Egypt, 478 AD
It was a pyramid. There was a group meeting inside this pyramid, and they were talking about recent events and how well their plans were doing.
“So,” their leader, Ramsesses, began. “The attempts of the emperor to get the followers of Christ within our lands to agree dogmatically with their ideas have failed”.
“Yes,” a member agreed. “We can take advantage of this”.
“Indeed,” Ramsesses commented. “The governor of Egypt is not happy, and he is preparing his forces to revolt”.
“Also, the Empire is still recovering from their recent war with Persia,” another member pointed out. “And the goal of this uprising is only to wear down their forces, as we bide our time for our actual revolt…”.
“Also,” the second member wondered. “Why do we care about the schisms amongst the Christians? Aren’t there other things we could take advantage of?”.
“The followers of Christ are extremely concerned with what they perceive as ‘heresy’. They care most about whether or not their ideas are agreed with,” Ramsesses explained. “They will continuously fight against each other based on minor differences. We are going to take advantage of that to reclaim our freedom”.
“The current governor of our province is ambitious anyways,” the first member pointed out. “He believes that he will gain long-lasting glory if he founds a new kingdom… and all men want to be remembered...”.
The Emperor’s palace, 478 AD
“My lord,” a messenger said. “Our attempts to mend our schism with the Monophysites have failed, and the Egyptians seem to be preparing for war against us”.
“This is worrying news,” Emperor Zeno exclaimed. “Send for the governors of the provinces of Greece and Anatolia. Also, what is your name, messenger?”.
“Alexander, your majesty, and I shall contact them immediately,” the messenger, now identified as Alexander said. “What should I tell them?”.
“Tell the governors to prepare their armies, and to meet at Ancyra,” Emperor Zeno replied. “From Ancyra, they shall march east to the Tigris, and then they shall go South to the Holy Land”.
“And then, your majesty?, Alexander asked.
“Tell them to march to Sinai, where they will stay as an unspoken threat to the Egyptians if they try to revolt,” the Emperor responded.
“And if the Egyptians are foolish enough to revolt anyways?” Alexander asked.
“Tell the generals of the armies of Greece and Anatolia that if Egypt does revolt, they shall march into it, and they shall begin by taking Alexandria,” the Emperor ordered. “If they don’t surrender with this show of force, then the Graeco-Anatolian Army shall attack them until their armies are decimated or until they do surrender”.
Mentally, Alexander wondered if he should tell the Emperor about his dream. After some pondering, he decided that he was just worried about the coming war, and the dream probably didn’t mean anything. The Emperor’s plan for this war sounded like a good one, anyway.
“Also,” the Emperor began. “Gather some diplomats and lead them across the lands of Europe and Africa to create alliances with a few other powers, just to secure our backs for the time being”.
“Yes, your majesty,” Alexander agreed. “What shall we do about the Monophysites in Syria, if I may ask?”
“We shall gather the armies in Armenia and the portions of Mesopotamia that we now own, as well as the armies loyal to us in Syria and Palestine, and split them in half… one half shall go to our border with Persia, in case they try anything, and the other half will go to keep order across Syria and the Holy Land,” Emperor Zeno explained. “Tell the governors that we are going to take some of their troops for that,” he added as an afterthought.
“Very well, my liege,” Alexander responded. “When am I to gather the diplomats?”
“Gather the diplomats after you deliver the orders, but begin your mission after Egypt is relatively pacified,” the Emperor responded.
Inwardly, Alexander sighed. He could see so many things that could go wrong with this plan. Other powers could easily begin their own alliances, and what would happen when the new alliances fought each other. However, he didn’t have a better idea, and who was he to question the Emperor, anyways?
Still, the entire situation reminded him too much of his recent dream. He was beginning to get very worried. Although dreams couldn’t tell the future, could they?
The dream began with the negotiation of a few alliances, and everything spiraled out of control from there. A war began, and soon, most of the world was embroiled in conflict as a result of these alliances. Then, heavens trembled, as creatures from ancient myths joined the conflict. Devastation reigned across the entire known world. He saw thousands of cities reduced to ashes. He stood at both the Pillars of Hercules and coast of the Holy Land, and all he saw in every direction was a red sea. He knew that that meant that the entire Mediterranean Sea would run red with the blood of millions… if the dream came true. He feared that the dream was warning him of a coming apocalypse…
If his dream came true, would Paradise follow?
Far away, an entity whispered, so softly that she was heard by no one, that it wouldn’t. No, there would be suffering for two millennia longer until the end would finally come, and Paradise would not follow even then…
Men must always pursue gloria sine fine - glory without end - and so, there must always be bellum sine fine - war without end. The worst is always yet to come...