1633)[]

The Age of the Rightly-Guided (2550 BC – 1252 BC)[]

  • Unstoppable and state-sanctioned spread of the New Faith, religious controversy, a series of competent Emperors, return of the plague, barbarian invasion, Crusades, succession wars, Kisteriks

The Age of Affliction (1252 BC – AD 79)[]

  • The outer kingdoms fall one by one, plague starts to hit with gusto, more succession wars, more invasions, an apostate Realm, the ill-fated Green Banner Crusade

The Age of Hordes (AD 79 – AD 511)[]

  • Nomadic barbarians push wave after wave of incursions into the Coalition, eventually fighting the Coalition themselves, a time of war, strife, and uncertainty (even moreso than usual)

The Age of Plagues (AD 511 – AD 706)[]

  • Exactly what it sounds like

The Age of Silence (AD 706 – AD 1410)[]

  • Rebuilding, recovery, another Crusade, heretic emperors, the rise of Guild monopolies and the Taithôn dynasty, the growing power of Sarthîon, Arkanin

The Age of Zeal (AD 1410 – AD 1753)[]

This is where common memory begins, eight centuries before the present, with ascension of Othaen to the Coalition, the height of Guild power, the fall of the Taithôn dynasty, the preparation for a new Crusade Fleet, and the ascension of Bâlôs Thôvis to the Throne of Tarsis; a man who would set the foundation for the current state of the World...

The Disastrous Crusade (Thôvis Dynasty, 10820 – 10939, AD 1634 – AD 1753)[]

Bâlôs Thôvis was the twenty third of his name. The time was a good one for the Coalition, but the Sarthîm still threatened on the Thyrendi frontier, and more importantly, the Empire was presently broke. With the help of the Guilds, he discretely moved his premier forces to Kehtô, the last standing remnant of the Kingdom of Vahîn. Two more fleets departed from Hethorîon, skirting the edges of the Thyrendi Kingdom. Their armada was needed to guard the frontier against any incursions that could be made. 

This all was very expensive, but crafty Emperor Bâlôs had promised the majority of the treasure taken in war to the Guilds in return for their financial assistance, as well as control over the Great Foundry. By the year 10853 (AD 1667), Bâlôs had freedom to act, and act he did. Without warning, the four Fleets struck from two different directions, eliminating the barbarian realms of Aichar and Îharaman. Kôtôz, between these two, soon fell as well. Then, it was a matter of calling the Empire's banners, as well as requesting auxiliary forces from their alien allies to join them. For short-range campaigns, the planets could be ignored, but the great lengths of travel required fueling stations. These stations needed to be secure from ground-based weaponry, and thus, planets needed conquering. Once they had a supply chain, they would be able to take back the ancient Foundries, the source of the metal used in the finest of Tarsis's warships.

It had been many generations since the Tarsins and their allies took a true offensive for expansion, their taste for war tempered by Taithôn peace and prosperity, and it was completely unexpected. The barbarians states were in disarray. The lightning war of Bâlôs was successful beyond the wildest predictions, gaining momentum with each victory, despite rare reinforcements. Vahîn, a crown-world of old, was taken; a great triumph for the Empire. Bâlôs and a company of his finest soldiers feasted in the ruins of the king's hall, little more than foundation and a scattering of columns by this time. His rapid assault into the Lost Realm was the great achievement of the time. Not in centuries had such ruin been brought upon the enemies of Tarsis.

Zefîrîôs the thirty-fourth came next, Bâlôs finally managing to get around to marrying, just in time. It was greatly rumored his drive to reproduce was slowing by then. Though children in such late age were not all that uncommon, Zefîrîôs was only just able to grow a full beard when his father died of old age. Thus, Zefîrîôs never learned the skills Bâlôs had in the arts of war. The Coalition's fleets, numbering six in the Lost Realm with several tens of thousands of ships apiece, slammed into the barbarian realms surrounding the Foundry, their ultimate goal.

But for each planet taken, the Fleets grew weaker and weaker, their enemies, stronger and stronger. Finally, at Prîafalô, the war ground to a halt. They were eight hundred light years from the Great Foundry, just out of reasonable range for a permanent occupation. The Kingdom of Thyrenda had dispatched its own armada, which itself was one thousand light years from the Great Foundry, but it too had reached its limit. Zefîrîôs canceled any further attacks, seeing his forces depleted and worn out; any further attacks would be pointless. The year was 10922 (AD 1736).

