B-15 The The Confederation of Sovereign Nations of Europa, or more commonly known as the Europan Confederation is a principle power in Multiverse affairs. It holds a seat on the Security council of the Grand Alliance of Free Worlds and was one of the mainstays of the Alliance forces in the Great Multiverse War even though the Europans worked hard to stay Neutral at the War's outset.
- 1 Unique Characteristics
- 2 The History of Europa
- 2.1 Early Europa
- 2.2 The Age of the Sword
- 2.3 The Age of Reason 72 V. E. – 1795 V. E.
- 2.4 Culture and Government Advance, King Leopold the I comes to power
- 2.5 Age of Steam 1760? - 1825 V.E.
- 2.6 The Coal Wars (1785 -1866 V.E.)
- 2.7 The Anarchy 1825 —1840 V.E
- 2.8 The First War of Unification 1840 -1847 V.E.
- 2.9 The Second War of Unification. 1848-1855 V.E.
- 2.10 The Founding of the Europan Confederation 1861 V.E.
- 2.10.1 Flight of the Wong brothers 1863 V.E.
- 2.10.2 The Air Corps launches and the City of Eternal Light is lit 1868 V.E.
- 2.10.3 Flight of the Sky Destroyers 1870 V.E.
- 2.10.4 The Rise of the Iron Condor 1872 V.E.
- 2.10.5 Incident at Mount Chort, The Appearance of the AbJabi 1875 V.E.
- 2.10.6 Arrival of “The Black Ship”, the Flueron resistance begins. 1876 V.E.
- 2.10.7 Professor T captured, E.N.I.G.M.A. revealed
- 2.10.8 Extra-dimensional contact is confirmed 1878 V.E.
- 2.10.9 Professor T threatens Europa once more 1881 V.E.
Europa is a B Sphere Reality and as such has access to special spatial laws and unique conditions of physics. The native elemental table has an above average extra 15 elements (known as a Regal Elements) and the native populations shows an aptitude for gadgetry and Steam sciences at an elevated level. Gravity and Most physical laws and dangers are Standard Genesis based concerns, however due to it's nature there are more resources for defying said physical laws among it's populace
Europa is a Dream Reality and as such it has exaggerated geographcal features and fantastical beast as well as a human population that is processed of two neural impulses that dominate their culture Technika, the innate desire to fidget, tinker and improve things and Spark, a neural trigger that usually grants the Europan a moment of epithany regarding a project when needed but can also manifest itself as a special acumen or ability.
Europans are slightly xenophobic due to bad first contact experience and B-15 exists in the eye of a Tri-Lateral Rend in Time Space which making it very difficult to travel to by Jump Engines. However a reliable percentage of the Europan population is drawn to Multiverse exploration and many of these enlist in ENIGMA which was founded and still maintains facilities on B-15.
The History of Europa
The Early Europans originated in the Galen Valley, in fact the Galen are the oldest culture in Europa. In the lush green vales below the slopes of the Uther Mountain Range the early Galens practiced a druidic faith and mastered the manipulation of bronze
quickly. These first Europans quickly identified their special knack for material manipulation and the development of complex tools with many parts as if second nature.The gift of tool making and the desire to “fine tune” even daily household instruments became a cross society phenomenon. Even greater still some individuals could some times achieve a “Spark” a brilliant moment of inventive clarity allowing them to conceptualize and design devices of incredible purpose or scope within just moments.
The old druidic priests encouraged the population to resist these urges and to retain their traditions naming the urge to construct and invent “Technika” after a demon from their mythology. Their efforts were futile, Europans were naturally curious and inquisitive by nature and the gentle conditions of the Galen vales made for a sizable population growth. The Europans left their civilization’s cradle early and with little concern or connection with their old faith or fore fathers. With their Technika burning in their minds they could only think of all the fantastic new places they were going to build and the Galen Tribes that remained guarding their aged castles and stone circles were but the remnants of theirformer civilization.
The Nomadic Europans wandered the length and breadth of the continent for 100 years stopping only to build great bridges, tunnels, or other projects needed to facilitate travel of the land. Their projects were almost always constructed of stone and built to las the test of time. Four of the Seven Great wonders of Ancient Europa were built during this time (and stand to this day). This time is a great mystery for many modern Archeologists as the Nomadic Europans built no cities or permanent settlements other than that needed to survive winters. They crisscrossed the continent for centuries,developed their own languages, developed customs, and even made war with each other occasionally but never built permanent cities until two prominent events happened; there was a continent wide drought (Geohistoric Chronologists now know this occurs every 2,000 years in the continent’s cycle) and the discovery of steel and tin.
These circumstances caused the Nomadic Europans to subdue their wanderlust and to choose a suitable spot to build a survivable colony. There were violent clashes amongst multiple tribal groups until a few dominate tribes emerged all concentrating their base of power around a great city built on a river. These tribes were the Albion, the Felli, the Tueton, the Flueon, the Tsar, and the Galen. Each of these tribes settled into a state of feudalism as regional lords were set up under kings (some weak, some strong). Titles and powers varied but the recognition of a high social class was almost immediate and a merchant society and peasantry were established and enforced. When the last of the Nomadic Europans was laid to rest his grand children were building castle walls and irrigation ditches, once again, the Europans reinvented themselves to suit the times.
The Age of the Sword
The Feudal period of Europa (known as the Age of the Sword) is one of the bloodiest chapters in Europan history outside of the Coal Wars. Several of the nation states that rose up in this time were the old monarchies that our modern nations are based on today. The most prominent nation of this period is of course the Kingdom of Albion.
The Albion were most industrious in their development of castle and road technology.This combined with a loose nobility system that encouraged self management and a weak monarch meant regional lords could carve out small kingdoms with the right influences and military might.
The recorded first line of Albion Kings were the Uther dynasty, named for the mountains of their Galen homelands. They were a weak line of which little is written other than all the nobles of the time generally ignored them. In 161 B.V. Lord Bulrick of Northrend married Uther the IV’s sister, Mary of Glous. When King Uther died in a riding accident two years later Northrend declared himself king, at the time no one cared.
However King Northrend then gathered a small alliance of lords and started a campaign to unite the kingdom under a strong monarch with a better government. This was the start of the Age of the Sword; before Northrend was done he unified the Albion people, conquered and subjugated the Galen, and built the most powerful military tradition in the history of Europa. The line of Northrendian kings would start the conquest of Europa andthe establishing of the Imperial Kingdom of Europa.
The first opponent of the Albion war machine was the Kingdom of Felicia. Unlike the light hearted Felicians of today, the Felli were a fierce and combative people. Under King Telric the Felli came to the aide of their Galen allies only to have the Albion lords invade their homeland as well. At the Battle of the Suze the Felli army was trapped and King Telric killed, ending the line of Felician Kings. The Albion King Northrend the II placed a puppet regent on the throne and proceeded to establish the Felician valley as the staging point for his invasion of the Tueton lands. The Felli were incredibly gifted in harnessing their Technika to improve existing designs on just about anything and Northrend the II planned to use those gifts to expand his kingdom. He forced dozens of Felli smiths and scholars into “Technika Keeps” where they were encouraged to experiment with all manner of material from simple sword crafting to mysterious elixirs. The records of these ancient “experiments” form the first texts for modern science. Among these are the tenets of Gabriel the Teacher the founder of the High Church of Europa.
The High Church is founded
Not much beyond religious texts is known about Gabriel the Teacher. Historians agree that he was definitely one of the last of the old Druidic priests and probably a traveling one at that. Some even suggest that he was driven from the Druidic faith for his beliefs. The oldest story of Gabriel is his meeting with King Telric under an apple tree in which he proved the existence of gravity and argued therefore the existence of the Grand Architect in 147 B.V. Official records show he was operating a small orphanage in Felicia east of the Suze River when the Albion army invaded in 145 B.V. His knowledge of Herbalism and reputation as being a wise teacher with locals led King Northrend to seize him and after a period of imprisonment meet with him. These meetings are of course the basis for the famous “Gabriel and the King” stories told on St. Gabriel’s Day.
Regardless of the stories the fact is that Gabriel had a profound effect on the King. King Northrend not only released him to continue to preach his dogma but encouraged the peoples of his lands to consider Gabriel’s teachings “The Faith of all righteous people, for which I will build a high church.” Gabriel’s teachings of how the Universe was ordered by a Divine Plan drawn by a Grand Architect of the Universe gave the people of the Age of the Sword hope that the blood shed and war torn times they lived in were just part of a greater plan and had to be endured. As his work was endorsed by the king the peasantry flocked to hear his message and many saw the King’s war as a “crusade” to bring this new faith to the savage Tuetons and backward peoples of the East.
This war tie with his teachings troubled Gabriel who left the development of the formalities of the new church to his disciples and again took up the simple robe and walking stick of a priest heading into Eastern Europa alone. The extensive development of High Church missions in Southern Catalin that predate the Albion invasion prove he reached the other side of the continent. Speculation amongst historians as to when or where he died is prolific and of course religious sources insist that after spreading the faith to the other people of Europa the Grand Architect simply retrieved his most beloved Instrument to the Astral Toolchest.
War in Middle and Eastern Europa, the Rise of Victoria
The new High Church gave the Albion army a new unifying faith and spiritual backbone. The morale boost was sorely needed as the Northrendian dynasty had trouble in Middle Europa. The lands of the Tueton and the Tsar were cold and unpleasant a good portion of the year plus their warriors were savage and fierce yet still well armed and armored as they had developed their Technika for war over centuries of vicious tribal infighting.
Both Northrend the II and his son Northrend the III died fighting the Tuetons leaving the first Queen of Albion on the throne. Queen Victoria of Northrend was the king’s sister when he was killed in battle. Unlike any other woman in the royal family her father had spoiled her with riding lessons, taught her to read, and had her indoctrinated in the new faith of the High Church for which she was passionate. It was assumed she would be submissive and let her father’s generals and advisors run the government, but that was not the case.
