The Empire teeters on the brink of disintegration. Barbarians from the distant east have defeated Tarsis’ armies and ransacked Tarsis itself. Three different people claim the Lion-Guarded Throne, including the current Emperor of the Church, Rehoboth Ylestos.

Harris Ralston delivery man in Ptolus the City by the SpireThe secular Empress Addares XXXIV is the cousin of the previous Empress Addares, who died with no children or siblings. No one currently holds the title Prince or Princess of Tarsis, therefore there is no heir apparent. Segaci Fellisti, a powerful and aged councilor who has survived six Emperors, now claims that only he is fit to rule in these trying times. Despite his non-Prustan heritage, his followers believe he has more right to rule than the Empress, whose blood ties to the original Von Tessels are convoluted at best. Addares now holds court in Dohrinthas, the city she has proclaimed as the new capital, while Segaci apparently has returned to Tarsis following its sacking. Meanwhile, the Emperor of the Church, now residing in Ptolus, claims to be the only true ruler with the title Emperor.

But outside of Tarsis, some see the fall of the Empire—if it has indeed fallen—as a good thing. The hereditary monarchies, long disenfranchised, now return to power as Imperial governors lose their influence. Like a disease overcome, the Empire is fading and life is returning to its state of a thousand years ago—but not without many indelible scars left behind.

“The fact that the Empire is coming apart at the seams only shows that totalitarianism is an outmoded and inefficient means of governance.” —Helmet Itlestein, leader of the republican movement

“It doesn’t matter to a fellow like me who’s in charge. I still gotta work six days a week and break my back to support my family, no matter what.” —Harris Ralston, delivery man