For a few years, all was quiet in the strips of territory the Coalition had taken in the Lost Realm and Barbarian Realm. Zefîrîôs, for a moment, actually believed he had scared the barbarian peoples into peace. The reality was the exact opposite, as was being discussed on the rogue Tarsin crown-world of Sarthîon. The Sarthîm were an ancient and powerful enemy of Tarsis, but for some time now had been dealing with internal strife, as they often did. The feuding parties saw their buffers of lesser men being annihilated by the Imperial forces, and finally agreed to unite to deal with this upset of the status quo. They offered the barbarian states a deal, and the barbarians accepted. 

Even more suddenly than Bâlôs had attacked, the barbarians now in the shadow of Sarthîon struck, tearing through the conquered systems and the exhausted Tarsin war machine with ease. Zefîrîôs tried to rally his banners, but found that his forces were in complete disarray. The Guild forces which had aided the advance were withdrawn hastily, leaving the Imperial Navy without a clear path in any direction. This was only compounded by the Sarthîm stealing or even destroying etherspace beacons. With poor navigation and rare communications, counter-attacks became ordered withdrawals, and withdrawals became routs as blank spots showed up in the ether network, and paths once clear became twisted and treacherous, leaving fleets to the mercy of the ether's storms and currents. Given the choice between making for home, and staying to defend an ungrateful populace, every ship chose to flee back to the Empire.

It was a disaster. Imperial ships would turn up at worlds they thought safe, only to be torn to pieces by waiting Sarthîm vessels. Others would make blind jumps, and become hopelessly lost. Some were even torn apart in etherspace as they drifted out of the safer currents, trying to find the secret ways the Guild ships used. It is reckoned only a third of the six fleets deployed made it back in a timely manner, while another sixth showed up months, even years after the fact. But the attack didn't let up there; Sarthîon pressed the attack. Due to its historical association with the territory the Tarsins had set out to reclaim, Kehtô was burned in a rain of thermonuclear fire, and wiped of all life.

Much of the hardened frontier posts of the Thyrendi Kingdom were finally taken, forcing the King to order a general retreat. It was at the Thyr system itself the Sarthîm were halted, in a battle focused around the planet Mysena. At the same time, the Sarthîm were fought off at Kizik-Kur, putting an end to their attempt at a counter-invasion.

A Crown of Paper (The Age of Turbulence, 10939 – 11392, AD 1754 – AD 2267)[]

After the disaster of the Thôvis crusade, the naval forces of the most important Realms were in total disarray, as was communication and logistics in general. It was the perfect mix of chaos that allowed internal dissent to finally boil over. But first, the last Emperor of the Thôvis line had to make his mark. 

Fâôs the nineteenth was the son of Zefîrîôs, and he desperately tried to fix what his father had seen ruined. His first act was to patch up the Navy. Massive amounts of funds were allocated to Thyrendi merchants; as the Imperial gold thâl was the World's currency, no matter what anyone thought of Tarsis, and the Thyrendi were far more liked than the Tarsins by those living beyond the Coalition. Fâôs then had them purchase every bit of metal they could from the Foundries, in order to repair, and even build, new ships. He also introduced the first centralization to the Coaliton's economy in recent history. After its relative success, the Emperor then tried to centralize more, his goal being to forge Nine Realms into One Realm. People from each of the Nine warned him this was a poor idea, that the Realms were spread over too far an area to be governed effectively from one location, but Fâôs was headstrong, and disregarded their words. He died under mysterious circumstances soon after.

Chaos ensued, and did not stop. Fâôs was the only man who would try to do something about the Coalition's plight for some time. Fortunately, the Thyrendi have a habit to stockpile material in vast amounts before moving it; and most of the metal alloys they had bought with the Empire's money remained safely on Thyrenda, were it would not be squandered.

Needless to say, the next four and a half hundred years were one of the darkest times for the Coalition. Not only were there no long-lasting dynasties established, and thus no stable rule established, but those who did rule were generally incompetent, corrupt, self-serving, or all three. They valued their own gains above the good of the Empire, and with its leading power made incapable, the Coalition suffered greatly for it.

The Archive found itself cut off from Imperial administrative aid early on, and they were forced to make do with their meager ecclesiastical tithes and whatever help they could get, before turning to more illegal methods of income. As he had the resources, and within a few decades, the force of arms, to make his will happen, the Chancellor of the Archive often became a rival to whomever held the throne.

