The dusty bound manuscript unravels in your hands. You at first fear that you had underestimated its advanced age and that it would imminently crumble to ash, but the material holds steady, with nearly every word remaining legible after all these years. As you carefully push aside the leather cover and sprawl out the first page under the gentle light fron above, you can just make out the famous symbol of the golden eagle of Nova Aquila.
Greetings. If you are now reading the prose upon these pages, it means that the history of the Republic has at least outlived my own, fleeting existence, and even if the great walls of Nova Aquila should wither under the weight of centuries and our noble democracy be swept away by the tides of history, its memory shall live on, and so too will the legacies of its many founders, who sacrificed everything and demanded nothing in return but justice for their brothers and sisters.
For the purposes of this tome, I will refrain from divulging my true identity, as it is not my name that matters, but rather the message that I seek to preserve and the knowledge that I wish to share; such a concept is true for the entire history of our tiny blue world, a scarred cube amongst the vastness of the void that has seen more war and destruction in its short lifetime than the next dozen combined - but, by that same token, more kindness and compassion as well.
The true history of Aquila has remained shrouded in mystery for thousands of years, but in these recent decades of relative peace and understanding and our slow ascension to an age of reason, we have set aside our differences and devoted our resources no longer to war and conquest but to exploration and empathy, as our forefathers many generations before us. The advent of Slip travel has linked our vast world's many corners together, and our greater understanding of the quintessence that at once sustains life and drags us ever closer to Death will power our reactors for centuries and materialize our designs for great statues that will tell our story as long as the soil beneath us remains.
Therein lies my task as requested by the research committees of Res publica Aquila, to discover truth and seek understanding and unity when it matters most - when the smoke has settled and it is time for the world to decide what happens next. Though many versions of history exist and many of my predecessors' texts of pure revisionism are indeed quite entertaining, I am confident that the information our Order now possesses will grant us the clearest picture of the past that Aquila has yet seen.
I - Da capo
Our story begins like any other - with a man and an idea. At the absolute earliest stage of existence that we can divine through our astrological methods, the being that we now know as Moros spontaneously achieved sentience and drifted through the primal planes of the void for an unknowable amount of time. Though it is impossible to say what exactly transpired in these early years, we can infer that Moros spent millennia dreaming and imagining a world without darkness, where light could triumph and he could reign as the benevolent all-father of all that has ever been dreamt or made real.
Moros, or as he called himself originally, Coda, eventually learned to manifest these dreams into reality, and travelled by his lonesome across the void for millions of years, slowly growing his own plane of existence which he called the Aether, an easel with which to create untold quantities of worlds. Though Coda loved to sing his song of creation, he inevitably grew to hate the silence of the void in response to his art, and sought to find a cure for his unthinkable loneliness. Thus is the curse of every artist, architect, and visionary: focusing in on oneself for so long can never replace the jubilation found in sharing with others.
Eventually, Coda used his song of creation to create a being intended to be his equal, and to share the joy of his art with. As she awoke and stared out into the stars for the first time, she became instantly enthralled with Coda's promises that she would share his wisdom and create stars of her own with his benevolent help. The two divines shared the universe together, creating countless worlds and falling deeper in love with each stroke upon their dark aisle. To signify his undying love for her, Coda granted Thash the gift of his Heart, the source of his knowledge, guarded within the Eternal Flame, for her safe-keeping.
They enjoyed peace for thousands of years until Thash, too, grew bored with the status quo and sought to share her own insights with others. Though Coda was initially hesitant to further dilute his own omnipotent powers, he eventually agreed to raise a family of lessers with Thash, and the first generation of the Celestials were born, sculpted with the same primordial clay which Moros had used to create his wife with his own hands. Simple and predictable creatures, the Celestials were an ignorant race that the two divines spread equally to nearly every world that they had created, with an average of one or two per overworld. Primitive and lacking even a modicum of their creators' power and wisdom, they provided some entertainment for a time, but as Coda descended into a temporary restful state after creating dozens of worlds a day for millennia, Thash grew bored of their simplicity and ignorance to the point of wrath.
