House of Mir

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As the first imperial dynasty of the Empire of Athalē, the noble House of Mir was hugely influential in the formation of the empire, and the golden age that followed them was built largely on foundations they laid. Following is a chronicle of the internal workings and family tree of their dynasty.

The House of Mir

  • Aiathi r. 228-234
  • Phanal r. 234-244
  • Tēmekas I r. 244-253
  • Mikha r. 253-257 (assassinated)
  • Uremas I r. 257-274
  • Tēmekas II r. 274-310 (275 seathiauk, 277 king of Akelodo)
  • Tēmekas III r. 310
  • Uremas II r. 310-325
  • Texozonon I r. 325-336
  • Hekhes r. 336-342 (regency)
  • Texozonon II r. 342-389
            Athalēran nobility       Thārāran nobility
                   |                         |     
                   |                         |                    Semōn the Elder
                   |                         |                       |
                   |                         |                    Semōn the Younger
                   |                         |                       |
                Aiathi                    Idores -- -------------- Makīla
                   |                                     |
                   |                                     |
                Phanal      Bathisēpa --------------- Tēmekas I ------------- Liduni
                   |                         |                       |
                   |                         |                       |
               Uremas I ----------------- Naiōla                   Mikha
   Maphīni ---------------- Tēmekas II -------------- Ngaxeuda
                   |                         |
       ____________|____________             |
      |            |            |            |
Tēmekas III    Uremas II      Hekhes         |
      |            |                         |
      |            |                         |
      |         Masōthi --------------- Texozonon I
   Bunōrā                       |
      |             ____________|____________
      |            |                         |
   Diphur ----- Iotirā                  Texozonon II
      House of Rikhus

Tēmekas I

Tēmekas I
King of Athalē

Born: 204
Enthroned: 244
Died: 253

Children with Liduni (205 - 235):

  • Khīles, boy. 223 - 250
  • Mikha.

Children with Bathisēpa (214 - 293):

  • Naiōla, girl. 236 - 278
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Tēmekas the First was the heir of the disenfranchised royal family of Thāras, the House of Mir, who had not tasted power in three generations. Despite being held as "guests" in Athalē at the time, the family never ceased in their machinations to regain power, and Tēmekas was no less ambitious than his forebears. He joined the army at an early age, and by 229 worked his way up to the rank of general.

Tēmekas was married in 222, to his distant cousin Liduni. Their early passion faded fast, but she bore him two sons, Khīles and Mikha. Tēmekas' high regard for his firstborn, Khīles, was in stark contrast to his disdain of Mikha (to whom he did not even give a noble suffix). Khīles - athletic, tall, gregarious, and confident - was his father's darling, and was groomed as his heir. Mikha was thin, unhealthy, and disinclined to both physical and social activity, and grew up in his older brother's shadow, largely ignored by his father.

In 233, Liduni took ill with a coughing and wasting disease. Publicly worried for his wife, in private General Tēmekas' eyes were all on the Mezarāran beauty Bathisēpa, who he had spied bathing herself in front of a window. She later confessed to having spent weeks at that window trying to catch the general's eye; unlike quiet Liduni, Bathisēpa was ambitious. Even as his wife was dying, Bathisēpa installed herself first into his bed and then into his council. She quickly gained a reputation among the nobility as a wily manipulator, but in Tēmekas's mind she could do no wrong. Liduni died in the spring of 235. Under Thārāran custom, marrying a commoner would have constituted abdication as the heir of Mir, and so his hunger for power prevented him from marrying Bathisēpa. The traditional Thārāran solution was for her to be an unmarried consort, which role she modeled herself on thereafter - it meant her children would be considered legitimate heirs of Tēmekas provided she remained in good standing. The two of them plotted and waited for their chance. She also bore him a daughter, Naiōla, in late 236.

