Alsara: The Dragon's Legacy
The Assassination of Merik Serendi
The Death of Merik
Merik Serendi was one of the most tried rulers in Vokayan history. He defended the nation against an implacable foe, eventually resulting in the absolute defeat of Vokaya’s oldest enemy. His nation was wracked by conquest, plague, and rebellion, and his entire family paid the price.
His place in history remains complex. He was by all accounts a shrewd tactician and negotiator, and he surrounded himself with the most capable people he could find, regardless of how they felt about him. He was a man immune to stress, with apparently no other purpose in life but to pursue Vokaya’s survival against all odds. No challenge was too great for him, and regardless of what future generations might think of him, it is very likely that, with any other ruler, Vokaya would not have survived the Neverwar.
Despite this fact, he was hated by the end of his reign. He had become a tyrant in the eyes of many, having deconstructed or disempowered many of the functions of government intended to check him, and constructed a private army of spies and soldiers that answered solely to his command. He acted for what was in the best interests of the many, even when it meant taking from his own citizens, or betraying long-held alliances in his government; sometimes, even breaking the law outright. He was the only Serendi Rex to ever institute an Imperial-style levy of the citizenry, an act that would have been entirely illegal if he had not been given absolute rule by the High Council—a governing body that he dissolved before it could take this power away from him.
Even as he fought to preserve the people of Vokaya with one hand, he crushed their ideals with the other. While many mourned his death, few were surprised that it came from the hands of his own people.
When it came, it came swiftly and with overwhelming force. In addition to his many other talents, Merik Serendi was one of the most skilled sorcerers of his generation, and few could even match him, let alone surpass him. His skills made him deadly in single combat, and so he was not challenged one-on-one. The assassination force was over eighty strong, a veritable army of killers with only a single purpose: destroy House Serendi.
A guard on the inside opened the front gates to the Keep of Rivers, and the assassins swarmed over the palace. Many died that night, including members of the Serendi House Guard and highly placed members of the government. This group included the current Master Emissary, Lysander Hanno, who was overpowered in his office along with his wife and his secretary. By the time the killers reached Merik himself, he was well aware of the trap.
Instead of fleeing, Merik acted as a diversion, drawing the assassins away from his daughter and several key members of government. He brought them into the throne room, and from there he fought them until he was overcome: only after thirty of the killers had died did he finally succumb to poison and blood loss alongside his adopted daughter, Natalya. His magic had been heavily restricted, and many of the assassins had been equipped with gear that could counter spells. If they had not been so prepared, it is unlikely a single one of them would have survived Merik’s wrath.
As it was, many escaped the assassin’s clutches. The Grand Marshal Miles Kostas and his guards arrived shortly after Merik’s death, but in his sweep of the building he captured only a few of the catspaws, as many committed suicide upon seeing the approaching soldiers. Those few died hours later in captivity, occasionally from suspicious causes; their guards had also gone missing, leading many to believe infiltration, even demonic influences.
All that was somewhat dispelled when flyers began to circulate, claiming that a rebel group called the True Dragons were responsible for the assassination. This group had taken claim for several violent attacks on government officials and buildings over the past few months, but their membership was mostly students and disgruntled youth, and few believed they were large enough to coordinate such an attack. Still, any target was better that rumors alone, and the manhunt began.
After a month of searching, however, the waters had become only muddier. The True Dragons were too small, but happily took the blame, even when many of their membership were captured and imprisoned. Other suspects had come up, but no solid leads presented themselves. Even as the investigation continued, accusations were thrown towards the Grand Marshal himself, and then the Dragon’s Teeth became involved. In the end, though, there were no satisfactory answers. The True Dragons were executed for high treason, and the whole of Vokaya began to wonder what was going to happen next.
Lidiya Serendi was next in line for the throne, and while a decade prior she had been a carefree dilettante, the wake of the Neverwar had brought her some of her father’s stern competence. Her recent marriage to the powerful Lord Theosikos Velis made her even more attractive as a ruler, and even during the investigation of her father’s death she was busily taking control of tense situations. People were looking to her for answers, even before she was elected Rex.
In a fit of patriotic fervor, Lidiya was declared Rex and given an interim coronation; the last Contests had been earlier that year, and thus she could not be elected officially until 1225. Nevertheless, her place secured, Lidiya Serendi Rex took control of the government of the Vokayagora Zemla.