Early Imperial timeline
The easiest way to gain a quick understanding of the history of the Empire and the key events of that history is with a brief overview. To that aim I present this time line. There are several dating systems that have been used in this overview which may need explaining for your understanding of when events happened.
TC refers to the old Tawdonian Calendar used by the Kingdom of Tawdic before the formation of the Empire.
BE means Before the Empire.
BP means Before the Seven Year’s Plague which was delivered unto our people when Ney and Olt joined forces to take power from Sim, the Aspect of War.
MC refers to the Medakan Calendar instituted by the first Emperor Medaka I.
492TC / 25BE / 375BP
- Emperor Medaka I born as Prince Tobias Medaka III of Tawdic.
506TC / 11BE / 361BP
- Tobias III assumes the throne of the Kingdom of Tawdic – age 14.
517TC / 1MC / 350BP
- Tobias III proclaims himself Medaka I of the Tawdonian Empire with resistance from the Pentaverate nations.
10MC / 341BP
- Medaka I has a son by his favorite concubine, Ascinda.
24MC / 326BP
- The Tawdonian Empire reigns undisputed with Medaka I at its head – age 50.
26MC / 324BP
- The Empire begins its policy of expansionism and grows past the boundaries of the original Pentavarate States.
27MC / 323BP
- Explorers discover a huge desert to the west of the Empire. Three large expeditions are mounted to cross it. All three disappear.
29MC / 321BP
- Teams of explorers are sent north. Some disappear but most return with tales of a wild savage land sparsely populated with barbaric tribes. The land was too harsh to bother colonizing but the people made good workers.
31MC / 319BP
- Medaka I dies under mysterious circumstances and his son Medaka II ascends the throne. Medaka I, aged 57; Medaka II, aged 21.
32MC / 318BP
- Under Medaka II the Empire begins importing slaves from the Northern Wilds. Expansionism continues but is slowed due to cutbacks from the Capital.
36MC / 314BP
- The tribes of the Northern Wilds seemed to have been slaved into extinction. Settlers to the east discover villages similar to the northern tribes. Any settlements found are annexed and the inhabitants sent to the Capital.
42MC / 308BP
- Explorers from a Tawdonian outpost on the southern shore of the Minor Ocean discover a civilization known as the Quidam. Their land is claimed in the name of Medaka II and they enter the Empire.
44MC / 306BP
- The Aspected One and His worshipers make their first appearance in the Empire. Medaka II foolishly tries to crush the worship of the Three Faced God. The religion only grows in numbers as an underground cult. Followers begin using the initials of Ney, Olt and Sim to refer to their god. The Quidam begin disappearing from society.
45-63MC / 305-288BP
- The cult of NOS grows stronger. More and more citizens have visions of the Aspected One, the Three Faced God. By 56MC most of society’s highest figures have converted to Nosianism. Medaka II refuses to convert. By 48MC the Quidam have all but vanished from the Empire.
64MC / 287BP
- Emperor Medaka II is assassinated by members of his Inner Council. With no heirs to ascend the throne, Council Leader Teffan Dal Sidram claims the throne and becomes Emperor Sidram I. His first act as Emperor is to name Nosianism as the official religion of the Tawdonian Empire.
66MC / 285BP
- Sidram I is determined to conquer the Great Waste. Villages are set up 20 kilometres outside its eastern edge. They are to be outposts for exploratory expeditions.
69MC / 282BP
- All three of Sidram I’s Great Waste outposts have been lost to the desert sands. None of the expeditions lasted more than a week and most never returned. Those that did brought tales of strange sand beasts and a ruined city half buried in the dunes.
70-75 MC / 281-276BP
- Obsessed with finding a route through the Great Waste Sidram I sends his forces north along the edge of the Great Waste. By the end of their mission, Sidram’s men had found no way across the desert. They did however discover tremendous natural resources in the Northern Wilds.
76 MC / 275BP
- Due to serious illness and his failure in the Great Waste, Sidram I dies after 12 years on the throne.
77-81 MC / 274-270BP
- The Empire is ruled by the members of the Inner Council as efforts are made to sort out Sidram’s legacy of illegitimate children and settle the matter of the heir to the throne. In 76 MC the Nosian head, Primus Vadoulli Sildor, creates the Order of the Talon; an order of religious knights who uphold the doctrines of Nos and the wishes of the Primus.