When his father Idores died in 240, Tēmekas became the head of the House. He and Bathisēpa watched as the rulers of Athalē pretended they weren't behaving like the very kings the city wasn't supposed to have, and he grew jealous of Phanal even while serving as his general. He and his consort plotted to install him as king, and the opportunity came in 244 when Phanal died unexpectedly with no clear successor (he had one very young son). Some suspected foul play, but nobody dared to bring charges against Tēmekas; it was whispered that Bathisēpa had engineered the ruler's death. The official Imperial histories record that Phanal died in a disease outbreak which took many lives in that year, yet Bathisēpa was certainly capable of arranging his death and perhaps even making it appear as though the disease took him instead. Some historians have proposed that Phanal's death was indeed natural but that the guileful woman might have deliberately fostered the rumors against her, for some perceived gain. The truth of Phanal's demise will likely never be known. In any case, the army had idealized Tēmekas and Phanal together as the team which led them to repeated victories, and with the latter out of the way, Tēmekas used the army's loyalty to ensure no one dared oppose him. At the advanced age of 40, he proclaimed himself king of Athalē and Thāras. The king proved quite authoritarian, but at the same time, he was a capable ruler, and the incipient Empire of Athalē expanded strongly under his reign.

The birth of Naiōla was very difficult, and Bathisēpa was unable to bring any subsequent children to term. She remained powerful throughout the king's reign, though, and came to be so respected in Thāras that a personality cult arose around her there. After Tēmekas died in 253, she retired to Thāras and lived there another forty years, her sharp mind and her machinations continuing right to the very end.

Mikha and Uremas I

King of Athalē

Born: 225
Enthroned: 253
Died: 257

No issue.

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Uremas I
King of Athalē

Born: 235
Enthroned: 257
Died: 274

Children with Naiōla (236 - 278):

  • Tēmekas II.
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Prince Khīles died in 250 in a hunting accident. Tēmekas I was dismayed; his well-groomed heir was dead, leaving the introverted and ill-prepared Mikha in line for his throne. He resolved to prepare his remaining son, but it was too late; Mikha was already 25 years old and well set in his ways. Uninterested in ruling, he nevertheless began to study at his father's urging. But the going was slow, and when Tēmekas died three years later Mikha ascended the throne still quite unfit to do anything with it. He relied on his counsellors and generals to such an extent that he was effectively a puppet. Bathisēpa tried to advise him, but they had never gotten along well, and the new king remained weak.

Mikha's downfall was not long in coming. Only four years later in 257, Uremas, son of the same Phanal that Bathisēpa may have had killed, returned the favor. Having won many of the top nobles of Athalē to his side, Uremas - not a man to have others do what he could perfectly well do himself - simply walked one morning into the palace kitchen and stabbed Mikha from behind as he was speaking with the cook. The guards and even the cook were all with Uremas on this, and raised no outcry. The rivalry of Athalē with Thāras had not yet grown stale, and the Holy City was happy to have a native Athalēran of the house of Aiathi back in control.

Thāras, however, was severely displeased. Spurred on and orchestrated in large part by the wily old Bathisēpa, the Thārāran body politic delivered to Athalē what was then called the Final Threat: restore the House of Mir to power or fight. Thāras, despite not being the capital of the young empire, had more than twice the population of Athalē at this time, and the latter knew it would lose. So while nobles on both sides spoke out against the other, and amid much public posturing and jingoism, a quiet but steady stream of diplomatic missions between the councils of Uremas I and Bathisēpa worked out a solution: Uremas was to marry into the House of Mir by taking Naiōla, heir of its foremost branch, as his queen.

The bride and groom wanted nothing to do with each other, but bit their tongues for the sake of averting war and married less than a year after Mikha's assassination. Thus were the houses of Aiathi and Mir united into a single family with undisputed claim to the throne. Once again out of duty, Uremas I and Naiōla produced an heir - who they named Tēmekas, at her insistence. Uremas remained firmly in charge with Naiōla exerting only marginal political power, but when it came to her child, she dug in her heels and forced him to go along with what she wanted. Their uneasy marriage lasted through the rest of his reign until he died in 274 by choking on his dinner, and no other children were born.

