The Way of the Wicked
Blame the Devil
Fortunately for Talingarde, Martius (Markadian II) had a son — Marcus. The grandson of the Victor was neither mad nor a recluse. He had been clever enough to avoid the Adarium and the capital during Prince Hallen’s angelic rampage. Marcus was a handsome knight twenty nine years of age and closely resembled his grandfather the Victor. Thus was Talingarde spared another disastrous war of succession. Marcus returned to the capital and was crowned Markadian IV called the Zealous. The new king quickly realized that he needed to solidify his power and explain away the difficulties of the last six and a half years. In short, he needed an enemy to unify this fractured Talirean nation. He found one – in the Temple of Asmodeus. King Markadian IV blamed the cult of Asmodeus for using their black magic to summon a devil to possess the former king thus driving him mad. It was a brilliant political solution (though an utter fiction). It removed blame from the royal house of Darius and instead placed guilt squarely upon a small, unpopular, marginalized cult. This was the beginning of the Asmodean Purges. The Knights of the Alerion took the lead in destroying the temples. High priests were burned at the stake and the sect was driven underground. For twelve years, the Zealot sat upon the throne and during that time he did his best to annihilate the cult of Asmodeus. He very nearly succeeded. Markadian IV died comparatively young, only 41 years old of a mysterious illness. There were rumors that the Cult of Asmodeus had placed a curse upon the king. These rumors only fuelled the purges further.
A Brave New KingMarkadian IV was followed by Markadian V, his son. Twenty-two when he took the throne (the same age as the Victor), he has ruled for sixteen years as a capable, energetic king who has done much to put bad memories in the past. Beloved by his people, he has proven again and again he is the true heir of the Victor. Early in his reign, he personally led the army to relieve the Watch Wall after another bugbear incursion. It was on the watchtower walls that he earned himself the title The Brave Markadian V has continued the prohibition against the cult of Asmodeus but does not pursue the purges with the same vigor as his father. After all, that battle is largely won. No one has heard of an Asmodean cultist in Talingarde for years. Instead, he turns his attention to the west and the north hoping to be the king who brings the entire island of Talingarde under his dynasty’s dominion. He has failed in one duty however. He has failed to yet produce a son. Instead, he has only one child — a beautiful, brilliant young princess named Bellinda. Twenty years of age, she is already a prodigy of arcane magic. If her father produces no heir it is an open question whether the men of Talingarde will follow a queen instead of a king. Her story is yet to be written.