(I hate that I have to say this, but this is a fictional account of the history of a fictional world. I do not believe these things, nor should you, as I am making them up. If I receive any comments that I did not do my research into these events, you will be mocked.)
In the Agent of Argyre series of books, there is an organization called the Alter Control Task Force. Though ostensibly an organization for policing activities of the Alter race, an attempt to prevent an eventual race war, they are actually representatives of a city-state on the ocean: The Republic of Argyre.
The Republic of Argyre, an artificial island anchored to an oceanic ridge in the pacific, is a city-state established by Alters for the sake of harboring their kind and establishing a relationship with the mainstream human population. Despite being an artificial island and attached to no primary landmass, the city’s structure is capable of potentially supporting all 12 to 15 million active Alters on the planet.
How did a race of people who’ve lived in hiding for centuries manage to construct such a city? Why would they build their city in the middle of the ocean? Where did they get the resources for such a task? In the Alterpedia Historia, we will answer these questions and discover the history of the Alters. Today we address…
The Revenge of Atlantis
The centuries following the end of the conflict between Olympians and other Alters were difficult. With the sudden turn against them by the people who once revered them as gods, many Alters sought refuge in the outskirts of the growing human civilization. These regions, existing outside of their old spheres of influence, were still comparatively primitive and easier to deal with. Simple tribes to the far North, South, and East were more receptive of these strange creatures while the lands they left behind soon became the homes of the classical civilizations of antiquity. Human empires rose in the wake of the Alters, replacing the remnants of Atlantean culture that had seeded the Mediterranean region.
For some, this sudden change was a boon. Enemies of the Olympians that could pass for human were easily able to mingle and even flourish in the newly forming civilization. Using their ability to blend and their unique talents, it was easy for these individuals to begin filling the power vacuum. Certain political prisoners such as Prometheus were soon freed, and those willing to assist or comply with the humans found themselves comfortable in this new world.
The same could not be said for the more inhuman creatures, which quickly found themselves as outcasts. It became tradition for Minotaurs to remove their horns and wear hoods to cover their true nature. Giants were soon separated into multiple tribes, some adapting to the farthest reaches of the north where they became the Jotun. And races such as Cyclopes and Trolls went in search of isolated pockets of land they could use to avoid contact with humanity such as islands, mountain ranges, or deep forests. Still others found themselves hunted to near extinction, such as the western Arachne who fled to deep caves with the help of Gnomes and Dwarves.
Remnants of the Olympian faction responded to this situation with indignation. Stripped of their influence and power, many of them splintered into smaller factions and went their separate ways. These smaller factions soon formed noble courts in far off lands, known in passing by the humans nearby but avoided for the most part. The Seelie and Unseelie Courts, the Aesir and Vanir, and others like them were all continuations of old rivalries between the oldest factions carried out in smaller domains. However, those that continued to stay together had other plans and bigger goals in mind.
With the rise of various human empires over the course of centuries, the remnants of the old Atlantean guard worked to sabotage and subvert these empires at every step. These efforts began with hopes of reconquering humans but soon grew into another goal all together. With the growing persecution of Alters, many within the remnant faction found themselves concerned that a unified humanity would result in Alter extinction. All methods were justified by this fear in the eyes of the remnant supporters and few lines would not be crossed.
It was during the rise of the Romans, in particular, that the remnant began to become desperate. Proving themselves more sophisticated and adaptable than many previous empires, the Romans conquered enough of Europe to become a concern for the remnant faction. With their growing power and the rise of militant ideas within their government, the Atlantean remnant saw Rome as the greatest threat. It was in the face of this threat that they found themselves willing to cross all lines and make a deal with a man who would one day be considered “the devil”.
Known as Letum since around the fall of Atlantis, a general within the remnant armies soon proved himself inventive enough to be seen as the “cure” of the Roman problem. Gathering support in the North, Letum was able to convince the Germanic barbarians that the Romans were softer than they appeared after recent conflicts with the Persians. This began a series of invasions from the North that provoked the current Emperor, Severus Alexander, to begin considering negotiation with the barbarians. It was at this time that internal strife (goaded by Letum) turned towards mutiny and resulted in Alexander’s assassination. This was the first critical blow to the stability of the Roman Empire, the beginning of the Crisis of the Third Century.
These were not the only factors in the Crisis, however, as recent outbreaks of plague had weakened the Empire considerably as well. The disease fascinated Letum, who saw it as a potential weapon after witnessing the use of diseased corpses in some smaller skirmishes, and began his research into its cause. Though he would not fully understand it for several centuries, by the time of the black plague centuries after the fall of Rome it was understood that Letum had been key to beginning the outbreak. It was because of this that he would go on to be connected to this tactic by name, becoming known through the mixed language of the remnant as Rufus Plagas – The Red Plague.
