Kaiser Ayreon IV
|Vidar Salim Livarson Ayreon-Kalirion ibn al-Majeed al-Osman bin Sathrati of Waffel-Paine|
|Former Kaiser of Shireroth|
|Ended||12.VIII.1671 (lasted 21 AN years)|
|Regent or Ruling Steward|
|Hair color and style||Blond hair|
|Father||Adam, Khan of Cabbagefall|
|Date of birth||8.III.1645|
|Place of birth||Raynor's Keep|
|Date of death||12.VIII.1671 (aged 26 AN years)|
|Place of death||Raynor's Keep|
Kaiser Ayreon IV (born Vidar Salim Livarson Ayreon-Kalirion ibn al-Majeed al-Osman bin Sathrati of Waffel-Paine at Raynor's Keep, 8 Gevraquun, 1645; died (murdered) at Raynor's Keep, 12.VIII.1671 at the age of 26) was the Kaiser of Shireroth (since 1650 until his death in 1671. He had also been ruling Prince-Regent of Natopia twice (1654–1655, and for a few months in 1660). He was the son of Adam, Khan of Cabbagefall and Liv, and the grandson of Kaiseress Noor. Before his coronation (1.IX.1661), Kaiser Ayreon IV's Shirerithian government was exercised by the Regent, a position last held by the duke of Calezi (1656–1661).
Vidar Salim Livarson Ayreon-Kalirion ibn al-Majeed al-Osman bin Sathrati of Waffel-Paine is the Kaiser's full name. His family and closest friends call him Vidar, an old Norse name related to a Norse forest god. His middle name is Salim, a Babkhi name of Baatharzi origin, meaning "peaceful", named so by his grandmother Kaiseress Noor after her own epithet al-Salaam ("of the peace"). Livarson, "son of Liv" in Hurmu–Farewellish, is his matronymic, given so to show that he is not only his father Adam's son. His last name Ayreon-Kalirion ibn al-Majeed al-Osman bin Sathrati of Waffel-Paine consists of a number of components; Ayreon-Kalirion is his bloodline, ibn al-Majeed ("descendant of Majeed") refers to the founder of the Simrani family Majeed, al-Osman refers to his belonging to the House of Osman through his father's maternal grandmother, bin Sathrati means that he is a descendant of the first Emir of Sathrati, Rashid Arsalani (Kaiser Ayreon), and Waffel-Paine is his dynastic house from his father's grandfather Nathan Waffel-Paine.
In Elw, his name is written Видар Салим Ливарсон Аериоон-Калирион ивн ал-Мажид ал-Осмон бин Сатрати аф Уофел-Пеин (Vidar Salim Livarson Aerioon-Kalirion ibn al-Mazhid al-Osmon bin Satrati af Uofel-Pein), and pronounced /βidaʁ salim liβaʁson aəʁioːn kaləʁion iβnalmaʑidalosmon bin satʁati aɸ uoɸəlpəin/. Usually, however, it is written as his regnal name, Аериоон 4 Қаисар (Aerioon 4 Qaisar).
His father was Prince Adam, the Khan of Cabbagefall. He never met his father, not even once. He was separated from his mother, Liv, and stepfather Daniel Dravot, in 1649, after reports surfaced that the mother was unloving to him and treated him with disdain (understandable given his conception was from rape) and made a ward of the Imperial Republic. His mother has visitation rights to her son, though she has not exercised them once since the separation. During his time with his mother and stepfather, the family spoke Normark Norse. He learnt Hurmu Norse from his maternal grandfather, Nilu Sólason (1577–1691) who remained loving towards him. He spoke Babkhi with his paternal grandmother, Noor.
Ethnically, Ayreon IV was roughly one third Hurmu, one fourth Norse and one fifth Babkhi. The rest is accounted by Tapferite, Brookshirian, Elw, Storish and Novaya Zemlyan heritage. Among his ancestors are four Kaisers (Ayreon, Aurangzeb, Ayreon II, Noor), four Babkhan shahanshahs (Ardashir, Tahmaseb, Rashid, Osman), and two Natopian emperors (Nathan, Nathaniel), as well as from rulers from Elwynn (6), Brookshire (2), and Goldshire (2).
Since 1664, he had one concubine, Lady Isidora IV of Octavius-Teleni, with whom he had a daughter in 1665, Salome, who became next in line to the Mango Throne. In 1667, the Kaiser, acting through his concubine, produced twins, Kir Azariah Vidar and Kian Aiomide Shahnaz, and after his death, Rubin Leonid Orientalis in 1671 (she was already pregnant when he died)
Kaiser Ayreon IV traced his lineage to Kaiser Raynor I through the imperial bloodline of Ayreon-Kalirion. Academically speaking, he, and his grandmother Noor, also belonged to the imperial bloodline of Steffki. Genealogists have called this double membership the Line of Ayreon-Kalirion-Steffki.
After the marriage alliance between the Khanum Liv and the Steward, Daniyal Dravot, Adam's infant son, Vidar, was transferred to Shirekeep and confinement in the Steward's Tower under the care of a governess not overly given to sentimentality.
The Steward's System was a set of rules designed by Daniyal Dravot and his wife concerning the upbringing of the child of Adam Ayreon-Kalirion, who had been borne by Liv against her will as the victim of rape and a forced marriage.
The System had been aimed at encouraging the child to incline habitually towards notions of obedience, duty and service, in contrast to the arrogance and entitlement which had thoroughly corrupted the infant's father.
The infant, would be constantly supervised in the presence of his Governess, Yara Rose of Erudition, and to be kept isolated from other children. The Steward and the Khanum strictly monitored and recorded every action the toddler made and entirely controlled who was allowed access to the boy in the Steward's Tower.
His only other companion, aside from her Governess, was the young Azardokht al-Osman, a hostage of the Steward kept in order to ensure the good behaviour of the House of Osman which ruled the southern isles by the threat that she could be married off to create a rival claimant.
Future plans for the infant's early education revolved around a strict daily schedule. Morning lessons would begin at 08.30 and continue until 11.30. Lessons would then resume at 14.00 and continue until 19.00.
The education would begin, with full rigour, at the age of five years old. In addition to the standard subjects taught under the Agnesia–Alalehzamin System the boy would learn, decorum, the Holodomatic scriptures and later languages.
The Khanum's strictest instruction was that under no circumstances was the child to have any contact with his father, nor to learn anything of Adam except for his crimes and the depth of his depravity.
At the age of seventeen the boy was to have been assigned to an Imperial Regiment and then sent off to manage a farm in Ran to learn responsibility, which tends to be overlooked when educating Kalirions. This, however, was not to be. Following the flight of the Steward, Sikander Dravot along with his wife the Khanum of Cabbagefall - pursued by a curse laid by the shade of Tokaray al-Osman bound with the Sword of Vengeance presently presumed lost in Balgurd - the boy fell under the influence of his grandmother's courtiers who encouraged him to resent and chafe against the bonds of the necessary discipline with which he had been raised. It now seemed certain that Vidar, who had become Kaiser by virtue of the dynastic succession, would follow in the same damaged, self-harming and neurotic footsteps of his ancestors.
Upon his unexpected ascension to the Kaisership at such an early age, the Imperial Steward Kyle Kilynn took measures to secure the child kaiser and provide for his education until his majority. In recognition of the close relationship between Prince Kyle and the Kaiser's uncle, Pentheros Zahir al Din, the agreement was that the Pentheros would be responsible for the Kaiser's religious education according to the theology of the Dozan Bovic Church. Few provisions were made for the Kaiser's legal, social and formal education, which resulted in the Kaiser quickly becoming spoiled and overenergetic (due to a high sugar intake). In 1651, Steward Kyle Kilynn appointed Soraya Octavius-Parini to the position of Chamberlain of the Imperial Household in an effort to discipline the child-kaiser.
The Kaiser was from 1647 without contact with his mother until her appointment as Steward in 1651, and Ayreon was believed to have compensated that loss of motherly affection with affection from other women, particularly Princess Kizzy Drakland and Countess Mira Octavius-Aryani. He was now fond of his Chmberlain, Soraya. The relationship between the Kaiser and his mother remained cold until the mother's death in 1663.
When the Steward exiled the House of Ettlingar Freyu from Shireroth in 1651, the Kaiser was blissfully unaware of the reasons for the exile and of the consequences of the exile, though unfortunately his step-uncle Audun Joel was killed in the crossfire. The Kaiser had always had a good relationship with his step-uncle, and indeed, Audun Joel was regarded as one of the few members of the House of Ettlingar Freyu who had not been infested with a demonic entity (the other one was Prince Vilhjalm who succeeded his father Noah as King of Elwynn). As such, upon hearing of Audun Joel's death, a former kaiser, Vidar led the Imperial Court in grieving.
