Cephorus I

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Cephorus Maximus
Cephorus Maximus
Statue in the Entry Hall of Veneziano Palace.
Born 19 April 5060
Lutant, Tuscani Prefecture, Auresian Empire
Died 20 October 5157
Veneziano Palace, Cedelphia, Auresian Empire
Occupation Government official

Dynast Sovereign I
In office
1 January 5093 - 20 October 5157
Preceded by inaugural holder
Succeeded by Incumbent


Cephorus Harkun Rex Lord Accardo (officially Cephorus Maximus) was the first Dynast Emperor of Auresia. He was a councilor of Oriensis Province previously and would rise to imperial power through a combination of political savvy and cunning. He was the First Dynast Sovereign, progenitor of the Scarlet Dynasty and patriarch of the Imperial House.

In formal print, the Founder's full style is His Most Excellent and Discerning Sovereign Imperial Majesty, Cephorus I of the House of Accardo, by the Grace of Vind the Highest, Dynast Father of Auresia, Patriarch of the Empire.

Two years before his death, he was acclaimed as Cephorus Maximus - Cephorus the Great. He is one of only five Dynast Sovereigns so honored. He was also the first leader Auresia had to be addressed by the honorific title Caesar, which in the Auresian tongue means "leader". It is now a common alternative address for the Dynast Emperor.

Contents

Pre-Imperial Life

Cephorus was born to one of the younger sons of the reigning seneschals of the city of Epoxague. His parents - father Jael and mother Lorana - were skilled craftworkers and administered Lutant on behalf of the governor. His heritage was unquestionably Cheltai, with his wiry frame and facial features. He spoke - wistfully, it was said - of swimming in the clear waters of the harbor, sneaking chips of ice from the blocks on the iceman carts during the hot summer months, of playing thali in the orange groves near the market square. He knew he would, once he grew older, begin grooming to become an administrator just like his father, though first he'd perform military service. He had been raised with the stories of the family's betrayal in older days, and their fall from favor with the powers that ruled the First Empire, but wondered if ever the opportunity to rebuild their lost prestige would come.

Even in modern times, there are some who maintain that Cephorus was not a formally-educated man. He was said to bear all the characteristics of a man whose education was a worldly one born of extensive travels. This is more true, it had been said, than many may realize. His brush with destiny began in a highly unlikely way. Despite the Empire's best efforts, freelancing mercenary groups like the Rundeen and the Janessari were still thorns in the sides of numerous nations across numerous continents. It was one such group - the Janessari - who would ultimately alter the course of young Cephorus Accardo forever, kidnapping him and several other children during a raid on a fishing fleet out of Lutant shortly after his seventh birthday. His father was slain in the attack on his fishing ship, along with the majority of the crew. As was part of Janessari tradition, younglings were taken and "groomed" to ultimately become Jendo themselves when their majority came.

The future Dynast Emperor was one of eleven children taken. He knew each and every one of them. Over the next seven years, he and the others were subjected to harsh discipline and even harsher work. They were raised surrounded by war, hard work, and rigid compliance with the teachings of Janessari elders. Until his dying day, Cephorus had deep scars on his back from lashings received for insolence or having to be told something more than once.

By the time Cephorus had turned 10, according to him, only two of the ten other children that had come with him into Janessari custody was still living. In an almost-mirror of the group of men and women that went on to found the Empire, Cephorus and these other two - a young girl and another young man - would become an important part of Auresian history.

Veskar'ad

About the time Cephorus turned eleven, he was taken under the wing of the Jende'ade Forgemaster. He gradually became a master of the craft, and eventually the teenage Cephorus was given the affectionate name veskar'ad, Jendo'a for "child of iron". When he reached Jendo'a majority - age 16 - he began to take up serious combat training, learning swords and polearms and daggers. The exhaustive year of warrior's training brought him into conflict with forces from numerous regions, most especially the Hallish, Auresian and Stoldavian lands. He earned his tal'galar - blooding - in typical brutal Janessari style, slaying a hapless Stoldavian officer when his crew boarded and seized the Stoldavian treasure ship Glory. He carried a scar that crossed his face from above his left eyebrow, down his cheek, to just above his chin from the fight with said officer.

