Emperor Nikephoros IV
Emperor Nikephoros IV was born a bastard. The product of the union of a common whore and the cast off son of the previous emperor. Due to the flurry of assassinations that occurred during the Empire’s civil war he ended up as the last remaining heir to the Empire.
When he rose to office he was only 14 years old. No regency council, only a deranged oracle to advise him. His city was in full riot, and the empire only had a single territory outside its own walls, the sleepy trade port of Terminus. Following the advice of his oracle, he put out an announcement that he would be getting married that day. This was news to the rioters, they didn’t even know they still had a emperor, let alone a fiance. Out of morbid curiosity the rioters ceased their activities and assembled at the burnt remains of the cities main temple, where all emperors have been married. There they saw their child Emperor. A slightly built half-elf of dubious background. They did not see the bride to be at all.
An announcement was made. That the Emperor was not going to follow the tradition of monogamy. They would go back to the Old Ways and practice polygamy. He then named 5 names. Asked them to come forward, which they did. He then proposed to each on the spot. They all accepted, if nothing else for the claim they were married to the last emperor.
The 5 women were daughters of the different factions that had staged the riots. Daughters of the the most powerful factions left in the city. The head of the thieves guild, the head of the arsenal, the daughter of the head of Imodae’s church, the daughter of the most prosperous merchant, and most interestingly enough, the actual faction head of the architects guild.
With his personal charm he was able to get his father in laws to stop fighting. He was able to win over his own wives to help him rebuild. He was able to turn the thieves guild into the foundation of his intelligence agency (reducing crime was a side benefit). With the backing of the military he was able to restore order. With the backing of the church the common man accepted him. With the backing of a wealthy merchant he was able to establish trade and fund his ambitions. With his wife the architect he was able to rebuild the city better than it was ever before. With the rebuilt capitals new look, Aurora Glade rejoined the Empire. With the intelligence help he gave Drakkar to hunt down the drow and the new emphasis on justice they rejoined the empire and they even brought lands that hadn’t been part of the empire before. With the renewed strength of the military, they were able to push back the barbarians, and reestablish control of the eastern marches from the protection of the crusading orders.
The rebuilt empire has not actually been challenged yet, so it is unknown if it is as strong as it looks. But the people of the Empire look to their now middle aged Emperor, now with over a dozen wives, and wonder what sort of dynastic struggles are to come. The empire still requires trade to hold it all together, worrying reports of instability on the Jade Road has gotten the Emperors personal attention.