This page is about historical Imperial favours. For the power of the Throne, see here.
The Imperial Favour is a potent power of the Throne, allowing them to temporarily grant some of their power to representatives. There are numerous restrictions on how the favour can be wielded, but in theory any power of the Throne with the exception of the ability to create an Imperial Favour, can be granted to a favoured lieutenant. As the Throne is one of the handful of Imperial titles unable to appoint a proxy, this useful capability allows their power to be wielded in their absence.
One interesting twist on an Imperial Favour is they do not automatically expire. Favours granted by previous Thrones as far back as the foundation of the Empire still have legal weight - as was demonstrated only a handful of years ago when the Imperial Orcs used the favour of Empress Britta that granted the power of ratification during the transfer of Skarsind from Wintermark to its new residents.
Much of the information presented here was put together by the Freeborn scribe Madrigal i Temelan i Erigo, who engaged in extensive study of the history of the Imperial favour for one of the Freeborn Senators (he declined to specify which senator) during the Autumn of 376YE. He submitted his short essay to the Green Library in Siroc, although a revised copy was found among his personal papers after his tragic death three years later - apparently at the hands of agents of the Whisper Gallery. This version included some additional notes for what might have been intended to be an updated list of favours; these extra notes have been made public after their citations checked by the Imperial Archivist
Madrigal himself made some wild claims of a “conspiracy” to conceal information about Imperial favours created by earlier Thrones, but provided no actual evidence beyond what he described as “suspiciously missing volumes.”An additional source available to Imperial scholars is a piece of historical research commissioned during the Winter of 378YE by then-Minister Ioseph of Phoenix Reach, which provides some insight into Britta's use of the Favour.
As Throne, Empress Britta of course made use of the Imperial Favour. Having seen the mistakes of the previous three incumbents (Walter, Giselle, and Hugh), Empress Britta vowed openly not to repeat them. She had the courage to speak her mind, but she tempered this with the wisdom to select competent advisors, and give those advisors the freedom to act on behalf of the Empire. While her primary focus for much of her reign was on the defence of the Empire's borders, and on liberating those territories lost to the barbarian, her representatives focused on bringing the Synod, Senate, and Conclave back to the service of the Empire.
The most common use of her favour during this time was to give one of her staunch supporters Maxwell Heshel di Temeschwar the power of Veto. He employed this favour on three occasions in 374YE and 375YE to block attempts by Senators of the “old guard” from enacting self-serving or unpopular policies while the Throne was busy elsewhere. She also made careful use of favour in the military council - granting the Defender of the Empire to an ally, she could ensure that a disruptive or recalcitrant general could be replaced before they could cause any damage to the ongoing campaign without having to take the generalship herself.
Britta's final officially recorded favour was used at the Autumn Equinox when Maxwell di Temeschwar excluded the Senator for Zenith for the duration of a vote regarding the emergency resupply of the Golden Axe. The charismatic senator had repeatedly derailed discussions of resupply to demand a review of spending on the armies given projected costs in mithril and weirwood of continued “total warfare.”
On the evening before the fateful conjunction that ushered in the State of Emergency of 377YE, the Empress summoned Magistrate Stanislav Karkovich to a private meeting where it was widely believed that Empress Britta created a final Imperial Favour, possibly as insurance against the disaster that all too tragically came to pass. The only person in attendance apart from the Empress and the Magistrate was the Navarr messenger Garrack White-Walker who unfortunately died during the disastrous conjunction the next day while delivering the general order to retreat back through the Sentinel Gate.
Magistrate Karkovich refused to discuss what happened during that meeting, merely confirming that he was summoned in his “professional capacity.” The general consensus was that he was there to witness and record the creation of an Imperial Favour so that when it was finally used its provenance would be clear.
The favour remained a mystery until Autumn 379YE when it was used to ratify the motion to relinquish Skarsind - this was before the Senate power of relinquishment had been created of course. The precise details surrounding the discovery of the favour are unclear, although several scholars believe that the egregore of the Imperial Orcs may have had it all along. Regardless. the Imperial Orcs claimed their new homeland, and it appears that the last of Empress Britta's favours has been resolved.
Emperor Walter made extensive use of the Imperial Favour to empower his agents to operate in the Senate - in particular his brother Edward would regularly employ the Hand of the Chancellor on behalf of the notoriously Senate-averse throne. He barely used the favour for anything else. It was generally assumed that his final favour (used to acquire money from the treasury for use in Imperial Bourse bids as usual) represented the last such effort - after all, he was not expecting to die and presumably had made no plans for his posterity.
Despite this, however, rumours have surfaced from time to time that Walter did in fact prepare a secret Imperial Favour - either just before his death or perhaps even earlier but dated to be usable only after a certain point - which he used as surety on a loan. The civil service will neither confirm nor deny the existence of such a favour of course.
There is a rumour that Emperor Hugh issued a favour in secret on the morning before his death, but it is generally held that doing so would have been out of character for an Emperor so invested in his personal charisma. That said, the common view is that Hugh knew he was going to his death so it is not impossible he made some preparations in that regard. The general consensus is that the favour would most likely have been the Defender of the Empire. The chief magistrate during Hugh's reign is deceased, but the civil service undoubtedly have records of any favour that remains outstanding.