As he fought in numerous conflicts, and was fortunate enough to survive with none but the scars of close calls and the blade's kiss. His nickname - veskar'ad - took on greater meaning. But he was a skilled swordsman and earned the respect every scar granted. He advanced with the same glacial slowness that most all Jendo did, but he began to hammer out his own niche among the Janessari, recognized as a skilled blacksmith, a cunning warrior, and a man - despite his youth - skilled in the spoken word.

By the time he was 20, young Cephorus was alor'uus, then alor'iin - corporal and sergeant respectively - and weapons master aboard the Janessari ship Stormhawk. His later recounting of his youth told many tales of boarding actions against target ships, and of the brutality of ship-to-ship combat that often took place miles from dry land.

Al'verde

It was on the eve of his twenty-fifth birthday that Cephorus was named al'verde - commander - and given his own ship. He was invited - few Jendo'a who are not commanders earn invitation - to the Janessari home fortress at Theros Obsidia. There he was honored with an audience with the Jande'alor - Lord of the Clans - of the Janessari. The honor of the moment was spoiled by the intervention - Cephorus later in life suspected Fate of having a hand - in a fateful confrontation. Several of the other commanders mocked young Cephorus, saying the youngest ship master there was a di'kuut - a foolish whelp. Several senior commanders goaded the Jende'alor into a duel with Cephorus, which by honor he had no choice but to accept. A nearly twenty-minute sword fight between the two ended with the Jende'alor run through by the blade of the younger Jendo'a.

In some ways, this could be said to have been the longest silence in Janessari history. The leader of the clans - supposedly the mightiest among them, proven in battle time and again - lay dead at the feet of the youngest commander. Even so, the wiser and more cunning commanders dare not betray the law of tradition. In a situation like this, rare as it was, there was no alternative. The Death Watch closed ranks in support of the victor, and the elders remained silent.

Cephorus was recognized by acclaim and declared the new Jende'alor. It was an ironic twist that would later come to determine the fate of more than just Cephorus himself. From the halls of Theros Obsidia, and from the deck of his own ship, the Black Talon, Master Cephorus raided numerous Stoldavic, Auresian and Hallish convoys, and built up considerable fortunes for the Janessari. He ruthlessly dispatched those commanders who challenged his authority, and made quick certain to guard himself against such as what happened to his predecessor. Anyone who challenged his authority was made an example of.

Jende'alor

It was about the time that Cephorus turned 30 that he decided he would be returning to Auresia to see how things had been going. It had been over twenty years and he was interested in the state of his homeland. Sailing from Theros Obsidia with strict orders to his commanders to fortify the citadel and await his return, he set sail for Port Imperial on the Black Talon with the other two of his friends who had survived their brutal childhoods as Jendo prisoner-apprentices, who had since risen to become Jendo commanders under his leadership as Jende'alor. They would be as much a part of the realignment of Auresia as Accardo himself.

The return to Auresia was part bitter recollection, part triumphant reuninion. His father's younger brother, his uncle Telo, was still living and a member of the Chamber of Ministers. The shock of finding his sole living nephew still about and actually doing well - minus some scars and other battle injuries that hadn't healed quite perfectly - was almost too much for Telo, but he quickly overcame it. He was even more surprised to find that his nephew had become a Janessari, but being a pragmatist he knew that the experience and knowledge of his nephew would be invaluable.

Numerous times, Cephorus would join his uncle in the Chamber booth reserved for his delegation and whisper him his thoughts or advice whenever his uncle asked for it. Like his uncle, Cephorus was hawkish and influenced the thoughts of the entirety of the delegation. A war threat from Rundeen enclaves in 5091 gave Cephorus the perfect opening to begin his own climb to power, as he saw a system that had unlimited potential but needed strong central leadership. Sending Naman Fal back to Theros Obsidia, the commander returned at the lead of the Janessari fleet, and the legendary Battle of Porto Imperiale ensued, with the fleet supporting Auresian ships in battle against the Rundeen force. The original Fortress Wall of Porto Imperiale was damaged severely by ballistae and alchemist fire weaponry, but the city was saved.