82MC / 269BP
- The council decides that the child who has the most legitimate claim to the empire is a twelve year old girl borne by Sidram’s third wife Talieia. Empress Allanaya is crowned in Tawdic City.
83-87MC / 268-264BP
- The Council rules the Empire in regency until Allanaya’s sixteenth birthday. The Empress is the victim of several assassination attempts during this time but all are thwarted by members of the Order of the Talon.
88MC / 263BP
- The Empire begins its serious exploitation of the resources in the Northern Wilds. This puts them back into conflict with the tribes who have returned to the area. The Primus sends missionaries into the Wilds in an attempt to convert the savages to the True Religion. While a few tribes become followers, the priests’ work is considered to be a failure when they are held prisoner in the Wilds by a tribe called the Skae. The Order of the Talon is sent to rescue them. The Order slaughters the offending tribe and it was thought that none of the Skae survived the attack from the Order of the Talon. Even still the Empress is against enslaving the tribes.
91MC / 260BP
- Empress Allanaya dies in childbirth. The child survives the delivery. The Empress’ Inner Council once again rules the Empire in regency until the boy, Medaka III is old enough to rule.
93MC / 258BP
- After an attempt on the young Emperor’s life, Primus Vadoulli orders that the Council give the Emperor to him. The Council refuses the Primus’ request, so the Order of the Talon storms the Imperial Palace and takes the child to the Temple of NOS. This is the start of the War of the Regents. The Council accuses the Primus of acting against the good of the Empire by kidnapping the Emperor. The Church declares the Inner Council corrupt with nothing but their own power in mind. he Council declares war on the Church of NOS. The population is torn between its rulers and its religion.
97MC / 254BP
- Four years of civil war ends with the members of the Imperial Inner Council dead and Primus Vadoulli Sildor acting as Regent for the six year old Emperor Medaka III.
103MC / 284BP
- At the age of twelve, Emperor Medaka III ascends the Imperial throne. The youngest head the Empire has ever had.
107MC / 244BP
- Primus Vadoulli Sildor, the man responsible for Medaka III’s training as a statesman and Emperor dies. He appoints the Emperor as his successor to the position of Primus of NOS. At the tender age of sixteen, Medaka III holds more power than any other man that has ever existed. He is the leader of his people in every way. Emperor-Primus Medaka III ruled the Tawdonian Empire for the next 70 years or so. By the time of his death in 174MC the Empire had slaved the tribes out of the Wilds again and seriously exploited that area’s resources. Even if the tribes still lived, there was nothing left for them to live on. Early on in his rule the Empire expanded to the east, down the far shore of the Hurn Sea. Here they discovered a beautiful natural wilderness: rolling hills, dense old growth forests, lakes of incredible clarity, and rich fertile plains. Here was a land that would rejuvenate the spirit of the Empire. Since the War of the Regents, the Empire had been suffering from a sort of malaise. Unrest was every where. The fringes of the Empire were always breaking off, needing to be reconquered. But this new territory would bring prosperity and well being back to the Empire and its citizens. However, it also brought the Confederacy.
115MC / 236BP
- The Empire builds settlements along the eastern shore of the Hurn Sea. These frontier towns are soon attacked by people similar to those found on the northern coast of the Minor Ocean 75 years before. Some of the settlements survive, others are slaughtered. Medaka III is furious! Members of the Order of the Talon are sent to the Frontier to investigate. They discover Skae.
116MC / 235BP
- Construction of the first fortified town, Battlekeep, on the north-east tip of the Hurn Sea commences. Larger bands of Skae and other savages target the town.
117MC / 234BP
- The Order of the Talon and one thousand of the Emperor’s Army go the the frontier to confront the Skae and their allies. Casualties are high on both sides. The savages are pushed back but none of the frontier towns but Battlekeep survive.
118-135MC / 233-216BP
- The Empire tries repeatedly to expand beyond its hold at Battlekeep but any settlements that reach too deep into the Frontier are lost. 132MC Medaka III’s wife, Empress LoTana gives birth to twin boys Dailan and Tannok.
136MC / 215BP
- The Empire and the leaders of the Confederacy agree to meet and work on a peaceful settlement to the dispute. It was agreed that the Empire would build no outposts farther south or east than Battlekeep and the Confederacy would stop attacking Tawdonian people. This became known as the Two Years Treaty, as that’s how long it lasted.