Victoria made use of her brothers advisors in the Ancient Rite of Sworn Mages to establish firm control early on and halted military operations suing for cease fires with all the warring tribes unilaterally giving her poor army time to rest. While she dug into the territory she already controlled she made diplomatic entreaties to the Tsar and Tueton chieftains with heavy bribes and outlandish gifts. The Queen sent agentsinto multiple courts to cultivate rumors and distrust amongst her enemies and soon the Tzar and the Tuetons were fighting each other and themselves. Queen Victoria encouraged the civil strife in the region for five years and then moved in with her rested and reinforced army seizing total control of Middle Europa by 41 VE.
With the conquest of Middle Europa Queen Victoria sent emissaries to the Kingdoms of Flueron and Catalin requesting diplomacy and trade, but the Eastern kingdoms would have none of it. A ten year period of cold war developed as the Eastern Europans awaited the eventual invasion. Queen Victoria reorganized the Albion military to fight against cavalry and refitted her soldiers with the best Tueton armor. Hundreds of reconnaissance and espionage missions where conducted in Flueron providing detailed maps and intelligence.
Victoria used the time to expand her influence domestically on the continent by reorganizing the Tuetonic tribes into a feudal system. This new Elector Count system recognized their competitive nature by giving them a complex system of checks and balances allowing Counts and Barons to acquire status, influence, and wealth in the hope of influencing enough Electors to be named Kaiser of the Teutonic Reich. The Tzar were much more resistant and clung to their tribal connections and their semi nomadic ways in the harsh regions of the southern Heinrich Mountains avoiding the rest of the world.
Meridia Charted by Felicia Expedition
In a surprise move the Queen sanctioned and gave patronage to Luigi Meridia (A Felician) to explore the large island off the western cost of Albion and to chart the channel between. Meridia successfully circled the island and charted the currents of the channel before landing on the northern tip and claiming the island in the name of the Queen. Upo returning with plants and animals not too terribly different and with tales of a large inhospitable island that would be expensive to colonize the Queen knighted the curious Felician, named the island on the maps after him, and promptly forgot about it. Meridia petitioned for the rest of his life to take a colony effort to the island but the war plans of the monarchy kept the idea off the table and sadly he died never again seeing the land that bore his name.
“Declaration of Imperial Design”
To complete her cold war agenda Victoria authored “Declaration of Imperial Design” in which she declared the future of Europa was one people united under Albion and her intent to crown her young nephew Henry the first Imperial King. The Flueron and Catalin Kings were enraged and signed alliances against the Albion, war resumed again and would last for the next twenty years.
The Flueron King Phillip the XIV was weak and could not unite his lords in a combined lasting front. Their small disjointed armies could not stand up to the unified Albion military. Attempted unity was often broken with treachery shortly after their victories by jealous lords fighting over spoils. In defeat their armies were swept aside and killed rather quickly, many of their nobles taking their own lives rather than be taken captive. As the Albion military crushed the last formal resistance in Flueron the Catalin army withdrew to its homeland. The withdraw of the Catalin armies would be the basis for centuries of bad feeling between these two peoples.
Queen Victoria dies, Catalin is spared
The Catalin however were well organized and zealous in their new faith. Gabriel the Teacher had been actively spreading his Theology in the area before disappearing and the Catalin embraced the Grand Architect’s plan with a passion. Plus the mysterious unverified disappearance of Gabriel led many of the common folk to believe him ascended to the Astral Toolkit. The zealous and independently developed new form of the Grand Church stunned Albion church leaders and led to a serious crisis of faith in the Albion ranks. The crusade to establish the new Empire had been tied to the faith. To find the enemy was no longer a pagan but devote took a serious toll on morale.
In addition Queen Victoria finally succumbed to age and died as the Catalin campaign began in earnest leaving her nephew Henry the I to be king. The question was “King of what?” Victoria had planned for her life to complete the conquest and begin the new Empire with Henry, yet Catalin still waited to be conquered. King Ferdinand the XIII of Catalin faced an equally hard dilemma as his army was depleted from fighting in Flueron and the Albion army was sure to win a slow grinding victory in Catalin destroying much of the country in the process. Requesting a parley with Henry he purposed a diplomatic treaty know as “The Peace of Europa”.
In the arrangement the kingdom of Catalin would be dissolved and the lands and nobles would recognize the new Imperial King and swear fealty to him as he ruled all the lands of Europa. In exchange for abdicating his throne and excepting Imperial rule Ferdinand was given control of all High Church clergy and property in all Europa and given the title “High Pontiff” to serve as a “Lord of the Church” that could wield massive power in the new religion, organize it, and support the legitimacy of the Monarch. In the same day that Ferdinand was named High Pontiff Leopold the I he walked 170 steps to the next cathedral and crowned the fist Imperial King of Europa Henry the I proclaiming “the age when men live and die by the sword has been ended by rulers, law, religion, and reason. So let these instruments guide the next age of our people. Let this new age be an Age of Reason.”
The Age of Reason 72 V. E. – 1795 V. E.
The Age of Reason was a Golden Age for the Europan people of peace and prosperity. Several of the movements of Europan art and literature were developed and refined in this period of centuries of continent wide peace. The Albion were after all well suited to Empire and they allowed all of their vassal Kingdoms enough local authority that their fealty was not a sore issue. Occasional revolts and uprising were usually local disturbances (football was invented and organized in this time).
Notably Europans of this time period continent wide seemed to turn to the arts and speculative sciences. Even theology was expanding within the High Church in thisperiod adding more Saints and allowing more local “flavor” in church sacraments.Suddenly for Europans building things didn’t seem as important as discussing what could be built. Even peasants and merchants established social customs of sitting together and discussing the possibilities for their children and their villages. Schools, Libraries, and the first Universities were built.
All of these allowed a long hidden society to finally have a public face and purpose beyond the service of kings. The Ancient Rite of Sworn Librarians originates from a secret order of advisors that aided the Northrendian dynasty in matters of mystery or enigmas. In 115 V.E. Henry the Second ordered the Ancient Rite to reveal their existence to the people of Europa by building a Great Library in each of the old capitols and filling it with knowledge so that any common peasant could learn the secrets of great knowledge. It is believed the young king had a falling out with the Rite and was trying to force their order to disband. Instead the Ancient Rite complied to their advantage using their knowledge they built the 15 Great Libraries (11 of which still stand) in only fifteen years, employing thousands of Europans and gaining incredible influence and significance with the people. To this daythe cities that still have Great Libraries standing within their borders defend them jealously and hidden within each is rumored to be the secret Rite Halls of the Sworn Librarians and their secret sub-orders. Note; The Rite was known as the Ancient Rite of Sworn Scholars in 115 and didn't change their name until 1156 V.E.
Meridian Colonization begins, The Three Hundred Years War
The restlessness in the populace caused by all this education worried the aristocracy and in 450 V.E. Imperial King Richard the Fourth proposed a solution; Meridia. The long island off the coast was several thousand miles of land containing an enormous mountain range, deserts, jungles, sweeping no man’s lands and swamps. King Richard thought Meridia the perfect place to send malcontents and revolutionaries that were unhappy with the social order and commanded two huge naval bases built at the northern and southern ends of the island.
The nobility found deporting “problem people” to Meridia to be handy and the standards for being sent to Meridia varied from court to court. Over two centuries the Europans dropped their debtors, prisoners, homeless, orphans, and even political enemies on Meridia. The only organized areas of the island were the Naval bases and civilian colonies tended to be lawless “sin cities” the sailors and marines would support in gambling parlors and cat houses. Some legitimate colonization was attempted but the land was filled with dangerous animals (The Meridian Signal Snake or “Black Rattler” killed 137 people in one year alone) and the unforgiving terrain was not suited to growing crops. Life on Meridia was hard and short for several centuries.
In 1415 Pope Innocent the Sixth ordered a crusade of Catalin knights to penetrate the jungles of Southern Meridia to ascertain if it contained large deposits of precious metals or stones as do the swamps and forests of southern Galen and Catalin. These “Conquistadors’ as they called themselves discovered a large stone city of primitive sun worshipers who called themselves the Yucca. Being devout followers of the Catalin traditions of the High Church they insisted on the religious conversion of the entire population from their Emperor, Xijexiocon the Magnificent. When he refused they killed him and his entourage stealing their gold vestments and fleeing the island. The Yucca responded by attacking all the Europan colonies on the island killing thousands. Although hardly a matter of true national security, young Imperial King Stewart the Eighth had just ascended the throne and thought a war with "the savages" would distract Parliament from his youthful excesses. In 1421 he authorized “unlimited war on the Yucca people and the seizing of their kingdoms for colonization” in retaliation. Gunpowder had been recently perfected from earlier models in the Age of the Sword and the Europan Lords longed to relive the battle glories of their noble ancestors whose stories by now were legend as no war veterans had lived in several generations.
Thus began “The Three Hundred Years War” which had no battles and by all accounts was a series of massive raids, massacres, and skirmishes as Europans armed to the teeth with musket and cannon would dive into the jungle burning and killing what they could find only to have the Yucca do the same to their outposts while they were away. Once the Europans subdued the Yucca they discovered their allies the smaller Punca and Sima cultures and made war on them as well. For generations Europan nobles proved their military mettle by taking expeditions of musket, pike and sword into the jungle and returned home with gold and silver from looted temples. It is now believed that the diseases these mercenary armies brought with them killed more of the Native Meridians than actual combat, only the Kawnee tribe survived by moving their nomadic horse people away from their ancestral brothers and out onto the plains of West Meridia.
Rebellion and the rise of Martinism
While opportunistic nobles made war in the Meridian colonies Europan society marched on and the Age of Reason saw its share of strife. In 1046 The Teutons refined gunpowder but it was Albion smiths who fashioned the first man portable firearms. By 1250 all of the armies on Europa had converted to musket and cannon and from 1295 to 1310 the Teutonic Elector Counts attempted to break away from Imperial rule to no success against a far larger and better trained Imperial Army. The Galen homelands revolted violently against Albion rule killing Imperial tax officials, raising a large volunteer army, and burning the High Church Archdiocese in 1315 but were brutally put down in a vicious suppression program enacted by Imperial King Robert the Third.