The appearance of the Janessari fleet had raised hackles throughout the Chamber, but when it became clear that their presence had turned the tide and actually helped Auresia, their rage was tempered by the loud outpouring of support from the majority of the provincial delegations. By this time, Cephorus had stepped into his Uncle Telo's shoes, and his power increased almost daily. His popularity similarly sky-rocketed, and he was seen as one of the brightest stars in the Chamber. The next two years were decisive ones for Cephorus, as he and his trio of advisors began to gradaully sow the seeds of his ascension through the ranks of the friendly delegations.

Dynast Emperor I

The day that Cephorus was named Emperor of Auresia by acclimation before the Chamber is remembered by the Empire now as Ascension Day. Every century since has been a day of remembrance of the life and journey of Cephorus, from common child to warrior youth to mercenary lord to Imperial councilor to ultimately Emperor of all of the lands of Auresia.

By the time his first year as the newly-established Emperor was finished, Cephorus had shuffled the entire government, ensuring that the Imperial Curia obeyed him. The loyalty of the military had been his since the victory of his allies and the Empire over the Rundeen at Porto Imperiale. Their support ensured he had the strength to rearrange state affairs. To ensure the establishment of the High Seat wasn't one that would be idly dismissed by those who clung to the Chamber as dominant authority in Auresia, Cephorus raised a number of men and women he trusted most to the new post of Lord Paramount, instilling in their loyalty the disciplines he had taken to heart as a Janessari mercenary. Under his guidance, they formed the structures which influence power and position within the Curia. Allowing them enough free reign to enforce his policies, the Lords Paramount gradually took power away from the Chamber, and set the system that exists to modern day into motion.

The military took a drastic turn under Cephorus, who gradually integrated the Janessari into its ranks, making them the sergeants and commanders who would tighten and toughen training and discipline standards. Instilling a little bloodlust and harshness into his troops was agreeable, the Emperor wagered. He was rewarded ultimately with a military that, while not titantic in scale, was agile and professional. He similarly took those Jendo'a who were gifted with information and subterfuge and built them into the Imperial spy and information apparatus. He streamlined Imperial taxation and instituted three of the cornerstones of modern-day Imperial taxes, business and commerce - free market, taxation based on consumption and import/export, and all employers maintain a wage reasonable but balanced. Those Janessari who were not of eastern Anarian ethnicity - a statistic that included maybe a quarter of the Jendo'a - were sent back to Theros Obsidia with instructions to maintain the fortress for him and his descendants. Even to modern times, the Dynast Emperors sometimes disappear for several weeks and are said to be at the secretive retreat of Theros Obsidia, where the descendants of the Jendo'a safeguard the home of their liege.

Likewise, Cephorus wove the Janessari into his government, military and heirarchy and made their traditions and disciplines the way of the Auresian nobility. His Lords Paramount held the honorific Satai, meaning "honored councillor". That became the hallmark of the great leaders of the Emperor's government, tradition enduring to this day. Likewise, their subordinates were the lords and ladies who answered to the Satai. All were granted posts that reflected the skills their Emperor felt best suited, and they would sink or swim on their own merits. In essence, the noble names under Emperor Cephorus IV now, like the reigning emperor himself, are descended from the families whose forbearers stood with the Dynast Father from his days as a mercenary king or stood in support of him after his ascension.

While there were people against whom Cephorus acted harshly in his consolidation of power after the Chamber proclaimed him Emperor by acclimation, he was not a man who relished the harsher duties of his calling. Having been a man reared on blood and violence as a youth, the Janessari had hardened him into a realist who appreciated the potency of decisive action when and where it was warranted. The Empire had never been perfect, even Cephorus acknowledged that, but he streamlined many aspects of its bureaucracy and gave it a military that was professional and proud. Similarly, his legacy is one of rising from ultimate hardship to ultimate success.

