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Mostly, all agreed, it was only a matter of time.

The pressure pot boiling on the Blessed Isle finally exploded into the fury of Civil War. House fought House, using every resource at its disposal in a desparate attempt to claim the Throne. Legion clashed against Legion, Fleet against Fleet; Supernatural Martial Artists struggled against Dragon-Armored warriors in the streets while Warstriders wrestled Thousand-Forged Dragons atop buildings; Sorcerers pitted armadas of demons and elementals against each other while the heads of the Houses themselves strode the Isle like titans...

For an entire week, all quarters of Creation held their breaths while the skies over the Realm were awash with the red of battle; even the heavenly Bureaus of Yu-Shan found themselves mesmerized away from their official duties. It would be known as The Week of Seven Nights.

And when it was finally over, when silence alone reigned on the Blessed Isle, it soon became apparent...that no one had won. The Imperial Houses' armies were devastated, their First Age Artifacts spent, their coffers emptied, the heads of the Houses gone where few could say. None remained strong enough to even claim the throne, much less keep it. The Scarlet Dynasty was no more.

Just as it was only a matter of time till the Realm hosted such battles, it was also only a matter of time before some sought to profit from it. The Coral Archipelago were the most likely in the West to try, but such an expedition would require time and vast resources; however, the Lintha and other pirates did seize the opportunity to expand their raiding circles...Any such scavengers descending from the North would have to go through Cherak first, and there were few who could. One such was the Bull of the North, but he was already committed to his extensive war on the East, which also distracted Lookshy and the River Confederation from involving themselves.

Thus it was that the Delzahn rulers of Chiaroscuro were the first to land upon the newly contested Blessed Isle. Heading a hastily-convened alliance of Gem mercenaries and soldiers from Paragon and the Lap, a large portion of the Isle's southern coast has become their beachhead. The Southern Alliance also enjoys the full support of the Guild, which is hoping to finally extend its reach over all Creation once and for all...

And what of the Exalted? Singly, in pairs and in full Circles, the Solar Exalted finally returned to the Blessed Isle, making quick work of the remnants of Imperial Forces, most of whom were simply incorporated into the Solars' followers; the Solars now circle each other like wary lions, and only time will tell if a new Solar Deliberative may arise from this, or if the Seven-Day Night was merely prolouge to a conflict that may well spill beyond the boundaries of the Blessed Isle itself...

While young Lunar Exalted howl that their time has come, their Elders simply nod amongst themselves; was not the self-destruction of Civilization self-evident? The Silver Pact as a whole is wary of landing masses of Beast-folk in an area occupied by so much Solar power, but many Packs slaver at the chance to take revenge on Terrestrials, test their might, and perhaps meet with old Solar mates...

The downfall of the Scarlet Dynasty does not spell the end of the Bronze Faction of Sidereals; they simply invest all of their support fully into the Immaculate Order, which still survives. Chejop Kejak has largely ordered all Sidereals to stay out of these affairs, beyond protecting certain individuals and places that may prove key to holding civilization together in the dark times to come...

For the first time since their creation, Abyssal Exalted openly tread the Blessed soil of the Isle. For the first time ever, Shadowlands now darkly blossom across the land. It is the Deathlords' intention to expand this stain across all the land, spiritually "collapsing" the Blessed Isle until it merges with its Underworld equivalent, Stygia. It is only the fact that all factions involved universally loath them that keeps them from ruling any of them openly; it is only the Immaculate Order's increasingly paranoid rooting out of their cults that prevents them from gaining power. But it is only a matter of time...

And the Dragon-Blooded? For those who were so high to fall so far so fast is tragic, even if the fault lay with none but themselves. Some flee to the people, quietly living among the remains of Patricians or peasants, hoping not to be found, an ironic recreation of the Solar Purge that they no longer even remember. Most decided it was better to stand up, fight and die, and hopefully take a few Anathema with them. Some few simply shrugged and swore themselves to Solar or Deathlord masters. But the fact remains that the Blood of the Dragons is forever broken; never again will the Dragon Standard fly above the Blessed Isle.

Only in the Immaculate Order do they find some remnants of the glory they once had, as the common folk of the Isle turned wholeheartedly to the Dragons for succor from the devastation wreaked upon their lives and land. With enormous tracts of arable land wiped out and the weather-controlling Devices shattered, the people find themselves at the mercy of the elements and famine. In such times, religion flourishes, and the Immaculates rose to the occasion. Many were the only Dragon-Blooded who abstained from the conflict, tending to the needs of the suffering while lamenting at how the Terrestrials neglected their duties to those beneath their station.

Most Immaculates concede that the Scarlet Dynasty has lost the Mandate of the Dragons, tho that doesn't mean that Anathema are now free to set up shop. Many Immaculate shrines and monasteries are hotbeds of rebellion, just waiting for the right chance to strike. In the meantime, the Immaculate faith has gained a puritanical, zealous edge to it that has successfully wiped out many of the small gods attempting to capitalize on the woes of the people by setting up cults.

Also, for the first time, Raksha have set foot upon the Blessed Isle. Most are in disguise of some sort, for all have no illusions about how they will be seen. Representatives of the Five Courts seek some guarantee that the Realms' Defenses are permaneantly offline, while others wish to introduce Wyld zones upon the Isle. There are even some Raksha who wish to prevent these goals, and both sides have attempted to gain access to their landlocked cousins, the Mountain Folk (who have also entertained emissaries from the Solars, but who are mostly sitting all this out).

This, then, is the setting for Dark Ages: Exalted: a time of lost glories and suffering masses; of rampaging barbarian beast armies and fell revenants; a time when only the Solar Exalted and Immaculate can save the people, if they don't destroy each other first.

What legends will they tell of your deeds?