My first new series in a year. This is the largest, most complex world I've ever created, with a story that I'm really not sure has been told before.
Here's the first chapter:
Somewhere Between 2,000 - 2,100 A.D./C.E. (Prior to calendar era shift of Pre-Reformation/Post-Reformation)
We’re going to discuss things that happened long ago, and in doing so, the details may be blurred or misstated. These things cannot be helped, but if we venture forward with forewarning, then perhaps we won’t commit too many mistakes.
The room was small, the walls white painted cinder blocks. A square table sat in the middle with four chairs around it. The room held one door—a single entrance and exit.
It—the room—was actually a building, and no one knew how long it had stood there. It hadn’t been used in some time, and smelled of dust and age. Just outside the door was an icy landscape, with snow as far as the eye could see. The sky above was overcast and the cold so harsh that no amount of clothing could prevent it from seeping into your bones. Four armies waited in the tundra, each willing to kill the others. Large ships known as transports floated a hundred feet in the air; they were armed for battle, their weapons locked in place. Men wore insignias that would have appeared foreign to every nation on Earth fifty years previous.
Perhaps 5,000 soldiers surrounded the small building, the four armies separated by a half mile in each direction. Their weapons could easily launch that far.
Death was only moments away, both for those here and the rest of the world. One signal, one false move, and the world would end.
Four figures walked forth from their armies. Three men and one woman. Their names were known throughout the world, each creating a range of emotions in those that heard them: fear, hate, admiration, love.
Some were thought as Gods, such as Corinth. Others were merely representatives of Gods, like the Pope.
The four walked through the snow alone. They brought no assistants nor other trappings of their offices. They were leaving their armies behind, each trusting the word of the other three.
The war had raged for too long. It would be known from this meeting until the end of time as the Reformation. The world had been at war for 100 years, and the four walking across the ice hoped it would end today.
They entered the small building—which to everyone’s satisfaction had been equipped with heat. Each took a seat at the table but none said anything for a few moments.
They only looked at each other.
All were old, much different than the younger versions that began down the paths which led them here. They hadn’t started the war, but commanded much of it, and now would end it. They looked at the lines and wrinkles in the faces of the men and woman that they had fought for so long, seeing murderers and saints.
The world was wrecked in ways that couldn’t have been imagined a hundred years previously. North and South America no longer existed, at least not above ground. Radiation fell from the skies above and would forever. The Earth’s population had been decimated, carved down by 80%.
To continue on ensured mutual destruction for everyone, and that’s why the four were meeting today.
“It ends today,” the Pope said. “Either that or the four of us die right now, right here.”
His voice was aged but firm. No Pope before or after would ever send so many people to their death, nor order the murder of even more.
“The old ways have to die, then,” the woman said, her name Trinant. “All of them.”
“How do you propose to do that?” someone asked.
“We do whatever it takes. It’s the old ways that started this, and the reason we have so much blood on our hands.”
“There’s truth to that,” Corinth said.
“It is the truth,” Trinant responded.
The room was quiet for a few seconds, all four understanding what her words actually meant.
“State explicitly what you want,” the Pope said. “You other three, you’ve already begun destroying the old ways. Corinth and Trinant, you’re both creating societies that didn’t exist. So tell me, what am I to do with my land?”
“I’m creating a new society because you destroyed the last one,” Corinth said. His voice was low and anger rippled through every word.
Trinant ignored him. “What we’ve created, these governing bodies that we control—they’re not to end. No more hundreds of governments. No more hundreds of countries. No more culture. No more languages. No more religions. We are the new religions. Within our own domains, we are the only culture to exist, and the language we speak here is the only one allowed anywhere else. Those differences are what started this. It can never happen again. The world won’t survive. From this point on, only our religions exist. Only us.”
The room fell silent again. The four knew the truth. The squabble that began a hundred year war no longer mattered, but it began because of the diversity she spoke of.
“If I could, I’d say a single religion would rule everything, but that’s not possible. So, our differences will be only one—the religions we’ve created. Everything else will unify us.”
“Mine wasn’t created,” the Pope said.
Everyone ignored him, knowing that the Catholic Church would trumpet its age for the rest of eternity.
“The peace begins here, and it’s up to us to make sure that it keeps,” the woman said. “We’ll die one day. Sooner rather than later from the looks of us, and this war can’t restart when we finish.”
“Okay,” Corinth said. “I’ll do it.”
The three people stared at the Pope, who finally nodded. “Yes. The Catholic Church agrees.”
The four were quiet, relief flooding over them but understanding that much work awaited. Painful, wrenching work—in which more people would die.
But no more war. Details would need be worked out, but as long as the nuclear weapons quit detonating and the weapons quit launching, that could happen. The things that had separated people, that caused such destruction, they would end. Four religions would encompass the world, and truth would flow only from them. Truth, and peace, as none of the four would aggress on the others.
The world had been reformed, the four people in this room deciding the fates of billions.
The Reformation was over. The world could begin anew.