The Way of the Wicked
The Scholar and the Monster
After the death of the Victor, his oldest son Martius ascended to the throne as King Markadian II called the Learned. More a scholar than a king, Martius proved largely disinterested in affairs of state. He commissioned the great library at Matharyn and began renovation of an old family castle into the great palace known as the Adarium. As the first wing of the Adarium was completed, he retreated there and was rarely seen in public.
The other son, Prince Hallen, was not so reserved. Though he had no official power, he often ruled in the king’s absence and commanded great loyalty from the knights of the realm. This might have been an acceptable arrangement. After all, Prince Hallen was a soldier and an heir of the Victor. He could have become the de facto ruler while the official king sat in his distant pleasure palace and library. Alas, that Prince Hallen was also mad.
Prince Hallen became convinced that his mother (who had died in childbirth) was not the queen but an angel of Mitra. He believed himself a demigod and incapable of wrong. At first the Prince’s madness was subtle. He often dressed all in white and even had a magic set of wings made for himself that allowed him to soar over the capital.
For a brief time, it was possible that Markadian III’s claim of kingship might have been acknowledged. His brother after all was little loved and tongues wagged that getting rid of the absent king was a blessing. Maybe the new king was a divine messenger of Mitra’s will. But within days the mad decrees began from the Adarium. The king decreed that Mitra’s high holy day would no longer be the summer solstice but instead would become his own birthday. He ordered the military to prepare to invade Hell and commanded his wizards to research opening a great gate. First, he explained to his flabbergasted advisors, the army would go through the gate to the shining realm of Mitra himself to call forth an army of angels. Then he personally would lead the host to invade the nine hells and overthrow Asmodeus himself.
Finally the people had enough of this madness. Officially, the histories record that after only five months in power Markadian III called the Mad tried to fly from the highest spire of the Adarium without his magic wings. More likely, he was thrown from the spire by paladins who would tolerate no more of this madman’s blasphemies. Whatever the truth, his reign was over.