I was born in the year 14,100 BCE... About ninety of us were born before Christ...
G'Len, oldest of the Eternals
16,000 years ago, a man called G'Len was born on a peninsula that would one day become Ireland. Since then, other immortal men and women have been born, sometimes parent and child, sometimes siblings, sometimes great-to-fiftieth grandchildren. They are the Eternals. They vary in age, from just decades to many millennia old. This site is dedicated to these people. For they have watched civilization be born, grow up, and mature into the globalized world we live in today. Here, they can tell their stories.
AH.com Eternals is a long-running blend of a roleplaying Play-by-Post Game and action-espionage dramatic webseries created over at the AlternateHistory.com discussion board. Though originally intended as a one-off idea, it soon grew and expanded and now carries the distinction of being one of the few roleplaying games on AH.com to be still running after nearly 5 years. Obviously inspired by the Highlander series during its starting phase, it has firmly grown into its own original mythos and canon over the years, only sharing a few basic ideas with its source of inspiration.One of the main elements of the canon is the existence of The Trust, a secret global organization of Eternals that was founded in the 16th century. Its goals are to help Eternals cope with their unique fates, shelter them, record their life stories, allow them to contact and help each other and work to protect regular humans and world peace from various threats. Naturally, many Eternals never warmed up to the idea of the Trust or never liked other Eternals and regular humans all that much to begin with. These are Rogue Eternals, the primary antagonists of the series.An important milestone in the game's Myth Arc was the Reveal. It occured in early 2011, and from then on, the game has stopped being a purely secret history populated by the Eternals, and has become a kind of Alternate History of our present. In addition to this narrative Re Tool, the pace of the main storyline has sped up a bit and is now set about five or so years into our own future. This was done as a move to chronicle the gradual influence of Eternals and their declassified knowledge on modern human society and science.The series is nominated regularly for "Best Roleplaying Game" in AH.com's annual Turtledove Awards (the AH.com Oscars). It has already won once in this category, in 2009.The discussion thread in which the series is played can be found here. The series page on the AH.com Wiki can be accessed here.
This series/roleplaying game provides the following tropes:
Acting for Two: Several players have played more than one character throughout the years. Their older characters are not retconned away, but added to the list of characters and portrayed whenever they're needed again on-screen (which is not all that often, really). Off-screen dialogues and actions of characters can occassionally occur, particularly if the player/creator of a character is not available at the moment and his character is crucial for at least a few moments in the storyline. To date, the latter type of situation has been very rare, so few of the existing non-NPC characters make appearances in the absence of their creator.
The Ageless: Eternals. The story is told from their point of view.
Alien Space Bats: Given the basic premise and its fantasy nature, the game is housed in the eponymous forum of AH.com, which deals with fantasy-themed alternate histories. Unfortunately, since that forum is off limits to non-members, you'll have to join the board before you can read the discussion thread itself. However, the always-accessible wiki page of the series regularly summarizes the main developments in the story.
Alternate Universe: Exactly the same as ours until 2011, with a single exception: A certain portion of humanity are immortal humans who live among us, keeping their superpowers in secrecy.
Anachronic Order: Most of the storyline in general. Sometimes, a chapter will focus on the latest events in the storyline, sometimes it will be an examination of the known history of the Eternals, sometimes it will be a retrospective of an Eternal about one particular period or event in his life, etc.
Ancient Conspiracy: Played with. Eternals trying to cover up their own existence definitely qualifies as ancient, but the Trust as an organization was only formed in the 16th century. And, for once, the conspiracy itself is actually benevolent and serves to protect both Eternals and Ephemerals. Rogue Eternals, on the other hand... They play the typical "malevolent" connotations of the trope fairly straight.
Anti-Hero: A lot of the characters have or had traits like this, even the really noble ones. The antihero subtypes in the Eternals community run the whole gamut, except for the rather rare Byronic Hero (Type V).
Been There, Shaped History: While some Eternals tried to keep to themselves for their entire long existence, most Eternals helped shape history in one way or another, to various degrees and because of various motivations.
Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: While most Eternals have posed as common folk throughout the centuries and millennia, some of them did eventually become notable historical characters and personalities. The trope is subverted a bit by most of these historical personalities being the less famous ones, not exactly common-knowledge household names. For instance, one of the secret identities of the character Gregorios was the early American settler John Alden.
In the Past, Everyone Will Be Famous: Subverted. While many of the longer-lived and more globetrotting-oriented Eternals have certainly met a lot of famous historical figures, no character has bumped into every single famous figure of any given era and any given country.
