Reign: 324 YE - 329 YE
Early Life and Election
In 322YE, The Orc Rebellion began in Varushka, By 324YE, the Senate was desperate to end the rebellion. Following very public promises by the Freeborn senators that they would end the rebellion, they elected a scrivener named Ahraz i Tamerlin i Guerra to the Throne. The only Freeborn emperor to date his reign would be short and unhappy and marked by violence and internal conflict.
The Emperor led a force of Brass Coast forces and troops from other nations that had supported his election in pursuit of the rag-tag orc armies. Unknown to those outside his immediate circle, he had already begun negotiations with the orcs using contacts established earlier in the rebellion by Freeborn merchants. Several meetings took place, where Ahraz reiterated his people’s antipathy for slavery and desire to see the orcs freed. The Emperor offered full citizenship to any orc who would swear to serve the Empire and committed to achieving freedom for all orcs enslaved by the Empire. After weeks of protracted talks, Ahraz was able to convince the orcs of his sincerity and extracted from them an oath to serve the Imperial Throne. Marching to Anvil in a calculated show of strength, the Emperor presented the agreement to the Senate. Partly through his own personal charisma, but mostly through the hard work of his allies, Ahraz was able to get his proposals ratified by the Senate.
After the end of the Orc Rebellion, Ahraz was called before the Synod and questioned about his actions and the motivation thereof. In a passionate speech, he expressed the shame he felt that so much of the Empire he loved had been built on the back of slavery. He argued that every coin in the Imperial Treasury had been paid for with orc blood, and successfully defended his actions in the name of each of the virtues in turn.
Ahraz' reign was marked by upheaval and rebellion. He survived three assassination attempts from those ruined by the loss of the orc slaves, one of which claimed the life of his beloved daughter. His actions were openly criticised as having led to the Freedom Heresy that began during his second year on the Throne, despite his protestations. His decision, supported principally by the Navarr to refuse to send the army after the secessionists was seen as a sign of weakness, despite his repeated claims that the anarchists would prove their own worst enemies.
Death and Legacy
After the barbarians sacked the secessionist stronghold, Ahraz stepped down from the Throne and lived out the rest of his life in seclusion in mountains of Kahraman. He died shortly afterwards, and reports at the time say that he looked like a man easily twice his actual age of forty-seven. His body was interred in the Necropolis in an understated black marble tower.
In 342 YE, a legion of Imperial Orcs was apprehended attempting to break into the tomb of Emperor Ahraz. While initially mistaken for tomb robbers, they made no effort to resist arrest. Investigation of the tomb indicated they had touched nothing, but had left behind the body of three dead orcs wrapped in shrouds. The dead orcs had been among the negotiators who had first met with the Emperor and been swayed by his arguments. Having recently died, the legion had decided to inter them alongside the Emperor who had brought them into the Empire, When questioned further, they simply maintained that they felt it was inappropriate for Emperor Ahraz to be alone in death. Despite some initial resistance, the appropriateness of the move found supporters in both the Synod and the Senate, and over the next twenty years, the tomb was re-opened another seven times. Emperor Ahraz' tomb now has an honour guard of ten dead orc heroes.
The deeds for which Emperor Ahraz has been recognised as an exemplar of Courage relate to those he made during the Orc Rebellion. Emperor Ahraz led an army of imperial soldiers in pursuit of escaped orc slaves. The expectation of many had been that he would crush the rebellion through force of arms.
The reality was that Ahraz sought to take a different path, for which he did not have popular support or surety of success. Emperor Ahraz managed to secure peace with the escaped slaves, an end to orc slavery and the creation of the Imperial Orc nation. Unlike more martial demonstrations of Courage, the example of Emperor Ahraz is one of conviction and willingness to take an untried path toward an uncertain outcome.
What price their freedom? Better to ask what price their slavery! What price for the spread of contempt from those who lead to those who follow? What price for indolence and opposition to innovation becoming commonplace in the halls of power? What price to the suffering of those innocent-born for the unjust gain of another? You speak of price, and Freeborn though I be, I will put no price on these things. I cannot, I will not sell the Empire's ideals so cheaply.
The Assembly of Courage held that the Emperor Ahraz i Tamerlin i Guerra demonstrated the following signs of being an exemplar:
- By raising the orcish slaves out of bondage, Ahraz is responsible for their Salvation and the very possibility of their conversion to The Way. Those Imperial Orc priests who today preach that by embracing the Virtues, the Imperial Orcs can strengthen themselves as well as creating a better future for their descendants do so because of the courage of Ahraz.
- By personally extracting from the orc rebels their vows of fealty and oaths of loyalty that bound them eternally to the Empire and the Throne, Ahraz’s Legacy stands in the form of the valiant and mighty Imperial Orc Nation.
- Ahraz's actions in ending the orc rebellion that ravished the Empire and threatened the manifest of human destiny demonstrate his Benevolence.
- Ahraz underwent a spiritual Pilgrimage to the heart of the Imperial Faith when he was called before the Synod to answer for his actions. His courage in the strength of his convictions proved true as he successfully argued for the virtue of the Orcish Liberation.
- The strength of Ahraz’s beliefs in the evils of slavery proved an Inspiration to the whole Empire which is felt even today in how the very laws of the land extend the right to liberty to all people.
- Ahraz experienced a True Liao vision which featured the exemplar of Courage, Gilda Ashwine. However, it is not presently established whether he fully was Recognised as the reincarnation of the exemplar, or if his soul had simply known her in a previous life.
Ahraz builds upon our understanding of the Virtue of Courage by granting us greater insight into the canon of the path established by the exemplar Permion the Navigator. Ahraz shows us the necessity of Courage in facing wickedness and corruption not just in external foes to Humanity, but when it has become entrenched in our own societies.
Much as Permion cleaved to what he knew to be truth in order to take on the power of the Patricians for the betterment of humanity and Highguard, Ahraz’s dedication to his ideals in the face of the condemnation of his fellow Imperial Citizens liberated us all from the shackles of orcish slavery and saved the Casinean Empire from devastation by the Orc Rebellion. Ahraz reveals to us the Virtue in the acts of bravery needed to make revolutionary change for the good of humanity, and to hold to the absolute strength of our convictions even in the face of condemnation and death. Further, he builds upon the understanding of Courage given to us by Permion by showing how we might embody this strength of convictions in the Imperial Age.Courage means to stand without quaking before evil, even when that evil is inside us and our allies.Isaac di Sarvos, Priest of Courage, Summer 378YE
Regarding the Name of Ahraz
Ahraz was born Ahraz i Tamerlin i Guerra. When he married Maria i Contero i Guerra, shortly before he took the Throne, he followed Brass Coast tradition and changed his name as he became part of his wife's family. Following the death of his daughter, his relationship with his wife deteriorated - and the pair eventually divorced. When their marriage ended, Ahraz returned to the i Tamerlin, and reverted to his previous name. Confusingly, official documents use either or both names - often in the course of a single document depending on when the events they are describing took place.