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Nobunag'an IV of Ralgon

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Emperor Nobunag'an Ral IV, born 1564 AN as Prince Takeshi Ral XV, is both the longest-lived and longest-reigning monarch in the history of the Holy Ralgon Empire. He is also the Emperor Emeritus of the same nation, having been bestowed the title by his successors after they shifted to using conventional as well as native Ralgonese titles. He currently enjoys high status in the government of the new Imperial Federation, holding the special title of Chief Ambassador, giving him a unique freedom to travel and directly interact with foreign governments abroad. His special style of "His Serene Excellency" is unique in the Imperial Federation. He was similarly honored in Valora during its own existence, despite his political situation having permanently pulled him into the Imperial Federation's orbit.

As of 1726 AN, the man is a remarkable 162 years old, making him one of the oldest living Ralgonese in the country's history, only surpassed by five or six individuals in the Imperial Federation as of 1718 AN. His record-breaking reign of 78 years saw the transformation of the Ralgon state from a mere group of disjointed tribes on the eastern and southern coastlines of Drag'os into the unified state prepared to conquer the island under his successors, Emperor Shiro I and Emperor Anarion under the banners of the Holy Ralgon Empire and the Imperial Federation, respectively. His status as the "Great Ancestor" of all current Ralgonese rulers since his abdication in 1673 AN made him about the only person capable of navigating the likely-permanent schism between the two Ralgonese states during his later years after his general withdrawal from the minutiae of domestic politics since 1706 AN. Instead, the Emperor Emeritus began to spend more time abroad, acting as an advocate for the ruling governments of both the Imperial Federation and, less commonly, Valora. He played an active role in reconciling the two asymmetric factions after the Conquest of Valora in 1717 AN.

Since the late 1710's AN, as Nobunag'an passed 150 years of age, he has become the subject of scientific inquiry, as his personal physicians, some of whom now prominent scientists in the Imperial Federation, have begun to assert that his age has been progressively slowing since at least the 1650's AN. However, this stirring among the medical community has not affected the Emperor Emeritus's personal life, as he has remained active in the international community consistently since taking up a winter residence in New Alexandria as the Imperial Federation's primary spokesperson outside its own borders.


Early Life (1564 - 1594)

In 1564 AN, he was born during the fifth year of the reign of Azul'an III, the then-current ruler of the country. Prince Takeshi Ral was Azul'an's great nephew, and he was the grandson of Azul'an's brother, Draeg'ar XV. When Takeshi was 8, he had his first experience in statecraft: Because of the harsh realities of the country's existence, kings simply didn't last long. In fact, twenty years (a full generation for the Ralgonese peasantry of the day) was considered exceptional, and special celebrations were held. Azul'an III never got the chance to see that rare celebration for himself. In 1562, in his 14th year as king, he died in battle while personally leading the defense of a border city against a dragon attack -- as rulers were obliged to do.

Takeshi's second lesson as a child in statecraft was this: Replacing slain kings wasn't easy. In the brutal, unstable, and existentially challenging 1500's for the Ralgon state, crowning the next king was a messy, brutal affair meant to ensure the new king was stronger than everyone else in the ruling clan. Additionally, a King taking the throne in the wake of a decimated royal house would reign without opposition until his almost certain death within less than a generation -- enough time for the Ral Clan to reconsolidate and repeat the process of thinning its ever-changing ranks. Kings needed to be replaced quickly, and the new king needed to be the strongest and smartest in the land if he was to survive for long.

Thus, Takeshi learned his third lesson: weakness in the Ral Clan was never tolerated, and weak pretenders to the throne would quickly meet their fate in the arena or on the battlefield shortly after coronation. And those without the stomach to participate in an election and potentially fight for their own honor were cast out of the decision-making process afterwards -- at least until the next election. In this way, the Clan never allowed itself to balloon out of control, and retained power through a line of strong elected kings, each related to their predecessor within three generations. The only weakness? Kings were reliably short-lived due to constant battlefield-related obligations, and dead kings were morbidly expensive for the ruling Clan in terms of manpower to replace. By Azul'an's death in 1562, the Ral Clan listed no more than fifty eligible contenders for the Throne, and twice each generation with upwards of a dozen deaths was unwelcome in the long-term.