As the Prætor, Fjorleif, was exiled, too, it was incumbent upon the Landsraad at this time to hold an election for prætor. The Kaiser, upon hearing that it was the kaiser's duties to conduct the election, was overjoyed and went, against all advice, to the Palace of Zirandorthel where the nobled had assembled. In an embarrassing display of presiding, Vidar forced all nobles to go various sides of the Landsraad floor (depending on which candidate they supported for prætor). In the end, he counted the nobles on each side and found that one side had more. He had, however, by this time forgotten which side supported which candidate and he solemnly declared the wrong candidate elected. After a while, the Kaiser understood his error and the duly elected winner King Ryker Everstone took the Prætor's chair and hat, though seemed a bit sluggish in doing so.
In the year 1653 Imperial Advisory Council travelled to the Montrano Estate to celebrate the Kaiser's eighth birthday, during which time an argument erupted over how to deal with the Froyalaners now that they had been sequestered into the Froyalan National Reserve. Following a tour of the farm and an impromptu demonstration of the use of a burdizzo, a throwaway remark by Michael Verion during a further argument on the subject of the Froyalanish question inspired Liv Dravot to consider mass castration as a solution. Although an unlikely subject over which a mother might attempt to bond with her son she nonetheless encouraged him to work overnight on a proclamation, the resulting draft was praised by the Imperial Advisory Council and accepted with few alterations.
In mid 1653, Ayreon IV received with enthusiasm the news that his second cousin (of same age as himself) Nathan II had ascended the Natopian throne as emperor. Plans were immediately made for the Kaiser to visit his cousin and his own holdings in Natopia.
The Imperial Advisory Council, growing more concerned that the Kaiser may not be all too willing to conform with the prevailing IAC ideology following the Auspicious Occasion, met to draft a new Charter that would restrict the powers of the Kaiser somewhat in favour of a regularly elected Steward. In the middle of 1653, the Landsraad debated the proposal, adopted it, and after three states (Elwynn, Goldshire and Kezan) had assented, the Kaiser was flown to Shirekeep to promulgate the new Charter. The new Charter also separated the post of Steward from that of Regent.
Over the new year's celebrations 1653–1654, Kaiser Ayreon IV hosted a state visit by one of the co-monarchs of Hoenn, Queen Kahede. Following the Auspicious Occasion, when not only the ethnic cleansing of people of Storish ancestry began throughout Shireroth but also when relations with other nations, in protect to Shireroth's actions, hit rock bottom, the Shirerithian foreign policy makers were desperate in reestablishing Shireroth's place in the world as the forefront empire of Micras. With Hoenn's territories located mostly on another planet and its population consisting of a muiltitude of various sentient species, a good and close relationship with Hoenn was a priority. As such, the young kaiser took it upon himself to do his part as head of state to host his fellow monarch and her entourage as they visited Shireroth for the celebrations. Although no firm agreements, as had been anticipated, were signed during the visit, a working group of diplomats from both Hoenn and Shireroth was established to bridge the cultural, normative and spatial differences between their tow planets so that working agreements could be later be made. With this foundation, the Kaiser and his advisors hoped that Shireroth would lead the rest of Micras in more stable and constructive interplanetary relations.
Unfortunately, that vision had to come to a halt soon after once the Jingdaoese government announced that it was resuming hostitilies against Shireroth and its allies. The political problems associated with the Florian Republic's constant switching of sides between allegiance to Shireroth and to Jingdao had made any kind of stability in Shireroth's foreign policies impossible. At the same time, the government's attention took to defending Shireroth's territory as well as engaging with the thankless task of protecting the Florian people against its own government. In a series of imperial proclamations, the Kaiser attempted to do his part in calming the ever-escalating situation, by urging the Florian people to carefully consider their future. His proclamations, written by his own hand and without the IAC's direct input, were emotional and on a positive conciliatory note, but they nontheless did not succeed the Florian Republic to return to the Shirerithian fold. This upset the kaiser greatly. He confided to the closest people around him, particularly to Lady Soraya, how hurt he was by this. He was unsure how he could ever forgive the Florians for it.
After the election of Burgrave Waldemar Zinkgraven to Steward in mid-1654, the imperial government was reformed once again. The IAC and the ministries were split from one another, with former ministers retaining IAC membership (with certain exceptions, see below). Steward Zinkgraven also placed all key ministries in corporations held in commission, in line with his ideology of corporative feudalist democracy. The idea here was that through corporations, the common people (denizens) could find a way to participate in the governance of Shireroth, and therefore be more democratic. Heath Belledin, the imperial inquisitor, denounced this move angrily as "un-Shirithian" in an IAC meeting.
Regent in Natopia
In the final months of 1654, it became apparent that the Emperor of the Natopians, Nathan II, was missing along with the Natopian regent Christo Eucalyptos and the defence secretary Marco Lungo. The matter came only to surface after the Emperor had failed to assent to bills of the Frenzy, causing the Frenzy to investigate the matter. A court case and several resolutions later, Ayreon IV found himself appointed by the Frenzy in Nathan's place. He was immediately flown to Lindström to set up the regency. Because of a quirk or deficiency in Natopian law, Ayreon, at that point not even ten years old, was considered a legal adult in Natopia and needed no "adult" to supervise him in his official capacity. In practice however the Kaiser was accompanied by his tutors, a personal secretary, a Zonophore cleric (serving as a chaplain for the group and spiritual mentor to the Kaiser), and a close protection detail of sixteen Sentinels and was thus closely supervised.
Landing in Lindström, he blundered into an impromptu press conference where he gave fielded questions with answers that displayed a remarkable degree of self-confidence, if not a certain level of naivety, before his handlers could breakup the press scrum that had gathered around the child. No sooner had he arrived to the Vista da Nada Palace, than a parcel was received at the palace including an anonymous letter stating the Emperor had been kidnapped along with the distinctive ears and thumbs of one who could not be anyone else but Eucalyptos. Ayreon immediately penned an imperial decree using the templates provided in the Natopian court. Among his first acts were to appoint Isabella Simrani-Kalirion to defence secretary and to begin an all-Natopian search for the emperor. As the abduction had gone unreported for months, Isabella promptly arrested the palace staff and replaced them with servants loyal to the House of Kalirion.
As regent, the Ayreon devoted much of his time into Bovic prayer in order to, by introspection and divine guidance, find the emperor. Through what he took to be a divine revelation, Ayreon came to believe that he knew the location of the emperor, and convinced a sceptical Secretary of Defence to dispatch a reconnaissance team to Eura to investigate.
On 13 Gevrader 1655, whilst still awaiting the recovery of the emperor, Ayreon was baptised into the Bovic faith in a ceremony officiated by his uncle, the Pentheros Aldin. The impromptu and rushed nature of the ceremony, coupled with the marked increase in the number of servile Storrish flatterers attempting to gain admission to attend upon the Kaiser whilst he was in Lindström, concerned his councillors and protectors greatly. It was also becoming apparent that the Kaiser was vulnerable to the defects in reason and excessive predisposition towards emotional lability that had scarred the psyches of his father, and great-grandfather before him.
The Kaiser's failure to consult with his officials, instead acting on impulse, also caused embarrassment on occasions; such as when the Kaiser dispatched a note of congratulation to the Queen of Malarboria on the occasion of the birth of her child when the Steward had already sanctioned the postpartum termination of the infant so as to prevent the human-daemon hybrid from reaching reproductive age.
Following an alleged divine revelation as to whereabouts of the emperor, Ayreon led the Natopian Defence Force in finding the emperor in the former Natopian colony of Xechaspolis in the barrenness of Eura. Led by Lady Isabella Kalirion, the rescue operation successfully extracted the emperor back to Lindström with only some 20 000 collateral deaths on the ground. Ayreon was pleased and watched over the emperor in hospital until the emperor was fit enough to resume his duties, whereupon Ayreon returned to Shirekeep.
Reign during the war years
As Shireroth and Natopia were at risk of attack with strategic weapons by the forces of the USSO between the years 1655 and 1656, following a Natopian orbital strike on forces massing in the Strait of Haifa, the Kaiser - along with his tutors, Holodomatic chaplains and close protection detail - was frequently moved between rural manor-houses in Brookshire, avoiding major population centres and industrial or military targets by a generous radius.
