Witch Empress

By Ryan St and Stephanie Lauren.

Said by an assassin to her young charge:

Your grandmother was the eldest child of the Dalat-Ma, a lesser noble house that had become part of the Imperial Guard. At the time, few recalled their claim to the Tenfold Throne, which dated back to the Paiogun. Her mother was a frightening [Pon] witch, and her father was Yushim, the highest-ranking member of the Jemesh Imperial guards caste after the mass assasination of the bastard-Aspirant Abish.

Wisely, Yushim convinced the remaining members of the Jemesh and Meiic castes to withdraw from the conflict, choosing to preserve the twin Imperial Guards castes, and thereby Zalai, over backing a particular Aspirant.

Their forces gathered, they secured a safe exit of Padalat from factions that were more than happy to be rid of them. So a long train of Meiic and Jeresh - once the mightiest force of the empire - passed through the Arches of Padalat. As she walked beneath the last arch, Yushia's mother gave birth and died in the same moment.

Yushim's forces retreated to the ramparts of Hune, a sprawling fortress built deep in the Wudal mountains northwest of Padalat. Yushim brought with him certain loyal Imperial vassals who like him, no longer had a lord to serve, and thus made a tiny, self-sufficient enclave that was sheltered from the early Madness.

Thus, Yushia was raised at Hune, surrounded by warriors, warlocks and men of state.

When she was old enough to wed, Yushia disappeared from Hune. Ten years later, she returned to Hune and deposited her four children with Yushim. Your grandfather is unknown, for she never spoke of him, and in appearance they showed only Yushia's Dalati blood. From this day onward she was never remarked upon as having any outward sign of aging. Over the next 12 years she would return occasionally, while rumours from the East spoke of a mighty Witch gathering forces and spirits to her side. Then, like a lightning bolt and aided by strange warriors from a nameless land, she conquered Padalat independent of the support of the Meiic and Jeresh. A messenger was sent to Hune, and once again the Empress had a guard (though she was an Aspirant, in truth). She would spend the rest of her life securing larger and larger portions of the Empire, and showed no touch of age until her death just before the completion of the Thrice Coronation. Your father is the only of her heirs and generals to have survived the struggle that followed, and though his long knives saved it from destruction, you must always remember that it is Yushia's empire that you will soon rule.