To accommodate new ideas and relieve some theological pressure the High Church adopted several new saints at this time allowing different dogmas of the Architect’s plan to be pursued but diligently squashed any other religious thought. From 1563-1571 High Pontiff Thomas the Third conducted a thorough Inquisition of the Atheist movement in Northern Fleuron and another one against the Galen Druids in 1576 both were noted for their public trials and executions.
In 1602 a Teutonic priest of St. Gabriel started teaching a new dogma of the Grand Architect. This priest named Father Martin started teaching that a person’s place in the Grand Architect’s plan is of their own making and those that work hard and improve themselves may better it and better everyone else by doing so. This new idea of changing one’s place in the grand scheme of things and having the free will to improve one’s own situation was a direct contradiction to current teachings as well as the social order.
Martin’s followers started educating their children and saving their wages in the hopes of buying better living quarters. Workers of several years asked their noble masters for increased wages due to their diligent service and working class customers actually bartered with merchants and demanded better goods for their money. Father Martin’s teachings that every person had worth and opportunity in the Architect’s plan were wildly popular and by 1606 Most of Teuton, Galen, and Eastern Albion was practicing these new tenets. Father Martin was summoned and questioned by High Pontiff Augustus the Pious who after seven days of questioning could not trap the wise priest in conversation and so released him back to his home diocese.
A few days later Martin was found murdered in the city of Feldspar with no evidence as to the identity of his killer. Whole sections of the continent exploded in riots and violence as many people believed that the murder was a royal or church conspiracy. It was only after the Pontiff declared Martin a saint and King George the IV promised to have his new cathedral built at his own expense in the capitol that the riots stopped. It is from these roots that modern Martinism sprang. To this day the Church of St. Martin has the most strained relationship with the High Church.
Culture and Government Advance, King Leopold the I comes to power
While the disturbances during this period were great so were the times of peace.Art, music and literature captivated the minds of Europans in this period and much of our theory and technique for these fields of study were developed in this period. The Albion developed and refined musical instruments progressing orchestral composition. The Felicians and Fleurons developed hundreds of wine vintages and eight traditions of opera in this period. Catalin builders began and completed the six Cathedral Cities as well as The Crown Road connecting the Papal Seat at Celestia with the Great Tunnel at Feldspar and the Imperial Castle at Norstead.
In 1661 Imperial King William the Eighth expanded the role of Parliament (which up until now had only been made up of his personal advisors and the House of Nobles) to include a new House of Commons made up of elected representatives of the merchant and working class. This shocked and angered most of the House of Nobles who promptly stripped what little budgetary powers the king had left. William also reformed Parliament to include seats in both the House of Commons and the House of Nobles for Teuton, Fleuron, and Catalin although in such small numbers that Albion still dominated the Imperial government. William’s attempts to grant seats in Parliament to the Galen provinces were blocked and of course the Imperial colonies in Meridia weren’t allowed participation in government as their Royal Governors answered directly to the King.
This new arrangement led to more ceremonial and uninvolved Imperial Kings late in this Age. By the time Richard the Eighth took the throne in 1714 the bureaucracy of Imperial Albion was running the country and the King’s power was waning. This created the unique set of circumstances that would create the most influential ruler in the history of Europa since Victoria, Leopold the First.
Leopold the First
In 1729 Imperial Queen Constance died in childbirth to Princess Margaret, King Richard’s third child. The king was still in middle age and became lonely and reclusive aside from his work with his children. When King Richard became romantically involved with the young Duchess Elaina of Telvoy Parliament gave sanction for the marriage as the King had already named his line of succession for his first two sons.
The marriage took place in 1734 and Prince Leopold (named for the first High Pontiff) was born in 1736. King Richard lavished his youngest son with gifts and indulgences. Being half-Felician the boy had a natural knack for taking things apart and stealing tools from hisfather’s workers. The young prince experimented with masonry, carpentry, mathematics, music, architecture, economics, forestry, law, and metallurgy. His father hired only the best scholars and tutors to answer his young son’s curiosity. It was joked in court that “Little Leo” was the first Imperial Prince groomed to be a librarian. The reputation of Prince Leopold’s curiosity was so great that the Enlightened Academy at the Isle of Zappa offered him a chance to study there at age 15. Though it raised some eyebrows at court the prince was allowed to attend the progressive Felician Academy and probably would have remained there at study for years if not for a tragic incident.
In 1755 the Yellow Fever swept through Europa. Ticks brought back from the newly discovered fruit trees of The Dark Continent infected rats aboard ships heading all over Europa. When the disease first broke out it was thought to be another flu epidemic and casualties climbed at a quick rate catching the government by surprise. Before many cities could react thousands were dead or sick compounding the problem. When the Fever broke out in Norstead it killed commoner and noble alike and it killed the entire royal family save Prince Leopold and his infant nephew Prince Richard of Glous. Called home from the Academy Leopold the First was crowned Imperial King at age twenty.
King Leopold was unlike any other king before him. The Albion kings were thin and gaunt, many men of the Northrendian Dynasty had been tall men, fiercely militaristic and temperamental. King Leopold was only 5’4 and weighed any where from 150-190 pounds in his lifetime. He has well educated in military matters particularly artillery but abhorred violence, save fencing at which he was proficient. The legendary temper of his forefathers was usually absent but could be roused if he was confronted by a person of great stupidity or ignorance.
He was known to have kept paper and quill next to him at most times and insisted that a set be present in almost every room in his palaces so if ideas inspired him he could write them down immediately. Upon taking the throne he spent two weeks locked in the Imperial Library having his meals delivered while he “studied his Empire”. Emerging from this study session he began a series of governmental and societal changes that are felt across the face of Europa to this day. In twenty years Leopold the Great changed the world and ultimately put in motion the events that ended his great Empire and Imperial Albion by ushering in the Age of Steam.
Age of Steam 1760? - 1825 V.E.
The start of the Age of Steam is steeped so much in the end of the Age of Reason that the two often run over each other in historical circles. The ascension of King Leopold to the throne is considered by many a safe starting point, although some argue that technically the age does not begin until his excommunication and the building of the first Miraculous Invention.
The Leopold Standards
In 1757, just one year after being crowned King, Leopold addressed Parliament with “The Leopold Standards”. No King since Henry the First had used the royal authority to set standards of weights, measures, commerce, time, and standards of quality. Parliament was surprised by the ancient loophole and flew into a rage when the young King set new agricultural standards for the production of quality cloth and food. These new royal standards required all Europan Lords to mill better made (and more attractive) clothing and grow better crops. Selling inferior products was punishable by heavy fines and imprisonment. Standards for the building of structures were included as well including requirements for providing law enforcement and fire brigades. The most stirring requirement was the use of standardized postage and the establishment of the first stamp.
In all Leopold proclaimed and established 378 new mandatory guidelines and standards for Europa ranging from the stitch count in blankets to the limiting how many cows can be on a village green. The nobility was outraged and many refused to comply. In response the King attempted to have the offenders arrested but found Parliament slow to act against its own members. When several nobles burned a copy of his proclamation in 1759 at a tea party in Keeds, King Leopold instructed his elite Zappan Royal Guard to arrest the offenders. When the Guardsmen arrived in Keeds they were attacked by soldiers of the Keeds Provincial Militia. Upon hearing the report of the attack the King assumed a coup was in development and fearing the involvement of Parliament issued a direct call to arms to the people instead of turning to the Albion military. In just eight days over 140,000 volunteers, mostly small provincial militia units, marched to surround the Imperial Palace at Norstead including units from as far as western Felicia and southern Meridia. Included in this number were several brigades of Albion military regulars led by officers not friendly to Parliament. Banners calling to "Save the King" were hung from church towers across the continent.
Known as “Leopold’s Muster” the act stunned Parliament who assumed that the monarchy was no longer popular with the people. More importantly it was a week in which King Leopold met and formed strong alliances with his support base amongst the populace.Typically the Imperial Family was shielded from the merchant and tradesmen classes but King Leopold invited them to the Royal Tennis Courts and held the historic "Tennis Court Debate" between some of the more prolific thinkers and writers of the day. Fearing actual civil conflict could arise the High Pontiff Virtuous the Sixth traveled to the capitol and defused the situation admonishing the offenders for not obeying their King while encouraging Leopold to be more subtle and warning him to shy away from such radical moves.
This advice was taken for many years as the King turned away from large political change and instead focused on building improvements for his subjects in water and sewage systems. In addition King Leopold was more accessible and more active than any monarch before him attending random public events big and small throughout the country. Leopold attended simple functions usually with common citizens as the events in noble circles were not popular with the easily bored king. Several small county fairs and provincial capitols were visited by the King and Leopold was known to have slept in more places and been seen by more citizens than any other Imperial King in history.
At first this extensive travel kept Leopold out of the capitol and this pleased Parliament but the time amongst the people was making Leopold the most popular King since Good King Henry. To recall the King to Norstead Parliament arranged a marriage of state to wed Leopold to the Duchess Mary of Stewart. The wedding was a gala affair and attended by thousands only to end with tragedy for as the week long wedding celebration closed the Scarlet Fever epidemic swept the city and then the rest of the countryside. The King and Queen were rushed to Meridia as the disease raged across mainland Europa.
The Scarlet Fever Epidemic and The Viola Incident
The Scarlet Fever Epidemic of 1768 was much worse than the Yellow Fever of years previous. Improved sanitary and pest conditions did not help and people fell ill from the slightest exposure. Thousands died in weeks across the continent and across the channel in Meridia King Leopold desperately searched for a way to save his people.
His answer was found in a young Meridian doctor named Daniel Bryce who was researching in the small town of Viola. Dr. Bryce was brilliant researcher who theorized that disease was caused by the presence of “foreign organisms” in the body which hindered the healing process and accelerated illness. Further Dr. Bryce believed that these “foreign organisms” could be altered from their harmful state into a microscopic “doctor’s helper” that could assist in healing patients or even improving their physical state. Bryce’s esearch had been declared “heresy by the unnatural alteration of the human form” by the
Archbishop of North Albion and he had been forced to continue his work in colonialMeridia. King Leopold was impressed with the young doctor’s passionate research and took pity as the center of his research was to find a cure for his lovely wife Emily, who was dying slowly of mysterious hereditary illness aggravated by the Fever.