In late 1562, Nobunag'an III, Azul'an's successor, then came to power later that year after Takeshi witnessed the brutality of the Selection Tournament, after the existing Crown Princes failed to agree on who the next ruler would be. The Ral Clan's numbers reduced by eight, the new king was expected to live long enough for the cycle to complete itself and the Clan's members (especially the king) were expected to produce enough children to feed to both the arena and to the army's endless meat grinder on the nation's ever-shifting inland border.

It was towards the end of Nobunag'an III's reign in 1584 that Takeshi turned 20, and was granted the style of Crown Prince after going through the rites -- thus completing a generational cycle -- and already seeing three kings in his lifetime. In 1584, 12 years into his reign, Nobunag'an joined his predecessors in death. During a battle with rival natives from inland near the north-western border, both parties were attacked by a lightning dragon. Nobunag'an III died leading a retreat inland, and his men escaped to tell the tale because the dragon turned on the inland natives instead.

After an unusually quiet Election process, Draeg'ar XV, Takeshi's great-uncle and Nobunag'an III's brother, took the throne. However, he died within a year of being crowned (1585) when he led an expeditionary scouting force consisting of brown-water Navy forces too far into the Great Swamp. While taking a small fleet across one of the Swamp's many deep (and interconnected) lakes, his boat was attacked by a mosasaur. His expedition only returned with a tenth of its original size.

Next on the throne was Draeg'ar XVI, after a similarly quiet election process. After five years as king, he died in early 1590 during a plague that swept the country. During this time, the Ralgon state began to take its modern form, with Nixtorm finally recognizing their senior partners in the south as rulers outright. Drag'nor, however, remained obstinate on the matter due to ideological differences. It was also during this time that lightning dragons began appearing less often off the coasts, allowing for the possibility of sea-based travel outside the immediate environs of the Drag'osian coastline.

Dalgar'an IV, Takeshi's father, won the next election and resulting Selection Tournament and took the country's helm in 1591. As Takeshi's father, he elevated him to the rank of Crown Prince, after seven years of surviving the harsh reality of being a Prince without portfolio, constantly on the battlefield. In 1591, Dalgar'an IV's realm only consisted of the modern province of Stormhold, which was little more than the capital city of the same name (now called Valeria as of 1686), and a port city of little economic consequence near the eastern tip of Drag'os, called Glacier City. (Although Nixtorm and Drag'nor were nominally a confederation with the Ralgon state, each was, in practice, independent of each other and did their own thing for the past two centuries.)

Coronation and Early Reign (1595 - 1620)

In late 1594, Dalgar'an IV died during a battle defending the border against a particularly large incursion from giant insects from the Great Swamp. After winning the Royal Selection Tournament in which ten other contestants died in the arena, Takeshi Ral was quickly crowned on New Year's Day, 1595 as Nobunag'an IV, after the first ruler with that name -- the same ruler who first made peace with both Drag'nor and the tribes of Nixtorm to battle against their homelands' respective dangers. The freshly minted king, now 31 years of age, set forth to consolidate the small country's tribes and expand from the coastline. Although most rulers of the country were expected to expire after less than a decade (he'd already been through five predecessors in his lifetime already), Nobunag'an resolved to survive by carefully selecting those battles he'd personally set off for, and allow rivals to handle the most dangerous missions instead, as a way of covertly ridding himself of political opposition.