Tēmekas II

Tēmekas II
Emperor of Athalē

Born: 258
Enthroned: 274
Died: 310

Children with Māphini (257 - 300):

  • unnamed stillborn girl. 276
  • Tēmekas III.
  • Sumini and Thīoze, fraternal twin girls. 280 - 321 and 280 - 348
  • Uremas II.
  • Semōnes, boy. 284 - 351
  • Rebas, boy. 285 - 287
  • Hekhes, boy (paternity uncertain). 287 - 342

Children with Ngaxeuda (283 - 305):

  • Marāla, girl. 302 - 350
  • Texozonon I.
  • Lekhīrā, boy. 304 - 310
  • unnamed boy, died with his mother in childbirth. 305
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Tēmekas the Second was the first to declare himself seathiauk - emperor - and the first to study the imperial model of Huyfárah. He was also a prolific sire of offspring. Between his two wives, he was the father of twelve legitimate children (two of which did not survive birth), although the paternity of one of these has always been questioned. Additionally he is believed to have fathered at least twenty-two illegitimate children, and possibly more.

Tēmekas II acquired a reputation as a ladies' man from an early age, and four of his known illegitimate children were born before his sixteenth birthday - all in the same year, and to four different young ladies. His mother Naiōla was scandalized at first, and later, refused to acknowledge her son's promiscuity. When he inherited the throne, he married Māphini, daughter of a Khalanuran noble house - a political marriage he was forced into soon after accession. Their union proved loveless, but not fruitless. She gave birth seven times to eight children. The worst-kept secret of the court during this period was the sheer number of mistresses the Emperor wooed privately, often several at a time, which was an ongoing source of embarrassment for Māphini. She grew bitter and lashed out against Tēmekas publicly on more than one occasion, but he was generally a tolerant man and took this in stride.

His tolerance was strained in early 287, however, when Hekhes was born. Unlike his fair-haired and fair-skinned parents, Hekhes had dark hair and an olive complexion, and Tēmekas was rumored to be furious. Nevertheless, distasteful of courtly drama, he publicly acknowledged the boy his son and did his best to quench the rumors. The happy family illusion they maintained finally cracked open later that year, when Māphini upbraided Tēmekas at length at an official dinner over his drunken behavior the night before, severely embarrassing the Emperor in front of the new envoys from Xšalad and the fully assembled court. After a week of fuming, he announced a divorce. The queen was exiled from court to a small town near Radias and set up with a small household of her own; Tēmekas agreed to let her raise the three youngest boys while keeping the older children in court, and by all accounts she eventually accepted her fate and found a happier life there, although she did lose her son Rebas later that year, to a childhood illness.

The Emperor found himself freer than ever to engage in his proclivities. The servants giggled and whispered about it, and nobles of the court simply smiled and changed the subject. This carried on for another 14 years, until 301, when a beautiful new chambermaid from Akelodo was hired. Tēmekas was smitten with Ngaxeuda from day one. Against the advice of his counsellors and ignoring the scandalous age difference (she was younger than his son Uremas), he married her late that year. Uremas too was smitten, and fought with his father repeatedly - and left the court when the royal couple married. Only two months later Ngaxeuda gave birth, and to nobody's surprise, only four months after that it was announced she was pregnant again. A third child followed soon after. By all accounts, Tēmekas and Ngaxeuda were a love match, and for his wife the Emperor wrote a number of highly emotional poems that remain on record.

The new queen became pregnant a fourth time in 305, but the happiness of the court came to an abrupt halt when she and the child died in labor. Tēmekas was devastated, and fell into a deep depression. He secluded himself from courtly life and allowed governance of the Empire to fall to his eldest son Tēmekas (III). He grew ill, and by 309 it was clear the end was near. Tēmekas II died the next spring.