Cool and Unusual Punishment: Several of the worst Rogue Eternals had to be punished by extreme confinement in order to protect both mortal humans and good guy Eternals from their endless rampaging. How extreme ? Like being burried alive in a mine or being burried in the ocean crust extreme !
Doing in the Wizard : Zig-zagged. While the trigger of immortality that some people receive at birth seems supernatural, it is eventually discovered to be a rare glitch in the human genome. (To the surprise of Eternal characters, the number of people with "Immortality Genes" has only grown throughout human history, not dimished as was once thought.) However, despite the discovered scientific evidence for natural immortality genes, the actual cause of their existence still isn't well understood.
Encyclopedia Exposita: Most of the wiki pages covering this roleplaying project (apart from the introductory one) are written in-universe in order to better immerse readers in the narrative and backstories.
Fun with Acronyms: One of the service branches of The Trust is TETRA - "The Eternals' Trust Repository and Archives".
Genre Shift: While Highlander is primarily an action adventure story, this series has more of a spy thriller tone, with lots of Deconstructor Fleet elements. It's less about the fancy swordfighting with ancient adversaries, and more about Eternals reminescenting about their past adventures and experiences in the form of oral history interviews, or taking part in working for the Trust and for the Eternals' cause. Helping Muggles from behind the scenes or protecting them from villainous Eternals is one of the Trust members' main missions.
Homage: Immortal humans, born in various eras and places, walk among us. Some good, some evil, some of dubious alignment. They cannot die of natural causes. They can only be killed by decapitation or vaporization of the head. This is all that this series and Highlander have in common.
In-Joke: On the wiki pages of the roleplay, at least. In the database of biographical interviews with Eternals, each Eternal is assigned a seemingly random large number by the Trust Archives. This code is actually derived from the secondary code of a post made in the roleplay's thread on the AH.com discussion board.
Intergenerational Friendship: Several examples, but Macarius (old medieval hermit) and Nicolet (young 19th century Franco-American woman) as two lonely explorers on Mars takes the cake.
Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Usualy averted and frowned upon by the Eternals. If a rogue Eternal tries to reveal the Trust or hurt regular people or Eternals, at the very worst, he's hunted down and gets imprisoned. If a regular person reveals Eternals, he is made a life-long confidant or employee of the Trust.
G'Len:"I have heard many terms for our kind, and for how we tend to keep to the shadows in the civilizations that rise and fall around us. However, I think the recent trend to have terms that are entertwined with those popular in 'Vampire' fiction may be some of the sillier innovations."
Bosch:"The Trust had nothing to do with this - what we do was to promote Heinlein's use of the word "Masquerade" in his story Methuselah's Children in 1958. One of our non-trustee employees might have been involved with White Wolf and somehow suggested Vampire: The Masquerade to them, or they may simply have gotten the idea from Heinlein."
Mayfly-December Romance: Played straight with most Eternals, since they mostly marry mortal humans. Subverted with a few others though - a couple might eventually learn that they are both Eternals, thus averting this trope. The characters of Timothy and Jesci are good examples of this.
Multinational Team: As one would expect, the Eternals come from all over the world and from many different eras of human history. Many (if not most) come from nations that have long since disappeared.
Myth Arc: The storyline has slowly and organically moved through several over the years. The early history and fundamentals of Eternals, the quiet war between altruistic and avaricious Eternals, the establishment and history of the Trust, the bringing of malevolent Eternals to justice, the coping of Eternals with the modern and globalized world, with the failure of their long-held masquerade, the start of a new era of Eternal and Ephemeral human coexistence and relations, etc.
New Powers as the Plot Demands: Averted. Eternals can regenerate after being killed or wounded, can live without life support in alien atmospheres or even in vacuum, and cannot die unless you separate their heads from their bodies. But they have no other superpowers beyond those three.
The Obi-Wan: Lots. Many Eternals had Obi Wans of their own or had even become Obi Wans to other Eternals or Muggles over time.
Old Soldier: Many Eternals, especially male ones that were born in earlier eras and were forced to travel and fight a lot. At least one or two characters even mention the name of the trope verbatim when describing themselves and their tribulations.
Older Than They Look: Often subverted, since an Eternal will look the same age they had when they died for the first time, before regenerating. Thus, you can have 20-something Eternals who are 2000 years old, and septuagenarians who became Eternals "only" some 50 or 100 years ago.
Omniglot: Gregorios is specifically stated to be this, being able to fluently speak 37 languages at last count. Other elder Eternals would also fit this trope.