138MC / 213BP
- The Two Years Treaty comes to an end when Tawdonian forces move into the Neutral Zone under the pretense of starting a mission to spread the True Religion. The Confederacy, especially the Skae, object to this. The ‘missionary’ force is massacred by Skae warriors.
139-147MC / 212-204BP
- Tawdonian soldiers and Confederate warriors repeatedly fight along the Frontier. Skirmishes at first, the outbreaks gradually escalated into outright warfare.
The Longhouse Convention
136MC / 215BP
The Disaster of the Longhouse Convention
Medaka III himself negotiates a peace treaty with the Confederacy of the Great Woods. He and 30 members of the Order of the Talon journeyed to the Frontier to meet with the Tribal leaders. After a few months of work, things looked to be going well with a treaty almost complete when an assassination attempt was made on the Emperor. He was nearly poisoned and blamed the Confederacy. The attempt was faked by the Emperor to get the Confederacy to make concessions on the treaty.
It worked to some extent, but then Medaka III’s instincts as a follower of NOS and Primus took over. He insisted on converting the Confederacy to Nosianism but they refused his offer. He declared them all heretics and executed the leader of the Confederacy’s delegation right there at the peace table. Only one member of the Emperor’s Guard survived the task of getting Medaka III back to Battlekeep alive. The rest died at the hands of enraged Skae warriors who chased them to the gates of the city. When the Imperial Inner Council heard of the Emperor’s behaviour, it was decided that the positions of Primus and Emperor must not be held by the same man. The Emperor agreed that, much as the separate aspects of NOS must be kept separate, so should the posts of political ruler and spiritual leader. He declared that when he died his son Dailan would sit on the throne as Emperor, and his son Tannok would become the new Primus of NOS.
The next two centuries were a time of perpetual warfare between the Tawdonian Empire and the Confederacy of the Great Woods, interrupted, occasionally, by out breaks of peace. Some of these outbreaks were actual attempts at ending the hostilities, but most were just periods of downtime for the armies to regroup and reequip. Most of these ‘Skae Peaces’ lasted only weeks or months, but a few stretched into years. These were uneasy truces filled with minor skirmishes during which both sides constantly expected a sudden and massive onslaught from the enemy. Usually neither side had long to wait. The longest and bloodiest period of fighting began in 278 MC and lasted until 351 MC. It surely would have lasted longer had 351 MC not been the year Ney and Olt visited their Great Plague upon mankind.
The war ended, but hostilities between the two sides, I fear, won’t end until one or the other has been exterminated. The plague lasted seven long years and killed more people than the previous seventy-three years of war had done. Ninety percent of the population was lost due to Ney and Olt’s gambit to depose Sim as the Supreme Aspect and return the Divine Cycle to its proper turn. This meant that while Tawdic City and the large towns near the centre of the Empire still held thousands, or at least, hundreds of people, the outlying settlements were lucky to have five people left. It has been over fifty years since the first signs of the plague in 351 and the Empire is in turmoil. There have been eleven Emperors officially recognized by the citizens of Tawdic City in those fifty years, and NOS knows how many unsuccessful claims to the throne. Many of the survivors of the plague on the fringes of the Empire have formed new societies and claimed their independence. With the troubles in the Imperial City, most were allowed to break away; but for how long? Some of the renegade towns have already been brought back under the fist of Imperial rule, willingly or otherwise. It is said that there is a new, stronger Emperor on the throne in Tawdic City. The Empire is beginning to recover.
The Plague Years
The first cases of the Great Plague occurred, in the Empire, in the 351st year of the Emperor in a town called Krakenberg [about seventy years ago]. Krakenberg lay at the Western mouth of the South Pass, one of the routes through the Rockland Mountains. Its location made it a primary way-station for soldiers on their way to and from the battlefields of the Frontier. It was first believed that the Plague was brought to the Empire by soldiers returning from the war with the barbarian hordes. What is odd is that Krakenberg was not the nearest Imperial settlement to the war. Battlekeep, and its surrounding farm communities, had returning warriors pass through days or even weeks before Krakenberg had any sick soldiers. Even Thulud and the other port towns on the Minor Ocean should have had shiploads of Plague-carrying veterans before any could cross the South Pass. It is this fact alone that caused the medical and spiritual thinkers of the Emeperor’s court to first suspect the Great Plague had origins other than the battlefield.
