It is the year 1521 and Western Civilization is in crisis. The words of Martin Luther spread across Europe, sparking insurrection against the Catholic Church, which has dominated the souls and minds of men for a thousand years. The Inquisition rises up in response, prepared to inflict all manner of tortures on heretics and unbelievers. Sailors from Spain and Portugal bring back stories of vast worlds and strange empires in the lands beyond the seas-along with chests heavy with gold and silver bars-that seize the dreams of young men across the continent and fill them with the desire to set out for parts unknown. Victims of the Black Death lay in mass graves across the continent, and the subsequent labor shortages and upheavals have caused the traditional social orders that have held sway since the demise of the Roman Empire to feel their own mortality. Books, long a luxury for the rich or kept chained to shelves in monastery libraries, begin to circulate among the common people as a result of the recent invention of the printing press, and access to ideas ceases to be a privilege that the nobles and clergy can keep to themselves. Radical thinkers like Michelangelo Buonarroti and Leonardo DaVinci challenge people to think in new ways, reintroducing the forgotten lore of the Greeks and Romans back into Western Civilization, and overthrowing views of nature, God, and humanity that have remained largely static for centuries.

It is the death of the Dark Ages, and the painful birth of the Modern Age. It is the end of a world dominated by superstition and fear, and the beginning of a world awakened to reason and understanding. It is the end of the age of myth, and the beginning of the age of man.

But what if the myths refuse to go? What if terror and ignorance refuse to relinquish their hold on the minds of humankind? What if all the old stories about witch-haunted woods and pixies dancing in the moonlight and monsters in the night resist the transition into folklore and fairy tale and insist on being real? What if the old gods will not die? What if the darkness of superstition strikes back against the feeble, flickering light of the rebirth of knowledge, and extinguishes that light forever? Or what if the old stories are only stories now because all of the dragons, ghosts, and goblins were annihilated in one dread conflict, thus providing for the present human world?

And so, the Tenth Crusade, in which the champions of human reason square off against the terrible and beautiful creatures born of the human imagination. The armies of myth and the armies of man gather for a confrontation that will decide who shall be consigned to the realms of dream and memory, and who shall hold sway over the Earth.

Crusade X

AtuSinda nucleiclight Galahad