|Dates and Times||279 AC|
|Location||Imperial Palace, City of Regalia|
|People Involved||Augustus, Juvin, and Therin Ivrae de Sange|
The Undead Scare is by far one of the most significant events in recent Regalian History, as it is single-handedly responsible for the extinction of the mainline of the Ivrae Dynasty, allowing for the ascension of Emperor Alexander Kade-Alltmeister in 302 AC. Sparked by intrigue within the Imperial Family, the Undead Scare saw all three of Emperor Justinian II’s sons killed within a single day. With the loss of all-male relatives, Justinian was left with no other choice than to allow the throne to pass through a female to the next closest male descendant, effectively ending the Ivrae Dynasty’s rule over the Regalian Empire. Today, the Undead Scare’s legacy is seen with the Kade Dynasty’s position on the Imperial Seat, Unionism’s emphasis on certain burial practices, and increased hostilities with the Undead in general. And while recent events such as the Bone Horror Crisis have seen some minor changes with regards to mortal relations with the Undead, the Undead Scare is still strongly remembered by many within the Empire who are not as ready to tolerate an Affliction which saw to the end of nearly three centuries of Ivrae rule.
Undead as an Affliction is still a fairly unknown subject to most Alorian scholarly communities, although many Religions have their own take on them. While the Asha have the mysterious Sefakhem, the Altalar have Ammu-Loa’s servants and the Ailor Old Gods worshippers have the Draugr, each of them has contributed to various local folklores of mortals returning after death to the land of the living. Some faiths such as Unionism had taken steps to prevent the rise of Undead, such as using cremation rather than placing corpses within a Helbowen. Regardless of practice, the concept of Undead is not unheard of, even if the underlying origin remains a mystery.
However, to say the Undead Scare was caused solely by the Affliction would be incorrect. Personal ambition and an unquenchable thirst for power could be seen as the true culprit for this tragic event. For nearly two centuries, intrigue had played its part within the Imperial Court of the Regalian Empire. From the rumors of the Viridian Order playing kingmaker during the Years of the Three Emperors, to the Seasonal Emperors Period under Chancellor Morgann Kade, it was not uncommon for Ivrae Emperors to see their reigns cut short, only for a more favorable successor to take the Imperial Seat. But the Emperor alone was never always the subject of such acts of treachery. Records exist of Imperial Princes, second or third sons, and rival claimants committing acts of fratricide to move their place in the line of succession closer to that of the Crown Prince. While some of these plots were foiled and the offenders executed behind closed doors, other covert assassination attempts proved successful, allowing Emperors such as Maxelle I, Balthazar I, and Allestrain III to one day rule as Emperors despite being fourth sons or cousins of the previous monarchs. And while some of these succession changes were planned out by others, there existed some Princes who assassinated their elder brothers with their hands alone. In short, the intrigue plots over the Imperial Seat had always existed since the Empire was founded, and the sons of Justinian II were not immune to such actions.
The Three Princes
Emperor Justinian II, despite ruling over one of the worst periods of Regalian History, the Regalian Pessimism, was overall well-respected and well-liked by his contemporaries. Even during such dark times, he was able to secure his inevitable succession by siring three healthy sons. The oldest, Augustus Ivrae de Sange, was proclaimed the Crown Prince and was brought up in the Imperial Court to one day succeed his father as the next Emperor of Regalia. The second eldest, Prince Juvin, was sent to the Viridian Order to become a Knight, as was a common tradition for the last two houses of the Five Families. Finally, the third-born Prince Therin was expected to never inherit the throne and was sent to become a bureaucrat for the Regalian Government, a life which, while stable, lacked much of the fanfare of the Imperial Seat, even with him being an Ivrae Prince. Fated to a life of mediocrity in his eyes, Therin envied the status of his older two brothers, who would always be seen both as the future of the Empire and an emergency backup plan should disaster fall the Crown Prince. So as typical with those who lusted for greater power, Therin planned to better his position in the line of succession.
Fratricide and Failure
One night in 279 AC, the Imperial Palace was perfectly silent. The Tyrian Order had just recently begun to change out the night watch for the morning sentries, which offered Prince Therin an opportunity. Long familiar with the schedule of guard transfers, the Ivrae Prince snuck out of his chambers when the Tyrians rounded the corner and snuck into his brother Juvin’s chamber. Once inside, Therin drew a Steel dagger, which he then plunged into his sleeping brother’s neck. While immediately awoken by the attack, Juvin lacked the awareness nor the speech to alert the Imperial Guards of his younger brother’s treason to the family, and soon fell back on his pillow, becoming the next victim in a long history of palace intrigue.
