The Age of Apostasy was keenly felt within the Tungusk Sector, as deep religious convictions and shrewd political machinations spiraled into an ever-deepening civil war. While much of their political power had decayed over the past two millennia, the Ivanovas staked their still considerable military might behind Sebastian Thor’s Confederation of Light and, in time, their gambit paid off with Thor’s ascension to Ecclesiarch. With the personal support of the most powerful mortal in the Imperium, and with many of their rivals desperately recanting their allegiance to Goge Vandire, the Ivanovas were able to re-invest the position of Czar with unprecedented authority. This was made manifest in the ‘Velvet Book’: a register of the sector’s noble genealogies, bearing the seal of the Estate Imperium, that granted the Czar the ability, with but the stroke of a quill, to declare any noble’s title null and void. The Ivanovas were judicious in their usage of this new power, for fear of sparking outright rebellion amongst the nobility, and even showed a certain magnanimity in their victory by officially sanctioning the serfdom system – essentially handing over the lives of trillions of Imperial citizens into the ownership of their noble lords, and promising terrible punishment for anyone who sought to escape their yoke, all in the name of peace.

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