I was beautiful in my youth. Boys fawned over me. As the years have passed, so has my beauty. My skin wrinkles and my hair turns ashen grey. The girl became an elder wife. But beauty gone is replaced by wisdom - or so we Goths believe. We are the followers of Arius, and his Christ. The Romans call us heretics. Perhaps this is why they treat us so, why they break their accords and slaughter us like animals. Yet God must love us, or we would not have survived this long against Latin treachery. Surely Rome must think so too, for there is unrest in the Senate. We soon received word that the Senate had elected a new emperor to usurp Honorius, a Greek named Attalus.
The elders once told me that God sends signs of His will, and if we are wise then we can determine His path. "Do you believe in the omens of God?" They asked. If the omens of God pointed us again to Rome, then Alaric would tread upon the seven hills again. In Greece we once had safe harbor in times of trouble, and now a Greek sat poised to overthrow Honorius. Alaric threw his support behind Attalus, and we immediately set off for Rome.
Our soldiers ached for revenge, and a Rome divided between two emperors seemed the fattest hen to be plucked. Yet when we reached the city, Alaric merely talked. For ten months we stayed, bustling about the villas and mansions, talking and dining. I confess, Rome fascinated me. The streets were coarse, paved with stone, the baths steamed hot, and the sweet smell of baked bread mingled with the odor of refuse from the tenements. The city teemed with innumerable citizens, and every citizen had many servants. Yet our soldiers grew restless. There was no war, only silence from Honorius.
We soon found out why: Honorius had closed the ports in Egypt. Grain supplies steadily dwindled and whispers of famine arose. Rome's new emperor could do nothing. War so far away would be too costly, and there was no food to spare for a campaign. The populous began to panic, and an impotent Attalus could only watch. Alaric paced our rooms at night, muttering to God about why He had led him again to Rome. I shuddered at his conclusion.
Alaric went before the entire city the next day, and in front of the people and the Senators he stripped Attalus of his ranks, his titles, all the trappings of Emperor. I did not sleep for many nights after. Between the Gothic men who longed for the successful removal of Honorius and the shock of Rome that a barbarian king would dare affront the authority of the Senate, I knew not who I feared more.
The response Alaric anticipated soon came, in the form of a simple stylus delivered by imperial courier. It bore Honorius's seal in splattered red wax, like blood on the text. The emperor thanked him for disposing of the imposter, and negotiations for Alaric's demands would recommence at the fortress of Ravenna immediately. I could not stomach the thought of him trusting Honorius again, and the betrayal of a Greek, a friend, weighed heavily on my soul. But soon Alaric was gone, and I was left staring at that red-sealed tablet... "Do you believe in the omens of God?"
None of the following players play an active role in the game.
- Alaric (Goths) is merely a placeholder player possessing the player's starting units in the beginning of the game, to prevent the player from using them while the conversation is going on.
- Civilians (Italians) has a port in the north being occupied by Athaulf's forces waiting for Alaric, another port in the east with mercenaries waiting to join Alaric, and three villages inland which the southeastern one is to be taken over by Alaric, and the southwestern one is occupied by Saurus' troops.
- Ravenna (Italians), the then-capital of the Western Roman Empire, is located in the east, facing the Adriatic Sea. Alaric is set to meet the emperor here, yet the city is surrounded by Saurus' army and navy.
- Saurus (Goths) is Alaric's rival, who would bring some troops to attack Alaric's troops before Alaric meets Athaulf's troops. His army and navy are 'protecting' Ravenna from Alaric until they get removed upon Alaric's arrival at the civilian village. He has a port in the south of Ravenna. His troops are occupying the western village, and has his military base in the west of this village. The player is to destroy his fortress in the base. His troops are mainly made up of Knights, Scorpions, Condottieri, Archers, Cavalry Archers etc.
- Zhu Di (Chinese), Yakub (Persians) and Belisarius (Byzantines) are three players that each begin in the Dark Age with a Town Center, 3 Villagers, and a Scout Cavalry at a random location on the map. They are enemies to everyone and will usually be quickly defeated. This is likely a bug, and only appears in more recent versions of the game.
The player starts with Alaric and his troops in the west, heading towards the civilian port in the east to meet Athaulf's troops. On the way, while collecting a few Gaia soldiers, the player would also encounter an attack led by fellow Goth enemy Saurus (a Knight with Lance hero) with his army. While the smaller group that comes to attack Alaric's troops can be dealt easily, the larger group will remain stationery at a certain point of the main road, and the player shall avoid them by travelling into the forest sideway.
As the player collects more troops at the port, the player is to carry all the troops with Transport Ships provided at the port, accompanied with some War Galleys and Fire Ships, bringing Alaric to the port in the south of Ravenna. The player should avoid from Ravenna as far as possible, as the coastal line is heavily guarded by Saurus' navy which is impossible to be defeated. However, the player's ship(s) would still be hit by Saurus' Watch Towers on the sea, which can be avoided quickly. To the east, there are some Gaia mercenaries ready to join Alaric and quit their boring life.
The destination port is actually controlled by Saurus, and the player would have to defeat the troops there. As Alaric learns that the Roman emperor is not there, he would have to head to Ravenna and meet the emperor. However, as he reaches the Gate (which is locked), there are Saurus' troops pursuing him. Alaric learns that the emperor has once again betrayed him. Then the player would have to bring Alaric to the civilian village westwards.
The Italian village would be taken over by the player, thus becomes the player's base. There are troops in the west of the village which would immediately start fighting Saurus' troops upon the takeover by the player. The player shall start building up troops, in preparation to defeat Saurus by destroying his fortress. Meanwhile, Saurus would invade the player's village again from the west, therefore the player shall build up defenses there.
Stone Mines are quite scarce in this scenario, only available within the player's village. While there are just a handful of Gold Mines in the village, the player can find plenty more in the northwest of the village, somewhere north of Saurus' fort, however the player should avoid from Saurus' large patrolling guards, if not ready to fight them. The player may also trade with Saurus' Market at his port, or build a Dock at Saurus' port and trade with the civilian dock across the sea. However, the player should destroy all military buildings, Markets and the dock at Saurus' port, to prevent him from creating an army or navy there.
After so long in the high ceilings and broad halls of Rome, the low tents to which I returned were comforting, more homely. Kinsmen approached me with hope in their eyes, still allied with my husband, heart and soul. I shared no such enthusiasm. "Yet he is seeing the Emperor himself!" They said. "Surely he must make progress now."
They cheered when he returned. I knew better. He and his men slumped over their horses, heads bowed, faces chiseled, as if daring the earth to test them again. The shouts faded when my people noticed the blood on their tunics. That night I mourned the loss of a trusting man. Gone were the days when a man was bound by honor. A new age of treachery and war peeked over the horizon. A hard age. A cold age.
A dark age.
- The cyan computer player "Alaric" has a Battering Ram as a placeholder unit at the northern tip of the map.
- In the original Forgotten Empires mod expansion, the player has an Archer as a placeholder unit who would garrison himself into the cyan ram mentioned above, in the beginning of the game.
- Sometimes, when the player transports the troops by Transport Ship while avoiding the Ravenna, all enemy units suddenly disappear, which makes the player automatically win the scenario. It's probably a glitch (Forgotten Empires only).
- The Gaia player in the Forgotten Empires is assigned as "Saracens" while in the official HD edition expansion The Forgotten it is "Goths". This results in the difference in appearance of the ship sails (Saracens (Middle Eastern) - scimitar; Goths (Central European) - cross).