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"In the impressionable youth of my reign, I was encouraged to believe in the precious nature of my imperial blood. The 'divine claret', as one fool of a courtier would repeat with tiresome regularity.

Unfortunately, my divine claret refused to pour from one cup to another. Try as I might, with a lovely procession of young and ever dutiful wives, my noble seed simply would not sprout.

Who, then, to choose as my worthy successor? With the candidates on hand either mediocre at best, or maniacal at worst, I found myself in quite the quandary.

That's when Fortune took me by the hand and led me to a forgotten tome on a forgotten shelf in the quietest corner of Sarn Library. A tome entitled, 'Ancient Traditions of Azmerian Ascendancy'.

The rest, one might say, is history."

- Emperor Izaro Phrecius


"The Azmeri were the first culture known in history to use trials of strength, wisdom and spirit to select its chieftains.

The first Lord's Trial was a rough-hewn maze festooned with wild animals and brutal traps, crafted to test aspiring Azmerian leaders' body, mind and soul.

In conquering the adversities of the maze, a champion proved they were capable of bearing the crushing burden of chieftainship.

The first trials were simple contraptions reflecting simple times. As the Azmerian civilisation grew in number and complexity, so did the trials, from treacherous mazes to bewildering labyrinths.

Alas, there are no surviving descriptions of the labyrinth that tested and proved the worth of Veruso, Prima Imperialus. I imagine it was quite something to behold."

- Emperor Izaro Phrecius


"The Azmeri were consummate survivors. They had to be, having been sired in the most inhospitable range of mountains in all of Wraeclast.

Unfortunate, some might say. I do not. I believe it was the making of them. And of us, their descendants.

So it is no wonder that they developed the Lord's Trial. With survival being a moment-by-moment concern, that harried people grew to understand power quite intimately.

Strong leadership is able to bridge the chasm between existence and extinction. Poor leadership might see an entire tribe vanish into that same chasm.

When the Azmeri descended from their mountains to conquer the fecund lands of central Wraeclast, they thrived and multiplied with utmost alacrity in those more forgiving climes.

For is it not poverty that teaches us how we might excel in times of plenty?"

- Emperor Izaro Phrecius


"The custom of the Lord's Trial was upheld throughout the founding years of the Empire. Veruso's successor, Caspiro, was a low-born legionnaire, the lone survivor of a labyrinth that claimed the lives of every high-born contender, including Veruso's only son.

Caspiro proved to be every bit the emperor that Veruso was.

Alas, the Lord's Labyrinth was corrupted by those with the vanity to consider their blood more precious than their Empire. Selfish blood breeds selfish times, and the Empire paid for it with its own blood. With the Night of a Thousand Ribbons. With that most regal of cannibals, Emperor Romira.

Not any more. I, Izaro Phrecius, shall return us to Justice. I shall build the greatest Lord's Labyrinth in Azmerian history, and my successor shall be chosen by the Goddess herself.

Only when the Lord's Labyrinth is drenched in selfish blood can a true leader ascend the throne."

- Emperor Izaro Phrecius