In compensation the Imperial Mother presented the young Kaiser with two gifts on his eleventh birthday, a young sablehound pup, named Dravvy after his mother and stepfather, and a Babkhano-Froyalanish girl of twelve years, Áslög-Kráka Behsoozsdóttir, so that he might have a companion for childish games and for other uses when he came of age.
The Kaiser's education, in spite of the frequent upheavals, was progressing steadily; he could read, write, and converse in Praeta, Istvanistani, Babkhi and Elw, whilst mastering arithmetic, basic algebra, as well as the simplified principles of geometry. He was taught the mythical history of the 1st and 2nd Eras of Shireroth with the expectation that the revised learning and new chronology would be introduced to him at a later stage. From his exposure to life on a working farm he had developed a sturdy work ethic.
L'affaire de Ryker
When the Hoennese queen and her entourage had visited the young Kaiser, the Kaiser had grown fond of the Hoennese realm, and devoted many hours of reading about the country, its planet and strange customs. After nagging Ryker Everstone, the Regent, to appoint an ambassador to Hoenn, the Regent eventually agreed and appointed Prince Daniel (the safir) to the position. All was well, or so everyone thought, until early 1656 when the Hoennese regency sent a letter to the regent on the appointment of a Hoennese ambassador to Shireroth. The letter, written in high ceremonial Hoennese style, was given a reply by the regent that amounted to more offence than constructive dialogue (he enclosed with the letter a cheque so the crown prince of Hoenn could buy himself a puppy). Expecting diplomatic fallout and loss of value of their shares in SHIPTT, the other members of the Imperial Advisory Council immediately met to divest Ryker of the regency and in his stead appointed a rising, but still relatively unknown, provincial magnate, Hartmut Aldric, Count of Elsyran, to the position.
Angered by this move, yet unable to convince the IAC otherwise, Ryker vowed that he would leave the imperial government for years to come. "May it rot," he said of the government to reporters, as he left Raynor's Keep. The presence of reporters suggests some lapse of security for which a number of sentinels were demoted or transferred to other regiments. The editors of the Shirekeep Gazette and the Daily Mail & Telegraph of Eliria were subsequently hosted by the Steward's Honour Guard at a private function and the comments went unreported.
To the public it was announced that the King of Goldshire was retiring to a secluded country mansion in Suthergold to undergo a special treatment, hinted to be reconstructive plastic surgery - his hideous disfigurement having been an unavoidable subject of court gossip for years.
The Kaiser, being told the public version of these events, was nonetheless saddened, as he had come to consider Ryker to be the only connection – aside from Aldin – to his father's side of the family. The reasoning for this sentiment was childish and ill-considered. Ryker "owned" Villy Esposito, the Kaiser's paternal uncle, as a "loyal subject", while everyone else had either died or exiled themselves in Stormark.
The King of Goldshire subsequently resolved this awkward impasse by lapsing into a coma, throwing his Kingdom once more into chaos.
In the midst of these domestic travails set against the backdrop of an ongoing global conflict, the Kaiser undertook a successful state visit to Caputia in the 8th and 9th months of 1656. On account of the ongoing conflict over the Great Western Sea and eastern Keltia, Ayreon IV became the first Kaiser to cross the north pole, as the Imperial Yacht and its escort was obliged to take an indirect route. The trip proved to be an important diplomatic coup for the embattled Imperial Republic, shoring up relations with a vital neutral trading partner at a critical time in the war against Passio-Corum. The Kaiser received unusually fulsome and genuine praise for maintaining an amiable, polite and self-disciplined façade throughout the long and exhausting sequence of official engagements, which culminated in an address to the Caputian parliament. Following the state visit, the Kaiser visited Klaasisitya to attend the memorial to the deceased former emperor Zakyyr.
As a growing child of eleven years, the Kaiser's physical education now became increasingly important. Under the careful supervision of his tutors and close protection detail the Kaiser was introduced to the sport of cross-country running around the boundaries of his rural home in Monty Crisco as well as the Elwynnese martial art of cudgel fighting. As the Kaiser's strength and physical dexterity grew the day would come when he would be introduced to the ancient Shirerithian custom of sabre fencing.
At the end of the second month of 1657, the Kaiser was struck with sorrow. His foster-father Daniyal Dravot had died in Modan-Lach. The Kaiser, for a moment inconsolable, reached out to his mother (Dravot's wife) who quickly scolded him for displaying emotions at this natural event. The Kaiser understood that he could no longer deal with childish emotions and decided he needed to toughen up. His mother depended on him for that. Not long after, the Kaiser understood that Kurai Darkmoon, the Timeless Shadow, had died in an airplane accident and that the Lengois senate had elected him King of Leng.
The sorrow did not last long, as Kaiser Ayreon IV received the news that his uncle Aldin (the identical twin of his father) has fathered a child, David, with Li Naomiai. He travelled extensively to his uncle and aunt in Natopia, and also visited the Elian Union where he pushed for a separate Normark identity in that union.
In the middle of 1657, he welcomed Mira Octavius-Aryani as the new Steward of the Imperial Republic after the outgoing Waldemar Zinkgraven, who was subsequently recalled from his campaign against Nova England. Zinkgraven rejected these orders, which some of his subordinate officers interpreted as an arrest warrant, throwing the campaign into disarray, sparking a three-sided armed confrontation in the Warring Isles between the Imperial Navy, the Sea-Reavers, and the Babkhi mercenaries provided from Jadid Khaz Modan and Elwynn by Liv Dravot.
Mira Octavius-Aryani's government did away with the explicit corporativism in the government, returning the ministers to actual people from corporative entitities. For the young kaiser, still under the regency, he was pleased that the Imperial Household Agency was returned to its earlier holder, his tutor Soraya Octavius-Parini, who continued the kaiser's education. At this time, he had, despite much agony and frustration, mastered Babkhi calligraphy. Although he preferred speaking in his maternal Norse, his Babkhi was fully functional and sounded native, and his Elw had a better quality than Elwynnese children his age. When it came to Præta, however, he kept struggling with grammatical gender (constantly mixing them up), and he refused to even employ the imperfect form of verbs, making his Præta sound, as one observed described it, "weird". The Kaiser never enjoyed speaking Præta, making claims such as "I am an Elwynnese, we don't speak Præta", with his teacher counter-arguing "you're the kaiser, you are Shireroth, you have to know proper grammar." Resigned to his fate, he, the good student he was, spent countless nights memorizing the proper gender of a range of Præta nouns. Unfortunately, it was to little success.
Meanwhile, in Stormark, the government there saw the estates inherited there by him upon his father's and his grandmother Noor's deaths fall into malmanagement and disarray. The Kaiser, for obvious reasons precluded from dealing with the Storish authorities or visiting the country, had, in the Storish government's view, interests in these assets. Maintaining a hope that the Kaiser would, at some point in the future, have the strength and courage to restore relations with Stormark and provide restoration to the country for the events during the Auspicious Occasion, the Storish government introduced a bill in the Althing (in mid 1658) that made Ayreon's (illegitimate) aunt Esther Fatima Gudrid his legal guardian in that country. She would take care of all his assets there until such time that the Kaiser would go there. Hearing the news of these events, the Kaiser was genuinely surprised that he indeed had any assets in Stormark of value, and was intrigued to their worth. When asking his tutors of the matter, they refused to go into any detail, and the Imperial Advisory Council unequivocally informed the kaiser that he may not, under any circumstances, travel to Stormark or deal with any assets of his there.
The Elian Union
Spending more and more time in Natopia, particularly in Normark, whose language he spoke with native fluency, and in Lindström, the Kaiser attended to the government of the Elian Union, assisted by his tutors and advisers whilst enjoying the continued protection of his Sentinels and the looming cannons of the Medusa providing a vigilant overwatch of his residence. He took particular interest in the Norse nation and he was instrumental in setting up a separate Norse demesne within the Elian Union. Ayreon's governing in the Elian Union was widely considered to be a practice round of rule before he was to take on the kaisership a few years later in 1660.
Privately, whenever he was in Lindström, he spent a lot of a time with the Natopian emperor, Nathan II, and the two grew very close. Nathan became Ayreon's close companion with whom he could relax, with only his close protection detail from the shire:Order of the Sentinels monitoring his words and actions (as to order their removal would have triggered a cascading diplomatic incident).
Ayreon was also present in Natopia during the death of the former Alexandrian emperor Edgard II. He attended memorials for the late emperor as Kaiser and as King, remembering fondly how their relationship began after the death of Ayreon's grandmother Noor, whose funeral Edgard, battling his own illnesses, took large efforts in attending.
