Emil II

Emil II of Lauseten (894 IH – 924 FH), also known as Emil the Conqueror and Emil the Invader, was Emperor over the first Emilian Empire. During his lifetime he held direct rule over the Sternlands, the Chranizastem, the Vorebear lands and some of the Drawazhan. Emil II followed the dream of his father, Emil I, in the conquest of the Sternlands and carried this forward to one of the largest military campaigns Masson has ever seen.

Biography

Early Life

Emil II was born into the royal house of Lauseten as the only son of Emil I and an his wife Ordil. His father’s early conquests saw Emil as a shield bearer in many battles between Stern kings and his presence in war councils and negotiations led to his rudimentary knowledge of battlefield strategy. Through foreign diplomacy and tutorship he learned to speak multiple languages, and was able to write and read in Stern (a rarity at that time, even among nobility). Over time he was trained to succeed his father in uniting the Sternlands, and marriage was arranged between Emil II and Lotte Pontlace by his father to secure the lineage and Kingdoms. Emil’s relationship with his father was a good one, and the two shared a great deal of Emil’s young life together whether he was being directly tutored by his father or the pair were hunting and hiking. Emil also had a good relationship with his mother, who would help to teach him in the more practical and traditional aspects of Stern life, such as climbing, foraging, swimming and how to hunt without bird or horse.

However, Emil was notoriously disinterested in romantic relationships, and even less interested in sharing his power, so with the death of his father in 913IH the terms of the marriage, as well as the entirety of the Sternlands, fell to Emil’s will.

King of the Sternlands

As King of the Sterns, Emil II negotiated the terms of his marriage with Lotte to include the betrothal pilgrimage to take place all the way to Katagreya. With Dormun Pontlace firmly under his control, he applied the reforms of his father with rigour and pursued aggressive diplomacy with external sources in the River Kingdoms and the lowland tribes of the South Vroznak. By securing the alliance of several River Kingdoms, including that of Torforte he provided the first step he could take in the Emilian Conquest of foreign lands beyond the Sternlands. After several years campaigning in the River Kingdoms he expanded his conquests to the south.

Lord of the Chranizastem

Emil II laid waste to the lands of the Vroznak, who were forced to unite and elect a leader. By laying siege to lowland towns, destroying farms, and cutting off vital supply routes to the mountains the Vroznak people were effectively under siege and unable to form an effective army. However, constant raids and slow movement through the terrain meant that Emil could not afford to hold the region and besieging the mountain towns was extremely difficult. Therefore, when Vitun Gorensborn was chosen from among the tribal leaders to end the conflict, Emil was swift to accept the Vroznak surrender with no terms other than the Vitun lead a Vroznak force within Emil’s army.

Odzravak and Drawazhan Campaigns

After securing the fealty of the Vroznak people Emil II briefly attempted a campaign in the Odzravak region, which did not consider itself part of the Chranizastem. The campaign ground to a halt almost immediately due to inclement weather and a lack of anything in the region deemed worthy of being taken over. Instead, the region was bypassed and Emil bought the (temporary) alliance with some of the Drawazhan petty kings. This was simply a matter of convenience for Emil, who saw the idea of a campaign in the Drawazha as laborious with very little benefit compared to the effort it would require. Instead, he used the time to prepare for an invasion of the Vorebear.

Vorebear Invasion

The Vorebear were ill-prepared for the coming invasion and despite ambushes and scare tactics, even the more numerate forces in the region struggled to intimidate or damage the Emilian army. By splitting his forces on his initial invasion Emil opened up a siege-like situation and coerced the first Vorebear king he encountered, Aethel, into becoming a general is his army. This proved to be a very useful addition, providing Emil with specialist troops and knowledge in the region. With this support Emil led a successful campaign in the south, but the move proved to be unpopular with some of his generals.

Altercation with Votrik and Loss of Support

Emil II’s command over his generals was fuelled less by effective leadership and more by a combination of loyalty and distraction. By keeping his army on the move and winning battles, he kept morale high, and the loyalty of the Stern Kings to his father, Emil I, kept them on side. However, one of the kings, Votrik Valebreak, flaunted this to Emil and pushed him to breaking point. During a duel over offense with Soren of Urster, Votrik refused the commands of his lord and for his blatant insults Emil removed his tongue. Unable to command, Votrik stole away in the night with the majority of his forces and was declared an enemy by Emil.

The decision to punish Votrik so severely was, while certainly the norm in the Sternlands, unfruitful. Emil had previously been more lenient and the attempt at using fear to unite his remaining forces and instil loyalty succeeded in the short-term but built resentment in the other generals. Emil simply replaced his lost forces with those of another Vorebear leader, Oether.

Correspondence with Korto

Throughout the campaigns in the Vorebear, Emil II remained in correspondence with one of the northern tribal leaders called Korto. The leader of the Heyderen tribe, Korto had been baptised by the Markalarat and converted to the Faith of the Sun and, while the two brokered an alliance for the future, wrote often of his new faith to the Stern king. The philosophies and teachings of the Markalarat took over the letters between the two and over time Emil began to doubt his faith.

Arrival at the Katagreya

Following the sieges of Twine and Redmouth Emil’s army arrived at Katagreya, a turning point in his campaign. As promised, Emil married his long-betrothed general Lotte of Pontlace at the city of Redmouth, and here attempted the recoup his losses in both manpower and political standing. In order to achieve the latter, he granted each of his generals a crown and named them King: a title that had previously only been held by Stern nobles (his Siernal, Vroznak and Vorebear generals were considered up to this point simply lords). This was a complete failure. In his attempt to hold each of his generals as equals amongst each other, he succeeded in only alienating his most powerful general Soren and offending Vitun, the only thing binding the Vroznek troops to his army. Vitun even tossed the crown, the crown of the King killed by Votrik in the Stern campaigns of Emil I, into the crowds and openly rejecting Emil. This served only to drive Emil further into despair.