Aside from a few like Saint Arezan, a priest with incredible conviction, or Khatarôs Nethontalîzis, whose tragic life was served holding back the darkness, the Emperors of this period were unworthy of the high blood names they gave themselves, as later Chroniclers would claim. Justly so, many were posthumously attained and denounced as traitors, stripped of all title, rank, and holdings. Their fell deeds were numerous, and reproachable, they shall not be explored here. This grim period of Tarsin history is best summed up by the future Chancellor Aikâlôs Kantara:

“I regret that it is most likely we shall spend our lives working to restore our former dignity and dominion. It can, and will, be said of this distasteful time of great misdeed, that the weight of responsibility borne by our Emperors was naught but a crown of paper.”

The Secret War (11392-11451, AD 2208-AD 2267)[]

It was at this time that Entarî the Constructor, one of the Zaian leaders, came to Tarsis in the midst of the chaos. He arrived without announcement or notice, and slipped into the Archive undetected. It was a great surprise to the Chancellor when he found not one, but two Zaian in Atheran's shrine. Atheran's body was right where it had been for thousands of years, but Entarî was very much alive. He spoke that the winds of change were on their way, and they must make ready Tarsis.

With a helpful nudge from the ancient Zaian, the Archive was set on course to dispatch its private fleet to bother the Sarthîm intruders. Against the current Emperor's standing orders to defend only, as offensives were simply too expensive for the treasury's drained coffers, the Archive took along Imperial Navy detachments. The funding for these operations was usually non-existent, relying on the goodwill of sector lords who wanted a better future. Slowly, the Chancellors of the Archive removed the supports of the barbarian incursion piece by piece, over several decades. None realized the plan until much later.

Meanwhile, the Othaen Federation and Vasilitaj had gotten into their own adventures with heathens across the frontier. In 2237, a long-range ore miner found a colony of Lost Tarsins. It didn't stop to meet the wretches, the Arkanin just carried on and returned home, reporting the find to Federation officials. The Assembly sent a formal request to the Vasîv, their shadowy interstellar neighbors, to deal with the parasites. The Vasîv government, the Vasilitaj, was more than happy to have some new prey.

However, the Vasîv etherships sent to spy on these so-called Lost Tarsins discovered that their transmissions had nothing in common with any branch of Tarsin, no matter how far removed, and their ships were of no known design. It was possible they had something else entirely to deal with. Before doing anything, the Vasilitaj reported this to Othaen, who then decided to send an embassy in 2239. Local lowlander Tarsin officials were sent to do it, with Arkanin backup, in order to soothe the long-lost brethren's fears.

This obviously did not go to plan, the lowlanders were killed on suspicion of being pirates orchestrating a ruse. But, the Arkanin escaped to return to the Othaen Federation, completely unseen by these new humans, and Premier Vasai declared war on these new barbarians. Over the next few decades, what started as a series of minor skirmishes escalated into a full-blown war between the Othaen Federation and the barbarian state. Upon capturing their first world of the barbarians, Othaen discovered a horrifying revelation:

These Tarsins were not Tarsins. They were exactly like Tarsins, but they came from a planet called “Urth," later properly rendered as Earth, orbiting the star of “Sôl.” It was confirmed by the Vasîv, who had started collecting living prizes where they could for who knew what shadowy purpose. Though all but completely identical to the Tarsins, they had gene groups that were found in not a single Tarsin population, barbarian or Imperial. Premier Vasai sent this to Tarsis, but predictably got no replies; though the Archive did receive it.

The Othaen Federation and Vasilitaj continued the war against what they came to call the Earthmen. Neither side had a real advantage at first, each side introduced more and more powerful weapons as the conflict escalated over the first twenty years. It is likely that the Vasilitaj could have done far more damage, but they were hesitant to act boldly without approval from Tarsis, and Tarsis was silent. Human affairs were, after all, human affairs. Othaen had no such reservations, they waged a fierce, total war against Earth. By 2267, they had learned that their enemy was the United Nations of Earth (and plenty more), and this Earth alliance of sorts was holding its own against Othaen and the halfhearted Vasîv assistance. Perhaps Earth may have been able to force a peace, had something not gone down as it did on Tarsis at that very moment...

