497. An Ostrogoth rules the Eternal City, while a Frankish warlord rises to dominate all of Gaul, but Rome’s legacy lives on in an unlikely outpost: Britannia, once among its most remote provinces. Even there, though, Britons loyal to Rome for generations must now reconcile themselves to the distinct possibility that the legions will never return.
Faced with threats from all sides, Arthur Pendragon gambled the fate of the island on a chance to end the decades-long war once and for all. He assembled a mobile strike force of elite cavalry able to respond to threats anywhere in Britain, and led them on a campaign around the island. His victories rallied the Saxon renegades under the banner of a single Bretwalda, leading to one final confrontation at Badon Hill, where he could break their threat forever with a single charge of his knights.
The Bretwalda Ælle may lie dead, but his Roman puppet Ambrosius Aurelianus Brittanicus still rules in Londinium, protected by the garrisons raised by his far nobler father, and still fiercely loyal to his heir. If Arthur hopes to unite Britannia as High King, he will first need to take Londinium, and decide the fate of his patron’s son.
Current Issue Pax Arthuriana
The fabled Pax Romana brought peace to Italy for centuries, by pushing its conflicts out to the provinces. That strategy ultimately destroyed the Empire, as generals on the periphery gained power, and then turned their experienced soldiers towards Rome to claim the imperium. It also changed the peoples living along the Empire’s frontiers, drawing them into cycles of war and violence that came to define them.
Arthur Pendragon dreams of a different kind of peace, a dream that he calls Camulod. The victory at Badon Hill ended the generations-long war with the Saxons, and prepared the way for him to make his dream a reality. He does not want to preserve his peace through domination, as Rome did, but with so many petty kings and chieftains who still hold onto the bloody ambitions that Rome’s visions inspired, he knows that he may not have many other choices.
Face: Arthur Pendragon
Impending Issue Restitutor Orbis
No one may have borne the actual title but the Emperor Aurelian, but the concept has nonetheless become an important one for those who consider themselves citizens of the Empire: Rome’s power may wane, but when it seems most in need, a messianic king will emerge who will restore the world. The cycle has played out many times before, though things could hardly seem bleaker for the Empire now. Saint Augustine predicted that the world would end in the year 500 — just three years away. The seas have risen to drown many ancient lands, including the Saxons’ own homelands, driving them to join their kin in Britannia. Amidst such calamity, the Britons naturally look for the restitutor orbis who will save them once again.
Arthur Pendragon won a decisive victory against the barbarian invaders at Badon Hill. Many Britons now look to him as the savior they have long hoped for. An apocalyptic fervor grips the land, but many heap their hopes and dreams on Arthur’s shoulders. Can he fulfill those dreams? Will Arthur restore the old world as they hope, or usher in a new one?