Meanwhile, another force had contributed to the disruption of Roman power, one that had not been caused by the remnant.
Following the scattering of their people, Alters who had opposed the Olympians encountered the same problems and concerns of the growing influence and sought a new direction. Realizing that they needed to win over the people, attempts were made to try to influence the humans culturally to make them more accepting of Alters as a whole. The first efforts involved continuing to guide humans in developing their civilization. With new advances in science such as architecture, metallurgy, and new agriculture techniques, civilizations like Rome were able to flourish. Ironically, the thing which terrified the Olympian remnant was being promoted by other Alters from the shadows. The belief was that a stronger humanity given enough help would be grateful enough to accept the Alters back – a belief that was often proven to be fruitless.
It was in the midst of these efforts that a long time political prisoner by the name of Lucian came in contact with Magi scholars of the east and an Empyreal by the name of Gabriel. Meeting in the Roman domain of Galilee, these Magi requested Lucian join them and assist in their plan for reunification. These individuals presented to Lucian, who had been a leader in ages past, a plan to begin influencing humanity through a new method. It was suggested that an Empyreal born and raised in human society could lead humanity in the same way the Mes Horii had guided Alters in the past. It was believed that introducing such a person to humanity would allow Alters to be accepted peacefully, with open arms, and give them an avenue to lead the culture directly.
Empyreals being rare, the greatest challenge before them was finding this child. The requirements were quite specific, requiring both the correct bloodlines and disposition to give birth to and raise this child into a suitable figure. And so, given Lucian’s previous work in organizing large groups, it was believed he could assist them in finding someone who fit this profile in the lands around them. Weary from the wars of times past, and seeing value in their idea of a new unifying leader, Lucian accepted and began searching for subjects to help the cause.
After a lengthy search and some convincing of the parties involved, a newborn named Yeshua was selected in the territory now known as Palestine. While raised by his human parents, Yeshua was guided in secret by the Alters in philosophy, science, and history to give him the perspective he would need. By the time he had reached adulthood, Yeshua was capable of using multiple Empyreal abilities that appeared miraculous to the human population around him, causing him to gain a following in the region.
However, while showing a promising start, the plan soon ran afoul of past efforts. As the Olympians often warned, rumors of Yeshua’s abilities soon brought him to the attention of the local authorities. Upset with his behavior and his growing anti-government sentiments, Yeshua was soon marked for death by those in power. Turning one of his followers against him, they arrested Yeshua and publicly executed him in a fashion reserved for enemies of the state.
The Magi and other supporters of the plan were left in shock over the turn of events. Finding one of their efforts to reunite the races being put to a sudden and horrific end by their efforts to bring civilization to humanity, many of them were left wondering what could be done to turn this tide. Lucian, on the other hand, realized the event was only the beginning of something potentially worse. Becoming a martyr figure and having his origins questioned, with even Alters wondering if he may have been more than suspected, the teachings of Yeshua became a movement that grew in the shadows of the Empire and soon his teachings and philosophy formed the backbone of a full blown religion. And with this religion, instability in the Empire, the same instability Letum would take advantage of, grew in leaps and bounds.
The rise of Christianity through the Roman Empire raised religious tension between the traditionally polytheist Roman people and the newly growing Christian sects. This led to part of the internal strife that individuals like Letum took advantage of, and even caused rejection of old teachings that the Alters had introduced to humans in the first place. Competing against each other indirectly, the remnants of the old factions had created a situation where both of their works would accidentally feed into the other. As Christianity rose, so too did the instability, and as instability from other factors rose, so did Christianity. This eventually resulted in not only the complete collapse of the Roman Empire but the end of classical society as a whole.
The tensions, in particular, rose to a peak in the city of Alexandria where many Alter-born teachings had been stored and taught to the humans. Following the division of the Roman Empire into East and West, Alexandria was one of the remaining sources of classical philosophy and the heart of Hellenistic civilization. However, as two opposing factions of Christianity began to battle for influence within the city, the foundations of this civilization were torn down in the crossfire.
Hypatia, head of the Neoplatonic school of Alexandria and the teacher for Philosophy and Astronomy, found herself embroiled in the political problems between the Governor and Bishop of Alexandria. Attempting to preserve the integrity of her school, Hypatia was forced to take sides, only to soon be subjected to hatred from the people. As tensions climaxed the Christians of the city turned against Hypatia and the school, attacking them and putting an end to the institution…
And leading the efforts of the Magi Alters to the worst possible outcome.