Viridian Coup Attempt
|The Viridian Coup Attempt|
|Event Name||The Viridian Coup Attempt|
|Dates and Times||January 1st, 122 AC|
|Location||Crown City of Regalia|
|People Involved||Viridian Order, Emperor Henri III|
Very few groups have changed the Regalian Empire’s entire foundations like the Viridian Order has. As the first organization to receive a Royal Charter by Emperor Theomar I, the Viridian Knights were the forebears of many of the groups that exist in Regalian society today, setting the standards that all future organizations would be tied to. However, with the prestige of being the first also came the darker aspects that few could have predicted. As such, the Viridian Coup Attempt has gone down in history not only as the darkest moment for the honorable knights seen today, but also as the start of a transformed Empire.
The Viridian Order began as an organization of elite warriors following the Five Family Rebellion. Led by their first Primae, Julian de Montverrat, the Viridian Knights were the standard that all soldiers tried to emulate, with their prestige and feats earning them positions as the Regalian City Guard, the Emperor’s Royal Guard, and the top military appointments of the feudal state. Unlike the modern Empire, the early Regalian State was still growing, and authority was very centralized within various offices. The Emperor ruled absolute, the Supreme Reverend guided the faith, the Arch Chancellor administered the bureaucracy, and the Viridian Primae managed the security forces. As such, nobody questioned the immense amount of power held by the Viridians, as there was simply no other standard to measure them by. They were the standard, and due to their feats in waging warfare successfully alongside the feudal levies, nobody saw a need to change things.
For over half a century, the Viridians would continue to serve the Emperor, celebrating when Honorable Emperor Henri I ascended to the Imperial Throne in 79 AC. As a Viridian himself, Henri desired his court to reflect the prestige of the Order, and so he appointed many of his brothers-in-arms to various positions in the Imperial Palace. From the Cupbearer to the Master of Horses, Viridian Knights held all the positions which were not hereditary, and in turn received many perks from the Emperor, who was all too happy to support the organization that raised him to be a paragon of virtue. Unfortunately, as many others at the time, Henri I failed to see the growing ambitions of the Order. Upon his death in 96 AC, these cracks would begin to show.
The death of Henri I began what historians refer to as the Years of the Three Emperors, in which three sons of Henri I ruled in short succession of one another, being the victims of court intrigue. All three Emperors were victims of assassinations, with the murders only pausing during the reign of Leomar I, who was an avid supporter of the Viridian Order. Like his father, Leomar showered the knights with various gifts, though upon his death the cycle began to repeat. Following the assassination of Justeaux I came Henri II, who managed to survive through debaucherous activities with his courtesans, often allowing Viridians to partake in these scandalous affairs. Yet even Henri II found an early demise, rumored to have choked on a grape during a gala in the Imperial Palace. The most curious aspect of his death was the fact that the Royal Guard, composed of only Viridians, were nowhere to be seen. All of these deaths and favors rose to a climax with the ascension of Henri III in late 121 AC. Upon his rise to the Imperial Throne, he made one thing very clear: the Viridians had strayed from their duties, and the favors granted to them needed to be curbed.
Upon Henri III’s declaration of intent to remove some of the excessive powers of the Viridians, several Elders and Paladins began to secretly conspire to overthrow the Imperial State, and turn the Regalian Empire into a Viridian State. The conspirators agreed that they would make their move during the New Year celebration of 122 AC, when the Emperor would be preoccupied with entertaining the gathered nobility. When the eve of the Imperial Gala came, the Virdians moved to put on their ceremonial armors, and split themselves up, preparing to arrive at the Imperial Palace at midnight.
However, during the final hours leading up to the Gala, five Viridian conspirators had a change of heart. Remembering their oath to defend the Empire against all enemies, they agreed amongst themselves that a coup would be dishonorable, not to mention outright heretical. Arriving early to the Imperial Palace alongside Primae Jean-Christophe, the five knights were able to warn the Emperor of the plot against his life, and were subsequently pardoned for their participation in the conspiracy. Now aware of the intrigue amongst the Viridians, Henri III made his move immediately.
The New Year and New Beginnings
Without wasting a moment of time, the Emperor ordered Arch Chancellor Vlaas Kade to assemble the personal retainers of Houses Kade, van Sherburne, and Cadar, and arrest the Viridian Knights upon exiting the Viridian Castle. Not expecting the ambush, the conspirators were overwhelmed by the Arch Chancellor’s contingent, and were brought before the Emperor in the Imperial throne room. Once there, the Emperor summoned all the gathered nobility to witness the judgment of each of the conspirators. With a brief speech on the concept of honor and service to the Imperial Spirit, Emperor Henri took the Primae’s longsword and proceeded to execute every one of the conspirators by decapitation. When the executions were concluded, the Emperor dismissed the gathering, proclaiming that the Old Guard had passed away, and the New Year would see the start of a new era in Regalian history.
The Viridian Coup Attempt saw many immediate changes to the Regalian Empire. Free to implement his sweeping reforms without opposition, Henri III stripped the Viridian Order of their control of the Royal Guard and the City Guard. In their places rose the Tyrian and Violet Orders, which grew to become independent organizations for the security of the Imperial Family and Holy City respectively. As for the Viridian Order itself, they saw an immediate change in leadership. Primar Jean-Christophe was executed the day following the coup attempt for negligence to duty, and the sole-surviving Elder, Richard Daladier, was immediately invested as the new Primae, tasked with rebuilding the shambles of the disgraced order to be more loyal to honor than ambitions. Several Viridian Castles were vacated and granted to new organizations that were rising up in the city.
As for the five Viridians who came forward to reveal the conspiracy, they believed that their Order had run its course, and were appalled at the corruption of their ranks. Together, they petitioned the Emperor to create a separate military order, which would become the Bloodcast Order. In the years that followed, many other orders would rise to challenge the Viridian Order, with the Lion Pelt and Turall Orders also being established. Finally, the Viridian Coup Attempt revealed to the Regalian Empire the problems of centralizing power into one organization. Since that fateful day, future Emperors and Arch Chancellors were careful to distribute power among various groups, ensuring that in the case of one group growing ambitious, the others would be able to check their grabs for power.
- As time passed, the Viridian Order regained the prestige that was tarnished during the coup attempt, with Primae Yvrize Clair-vois-blanc’s treatises on honor creating the basis for the chivalric codes that are practiced to this day.
- While groups such as the Bloodcasts are still quick to bring back the Viridian Coup Attempt into modern day discussions, scholars are quick to point out that the Viridian Order has foiled several coup attempts since that time, playing a key role in ending the tenure of Morgann Kade and restoring House Ivrae’s absolute control of the Imperial Seat.
- Several historians believe that the assassinations of the Emperors before Henri III were the acts of the Viridian Order, though no evidence has ever confirmed these suspicions, with the Order of today focused on the future rather than dwelling on their past mistakes.