With his position as second in line now secured, Therin was now one step closer to the Imperial Seat. While he could have stopped and been content with being the Crown Prince’s designated successor, his ambitions were not sated. Desiring the Imperial Throne for himself, the Ivrae Prince snuck out of the assassinated Juvin’s room and moved towards the chambers of the Crown Prince. With his dagger still stained red with his murdered brother's blood, Therin approached the side of Augustus’s bed, ready to repeat the same actions he undertook mere moments ago. However, his thirst for greater power would be his undoing, as his quick departure from Juvin’s chamber has led to the chamber door left slightly open, which prompted the morning sentries of the Imperial Guard to check up on the Second Prince. With the discovery of the murdered Prince came the immediate shouts throughout the palatial corridor, sending Tyrians into both Therin and Augustus’s chambers. At the same time, the sudden alarms had woken the Crown Prince from his sleep, only to see his youngest brother standing next to him with a bloody dagger. Springing into action, Augustus struggled with Therin to disarm his murderous brother, succeeding long enough for the Imperial Guards to apprehend the youngest Prince. With the dagger confirming all suspicions, Augustus ordered the immediate execution of his brother for the assassination of an Imperial Prince. At the dawn of that day, Therin Ivrae was brought before a makeshift gallows within the Imperial Palace’s courtyard and hung by the neck until pronounced dead by the court physician. Upon hearing of the unfortunate proceedings, Emperor Justinian II was reported to have wept privately in his chamber at the loss of two of his sons but was grateful that Augustus had survived, ensuring that the family would still have a future.
The Death of a Dynasty
Following the execution, the bodies of Princes Therin and Juvin were placed in the catacombs of the Imperial Palace, awaiting formal burial beneath the Imperial Cathedral once their sarcophagi were built. There they remained unguarded, with all believing that this was the end of an unfortunate day of loss. However, what proceeded was unforeseen by everyone at the Imperial Palace. Around the same time of night as when Juvin was assassinated, Prince Therin rose from the catacombs as an Undead, his last mission still left unfulfilled. Creeping up from the bowels of the Palace, he awaited the changing of the guard as before, before sneaking into Augustus’s bed-chamber once again.
The Tyrian Order as per their protocol performed the changing of the guard as routine, though it was clear that many were still on high alert following the deaths of the Princes the previous day. With a desire to ensure that the Crown Prince was safe and secured, the morning sentries opened the chamber doors of Augustus’s room and were horrified at the sight they beheld. Crown Prince Augustus Ivrae de Sange, the last of Justinian’s heirs, was murdered by an Undead Prince Therin gnawing at his throat. Left with no other choice, the Tyrian Guards, immediately beheaded the Undead Ivrae, before rushing to bring a palace medic to the Crown Prince’s chamber. Unfortunately, Augustus had died long before the Imperial Guards discovered the grizzly scene, signaling the end of the Ivrae Dynasty’s future.
The immediate effect of the Undead Scare was Emperor Justinian II’s immediate crackdown on all afflictions and aberrants. With a newly elevated Darkwald Order to Imperial Respect, Justinian began to promote an ideology revolving around protecting against the supernatural, favoring any righteous means to combat such in the Empire. This in turn coincided with the prominence of the Purist Movement, a political ideology that started to work within the Regalian Senate to see the Empire come out of the Pessimism, preaching strong anti-occult rhetoric in their messages, and a focus on strong Imperial Rule.
The next immediate effect was the question of Imperial Succession. With the deaths of Augustus, Juvin, and Therin, the title of Crown Prince passed to Justinian II’s younger brother, Charles Ivrae de Sange. While this solved the question in the beginning, the death of Crown Prince Charles in 286 AC saw the death of the last male successor in the Ivrae Dynasty. Justinian only had three sons and failed to sire any others, whereas Charles Ivrae only sired daughters. Left with no other choice, Emperor Justinian worked with Arch Chancellor Moriarty Kade to create the Imperial Succession Act, which allowed for the position of Emperor to pass through a female descendent of Theomar to the next closest male descendant: Alexander Kade. This succession would further be confirmed by the Kade Settlement Act, which saw Princess Adelheid Ivrae renounce all Ivrae claims to the Imperial Seat, before retiring to her palaces in Vixhall, where the Ivrae continue to live out their royal lives to this day.
Finally, the Undead Scare reinforced Regalian suspicions with the Undead, creating a flareup of hostilities between the living and the unliving. The Isle of Etosil saw the most fighting between both groups, as Etosian Unionism declared a holy war against the Bone King and his armies of the Undead, blaming their affliction as the reason for the Ivrae Dynasty’s extinction of the male-line. Elsewhere in the Regalian Empire, the Undead were declared killable-on-sight, seeing inquisitions, mobs, Knights, and others rove the countryside and cities in search of the Undead, decapitating them and burning them at the stake. Even to this day, the Regalian Guard continues to decapitate executed criminals, before burning their heads and dumping the crushed up bones in a bottomless pit within Greygate Prison.
- The Bone Horror Crisis saw a peace deal brokered by Cedromar Kade between the Etosian Patriarch and the Bone King, changing the Unionist faith’s views on Undead from one of avoidance of the Spirit’s judgment, to a sense of “unfinished duty” by the Spirit where a person still has a role to play before facing said judgment.
- Another smaller Unionist Sect known as Therin’s Tongues holds an alternative view on Undead, believing Undead to be souls returned by the Spirit’s will, and that Therin’s double fratricide was brought about by the Spirit. Suffice to say, Therin’s Tongues is considered semi-heretical in that it justifies the murder of Imperial Princes.
- Nobody knows why Justinian II never sired any future male heirs after the Undead Scare. Some say he was too old at the time, while others believe that he continued to hold a sense of sorrow for the rest of his life, preventing him from even fathering more sons.