Without notifying him first, Thash took Coda's Heart from the Eternal Flame and bestowed it upon the Celestials, whom she gathered at the home world of the First Son Avus. Though certainly of immense cosmic significance, this first congregation of the Celestials is especially important to our history in particular, being debatably the most important moment in Aquilan history, as it was when our Elder God and progenitor, Avus, was recognized as the most powerful among Coda's first children, cementing our world, albeit in its most primitive state and not resembling its current form, as we know it, in virtually way, as perhaps the most vital to every cosmic war to follow.
Avus, the First Son, was entrusted with the Heart after Thash's departure back into the shadows. The Celestial was the first to taste the artifact's unspeakable power, elevating his wisdom to unparalleled levels perhaps even comparable to that of Coda mere moments after being exposed to its golden core. Avus shared this wisdom with his brothers and sisters, and with their heightened powers, the children of Coda declared themselves Gods, no longer to be shackled by the chains of their creators. When Thash panicked and begged for her children to return the Heart, lest they incur the wrath of their Father, Avus and the Elder Gods brushed her aside, believing themselves to have ascended above their progenitors, who were now powerless without the Heart.
Thash returned with haste to Coda, who instantly awoke from his deep slumber, his divine presence now permeated with cold fury. Though Thash appealed to his merciful nature for forgiveness, Coda blamed her for their children's insolence and lashed out, sending her fleeing across the cosmos, powerless. He then set about hunting down the so-called Elder Gods to extinction, his new wrathful state proving that his children had not stolen his powers, but simply his empathy and desire for creation; he now sang the song of destruction.
In the ensuing First War, Coda raged and thrashed amongst the stars, slaughtering legions of his own children and choking the light from countless stars of his own creation years prior, destroying so much of what he had built with his own hands in a bid for revenge against his children. Eventually, Avus was able to rally his comrades to form a united front against their Father for one final struggle to decide the fate of the universe. Untold numbers of Elder Gods were slain in this decisive battle at the seat of Avus' kingdom, but when the smoke cleared, Coda was forced to bitterly retreat back into the shadows of the void, withdrawing from the vast plane that was once his undisputed realm and swearing that he would return to put his children in their place.
With Coda at least temporarily neutralized, the Elder Gods set about establishing their own new universal order, wiping their father's true name from all records and referring to him hitherto solely as Moros, and eventually simply the Ancient Fear. As one final insult against Moros and in an assertion of their newfound power, the Celestials crushed what remained of Coda's old realm and embarked on a trek to find a new place to build their kingdoms and empires, far from the lingering influence of the Ancient Fear. The broken mess of shattered original worlds that lay at the frontiers of the universe became known as the End, and was speculated to be the hiding place of Moros and the place where fallen spirits, both mortal and Celestial, gathered after dying, transformed into husks of their former selves known as Endermen - those ubiquitous shadow creatures which haunted every world for centuries until it was far too late for the Gods to excise them.
The Elder Gods arrived near the center of what we now know as the observable universe and set about creating their new overworlds under the benign guidance of the Heart. It was an incredibly slow process, and even with the Heart, the Elder Gods took centuries to achieve what Moros could in seconds. Still, they eventually settled and, though reclusive, still banded together to prepare for their Father's prophesized return. Kept in absolute secrecy, the Gods created a system of interdimensional tunnels to permanently bridge together their worlds and quickly mobilize should the need arise. Additionally, and perhaps even more vitally, this space between the dimensions was designed to keep the Heart secure from any who sought to exploit its power. The Elder Gods elected a Celestial named Orwell to guard this mysterious plane, which he christened as the Nether, taking the grave responsibility of acting as Guardian of the Eternal Flame in perpetuity. The children of Coda, however, could not foresee the corrupting influence of the Heart even when so far detached from its owner, and the Nether was eventually corrupted into a twisted reflection of the Ancient Fear's wrathful nature. Avus and the other Gods eventually lost contact with Orwell and, no longer able to enter the Nether, were left guessing as to the fate of the Heart.
