TNESII: ET IN ARCADIA EGO Introduction. Peace is the silence between volleys. -Cardinal lAzyr Welcome to a world in tentationem, hanging between heaven and hell. There may be worlds where unchallenged superpowers reign over an impoverished globe. Worlds where the concept of a crusade, a holy war for the purpose of divine favor or undying glory, has been discredited. This world is not among them. For years, decades even, the powers of this world have plotted, intrigued, and maneuvered their way into position for the Next War. The last great war took mighty Britain as its victim. The one before that claimed Italy. No king, arbiter, president, or cardinal lays his head to rest without thinking, Who will be next? Will it be me? Will it be you? Welcome to a world where turbines begin to spin, where ships begin to glide or steam through choppy waters. A world where prayers to Allah and the Buddha are drowned out by the sound of cathedral bells and mortars. Perhaps you will seek to decide the coming conflicts. Perhaps you will seek to avoid them entirely. But are we not all drawn in, in the end? The diadem will crown your head, or the noose surround your neck. So many have tried to place imperial laurels upon their own heads, and failed. How will you fare? Welcome, dear player, to a struggle. You will come out of it flush with victory, or humiliated. Welcome, dear player, to a challenge. You will rise to meet it, or be crushed mercilessly. Welcome, dear player, to the beginning and the end of all things. For even in Arcadia, Death cometh.