Alternative History

The word ‘Millennium’ raced through Europe. One thousand years had passed, and many among the faithful believed that God would shortly end the world. None more so than Emperor Vaisamar of the Huns. To make preparations for Judgment Day he traveled to Egypt with the intention of emptying out the greatest of the pyramids so that he could be interred in place of the ancient monarch. His servants called him mad, but did his bidding.

In a way, Vaisamar was right. The end would soon come – the end of Europe. For the Mongol Horde had recovered from its disgrace and was once again on the move. An army outnumbering any raised before moved through the north of Asia and into Europe, allowing nothing to stand in their way.

If anyone but Vaisamar ruled the Huns, history might have been different. The Holy Empire of the Huns could have served as a roadblock, stopping the Mongols in their tracks, though not perhaps without a cost. The nations of Europe would remain as they were. But Vaisamar was Emperor, and the Huns fell. They didn’t even put up much of a fight; for the most part the population simply fled, whether by angling around the Mongols or by pushing through the Gothic territory and into the harbors owned by Huns in Italia. And so the Mongols entered Europe unimpeded. The hooves of hundreds of thousands of horses trod the earth. At the head of an army was a man whose name was Batukhan. He rode no horse, leading the charge of thirty-seven war elephants, the first to enter Europe since the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire.

After reaching the western edge of the former Hun territories, the Horde split. Batukhan himself took two thirds to Frankia while allowing his son to lead the other third against the Goths.

The Goths mounted an impressive defense by combining their paid troops with armed volunteers. It would be a test of their newly-reforged strength. Unfortunately, they did not account for the fact that Mongols weren’t just numerous: they were also clever. When approaching Gothic lines, they drove forward the Huns captured during the first part of their campaign to take the brunt of the enemy’s counterattack. Once the prisoners were slaughtered, the Mongol riders attacked the poorly armored militia, causing them to retreat and soon rout. The professional forces found themselves surrounded and facing grisly demise. To their credit, many fought to the end, though the Mongols didn’t always give them the option.

In Frankia, things were even worse. Mongols rode circles around Frankish forces, often literally. The walled cities of the Franks gave them no trouble. Their conquest continued until they reached the Canal and attempted a crossing. Upon sighting the Roman guards, the Mongols turned around and rowed like mad back to the mainland. Batukhan was properly terrified to learn that the same people who stopped his grandfather in a land on the opposite side of the world were here as well. Therefore, the Mongolian invasion halted in its tracks, ironically saving Andalusia from their occupation.

In as little as a year, most of Europe was under Mongolian control, save for Britannia, Andalusia, and the far North. Batukhan found the European lands more agreeable than the steppes of the East, so he chose to make his capital on the eastern border of Frankia, ensuring a lasting Mongolian presence.

To the west, Andalusians praised God for sparing them and built ships and armies as before.

To the North a man called Leif Erikson, son of Erik the Red, used the Mongolian threat to give weight to his once-failing campaign for Norse unification. Though many were doubtful of the Mongols’ ability to fight in the snow, his efforts began yielding successes at last.

To the South the Huns survived, though the Holy Empire was no more. They were led by Ellac the Humble, son of the late Vaisamar who, in a fit of cosmic irony, was bitten by a poisonous snake on the very day the Mongols crossed the Hunnic borders.

And to the West? There was Rome, holding no fear of the Mongolian threat, growing strong and prosperous, as it had since a Roman first set foot in Terra Nova.