I got a surprising number of positive responses to my storyline primer a couple weeks ago; it seems that there are a lot of people out there who are starting to take an interest in the storyline and background of Eve, and simply don't know where to start or how to separate the important stuff from the fiddly bits - the stuff some of the more fanatical members in the roleplaying community love to delve into. With that in mind, I've decided to write a new series of articles highlighting a storyline or setting topic that is in Eve news or looks to be of increasing importance to upcoming events. If there are topics you're especially curious about or would like to see covered, feel free to let me know in the comments, or shoot me a suggestion on Twitter @Black_Isis.
If you've read my FanFest wrap up of the storyline and live events panels, you'll know that the next storyline cycle is likely to focus on the Amarr and Minmatar, as they were pushed to the background while the Gallente and Caldari had their little spat over Caldari Prime. CCP Eterne's latest chronicle “And I Shall Hide” (which is very good – you should read it) gives us some insight into the world of the Amarr Empress, but if you don't follow the storyline closely, you may be scratching your head at a lot of the other characters in the story. With the Amarr looking to become a bit more prominent for the next while, here's an introduction to the Amarr heirs, the most powerful members of the Amarr royal houses and likely to be the wheels upon which the Empire turns in the coming months.
Yonis Ardishapur: Defender of the Faith
Aside from the Empress herself, Yonis Ardishapur may be the most powerful person in the Amarr Empire. Not only does his family hold part of the Domain region, but they were also given lordship over the Ammatar Mandate by the Empress shortly after her ascent to the throne. Under his rule, the Mandate underwent a massive rebuilding effort in the wake of the Minmatar attack during the release of The Empyrean Age, as well as extensive religious reforms that turned the Mandate from the more reform-minded Ammatar Church to the orthodox Amarr religion.
Yonis, and the Ardishapur family in general, have been hardline religious conservatives for a very long time, which makes them very popular in the Empire as of late. Unfortunately for the Empress, it also makes him one of her fiercest opponents, though it is rare that he challenges her openly. The main point of contention here is the doctrine of “Sacred Flesh,” which forbids the cloning of members of the royal family; while the official line is that Jamyl's return was a miracle, the heirs certainly know better. They know, though, that admitting she is a clone would be a can of worms they'd rather not open. Ardishapur's popularity and religious fanaticism also makes him the leading candidate to fulfill the vacant seat at the head of the Theology Council, the supreme religious and judicial authority in the Amarr Empire.
In addition to being the Empress' main opponent, Yonis is also no fan of the Tash-Murkon family, whose Udorian lineage and “newcomer” status, as well as its close ties to the Caldari State and Khanid Kingdom, make it a repeated subject of his ire. If two houses in the Amarr Empire decide to go at it, Ardishapur and Tash-Murkon are the two most likely candidates.
Uriam Kador: Out of His Depth
Probably the weakest of the Amarr heirs, Uriam Kador has been in trouble since military experts were talking about cynosural fields. His personal invasion of Gallente space during the release of Quantum Rise led to a decline in his personal fortunes, despite the fact that the Kador family overall had been one of the most prominent in Amarr space previously; more Emperors came from Kador than of any other house. His misadventure in Ratilose cost his family their fleet, which is a significant black mark on his reign, and his sheltering of the Gallente Admiral Anvent Eturrer - the traitor who handed victory to the Caldari in the One Day War - led to a Federation raid on his homeworld in the wake of that incident, apparently with the consent of the Empress.
More personally, Kador seems to be more interested in philosophy than in the affairs of state; he is renowned as an orator and writer, but is not particularly distinguished as a leader even prior to his misadventure. He has also had not-exactly-secret affairs with a number of Gallente women, which isn't particularly good for his image either.
On the other hand, Uriam is largely supportive of the Empress after the disaster at Ratilose and the Federation assault on Kador Prime, despite her harsh punishment; most recently, he hosted religious celebrations in her honor that got a tad bit out of hand. Aside from that, however, he has faded into the background as of late, likely waiting to see how things unfold before he makes any sort of drastic moves.
Aritcio Kor-Azor: The Changed Man
Aritcio Kor-Azor is a strange case. The son of the Emperor Doriam II - the emperor that preceded Jamyl - Articio's first few years of rule of as Kor-Azor heir were tumultuous at best. Articio evidently “lost” an Imperial Apocalypse (yes, one of those), was involved with the Guristas in the wake of the collapse of the Crielere Project, and ruled his subjects with an erratic and sadistic streak, handing down harsh, arbitrary punishments for even minor offenses. Eventually, this drove his Holders to demand that the Speakers of Truth bring an end to his madness.
In order to avoid being stripped of his lands and title, Aritcio agreed to a punishment that would give those he'd wronged their pounds of flesh (literally). He was carved up repeatedly, restored via cellular regeneration each time, until all his Holders had been paid their blood price. Afterward, Aritcio became a radically different person; after years of sadism and arbitrary commands, he became known as one of the most humane Amarr heirs, with very little tolerance for vassals who abused their authority to their subjects' detriment.
Following the ascent of Jamyl I to the throne, Aritcio was appointed to the position of Imperial Chancellor, a position which places him at the head of the Imperial bureaucracy and makes him a contender for the most powerful of the Amarr heirs with Yonis Ardishapur. Whether he is content to merely be the Empress' right hand, or if he still desires something greater, is not clear.