From the Ashes (Îanôs Vasâr and the present age, 11451-present, AD 2267-present)[]

A commoner by birth, Îanô Vasâr was an engineer in the Tarsin army. Emperor Herik V was a debacle of misrule, and no one on Tarsis wanted him representing God's will in the World. Like almost all former Emperors of the time, the Zaian refused to recognize his authority; thus chaos continued. However, no one was able to dislodge him, the guards of the Imperial Sanctum had a tight grip on Herik, and were placing their fortunes with the tyrant they could control, instead of a new tyrant they did not know. Nothing changed as years of disastrous policies and deeds went on. It was then that a young and not yet particularly ambitious Chronicler first came to know Vasâr; his name was Aikâlon Kantara. He was serving as a courier between the Archive and Sanctum. The two hatched an unlikely plan: Kill Herik, and take the Empire for themselves.

Engineer and Chronicler probed the Sanctum guard, the Tarsin army, the First Fleet, and the Archive, seeking out just how exactly ill-regarded Herik was. Within a year, the two had a plan, and much support. Vasâr was a military man, and a commoner who had suffered in the previous decades of misrule; the captain of the Sanctum guard agreed to back his attempt for the throne, if only because the captain was growing old, and wanted to see if he could make a difference for the better before his time came. The Tarsin army was skeptical, but committed to no one side, and the First Fleet simply laughed the engineer away. Neither informed Herik, though. Naturally, the Archive backed the engineer fully, but discreetly; as the Archive strove for order.

Slowly, the unlikely plan grew into an increasingly feasible plot, as Vasâr and Kantara came closer to their goal. Finally, five years after the initial idea, their machinations came to fruition, as Vasâr led the Sanctum guard in storming the throne room. Before he knew what was happening, Herik had been seized by the throat, and blinded with a bayonet, at Vasâr's hands. As he writhed on the marble floor, Vasâr picked up the Imperial crown, and claimed Tarsis and the Empire for himself. Earlier that week, unbeknownst to the public, the Chancellor of the Archive had passed away. The new soon-to-be Emperor lobbied for Aikâlon Kantara's promotion directly to the post; it went unopposed by the Arch-Chroniclers. The soon-to-be Emperor also raised himself and Kantara to the noble blood, creating Îanôs Vasâr and Aikâlôs Kantara. With the new Chancellor under his control, Vasâr was quickly crowned the next day, before word of the coup had reached all of Tarsis. Chancellor Aikâlôs dispatched the swiftest etherships across the Nine Realms to bear the good tidings. At first, most regarded this as just another illegal usurpation that wouldn't change much, but Îanôs was determined to take back what was his by right. When word came from Ai-Kaion that the Zaian had confirmed his ascension, the common people realized that a new era had begun, with Emperor Îanôs the first at its helm. The throne was his, as was the holy crown-world of Tarsis; now he had to bring his rule to the Empire, and the Nine Realms.

Emperor Îanôs faced a very steep challenge, but he met it head on. Though it wasn't his personal style, his tactics revolved around using what the Coalition had: an excess of etherships. Through constant hit-and-run strikes, Îanôs wore down his enemies to the point the rest of the Navy could move in and land troops on the planet they were attacking. Once word got out to occupied worlds the Emperor was coming for them, the barbarian rulers faced popular revolts everywhere. Some planets stayed loyal to their new masters, for which they were punished severely. As the Emperor re-united the Empire, the Archive was working to restore infrastructure and set everything in order at home. As the years passed by, Îanôs's campaigns never faltered, until a decent amount of the lost territory had been regained. Chakâr, the last Sarthîm-occupied planet in the core of the Empire, was liberated in the year 11464, or 2280 by the Earth reckoning. Many fringe areas remained to be re-taken, but they would have to wait.

It was then that word began to trickle into the Empire that the Arkanin and Vasîv had gotten themselves into an intense war with some new barbarian state beyond their frontiers. Chancellor Aikâlôs had just learned of the information Premier Vasai had sent forty-one years ago, and he spoke to the Emperor about it. At first, Îanôs was perplexed, and then greatly concerned. If this United Nations of Earth could stand against one of his most powerful allies, how great could they grow? There was only one thing for it: Earth would be brought under Tarsin dominion, and their strength combined in the eternal war against chaos.

Neither the Earthman's union of nations, nor the Emperor and his still-shaky Coalition, fully knew just what had begun. The years of 11423 and 2239 had been a major turning point in the history of both sides involved. For Earth, the very fate of their world was at stake. For Tarsis, a new age of greatness beckoned. 

See also[]