Having inherited the Duchy of Istvanistan in Neridia after the death of his grandmother Noor, Ayreon had at this time taken on his right to take part in the government of the Most Serene Union. Though after some disagreements with the Shirerithian-originated Neridian prince Janus Eadric on the powers of the Duchy and on the future constitutional direction of the demesne, Ayreon sought to abdicate that duchy. At this point, Ayreon's advisers proposed an alternative solution, so as to avoid the unfortunate precedent of the Kaiser abdicating titles and lands bestowed by an allied power. Accordingly, they brought together representatives of the Most Serene Union, the Principality of Arboria, and of course the Elian Union, to broker a complicated deal on changes of noble territorial jurisdiction. For Ayreon's part, it meant that he in 1658 disavowed his claim on the Duchy of Istvanistan, whilst retaining certain privileges there, and return acquired the duchy of New Aquitane from the Principality of Arboria. To square the circle and reward Arboria, the underdeveloped Transegale territory, along with a few small islands on the western coast of Benacia, was ceded by the Elian Union. In this way all three demesne unions were said to have gained something from the convoluted chain of territorial exchanges.
The only drawback for the Elian Union and Arboria was that their demesnal unions no longer made strict sense as territorial and cultural entities. The Elian Union had always seemed to be a somewhat haphazard assembly of Keltian, Benacian, Cibolan, and Tapferite territories, now the recent Tapferite gains had been swapped out for a landlocked Apollonian duchy. Similarly Arboria's rule over the Transegale made scant sense either, except maybe as a colonial enterprise - and the Princess of Arboria was reputedly well satisfied by the addition of Tapferite copper mines to the portfolio of her burgeoning maritime realms.
With the Kaiser being largely away in Natopia, fostering his friendship with Emperor Nathan II and dealing with the Elian Union, the Landsraad, at the behest of Queen Kizzy Drakland of Malarboria, adopted a Charter amendment. The amendment, which on one hand strengthened the Kaiser's power over his own holdings, particularly the Emirate of Sathrati and the Duchy of Brookshire, also established a method for the removal of the kaiser. Ayreon was worried about this, as it signalled a further loss of power from him, and more control over him during his eventual rule. He was however pleased with given more autonomy over his personal lands in Shireroth.
Privately, he confided with the emperor, worried that the Shirerithians would force him out. Although he was never in any deep contact with the exiled king Noah (who was now a Natopian king over Uppland), Noah's people kept seeking the kaiser out, and Ayreon had genuine sympathy for Noah's sadness for being exiled. Of course, Ayreon understood the reasons, and he had promised the IAC on several times that he would abide by their decisions, but Ayreon felt threatened. What if this meant that the IAC would put further restrictions on Ayreon's dealings with the Upplanders, with his exiled family?
In all of this, Ayreon felt comforted by his best friend, emperor Nathan. Together, they would talk for hours, discussing the future, and enjoying their time together. Things did feel a lot better for Ayreon when spending time with Nathan.
Last year of childhood
On 8.III.1659, Ayreon celebrated his 15th birthday in Nordiskehjem, Normark. It was a private affair although great care was taken by the minders to ensure a proper cake (some berries were directly imported from Caputia). Among the few guests were the Natopian emperor Nathan II, Ayreon's chamberlain Soraya Octavius-Aryani, his uncle Aldin, Aldin's wife Li Naomiai, Ayreon's cousin David Raion, the Timeless Shadow, Emily Saryaan (for some reason unknown to all but on the insistence of the king), as well as the Prætor of the Landsraad Armin Jamal-Arminzadeh. Ayreon's mother elected not to attend.
The very next day was turbulent. Although at the night before, Ayreon had gone to bed very late, being high on sugar and caffeine, and once most the guests had left, he had been a bit too touchy-feely with the Natopian emperor for the likes of the minders, Ayreon woke up to a long day of work. At first, he received the President of the Nordisketing who informed him that the government had held a ball in honour of the king-kaiser the previous day and that early on the morning of the ninth, it had adopted a new constitution that made Ayreon the first king of Normark since Johann Einhorn. Although pleased with this news, Ayreon had no time to celebrate. After signing the constitution, Peder Eikegaard, the Elian Union N&H prime minister also had an audience with the king-kaiser. Eikegaard told Ayreon that he had formed a new government, and that it had received the backing of the Elian legislature. The Kaiser was pleased. Following this audience, the king received the news from Soraya that Talenore had requested independence. Ayreon was sad. He felt like a piece of his heart was taken away from him. "But the law is the law, and I respect the choice of the Talenorian government," he said. After some very speedy negotiations between the Ministry of Exterior's Lady Dragonmoor and the Talenorian president Mahmood Sadri, the Steward Mira Octavius-Aryani effected the Talenorian secession by the evening of the same day.
A short while later, Nathan II surprised Ayreon with a mighty gift – Nathan abdicated the throne of Tas Neemia in favour of Ayreon. Although it was unexpected for everyone, Nathan's justfiication was that it belonged to Ayreon's family. After all, Ayreon's father's father was once Raja of Tas Neemia too.
Ayreon's stay in Natopia was cut short by events in Shireroth that caused Ayreon to return home. The Prætor of the Landsraad, Lord Armin Jamal-Arminzadeh of Suthergold, resigned his office in a surprise move. As such, Ayreon had to lead the Landsraad in electing a new Prætor. Unfortunately for the Kaiser, the debate during that election became a public testament to how bad the relationship between the Kaiser and his mother was. Although she, in the end, was elected Prætor, and the Kaiser and the Imperial Mother took steps to repair the image with the Kaiser staying the next few months in Shirekeep and attending social functions with his mother. Liv's prætorship lasted a few short months before she, too, in a surprise move, would resign, and the Kaiser was tasked once again to seek out a new prætor. With no credible candidates to be found within the Landsraad pool, Tinker Sprocket, the greivar robot Speaker of the Natopian Frenzy was ennobled and admitted to the Landsraad and then swiftly elected Prætor.
Looking forward to ending his regency and starting ruling on his own, the Kaiser was sent back to Natopia until such time that a coronation would be held (were his mother's words). Regent Hartmut Aldric issued Imperial Decree 1018 which extended the regency until such time that the Kaiser would issue a decree ending it. Being in Natopia, with the minders around him, it would be impossible for him to issue a decree without his mother's or the government's approval. He therefore celebrated his 16th birthday in Natopia with Emperor Nathan II. His mother did, reportedly, not observe the anniversary of her son's birth. The Kaiser's birthday was marked in Shireroth simply as a flag day (as it had the previous years) with no other public celebrations.
Meanwhile, the IAC had convened a committee to plan the coronation. Planning the Kaiser's coronation proved to be the most divisive task in the IAC since the decision to cause the so-called Auspicious Occasion in 1651. Despite this, the ministerial council acted collegially in public, renominating Steward Mira Octavius-Aryani for a second term. In the vote for Steward, Ryker Everstone's abstention was the only indication of dissent in the Imperial Advisory Council. Thereby, media understood that the divisions were surrounding the coronation of the Kaiser, and speculated when – even if – the Kaiser would finally ascend the throne.
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown
Indeed, during the voting of the Landsraad for Steward, strange things happened. The disunity in the IAC as to the Kaiser's coronation spread to the question of the Froyalaners. Heath Belledin, in a surprise move, having previously called for the death of every single Froyalaner in Shireroth, held a speech in the Imperial Advisory Council on how the Imperial Government had treated the Froyalaners too harshly. Armin Jamal-Arminzadeh also joined Belledin's choir. Armin accused Liv Dravot of murder and genocide, and began writing letters on the matter. Belledin joined the rebellion by calling for the arrest of the Imperial Mother.
Meanwhile, the Kaiser was called to Natopia for a regency following a spiritual retreat of the emperor there to Athlon, and the IAC adopted a new decree for a reconstitution of the Imperial House – which Armin immediately opposed. After a heavy argument in the IAC, Belledin ragequit the meetings but kept his office as Imperial Inquisitor.
The voting for the Steward's election took yet another surprise turn minutes before the closing of the vote after Lady Dragonmoor shifted her vote from Mira Octavius-Aryani to the Belledin-supported Lady Rei Milharna. The Prætor, Lord Sprocket, could not deal with this situation, had a circuit meltdown, and was unable to break the ensuing tie – citing the pressure of having this alien country upon his "mother board" – and resigned the Prætorship. With no Prætor, it was evident that the Kaiser needed to return to Shireroth to break the tie.