From Krakenberg, the Plague quickly spread to the rest of the Emperor’s lands. Within a week, whole villages in the provinces of Belceron and Sinciput had been decimated. By the end of summer, the Great Plague of NOS had spread as far West as the town of Tannis. The Imperial City had lost over one hundred thousand lives, and the count was climbing. Much of the Imperial coffers were dedicated to finding a cure, for in the first week of Fall, 351, it was announced that Emperor Vargas himself had taken ill.
It was shortly after the Emperor became sick that the city of Menhaden sealed itself from the rest of the world to keep out the Plague. Tariel Lang, the governor of the province of Menhaden saw the situation in the Capital as his chance to break from the Empire. It was on the festival of Olt och Sim, 351, that the fortress city of Menhaden closed its doors and waited for the siege.
The Emperor was outraged at the news but he ignored his counselors’ urgings to fund a war to retake the rebellious House of Lang. Vargas was sick, his Empire was sick, he knew that the only hope lay in finding a cure. The army was ordered to abandon the Frontier, leaving only garrisons to guard the Western side of the Rockland Mountains. The Southern fleet was called home to port, with just a handful of ships to watch for the Confederate longboats. All efforts were channelled into the Cure.
By Burholt 352, the Great Plague had spread to every corner of the Empire and Emperor Vargas was dead. His younger brother, Eldin took the throne, but succumbed to the Plague after only forty days wearing the crown. His first decree however, was war on Menhaden. He died before seeing his army finally decimated outside the walls of Lang’s fortress city.
In the Summer of 352, under the influence of Ney, the Plague altered. Hundreds still died every day across the Empire, but it changed how it worked. Some would die within a few days of their symptoms, but some people and even animals went through horrible, painful transformations. Many of these victims died as well, but too many survived. Even plants displayed the large blisters and callous warts that typified the Great Plague.
After Eldin died, the only member of the family old enough to rule was Vargas’ widow, Tamora. The Inner Council objected of course, but Empress Tamora was healthy and many on the Council were not. After a year of study and prayer and dabbling with their alchemies, imperial scientists were no closer to the Cure. Rumours that the Imperial City had discovered a cure for the Plague caused a huge influx of pilgrims. They came from the four corners of the Empire to get the Cure, but found none to be given. Riots rocked the capital for months. Empress Tamora had no choice but to take valuable resources away from the doctors to keep the peace across Tawdic City. The ignorant masses caused their own misery to the prolonged without even knowing it. In one such riot, the Imperial Palace was assaulted and the Empress slain. Martial conditions in the Capital became strict and fierce.
The Winter of 352 was extremely harsh and the death rate, which had been declining, exploded. Tor’Jadin, the capital of the province Sinciput, was completely exterminated. The beautiful city lay empty, devoid of all life. It was the following Spring, 353, two years after the Plague began that the Empire was first exposed to the Fey races. After the assassination of Tamora, the Inner Council appointed Senator Grax of Charkon to the throne. A vicious, narrow minded man, he saw the Fey as a threat to Humanity and declared that being non-Human was a crime punishable by death. He, and many others saw the Fey and their alien ways, as a blasphemy against NOS and felt they had to be destroyed. The Primus did not agree with the new Emperor’s views and tried to convince Charkon to rescind the law, that the Fey were just other Aspects of Humanity. Charkon was not convinced even after the Tor’Jadin Revolt (Five hundred of Charkon’s soldiers were sent to Tor’Jadin to pass the Emperor’s sentence on the Fey. They were met by armed resistance, both physical and magical. A week after the fighting began, twenty members of the Order of the Talon were sent by the Primus with instructions to capture or destroy the Emperor’s men and help protect the city from any of Charkons’ further insults to the Fey.) Charkon was not fully convinced of his error until his death when the Order of the Talon, lead by one of the Primus’ Archprimes, took one last stab at changing his mind in 354.
After Emperor Charkon’s removal from the throne, the Inner Council could not agree upon which among them should become the new Emperor. For nearly a year they argued about who should lead and finally agreed that in the season of Ney, 355, they would convene in the Great Hall of the Imperial Palace and settle the matter once and for all. The Inner Council members went their separate ways to work on building their power bases and garner supporters. Only one man went to Tor’Jadin to seek support and he became the new Emperor. Council Corvass Zardrouin had fallen ill shortly after Charkon’s death and slipped into a coma. His family feared it was a new symptom of the Plague (and no one to this day can say for sure that it was not) but one day he suddenly awoke fully recovered but changed. He saw things in the world around him. Th world and the things in it seemed to be giving off strange energies. When the challenge of the Council was made he sought out the Fey to see if they could explain his new sight.