OOC Is Serious Business: That's why players always use the acronym "OOC:" in posts where they're not talking as their character.
Ripped from the Headlines: One of the early post-Reveal side storylines was about the Eternals helping the Japanese government in containing and cleaning up the reactor chamber of the ill-fated Fukushima Daichi nuclear powerplant. Some of the stories that followed this one were related to the Arab Spring of 2011, including the Libyan Civil War.
Running Gag: Kind of an unintentional one. Despite the oft-repeated notion that the Trust has contacted virtually every Eternal on the planet by the 18th century, new Eternal characters keep popping up from time to time, shocked by the notion that they aren't the only immortal humans alive.
When an Eternal dies by decapitation or head vaporization, his/her head does notactually create an effect as grandiose as "the Quickening". Also, most Eternals have actually known their parents, averting the "Immortals are mysterious foundlings" rule that seemed to be common in most installments of the Highlander series. Another dissimilarity in the Eternals mythos is the absence of "The Prize" or anything analogous to it.
Though this is more coincidental and unintentional than not, the flatly descriptive one-word pseudonyms of many Eternals (especially the villainous ones) are similar to the naming conventions of the Time Lord characters from Doctor Who.
Show Within a Show: The autobiographies and personal memoirs of specific Eternals, gradually gleaned through many interviews.
The Smurfette Principle: Averted. A lot of the Eternal characters are female, including the regularly active ones, courtesy of AH.com's rising number of female members.
Tangled Family Tree: Eternals and their offspring that had inherited the immortality genes, often only after several generations (i.e. a lot of Eternals don't even know some of their ancestors were Eternals as well and only reveal this after extensive genealogical research or debates with other Eternals). Some longer-lived Eternals are unfortunate in this regard: Some of their offspring turned outright evil or sociopathic over time, and they as their ancestors now have to live with it. This kind of situation occurs with the fairly normal Eternal character known by the moniker "Edward", who turns out to be one of the direct ancestors of The Blood Knight.
Team Dad: There've been arguably two or three characters like this so far. In the pre-Trust era, the role was filled by G'Len, the oldest known Eternal. He is now retired and rarely visits the Trust. The post-Trust bearer of this trope is Bosch, the founder and head of the Trust. While Bosch, born in medieval France in the late 15th century, is chronologically younger than many of his clients, he is still the undisputed leader, spokesperson and peacemaker of the Eternals. Also a Gentleman Snarker and The Stoic. A villainous version of Team Dad would be The Blood Knight, with his many allies and minions.
Time Dissonance: Naturally, Eternals experience the flow of time and the course of history a bit differently than Ephemerals. Said experiencing also varies from Eternal to Eternal and often has a lot to do with how long they've been alive.
Token Evil Teammate: Valkert is not explicitly evil, but he's morally ambiguous and crazy enough to pull off some weird stunts that are often embarassing to the Trust.
Undead Tax Exemption: Averted. Eternals have to eventually move to another place and adopt a new identity in order to not become too suspicious to Ephemerals.
Unfazed Everyman: The mortal employees of the Trust, sometimes dubbed "Trustees".
Walking the Earth: The older and more adventurous the Eternal, the higher the possibility that he/she is an experienced globetrotter.
Wasteland Elder: The character of Macarius, a silent and stoic old man, who was originally an early Christian hermit monk. After living through the entirety of the Byzantine Empire and harassment by Napoleon's troops in Egypt, he was contacted by the Trust and became an important protegé of it. Eventually, he got bored out of his skull and disillusioned by Earth, so he volunteered for the Eternal's first secret mission to Mars in the 1970s. He's been living there ever since and later Eternal missions have come to make him company.
The Unmasqued World: The world since early 2011, when the Eternals decided to finally reveal their existence to the rest of humanity. This has led to the post-Reveal world veering into an increasingly Alternate History version of our present day world.
Cambyses the Mad: The Bloodsinger's crazy, but with the notable exception of the family of the guy that burned him, he doesn't bother with 'innocents', preferring to fight and kill soldiers on the battlefield. It is only in war and battle that he finds satisfaction, hacking up some defenceless chump wouldn't really appeal to him.
Who Wants to Live Forever? / Living Forever Is Awesome: Rarely discussed aloud, but from what was indicated so far, the characters' thoughts on this run the whole gamut. However, many of the good-natured Eternals seem to believe the second trope applies, in particular if they can use their powers for the benefit of mankind and for helping people in need.