The King funded and sanctioned Bryce’s work without permission of the High Church and within weeks Bryce had an “Experimental Anti-toxin” which was tested on ten test subjects including Bryce’s wife. Nine out of ten patients responded favorably and started recovery but Emily died shortly after receiving the drug. Within days the anti-toxin was being rapidly manufactured as the Scarlet Fever had finally made its way off the mainland and into the colonies. Unfortunately only two weeks after being buried and to the horror of the people of Viola, Emily Bryce’s body tore out of the local cemetery as a twisted, altered, and animated corpse. Dozens of citizens were killed as the monster attacked anything it found in the streets of the town with super human strength and speed. Due to their proximity the Zappan Royal Guard was able to subdue the beast and destroy it with fire but only after a large portion of the town had been destroyed in the battle.
The “Viola Incident” drew Church attention to Bryce’s work and the King’s involvement. Pope Virtuous the Sixth threatened to excommunicate Bryce and this apprentices for building an abomination but King Leopold intervened and defied the Pontiff publicly on Bryce’s behalf stating that the anti-toxin would save millions of lives. In the face of the ending plague the Church could not challenge the popular King but the damage was done, the Pope found Leopold an irritant and was believed to begin discussion with members of Parliament for his removal at this time.
The Discovery of Steam and founding of The Royal Inventor’s Guild
As the epidemic was relieved King Leopold set across the continent on a fact finding mission to discover the extent of the damage and what needed to be done to restore the country. It was during this trip that he visited the ancient town of Bestia which was built at the base of Gabriel’s Hill in Felicia and had developed those same fabled apples into orchards which produced the finest apple brandy in Europa.
King Leopold was making a ceremonial visit and was asked by the local citizens to examine a new tool the Bestian distillery boiler fire tenders (known as “punks”) had developed to clean distilling pipes. The device was ingenious; it used steam from a small boiler ran through an angled metal tube to a second condenser boiler which collected the steam to pressure and fed it to long metal fitting that brass piping from the distillery was inserted over allowing hot steam to move through them and remove unwanted material.
The process was found to be faster (and safer) when a temperature triggered release cap was placed over the end of the piping. In addition the device caused the pipe being cleaned to slide up and down the cleaning fitting as the steam pressurized and built up only to release at the right moment to not fly off with a soft long whistle. The townspeople found the device’s movement and the whistle to be entertaining and this was the reason they wished to amuse the King with it. King Leopold however was siezed by the Technika Spark of Inspiration and in an instant saw the incredible potential of the Power of Steam. He immediately gathered all of the young “Steampunks” and whisked them away to the Royal Forges at the capitol.
The King spared no time in developing his new discovery gathering only the brightest and youngest apprentices at the Royal Forges and combining them with his Bestian prodigies he began a secret two year project to develop the uses of Steam power. Fearing Church resistance to the new discovery Leopold kept the project a secret and using the authority of the King to form guilds and trade rites he commissioned the Royal Inventor’s Guild as an official face for his new researchers in 1772.
Informants in the court however exposed the existence of the Guild to the Grand Pontiff in 1778. Traveling from Celestia to Norstead to confront the upstart King face to face Pontiff Virtous met with members of Parliament and Albion Church leaders before entering the city and demanding to see the King and his “secret heresy”. Leopold met with His eminence at the Royal Forges after being “arrested” by members of Parliament on papal authority in the Imperial Palace. It was here in front of a large crowd of commoners that the Pontiff wished to expose Leopold’s mechanized project to scare and intimidate the people before passing judgment.
King Leopold however appealed to the Pontiff to abide by Imperial Law and not unmake a Royal Institution that was to the benefit of the people “if proven such by the hand of the Great Plan”. The Pontiff agreed and the first Great Construct of the Royal Inventors Guild was revealed; The Steam Wagon. Although only 12 feet long and 5 feet wide it could move without the aide of man or beast powered only by the burning of wood and could haul a load of 800 pounds at a speed of 2 knots with no rails.
When the Construct rolled from the Forges carrying all of the Guild’s first apprentices in the cargo area and maneuvering at speed the crowd was amazed. Virtuous himself was heard to be taken aback proclaiming the words “It’s a miracle!” aloud and before many witnesses. The Guild had been saved by the quick negotiating of Leopold and the craft of their ingenuity when they needed it most. It is from this event that the annual tradition of the Royal Inventor's Guild presenting a “Miraculous Project” to the Grand Pontiff of the High Church each King Leopold’s Day began and is observed to this day.
End of the Line of Leopold, The War King comes to power
The salvation of the Guild in such a charged political fashion with the Pontiff left Parliament no choice. Threatening Leopold with not only his throne but his son Leopold the Second’s ascension they demanded some recompense with the Church. The country was in hysteria over a King who regularly defied a Pontiff and many feared civil war. In compromise King Leopold agreed to abdicate his throne to his son and enter retirement leaving noble life. In 1776 Leopold the First signed The Blue Letters. A series of documents that made his abdication formal, as well as granting his wife a divorce, and passing all of his property in Albion into the name of his son. Virtuous the Sixth excommunicated the now no longer royal Leopold the day after Parliament ratified his abdication. As riots consumed parts of the capitol he was smuggled out of the city by the still loyal Zappan Royal Guard to Felicia where he was greeted by throngs of loving Felicians chanting his name and Archbishop Joseph Maria Genova welcomed him as “king in the hearts of Felcia, forever.” Leopold lived in Felicia with his mistress until the time of his death in 1801. He never returned to Albion. He was buried secretly by the remaining Zappan Royal Guardsmen in St. Gabriel’s orchard in Bestia.
King Leopold the Second held little power and had no allies in court as he became a teenaged monarch. He was forbidden to communicate with his father in exile or his father’s old advisors. He mainly followed the advise of his second cousin Richard, Duke of Northrend and Glous. In fact it is widely speculated that it was Richard who recommend the young King try his hand at domestic policy and try to reform the sanctioned church indulgences and how they were handled in the Empire so that they could be properly documented and taxed.
In 1780 King Leopold the Second formed the Sanctioned Indulgences Network. Using the latest in newsprint and transport couriers he planned to apply a system of tracking and taxation to the sloppy and crime ridden Indulgences the church had been awarding to certain jurisdictions over the years such as gambling dens, prostitution houses, breweries, and other sanctioned vices operating on centuries old papal authorization. Leopold the Second hoped to bring organization and generate tax revenue but unfortunately the plan was political disaster. The Church saw it as a direct challenge to their authority and Parliament wanted no part of writing tax law for “questionable services”. At Richard’s encouragement Leopold quietly abdicated his throne to him to avoid another scandal so soon for the monarchy. Soon after Leopold the Second contracted consumption and died in the royal hospital.
The new Imperial King Richard the IX was welcomed warmly by both Parliament and the High Church. He was a Northrendian of the old tradition; determined and fierce like his forefathers. Richard the IX was also cunning and quite ruthless. He did not stamp out his two predecessor’s developments but in fact he put more resources into them, which garnered him wide political support, however his focus of the Empire and it’s new found infrastructure was decidedly different than the Leopold projects.Richard believed that the secret of the Empire’s success was to return to what had made it a success in the first place: War. His vision was a militant Europa that would crush and take territory as the Albion kings of old had. The whole of the continent was turned to the war effort for the first five years of Richard’s reign as steam engines were installed at factories, shipwrights, gun mills, and munitions plants. Volunteers were mustered into service and trained by the hundreds of thousands.
Across Europa young men and women were promised land and title in the Yuan Lands and on the Dark Continent in exchange for service in the Imperial Expeditionary Legions. Even a common infantryman could earn “40 acres and a mule” in the new colonies for ten years service in the Legions. Imperialist sentiment swept the continent and was spurred on by Imperial propaganda. Like the Albion campaigns of old the War for Imperialism was seen as the bringing of Europan civilization to backwards people and untamed lands. The expansion of the Europan Empire became a matter of patriotism and peace advocates were silenced by popular sentiment. Once again the Europans plied their Technika to battle and begun the period known as The Coal Wars.
The Coal Wars (1785 -1866 V.E.)
The Coal Wars represent the end of the Age of Steam and the failure of the old Imperial government to maintain peace and order on the continent. The final resolution of the Coal Wars is the realization of the Yuan Threat and the formation of the Europan Confederation in 1866.
Wars for Imperialism
In 1785 King Richard the Ninth sent the first four Imperial Expeditionary Legions and the entire Imperial Navy to “establish a beach head of opportunity in Yuan territory”. This force of over 200 battle cruisers and hundreds of slow moving troop transports arrived off the coast of the Yuan Empire six months later and was engaged at the Battle of Crashing Peaks by the Yuan Fleet. Europan Admirals were caught unaware by the range and ferocity of Yuan rocket weaponry and found their own cannons out matched in open water.
The Europan Fleet fled into a coastal island chain known as “The Tears of the Emperor” and set up a series of small island fortresses amongst the largest group of islands, subduing the small population living there. This first expedition was a military disaster in which thousands of ground troops died in burning transport ships, from disease, and exhaustion from building impromptu forts on swamp filled tropical islands. In 1787 the expedition was under half strength.
In 1789 the second wave of the expedition was launched in the southern Yuan Lands and the Dark Continent. This force was larger than the first and twice as bold. The king planned to carve a military outpost on the northeast peninsula of the Dark Continent and use it as a staging base for his campaign in the southern Yuan lands. Europan explorers had never fully explored The Dark Continent and had only penetrated the jungle interior a few miles before turning back. The Kings’ plan to develop a military installation on the harsh continent that could barely support a trading post seemed ambitious but rumors of gems and gold in the Dark Jungles influenced many in the military.