They explained to him that for some reason, he had become Aware and was seeing the magical energy of the Elements. In exchange for their help to become the new Emperor, he promised the Fey of Tor’Jadin that their city would never be claimed or attacked by the Empire. Corvass returned to the Capital armed with the only weapons he new his opponents would not have: magic and the support of the Fey. Corvass Zardrouin was soon crowned Emperor Medaka IV, of House Zardrouin. He kept his word and signed a treaty with the Fey of Tor’Jadin, granting that city and all lands within two days’ ride of the gates to its inhabitants to rule as they see fit, so long as they want it.
Many other inhabitants of the Empire began exhibiting signs of Awareness about the same time as Emperor Medaka IV had and in order to see the magical power of the Human race and the Empire grow (and keep it regulated) Medaka IV founded the Imperial College of Wizards and Alchemists. At first, under Medaka IV, the College was fully funded by the Imperial coffers. When he died of the Plague in 357, however his successor Emperor Sidram III, began charging tuition to the members of the College. Many of the original were now powerful mages by this time and were teaching at the College. They did not object to the added resources they would now have for their research, though many of the younger students attempted a rebellion against the idea of tuition, but the Emperor’s soldiers, backed by combat wizards put an end to that.
The Year of Our Emperor 358 brought an end to the Great Plague of NOS. No one in the Empire, or elsewhere, had developed a cure for it (not even the new magic seemed to be able to do that.) It simply went away. The last person reported to have died of the Plague was Beljar Howvardyu, a minstrel in the Port of Thulud. Even without the decimating Plague, the Empire had much to worry about.
During the Plague many other things had occurred that the Emperor and his Inner Council had to deal with. The “independent state” of Menhaden (and the other smaller rebellions it h ad inspired) the alarming growth of the Great Waste, the heathen barbarous hordes on the other side of the Rockland Mountains, and the fact that most of the population had died over the last seven years and there were great tracts of land lying fallow and untended. Perhaps the strangest development was that when the Plague left, death became a more temporary condition than it had been. Men lived and died more than once. With the Plague gone, at least the Imperial coffers could be spent on more things besides researching the illness.
The Emperor gathered all the best thinkers in his Empire and set them the task of halting the Great Waste. What they came up with was the Wall. Earth Mages of all species were called upon to take part in a tremendous ritual designed to stop the desert from encroaching any further into Gallinule. Dozens of wizards toiled for weeks to create the single largest cooperative spell ever cast. Many died from the strain of channeling that much combined energy but in the end they did it. They created a massive Wall running from the edge of the Southern Forest to the Northern Wilds, fifty feet high, which would have taken years to construct by hand using more labourers than the population of the entire Empire.
To solve the population problem, Sidram III began a breeding program. Candidates who displayed the favourable traits of intelligence, creativity, and physical prowess were paid to mate with one another and produce children. A reward of five Imperial Sovereigns was paid for each child born this way. Ordinary mothers were also encouraged to breed by offering five silver pennies a year for each living child. These programs were a serious strain on the Imperial Treasury, but Sidram III was determined to repopulate his empire. The programs were cancelled shortly after Sidram III stepped down in 364, but hundreds of thousands of children were spawned under Sidram’s incencitives.
The advent of magic helped solve the problem of working fields and feeding the surviving population. Earth wizards could grow the food, Water mages irrigated farms, Air magicians could harvest and Fire sorcerers could process and cook. In the first eight years or so after the devastation, wizards made quite a profit magically farming the land. But to cover their costs in mana the price of food was driven up. Eventually, the Empire had repopulated enough that the manual method of farming became possible and practical again and the Emperor stopped paying the inflated prices FARM (the Fraternal Association of Rural Magicians) was charging. Farming once again became a mundane industry.
The strange face of the resurrections which began occurring at the end of the Plague stirred things up quite a bit in the Empire. At first it was believed that the surviving citizens of the Empire had as a result of the Great Plague or some other intervention from NOS, became immortal. While it is obvious that a population the size of the Empire pre-Plague could never had existed and maintained order if no one ever died, the drastically reduced population of post-Plague could conceivably exist as undying beings. This idea was soon discarded as people, convinced of their own immortality, began repeatedly taking risks with their lives, dying in violent (and often embarrassing) ways, and eventually not coming back to life. The legal system had to altered because of questions such as: “If a murder victim testifies to the identity of his killer, how can the accused possibly be found guilty since the person he murdered is still alive?” Soon after the resurrections began it was discovered that one need not return to the exact spot one died at. If the body is disposed of, or was say, under water for example, an entirely new body could be resurrected, wherever they wanted it. This also caused commotion in the courts. What’s the point of executing someone for treason if they’ll just resurrect miles away from jail?