The army met with disaster at Katagreya, in the form of disease. This ravaged the soldiers, causing even some nobility to fall ill, and lowered the morale of the troops to the point of desertion. Appealing to the common nature of faith carried by many of his soldiers, Emil consulted his religious advisors (the Readers who declared the disease a punishment from the gods of the land for the lack of diligence shown on the campaign. To honour the gods of the river which they had been following, and the sea they had reached, Emil made an offering of his old crown onto rafts built on the river. Others followed suit, with thousands of personal items sacrificed to the gods by soldiers of many faiths in an attempt to appease the land. Here Emil erected a temple, the first temple of the Faith of the Third constructed, as a monument to those that died and the sacrifice made. After marching north, further monuments were built: notably obelisks along the path of the army at points of natural beauty and importance.

Northern Vorebear Alliance and Conversion to the Worship of the Sun

Using Oether’s political influence in the middle of the Vorebear Emil secured passage to the north to meet Korto and firm their alliance. The army marched through the summer and autumn of 923IH to avoid the marshes of the western coast and met with Korto and the Markalarat on the 25th of the twelfth month, 923IH. Here emil’s army and the Northern Vorebear Alliance clashed in the decisive Battle of Bassil Hill, and those regions that were not already subjugated were forced to surrender to Emil’s will. At the close of the battle, Emil was crowned Emperor by the Markalarat and he converted openly to the Faith of the Sun. This brought a great deal of relief to Emil from his previous religious dilemma, and from here on out he led a successful campaign to solidify his hold on the Vorebear regions in the north. However, on the day following the battle Vitun Gorensborn abandoned the army, taking his Vroznak soldiers with him and before the winter was over the Chranizastem had rebelled against Emil. With Votrik inciting rebellion in the Sternlands and some of the Siernal Kingdoms whose royalty had been left to rule at home starting to abandon Emil’s Empire, Emil had no choice but to march home and attempt to restore his Empire from the beginning.

Death and Aftermath

Shortly after setting off in the spring of 924IH, Emil collapsed of an unknown reason into a small ford on the River Corth and drowned. His generals swiftly divided up his Empire amongst themselves and some had even decided how the course of things to come would be before Emil’s body was recovered from the river.

Emil’s burial was a source of conflict. Those with him were unaccustomed to the ways of the Faith of the Sun and there was a great deal of argument over the means by which he was to be buried. Eventually it was decided that he was to be burnt and his ashes interred, and that they were to return to build a monument over his grave. This monument now lends its name to the Emilian city of Emilstomb.

After Emil’s death, his Empire collapsed in its entirety. The Sternlands were divided into those under control of Soren of Urster and those under the control of the Warmaster Votrik Valebreak’s sister Vordne. The Vorebear regions were similarly divided, with Ceyneweard of Aldeboarn and Oether warring against each other and Korto, who now went by the name of King Kormil of Emilia. Eventually, Emilia was to win this conflict, now called the Emilian Wars, in the Vorebear lands before taking its power beyond and forging the Emilian Empire.

Character

As a General

Emil II was not a particularly masterful strategist. While he had a basic understanding of logistics and battlefield tactics, his abilities were dwarfed by that of his father and his most powerful general, Soren. While he would often utilise his own ideas, where he favoured splitting the army, he would often defer to his War Council, consisting of his allied generals. This council would come up with strategies for coming battles and then each general was in charge of making his own forces implement them on the field.

As a battlefield commander, Emil was adept at inspiring his soldiers to fight and maintain cohesion, as well as coordinate his generals and adapt to evolving situations. He was overall a good military commander, but certainly not one of the greats of his time.

As a King

Emil’s rule over the Sternlands and his short-lived empire was tentative at best. This can often be attributed to inexperience; not only his own but the lack of any unifying forces in the regions in history meant the situation was volatile. His reliance on his War Council reduced his standing in the eyes of his militaristic subjects and his allies considered him foreign right up until his death. His conversion of faith and his attempt at free religion was also considered a poor decision and down to a lack of determination rather than good will. However, he was logistically sound and managed to control many of his regions through instating nobles and managing internal politics with reasonable success, even from his relatively remote location on campaign. Had Emil survived to retake the Sternlands, it is uncertain as to whether he would have been able to forge a stable Empire from his conquests.

Faith and Conversion

Throughout his life Emil had never expressed any discontent with the version of Domainism worshipped by the Sterns, except in his letters with Korto where he stated he found the Reader’s explanations of the world insufficient. Therefore, it came as a great surprise to many when he converted to the Faith of the Sun, but it is evident from his letters that he worshipped the Sun long before he openly converted. The Markalarat’s explanations of good and evil, and his focus on the will and desire within a man as the driving force in the world, resonated well with Emil and his dissatisfaction with the Readers led him to accept in full the teachings of the prophets.

Marriage with Lotte

While their marriage was for less than a year, the lengthy engagement between Emil and Lotte was seen as amicable by many witnesses, but the nature of the relationship was clearly that of a business for Emil and while he may have enjoyed the company of his wife he certainly did not love her. However, he also failed to strike up anything that may be considered even a friendship with any of his contemporaries and the only relationship Emil was ever described as having any love in it was that with his father. In his letters with Korto it can be seen that Emil was fostering a relationship of openness in faith but one that looked less like a bond between friends and more like that of a pastor and his community. Interestingly, he did not have any significant rivalries either, and did not consider his enemies as personal ones, even Votrik.

Emil II

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