John VII, Holy Orenian Emperor
John Achilles also known as John VII and born Achilius (High Imperial: Johannes Achilius; Hansetian: Jan Akilles) called The Unable, was the second Emperor of the Eighth Empire, reigning since the abdication of his older brother Godfrey II in 1724 until his own abdication in 1725. He is the second-born son of Romulus Horen and Anabel Devereux and the younger brother of Godfrey II. His reign was plagued with a series of controversial and seemingly ridiculous decisions and, as a result, he would come to be known as The Weak-minded by his political enemies. His final act as Emperor was an incredibly unpopular decision to convert the Empire into a democracy before abdicating the throne.
Achilius was born just before the start of the War of the Two Emperors and would spend most of his childhood within the safe walls of Helena. He primarily spent time with his twin-sister Laurentina Julia, as well as other kids that lived in Helena. He would occasionally take the place of his brother, Godfrey III, at formal events that he nor the Empress Adeline could not attend. He would later be tutored by a high elven woman named Nemir Iyliar. On the 11th of Owyn's Flame, 1720, he along with his sister, were baptized by Frederick Guillen, the Bishop of Pembroke.
Crown Prince-Regency and Horen Dissolution
At the start of 1721, his brother travelled to Aeldin and dissolved the Kingdom of Renatus and reformed the Holy Orenian Empire, thrusting Achilius into the position of Regent as Godfrey wished to take a pilgrimage around Aeldin. After the House of Horen was dissolved, he became known as Achilius Cascadia rather than Achilius Horen. He would oversee the Court of 1721, where when the Host from Haense approached, he demanded to have his toe sucked as a request for forgiveness for Haenseni crimes. All of the Haenseni officials refused, leaving a Knight, Ser Bernhard, to do it for them. Ser Bernhard would later return, where he was granted the Baronetcy of Toslurph for his bravery. During the year of 1721, Achilius would visit many Haenseni castles, most notably those of Ayr and Nenzing. Later during the regency, relations with the dwarves would become tense, due to dwarves claiming that the Burgraviate of High Peak was built upon a dwarven ruin. Achilius would later sign the Pax Orenia would be signed in 1722, an alliance between the Holy Orenian Empire, the Kingdom of Curonia, the Republic of Ves, the Archduchy of Suffonia and the Duchy of Cressonia.
Achilius was proclaimed Emperor on the 7th of Tobias’ Bounty of 1724, during a speech made by himself during the Festival of Unity. His coronation would occur a few days later, where he was coronated by the High Pontiff, Daniel VI, in a grand ceremony. He took the regnal name, John, becoming John VII.
Among John's few achievements would be the creation of the Pax Orenia, a military alliance between all the human nations, seen as a way to keep humanity united militarily while not ruled by a singular monarch. Despite his attempts to be a good monarch, his many failings outnumbered his achievements and these would be what he came to be remembered for. He was briefly bethrothed to Ester of Avalain in 1725.
Vesnian Civil War
It was during John's reign that the Republic of Ves was dissolved and reorganized into the feudal Duchy of Cathalon under Duke Helvets. Duke Helvets' consolidation of power was welcomed by some, who felt that the democratic nature of the republic would have brought about the collapse of the state. Others however, such as the Lord Henrik Sarkozic, condemned the move as nothing more than a power grab and demanded the abdication of the Duke and the restoration of democracy.
Helvets refused the demands, and soon Lord Sarkozic declared open rebellion against the Duchy with the declared goal of restoring the republic. Many within the Empire expected John to side with Sarkozic, seeing as how a branch of the family was a vassal of the Empire, yet John decided instead to support Duke Helvets. This decision especially displeased the Sarkozics, who felt betrayed by their liege lord, as well as the Haeseni people, many of whom had fought beside Henrik in the War of the Two Emperors and wished to fight alongside him again.
Main Article: Three-Month War
Only a year into his reign, John found himself at arms against the Under-Realm of Urguan over the mountain range of Ruhnland. The dwarves cited an old treaty signed shortly after their arrival on Arcas which had recognized the mountain range as dwarven territory, yet an Imperial vassal had established their castle in the mountains thereby breaking the treaty. Negotiations between the two parties failed, and they soon found themselves at war. Enthusiasm for the war had been mediocre at best. Many within the Empire were ready and willing to fight, yet many others were questioning why the war was necessary at all. Regardless, minor skirmishes would occur between the two powers, though these would only result in a few casualties for either side.
It was then that, seemingly in a fit of madness, John declared the Empire to be a democracy, with the old primogeniture succession law disbanded and a new general elective succession law adopted. Shortly after, he abdicated the throne and disappeared from the public eye.
Return to Arcas
John, going by the name of Achilius Aeneas (however he later opted to go as John Achilles Aeneas), returned to Arcas and Helena in 1750, 25 years after his departure from the continent. To his surprise, his sister had become Empress Lorena, having married their cousin Peter III. He also heard of the death of his former bethrothed Ester. He died for unknown reasons in 1752.
Titles, styles, honours and arms
- Owyn's Flame, 1714 - Godfrey's Triumph, 1715: His Imperial Highness, Achilius Horen, Prince of Man
- Godfrey's Triumph, 1715 - Godfrey's Triumph, 1718: His Imperial Highness, Achilius Horen, Prince of Renatus
- Godfrey's Triumph, 1718 - Tobias' Bounty, 1721: His Imperial Highness, Achilius Horen, Crown Prince of Renatus
- Tobias' Bounty, 1721 - Tobias' Bounty, 1724: His Imperial Higness, Achilius Cascadia, Duke of Aenus, Crown Prince-Regent of the Holy Orenian Empire
- Tobias' Bounty, 1724 - Godfrey's Triumph, 1725: His Imperial Majesty, John VII of the House of Cascadia, Holy Orenian Emperor, King of Cascadia, Marna, Mardon, Salvus, Seventis, Savoy, Courland and Santegia, Duke of the Crownlands, Avar, and Frederica, Count of Helena, Alamar, Frederica, Thelen, Lorath, and Cantal, Baron of Darkwood, Gravelhold, Fidei Defensor, Protector of the Heartlanders, Highlanders, Farfolk, et cetera...
- Godfrey's Triumph, 1725 - 1729: His Grace, John Achilles Aeneas, Duke of Aenus
- 1729 - 1752: John Achilles Aeneas, Emperor Emeritus