At first the campaign went even better than expected. The first natives encountered in the Dark Jungles were two tribes of dark skinned people known as the Bo and the Hin. Neither tribe seemed interested in fighting the Europans and capitulated quickly. It was from these tribes the Europans first learned of the Muka, a terrible tribe of cannibals that came down from the mountain areas to raid their villages in hot years. In fact many tribal leaders asked the Europans to remove their people from the continent as the Muka were due to arrive soon. The King’s agents shrewdly negotiated a multi -generational indentured servitude treaty for the Bo and Hin tribes’ people to be taken to Europa on condition of committed hard labor with no pay. Hundreds of thousands of Bo and Hin crowded aboard the boats thinking they were bound for better life only to find slavery in the fields and factories of Europa. The King had needed to supplement the loss of his work force to the war and the BoHin Refugees (as they came to be known) were an easy and convenient fix for him. Unethical and greedy nobles across Europa purchased huge “Indentured Contracts” from the crown to acquire hundreds of refugees to be pressed into hard labor on their farms, plantations, and mills. Over 400,000 BoHin Refugees were enslaved in this manner.
These initial successes allowed the Europans to follow through with their plan and land troops in the southern half of the Yuan continent. Native Resistance was strong at first but then waned and the Europan troops led by hard hitting Meridian Marines steadily worked their way inland. By late Spring of 1793 the campaign reached the Pu Zhao River and there met real resistance from the Grand Army of the South sent by the Enlightened Emperor himself to drive the Europans into the sea. It was at this point that everything went horribly wrong for the Europans.
As summer arrived on The Dark Continent the Muka tribesmen came pouring down out of the mountain passes overrunning Europan outposts and gruesomely killing thousands. In the Yuan lands things were just as bad. Dug in along the Pu Zhao river the Europans were overwhelmed by the intense heat and a variety of diseases afflicted the army most prevalently malaria. By mid summer one quarter of the landing force was dead and had to start falling back to the coast. Supplies and equipment including new and experimental weapon systems were abandoned The Yuan army quickly seized these prizes of war pressing their advantage of numbers to over whelm Europans before they could reach the sea. On the Dark Continent things were even worse all but a mere 5 miles of coastal peninsula had been overrun and only a desperate last stand at Port Victoria kept the Europans from being annihilated.
In response to these losses the King sent the remaining reserve of volunteers and conscripts into the southern Yuan campaign and recalled his first expedition from their island strongholds in the Emperor’s Tears. As the first wave returned to Europa the third wave of the Imperial Expeditionary force was engaged in an enormous rescue mission attempt to extract the second wave from Yuan territory and securing the position at Port Victoria. A young Admiral Henry Brosengae boldly broke through Yuan defenses too rescue the Fifth and Sixth Expeditionary Legions before the casualties and environment proved too great and a complete retreat was ordered leaving many troops behind. On the Dark Continent conditions were equally bad as a hastily erected set of fortifications was holding the Muka at bay but with little success. As the order to withdraw was delivered three Fleuron regiments volunteered to remain and hold Port Victoria as long as possible.They were christened the “Fleuron Foreign Legion” and left behind as the remaining
Europan forces limp back to continent in 1796.
The aftermath of the War for Imperialism could be felt in every facet of Europan life. A little over half of the enlistees returned home. Hundreds of thousands of veterans were physically maimed or mentally shattered and were not given the new colonial opportunities they had been promised. In fact upon returning home they discovered many of their jobs were now in the hand of BoHin slaves leaving many of them in the street with no livelihood. This led to large riots as huge mobs of veterans demonstrated in the streets demanding some form of compensation for their service contracts. The Veterans Riot of 1799 in Norstead frightened Parliament into action and they agreed to grant land parcels to veterans in Meridia. Though not what they had been promised many found the deal acceptable and over a half a million veterans “sailed, rowed, or swam” the channel to Meridia to settle their new claims.
This entitlement of land to the veterans caused serious repercussions amongst the population. Hard working miners and factory workers were jealous of the new opportunities in colonies being presented to veterans but not made available to the working class. Richard the IX refused to negotiate with common laborers and spent the rest of his reign violently stamping out efforts to demonstrate and organize by laborers.
The Coal Miner’s Revolt 1824
With the death of Richard the IX and the ascension of Richard the X the Europan Empire was in serious peril. The government had become very dependant on the former King and his young son did not share his father’s strong will and powerful connections. With his ascension Parliament acted to remove more power from the King. Unfortunately political division made Parliament stall and equivocate on everything from taxes to labor reform with the result being that very little was accomplished and the actions Parliament did take angered the population even more.
In 1824 three events took place that would bring about the end of the Empire. First Parliament abolished indentured servitude and slavery on the continent. This freed the BoHin refugees from their terrible conditions but also made them homeless and jobless. To resolve the issue thousands of BoHin were rounded up and forcibly shipped back to the Dark Continent with considerable cost and violence.
Secondly Parliament passed new labor laws under pressure from wealthy factory owners to allow a 14 hour work day and to make employees who failed to perform punishable not only by termination but also by imprisonment.
Lastly when protests and demonstrations broke out across the country, Parliament refused to negotiate with labor leaders and deployed troops in several cities. When the situation grew tense, soldiers killed several members of the local miner’s guild and riots started. After days of rioting the violence did not stop and became widespread, The Coal Miner’s Revolt had begun.
Parliament was completely unprepared to deal with a country wide upheaval and the military was not trained to combat a massive revolt in seemingly every corner of the continent. Across the country laborers hung their nobles and burned their ancestral estates while steadily marching towards the capitol overwhelming and ambushing every force sent to stop them. When the revolt reached Norstead, Parliament fled the city but King Richard stayed to try to save the city. In the Fall of 1824 the Revolt captured the capitol and surrounded the Royal Palace. The King and his family were seized in the wine cellar, paraded out on the palace lawn, and killed. So ended the Albion line of Kings.
The Anarchy 1825 —1840 V.E
With the death of the King and the cowardice of Parliament all of the continent fell into chaos. Historical Terminologists refer to this time in Europan history as The Anarchy. Across Europa local powers and territorial nobles instantly took to fighting each other. The chaotic forces of The Coal Miners Revolt lost focus and many of them turned to mercenary work in the hundreds of small armies popping up across the continent. Each region of Europa suffered differently in this time and most of the modern Europan nation-states find their roots in this period.
In Teuton the death of the King was met with cheers as the Teutons faced their first real chance at self rule in centuries. However the counts and barons of Teuton were petty and power hungry with no one of them able to bring the country together and instead they raised their own armies and began a series of battles and skirmishes across the country turning Teuton into a hellish war zone.
In this environment a young former theater manger named Otto Von Vogel started developing a following with speeches of a “Nation for the people” and a solution for “the evils the Albion race have visited on us.” Vogel brought together remnants of the old labor movements and melded them into a powerful new political movement, the Nationalist Socialist Party. Vogel exposed a new nation state where the people labored to develop an equal society and the state was controlled by one party which was dedicated to providing for the people and the greatness of the nation. The focus and charisma of Vogel led many to flock to his cause and his army which rapidly started crushing noble resistance. In 1838 Vogel controlled over half the country including the Tsarmarkslund where the Tsar found Nationalist Socialism preferable to their lives of drudgery under Teuton lords. To finally consolidate his power Vogel offered the remaining barons and counts an exchange of their lives and the right to maintain their honorary titles for all noble lands and property to be surrendered to the state. Most of the remaining nobility acquiesced and in 1839 the Teutonic Industrial Reich was formed. A few die hard Imperialist Teutons refused to join the new order and fled to the Isle of Hess off the southern tip of Meridia and established a colony there.
In Catalin and Fleuron the Anarchy was destroying ancient cities and huge portions of the country side. As the revolt waned in Catalin the High Church moved quickly to fill the power void and much of the country was brought back to order by the bishops by 1827. Fleuron unfortunately was griped by chaos from the moment the King’s death was announced. The Fluerons had very little native leadership and had relied on the Empire for direction and administration. In the wake of the collapse of the government Fleuron was consumed by violence and looting. By 1826 the area was completely lawless and Fleuron based criminal bands started terrorizing Catalin.
In 1828 High Pontiff Ferdinand the I came to the papacy. Ferdinand was a hard liner and reputed administrator. Although never considered a candidate for papacy before, the chaotic time and desperate circumstances demanded a stronger Pontiff. Ferdinand did not lose any time. Passing a series of edicts known as “The Catalin Edicts” the Pontiff declared himself “the defender of all those who seek the Architect’s protection in Eastern Europa”. These edicts declared that Ferdinand had authority to raise an army for the defense of the faith in the absence of the King. Thousands of Catalins flocked to Ferdinand’s banner and 1830 he marched his new Righteous Army of the High Church into Fleuron. Over the next ten years Ferdinand crushed criminal activity in the region and began a reconstruction program which included the severe and brutal conversion of Fleuron atheists at the hand of the Inquisition.
The Felicians suffered greatly during the Anarchy. Whole hearted supporters of the Empire they had little local authority to assume power in the wake of the collapsing government. The Felicians adapted by developing passive resources for their defense. When bandits attacked they hid in specially constructed bunkers or simply fled to the next village. The Anarchy resulted in several thousand deaths in Felicia and is considered a time of great sadness for their people.
On the island of Meridia events took a different turn. Word that the King was dead didn’t really arrive until 1827. When a small fleet of refugees arrived bearing news of the King’s death and the trouble on the mainland the colonialist were confronted with a terrible scenario. The island was on its own and there was no sign of help ever coming.
While there was concern and even panic there were no riots and Meridian leaders journeyed to Port Martin to meet with the island’s Imperial Commandant Grand Admiral Henry Brosengae. Henry Brosengae was a unique figure in the Albion military. Born half Fleuron to a shop keeping family in Glouchester he entered the military on an academy sponsorship from a noble friend of the family. He received excellent marks in training and received a commission in the Imperial Expeditionary forces. He earned distinction twice in the War for Imperialism as a brilliant strategist and befriended the young Prince Richard the X before he became King. It had been Richard who had appointed him Imperial Commandant over Meridia.