After his death, Cephorus I has been remembered by the Empire as not the Dynast Emperor, but the Dynast Father of Auresia. Modern Auresia would not be what it was were it not for him and the lessons he taught it. His remains were interred in the now-sacred grounds of the Valley of the High Lords in southern Auresia, where he has since been joined by many of the most prominent names to lead the Empire. Annually on his birthday, the reigning Emperor and his Lords Paramount make a pilgrimage to his tomb to pay their respects and honor his legacy.

Private Life

Shortly after becoming a Jendo'a commander but before taking the mantle of Jende'alor, Cephorus married a Cheltai woman named Livia Barese, whose father and grandfather before her had been Jendo'a. She served the clans as a healer and mender, skilled with herbal medicine, stitching up wounds and whatever else was required. She was likewise a skilled chemist. During his reign as Dynast Emperor she was known, in connection to his own honorific, as the "Dynast Mother of Auresia" and was a respected figure in Auresian society. Cephorus and Livia would have two sons and two daughters together, and ultimately the firstborn boy of his own first-born son would succeed to the Golden Lion Throne after his passing, as his son predeceased him by four years.

Trivia

  • He stood 6'1" tall. In this day and age, he was considered quite a tall man.
   Auresia   
General The Scarlet Standard, Great Seal of the Imperium, House of Alexandros
History Imperial History, Pan-Anarian War, Consolidationist Crisis, Returner War
Imperial Society

Languages: Auresian
Religion: Lazarianism
Status: Noble Status, Social Status, Noble Houses
Other: Economy , Colonies, Businesses, Products, Law

Prominent People Cephorus IV, Varnius R. Acilida, Qasimir D. Avenicci, Hieronymus S. Barsavi, Ennodius A. Caduca, Severio D. Cozzolini, Giuseppe L. Dala, Talon M. Durla, Leonardo H. Gervasius, Teodoro A. Humilio, Vittorio A. Leotelli, Dante G. Meraggio, Lorenzo V. Nicovante, Luciano C. Rambaldi, Balthazar L. Thul, Alessandro S. Virini
Historical People Cephorus Maximus, Wensicia Maxima, Willem II, Emshandar III
Geography

Features: Glacio Mountains, Hattaro Straits, Dolcega Valley, Corbolo River, Lake Artania
Regions: TBD
Cities: Cedelphia (capital city), Gaaze, Bellucente, Impport, Abessios, Lutant, Oseidon, Epoxague
Sites of Interest: Imperial Reserve, Mount Olivia, Black Archive

Government

Institutions: HM The Dynast Emperor (supreme executive), First Minister’s Office (administrative executive), Imperial Parliament ( House of Lords, House of Delegates) (legislative), Supreme Court (judicial)
Ministries: Foreign Office, War Office, Home Office, Finance, Commerce, Health & Welfare, Transport, Works & Infrastructure
State Administrations: General Post Administration, Imperial Archives & Records Administration, Imperial Customs & Revenue Administration, Imperial Public Health Administration, Strategic Research & Development Administration
Crown Corporations: Auresian Broadcasting Corporation, Export-Import Bank of Auresia, Imperial Oil & Gas, Savings & Investment Auresia
Other: Politics, Foreign Relations, Courts System, Law Enforcement

Military Main Branches: Imperial Auresian Air Force, Imperial Auresian Army, Imperial Auresian Navy
SpecOps Units: Senex Dragoons, Strategic Aeronautic Service
Support Branches: Siege Engineering Service, Chemical Warfare Service, Heliolux Fleet
Other Agencies: Defence Intelligence Service, War Research Service
Recognitions: Honours & Orders, Decorations & Commendations
VT • [E]


    The Imperial House   
History & Traditions HM The Dynast Emperor, List of Dynast Sovereigns, The Doom Bell
Living Members HM TDE Cephorus IV, HIH PI Emthoro, HIH PI Jerec, HIH PI Soontir, HIH PI Faykan, HIH PI Elrood, HIH PI Margani, HIH PI Eddara, HM ED Aquiala
Deceased Members Cephorus Maximus, Wensicia Maxima, Emthoro IV, Willem II, Emshandar III
VT • [E]
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