Tēmekas III and Uremas II

Tēmekas III
Emperor of Athalē

Born: 277
Enthroned: 310
Died: 310

Children with Umadoze (278 - 322):

  • Ukhirā, girl. 301 - 351
  • Bunōrā, girl. 303 - 379
  • Kuphamas, boy. 305 - 310
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Uremas II
Emperor of Athalē

Born: 281
Enthroned: 311
Retired: 325
Died: 332

Children with Lōna (289 - 331):

  • Masōthi, girl. 311 - 337
  • Haiēla, girl. 314 - 379
  • Alakathi, girl (died in infancy). 315
  • Oboni, girl. 317 - 371
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Tēmekas the Third was enthroned shortly after his father's death. His reign started off well; he sent trade envoys to Huyfárah and Xšalad which were well received, and on the domestic scene he set in motion an ambitious plan - devised while acting for his ailing father, who had suggested it - to construct a network of imperial highways. Late that autumn, however, a plague struck much of the central and southern Rathedan. In the Holy City of Athalē, as many as one in ten succumbed, and both Tēmekas III and his only son were among them. The throne thus fell to his brother Uremas.

Unfortunately, Uremas - who had been largely out of the picture since leaving the court in 301 - had to be tracked down. Couriers were dispatched throughout the Empire, and the next brother in line - Semōnes - held everything together while they waited. Semōnes was a priest with little ambition for himself, and refused the suggestions of others that he take the throne himself instead of waiting for the alienated Uremas. It was not until three months later that word came; Uremas had been in Xšalad, carrying on an affair with the niece of the Xšali emperor. Uremas caused a minor scandal when he arrived in Athalē in the winter of early 311 with his black mistress at his side. Dark-skinned traders from Xšalad had been known and welcomed in the Rathedān for centuries, but marrying someone so different was another matter - especially for royalty. Nevertheless, Uremas II married his outlandish and very pregnant queen ||Oena (rendered into Adāta as Lōna) as part of his coronation ceremony.

It took time for Lōna to be accepted by the court. Those who knew her spoke well of her, but she mostly kept to herself and never developed any close friends beyond her husband. Uremas, too, was a very private man. He continued the highway project begun by his brother, strengthened trade with Xšalad (with the help of his wife), proved to be very world-wise and gained wide respect for his capability, but he kept his distance from the social life of the court. Historians have speculated on how matters might have gone differently had Uremas cultivated the respect of his nobles.

Lōna bore him four daughters, all of them nearly as dark as their mother, but no sons. Many nobles were quietly horrified. Some feared for the future of the dynasty, while others saw opportunity to gain advantage for themselves. But the public remained firmly behind the emperor, and when in 321 the fourth plot to unseat Uremas was uncovered, an angry mob killed the instigating Lord Iadan before he could be brought to trial. After this incident, the loyal Semōnes - the next brother in line - came forward with a list of twelve nobles who had offered to help him gain the throne. Counselors urged the emperor to execute everyone on the list, but fearing rebellion by their houses, he exiled them instead. Uremas' relationship with his nobles continued to worsen. He had befriended the elderly Bathisēpa in his youth and absorbed a great amount of political wisdom from her, and applied it successfully earlier in his reign, but as time wore on no amount of political savvy could stop the tide of sentiment.

In the summer of 325, a major scandal erupted when it was learned that his eldest daughter Masōthi had secretly married his young half-brother Texozonon. This walked the line of acceptable distance of kinship, and the fact she had married without her father's permission at such a young age, barely 15, was just as bad. Uremas himself was stunned, but it didn't take the nobility long to move. They quickly realized that this development finally offered the acceptable succession path that had been missing: by virtue of descent from Tēmekas II and marriage to the eldest daughter of Uremas, Texozonon was heir-apparent. It undoubtedly helped that Texozonon was popular, decisive, and devout. The nobility pressured the emperor to step down, and by the end of the year there was nothing left he could do. Uremas II announced his retirement and the reign of Texozonon I began.

Uremas and Lōna retired to the quiet city of Hiphago with their two younger daughters, until the former emperor died there in 332.

Texozonon I and the Regency of Hekhes

Texozonon I
Emperor of Athalē

Born: 303
Enthroned: 325
Died: 336

Children with Masōthi (311 - 337):

  • Texozonon II.
  • Iotirā, girl. 330 - 401
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The reign of Texozonon I began smoothly enough. Despite the shaky legitimacy of his marriage to Masōthi which formed his primary claim to the throne, his reign was not openly disputed. In fact, much of the nobility welcomed his rule as a replacement for the disliked Uremas II, and though he made few notable achievements for the Empire he remained a strong emperor for the ten years he ruled. Masōthi bore him two children: a son to whom he gave his own name, and a daughter Iotirā. Masōthi was nearly as dark-skinned as her mother Lōna, and both her children were also noticeably darker than average for an Athalēran - if not by so great a margin - but by and large the Empire had come to terms with this outcome and the skin color of the Imperial family ceased to be a problem. Nevertheless, their exotic appearance did continue to occasion comment.