When confronted with the situation at hand Brosengae was challenged, he had over 7 million people living completely cut off from their mother country and faced with self reliance for the foreseeable future. To solve the issue he gathered all the community leaders he could and locked them in the main meeting hall of Hendall College. Three days later they emerged with the Meridian Constitution otherwise known as the “The First Deal” in which the Meridians contended that in order to preserve their communities they would form a democratic Republic that would serve to govern until such time as the rightful heir could be returned to the throne. In addition all residents of the island were awarded citizenship including the Yuan prisoners of war and political expatriates living on the island. This revolutionary development was embraced by the Meridians and they spent the rest of the Anarchy period building great works and improvements without Imperial restriction including the Great Northern Canal and the first rail lines on the island. By 1840 the Meridians had built a stable country without mainland assistance and when Henry Brosengae died that year he was buried in their newly built capitol city which they named in his honor.
The First War of Unification 1840 -1847 V.E.
In 1840 a minor noble from Loafburrow assembled a small force of volunteers and marched on Norstead with the stated purpose of “reforming Parliament and reinstating the government”. The effort was little noticed by the regional warlords but the minor noble was not a man to be ignored. The new ad hoc Parliament declared Sir Alexander Cantwell “Lord Protector of United Albion”.
Much of Albion had degraded into chaos with regional warlords fighting each other for resources and money with little incentive for their mercenary troops beyond combat bounties. Cantwell’s “Army of the Restoration” offered enlistment bonuses, preferred employment in the new government for veterans, full medical care, and issued the official red uniforms of the old Imperial Kingdom to it’s troops. His ranks swelled and by 1843 the whole of Albion had been pacified and order restored. To keep his army in the field and the country distracted Cantwell immediately invaded Galen stating “the history of the Galen and Albion people are one history, they should be the first piece of our reclaimed Empire.”
The Galen were poorly prepared for war and had only just barely started recovering from the Anarchy themselves. Galen miners had successfully formed a loose alliance of Galen city states but were far from a unified country or government when the Albion military attacked and by 1846 all formal Galen resistance had been crushed. This was a particularly bloody affair for the Galen and many escaped the mainland to sail for Meridia and a new start. Their arrival alerted the Meridians to the changes on the continent and allowed them to prepare.
The pacification of Galen meant only Felicia lay between Cantwell and the next step in Imperial Unification. However the newly formed Teutonic Industrial Reich sent envoys alerting Cantwell that Felicia was to be considered a protectorate of the Reichland and any intrusion would be considered a threat and an act of war. Not yet ready to meet the Teutons head on Cantwell instead rested the Albion army and prepared to direct his Empire restoration in new directions.
The Second War of Unification. 1848-1855 V.E.
In 1847 the Albion government sent an emissary to “Our beloved and rightful colonies on the isle of Meridia”. Diplomat Sir Percival Spenser was sent to officially make contact with the new government on Meridia. Sir Spenser was warmly greeted in Brosengae by Presiding Commandant James Fisk, a shipping broker recently elected by the Veterans Party. Commandant Fisk saw an opportunity to reestablish formal contact with the mainland but saw the need for little more than that as he and most Meridians were second or third generation born on the island. Meridia was now very much self sufficient and had developed it’s own identity of roughed survivalism.
Therefore when Sir Spencer demanded the unconditional collapse of the Brosengae Republic and the surrender of control of the island to United Albion the Meridans were shocked and outraged. To worsen matters Sir Spenser made it clear that the new Imperial Governor would be appointed by Parliament in which Meridia would receive no seats as “Colonies don’t receive seats in Parliament , that would be ridiculous”. The entire dialogue enraged Commandant Fisk who ended talks by punching Sir Spenser in the face and having the Albion delegation sent home under naval escort.
“The Spenser Affair” was of course engineered by Lord Protector Cantwell to instigate a war with Meridia who he saw as a weak former colony which would provide little challenge and test his new units, weapons, and tactics before his eventual campaign with the Reichland. Cantwell planned a quick war of seizing the large cities and ports of Meridia and ignoring outlying settlements. He believed the entire conflict would be short lived as the Meridians no doubt lacked the resources to fight a major power like Albion. He could not have been more wrong. The Meridians burned Albion flags in their streets and hundreds of thousands of volunteers rallied to the cause to fight “For the Republic and Fighting Jim!” Commandant Fisk called up the militias of every town and prefecture. The entire industry of the country was turned to preparing for the Albion onslaught. Ladies sewing circles made uniforms and battle flags, county food mills stockpiled dried rations, and ironworks turned out munitions around the clock. Millions of farmers helped dig miles of trench work along the massive Meridian coast line so the threat could be met anywhere.
In the spring of 1848 the Albion Navy attempted two landings at Meridia. The stubborn Meridians beat back the redcoats at a place called “Bloody Beach” fighting a grueling three day battle in which Galen immigrants held the line against four times their number and a vicious artillery barrage from the Albion Navy. The second landing however was a successful seizing and looting of the capitol city of Brosengae. This seemingly crushing defeat was in fact a trap in which General Francis T. Keys used rail service to collect much of the volunteer militias together into a force large enough to oppose the Albion army. Though hastily armed and mostly lacking uniforms the “Army of Northern Meridia” was well disciplined, versatile, and hard fighting. Through a series of battles General Keys drove the Albion from the northern half of Meridia and the capitol. When the Albion withdrew from Meridia they planned to encamp on the other side of the channel until the next spring and invade again but the Meridians had other plans.
In 1849 in a move that shocked all of Europa the Meridians invaded the mainland. The Albion military was caught completely off guard and unprepared as no military power had ever attempted an invasion of Albion by sea before. Unfortunately the Meridians were still very poorly educated on the boarders and maps of mainland Europa and one third of their invasion force landed in Felicia. The Felicians were surprised but forgiving of the invasion and seemed to welcome the Meridians as liberators and friends. All across Felicia Meridian soldiers were greeted warmly by the locals, treated to food and wine, and given kisses by the pretty local girls. After three months of “friendly accidental occupation” the misplaced Meridians marched off to join the fighting in Albion not really sure if they had conquered Felicia or not.
When Reichsfurher Vogel learned that the Meridians had landed in northern Felicia he mobilized the Tueton military and crossed the Heinrich mountains. Occupying all of Felicia just weeks after the Meridians had left. Once again the Felicians were warm and inviting to their Tueton neighbors offering no armed resistance and holding large festivals and parties welcoming their occupiers. After a month of such treatment the Reichland military was seriously impaired with large portions of it’s forces drunk or disorderly and officers too enamored with local ladies and wine to pay attention to the business of war.
This weakened state was too obvious for the Albion military to ignore and even though he was already fighting the Meridians in northern Albion Lord Protector Cantwell decided to invade Felicia and attack the Tuetons. The attack served only to snap the Reichland forces back to task. The Tuetons regrouped all their forces and launched a massive counterattack aided by magnificent new engines of destruction that rolled and lurched across the battlefield spitting fire and artillery. The Albion infantry nicknamed the vehicles “Steam Tanks” as they were built from the same durable metals used in boilers and water tanks and often employed steam based weapons. Unprepared for such threats the Albion were beaten back and Tueton forces drove deep into eastern Albion. Meeting with Meridians in northern Albion Tueton diplomats were pushy and demanding, requiring Meridia to submit to an alliance against the Albion and to pay war reparations for invading Felicia. The Meridians refused to do either and instead choose to withdraw from the mainland completely as the Albion were no longer a threat.
With the Meridians out of the way the war became a two nation affair and the Tuetons flexed their industrial muscle to produce the first truly mechanized military against which the Albion adapted as quickly as they could but in the end battle after battle became a desperate last stand were Albion soldiers held out defiantly until they were ultimately overwhelmed. This made for a slow sluggish conflict and Reichsfuher Vogel wanted a quicker way to victory. Working secretly with Steampunks he had personally selected for their talents and party loyalty Vogel developed a new weapon called “The Final Solution” which he decided to field test on the town of Hobb’s End near the front.
The toxic gases from the weapon killed every living thing in the city of forty thousand in ten minutes. Vogel was delighted. All of Europa was horrified.
The First Feldspar Conference 1851 V.E
Shortly after “The Tragedy of Hobb’s End” diplomats from Albion, Meridia, and Catalin all met in the ancient forge city of Fledspar. The city’s unique location high in the mountains and it’s long time status as a independent mining and smelter city who had ties to every nation on the continent made it the ideal location to have such a meeting. In the wake of the genocidal horror of Hobb’s End the desire to stop the plans of Vogel and limit the war powers of Tueton became evident to all three governments but a course of action was difficult for the three powers to agree to.
Meridia was still very much still angered with the Albion for their invasion; feeling that it was their aggression that had gotten all of Europa into this war in the first place. Albion was resistant to except help from Catalin who they considered backward and even more so from Meridia who they still partially considered an enemy. Catalin was non committal as the new Pontiff Pious the Seventh was hesitant to commit his poor under supplied army to a war with a Steampunk juggernaut like Tueton. Two weeks into the conference the city of Loafburrow in eastern Albion surrendered without mounting any resistance when threatened with “The Final Solution”. This development spurred movement by the Meridians who pledged a naval landing in northern Tueton if the Catalins would respond by open another front against eastern Tueton. Although no strategic particulars were worked out all agreed there would be no peace until the weapon destroyed and the mad man Vogel removed from power.
The Continent unites against Vogel 1852 V.E.
As the year began in 1852 the Tutonic Industrial Riech found itself beset on all sides. The Catalin army was poorly equipped in the face of the Tueton defenses of the passes through the Fenrair Mountains. Therefore His Holiness instructed his army to avoid the passes all together and he sent his “lightly equipped” army over the mountains by goat trails and native guides. Hundreds died in the freezing conditions but thousands more survived to infiltrate southeastern Tueton burning and terrorizing and threatening to cross westward into the Tsarmarklund.
The Meridians answered in kind with a massive amphibious landing on the beaches above Ostermark storming the city by surprise and cutting off the Tueton divisions fighting in Albion and Felicia. Then in a daring move the Meridians transported half of their army by rail to the city of Jagerstien and initiated a siege of the Tueton’s primary military store house facility. Riechland High Command begged Riechsfurher Vogel to recall the Tueton Invasion force in Albion in response to either the Meridian or Catalin threats. He would hear none of it. Consumed by his mad hate of the Albion and convinced his new weapon would bring him victory Vogel refused to hear strategic advice from his field commanders. Surrounding himself with egocentric yes men Vogel instead sat in his command tent demanding the production of more doomsday devices.