II - Rise of the Elders
With Coda's threat neutralized at least for the time being, the Elder Gods - the Titans, as they had begun to call themselves - set about creating the universe as we know it today. While their Father had spent untold millions of years building the Aether into his perfect and tranquil utopia, the Titans, in their vanity, sought to create worlds of their own to rule as enlightened despots, and so with their newfound power utterly destroyed the Aether and claimed portions of its remains as they pleased.
Avus claimed Aquila, a large section of the former Aether populated with strange mite-like beings which burrowed themselves deep under a great supercontinent in the world's center. Seeking a fresh start, Avus massacred most of the alien beings and banished the remainder deep under the crust, replacing them with a new form of primitive human life. Seeking to keep the main continent unpopulated for the time being, Avus rose another landmass out of the ocean to its north and named it Khotan, sculpting its inhabitants in his own image.
The Titan ruled Khotan as a somewhat benevolent but detached tyrant for millennia, spending most of his time visiting neighboring worlds to build alliances and, occasionally, indulge in his primal desires with his relatives. While he had intended to create the Khotanese as a simple race incapable of rebellion, much like the first Celestials, they had begun to worship their own pantheon of gods embodied in an Immortal Emperor of their own race, who had quietly cemented power over all Khotan in their creator's absence.
Enraged, Avus returned to Khotan and attempted to reassert himself as their one true God, but much to his chagrin, their Emperor had discovered the Wellspring of Life, a remnant of the Aether which functioned as the world's nexus of quintessence. Imbued with untold Celestial power which could at least resist the onslaught of perhaps even the most powerful Titans for a time, Avus was tempted to simply destroy his entire realm and start from scratch, but instead chose to spare Khotan, leaving their secluded kingdom as an eternal reminder that absentee landlords are doomed to lose that which is not theirs. As a parting gift, Avus cast an all-consuming shroud around the Khotanese continent, confining his first creations there lest they threaten his later experiments.
Returning to the Aquilan supercontinent, Avus created another race of humans which we now refer to as the Testificates. He sprinkled them across all Aquila and took a more active role in their development, showing them how to create fire and of course giving them the tools and technology with which to build temples in his honor. He also showed them how to harness the quintessential energy which comprised all existence, sharing with the Testificates the ability to weave life and create small miracles similarly to the Celestials. We now understand these arcane practices to be "magic," and as part of a long tradition of the Old Ways - but to the first humans, it was simply a way of life, a skill to be learned as readily as reading or swimming.
After several millennia of peace, however, Aquila and the rest of existence had suddenly come under threat. Moros had awoken, instantly shattering the barrier which the Celestials had constructed between the broken remnants of the Aether and the outer universe. In preparation of his First Incursion against his rebellious children, Moros amassed his legions in the Aether, comprised of the twisted spirits of the Celestials that he'd slain in the First War. This corrupted species of Celestial came to be known as the Endermen by Aquilans.
Before the Titans could unite under one banner to drive back the Ancient Fear once and for all, Moros struck, using his mastery over quintessence to corrupt nearly half of his children into his servitude with promises of dominon over a restored Aether. The Cosmic Civil War erupted, pitting the Titans against each other for the fate of the universe while Moros launched an assault against his more resilient children, tearing massive fissures in their worlds from which his servants would invade.
The First Son Avus led the Titans against Moros and the betrayers, protecting the uncorrupted worlds against the endless hordes of Endermen and vitiated Celestials. In Aquila, the hordes arrived from a fissure far to the south of the supercontinent, with the ensuing volcanic activity spontaneously forming an entirely new continent called Aphelion. With his world nearly overrun by the Ancient Fear, Avus finally turned to the Immortal Emperor in Khotan, pleading for his assistance in repelling the existential threat. The Emperor agreed under the condition that the shroud around his kingdom be lifted, allowing them to explore the world as they pleased, to which Avus agreed. The kingdom mobilized their elite Imperial Guard, armed with the full power of the Old Ways and led by the Emperor himself, to temporarily secure Aquila against the Ancient Fear, allowing Avus and his allies to launch a counterattack. Though the shroud was lifted, the majority of Khotan felt that isolation had protected them for long enough to warrant continuing the policy of their own volition. The Immortal Emperor accepted the will of the masses, and Khotan would not reveal themselves to the rest of the world for many thousands of years.
