The Great Khan Toghun II rules from the Mongol capital of Tyemzakhot (Thames City in the language of the local peasantry), a town once called London in an island province once called Britain.
The Mongol horde has realized the shamanic guarantee given to Toghun’s forefather Genghis generations ago. From one sea to the other the Mongol empire stretches, seeming to touch every land under the blue sky.
Few traces remain of the proud medieval states that once ruled Europe. Epirus and Byzantium fight a losing battle against the Ayyubids to the south, while Mongol armies surround the few city-states that remain of the Holy Roman Empire.
The past ten years have seen three popes. Leo XII, elected only months ago, resides in a comfortable manor in Gorizia, his “papal state” little more than a quaint township; Rome and the Vatican have been under Mongol rule for decades.
With old borders removed and rivalries made obsolete, Europe has begun to experience a phenomenal cultural and artistic renaissance. The Mediterranean region is florid with great artists, poets, and thinkers of every variety. Muslim, Chinese, Turko-Mongol, and European minds, freed of national boundaries, are able to come together in a way that has never before been achieved.
Latin has been supplanted by Mongolian as the common language of the European intellectual elite. Europeans write their native languages in the Latin script and Mongolian in the jagged vertical script brought to them by their conquerors; to be able to write and read this difficult alphabet is a mark of intelligence and scholarship.
Under the orders of Toghun’s grandfather, the khan’s shamans developed a state religion fusing traditional Tengrism with reverence for the khan as a servant of the divine. The Blue Sky Way, as this new religion has been termed, has proved lukewarm in its effectiveness, popular among the nobility of Europe who desire to emulate their rulers but largely ineffectual among the common people, who are unconvinced by the vagueness of Tengric teachings and reluctant to give up the Christian idea of a paradise after death. As Turkic and Mongolic culture slowly diffuses westward, however, this may well change in time.