History remembers the man who was primarily responsible for the toppling of the Torian Empire on Caelon. Without a doubt, Wa’rath the Conqueror is one of the most feared and divisive figures to ever enter the geopolitical stage at the center of civilization. To this day, his legacy lives on, both in the kingdoms he toppled and the culture he created. Torians understandably see the man as an evil force, bent on war against El Tor’s people and their long history. To the Warathi people, he remains a mythical figure, seen as the reincarnation of the First Son. Regardless of the viewpoint, none can disagree the man disrupted the entire continent in his warpath prior to his death. Here is what we know of the meteoric rise of Emperor Wa’rath.
The Unspeakable Child
Until recently, very little was known about the man who would become emperor over most of Caelon. That all changed after a successful Torian-sponsored excursion to the ruins of the first major battleground of the Gifted Wars. Returning to Torium with many important recovered documents and texts that had survived the centuries underground, the scribes in the city quickly discovered an interesting find in the birth registry that would deepen the understanding of the origins of Emperor Wa’rath.
Born into Torian culture in the city of Iobina in the year 38 A4, a child of House Uratho was given the name Joseba. The mother was listed as one Celara Uratho, and the father was written as Palro Uratho. Out of fuller context, this was to little alarm. However, further research into the background of both of these names revealed a much darker understanding of the nature of this child’s birth.
It is widely known that there was a large amount of close relation betrothals in the years after the First Son’s reign. The children of the First Son and his many wives possessed the First Son’s blood, and with it, they inherited many of the Gifts he possessed. First and second cousins marrying one another was a common function of the early Age of Kings, as people feared dilution of the blood would cause the generations to lose the inherent power that was what they felt was their birthright. Time would ultimately win that battle, of course, as the Gifts are all gone, but that didn’t stop the early progeny from trying to preserve them in their blood.
Scholars who researched the scrolls made the important discovery about Joseba – his father Palro was also the father of Celara Uratho, his mother. Because of this, the child’s parental origin was initially covered in concealing strips of parchment. The adhesion had worn off by the time the texts were discovered, making it possible for the researchers to glean this groundbreaking discovery. Until then, nothing was known of the child’s father, only that he was considered a bastard until the death of his father, when he was legitimized by Governor Joske.
Nothing is known about the child’s upbringing, only that he was sent to Torium to train in the military academy to be a soldier. He was promoted to the position of Captain after his legitimization.
Destruction of his Home
As a captain of the Torian Army, Joseba Uratho was assigned to General Tonsior’s command. The first major test of Joseba’s loyalties came in the opening battle of the Gifted Wars, at his home city of Iobina. General Tonsior’s army sat outside of Iobina and the first major battle between Gifted individuals happened here, kicking off a series of uprisings that would later be known as the Gifted Wars.
When General Tonsior defeated his step-brother King Joske and executed him and 30 of his co-conspirators after the event known as the Half-Brothers Half-Battle, the starving citizens of Iobina were left to fend for themselves. Even though those responsible for the uprising were quelled, the amount of aid the commoners received after the battle was not enough to prevent destruction.
We do not know if Joseba was able to see his mother during this confrontation, but we do know that she was among the first to die of starvation after the city fell into chaos, based on a journal entry written by one of the townspeople who attempted to bring order after the loss of their leaders. We do not know whether Joseba knew about his mother’s death, but the dates suggest that he did not find out about what happened until after he had gone south to the Southern Tribelands.
The Hellscape of the Tribelands
After quelling the uprising of King Joske of Iobina, General Tonsior received news of a potential threat moving north from the Southern Tribelands. There, tribes of men who pre-dated the First Son’s return were beginning to amass troubling warbands that the Torian Council preached as the most dangerous threat to the White Walled City. In what would perhaps be one of the greatest mis-steps of the era, the Council sent the Great Torian Army to go disband these groups, prioritizing that action over securing the new whispers of rebellion across Caelon.
Instead what the Torian council thought would be a grand show of force that would last a year or two at most, the army became locked in an unwinnable war against countless different tribes, each with their own strategies and battle styles. The hubris of thinking that multiple Sons of the First Son with their Gifts would be enough to stamp out the people who had survived in the nightmarish heat of the Southern Tribelands was what ultimately led to the stalemate, seventeen years later.
Soldiers who survived the campaign in the south were changed by the life they were forced to live there. When they returned, most were reportedly more brutal and quick to anger than before, suffering from being haunted by the travesties of war. At least they got to return home.
When the urgent word arrived from the White Walled City that the Great Torian Army would need to be recalled in order to reunify Caelon, Captain Uratho’s force was split off from the rest of the army. Believing there was no way to reach them, that they were lost, the Great Torian Army retreated, ending the official Campaign in the South.
Captain Uratho’s squad was never officially heard from again. In all official documents, Captain Joseba Uratho had fallen on the battlefield.
A Warathi Legend is Born
According to the Warathi, Wa’rath the Conqueror was born in the Southern Tribelands, where he unified the largest group of tribes, preparing them to march North to reclaim that which was lost to them thousands of years ago.
It is now a near certainty that somehow, Captain Joseba survived the abandonment and was taken in by the tribesmen, where he spent many years among them, ultimately being swayed to their side. In their legends, the First Son would return to them, absolving them of the crimes of their ancestors and allowing them to return to the White Walled City, Denegaz, as they called it.
The Warathi state that the man who became Wa’rath the Conqueror had command over nearly all of the Seven Gifts, especially because he did not age, even under the hot sun after so many years. The Southern Tribes now had a prophetic figure and a common enemy in the Torian Great Army, perfect conditions for the unification of the people who would eventually become known as the Warathi Tribe.
It is said that the Warathi army, combining the guerrilla tactics of the tribesmen with the knowledge of Torian strategy, marched north on the path to the White Walled City.
According to the mythology of the Warathi, Wa’rath the Conqueror marched the army to Iobina, where he delivered a speech to the Warathi crowds there, declaring that the White Walled City would be theirs before the end of the month. And thus, when the gates of the White Walled City fell and the Warathi tribesmen conquered it, Wa’rath’s legend had come to fruition.
The continent of Caelon which had always been led by those who followed the teachings of El Tor and the First Son, now saw the ancient seat inhabited by someone who would use it to transform the world.