Imperial Wars
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After the assassination of Vasselius XXI, the last great Imperator of the Meringalian Dynasty, the dissolution of the star-spanning Terramonah Empire that he had ruled began. It took a hundred years for the Six Sectors to break away from one another and fifty more for the powerful Mensa Theliot Priesthood, the last of the great political factions, to splinter. The schism of the Mensa Theliots, the Priesthood of Science, and the resultant loss of the technological secrets which had kept the gigantic interstellar kingdom intact, insured the disintegration of the failing Empire.

During the next two hundred years the Imperial Sector Wars devastated hundreds of worlds as petty rulers tried to reestablish some semblance of the great Empire. Without the ability to repair the Imperial technology, "Empires" in the following centuries became trivial 4 and 5 system confederations, well on their way to barbarism. Nine centuries after the fall of the Terramonah Empire, interstellar travel and the old Empire were nothing but legends and myths on worlds where they were remembered at all. Cultures that had once stretched across parsecs had been hammered back to the stone age on a thousand planets.

But in the dark night of the Interregnum tiny indomitable sparks of intelligence and imagination flickered, banked and hidden. Certain diverse races and cultures, using archaic fusion and chemical propulsion, reached their satellites and companion planets. There, some of them found the gigantic Stargates, a terrible remnant and rumor of the dark night from which they recently had emerged; and the indestructible interstellar engines that would trigger the Stargates once ships to direct and power them were put in place. Most recoiled with fear back to their home planets, overwhelmed by the implications of a suddenly discovered mythical technology. But sixteen of the most daring cultures accepted the challenge of the stars and within a few short years reached out to grasp their heritage. These sixteen rough and ready interstellar pioneers began the renaissance that would change the face of the galaxy. History has recorded them as the Starlords of the Restoration, authors of the rebirth of the Second Empire and...

...combatants of the Imperial Wars.

excerpt Encyclopedia Galactica
The Restoration
The Expansion Wars


During the reign of the great Meringalian Dynasty, the final Dynastic rulers of the First Imperium, the Terramonah Empire was divided into six political sectors, known simply as the Six. Each of the Six contended with one another and with the Mensa Theliot Priesthood in seeking Imperial favor. As more and more power swung between these political factions, it became increasingly apparent to Emperor Vasselius XXI (R'Ameeyn Meringeli) that to rule successfully required balancing one or another of the seven powerful forces against one another. Vasselius contrived to foment the natural antagonism that existed between the seven forces to prevent alliances which could destroy the dynasty. No longer did the long and implacable arm of the Emperor's Cyborg Legions reach to all corners of the Empire as the Six Baronies grew in power and influence. Perhaps the Emperor could no longer rule without question but he could still rule by diversion and division.

Vasselius began his scheme by requesting that an Imperial Crown be designed. The Emperor's Imperial Crown was to be set with seven sets of seven different kinds of Gems, each set of seven, a dazzling perfection of the rarest and most beautiful stones in the known galaxy. These Gems were to be a gift of homage and fealty from the Six and the Mensa Theliots. The seven factions would each submit Gems of each of the seven kinds and they would be judged. The resulting fierce competition brought the Emperor a number of secret smiles and more time to consolidate his position. History does not record a clear winner but that was likely a part of Vasselius' policy.

Other gifts, what we refer to now as the Imperial relics, each one rivaling the next in expense, glamour and power followed the gemstones as the Imperially stimulated competition grew. Vasselius granted titles and worlds and favor to keep the Six, and particularly the Priesthood, off balance and divided. Never, not even in the time of Vasselius' grandfather, had there been more intrigue in the Terramonah Empire and especially at the Imperial Throneworld of Humm.

The Emperor could not have foreseen that his machinations would make him midwife to the birth of the deadly beauty and force of the Jewels of Power, artifacts so compelling that their very existence changed the course of history of the entire Empire.

The first Jewel of Power was given to the Emperor by the Mensa Theliot Priests. The Scientific Priesthood spent over 30 years in secret laboratories and radiant baths developing the solid state technique to set powers into a synthetic circuit shaped as a Jewel. For the Imperial presentation, it was mounted in an amulet of Maussite, cunningly wrought by the miniature jewel smiths of Amphidor. It's beauty and perfection brought tears from the eyes of the ladies and open mouths to the nobles of the Imperial Court. The First Mathmatist of the Mensa Theliots basked in the envy and bitterness that the Jewel inspired.

The Jewel of Enchantment, as the first Jewel was known, was meant specifically, as a slap in the face from the Priesthood to the Arcturians, the most independent and powerful of the Six Terramonah domains, as much as an Imperial gift. Recently, the Arcturian Viceroy had demanded the right of Arcturian tax collectors to collect the Imperial taxes in their own sector before they were turned over to the Empire. Vasselius knew, of course, that a huge percentage of these tax revenues would never find their way into the Imperial coffers if this were allowed. As important, the other members of the Six would see any wavering on such an issue as a sign of weakness. At the least, they would immediately move for the same rights in their sectors. Vasselius responded with an arrogant disdain he was secretly not sure he could back up. One Imperial BattleStar with one Cyborg Legion, a token force, he decreed, would arrive in the Arcturian home system within a year, at the normal tax collection time to enforce collection by the Imperial tax collectors. One BattleStar was hardly a powerful fleet but the Emperor would count on the hundreds of years of Meringalian rule to overcome the insult to the Arcturians this show of force represented.