It was decided by the Magistrates that murder was still murder, even if the victim was resurrected. The courts tended to be more lenient on murderers whose victims came back to life, but the victims themselves are unusually quite vindictive. Mages began working on a ritual that would prevent prisoners from being resurrected after death, or would at least force the person to resurrect in the same place they died. But in the meantime, torture and long prison terms became more frequently used punishments for crimes.
Another siege was set against Menhaden, but it did not fare well for the Imperial troops. Then one night in 363 one lone figure scaled the wall into Menhaden and paid a visit to the “King”. It is not known who the man was or what he and the King of Menhaden said to one another, but the next morning the man was gone and the “King” ordered the gates of his city thrown open to welcome the friends who had been waiting so patiently outside the walls to visit the governor’s palace. The “governor” of Menhaden never spoke of what made him surrender and took the secret of that night to his grave, thirty years later. The superstitious among the royal court think the “King” had a visit from a son of the House of Darrion, but the rational mind knows that the treacherous House Darrion was snuffed out entirely by the Plague.
The other rebellions, though numerous, were much smaller than that of Menhaden and were more easily quelled by the Imperial Army. Returning the great port city of Thulud to Imperial rule proved to be the hardest feat of Sidram III’s reign. Thulud claimed its right of independence first in 359 and the Emperor’s soldiers were sent to Thulud shortly thereafter to disabuse Thulud of this notion. The solders captured the city but the war had been raging ever since. Riots, open revolt and terrorist tactics have been used by the Thuludite Separatists but the large number of Army men and the strong Loyalist presence in the city has kept the port officially the domain of the empire. In 364 the Separatists went as far as to assassinate Sidram III. Death did not become him and even though he was mysteriously resurrected, he decided life was more valuable to him than the throne and he became the first Emperor to step down from the position.
At this point the Inner Council had its hands full deciding who the next Emperor would be. Due to the unusually prolific line of House Sidram and the, at least partially illegitimate nature of most of its descendants no fewer than seventeen claims to the throne were made by people tracing their lineage to the Imperial House. Then there were six immediate relatives of Sidram III who said that Sidram III had only adopted the name Sidram when he was crowned Emperor and that the new Imperial line was in fact that of House Dirkin (Sidram III’s birth House). Add to this those among the Senate who felt that since Sidram III was the appointed successor of Medaka IV (Corvass Zardouin), and not his blood heir, the royal lineage should revert back to House Zadrouin (of which there were three possible contenders for the throne). Plus there were the several members of the Senate and the Inner Council who felt that they themselves had a strong enough group of supporters to make a claim for the title of themselves. All this means is that when Sidram III stepped down after his assassination in 364, the Inner Council had a list of no fewer than thirty possible claims to the Imperial throne.
Recent Imperial History
It took twelve long years of negotiation, betrayal, renegotiation, assassination, and debate but the Inner Council (with several replacement Councilmen) finally came to a decision on the matter of leadership. It was proclaimed by the Imperial Inner Council on the Feast of the Emperor 376, that the rightful ruler was Emilio Dante of House Zadrouin, nephew to Corvass Zardouin, Emperor Medaka IV. It was felt by the Inner Council that Corvass’ triumph over the other Council members in 355, his honourable adoption of the name of the first Emperor as his own and his knowledge of magical arts granted the line of Zadrouin the strongest ties to the throne. As the eldest male relative to Medaka IV, Emilio was the clear choice. He was crowned two days later as Emperor Dante I.
The increased presence of Confederate Longships in the Northam Sea and East Hurn Sea troubled Emperor Dante, but he was more concerned with internal matters than with rekindling the war with the Confederacy. He did his best to improve his naval forces in those areas and strengthen the coastal towns’ defences, but his main efforts went to continuing the work of Sidram III; repopulation and economization.