The Cosmic Civil War continued. Avus and his united front traveled to each devastated world in their path to the Aether and eventually reached their Father's domain outside the bounds of the universe. There, they discovered an imprisoned Celestial named Gamma, who claimed to be the true first child of Moros and Thash. Though Avus was greatly offended by the accusation that he was not the true First Son, he eventually agreed to free Gamma under the condition that he aid the Titans in their civil war rather than the Ancient Fear, whom he was being groomed to serve. We would later learn that, while Avus was the first legitimate son of Coda and Thash, Gamma had been unintentionally created long before, perhaps even prior to the birth of Thash, as an unintentional byproduct of the excess quintessential energy shed by Coda in the early years of existence.
The ensuing climactic battle between the Titans and the Ancient Fear nearly ripped apart the fabric of the entire universe, sending shockwaves to virtually every world which shook their very foundations. The Aquilan continent was shattered into several pieces while many other realms were completely destroyed in the confrontation - an event we now call the Great Desynchronization. Eventually, after many grueling months, Moros was exhausted enough to be forced to temporarily retreat back to beyond the known universe to lick his wounds - but the wounds he had opened in worlds like Aquila would never truly be healed.
As a final parting gift to his children, the Ancient Fear cursed all of the survivors of the confrontation with a devastating Celestial plague which would slowly eat away their quintessence until they were reduced to mere mortals, and then finally completely eliminated by the universe after sufficient humiliation. Some of the Titans simply resigned to death and left their worlds to their own devices, but Avus and many others decided to follow in their footsteps of their father and take mortal wives to produce children and thereby continue their legacies.
Avus fell in love with the mortal testificate Yuuki, and in the peaceful marble halls of their palace in Apollyon, she birthed the precocious Makrozoia. Much to Avus' horror, however, his son took after his mother and was born without Celestial powers. Before Avus could find another wife and procreate, he had already been reduced to a near-mortal, and any child he bore would surely only have a modicum of the power he'd once wielded if they were born with Celestial abilities at all. Avus withdrew to his temple, bitter over his failure of a son and left to relive his many failures over and over again.
III - The Realm of Madness
Makrozoia grew indignant. Try as he may, he could not impress his defeated father, knowing full well that his only hope at recognition would be to seize power himself. Under cloak and dagger, Makrozoia traveled to the Kingdom of Khotan, evading the all-seeing eye of the Immortal Emperor and eventually infiltrating the Wellspring of Life itself. He discovered that the Wellspring was, in truth, a beautiful garden, at the center of which was an imposing cherry blossom tree whose roots sprung from the reserves of quintessence sealed deep under Aquila, and bore the source of the Immortal Emperor's power - Golden Apples. Makrozoia immediately ate as many apples as he could, then snuck into the Emperor's divine temple and stole his legendary golden katana, the Invidere.
The young Celestial returned to Aquila a god among men with powers far surpassing his father, and after consolidating the Khanates which had arisen in his absence, he slew Avus, claiming dominion over the entire realm; Yuuki fled, and Makrozoia formed what is now known as the Aquilan Empire, though in ancient Kilranian tongue it was called the Xolumir Khaganate. Makrozoia did not realize, however, that consuming too many of the apples at once would indeed grant extraordinary power, but at the cost of the consumer's sanity, wrought by the corrupting influence of quintessence in large quantities. Thirsty for power and choking upon his own rage, Makrozoia came to be known as the Mad King, ruling over all Aquila with an iron fist. The Mad King outlawed the Old Ways to all except his military, believing that the worship of entities other than himself posed a threat to his dominance - though arcane practices continued in secret.
