"It is a great thing to win a country through force of arms, yet it is perhaps greater to win it through kindness of heart..."
Valeria Augustus (born Valeria Messor), the "Mother of Minthras", was the first Empress of the Minthras Imperium, wife of Marius the Great.
Due to the vigilance of imperial censors it is very hard to find reliable sources on her early life. The following account is based on non-imperial sources with a healthy amount of conjecture from historians.
Early life Edit
Valeria Messor was born in Orgenfurt, Minthras, the only child of merchant Tomas Messor, founder of the Messor's Steel manufactory. Valeria's mother died when she was only five years old, she was raised by her father. Her innate talent in magic manifested at an early age, and a tutor was hired to teach her how to control it until she would be old enough to attend the Academy. Unfortunately, her training was never be completed.
Collapse of Messor's Steel Edit
During Valeria's teenage years, Tomas embarked on a bold endeavor: he decided to import adamantine from Dorahl and transform Messor's Steel into the only non-dwarven adamantine weapon manufactory in the continent. If successful, his family would be set up for life.
He invested all of his fortune into this enterprise: he hired dwarven masters with knowledge of working adamantine, and he arranged for a convoy to bring adamantine to be transported to Orgenfurt.
Importing from Dorahl to the Kingdom of Minthras was not cheap either: according to the customs of the time arrangements needed to be made with several officials, including the ones along the trade route, to ensure the safety and secrecy of the valuable cargo. Although Tomas payed all the necessary bribes, the adamantine never arrived: the convoy was intercepted and robbed near Norgarde, soon after entering Minthras. This led to the failure of this venture and bankrupted Tomas Messor. Since he could no longer pay his debts, he was thrown into debtors' prison.
Valeria was furious when her father was incarcerated: at the prison guards, at the bandits who ransacked the convoy, and most importantly at the officials of Minthras, who took his father's money, and then sent bandits to rob him a second time. She swore an oath that day that she would change the way things are done in Minthras, so that this could never happen again.
Until that day would come, however, Valeria had to make a living. Without a craft of her own or formal training in magic she had no choice but to lend her magical talents to the highest bidder and become an adventurer. She was saving most of the money she earned towards freeing her father.
Adventuring and family Edit
Even though Valeria was never properly trained as a wizard, her innate magical talents made her a worthy adventurer, years later she was sought out by some of the wealthiest of Minthras. Unfortunately, by this time, her father had been long dead, died in prison several years before.
Jungle of Daggers Edit
One of the missions she was tasked with was to lead an expedition into the Jungle of Daggers. It soon became clear that her employers vastly underestimated the dangers lurking in the jungle. After a week most of their men either died or ran away with their supplies. It was perhaps fate, that they encountered another expedition led by Marius Sestius. The other expedition was in no better shape, and although they were competitors, they decided to join forces. But the Jungle of Daggers was still full of mortal dangers and unspeakable horrors. In the end only Valeria and Marius survived that hellish place. Although they only met by chance but the weeks of hardship formed a strong bond between them so after mourning their comrades they decided to form a new adventurer party.
For the next several years, Valeria and Marius went on expeditions together. It was no surprise to anyone who has seen them together during that time, that camaraderie soon gave way to deeper feelings. The couple soon married, and their first son, Gregor was born.
Queen and Empress of Minthras Edit
Valeria was her husband's equal in every way: she was by his side during all of his adventures, and even helped him prepare and plan a trap to kill the dragon Nurlyrth, which led to Marius being declared Champion of Minthras.
When becoming queen through the wish of the old King Ulfric, she felt the weight of responsibility, especially considering her lack of experience, but she accepted the task gracefully. She still remembered her late father's fate, and her oath, which propelled her to actively participate in building the foundation of the new Imperial Law, and to ensure that it is upheld in all parts of the Kingdom of Minthras and later the Minthras Imperium.
Mother of Minthras Edit
She was the Emperor's eyes and ears during her frequent visits to the countryside. The people of Minthras soon noticed her kindness and sense of justice. She traveled to all corners of the Imperium, cracking down on the abuses of the nobility and dispensing justice. She always had time for another peasant's plea. She was never in a hurry. The people soon started call her "Mother of Minthras".
She was just as a balancing force in her family as she was in the Imperium: when her youngest son Gaius wished to pursue a path of faith and celibacy, which Marius considered a betrayal, Valeria soothed the conflict with her usual calm manners, and led Marius to accept the decision of his son.
Most sources outside the Imperium like to paint her behavior as just a propaganda tool for the newly formed Imperium (the dynamic of the strong, harsh Emperor and the kind Empress). However, no one can deny the love and affection the people felt for their Empress, her passing was mourned by all.