By the tenth year of Nobunag'an's reign, the ruling branch of the Ral Clan had recovered its numbers from the tumultous period following Azul'an III's death. As the new king was already past his first decade of rule, the court began making preparations amid skepticism of the shrewd ruler's longevity. Instead, that never materialized. In 1615, Nobunag'an celebrated his twentieth year on the throne -- the first such anniversary since the early 1500's, and only the second since the Great Atomic Bombardment of 1450.

Such a date was important to the Ralgons, as an entire generation had passed since the Emperor took the throne. Now solidly entering his 50's, Nobunag'an was already a few short years older than many of his immediate predecessors at the time of their own deaths. To commemorate the event, a special Sed festival* celebrating the king's jubilee was held throughout the country -- and in neighboring Nixtorm, which was considering a personal union in the wake of its own ruling clan's decline. For modern historians, this marked a major turning point in national morale, as well as their stance towards the kings as an expendable asset (regardless of the pain caused by their loss). It also marked the point in which a hard border began to form between the environs of the growing Glacier City (the Ralgons' core territory at the time) and the Great Swamp.

After 20 years on the throne, the slowly strengthening Ralgon state also began to see unprecedented prosperity due to having a stabilized leadership on the throne for the first time since 1450 AN. In 1620, Nobunag'an IV celebrated his second Sed festival, as it was held every five years after the king's first 20-year jubilee. A king celebrating more than one Sed festival had not occurred since a similar festival during Draeg'ar XII's reign in 1402 AN.

Modern historians consider this the official beginning date of the modern Ralgon state, as after 1620 Nobunag'an IV had gathered enough military, political, and even religious power within the state to begin realizing his ambitions to unite the countries on the Island of Drag'os in more than a nominal fashion.

Unification of Ralgon (1620 - 1650)

Opening the Country (1650-1670)

Late Reign (1670-1673)

The reign of Nobunag'an during this period was extremely quiet, and the government was characterized by stagnation due to his extremely long reign of well over 70 years. Because democracy was limited within the embattled country, there were few offices that changed hands often enough to encourage the spread of new ideas. With the Great Swamp War still raging on, the Emperor chose to prepare for an abdication, with no idea that his lifespan was nowhere near at an end.

Eventually, he chose an obscure prince fighting on the western areas of Drag'os against some of the fiercest of the great swamp creatures, including the greatly feared lightning dragons. His name was Shiro, one of the Emperor's favorites when the then-young man was still in his youth. They had parted under amicable terms, with the prince enlisting in the army to fight against the more fierce elements of the Great Swamp and the Badlands, where he eventually became particularly well-known for his unusually daring exploits against the larger, much more powerful lightning dragons that continually posed an existential threat to the then-western heartland in southern Drag'os.

Post-Abdication (1673-1704)

The post-abdication life of Nobunag'an IV initially saw a period of quiet, despite events befalling the Ralgon Empire in his absence. During his 31-year retirement, he insistent on remaining present in the background of imperial politics, and he was often seen giving advice to the twin rulers of the country's territories (that is, Masamune I of Adrestia and the now-Emperor Shiro of Ralgon). Overall, the venerable leader took a much less front-facing role in politics during his long retirement, preferring to allow younger generations to make decisions in his stead. That said, however, he was a secretly unifying force during the long periods of crisis the Ralgon state went through, and he is credited by historians studying this period as having saved Emperor Shiro's rule during his darkest hours.

Instead of acting as a ruler, he instead filled the capacity of an extremely influential, domestic diplomat and mediator between Ralgon's internal rulers, helping preserve the country's unity behind the scenes in the wake of the Ralgon Civil War in 1685. Later the next year, his relatively unexpected visit to Daocheng resulted in deepened relations between Ralgon and Jingdao -- an alliance that would continue to bear fruit during the hard times Ralgon went through during 1686 through 1689. The close bonds forged between the two countries lasted until their respective transformations at the turn of the 18th Century AN.