To answer these new invasions Vogel conscripted thousands of Tzar peasants into the military providing them with only the barest of supplies and arms before marching them into the well trained guns of the enemy. Catalin forces were driven back into the mountains at great cost of life to the Tzar conscript legions but no amount of suicide charges could overcome the Meridian siege guns at Jagerstein. Disease, crime, and desertion were high amongst these conscripts causing these problems to spread amongst the civilian population who had by now lost faith in Vogel and merely feared him and his terrible new weapon. On St. Martin’s Day 1853 Jagerstein fell to the Meridians and with it a clear road to the capitol at Vogelstad.
It is at this time that a peculiar happenstance occurred which has been puzzling to Europan historical narrative chronologists for years. Riechsfurher Vogel was assassinated in his command camp at Loafburrow by two gunshots to the back of the head. The perpetrator of this daring murder was never apprehended and accusations where leveled against Meridian and Albion special service assets but neither government has ever claimed responsibility or any knowledge of the details. The Riechland High Command seized the government in the wake of Vogel’s death and named Field Marshall Gavin Pommel acting Reichsfurher. Pommel’s first order recalled the Tuetonic army from Albion asking the Albion for a separate ceasefire while attempting to keep the Meridians out of Vogelstad with an impressive last line defense throughout most of 1854.
The Rise of “Professor T” 1853 V. E.
A daring young Tsar apprentice named Alexander Pietro Tessel stuned and amazed The Grand Masters of the Royal Inventor's Guild and far exceeding the abilities of his contemporaries. The young inventor showed aptitude in all of the Steampunk disciplines but his greatest gifts were in the manipulation of energy rays and the harnessing of the new power source; electricity. Quickly recognized as a gifted mind he was placed at Zappa Academy for three years where his brilliance earned him two doctorate laurels in Engineering and Metaphysics and the title "Professor" which Tessel took to using immediately asking to be referred to as simply"Professor T"
Armistice and The Long Wait 1855-1861 V.E.
In 1855 Prime Minister Cantwell and High Pontiff Virtuous the Sixth agreed to a ceasefire that year without consulting the Meridians, who begrudgingly agreed after much protest to discuss armistice with the Tuetons. Finding themselves war weary and thinly stretched the Meridians once again withdrew from the continent and left diplomats at the peace table, this time as an equal nation.
At the city of Fledspar delegates from Tueton, Catalin, Albion, and Meridia argued for two years over the terms of the armistice. In the end two things allowed a final peace to be accepted. Prime Minister Cantwell finally died after an iron rule of seventeen years over United Albion and the Veterans Party changed alignment in the mid-term caucuses shifting priorities for the Meridians politically. In addition the Felicians were able to organize a delegation and requested to be recognized as a sovereign nation, a request that both Riechland and Meridian delegates vehemently argued in favor of. A final document “The Accord of Fledspar” was signed in late 1857 and officially ended the Second War of Unification and recognized all the current modern nation states of Europa as they existed in the wake of The Anarchy.
This did little to resolve any of the expansionistic, economic, or social differences of the Europan powers and no one nation desired to stand down from war time preparedness in the view of old adversaries. A four year long cold war developed known as “The Long Wait” by those who lived through it as they were waiting for true peace to start. Powerful Steampunk weapons were developed in small quantities in a competitive show of force arms race as each nation of Europa built more and more impressive and deadly prototypes. Most notably Steam Powered Automechanic Titans (S.P.A.T.s) were developed in this era. Massive walking war machines S.P.A.T. designs featured various weapon and mobility systems that allowed their nations to make magnificent shows of force for very little expenditure. While none of these war systems were realistic on a mass produced scale, the successful manufacture and deployment of a few hundred units could demonstrate a strong image to other nations as they jockeyed to intimidate each other and gain position for the inevitable next war. It was a time of high espionage and distrust between the nations of Europa and war was nearly rekindled more than once.
The Spineback Challenge 1857 V.E.
The Meridian Senate offered a one million coal credit reward to the first inventor to find a way to safely transverse the Spineback mountain range by direct route over or under"instead of the long circular route used by most shipping. The challenge was attempted by hundreds of Meridian Steampunkers who fashion mine boring, mountain climbing. and flying machines of all types to win the prize. The Spineback Mountains proved too daunting however with shifting terrain, dangerous caverns of volatile gases, and unpredictable weather at it's peaks. After a large initial interest the contest was considered a ";fool's challenge"and by 1859 all serious attempts were abandoned.
The Yuan Threat 1860 V.E.
In the summer of 1860 Meridian perimeter craft off the coast of Far Station, Western Meridia spotted a large steam powered naval force moving slow yet steady at speed. Following at distance they were stunned to discover the vessels showed markings and features similar to the Yuan vessels encountered in the Wars for Imperialism eighty years previous!
The Yuan Fleet was large, mechanized, and could maintain distance if approached by a threatening naval force. The Europan nations all chose not to engage the new threat due to either caution or lack of a proper naval ability. However the Fleet was witnessed by commercial and civilian traffic and at some points could be seen from the coast causing he populace of all of Europa to concern. In some areas there was popular panic in the form of street demonstrations and even light rioting.
The Founding of the Europan Confederation 1861 V.E.
Journeying again to Fledspar diplomats of the five modern nations of Europa met to discuss the Yuan Threat. What could be done in the face of an ancient foe who had obviously spent the intervening years improving to an unknown point of advancement? Possibly superiority? Elements of every government called for a Europan defense strategy. Xenophobic hysteria ran wild in the press and citizens cried to their leaders for a guarantee that something would be done to protect them from the “Foriegn Menence".
It was Presiding Commandant William Hillside of Meridia who purposed the Europan Confederacy, a loose alliance of nation states of “common heritage” rallied against a “shared foe”. The idea gained wide support across the continent and after several months of negotiations “The Second Accord of Fledspar” was signed forming the Confederacy. In honor of the importance of the neutral forge city Fledpsar was named the seat of the Confederacy and all five nations of Europa were given equal seats on it’s Executive Council. Although lacking little real power to regulate it’s member nations the Confederacy allowed for common trade, travel, and defense on the continent and gained the support of most Europans.
Flight of the Wong brothers 1863 V.E.
In 1863 Two Yuan-Chen brothers lofted a gas balloon in the shape of a fish above their roadside restaurant in hopes of attracting customers. Featuring a small service basket the balloon allowed two passengers to go aloft to observe. While enjoying the view one evening Frank and Tom Wong accidentally disconnected the safety tether and drifted into the night sky. At first thought for dead, the Wong brothers instead touched down to a perfect landing in Near Post, West Meridia on the other side of the Spineback Mountians two days later. Discovering the Spineback air currents by accident the Wong brothers collected the million coal credit prize and founded Wong Bros. Air Transport. Lighter then air travel on Meridia grew rapidly.
That same year using an incredibly powerful laser device Professor T leveled the top of Mount Kastile creating a perfectly level surface at optimal elevation for the new Grand Observatory. This action was quick and effective but also concerning, a laser device that could carve mountains startled local authorities and Tessel was requested to dismantle the device. Angered, Professor T left the project to be completed by noted Albion Astrocronomoniter Carlton Umbridge who would finish not only the Grand Observatory but would go on to successfully design the Astral Reflection Array in 1867.
The Air Corps launches and the City of Eternal Light is lit 1868 V.E.
The Meridian Air Corps was christened and launched to much fanfare and ceremony in 1868. However no mainland nation considered airships a viable military technology. Training for the new service was somewhat lacking and the tradition of recruiting and drafting personnel from other arms of the Meridian Military was started to fill the ranks. In Catalin Professor Tessel worked with an elite team from the Royal Inventor's Guild to present the annual Miraculous Invention of the Guild to the Grand Pontiff. Guild Masters were encouraged by Tessel';s eagerness for the project and his insistence that it be built in the seat of the High Church, the cathedral city of Celestia. Months of extensive planning and the construction of two large obelisks in the Bay of Palmora were merely part of the project and though it was clearly massive in scale Tessel kept most details secretive beyond the fact that Celestia would "out shine all other cities in Europa"
Ponitiff Virtuous the Seventh sensed a Wonder of the World in the making and indulged all the inventor's requests for material and manpower. Upon the appointed day for the Miraculous Gift Professor Tessel unveiled his brilliant creation; ";The Self Resurgent Urban Illumination Grid" With the flip of a switch the entire city of Celestia was illuminated with a soft yellow glow which seemed to emanate from the very mortar and stones of the city itself. Gas lights, torches, and fireplaces burned twice as brightly seemingly fed by the effect and even the dead of night appeared as day in the streets of Celestia. The Holy Repository of the Architect, a massive palace and administrative building where the Pontiff himself resides, shined as if a lighthouse and could be seen for miles in the Catalin night. The Pontiff and his assembly were stunned and impressed to say the least and His Holiness declared it "miraculous indeed" However when enquired as to how to turn the light effect off Tessel merely responded"Pray, your Holiness. I installed no switch. Once activated the device is eternal, unless deactivated by the divine. So pray Your Holiness and I am sure the Architect will disable the device for you."
The Pontiff was furious and had Tessel jailed. Due to the eccentric nature of the design and Tessel's secretive nature during the project his own assistants had no idea how to disable the device. Experts from across the continent examined the unique lighting system and held extensive investigative conferences on the issue to determine two facts. First, they couldn’t figure anything out about the Grid or how it worked. Secondly, if they attempted to disable it or tamper with it, it could explode killing thousands and destroying the bulk of Celestia.
To make matters worse Professor T escaped from custody stealing away a train car of lab equipment with him. Three weeks later using a laser device similar to the one he constructed at Mount Kestile Professor T carved the royal signet of King Leopold the First into the south hemisphere of the face of the Moon. Officially banned from the Royal Inventor’s Guild and declared a fugitive in three countries Professor T was warmly welcomed by the Felicians who hid the mad inventor while he secretly discussed a new project with the Teutonic Industrial Reich.