Early in his reign a series of military engagements in the Xōron Eiel frequently required Texozonon I to be gone from the court. In his stead, his advisors carried out his policies; one of these advisors was his older half-brother Hekhes, and in 332 Hekhes was made his chief counsellor. By 335, matters in the Xōron Eiel were heating up again and Texozonon was again away from court for extended periods. Hekhes spoke for the emperor in his absence. In a battle that year, Texozonon took an arrow in the shoulder, and the wound was slow to heal. He stayed home to convalesce and followed the advice of his doctors, but though it did eventually heal the emperor failed to regain his former health and vigor. And when another wound in the spring of 336 festered, he was not strong enough to fight off the recurring fevers. Texozonon I succumbed.

His son Texozonon II was only nine years old, far too young to rule without a regent. Hekhes stepped in, volunteering to be that regent; Masōthi gave her assent. This has been called her worst mistake, though it is doubtful whether she could have stopped Hekhes. He did not name himself emperor, but it quickly became clear that he was ambitious. Hekhes was later overheard telling a companion that when Uremas II had had to retire, he should have been the next in line for the throne, not Texozonon - which was technically correct - and that the imperial lineage rightfully belonged to the children of Māphini, calling Tēmekas II's second marriage and the issue thereof illegitimate. Nonetheless, in public he maintained the illusion of loyal regency in the name of Texozonon II. Hekhes' actions, however, spoke louder than his words: he raised monuments to himself and groomed his own son to succeed him. Masōthi died in 337 by poison; the poisoner was never discovered and few in the court would dare give voice to their suspicion of Hekhes. With their mother out of the way, he enrolled young Texozonon in training for the priesthood and sent Iotirā to be raised by a foster family. The final blow came in 340 when Texozonon II was entered, against his will, as a trainee for a religious order in which the monks were eunuchs, and the young man suffered castration. The proclamation of Hekhes as emperor seemed inevitable.

A eunuch would not make a desirable emperor, and even his legal right to even claim the throne was uncertain. Instead, in early 342 Texozonon II graduated to become a full-fledged monk, and though the "regent's" people enforced the young man's exile, his new status gained him a certain measure of freedom to act within the monastery. Hekhes had been having trouble finding a sufficiently legal and legitimate-sounding excuse to name himself emperor, but by that summer he had worked out everything he needed, and planned a coronation ceremony. This caused some consternation and drama in the court, and to quell this Hekhes needed the efforts of all his spies - including those who had been keeping watch on the real heir. Texozonon took advantage of his sudden lack of minders to work through the channels of the priesthood and get in touch with a priest who could help him: once again, after all these years, it was Semōnes to the rescue. Once Semōnes learned what the real situation was - Hekhes had told everyone that Texozonon wanted to be a priest - he had the young man smuggled out of the monastery in the middle of the night.

Hekhes was livid, but there was little he could do about the escape after the fact, and he had no idea his own relatives were involved. Hekhes nervously went forth with the coronation, and of course invited the imperial family to it: Thīoze, Semōnes, and Marāla, and Ukhirā and Bunōrā, and Haiēla and Oboni, and all their spouses and children, the entire House of Mir, were in attendance when the day arrived. Even Texozonon was present, disguised as Bunōrā's youngest son Diphur. They had had a family conference, and had gone so far as to secure the support of many of the other nobles for their plan. When it was time for the crown to be placed on Hekhes' head, they all stood up and named him a usurper, in front of not only the court but the assembled nobles and diplomats and members of the public. It did not take long for Hekhes to be taken away in chains. Hekhes' loyal priests could not be convinced to crown Texozonon instead, so Semōnes performed the ceremony himself, right there in front of the stunned crowd. The reign of Texozonon II began.