During his free time, the emperor emeritus took up residence in Gondolin, the capital city of Adrestia. Taking advantage of the city's considerable wealth and rapid development, he aided in the region's transformation from a mere playground of the wealthy into a large, metropolitan center of power that enjoyed freedom from many of the demographic and political challenges perpetually faced by mainland Ralgon's cities (notably Glacier City). During the lifetime of the young Masamune II, the Emperor took to attempting to educating him after his father's sudden, unexplained abdication and disappearance from the country. (In his words privately to Nobunag'an, he was "going on an adventure" and had grown tired of rule, and felt confident in his 20-year-old son's ability to govern.) The Emperor also mentored Masamune II's child, (posthumously named Masamune III), who still lived a rough life and ended up being executed for treason before seeing his child, Masamune IV (now Emperor Anarion).

For the Emperor's 125th birthday (a truly astounding age to reach for Ralgonese people), he plans to make state visits throughout Micras and foster strong relations between Ralgon and other countries. However, such a grand tour never came about due to political troubles at home. Instead, he toured select destinations and resumed work in his capacity as a nonpartisan political voice in the struggling empire. In 1690, he moved his primary residence to the capital of Adrestia to spend more time with his favorite distaff descendant, his great-grandson Prince Masamune II -- who had often spent much time around the Emperor Emeritus as a child and the years immediately preceding his coronation as Prince after the former's abdication. He cultivated a strong relationship with the descendants of the Prince, most notably Masamune IV, who reigns as Emperor Anarion of the Imperial Federation.

Nobunag'an IV played only a background role in the Ralgon War of Succession that erupted in the political chaos that followed the death of his grandson Shiro I of Ralgon. Instead of immersing himself in the politics of the time and taking sides between his now-distant descendants (despite his close personal rapport with several of them), he chose to leave the country and take on a sort of self-imposed exile, ostensibly for medical treatment for age-related issues. By this point, it was clear that Nobunag'an was going to live for quite a while longer, despite the fact that he was already one of the oldest recorded Ralgonese to ever have lived, having been born in far harder times for his people in terms of the extreme variety in causes for mortality.

Post-Ralgon (1706-)

After a brief period of travel within the newly minted Imperial Federation following its victory in the recent war, Nobunag'an embarked on another long-term, international trip to lend his very long years of wisdom to the new government's interests abroad. His first and primary destination was the nearby Nouvelle Alexandrie, a new ally following the accession of the Imperial Federation into the Raspur Pact. Using his honorary post as "Chief Ambassador", the Emperor Emeritus has effective ability to travel all over Micras and, in addition to seeking treatment to stave off the aging process, enhance the standing of his great-great-great-grandson's government. During Valora's ten-year independence, he was also the only official from the Raspur Pact allowed to visit Valora completely free of visas or similar documents, thanks to his near-worshipped status within the Ralgonese spheres of influence around Micras. In circles in Tiegang and other Ralgonese diasporas, he is venerated as something akin to a minor god by the Adrestian community living there.

Since the formation of the Imperial Federation, the Emperor Emeritus continued to enjoy extremely high status throughout the Ralgonese world, with the youthful Emperor Anarion (Nobunag'an 6th-generation descendant) seeming far more attentive to the venerable man's words than his late father, who would likely have plunged the Empire into chaos due to reckless behavior.

Political Beliefs

The Emperor Emeritus is one of the founders and leading members of the Draconic Humanism movement, itself an offshoot of sorts of the Humanist Movement based in Benacia. Having the status as one of the oldest Ralgonese ever recorded, Nobunag'an is a political force to be reckoned with in the Imperial Federation. Before 1715 AN, almost no major policy submitted for the Emperor [[Anarion]|Anarion's]] signature failed to pass in front of his desk for at least tacit approval before being enacted throughout the Empire. However, he is not the nation's Archon, as he preferred other roles, instead ostensibly passing the title onto the ruling Emperor Anarion. During the Regency Period under Duke Nikamura Hawkins of Gondolin, however, he nonetheless exercised many of those powers due to his outsized influence on both the Emperor and the court at large, as well as with his status as the highest-ranking representative to any and all other members of the Raspur Pact.

