Alsara: Requiem and Revolution
Merik Serendi Rex
For a brief moment three years ago, Merik Serendi Rex was the most powerful man in the world.
Merik is the “king” of Vokaya: the Serendi Rex, the elected lord and master of the Vokayagora Zemla and her territories. He comes from a long lineage of kings, littered with heroes and legends. His own contribution to the family legacy is substantial, but many claim that, as Vokaya lies on the brink of collapse, he is the greatest failure the Serendi line has produced. Few who have met him agree.
His past is a matter of public record, and serves as very interesting reading; sifting the politics and propaganda from the nuggets of truth is a far greater impediment than flagging attention.
Most sources agree that he was a charming but cruel man in his youth, and used his position as Prince to obtain substantial personal wealth. He was known for a pragmatic business sense and incredible charisma, but the corruption that blossomed around him was undeniable. At the age of nineteen he was put on trial before the Serendi Rex for slave trafficking and blackmail; he had been supporting the practice for some time, and had used evidence of involvement to bend a great many to his will. Merik showed little interest in redemption, and even gloated directly to his father’s face that he had used the arrangements to force sexual favors from several high-ranking women in the court. Why he was so rebellious while in a position of such powerlessness is extremely curious; Merik had normally shown great constraint and skill in manipulation, and contrite diffidence might have spared him. Nevertheless, Nicon Serendi Rex was forced to exile his son and heir from the Vokayagora Zemla for the rest of his life, and severed all ties of family and inheritance. One would have imagined that would have been the end of it.
And yet, this man is now sits upon the throne of his father, and has comfortably done so for more than twenty years. Clearly, his situation changed.
Merik has rarely spoken and never written of his exiled life. It is known he left for the Empire, and was not heard from for many years. For the first while, he was often seen in the court of Emperor Conrad, but after five years in the Cathedral of Light, he departed Hauptstadt to areas further east and was not heard from further.
Then, eight years after he was exiled, a disaster struck the Serendi Rex. Imperial assassins attacked Nicon and his wife, and slew their only child, Jania. Nicon’s wife expired in hours, and Nicon within days. The Serendi family had no direct heirs, and the wings that signified the truly pure of their bloodline were absent from all the remaining branches of the family. Suddenly, Merik was the only man who could prevent a civil war.
It seemed that Nicon knew this as he lay dying. Upon his deathbed, he commanded the Dragon’s Teeth to find Merik Serendi and return him to Vokaya, with all his rights restored. Within the month, Merik had been found: on an island in Eastmarch, living with an Imperial wife and infant son. He returned to Cascade Fortress and ascended the Dragonwing Throne, becoming the ruling Serendi Rex.
He was not unopposed. Many remembered the Merik that had been exiled all those years ago, and few wanted to put a tyrant into power; in the end, however, it was declared that preventing civil war was more important than his past, and in either case, Nicon had decreed it to be so. Merik was elected in with the barest of superiorities. Less then a year later he was affirmed in a Royal Contest, which he passed with flying colors against the other major contenders.
Whether Merik Serendi Rex is a different man than the one who was exiled is a matter of fierce debate, but the most vocal fears have proven false. Merik has presented himself as a careful, wise, and benevolent king. His Contests have never again been as close as the first, and most grudgingly agree that the electorate was right to put him into power rather than face civil war. Were it not for the Neverwar, most would have expected him to rule without serious contest until the day of his death.
The Neverwar changed everything. He had shown himself capable in battle during the Royal Contests and during numerous Steppelander campaigns, but upon the destruction of Lowpeak he took complete control of all aspects of the military. Upon the fall of Obsidian, he took control of all the rest of the government as well. He was granted emergency powers to do so; but he has yet to give them back. There are many whispers that the tyrant so many had thought gone was simply silent, and the deaths of his family and his people have awoken it from its slumber.