By Yossi Gurvitz

By the end of the 12th century, a myth began spreading in Europe, one going against the pillars of belief of the Catholic Church: that of the Heavenly Emperor.

This message attempts to blend a medieval myth - that of the Heavenly Emperor - with the setting of Fading Suns.I'm a medievalist, and this is my first post, so please bear with me.

The Legend

By the end of the 12th century, a myth began spreading in Europe, one going against the pillars of belief of the Catholic Church: that of the Heavenly Emperor.Basically, it was a myth of reform: the situation, for the majority of people, was so bad, they began speaking loufly of a new order of things.

The Heavenly Emperor would be a strong, just ruler; he would vanquish the barbarians, and defend the faith; he would crush the unjust noble, and support the downtrodden peasent.In his wake will come his counterpart, the Heavenly Pope, and together they will bring an epoch of joy and prosperity to all good people.

Naturally, the Church opposed the idea, as it was anti-Imperial, and also because the idea of the Heavenly Pope more than hinted at the fact that the current popes were not all that heavenly.

Many people tried to name the heavenly emperor; none of those so named have fullfilled the prophecy.Now, I wish to suggest a name: that of a certain Hawkwood noble, one Alexius.

The Prophecy

Alexius, in this campaign, is a true reformer, a true restorer of humanity.Knowing he can't trust the nobility, even that of his own House, he tries to create a popular movement in his favor, one strong enough to deter the nobility from deposing him.

In order to accomplish that, he ordered the agents of the Imperial Eye to spread the legend of the Heavenly Emperor among the planets. This legend, and the legend of the Reborn Star, work in his favor (whether or not there is some reality to them, or if they are but products of Imperial propoganda, should be left to the GM, but I think that dramatically, they should be true).His knights of the Phoenix are travelling in space, bringing his glory and his name everywhere.


Alexius will soon publish several edicts, which are bound to rock the boat:

I) The Freedom Act - Slavery is forbidden.All slaves should be freed by their masters within a specific period of time, and the Treasury will reimburse the buyers their full price. The Muster is forbidden from kidnapping or trading in slaves, and are reduced back to being a guild of mercenaries.The Emperor will publicly free his own slaves.

II) The Citizenship Act - Every sentinent, with the exception of abominations (a definition left hazy by purpose) is a full citizen of the Empire, and are accorded similar rights.

III) The Clemency Act - This is composed of two articles. The first calls for a general amnesty for all criminals.The second revokes the right of nobles to impose the death penalty - this right is reserved to the Emperor himself, and perhaps to his magistrates. The one exception is the Church, who retains the right to execute heretics; Alexius will ask the Church to draft a Heresy Act (knowing this is likely to tear the Church apart).

Iv) The Act of Alleigence - Every soldier, in every army, will swear loyalty to the Emperor first, and to his direct lord afterwards.

V) The Intervention Act - Any citizen who feels he has been wronged by his direct lord can appeal to an Imperial magistrate, whose verdict is final.Such magistrates are also empowered to depose nobles and even imprison nobles.

Those acts, together, will vitalize the empire, and will ensure the emperor of the support of the multitudes.Naturally, not all will be happy:

The Nobles, whose power is being curtailed, will oppose the last two acts with everything they've got, and rebellions may break out.However, this time the nobles will be fighting on two fronts: the local populace is likely to turn against them.Houses Li Halan and Al-Malik (Alexius' supoorters) are likely to accept them, while houses Hazat, Decados and Hawkwood (!) are likely to oppose it.

The Church will not be too happy about it, too, but it is unlikely that it will oppose the emperor openly.The will have a problem with the Act of Alleigence - they will oppose the claim that the soldiers of the Patriarch ought to swear alleigence to anyone but him. A compromise is likely.

The Guilds will be upset, as the Frredom Act is likely to bankrupt the Muster, but they arelikely to see the benefits of curtailing the powers of the nobles. The Scravers are likely to support the Clemency Act, for obvious reasons...

Third Republic Architects will, most likely, support Alexius' actions - he is, after all, bringing them closer to their goals.However, they are likely to oppose the imperial constitution (see below).

Aliens are likely to be Alexius' staunchest supporters, as will the Peasentry.

The Invisible Path, naturally, will be horrified, and are likely to plan an assassination (join the line, fellows!), while the Favyanna are likely to defend him - perhaps bodily.

The Heavenly Empire

Alexius will organize the Empire in his image.The Council of Regents will be reorganized, and will have representatives from each palnet, from the nobility and from the Church. There will also be alien representatives.The duty of the Council will be to ratify laws, and to confirm the election of the next emperor.

The Emperor will gather around him the best people of the Empire, will bond them to each other by solemn oaths of loyalty, and will adopt the best of them as his heir.By law, the body of the emperor will become sacrosanct, and those who shed his blood will never be able to hold any position in the Imperial government (not to mention their execution).In return, the emperors will give up the idea of dynasty: the emperor's natural children will be barred from the Throne.

The Imperial courts will include proffessional judges, who will be extremely well-paid, to avoid corruption.By joining the courts, the judge will be adopted into the Imperial family, from which he will receive stipends until the day of his death.The penalty for accepting bribes, or otherwise interfering with justice, will be life with hard labour.The same goes for anyone who attempts to bribe a judge.

One of Alexius' first actions will be an attack on the Vuldrok barbarians.Using the Imperial navy, as well as any other noble fleet who would wish to join him, he will crush that nation, open the planet to colonization, and placate the Church by granting it a new source of coverts.Also, a prize will be granted to anyone who manages to contact a Lost World.

And, naturally, once a Heavenly Emperor reigns, huge pressure will be put on the Church to produce a Heavenly Patriarch...

Gaming Aspects

The gaming opportunities in this setting are enormous, from young Phoenix knights to Imperial Eye agents to priests trying to revitalize the Church, to guildsmen who are trying to cope with the new situation.Of course, characters can also try to thwart Alexius and his Heavenly Empire.The alien races will witneaa a rebirth. And, naturally, once Alexius dies, what sort of man will his successor be?After all, even Arthur had his Mordred...