With almost nothing to do but protect Imperial citizens from other, less socially satisfied Imperial citizens, the Imperial Army began suffering a morale problem. While it is well known that a good war with a foreign power does wonders to lift the spirits of the fighting men, civil war has quite the opposite effect. The abundance of riots, and rebellions the Army was called upon to crush caused some soldiers to re-examine their lives, and many of them found they were not happy. They began deserting the glory of life in the Imperial Army for the glamour of being outlaws and renegades. It wasn’t until 380 that the Army admitted that there was a desertion problem. Up to that point the punishment for desertion had been execution. Not necessary a permanent sentence. A new law was passed in 380 stating that those found guilty of desertion would be sentenced to hard slave labour. And, if such labour was to prove prematurely fatal, the guilty would be hunted down and sentenced to another life of slavery. And so on and so on.
In the Spring of 383, a band of renegade soldiers, using obfuscation and trickery took the fortress town of Battlekeep, on the Eastern side of the Rockland Mountains (but still officially Imperial territory). Emperor Dante boarded the Perinthal Gydens, the flagship of the Imperial Navy, along with 250 members of the elite Imperial Guard, to personally oversee the reclamation of Battlekeep. The battle was a success for the Imperial Guard, but on the last day of the fight a freak storm blew out of the South Sea and the Perinthal Gydens was sunk. All hands, including Emperor Dande were lost at sea. None of them were successfully resurrected.
Once again, the Empire had no Emperor. In the weeks that followed the ship-wreck, three members of the Inner Council and fifteen members of the Imperial Senate, who each held some claim to the newly vacated throne, were assassinated in such a manner that made their resurrection impossible. The Imperial Senate was in a state of chaos; for the first time in as long as any of them could remember nobody wanted to lay claim to the crown! The fear of permanent death kept all contenders, even those with legitimate claims, silent. The Inner Council was filled and the Senate likewise restocked but no one dared sit on the throne. For the next seven years each member of the Inner Council spent their share of time as Acting Emperor, as they waited for the return of Emperor Dante, or for whoever had the other Senators removed, to come and claim the throne. Towards the end of 390, Council Lady Lavina Cortenne was elected by the Inner Council to become Provincial Empress. She was intended to be nothing more than a figurehead for the Empire, someone the people could look to and say ‘That is our leader’ not some vague and nebulous body called the Inner Council. Provincial Empress Lavina enjoyed being head of state and in the year of Our Emperor 394 she went against the rule of the Inner Council and declared herself Her Grand Majesty Empress Levina and claimed all the power of the Empire for her own. The Inner Council was very briefly outraged, and then they were very swiftly eliminated. The Empress Lavina filled the Inner Council with women, which outraged the Senate, but there was little they could do about it. The people had become used to their Empress’ flights of fancy and were, for the most part, quite happy with her.
It was not until 396 (what Lavina declared the Year of the Woman) that her eccentricities went too far. First she decreed it illegal for men to own property, then two weeks later, she declared that being anything other than female was a crime, the punishment for which was being given as a slave to the nearest woman who would have you. It was at this point that the Empire decided that it had had enough of the insane Empress Lavina. She and her closest advisors were removed from the Palace by force by the Order of the Talon. She and her cronies put up a strong fight, but in the end they were all dead or in prison.
Her son, Zuffrin Laborre Cortenne would have become the next Emperor but the new Inner Council feared that Lavina’s madness may have been passed down on to her son. The Council was once again tasked with finding a new Emperor. In the Summer of 397 a search went out across the Empire for any fit man, woman or child who could legitimately trace their lineage to the House Zadrouin, House Vargas or House Sidram. Many answered the call an they were all closely scrutinized. For years, ruler after ruler was crowned and reigned for a time, only to be denounced as a fraud or replaced by someone with a stronger claim to royal lineage. Many of the frauds were executed but some just faded quietly away.
Finally, in the year of Our Emperor 404 a man-child came forth from a village in the Province of Gallinule, near the Southern Forest. He was fourteen, an orphan, and had in his possession an amulet which, he claimed had been passed down from generation to generation in his family since the days of the Pentevarate States; since the time it had belonged to Prince Daniel Medaka, younger brother of Tobias Medaka, the Founder of the Empire itself. His claim was exhaustively researched by scholars and a ritual was invented to determine the veracity of the orphan’s tale. The magic proved that the amulet had belonged to Daniel Medaka. His tale was at least partially true, and after four years without any disputing evidence, the young man was crowned as the True Emperor, Medaka V, on the Emperor’s Feast, in the year of Our Emperor 407.