A plague of all cowards, I say.
William Shakespeare’s Henry IV
Arius is the current King of the Temerians and the Holy illyrian emperor.
Loyalists of the Imperial Court believe him a wise, ruthless and just ruler, while the feudalists led by the Duke of Tyria still call Arius Usurper, which led to the Roseroad and Kovanni Rebellions, and the beginning of the Heretic’s Era.
Born Caleys and hailing from a minor tyrian house, House Flotstam, he rose as renown battle commander and a ruthless Imperial Marshall under Emperor Thorgrim the Unfortunate. During the dark days of the Great Interregnum, he led a band of bandits during the Throne Wars, as one of many warlords claiming power. Unlike most warlords of the Great Interregnum, he was never defeated on the field, and surrounded himself with capable advisors, all seasoned, and morally ambiguous, officers, most notoriously kingslaying Norman Daegoln and pirate lord Phébus the Fair.
Seeing the opportunity of the 1466’s Summit of Kings taking place at the old capital of Aldoradel, he swiftly took the city with a thousand sellswords, even though Norman Daegoln refused to follow him to what he thought to be a second 1455. This ‘Southern march’ had been attempted before, but Caleys’ ingenious knowledge of the Imperial defenses led him to cross the Empire within a week.
After barely a few hours of intimidation, he forced the attending kings to recognize him as their ‘lord’. Being recognized King of the Temerians, Caleys than sent Phébus the Fair and ser Logan Myre to take hostage the Scarlet Abbot, to bend his red cloaks. After the frail Archbishop died of a heart attack, the red cloaks crowned Caleys with the Illyrian steel crown, proclaiming him Holy Emperor. It is rightly assumed that the attending kings and red cloaks thought Caleys would be overthrown by the combined forces of Conrad von Fulgam and Deregen the Magnificent. Little to their knowledge, Caleys had bought Conrad’s loyalty with his fair daughter, Sylvia, formerly serving as concubine to the Stormfyldd prince Destrega the Greater. Therefore, no attack came from the west and the eastern baronies had greatly suffered from internal strife. Deregen and Destrega were too weak to march on both the Legion and the Westernlands. The only powers who could oppose the newly appointed emperor were the Duchy of Tyria, the Havenspeak province and the al’Krul crumbling dynasty.
Nords, sellswords and orcish slaves led by the last of the al’Krul, Crimson King Fuyrin the Defiler, marched upon the Imperial city with a 30, 000 strong force, meeting the 27,000 legionnaires of Caleys Flotstam at the Rilannon Fields. The battle lasted three-days, the last of which saw a turning twist when Caleys took the personal lead of his troops, the first time since Qaralys the Great himself. Galvanised by a veteran, young and daring warrior, Caleys’s troops stormed in the melee, with Norman Daegoln slaying Fuyrin in the mist of the battle.
The Throne Wars were over, and even if branded usurper by the Eastern and southern provinces, Caleys Flotstam was the all-mighty emperor of all of the Imperial Order.
To legitimize his rule, Caleys took upon the Second Age tradition to rename himself with an Illyrian name, choosing Arius, and reformed the legal system and the military, in order to prevent the rise of another usurper.
Partly successful, he couldn’t stop the rebellion of the Duchy of Tyria, which heswiftly crushed using the reformed Ordo Malleus and the Imperial Legion.
His disastrous Wars of Conquests, seen as an extravagance by the Stormfyldds, are one of many triggers of the Kovanni Rebellion which devastated the already weakened Imperial Order.
Under Arius, he Imperial order has been highly centralized since Thorgrim, but a lot of unrest divides the various imperial powers. Many call upon Conrad von Fulgam to take the throne, and Arius’ once feared aura seems to weaken, as a king in the north rises to test him.