Meanwhile, Liv Dravot called for war against Armin Jamal-Arminzadeh – who in turn expelled her from the Elwynnese senate. Alalehzamin broke thereby with the rest of the Elwynnese government. In yet another surprise move, Armin wrote to the Elwynnese exiled king Noah – now head of the Imperial Court in Lindström – to ask him to protect the Kasier's life should Liv try to extract "the fucking nuisance of a boy" (as his mother had described him).
The King of Uppland, the exiled and in Shireroth disgraced Noah, took full charge of the situation and used his prerogatives to spirit the Kaiser away all the way to Uppland, where the Kaiser was placed securely in the basement where he was lavished with gifts and luxury. Angered with this arrangement, and the potential for demonic contamination of the Kaiser, the IAC wrote forcefully to Ayreon, telling him that the IAC would under no circumstances tolerate the Kaiser's staying in Uppland, and that if Ayreon chose to stay in Uppland rather than in Lindström in accordance with the IAC's wishes, Ayreon would have forefeited his crown. Ayreon immediately flew back to Lindström where the Frenzy now had begun debating a bill to remove the special status of the Vanic church in Natopia. Despite heavy opposition, it was quickly approved, and Ayreon was instructed to sign it.
Meanwhile, he had been informed by conference call from Steward Mira Octavius-Aryani that his mother Liv Dravot was wanted for treason and would likely be killed – either on the battlefield so to speak or by being executed. Ayreon experienced at this time dissociation and depression, something that worried his chamberlain Soraya. It was clear to her that the increased pressure on Ayreon, including the news of his mother's treason and expressions of Froyalanish sympathy, had been coupled with the sudden disappearance of emperor Nathan – for some secretive spiritual congress in Athlon – and that Ayreon felt abandoned, rejected, and alone. She spoke of the matter to the IAC who agreed that the Kaiser had to return to Shirekeep for safekeeping, demonic contamination, and preparation for eventual rule. Not wanting to draw attention to the Kaiser's leaving Natopia, the IAC chartered a Hoennese aeroplane all the way from Terra through Nijima to whisk the Kaiser back to Shireroth.
However, a few days before the Hoennese airplane was due to land in Lindström, while Ayreon was presiding over the inauguration of Rei Milharna as assistant justice of the Natopian Supreme Court, Emperor Nathan II returned to Vista da Nada. Unfortunately, Nathan and Vidar were unable to meet privately more than five minutes, as court officials were quick to bring the two along with the cabinet for a series of meetings. Nathan understood how little Ayreon had enjoyed his regency, and relieved Ayreon of his duties as Regent, and to the chagrin of the IAC, appointed Naya to the regency. Nathan also bumped Ayreon down one place in the order of succession, and also removed Noah from it, which of course pleased the IAC.
It appeared to the IAC that the return of Emperor Nathan, and the swift changes there made, signalled an uneasy truce between the Haraldite (represented by Noah and the Klaasiyan Waffel-Paines) and Humanist (represented by the N&H and the Klaasiyan) factions in Natopia. At this point, the Humanists controlled the chancellery and the Frenzy, while the Haraldites controlled the supreme court and the heir to the throne. Both emperor and kaiser were seen as neutral, as was Rei Milharna (a safir, whose existence is sometimes at odds with the humanist ideology). With this the humanist retreated, for now, and their allies in the IAC allowed the Hoennese trip to continue, so not to hurt Hoennese diplomatic relations (it had been the first time a Terran aircraft had entered into Natopian airspace, and indeed, the second, it would enter into Shirerithian).
Rule over Brookshire
In early 1660, Altea Lomax, the Kaiser's, as duke's, vicereine in Brookshire was severely injured in a car accident. The day-to-day activies of the ducal government was temporarily delegated to Rhêni Chakam (an elf), the second in command. Just after the 1660 Folksraad election, the Duke-Kaiser removed Chakam from office and assumed office himself. There are no clear answers as to why the Kaiser did this, but it is believed it was to punish Chakam for allowing the Nationalist-Humanist bloc to win over Brookshire, a bastion of reformist and liberal ideology (due to generations of governments "dumping" liberal and reformist administrators to Brookshire).
Taking charge of Brookshire as duke, Ayreon initated quick reforms. On one hand, he made sure to secure the IAC's approval of statehood for Brookshire. Secondly, he appointed governors across each county in the duchy. And third, he created an advisory council, to mirror the IAC ducally, in Montrano, consisting of the governors of the counties.
Lady Dragonmoor went to the Landsraad with a resolution to restore statehood for Brookshire. However, during the debate of the bill, Lady Dragonmoor was found murdered in her office in the Ministry of the Interior (where she was serving as acting minister during Lady Eki's rebellion in the North). The Southern League, led by the Kaiser's Imperial Mother, Liv Dravot, was immediately implicated in the murder – performed due to the League's opposition to Dragonmoor's nationalization of ESB-Jörmungandr assets (thought to have financed the League). With these events in mind, the ESB allies (mainly the N&H bloc) in the Folksraad conditioned approval of Brookshire's statehood with amnesty for those involved in the Elwynnese civil war as well as those involved with the murder of Lady Dragonmoor. Exaspirated, the Landsraad finally agreed, whereupon the Folksraad and Adelsraad quickly ratified the statehood bill.
The bill was not yet adopted, however, as Brookshire was the Kaiser's fief, and his assent was therefore needed. His assent could not be given until he had assumed the throne, and there would be no regency in effect. As such, the bill would wait until after the Kaiser's coronation.
The Kaiser's coronation has first been planned to occur upon the Kaiser's return from his last perfomance as regent in Natopia, but was postponed on several occasions, mainly due to the IAC's reluctance to let the Kaiser actually be kaiser. The Elwynnese civil war and the arrest warrants for his mother proved to be good excuses in public discourse. Although the IAC, throughout the Kaiser's childhood, made attempts at steering the Kaiser to be a good and loyal Shirerithian of the new feudal order – attempts that went well until the Kaiser had reached puberty – the Kaiser's deeply religious Bovic faith was one obstacle. His professed love for Emperor Nathan II was another. Moreover, the Kaiser seemed to be quite emotional, with sympathy for the Froyalaners, especially for the Froyalanish part of his extended family (through his grandmother's posthumously annulled marriage with King Noah). As such, the IAC had doubts with the Kaiser's fitness to rule, though in the end, members of the IAC had informed Kaiser Ayreon IV as a condition for his assumption of government that he would have to heed the advice of the Imperial Advisory Council or else face dethroning.
The Coronation of Kaiser Ayreon IV took place on 01.IX.1661. It was a day-long event beginning with private religious ceremonies in the early morning, followed by the prostration of the members of the Folksraad and Adelsraad in the Palace of Zirandorthel, with processions between the Palace and the Keep. The main event, however, took place in the Keep, televised to the whole world. Among the foreign guests were Queen Elizabeth of Caputia and Emperor Nathan II of Natopia.
The festivities were not to last for long, as the Kaiser had to deal with the looming civil war in Elwynn. Ayreon invited all parties to a meeting in the Keep, hoping that his new position as reigning kaiser would inspire respect and obedience so that peace could be settled.
The Matter of Elwynn
The Kaiser's attempts at posing as a peacemaker in Elwynn fell apart when instead of inviting the Elwynnese factions to attend talks aimed at a negotiated settlement, the outlines of which were beginning to take shape, he attempted to order the surviving members of the Elwynnese Senate to attend an extraordinary session chaired by the Kaiser in Raynor's Keep. This contributed to a perhaps underwhelming response. Concurrently it became apparent that, in spite of the amnesty granted by the Landsraad to all parties in the dispute, the Imperial Inquisitor had in no-way set aside his ambition to subject the Imperial Mother to the politicised judicial process which had prompted the crisis in Elwynn in the first instance. More worryingly rumours persisted that Steward intended to have the Imperial Mother held permanently incommunicado without trial. For this reason the Southern League demanded a hostage from House Octavius as a guarantee of the safety of their political leadership. An official response was not forthcoming and the offer of Armin Jamal-Arminzadeh to serve as a hostage instead was dismissed contemptuously since the value of his life was hardly going to be sufficient to dissuade the Steward from a course of action.
After it became apparent that, for one reason or another, over half of the membership of the Elwynnese Senate had failed to respond to the Kaiser's summons Aryeon IV reluctantly adjourned the session until further notice. The Kaiser was said to have reacted poorly to the news of the failure of his first effort as a diplomatic mediator, threatening to deprive all participants in the civil conflict of their noble title.
