"A great day is upon us, today we shall grasp our Destiny and discard the shackles of the past. We are two Kingdoms no more! We are One Nation, One Imperium..."
Marius Augustus, a.k.a Marius the Great, Bane of Dragons, the Vanquisher of Elves and the Protector of Men was the founder of the Minthras Imperium. The Empire is now ruled by his grandson, Marius II.
Due to the vigilance of imperial censors it is very hard to find reliable sources on the life of the first Emperor of Minthras. The following account is based on non-imperial sources with a healthy amount of conjecture from historians (see notes at the end).
Early Life and Adventuring Edit
Born as Marius Sestius, third son of Antonius Sestius, Duke of the Copper Marches. Due to his place in the line of succession he was forced to either become a priest or a wizard, of which he chose the latter. Marius turned out to be a talented student, but what really piqued his teachers' interest was his boundless ambition.
After finishing his apprenticeship he decided not to return home, as a third son he would always be second class there; instead he formed an adventurer company. He spent most of his early twenties adventuring, mostly leading expeditions to faraway, exotic places like the Jungle of Daggers or the Isle of Naga. Not much later he married Valeria Messor one of his companions and started a family.
Champion of Minthras Edit
By all accounts, Marius was a reliable adventurer with a solid reputation for finding magical artifacts, but he had no great feat to his name. That is until the miners in the Silkstone mountains unearthed the vault of the white dragon Nurlyrth. The dragon awakened from her millennia long slumber, furious at the humans who intruded into her lands. She laid waste to towns and villages, none dared to stand up to her. Except for Marius.
It is unclear exactly how Marius defeated Nurlyrth; according to the Encyclopedia Imperium he bested the dragon in single combat but non-imperial historians find that hard to believe. It is more likely that he used some form of a trap, which also explains why it took him a whole year of preparation to do so.
After defeating the dragon Marius became a household name overnight, a great celebration was held in his name where King Ulfric of Minthras knighted him and declared him the Champion of Minthras.
King and Emperor Edit
After defeating the dragon Nurlyrth and becoming Champion, Marius embarked on one heroic quest after another, earning him immense popularity both among the nobility and the common people. When a year later both of King Ulfric's sons died in a hunting accident, it came as no surprise to anyone that the old king declared Marius, the hero of the kingdom, as his sole heir. Not much later illness took Ulfric and Marius ascended to the throne.
Soon after his ascension, Marius began to look for a way to make his mark on history. Minthras always had a strained relationship with the elves of Londar so he chose them as the first target of his campaign of conquest. But the human armies were unprepared for the Forest of Londar where Nature itself seemed to turn against the invaders. After several failed attempts and countless casualties Marius unveiled a new weapon: the Edicts. With this weapon Marius turned the tide of the war: within a few months the elven armies were annihilated and their capital Ylsalon was taken.
With the conquest of Londar Marius became the leader of the most powerful realm in the Old Continent. He instigated a great number of reforms that transformed the quiet human Kingdom of Minthras into the multi-ethnic war machine that is the Minthras Imperium. He also discarded his old family name and became Marius Augustus, Emperor of Minthras.
Source and Role of Edicts (theory) Edit
Since Edicts are one of the most closely guarded secrets of the Imperium, it is nigh impossible to know how Marius acquired the knowledge to make them. The commonly accepted theory (outside the Imperium) is that he acquired this knowledge during one of his expeditions and kept it to himself. This would also explain how he defeated the dragon Nurlyrth and why it took him over a year to do so (Edicts are powered by wizards channeling their power into them for months).
If one assumes that Marius already had access to edicts before becoming king, then it is entirely possible that he engineered his ascension to the throne. The hunting accident that claimed King Ulfric's heirs, the inability of the clerics to bring them back to life and the mysterious disease that took the king's life all become very suspicious.
It should be noted that discussing this theory anywhere in the Imperium is considered sedition and high treason, which is (of course) punishable by death.