After 1715, he stepped into a more active role in proposing policies of his own, none of which failed to garner the current Emperor Anarion's signature due to the latter's hero worship of the former. As Nobunag'an realized that his aging had essentially stopped (and, perhaps, even reversed to a small degree), he slowly stepped into active politics, acting as the man to see when an international actor wanted the Imperial Federation's support on some foreign project, intervention, or other major commitment.

The Emperor Emeritus, by practice, usually exercises moderate policies, tempering national interests with pragmatic diplomacy abroad. While Nobunag'an could be considered an idealist, he is one whose own national goals have already been met to the letter, and thus has turned sights inwards towards the improvement of the state through policy rather than territorial expansion and raw military might.

Notable Descendants

Known in certain circles as the "Great Ancestor," the Emperor Emeritus is by far the longest-lived monarch in Ralgonese history. His direct descendants have continuously ruled the Ralgonese states since his abdication in 1673 AN, and (as of 1702 AN) he has lived to see descendants out to the 7th generation -- a feat shared only by less than 15 other people in Ralgonese history and no other monarch or member of the nobility. The Emperor Emeritus is estimated to have close to 200 descendants, not including those who count descent by marriage or adoption. The below names in bold represents notable descendants of his, most being rulers of their respective countries or territories.

Due to his extreme age, the law was changed in 1719 AN that again re-incorporated him and specific successors back into the Imperial line of succession, as he was now more than 5 generations removed from the throne, yet had both formerly held it and still openly maintained the vigor of someone scarcely past middle age, despite his venerable appearance. As of 1719 AN, he remains unmarried since the passing of his 8th spouse, Yukino Chuujiwara, having outlived all of them.

Ralgonese Line

This is the main line of the Ralgon Imperial Family. The line suffered a clean break into regional branches following the events of the Ralgon War of Succession, in which the leadership of the Imperial Family was called into question, and a war was fought to determine both the selection and determination over who would be the next Ralgon Emperor. According to ancient Ralgonese traditions, any current Emperor of Ralgon (or, prior to 1673 AN the King) would need to be directly descended within three generations of the any current or deceased Ralgon Emperor, regardless of the length of their respective reigns. However, Nobunag'an's extreme longevity made following the tradition impossible. Eventually, rules were set into place c.1668 AN that also included the direct descendants (by blood only) of current or living Emperors (in the event of an Emperor's abdication due to age), should any claimant be descended directly from the current Emperor more than three generations away.

By the time Nobunag'an celebrated his platinum jubilee in 1665 AN, he had long noticed that he was showing signs of aging extremely slowly, and chose to pass reforms before he inevitably vacated the throne, to prevent the onset of stagnation within the Ralgon state (which, unfortunately, had already set in place). He eventually abdicated in 1673 AN to prevent his grandchildren from aging too much before they contested the throne. After this action, the Imperial line continued as before due to the fact that, despite his succession by a grandson, he was still a living Emperor and thus able to maintain the Imperial Line in the event the current Emperor did not survive long enough to produce capable heirs to the throne.

The Imperial Line before the Ralgon War of Succession is listed below. Note that, for purposes of claiming princely titles within the vintage Ralgonese tradition, the old laws still apply. However, for imperial succession under the Imperial Federation's laws, those within the Imperial Line automatically take precedence unless the line becomes extinct.