Makrozoia's anger was somewhat sated by his mortal wife, Rhea, whose beauty impressed him so much that he often deferred to her wisdom in political and military matters. The two bore three children - their two sons Notch and Herobrine, and a daughter named Juno. While he raised his sons to be harsh generals for the Khaganate, he left the care of his secretly favorite child to Rhea, who educated her in the arts.
Eventually, the Mad King, having consolidated all of mainland Aquila, sought to expand his Empire throughout the entire realm. His grand prize was the annexation of Khotan, though he still feared the Immortal Emperor enough to not risk a direct confrontation until victory was a certainty. In the meantime, he set his sights towards the lost continent of Aphelion, long believed by his scholars to simply be a vast tract of useless land not suitable for conquest. The Mad King invaded the Dark Continent anyway, and almost immediately discovered a massive network of temples to some profane God unknown to him. Worse still, the continent seemed to host a large cult which called themselves the Followers of the Old Ways, who worshiped an entity from the Before Time who granted them untold control of quintessence.
Greatly offended by their profane practices, Makrozoia began the total extermination of all acolytes of the Old Ways within Aphelion and instructed his inquisitors back on the mainland to begin a genocide of any suspected mages. Thus began a dark era in Aquilan history. The Mad King's inquisitors devised a sort of racial science to demonize magic practioners; they fabricated propaganda that only those of a disgusting race known as "the Attuned" could harness magic, and ignored any differentiation between Theurgists, who derived their powers from spiritual worship, and sorcerers who found ways to manipulate quintessence through enlightenment of the self. Contemporarily, we understand that quintessence is a quantifiable field of energy which may be understood and indeed utilized to great effect by nearly anyone with the discipline and willpower required, though some still harbor prejudice for its students and use slurs such as "Attuned" to demonize them.
Spiteful towards the tyrannical Mad King, who spent years roving the Aphelian interior and destroying their strongholds, the remnants of the Followers of the Old Ways underwent a ritual to summon the source of their power to their world and wreak untold havoc. Though Makrozoia had no knowledge of the events of the Cosmic Civil War, he understood that the entity which the Followers was revived was known as Moros, and he could sense that it was the ultimate source of quintessence, and thus, his own power.
Fearing that Moros would soon be awakened and destroy Aquila, the Mad King traveled to Khotan in search of aid, but the Immortal Emperor spurned him, sensing deception. In response, the King rallied his armies to invade Khotan forcefully to secure the Wellspring of Life, and though the resulting war devasted the isolationist kingdom, the Khaganate quickly depleted nearly all of its resources and could no longer prosecute an effective invasion due to several concurrent regional revolts within the Empire. With few options remaining, Makrozoia withdrew to his fortress in Apollyon to devise a plan to repel the Ancient Fear. No longer recognizing him, Rhea fled, taking Juno with her.
Meanwhile, Notch and Herobrine grew restless. In their hubris, they had come to harbor jealousy towards their father, and in their legendary vanity saw themselves as the rightful rulers of the declining Empire. Soon, they struck, stealing the Invidere and using it to assassinate Makrozoia. The Mad King was pronounced dead to the rejoice of millions, and meanwhile Moros' conscious was stirring again, lacking the power to manifest in a physical form but freely roaming across the universe in search of Thash.
Though nearly all of Aquila was relieved to hear of the death of Makrozoia, the following era was far from peaceful. Both Notch and Herobrine saw themselves as their father's legitmate successor, and with two conflicting claims to the throne, Aquila erupted into civil war. The resulting conflict was called the Kilran War as it was largely waged in Aquila's large central continent, though the entire world was sufficiently devasted. When the smoke cleared, Herobrine had been slain and Notch was declared Emperor, but due to his mortal wounds endured in the final battle, he could not sufficiently consolidate power, and the Khagante collapsed shortly thereafter.