The gift of the Jewel of Enchantment from the Theliots arrived in time to assure the power of Vasselius' gesture, as the Theliots well knew. No one except Vasselius and the Mensa Theliot hierarchy knew what power the Jewel of Enchantment represented until the Arcturians attempted to storm the hated Imperial BattleStar. The mystical Jewel, locked into a specially designed socket on the battleship's bridge by a perspiring First Officer, froze all hostile fire against the giant ship. Disconcerted boarding crews found themselves unable to lock onto the impervious BattleStar. The Arcturian navy itself was forced to destroy the attempted boarding craft to provide a political excuse for the Arcturian ambassador who, positioned for such an emergency, immediately begged for Imperial audience back on Humm. He explained away the intended use of force against a ship of the Imperium as the work of insurgents. Vasselius, with an oily graciousness, and in full view of the Imperial court, granted forgiveness (along with hefty penalties) to the wayward sector. The Arcturians were forced to accede humbly. The loss of face, particularly for the stiff-necked Arcturians, was almost unbearable. The Arcturians knew who to blame - the detestable Mensa Theliot Priesthood.

A hand picked Arcturian TAC force, sworn to suicide, and a renegade priest penetrated the deepest laboratories of the Mensa Theliot Temple on the sacred planet of Mitre. The ultimate theft of the mystical technology used to make the Jewels cost the lives of the entire 150 Imperially conditioned Arcturian warriors (and the priest) and nearly a year of patient waiting while four separate copies of the secret technology moved through various Theliot channels. The superbly trained suicide squad had not actually stolen the secrets but placed the papers and machines in non-sensitive areas where the general movement of papers and equipment could eventually be recovered through normal covert operations. The Mensa Theliots, thinking they had foiled the plot, actually only uncovered its top layer and became unwitting accessories in the theft.

Within ten years, using heretic Theliot priest-scientists and a previously deposed Chief Mathmatist, the Arcturians were able to duplicate the mystical science which created the first Jewel of Power. Meanwhile, the Priesthood, whose star had risen to such favor with the Emperor was fading. Vasselius now demanded more Jewels. The Mensa Theliots were unwilling to provide them claiming that no more could be fabricated. It was a satisfying coup for Rath Woer-Halin, the Arcturian Viceroy to present a Jewel even more powerful and breathtaking than the Jewel of Enchantment - the Jewel of Protection, to Emperor Vasselius XXI with his compliments. The Grand Council of Mathmatists of the Mensa Theliots had been outfaced.

The official history of the old Imperium ends not long after this but we do know that others of the Six besides the Arcturians acquired the knowledge stolen from the Mensa Theliot laboratories. Various bits of information hint that the development of the Jewels of Power continued. Vasselius, in an abortive attempt to regain his great grandfather's iron grip over the Priesthood and the Six interstellar domains, precipitated the disintegration of the old Empire. It appears to us, thousands of years later, that the Emperor believed the Jewels of Power he possessed and the ancient force of the Cyborg Legions created a temporary balance of power in his favor that would last long enough for him to regain the Imperial domination for which the Meringalian dynasty was known.

Legend has it, now that history can no longer be depended upon, that Vasselius instigated a revolt in Vega and began a campaign to crush the weakest of the Six. The assassination of Emperor Vasselius XXI by an exotic poison administered by a trusted courtesan moved the Imperial Crown, somewhat shakily, to the head of the Imperial Sisterson, the dynastic Beneficent X (R'Anselm Meringeli). Young R'Anselm seems poor material to follow up the Imperial dreams of Vasselius. The incestuous dynastic bloodline (son of Vasselius' sister by his Grandfather) did nothing to inspire confidence in his mental stability. After causing the Gems of the Imperial Crown to be scattered through Humm's interstellar Star Gates in a fit of pique and refusing to meet with any of the envoys from the Six or the Grand Mathmatists of the Theliots for over a year, the feuding Viceroys banded together against the Imperium and the Theliots. The disintegration of the Empire was assured.

The Mensa Theliots cursed the Gems they had donated to the Emperor's Crown in response to Beneficent's faux pas but near the end, became the only ally of the Imperial throne. Most of the other relics of the ancient Empire were scattered throughout the Empire as it disintegrated. Seven Jewels of Power are rumored to have surfaced at one time or another since the breakup of the old Empire. The most powerful of these, and some say the most uncontrollable was the Jewel of Fate - the last Jewel ever made, designed by the devious priest-scientists of the Mensa Theliot.

In later years, as interstellar travel revived, political power often fell to the owners of the old Imperial Relics and Gems through the legends and mysteries they represented - and always, raw power to the owners of the legendary Jewels.

- excerpt from the Encyclopedia Galactica
The Interregnum

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