Votrik of Valebreak (874 – 931), sometimes Votrik the cruel is often considered instrumental in the downfall of the Empire of Emilian Conquest. He was king over the Broken Valley, one of the bigger kingdoms in the Sternlands.
Even though known for his short temper, which brought him his nickname after he murdered his wife, presumably out of jealousy, he was said to be a capable military leader in a number of wars he waged for Emil I. This almost always happened in a decisive manner, as Votrik was shown to have an aversion to taking strategic risks, which manifested itself in the very Stern-like philosophy, that war was the purest form of creation only sullied by the crime of death.
Votrik was brought into the fold of the united Sternlands by Emil I in 910, but kept an aversion against the Lauseten kings his whole life, not adhering to some of the reforms Emil I introduced in the Stern kingdoms, which presumably he could afford mainly due to Broken Valley’s economic significance in the Sternlands.
In the Emilian Conquest
Votrik, leading a strong contingent of medium infantry and heavily armed Karfren commanded a considerable force of the Emilian army and was thus often used, in conjunction with other, more specialized generals, to lead secondary assaults, sortiers and distraction maneuvers. He was considered militarily gifted and his distaste for casualtises meant that he only took battles he would win, inflating his track record as a general.
It was likely this track record, along with the large amount of soldiers he brought to the army, that allowed him to disrespect Emil for much of the conquest without serious punishment. He displayed proudly the fingerbones of his enemies, a practice abolished by Emil I, and openly criticized Emil even outside of the war council. This came to a head in 921, when Votrik’s tongue was cut from his mouth for disobeying Emil in a duel with Soren the grey boar, after which he left the army with most of his men.
On his way home, he lost a good part of his mouth and teeth to an infection, but survived to reach the Sternlands, where he enticed the homeward kings to swear off their allegiance to Emil. Although no longer able to communicate verbally, he took on office as general of the renegade Stern kingdoms, lead by his sister Vordne. He acted as her war master, and after the crumbling of the Emilian Empire, he waged war against Soren, who retook parts of the Sternlands until his death in 931.
Votrik had no biological sons, but in Vorebear lands he adopted a young noble with the name of Brenneth, who went on to become a general of the Sterns in his own right.