Reign: 300YE to 318YE
Called: the Fair
Early life and Election
Empress Deanne was a Navarr born in Seren who spent much of her early life alternating between travelling the Empire with one striding or another, or studying at various centres of learning. As often as not she called herself "Ivymoon" after her parents' striding, particularly when spending time among non-Navarr. She was the first Throne since the reign of Emperor James, and her election marked the end of the Second Interregnum.
She ascended the Throne in her late twenties, after several years of serving as Senator for Miaren. A passionate public speaker, she was famous both for her sense of humour and for her steely commitment to serving the needs of the people of the Empire. Her cognomen refers not from her appearance, but to her reputation for being an even-handed Empress who took great pains to favour no one faction above another - as long as the people of the Empire were protected she largely let Imperial politics unfold as it wished.
The Second Interregnum lasted nineteen years, during which time Emperor James' prohibition against expanding the borders of the Empire held full force. The first rumblings of interest in electing a Throne came as the tercentenary of the founding of the Empire approached, but that alone would not have been sufficient to see Empress Deanne appointed. In later 298YE, the Grendel orcs of the Broken Shore launched a major offensive against the southern territories of the Empire, attacking across the Brass Coast, Uccelini in Sarvos, Redoubt, and southern Highguard. Their initial attacks were dismissed as little more than raids by a complacent Senate and an inexperienced Imperial Military Council. It was only in 299YE when the Grendel began to establish permanent footholds in Feroz, Madruga and Necropolis that the Empire realised this was a concerted invasion and not a series of feints. At around the same time, both the Jotun and the Druj launched attacks into western Wintermark and the Barrens respectively, taking the Empire by surprise and leaving the Senate and the Military Council squabbling over the best way to respond to these threats.
After nearly twenty years of relative peace, the Empire was unprepared for an actual invasion on this scale, particularly in the southern territories. Deanne and her supporters presented a clear plan for opposing the Grendel, revitalising the Imperial armies and providing much-needed leadership to the Imperial Senate, and in 300YE following a decisive victory against Grendel forces at Sanctuary Sand in Necropolis, she became the fourteenth Imperial Throne.
With an Empress providing a single coherent strategy, Imperial forces rallied. The Grendel were driven back, and would not threaten the Empire in a significant way again until the surprise attack against Spiral thirty years later. The Druj failed to take Dawnguard, at least partially thanks to the timely appearance of the Black Thorns and Fire in the South, accompanied by large numbers of Navarr thorns and Freeborn soldiers. The Jotun attack into Wintermark took longer to answer, and as it dragged on the Thule launched several probing raids south into Varushka and Skarsind. The problems in the north and the west continued into the reign of Emperor Ahraz and beyond - Deanne several times said that her continued failure to secure a lasting solution in the north-west weighed heavily upon her.
Closer to home, for much of her reign Deanne wielded the power of The Throne with a light, deft touch. She rarely intervened directly, preferring to leave senators, generals, priests, magicians, and merchants free to follow their own goals. Yet when she did feel the need to intervene directly she did so ruthlessly, and with overwhelming force - her political opponents were free to argue with her as they saw fit, but once she had made a decision she expected them to fall into line or face the consequences.
Death and Legacy
Deanne was young when she took the Throne, and proved a popular Empress. Her reign was cut tragically short however in Summer 318YE; following a long and particularly complex Senate session regarding a potential trade treaty with the Asavean Archipelago, she passed away in her sleep. An immediate investigation by the magistrates found no sign of foul play; her heart had simply stopped. She was mourned across the Empire, and interred in the Necropolis. In accordance with her wishes, no monument marks the spot where she lies, but the wooded park that surrounds her grave is a site of particular tranquillity. Those who meditate beneath the trees often report a sense of clarity, and pilgrims from across the Empire are known to visit the park when they have particularly difficult decisions to make.
A few historians suggest that renewed aggression from the orcs, and the subsequent enslavement of prisoners of war, may have played a part in inspiring the Orc Rebellion. There is little concrete evidence to support this - compared to the number of orcs born and raised in captivity, the influx of war-captured slaves was extremely minor.