As the depths of the Kaiser's fury became widely known discrete contacts were established between the Imperial Court and the Army Council of the Southern League. Following tortuous negotiations new proposals were set before the rump Senate in Raynor's Keep which the Southern League then seized upon in order to make a definitive counter proposal. In place of an Imperial occupation a new regime of peace would be imposed by Commissioners of the Peace, comprised of the leadership of the formerly warring factions. These commissioners would then oversee congressional elections in the bailiwicks within the jurisdictions of their leagues. The Western League would be abolished and partitioned between the Northern League, the Southern League, and Eliria which secured the Ayreonist heartland in Iserdia in order to establish a League of the Midlands. All parties were heartily sick of the conflict by this stage and the compromise peace established by the White Elwynn Accords, named for the body of water where the parties met on a barge to affix their signatures, was good enough to allow everyone to claim that they had endured enough to secure their interests.
The Humanist Counterrevolution
Spurred by the successes of the Southern League in holding its own against Ayreonist and Imperialist pressure long enough to obtain a favourable peace, Humanists and Coalition 1660, a disparate collection of minority parties and reformists, found the courage to turn on the tottering regime of Kizzy Drakland in Malarboria.
Angularis, Amarr, and Highpass were lost to the invading forces in quick succession whilst the restive population of Modan-Hamlet rose up in revolt against the Regents appointed by the Loyalist Legion and Coven of the Sun.
- Kaiser intervenes with Kizzy's exodus.
- Elwynn – coup against Armin. "Coordinated State" restored.
The burdens of title
In light of the growing instability outside the Imperial Capital, the Imperial Government took steps to layer additional layers of security around the Kaiser. Travel outside of the Imperial Republic risked re-engagement with the Harald Entity. Travel to much of mainland Benacia necessitated a significant security entourage. As such, the Kaiser stayed mostly in Raynor's Keep, reading papers of state and attending meetings of the IAC, quietly frustrated with the limitations of his role.
Amongst the most egregious examples of the travel restrictions placed upon the young Kaiser was the refusal to permit him to attend the wedding of the Titular Emperor of Alexandria Francis Joseph IV and Queen Elizabeth I of Caputia in late 1661, following credible threats of an assassination attempt by ultra-nationalist elements in the Imperial regime outraged by the possibility, albeit remote, that the Kaiser would be able to consort, even fleetingly, with corrupting foreign influences - notably the representatives of Stormark and the Vanic diaspora in Natopia, during the course of festivities in Zalae and Dos Gardenias.
Events took a still more ominous turn with the assassination in 1663 of the Steward of Shireroth, Mira II Octavius-Aryani within the grounds of Raynor's Keep itself, the security apparatus surrounding Ayreon became omnipresent. Visits to his rural hideaway, Montreano, were restricted, preventing him from reviewing and approving planned improvements to the grounds. Sentinels patrolled Raynor's Keep in constant rotation, while the Kaiser himself was forbidden to be without at least two Sentinels at all times.
At first, it was believed the Kaiser would be unable to attend his steward's funeral due to security concerns. In this context, his Imperial Chamberlain, Soraya II Octavius-Parini, cleared his schedule. Officially, he would be on a spiritual retreat, but, in reality, he travelled to Kezan and was hosted by the grieving House of Octavius.
While attending Mira's wake, Ayreon experienced a panic attack. For the remainder of his time in Kezan, he remained withdrawn and private, though simultaneously liberated by the absence of his Sentinels. During this time, he and his Chamberlain, Soraya, spoke at length on the many things troubling him. His revulsion at his mother's attempts to foist a bride on him. His unreciprocated yearning for Nathan II of Natopia. The choking grasp of the security apparatus that awaited him at home. The ever-looming spectre of death upon them all.
Soraya comforted Ayreon as much as a substitute maternal figure could. She agreed to find a way loosen his restrictions, but reiterated the need for protection. She grudgingly agreed with the Imperial Mother on the need for the Kaiser to perpetuate his dynasty, whose very existence was precariously narrow.
Upon his return to Benacia, the Kaiser spent the remainder of his impromptu vacation in Montreano, in deep discussion with Isidora IV of Octavius-Teleni. The two had maintained an especially close relationship throughout their childhood, raised and tutored together under the aegis of the Imperial Chamberlain. Once reaching adulthood, Isidora was the only one among their group to take up full residence in Montreano, while the others took up various local and imperial functions throughout the Imperial Capital.
Upon the Kaiser's return to Raynor's Keep, he informed the Imperial Advisory Council of his decision to wed Isidora. Reactions were mixed, with concern primarily falling on the fact that she had Imperial Immediacy but was not of sufficient rank in and of herself. They counter-offered that the Kaiser take her as a concubine; her children would remain lower on the Order of Succession to the Kaisership than any children by a true wife.
Ayreon chafed at the counter-proposal, as he saw marrying a woman, even a close confidant, to be a large sacrifice in itself. The Kaiser left the matter unresolved, depressed by the level of control that the IAC held over even personal matters.
This fuelled a spiritual crisis in the young Kaiser, and he was given leave to attend Saint Joelle's Monastery in Athlon for a while for him to grow stronger physically, spiritually and mentally. The Monastery was notorious for instilling in its monks mental and physical discipline in a harsh Antarctic climate. During his leave of absence, the Kaiser had arranged for the Prince of Modan to be his regent.
During his seclusion, the Kaiser's demesnes in Natopia were taken by his grand-aunt Isabella Kalirion for imperial administration. Although Ayreon was angered by this act, he felt the need to continue his spiritual seclusion for the time being. He needed more discipline.
After sermons on forgiveness and reconciliation, Ayreon, as kaiser, sent a letter to the Jingdaoese Chidao Emperor congratulating him on the establishment of an exhibition of Benacian flora and fauna at the main museum in Jingdao's capital. The letter had, unfortunately for the kaiser, been intercepted by the IAC who demanded the Kaiser's immediate return.
Ayreon, fearing for his throne, returned to Shirekeep where he stayed a few weeks dealing with the IAC, before he returned to the Monastery, this time with the former kaiseress Lady Kessei Ašura as regent. Although an alien, Lady Kessei was seen as less controversial than other safir in Shirekeep, and the Kaiser wanted by the appointment to send the Nationalist-Humanists a message of disagreement with their anti-nonhuman policies.
The Kaiser failed in this message as the regent-safir organized the Safirian Exodus in late 1663 which saw the mass emigration of safir and others, including several former kaisers and long-lasting members of the imperial government. The Kaiser considered this a defeat for his Ayreonist leanings, and immediately returned, albeit reluctantly, to Shirekeep.
The Safirian Exodus plays out
In an imperial proclamation (On the Safirian Exodus), he stated: "Their [the safir's'] departure makes the Shirerithian culture and diversity the more poorer. We are immensely grateful for their nation's contributions to the Imperial Republic." He was quickly rebuked by the leader of the Nationalist & Humanist Party, who said said:
- Let us avail ourselves of this opportunity to discard the pretence that the active alien colonisation of our world was in any way a sensible or welcome development, furthermore let us take this moment as an opportune one in which to investigate fully and openly what sequence of immortal perversities enabled a succession of blue-skinned extraterrestrials to occupy the throne as though they had a blood right to it.
At this point, the Kaiser's right, by tradition, to issue imperial proclamations without the advice and consent of the Imperial Advisory Council was questioned by the Folksraad, and the Kaiser's personal secretary, Jalal Jahanbani, made a public statement ending that tradition for matters that may to a majority of the IAC appear controversial. The Kaiser responded by sacking Jahanbani from that position and his stead appointed the Marchioness of Sentratera.
In Brookshire, after the Duke of Calezi won a peaceful election by being elected to President of the Council of Ministers, the Kaiser also appointed Calezi to First Secretary of the Kehl, a position that the same day was vacated by a member of the group taking part in the Safirian Exodus.
Reform of the Imperial Household
A few days after having appointed the Marchioness of Sentratera to Personal Secretary, the Kaiser was invited to a meeting with his chamberlain Soraya Octavius-Parini, his secretary the Marchioness Sentratera, and Lady Isidora – the Kaiser's preferred wife (if he had to have a wife), where they discussed the IAC's refusal to allow Lady Isidora the right of being the kaiser's wife and consort. After the chamberlain presented the meeting with a draft reform package for the organization of the Imperial Household, so to bring more autonomy and protection to the Kaiser's court, the Kaiser reluctantly agreed to take Isidora on as a concubine provided that the law would allow for any children of that union to inherit the throne. This was considered especially important at this time given the Batavian monarchists were contemporaneously courting Prince David (2nd in line to the Shirerithian throne) to make David king of the Batavians. While waiting for the proposals to be dashed out, discussed through endless IAC meetings and prepared with appropriate budgets, and so on, the meeting also decided that Isidora would replace the Marchioness as personal secretary to the Kaiser, responding to missives, letters, etc, so to normalize the IAC's interactions with her.