Giselle was one of the more profligate users of the Imperial Favour, granting it freely to her allies to act not only on her behalf but in pursuit of their own ambitions. There are extensive records of favours offered and spent throughout her reign, sometimes more than one during the course of a single Anvil summit. Often. Such favours involved the Powers of State - especially the Veto and power of Exclusion – and they were invariably given to her supporters in the League.
There are civil service records of a final unspent favour bestowed on Edward Cavaliero de Tassato, a naga Reckoner. By all accounts, it did not remain in his hands long and was extensively traded back and forth within the League for several years after Empress Giselle's death. Its precise nature is unclear, although there is a widespread belief that it allowed the bearer to raise a motion in the Senate. This is of course impossible – the ability to raise a motion is not a power of the Throne - and further investigation has traced the notion back to a little-known intrigue-romance story called The Empress and the Serpent published by an anonymous writer in Tassato in 362YE. The lurid story is quite clearly a work of fiction.
There is some tenuous evidence that Emperor Ahraz prepared an Imperial Favour on his death-bed, and gave it to one of the older Imperial Orcs, as sign of his good intent. The scholar Madrigal i Temelan i Erigo, who uncovered the limited details of this favour, believed it granted the ability to take control of an Imperial army, with the intention that it be used to help the orcs conquer a territory of their own.
As befits a Throne who prided herself on leading with a gentle touch, Empress Deanne is not known to have made much use of the Imperial Favour. She primarily bestowed those favours that allowed an individual to observe or participate in a house of power - Member of the Senate, Member of the Military Council, and very rarely Order of the Throne. There are no records of a favour persisting after her death, but if such a thing did exist it is likely to be along the same lines.
Likewise, Emperor James is recorded as specifically issuing a favour to someone giving them the power to replace a general – though reports as to who and why are virtually nonexistent. There is some circumstantial evidence that this favour was actually used during the Second Interregnum, shortly before Empress Deanne came to the Throne, to provide additional defence for the Highborn territory of Necropolis against Grendel raiders. Sadly, records from the Military Council can be patchy at best and it is difficult for a scholar to confirm this one way or another.
According to historical records Empress Brannan issued an Imperial favour shortly before she lost the Throne. The favour was written and given to her advisor Helvennan Stormcrow of Wintermark – but there is no record of him ever using it. He disappeared during a particularly fierce blizzard in the Winter of 263YE while travelling between far-flung halls in Sermersuaq. While the location of the favour is unknown, its power is well documented - it granted the power to dissolve the Conclave.
The prominent Highborn legal scholar, Arimeus of the Black Tower, argued passionately after the Empress' death that her favour ought to be regarded as defunct. He claimed it was legally invalidated by the same revocation that removed the Empress from the Throne. The arguments were never settled by the magistrates since the favour was never produced, but the abiding opinion was that the scholar's arguments were unlikely to sway the Constitutional Court.
Historians record that Emperor Guntherm made use of the Imperial Favour in a familiar pattern; using lieutenants to influence matters in the Senate, Conclave, and Synod when he was elsewhere. In the years since the loss of Silver Peaks to the Thule there has been a persistent rumour that somewhere there is a final favour, created by Guntherm, that allows the bearer to Declare War, intended to be used in the event that the Senate became too cowardly to act against obvious enemies of the Empire. It is likely, however, that this is merely wishful thinking among members of the anti-Thule faction in Wintermark.
The cunning Empress Mariika made only limited use of the Imperial Favour by all accounts. She certainly left a final favour behind; a favour of Ratification that is recorded as having been used in the Senate during the second interregnum.
As his obsession with managing every detail of the Empire increased, so too did Emperor Nicovar's use of the Imperial Favour. His agents were prominently involved in the Senate, Synod, and Conclave, and regularly used his Favour to ensure the outcome the Emperor desired. He obviously did not prepare a final Imperial Favour as a legacy, but there are stories that the last favour he issued - granting one of his allies in the Vigilance Assembly the power to act as a Member of the Assembly of Nine was not used, and may still be in existence. Confirming such a thing is next to impossible however - historical records of Nicovar's reign were not spared the fire any more than any others were.
The oldest favour for which reliable records exist is that of Emperor Barabbas, the Mariner. He gave his last Imperial Favour to Warin i Kumal i Riqueza of Madruga, apparently with the intent of allowing the Freeborn shipbuilder to claim the money needed to construct a small fleet of war ships.
Most historians agree that Warin perished along with his Emperor when the Barabbine Fleet was lost. Before his death, however, Warin gave the favour to his nephew who survived the maritime disaster. There are unverified accounts that both Empress Mariika and the Shuttered Lantern Conclave order – along with several private individuals – were very interested indeed in tracking the favour down to either destroy it or use it to become rich.
Records from pre-Imperial times are scant at best. It is not even entirely clear when the power to create an Imperial Favour was first created - it is possible that Emperor Giovanni or Empress Richilde may not even have had such a power. There is speculation, of course, but nothing that can be confirmed.
The sole exception comes from the generally-reliable journal of Hero of Reumah's Redoubt, writing during the reign of Empress Varkula, who records that the Varushkan Throne's predecessor, Empress Aenea, created an Imperial favour in the last days of her reign allowing for the use of one of the Powers of State, most likely the Imperial veto. It seems unlikely the favour is still in existence after 250 years, but it is impossible to say for certain one way or another.
Beyond that minor note, nothing else reliable can be found.