IV - Vengeance
Soon, Notch expired as well, and with no more gods to protect Aquila, dark forces encroached upon its fragile borders. Eventually, Moros returned in spirit form, weak but with limited powers to influence the world. Strangely, he did not immediately seek Aquila's destruction out of vengeance, instead tracking Thash to the Garden of Hesperides, where she had been hiding for thousands of years fearing his return. She had garnered a devoted cult of followers who treasured her beauty and constantly sought her wisdom. Initially, Moros desired to court her assistance in returning to the corporeal world so he could wage war against the Titans once more, but once she refused, he abducted her and brought her to his domain beyond the universe. Believing her to have been slain by the evil entity, Thash's devotees swore vengeance and formed the Knights Thash.
Guided by the doctrine of their charismatic leader, Triton, the Knights believed that the gods as a species were noting but a blight upon the entire universe, and embarked upon a quest to cleanse every realm of their collective oppression. The Celestial Crusade began, led by Commander Triton, to exterminate all traces of the Old Ways and the gods from existence. Striking an unholy bargain with the Followers of the Old Ways, Triton obtained an artifact from the Before Time which allowed him to face the Celestials with equal footing and slay them as if they were mere mortals. After accepting the weapon, Triton slaughtered the acolytes and led his Knights on their Crusade, funded by the sympathetic Kingdom of Medriaas in Occa.
V - Resurgence
After hundreds of years of relative peace within the breakoff states of the Empire, a new threat emerged in the largely uncharted Far West in the form of the Gleaming Road, a terrorist cult devoted to the resurrection of Herobrine. Occupying a huge swath of land in Ertdor and threatening to conquer all of Kilran if left unchecked, many heroes arose to defeat them for honor and glory, chief among them the Outlanders who succeeded in slaying their supreme leader, Kastor.
The Outlanders quickly became hailed as heroes across Aquila, and defeated Herobrine for a second time after unintentionally reviving him near the village of Satus. Afterwards, they were seduced by a weakened Makrozoia into restoring him to his full power after he cheated death the first time through use of a Totem of the Undying. With the help of the unwitting Outlanders, the Mad King was able to attain a hidden stash of Golden Apples which restored the full extent of his powers. He slew the Outlanders, but they were able to escape the Aether along with Notch and Herobrine, all of them secretly revived by the dimension's insidious master.
The Mad King's ensuing campaign to reconquer all of Aquila under his banner evoked bitter memories of the Kilran War. In the resulting conflict dubbed the Resurgent War, countless cities such as New Detroit were utterly devastated, but due to the valiant actions of the Outlanders and the final sacrifice of Notch and Herobrine, the rampage ended relatively quickly.
VI - The Final Incursion
Shortly thereafter, the Knights Thash returned triumphant to Aquila, their Crusade largely successful in eliminating Celestial influence from most of the greater universe. With their work outside Aquila largely finished, they set about finishing the job in Aquila by continuing the genocide against the Attuned. They became fascinated with the work of the Mad King, particularly his previous holocaust against magic users, and grew to revere him as a savior, not a destroyer. Thus, in anticipation of a coming final war against the Ancient Fear, they embarked upon a quest to revive Makrozoia once more.
The Outlanders intervened and interloped in the Knights' plans rather effectively, though the Mad King was still able to temporarily be revived, albeit confined to Triton's body as a parasite. After a devastating battle in the Urghast dimension, the Outlanders were able to drive Makrozoia from Triton's body, confining his spirit to the desolate roof of the Nether hopefully for all time. † Triton disappeared along with the Outlanders for five years.
Almost immediately after the dissolution of the Knights Thash, Aquila erupted into chaos. Medriaas, long the most powerful empire in the world, died with the destruction of its capital Providence, and with a massive power vacuum to be filled, a series of territorial wars broke out to consolidate control over a now largely lawless world. Worse, all signs pointed to the prophesied return of the Ancient Fear, precipitated by a clandestine ritual in central Aphelion which opened a portal between the Aether and Aquila, allowing hordes of Endermen to invade and begin tearing the world apart.
A solution was offered by the despot Clockwork in the newly formed Union of Audax, who claimed to have invented a radio signal which would drive the Endermen out, but the frequency only angered them and tore a hole in spacetime which allowed the full extent of the Ancient Fear's invasion force to begin wreaking havoc upon Aquila, as part of Moros' master plan to unravel the entire universe and rebuild the Aether, starting with Aquila, the world which he despised the most.