On 7.VII.1664, the Arbiter of the Imperial Judex, Vilhelm Benkern died from old age. The Kaiser was immediately informed and proclaimed a period of mourning throughout the Imperial Republic. In the daily meeting with the IAC the question of who would replace Benkern as Arbiter arose. In the end, the short list stood between the Provost (i.e. assistant arbiter) King Ryker of Goldshire and Soraya Octavius-Parini, the Imperial Household chamberlain. Finally, the Kaiser decided that he would nominate King Ryker in order to keep Soraya close to himself.
During the Landsraad's confirmation hearing the next day, the Minister of the Exterior, Jalal Jahanbani, exposed sympathies for the Froyalanish people, with the former king Noah Hallbjörnsson, and with Stormark. Furthermore, in an official statement, Jahanbani promised to bring reparations to the Froyalanish people, the deposed House of Ettlingar Freyu. As a consequence of this he was deprived of noble title and office, finding himself instead plunged into the darkest cells of Raynor's Keep.
Upon hearing of the news of Jahanbani, the Kaiser confessed to his chamberlain that Jahanbani had offered him sexual services and had often initiated conversations on the so-called Froyalanish genocide, Stormark, and the House of Ettlingar Freyu.
A Concubine and a Child
During month XI of 1664, Ayreon finally received the formal consent of the Imperial Advisory Council for him to take on Lady Isidora IV of Octavius-Teleni as concubine. An investiture ceremony for her was held in the Keep where she vowed "to remain ever faithful to Our Lord the Radiant Sun, and to bear him children worthy of his inheritance". In turn, the Kaiser promised to view Isidora as "a faithful servant and member of my family".
The Kaiser was happy with the choice, but less happy about insistent members of the IAC, who demand that he consummate the concubinage so that he can get into the rhythm of sexual relations with the opposite sex and practice for when he gets properly married. Ayreon ended debate over the topic by making the vague promise to attempt impregnation at Isidora's next ovulation.
Although the Kaiser was gaining confidence and maturing into his role as constitutional monarch, he sharply rediscovered the limits of his authority when he proposed to his advisory council, at a moment when it was distracted by news of a fresh revolt in northern Elwynn, that the Imperial Republic's flag ought to be redesigned.
Although news in early 1665 surfaced that the Kaiser's concubine was expecting a child, it was common knowledge in Raynor's Keep that the kaiser preferred spending his nights with male companions, particularly a Batavian adept page with the name of Jaap van Pijpervale. Although Ayreon's relationship with Jaap started off out of pure physical attraction, over time, Ayreon developed romantic feelings for the page. He knew though that the relationship with Jaap would always have a skewed power relationship, and despite his romantic feelings, he did not take the relationship seriously. He enjoyed spending time with Jaap, particularly at night, but whenever he wanted emotional closeness, he would go to Isidora. Only with Isidora did Ayreon feel comfortable enough to "be himself". In fact, Isidora was the only person that the Kaiser fully trusted. Although he would never say it out loud to her, she was the only person he regarded as his equal.
On 17.VII.1665, Isidora gave birth to the Kaiser's daughter Salome. Princess Salome automatically became heir apparent. Only a child of the Kaiser's imperial spouse would rank higher in the order of succession.
The Kaiser felt a renewed sense of peace of spirit after the birth of his daughter, spending as much time as he could with her, and the mother of the child, though Ayreon kept his relationship with Jaap, spending most nights with him. In spite of his aristocratic lifestyle, the Media Engagement section of the Office of Information ensured that the Kaiser was portrayed to his denizens and loyal subjects as a paternal and morally upright family man.
When Ayreon heard of the news of the return of Nathan II from a spiritual slumber, Ayreon's heart sank. He had thought that his feelings for Nathan had been pushed aside, replaced by the platonic love he had for Isidora, his love as a father for his daughter, and for his carnal love for Jaap. Nathan sent some missives to Ayreon, but Ayreon refused to answer any of them. They are not of official character, they need no reply, he would say. Ayreon was angry, and when angry, Ayreon would work out harder, running more and more around the Keep, making heavier gymnastic movements. At times, the Court would worry about the Kaiser's mental health, but Isidora, his chamberlain and concubine, would quickly silence such worries.
The Kaiser undertook a trip to Normark in late 1665. Although invited to Lindström to meet with the Emperor, he declined, citing a lack of time. In Normark, Ayreon enacted a new constitution and oversaw new elections to the new Norse legislature. Returning to Shirekeep, the Kaiser took on more work. He met with the IAC more regularly than before, made several ambassadorial appointments, regulated an imperial electoral commission, and mediated the resignation of King Ryker Everstone from Arbiter after a highly controversial ruling. In his stead, the Kaiser appointed Semisa Caprici, the first woman to head the Judex for 141 years (last one was Hypatia Agnesi in 1524).
At the same time, Prince Aldin, Ayreon's paternal uncle, returned to Shireroth. With Aldin's son David looking increasingly likely to become King of the Batavians, Aldin resigned from the Bovic papacy and became Metrobosarch of Benacia (akin to archbishop), so that he could be closer to the other members of his Ayreon-Kalirion extended family. The Kaiser valued this return and appointed Prince Aldin to the Landsraad. Prince Aldin also brought with him wishes from Emperor Nathan, and Ayreon finally decided to respond. There was a video call, one that did not touch on official matters, except for discussions of the Batavians' plans for David, Nathan and Ayreon could speak out. Ayreon spoke of his child, Nathan of his spiritual experiences, and they spoke of their good memories. They promised each other they would meet whenever the conditions of scheduling aligned.
The Kaiser received an invitation to visit Talenore, and he undertook the visit in late 1665. He met with the Governor General, Lord Sadri of Pasdaran, and with members of his cabinet, leaders of other parliamentary parties, and the Speaker of the National Assembly. During his trip, Ayreon was presented with a mansion in East Bay, to be his imperial residence in Talenore. This residence would also function as the Imperial High Commission, the representation of the Shirerithian government, in Talenore. The location of the residence was chosen for its proximity to Metro Talenore, but its location outside of it made it more politically expedient for the Talenorian government so speak of their independence from the imperial government all matters other than those regulated by the treaty. During this trip, the Kaiser bestowed upon the State Guard of Talenore, the ceremonial unit of the Gendarmery, the prefix Imperial, whereafter they became known as the Imperial Guard.
On the same evening as his return to Shirekeep, the Kaiser watched Microvision in his room together with Jaap and two other pages who looked scarily similar to Jaap, along with the Steward Hartmut Aldric and guests from the Imperial Ministry of Military Affairs. Like any good gay man, was drunkenly watching the show together with his guests, and when it became clear that the final vote of the Republic of Inner Benacia had Shireroth lose its victory place, the Kaiser became furious. He cursed the Ribbers off and on again – little did he realize that the MoMA guests took his curses ("death to the Ribbers", "what is this cunt-place of a country even? it shouldn't even be a country") literally and began secret preparations to invade and subjugate the neighbouring country.
To the Kaiser's surprise, a few weeks later, on 10.I.1666, a seemingly unidentified rocket detonated at low altitude over Stonetree, the capital of the Republic of Inner Benacia, spreading a mysterious red powder over a large area and resulting in mass casualties on the ground. Victims appeared to suffer from symptoms - such as blood crystallisation and violent haemorrhaging - that appeared consistent with dreadnettle poisoning. The site of the Dolmen, as well as the nascent commercial district were amongst the areas contaminated. Survivors fled into the wilderness, disrupting the function of what little governance and military command and control existed.
Prince of Hurmu
The Lakkvians were a strange people, the Kaiser thought. Coming from the steppes of Keltia, related to the Reindeer Herders of what is now Normark, they managed to cross the ocean just after the Hurmu genocide to help their brethren, the Hurmudans. But their aid had, in the view of the dead, come too late. By then some 80 to 90% of the Hurmu population had been slaughtered by the Jing armies. The sad truth was that the Hurmu people had always been brought up in the ideology of pacifism – do not kill another human, even if it would protect yourself. So it was to this giant graveyard that the Lakkvians had arrived. Armed to fight off the Jing, but the Jing had already left, all they could see were the dead bodies lining the streets of the villages, towns and cities of the once majestic Hurmu land.
