A stout, somewhat disheveled middle-aged man stands with his back against an old, scuffed desk. His voice, though a high tenor, manages to carry across the lecture hall to the audience of thirty-eight students.

"As we no doubt already know, the history of Barniwe begins elsewhere- in the old continent of Bargauld. And, like most histories, this one lies rooted in a legend. What legend am I talking about?"

"Wyvere!" A straw-haired young man supplies.

"Yes, Carter- that's right, I'm talking about the High King Wyvere. We all know the story, don't we? The young scion of a minor clan leads his men to countless victories over what would one day be the country of Balion."

"The motherland," a hefty young woman adds.

"Correct, Sarah. The island that Kuzidh Wyvere united- the system of law and order that he and his advisers built continue to influence every aspect of our own new world governments today. The dynasty he founded continued to rule the Kingdom of Balion until what event?"

Carter looks up with another answer, "The Breakfast of Bloody Beds."

"Yes, yes indeed. Three hundred and fifty-eight years after the first Wyvere was crowned High King of Balion, The Earl of Ulaft led a large faction of (whom the Balian history books paint as heroic) lords to overthrow the Royal Family. The spate of famines, failed wars, and other national misfortunes that had plagued Balion at the time were used as divine justification. While records state that the entire family was massacred, folklore maintains that Hofycgan Wyvere, the five year old nephew of the King, was spirited away by a faithful cook's assistant. My colleague Professor Santeag is a firm believer, and if you're interested in those details, you should talk to him."

"Who became King after that?" A balding man in a back row seat asks.

"The Earl of Ulaft, Jean Afieruma I. Many hold that his wife, Carossine, was the one who pulled the strings. The House of Lords was established shortly after, as a direct result of the coup. The Crown lost much of it's power there, and continued to concede legislative power to that governing body ever since."

"But what does that have to with us?"

"Everything! Shortly after, under the encouragements of Queen Carossine, a group of explorers led by Lord Gavin Kuinpan discovered Barniwe. Sixty-one years later, the first settlement on Barniwe, Pyaniwan, was founded. The race for colonies had begun, and while Ahndesh, Urraine, and Xiawen all established their own, Balion's colonies thrived. Of course, unlike Balion's other colonies, they were primarily peopled by Balion nationals, who weren't used to being treated as second-class citizens by their home country. We had the War for Barniwe, and the seven colonies became independent nations."

"Seven? Isn't Msichanides still a Balion colony?"

"Yes, but they didn't go back to Balion's open arms until the Ahndeshi War- which is when the Duchy of Kashpra was seized from independent control, by the way-"

"It used to be the Colony of Fleckney, and later the Kingdom of Fleckney."

"Correct, Lise, but the other colonies, disliking the volatile nature of it's dictatorial monarch, refused to give it support against the Ahndeshi invasion. Anyway, the reason why I brought it up today is due to current events. Does anyone here check the news?"

"Yes, Professor- this is about the changes in Balion, isn't it?"

"It is, Bryn. If you've been paying attention, class, you would have heard that the Balion Prime Minister has consolidated power in the House of Lords following the untimely death of King Xawere IV. Now, this wouldn't be a big deal if that Prime Minister wasn't Errun Galdawi. A onetime member of the Special Thaumaturgic Service, Galdawi was one of the newly elected Lords following the collapse of Curring Hall (where the House of Lords met until last year), colloquially dubbed as the Junta. These Lords all have strong ties to the Balian military, and it wasn't a surprise to us here at the College of History when they declared the Crown Princess Xawera Empress and passed a series of laws that have solidified her position as a figurehead."

An attentive student asks, "What does this mean for us?"

"The Balian Empire, as it's now dubbed itself, has been spending more on the military than it has in decades, and Msichanides is teeming with Empire personnel. We know that their other provinces have been suffering in terms of resources, and we all know that Barniwe is naturally rich. It doesn't take a politician to see where this might put us. And if war does hit us, will the nations of Barniwe unite once more? Whatever happens, students, I do know this: history will be made before you graduate."