Texozonon II

Texozonon II
Emperor of Athalē

Born: 327
Enthroned: 342
Died: 389

No issue.

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Texozonon II was the last, the most successful, and the longest-reigning emperor of the House of Mir, his rule spanning some 47 years. He gained the throne at the age of 15, and though still wet behind the ears at the time, proved competent. As the years went on and especially in the last two decades of his rule, he was increasingly recognized as the most capable emperor Athalē had yet had: decisive and swift to act when needed, listening carefully to good advice and having a talent for recognizing when advice was sound, a sense of moral justice widely held unimpeachable, and a drive to succeed that had him working from the early morning to the late night - for decades. His reign saw the solidification of his Empire into a strongly functioning nation, the development of a large bureaucracy, and the expansion of the Empire to its greatest physical extent - no Athalēran emperor before or after ruled over quite so much land as he did, though its population was later to increase. Traditionally the Golden Age of Athalē is cited as beginning at his death, when a new dynasty came to power, but it functionally began under the reign of Texozonon II, last of the House of Mir. Due to his somewhat dark skin tone, later in his reign Dizaka Īki - "the Black King" - became a common name for him.

Texozonon II was also a eunuch. It was widely believed at the time that eunuchs were always of mild temperament, but when Texozonon first gained the throne he went wild, purging the government of loyalists to the usurper Hekhes and destroying the monuments Hekhes had built to himself. In the only display of cruelty ever documented of him, he personally supervised the castration of the prisoner Hekhes just days after the coronation. The usurper died of his injuries. In later years the emperor was said to be sickened and appalled by his own revenge, and that his fine judgement of right and wrong stemmed from this.

The emperor was unable to procreate, and had a somewhat high-pitched voice, due to his castration at a young age. He never married. Many attributed this to the undesirability of such a man as a spouse, emperor or not, while others whispered that he'd never been interested in women anyway. In any case, it was nevertheless important to ensure the succession, and desirable for the role of queen to be filled as well - for her courtly functions - and to these ends, Texozonon enlisted the help of his sister Iotirā. To maximize the legitimacy of her children as his heirs, she married her second-cousin Diphur, grandson of Tēmekas III by way of Bunōrā, although her relationship to him was more of a friendship than a love match. Thus her children would carry the blood of Tēmekas II by three different lines of descent for a total of 25%, as the Dāiadak reckoned such things, and descended from every single Mir emperor except Texozonon II himself - the strongest claim to royal blood imaginable. She also led the social life of the court just as a queen normally would. But in other regards Iotirā was quite unlucky, for her pregnancies were very difficult. After several miscarriages and a stillbirth, in 358 she finally bore a live girl, who was named Aloze. It was soon clear there would be no further children, and many in the court despaired for the succession even while Aloze became the darling of the court, showered with attention and love.

By his last decade Texozonon II was slowing down, and despite the many good works credited to his name, he also wanted to be remembered for expanding the empire like all his forebears had done. So after fifteen years of peace, in 385 the empire organized for war. His invasion of the Tjakori valley was not expected to succeed overnight, it was too well defended; former rulers had always declined to invade, despite its rich resources, for this reason. The war began to drag on; meanwhile, the succession question finally appeared to be resolved to the satisfaction of most, with the marriage of Aloze to the talented and noble-blooded young minister Zāiekātus of the House of Rikhus. In 387 the emperor's health began to decline. He thinned and became pale, and was forced to cut his daily workload again and again. By late that year he was ruling from a chair, and the summer of 388 saw him bedridden. The emperor was pale as a ghost, and complained of an unceasing pain in his abdomen that kept his mind fogged much of the time. But he held on, waiting for his generals still pursuing the war to send word of the final victory they had anticipated for over a year. That word came in the second month of 389: the upper Tjakori was theirs, and the Xšali armies which had been bolstering the Tjakori's defense had not only withdrawn but were beginning to go home. It was what he'd been clinging to life waiting to hear. Texozonon II, the Black King, the Eunuch Emperor, died a few days later.