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This is all the compiled lore found within The Labyrinth

“The just Goddess presides over us all. The future of the empire rests in her future hands.”

The Lord’s Labyrinth, opened by Emperor Izaro Phrecious on the second Galvano of Azmeri, 1317 IC.


Bronze Inscription:
“The custom of the Lord’s Trial was upheld throughout the founding years of the Empire. Veruso’s successor, Caspiro, was a low-born legionnaire, the lone survivor of a labyrinth that claimed the lives of every high-born contender, including Veruso’s only son.

Caspiro proved to be every bit the emperor that Veruso was.

Alas, the Lord’s Labyrinth was corrupted by those with the vanity to consider their blood more precious than their Empire. Selfish blood breeds selfish times, and the Empire paid for it with its own blood. With the Night of a Thousand Ribbons. With that most regal of cannibals, Emperor Romira.

Not any more. I, Izaro Phrecius, shall return us to Justice. I shall build the greatest Lord’s Labyrinth in Azmerian history, and my successor shall be chosen by the Goddess herself.

Only when the Lord’s Labyrinth is drenched in selfish blood can a true leader ascend the throne.”

– Emperor Izaro Phrecius


Bronze Inscription:
“In the impressionable youth of my reign, I was encouraged to believe in the precious nature of my imperial blood. The ‘divine claret’, as one fool of a courtier would repeat with tiresome regularity.

Unfortunately, my divine claret refused to pour from one cup to another. Try as I might, with a lovely procession of young and ever dutiful wives, my noble seed simply would not sprout.

Who, then, to choose as my worthy successor? With the candidates on hand either mediocre at best, or maniacal at worst, I found myself in quite the quandary.

That’s when Fortune took me by the hand and led me to a forgotten tome on a forgotten shelf in the quietest corner of Sarn Library. A tome entitled, ‘Ancient Traditions of Azmerian Ascendancy’.

The rest, one might say, is history.”

– Emperor Izaro Phrecius


Bronze Inscription:
“The Azmeri were the first culture known in history to use trials of strength, wisdom and spirit to select its chieftains.

The first Lord’s Trial was a rough-hewn maze festooned with wild animals and brutal traps, crafted to test aspiring Azmerian leaders’ body, mind and soul.

In conquering the adversities of the maze, a champion proved they were capable of bearing the crushing burden of chieftainship.

The first trials were simple contraptions reflecting simple times. As the Azmerian civilisation grew in number and complexity, so did the trials, from treacherous mazes to bewildering labyrinths.

Alas, there are no surviving descriptions of the labyrinth that tested and proved the worth of Veruso, Prima Imperialus. I imagine it was quite something to behold.”

– Emperor Izaro Phrecius


Bronze Inscription:
“The Azmeri were consummate survivors. They had to be, having been sired in the most inhospitable range of mountains in all of Wraeclast.

Unfortunate, some might say. I do not. I believe it was the making of them. And of us, their descendants.

So it is no wonder that they developed the Lord’s Trial. With survival being a moment-by-moment concern, that harried people grew to understand power quite intimately.

Strong leadership is able to bridge the chasm between existence and extinction. Poor leadership might see an entire tribe vanish into that same chasm.

When the Azmeri descended from their mountains to conquer the fecund lands of central Wraeclast, they thrived and multiplied with utmost alacrity in those more forgiving climes.

For is it not poverty that teaches us how we might excel in times of plenty?”

– Emperor Izaro Phrecius


Bronze Inscription:
“The custom of the Lord’s Trial was upheld throughout the founding years of the Empire. Veruso’s successor, Caspiro, was a low-born legionnaire, the lone survivor of a labyrinth that claimed the lives of every high-born contender, including Veruso’s only son.

Caspiro proved to be every bit the emperor that Veruso was.

Alas, the Lord’s Labyrinth was corrupted by those with the vanity to consider their blood more precious than their Empire. Selfish blood breeds selfish times, and the Empire paid for it with its own blood. With the Night of a Thousand Ribbons. With that most regal of cannibals, Emperor Romira.

Not any more. I, Izaro Phrecius, shall return us to Justice. I shall build the greatest Lord’s Labyrinth in Azmerian history, and my successor shall be chosen by the Goddess herself.

Only when the Lord’s Labyrinth is drenched in selfish blood can a true leader ascend the throne.”

– Emperor Izaro Phrecius






Cadiro Perandus:
Izaro Phrecius? Despite my personal feelings surrounding that man, he did provide we Perandus folk with an unprecedented opportunity.

Over the centuries, the Phrecius family had blocked our every attempt to gain the throne on the scandalous basis that our blood was not of imperial quality.

So when Izaro called that whole blood fiasco into question with his Lord’s Labyrinth, it gave us the only clear shot we would ever have at sovereignty.

Without Izaro, the Perandus name may never have come to be associated with the throne. So in a somewhat qualified fashion, he has my gratitude.



Poem:
The Son of Ezomyr met the Son of Sarn
Upon the road to the Imperial throne.
The Eternal offered his cunning,
His eyes and ears, bought and paid for.
The Ezomyte offered his strength,
His sword, earned in the arena.
A pact was forged,
With the Labyrinth as witness.
Two men separated by blood.
Two men bound by hope.
Two men, and only one emperor.

The Ezomyte and the Eternal took their rest
In the lee of strife’s gale,
And remembered the travelled road.
Beast and fiend had fallen and bled,
To the Ezomyte’s sword, swift and true.
Trap and trial had risen and succumbed,
To the Eternal’s wits, quick and shrewd.
Two men had cried their triumph,
A Warrior and his Guide,
Whilst other ascendants echoed their pride,
With anguish and agony.

The Warrior bled upon Izaro’s stones,
And cursed Izaro’s ilk.
He looked upon the walls of his tomb,
Built by his masters, his enemies,
And called for the First Ones to carry him,
To the forest and fields of his Ezomyr.
Yet while the First Ones remained silent,
The Guide did speak
Of secrets planted by clever hands
Enslaved by gold.
And with one such secret,
Plucked the life of the Warrior
From the First Ones’ jaws.

A Guide, cornered and quailing,
A Warrior, watching,
The moment bathed in the shadow
Of doubt,
Of ambition,
Of an imperial throne.
And a people made free
By an Emperor of Ezomyr.
The Warrior threw off that cold and cloying shadow,
And struck down the slavering beasts.
The Guide looked to the Warrior
With gratitude in his eyes.
And spoke of doubt,
Of ambition,
Of an imperial throne,
And a people made free
By an Emperor of Sarn.

The Guide led the Warrior down a path
That wound and twisted
Through fields of blossoming promises.
Green-bladed hopes.
The Warrior closed his eyes.
A mere moment
To feel the warmth of the sun on his back,
And to drink from the Guide’s proffered flask.
Now the Warrior staggers and crawls
Down the wounded, tortured causeway.
The bitterness stings his weeping eyes.
The fire roars in his belly,
Consuming him.
The Warrior will not ascend.
Instead he hunts.
Guided by his love for Ezomyr.