Guided by the still-living but weakened Gamma and a regretful Triton, the Outlanders were able to locate Coda's heart deep in the Nether, which they hoped would restore his original nature as a creator rather than a destroyer, but the cosmic entity destroyed it himself. In the ensuing Battle of Hesperides, the forces of nearly all Aquila united for the first time as brothers against a common foe with regard for regional differences and formed the Alliance. Though it was a stunning defeat, their unification gave hope to many across Aquila that eventually peace would reign if Moros could be defeated. At the conclusion of the battle, Triton was revealed to be a creation of Moros, a weapon of his design to eliminate the rest of his children as part of a grand plan to invade the entire universe without any real enemies.
Left with little choice, the Outlanders traveled to the Aether themselves along with Gamma, hoping to locate the imprisoned Thash and fight alongside her in one last stand against the Ancient Fear. They eventually located her prison in the Black Hole dungeon at the center of the partially restored Aether - a terrifying world created with components stolen from every world and hastily strung together as they were found - and faced Moros themselves, able to stand toe-to-toe with him due to a combination of Gamma's sacrifice, the breaking down of the rules of the universe, and a desire by Moros to capture them alive and use them as his champions, much like Triton before them.
Before they could be defeated by a weakened Moros, however, Thash was freed from the Black Hole, and Moros immediately relented, realizing the extent of his actions. He ceased his incursion and bid the Outlanders farewell, though the scars upon the universe would not be repaired.
VII - A Brave New World
Though the damage inflicted upon Aquila was severe, to the surprise of many, the aftermath of the Aether War was not one of pain and further civil war, but of healing and brotherhood. The Alliance, comprised of champions and leaders from every country, met in Apollyon and signed a series of treatises which laid the groundwork for a new state - Nova Aquila, the First Aquilan Republic, which united nearly all the world into a confederation of independent member states.
The founding of Nova Aquila served as a turning point for our world's history and instilled millions with hope for a better world. This did not immediately heal the wounds of centuries of conflict, however. The central Republic was incredibly weak, led by a loose council of representatives rather than a monarch or president, and could not collect taxes nor raise an army, functionally rendering it only a fragile non-aggression pact between all of its member states.
Tensions quickly accelerated when Sivistys began to petition for withdrawal from the Republic. Acting quickly, the central council called upon the Alliance to maintain peace in the continent. General Pluton from New Augusta emerged as the leader of the ensuing revolt, fittingly named the Pluton Rebellion. The General and his meager army were eventually defeated, but the conflict shook the entire Republic and fostered talk of outright revolution in other member states. As a result, the Free City of Dreiton declared independence, the first nation in Aphelion.
Nova Aquila continued to maintain an uneasy peace for over a decade until the bells of war began to ring again. The Empire of Khotan had revealed itself after remaining secluded for centuries, biding its time and readying itself for invasion until the opportune moment. With Moros and the Knights Thash defeated, the Outlanders retired, and Nova Aquila weakened, the Immortal Emperor finally declared war upon Aquila, intent on uniting the whole world under their banner, the Sunfower. The Empire alleged that their invasion had been justified due to attempts by the rebellious Sivistyan states to colonize the long-lost continent.
The War of the Sunflower was six years of some of the most devastating bloodshed in Aquilan history, and was the first to not even indirectly involve the gods. A culture of defeatism quickly diffused throughout the Republic; many believed that the world was doomed to be locked in eternal war due to the hubris of man who were unable to keep themselves in check. The Empire captured nearly all of Ertdor and Sivistys within a year and nearly reached Apollyon before being bogged down in central Kilran, where most of the fighting took place.