Flight of the Sky Destroyers 1870 V.E.
Building on their early advances in Aeropunk the Meridian Air Corps has Ten Mark 2 Class Sky Destroyers launched at facilities along the Meridian coastline. These new airships could make the flight to the mainland non stop and carry impressive firepower versus any opponent land, sea, or air. Meridian domination of airship technology is further recognized by official sanction for the Air Corps from the Confederacy Executive Council to serve as the "policing and regulatory body" for Europan air travel. To cement their claim to the skies the Meridian plan to build a massive "Sky Carrier" capable of servicing and refueling other airships.
The Rise of the Iron Condor 1872 V.E.
The M.A.S. Indomitable was launched from Houghes Military Air Works in Port Defiance, South Meridia. A massive airship ten times the size of a Sky Destroyer it could stay aloft for weeks and support a wing of sky destroyers or squadrons of smaller “fighter craft” newly developed for service. Its experimental engines made use of Aether energies collected from ionized particles found inexpiably in large quantities in Europan air space.
Although these energy patterns were well documented it was Professor T who developed the Aether Reclamation Scoop Engines that made the perpetual flight of the "Indomitable" possible. The engine was built from "borrowed" plans and without the Professor's assistance but initial test flights looked promising. It wasn't until the second shakedown cruise that a serious engine malfunction damaged the Indomitable causing her to crash into the Isle of Hess. Six months later Hessian refugees managed to relaunch the crashed sky carrier after serious refitting and dangerous engine modifications. Dubbed "The Iron Condor" by its Hessian salvagers it would become the most feared and hated platform for sky piracy in Europa to this day.
Incident at Mount Chort, The Appearance of the AbJabi 1875 V.E.
Working secretly with Steampunk specialists in the Teutonic Industrial Reich Professor T had recruited a team of brilliant inventors dedicated to the idea of harnessing the limitless potential of spatial energies as a power source. By manipulating special volatile energies such as Aether through the use of accepted technologies the newly formed Copernicus Consortium hoped to usher in a new Age of Limitless Power. Using a underground lab deep below Mount Chort Professor T planned to use the large native deposits of Regal Elements as a collection source for spatial energy streams making the mountain essentially a huge battery that would power the needs of the Riechland for over a hundred years. When it was discovered however that the experiment had considerable chance for failure resulting in a catastrophic accident possibly rending all of time and space, Riechland authorities lost their nerve and attempted to shut down Tessel’s experiment. Professor T and his Consortium assistants locked themselves inside their lab and rushed to activate their experiment only to be interrupted violently by the Reichland military. The storming of the lab upset the delicate balance of the trans-dimensional energies involved and a violent explosion was heard for hundreds of miles across Europa as the top half of Mount Chort vanished leaving a huge cater ripped in the earth and causing a week long deluge of acid rain in the surrounding area. None of the laboratory staff or Professor T were ever found and were assumed dead. The heavy polluting rains and the odd energy waves emanating from the crater caused Riechland authorities to cordon the area off. The entire region around Mount Chort becomes known as the “Forbidden Zone”.
Within days of the disappearance of Mount Chort large groups of unconscious people were discovered all over Europa. Wearing odd clothing and speaking an unintelligible language, tens of thousands of people of various ages were found waking in large groups on the beaches of large lakes and the seacoast. Initially treated as refugees, these visitors were resistant to Europan customs and habits and quickly formed their own nomadic communities unable to find anywhere in Europa they were comfortable. Calling themselves the “Ab’Jabi” (a word they claim means “other people”) they are the largest nomadic culture in modern Europa traveling as caravans of various scrapped together vehicles or even as tribes of hobos and stowaways hitching rides on the magnificent railways.
The disappearance of Mount Chort and the appearance of the Ab’Jabi sparked serious debate amongst several prominent scholars and theories on extra-dimensional existence were seriously discussed in academic and theological circles. Evidence and debate were presented in these discussions at great length leading to an official wing of the Grand Library at Norstead to be dedicated to the Study of Multidimensional Existence. The appearance of Ab’Jabi had confirmed that there were worlds beyond what the Europans knew existed and their Technika burned with a curiosity and desire to know more of the worlds beyond theirs.
Arrival of “The Black Ship”, the Flueron resistance begins. 1876 V.E.
In the late summer of 1876 a large mysterious airship appeared in the skies above the Meridian Channel. Rivaling The Iron Condor in size and of an unknown configuration the vessel is believed to be a new Hessian pirate design and is engaged by the Second Meridian Air Corps in a hastily ordered attack by Sky Admiral Samuel Ickerus. The action lasted for three days and cost the Meridians two Sky Destroyers and several fighters. “The Black Ship” as the pilots had nicknamed the vessel disappeared from sight in a flash of light while being pursued towards the mainland. Sightings of the vessel appearing after a similar flash of light for hours in the sky over various locations across the continent were reported over the next six days before The Black Ship disappeared altogether. Experts to this day argue as to the nature and motivation of this mysterious air vessel.
In winter of that same year in Fleuron the Archdioceses of Salome’ is bombed killing two bishops of the High Church. Shortly after the shocking attack crudely printed pamphlets are found all over Fleuron calling for the removal of the Catalin Army from Fleuron and the election of a native government. A new underground movement calling itself the “Fleuron Resistance” claims responsibility for the attack and follows with two more before the end of the year. Targeting high profile members of the clergy and most specifically The Inquisition; the Resistance spreads quickly resulting in a stricter police state in Fleuron.
Professor T captured, E.N.I.G.M.A. revealed
The day after Kingsfeast in 1878 at the old Imperial Capitol of Norstead an enormous energy field formed on the grounds of the old Imperial Palace. Two and half city blocks in radius and 100 feet tall the "Electricity Bubble" gave off fantastic heat and was deadly to the touch. It incinerated nearby structures and vaporized the flesh of any living thing that touched it. The field lasted twenty seven hours and then suddenly shut down in a brilliant flash of white light seen for miles. As authorities rushed to the grounds they found that the palace and it's contents were in excellent condition although the grass and gardens of the grounds were completely annihilated. Authorities also found two unconscious men hand cuffed to each other. One was Professor T himself and the other was an unidentified Meridian Air Corps captain bearing a simple badge marked "ENIGMA".
Revealed to be an agent of the secretive Europan Nullification and Investigative Group for Malignant Anomalies, Captain James Fisk became a newspaper celebrity for capturing the continent's most wanted criminal. Although the agency had existed for over ten years the Executive Council of the Confederacy officially confirmed the existence of the agency and it's mission to protect the Europan people from the threats of Steampunk experimenting gone awry. In addition the Council simply asked the Europan people to please avoid discussing the agency as anonymity is helpful to their work. This worked remarkably well with newspapers and citizens avoiding the subject whenever possible.
Extra-dimensional contact is confirmed 1878 V.E.
On the last day of 1878 massive explosions of spatial energies appeared at various points throughout the skies of Europa belching forth airships of various sizes and shapes many of which bore unrecognizable markings and were heavily damaged. Some crashed hopelessly where they appeared and others docked with ease bearing weary refugees begging for food and fuel. Over one hundred air vessels fell into the skies over Europa.
These Airship refugees were welcomed with scientific curiosity. As their number increased as Europan sky ports they were quickly considered a nuisance by some and labeled “Skyrats” by one Albion newspaper. Top researchers within the Ancient Rite had theorized about alternate times, spaces, and realities for years and High Church philosophers had already published on the possibility of “Alternate Plans” and “Other Projects” of the Grand Architect. The arrival of visitors from other times and places seemed to confirm their theories. Across the continent the peoples of Europa marveled at the possibility of visiting other worlds. In guild halls across Europa young Steampunks volunteered to help repair the Skyrats and many dreamed of traveling away with them.
However within weeks of the Skyrats arrival Confederacy officials were regretting their hospitality. Investigation revealed that these refugees were in fact fleeing a great military power responsible for conquering many of their home worlds. They were the loosing side of a vast War of Worlds and the Confederacy wanted no part of their pursuers. Many of their vessels had crashed or could not be repaired. The refugees were suspicious and surly. They traded with less reputable dealers and even pirates when acquiring parts for their airships. Each member nation of the Confederacy secretly “acquired” new Aeropunk from the Skyrats creating tension and competition amongst the allies.
In the end the Executive Council in Fledspar voted to have the Skyrats ejected from Europa “By the means they arrived here.” Most that were able to exit dimension complied while others had to be forced out or impounded. Some were never accounted for as they had hidden themselves in Europa or worse had made arrangement for their stay in exchange for otherworldly knowledge. As the last of the extra-dimensional visitor was escorted away the Astral Reflection Array was outfitted with a highly experimental broadcast beacon alerting all otherworldly visitors that Europa and the people of its world were a “Neutral Power” who wanted nothing to do with a “War of Worlds”.
Most materials and texts related to other worldly travel were locked away into secrecy. Europa’s dream of exploring other worlds was sacrificed as governmental leaders feared the strange people and threats that come with exploration. However the thousands of young apprentices and riggers who helped refit the Skyrat fleet are still out there and many of them still experiment and build devices attempting to reach out across dimensions.
Professor T threatens Europa once more 1881 V.E.
Panic gripped all of Europa with reports of odd occurrences and sightings of Professor T. Authorities verified that T was still in the custody of the Inquisition under lock and key in The Black Chapel. However when ENIGMA agent Capt. Jim Fisk succeeds in capturing the actual Professor T, thwarting a plot to use the Teutonic rail system as a trans-dimensional broadcast antenna, a frightening new fact is discovered.
The previous Professor in custody and the new Professor in custody were both authentic. Professor T had apparently received previously unknown benefits from the incident at Mount Chort. The massive explosion of spatial energies had scattered the Professor across time and space allowing him to exist anywhere or at anytime as his particle energies collected and allowed him to solidify as another version of himself from the time stream. This horrifying revelation meant the Professor would have to be captured multiple times until all of the alternate versions of him had been collected or eliminated.
In 1880 alone Professor T made six more daring appearances and was only captured twice. With each new copy of the mad man that is imprisoned the people of the people of Europa hope it will be the last.