  • Emperor Nobunag'an IV of Ralgon (♂ 1564 AN-; r. 1595 AN-1673 AN) -- married 8 times, had issue with 5. (All spouses died from age and other natural causes, without having divorced).
    Nobunag'an was originally known as Prince Takeshi Ral XV until his coronation in 1595 AN, and as King until his retroactive declaration as Emperor by Shiro I of Ralgon in 1673 AN. He married and took consorts several times due to his extremely long life and high status, the last being Yukino Chuujiwara (1623 AN-1699 AN; m. 1686 AN).
    • WIP
    • Several descendants of little note.
      • Prince Benimaru Ral VII
        little is known of this person's history, as he kept his few notable accomplishments to himself and rarely spoke with others. The younger brother of Draeg'ar Ral X.
        • Prince Benimaru Ral VIII, Prince of Valora
          Took over as titular Prince of Valora in 1715 AN after the Imperial Federation's victory after the Conquest of Valora. Otherwise, known as a ruler of modest tastes and disliking pomp and circumstance, preferring to lead a quiet life.
      • Draeg'ar Ral IX, Crown Prince of Ralgon; Emperor of Valora; (♂ 1634 AN-; r. 1706 AN-1715 AN/1720 AN), m. Kitamura Valorum
        Draeg'ar ultimately lost the Ralgon War of Succession to his rival, the latter now known as Anarion. Reigned over the unstable rump nation of Valora, further reduced to South Valora after the Conquest of Valora by his archnemeses. He abdicated the rulership of South Valora to his son in 1720 AN.
        • Draeg'ar Ral X, Prince of South Valora; (♂ 1707 AN-; r. 1720 AN), betrothed to Mondosphere royalty
          A child of his father's old age, Draeg'ar X was crowned as Prince of South Valora at the tender age of 13 to be trained in effective leadership by his old father in a bid to continue the family's bid for legitimacy in their remaining territory.
    • Benimaru Ral IV, Prince of Ralgon (♂ 1590 AN-1655 AN;
      Benimaru's mother was Princess Rani of Nixtorm (♀ 1562 AN-1649 AN), King Nobunag'an's first wife. He never took the throne, and died of natural causes.)
      • Masamune XIV & I, Crown Prince of Ralgon & Royal Prince of Adrestia of (♂ 1564 AN-; r. in Adrestia 1675 AN-1680 AN)
        • Masamune II, Prince of Adrestia (♂ 1564 AN-; r. 1675 AN-1705 AN)
          Prince Masamune dies of wounds following a prior attempt on his life in 1701 by his son Masamune III.

Imperial Federation Line

The greater Ralgon line's leadership ostensibly passed to the young, 4 AN years year-old Masamune IV of Adrestia after death of Shiro I of Ralgon. However, this claim was disputed during the Ralgon War of Succession, which ultimately sundered the line into different, regional branches each with their own head. The Imperial Federation's branch was formally founded upon Masamune's ascension to the throne of the new Imperial Federation in 1706 AN as Emperor Anarion.

As the Prince is the only surviving descendant of his late grandfather, Masamune II, he is the only member of the Imperial Family in this branch. As such, his family tree directly reflects the Adrestia Line:

  • Masamune XIV & I, Crown Prince of Ralgon & Royal Prince of Adrestia of (♂ 1564 AN-; r. in Adrestia 1675 AN-1680 AN)
    • Masamune II, Prince of Adrestia (♂ 1564 AN-; r. 1675 AN-1705 AN)
      Prince Masamune dies of wounds following a prior attempt on his life in 1701 by his son Masamune III.


The new Imperial line in Valora eventually branched into the new House of Ral-Valorum following the integration of the various descendants of the two houses living in the region by Emperor Draeg'ar Ral. Having secured much of Ralgonese-controlled mainland Cibola (outside of Nova Victoria), the new rulers in Valora and New Ralgon consolidated the region under a single banner.

  • Emperor Nobunag'an IV of Ralgon (♂ 1564 AN-; r. 1595 AN-1673 AN) -- m. Princess Rani (♀ 1562 AN-1649 AN),
    Nobunag'an was originally known as Prince Takeshi Ral XV until his coronation. His first marriage was to the daughter of a daimyo of Nixtorm. Had several marriages, with the last ending in 1689 AN.


See Also

Heb Sed (Real-world ceremony held in Ancient Egypt)