Idoaclesian Writing: The Empire Cycle ~ Ash
The houses in the dream, both old and new, have followed strikingly similar patterns and cycles throughout the history of the dream. These patterns offer valued insights into who we are, and why we do what we do. The first cycle is the cycle of creation. This ushers in the most successful phase of any Empire... With the momentum of creation at its back, there are a series of "waves" as I think of them. First Large waves of activity, expansion, and production. Each successive wave is smaller than the previous, though. Eventually, when these "waves" die down, the end of the Empire is abrupt. Growing indifference leads to abandonment of purpose, and command structure.
In most famous periods of our history involving houses, Cycles have tended to contain two houses, instead of one. A recent example would be the Guardians of Flame and the Coven of Eternal Whispers. A more distant example would be The Emancipators and the Sect. Houses which experience the cycle alone, tend to die out and become irrelevant sooner. This is no doubt due to a deficiency in ambition, without a true enemy to challenge them.
The Empire Cycle is truly an expression of human ambition, and our drive for power in all of its forms. The hint, or possibility of obtaining power is the thing that fuels ambition. Forming a new house provides its members with the perception of that possibility, so they proceed into waves of ever diminishing effort which degrades with the realization that the power they seek is but an illusion. Without the fuel to an Empire's ambition, its death is sure to follow. One element of Empires that effects the length, and success of an Empire is its enemies. Houses with more hated rivals seem to last longer, and achieve more things before their cycle expires. The Sect of the Prudent and Emancipators of Men are an example of two houses that relied upon their hatred for the other to fuel the intensity of their cycle. Houses like the Eternal Order, or even Wardens, without hated enemies burn brightly, and die fast.
Recently, one tangible incentive for any Empire, expanded methods of utilizing energy, has become available. This new element of the Empire model is untested, and it is unclear how things will change. I would speculate that it will serve to stimulate a longer, and more successfull wave cycle because it acts as an entirely new source of fuel to the ambition of its membership. The Coven, the first house with large amounts of energy may provide clues into how this new element will alter future cycles.