The Lakkvians rebuilt. The Craits also came, vowing to aid their Hurmu brethren too. The Craits had armies, but more importantly, they had money, engineers, and they brought life to this once dead land. The even-smaller Hurmu population, now reduced to a minority in own land (mainly living in the primeval forests and thereby had been protected from the Jing onslaught), stayed, kept their habits in the forests and among the hills, singing their Brida, living off the fruits of the forest. Some worked with the Lakkvians and the Craits in Huyenkula (renamed Vesüha by the Lakkvians), but most remained rural, letting the new government be the new government. Other Hurmudans had fled to Shireroth or Stormark.
However, when Craitland joined the USSO, the Hurmudans protested vehemently. How could Craitland join in an alliance with Jingdao, the massacrer of their homeland? The Hurmu people started organizing, established political parties, associations, labour unions – and did everything it could to bring the Hurmu people together. This new Hurmu revival was met with some resistance from the Lakkvian majority – and the USSO question had divided the people of the Lakkvian territory – the division was bitter. In the end however, Craitland decided to leave the USSO.
The political associations of Hurmudans remained though, and this revival brought forth more Hurmu education in schools, the revival of the languages, both the Norse and the ritual/liturgical Hurmumal. And on the fourth day of the ninth month of this year, the Parlerment of Hurmudans, the main conference of the Hurmu organizations of Lakkvia, elected Kaiser Ayreon IV to a nominal Prince of Hurmu, and offered the Kaiser this office with the consent of the King of Craitland.
This title, only titular and without any actual power, was offered the Kaiser due to him being the senior heir to the last Prince of Hurmu – Elijah Ayreon.
For the Kaiser, this was a tremendous honour, and he felt a sense of pride to be part of the people that he had not had many connections with – despite it being a big part of his ethnic identity.
The Palace of the Elenaran, the old palace in Huyenkula, erected in the days of Menelmacari sovereingty, in the outskirts of Vesüha, had been donated to the Hurmu communities by the first Lakkvian governor and reconverted to a museum. But there was an apartment there ready for the Prince, and this would be his Hurmu home.
On 9.X.1666, Kaiser Ayreon IV declared a third regency. The object of that regency was officially to study philology in Montran so that he could be a better kaiser. Privately, however, and everyone in the Imperial Court knew this, it was so that he could have secluded time with his courtesan, Jaap van Pijpervale. The kaiser did not particularly love Jaap, but he was deeply attracted to him. To Ayreon, Jaap was the epitome of male beauty, and whenever he was with Jaap, he felt powerful and revered and intimate at the same time, three qualities that never else would go hand in hand.
Isidora deeply objected to this trip, and Ayreon and Isidora argued loudly over it. Isidora felt that Ayreon would be neglecting not only the duties of state but also his child Salome as well as herself (she was pregant at the time) for going away on a pleasure trip with his catamite to her and Ayreon's childhood home. Emotionally charged, Ayreon penned a decree as a response, with unprecedentedly mentioned the courtesan by name, and ordered that Salome would join them on the retreat to Montran.
The Kaiser felt happy and desired during the stay at Montran. To him, it was a great relief not having to think of matters of state. He avoided also calling Isidora more than a few times over the months, as not to be guilted into coming back home.
He only returned to Shirekeep when he understood Isidora was in labour.
Birth of Twins
Isidora gave birth to a pair of twins on 24.I.1667. Ayreon immediately ended the regency and penned a proclamation after meeting the twins and their mother. He wrote:
- On this joyous day, Our Imperial Concubine, Lady Isidora IV of Octavius-Teleni has given birth to a pair of monozygotic twins.
- The elder of the twins, We have named Kir Azariah Vidar, from the Babkhi Kir for he is a stronghold and regal as a throne, Azariah after his maternal progenitor, and Vidar, so that someone of that name shall know maternal and paternal love.
- The younger of the two, We have named Kian Aiomide Shahnaz; Kian after Prince Kian who became Kaiser Los I, of good and noble memory, the first Kalirion to sit on this throne, Aiomide after the first Kaiser of the Octavian dynasty to which the child's mother belongs, and Shahnaz, for the child is the ruler's pride.
Although the two twins were identical, there was quickly discovered a certain anomaly with the anatomy of Kian, who displayed a female anatomy (despite the male DNA like her brother; for some reason, androgens were not released in her body during gestation). As such, the Kaiser, in consultation with the medical officers and the mother of his child, decided to bring the child up as a girl and employ female pronouns and titles upon her. Luckily for the child, her names were already considered to be gender-neutral.
The Kaiser and his Concubine then set up a three-person committee to "oversee the educational foundation for the growing progeny of His Imperial Magnificence", consisting of Nasrin III of Octavius-Parini, as Chair and Overseer for Moral Foundation, Iussi Dzataunin, as Overseer for Physical and Martial Foundation, and on the Kaiser's insistence and at the chagrin of his concubine, Jaap van Pijpervale as Overseer for Intellectual Foundation.
Four days later, the Kaiser and his concubine invited the ambassadors of Caputia, Constancia and Hoenn for tea, as a measurement of thanks for their kind wishes on their own behalf and on behalf of their governments. Present at this session of tea were of course Salome and the two new-born twins.
The next few months, the Kaiser, fascinated with his twins, followed their development and nurture closely. Whenever he needed some diversion from his paternal duties, he was happy to have Jaap a willing servant.
Death of the Steward
The paternal bliss that Ayreon experienced came to an abrupt end when the Steward of the Imperial Republic, Hartmut Aldric, Duke of Calezi, was found murdered on 12.VIII.1667. The Kaiser was shaken by this; he had had a good friendship with the Steward.
A period of mourning commenced, and Kaiser Ayreon IV organized a memorial in Raynor's Keep for dignitaries from Shireroth and the rest of the world to attend.
1648–1650: Prince of Shireroth
1650–1650: King of Goldshire
1650–1658: Duke of Istvanistan
1650–1661: Emir of Sathrati
1650–1664: King of the Elian Lands (sometimes written as King of the Elian Union)
1654–1655, 1660: Prince Regent of Natopia
1657–1664: King of Leng
1645–1671: Duke of Cheshunt, Count of Upper Macon, Count of Andiopolis, Prince of Natopia, Lord Triumphant in All Four Quarters, Knight of the Black Hole, Progeny of the Once-Living God, Lord in Jorvik, Baron of Port Mills, Count of Kaltor, Knight of the Holy Lakes, Scion of the King of Kings
1648–1671: Lord of Zauberförde/Senkyōwan (Natopia)
1649–1671: Khan of Caer Lum'ruush
1650–1671: Kaiser of Shireroth, Marquess of Zy-Rodun, Imperial Prince of Shireroth, Duke of Brookshire, Count of Dracoheim, Count of Istvan, Thane of the Shirelands, Keeper of the Apollo Legacy, Grand Master of the Orders of the Dragon, Griffin, Phoenix, and Chimera, Sovereign of the Golden Mango Throne, Lord Mayor of the City of Vladagrad
1658–1671: Duke of New Aquitane
1660–1671: Champion of the Order of Saint Asara Sisu
1666–1671: Prince of Hurmu
Despite the events of the Auspicious Occasion, the Storish government, in an attempt to foster dissension at the highest levels of the Imperial Government whose essential unity permitted the expulsion of the Vanic monarchy from Elwynn, still maintains the pretence that the Kaiser, as a step-grandson of the exiled king Noah, has claim to the following titles: Prince of Hvalafell (held 1510–1653 by each kaiser as a gift from High King Harald), Jarl of the Longships Islands (title inherited upon the death of Kaiseress Noor).
These titles have been specifically repudiated by Imperial Decrees 1022 (Charter of the Imperial House, issued by Regent Hartmut Aldric) and 977 (Renunciation of Titles, issued by Steward Liv Dravot). The Kaiser having been firmly advised, by prominent members of the IAC amongst others, that his tenure on the Golden Mango Throne would come to an abrupt end if he so much as acknowledged the grant of these titles still less attempted to exercise the prerogatives associated with them.
|Ancestors of Kaiser Ayreon IV|
|Kaiser of Shireroth
|Marquess of Zy-Rodun
Mira Raynora the Elder
Mira Raynora the Younger
As Queens of Lichbrook and Duchesses of Brookshire
|Duke of Brookshire
|Emir of Sathrati
Prince Zahir al Din
|King of Goldshire