The War of the Sunflower is now regarded as the first "modern" war; the trenches where millions died slow deaths from potion airstrikes are still visible in Kilran, and many are still terrified at the sight of large airships, which were used during the war for devastating terror bombing. Thousands of casualties are still unaccounted for, most of them probably among those abducted by Khotan and used for slave labor. The war would likely have continued even longer had the Outlanders not reunited in 4,850 for a daring mission to the Golden City in Khotan.
In a surprise invasion accompanied by a small but precise airship force, the Outlanders led a strike team to the golden Palace of the Immortal Emperor, fighting their way through the capital city as it was devastated by precision fire bombing. Arriving at the throne room, they at first pleaded for peace, but the Emperor refused, saddened by the wanton destruction but convinced that Khotanese supremacy was the only path for peace; he argued that Aquila could not be trusted to rule itself, and those who surrendered once they achieved ultimate victory would be treated kindly as a servant race to Khotan.
Having each stolen a Golden Apple from the Wellspring of Life before the garden was destroyed by fire bombing, the Outlanders narrowly defeated the Immortal Emperor and demanded his surrender, but he took his own life, refusing to be a prisoner. The Outlanders retreated from the Golden City as the Imperial Guards planned a counterattack, and the war continued for several months.
Even with the Immortal Emperor slain, the Empire of Khotan continued its devastating assault, arguably increasing in its vigor for conquest after the murder of their ruler. Eventually, the Empire began ,to target the independent Free City of Dreiton as well, whose Council believed they could simply wait out the war if they stayed out. Dreiton entered the War of the Sunflower and joined Nova Aquila, whose members had finally voted to form a stronger central government and raise a formal army to drive back Khotan. United as one, the reborn Alliance was able to drive the Empire back to the crags of Thel Olihim. Simultaneously, a group known as the 28 Premiers had become ascendant in Khotan in the absence of the Immortal Emperor. In an event known as the Longest Day, the 28 Premiers seized control of the legislature in the Golden City and immediately forced an armistice with Nova Aquila and the Free City of Dreiton.
Representatives from all three nations met in the southern Khotanese city of Xiantung, devastated from months of fire bombing. Some of the Outlanders were also present in an advisory role. Though elements within Aquila and Dreiton had lobbied for greater cessions, Khotan eventually agreed to simply withdraw all forces from the Aquilan continent and cease all hostilities, thus ending the War of the Sunflower. While Nova Aquila had entered the war a disorganized morass of states all vying for political influence, it emerged as the dominant power in the world with an increasingly powerful central government - a sign of growing power, but a source of concern for many.
Meanwhile, the Free City of Dreiton continued to expand in economic and military power, and maintained de-facto control over southern Aphelion with economic interests across the world, laying the groundwork for an empire to rival Aquila. As for Khotan - the 28 Premiers continued to rebuild an extremely bitter populace demanding swift vengeance for the eternal sin of the assassination of their Immortal Emperor.
† The Nova Aquilan Historical Society can happily report that activites related to the tyrant Makrozoia are mostly confined to isolated worship by certain fringe groups.
The last page of the pamphlet appears to have been ripped out and then hastily reinserted at a later date.
The Nova Aquilan Historical Society has compiled this short essay on our world's history in hopes of elucidating the past so that we may better understand our present material conditions and prepare for a turbulent future. Some events may be altered or omitted entirely due to federal decree. This, we assure our dear readers, is outside of the Society's control; however, intrepid students of history will always find ways to uncover the truth no matter how much it is censored. The Nova Aquilan Historical Society is of course not legally responsible for any illicit activities our readers may engage in.
What is the use in all of this, then? Why now is there such a resurgence in interest in the past? It's simple: people are afraid. There are no more gods nor kings - no, we have something even more terrifying - Democracy. Nova Aquila is changing rapidly, and there are those who seek to obscure the past and thwart democracy. Their end goal we could speculate upon for days, but one thing is for certain: The Khotanese are not the only ones who are preparing for another war.
Keep reading. It is the only thing we have left, and who knows how long we'll even have that.
You flip to the back cover of the tome and see the Nova Aquilan eagle stamped in red with the words MARKED FOR DESTRUCTION under it. And just below - the symbol of the Resistance.