|Qzare Xiu Wandao|
|Title||Qzare of the Salterri Imperium|
|Predecessor||Qzare Xiu Raozhen|
|Successor||Qzare Xui Hanyeo|
|Religion||Hailings of the Silver Sea|
Early Life and First ReignEdit
Relatively little is known of Wandao's early life, for the Imperium pursued a highly isolationist policy prior to the mid-fourth century. He succeeded his father at the age of just sixteen and soon established a reputation as something of a moderate, becoming particularly popular in the distant Imperial province of Requiem.
Nevertheless, by the mid-370s, whether finally succumbing to pressure from senior court officials or intending to stamp his authority on the Imperium, he undertook to punish the "northern barbarians" for the murder of Governor Lann Qing of Salteire some years previously and the occupation of Shengdi by Bordeux. Imperial research, somewhat flawed, had identified Hrathan-Tuor as a likely source of the murderers, so Wandao marched on it with a punitive expedition of 22,000 men.
Despite his efforts to induce division between the different northern realms, Wandao found himself facing a huge army outnumbering his several times over, and was heavily defeated. He himself was taken prisoner, automatically forfeiting the title of Qzare, and entrusted to the custody of Empress Syana Ignato. Subject initially to degrading treatment, he was interrogated by the northern coalition as to his motives and various supposed historic crimes of the Imperium.
By the Grand Ball of 381 it had become clear to the coalition of northern rulers that there was little further intelligence to be gained from their captive, and political divisions within it were beginning to show. During the Ball, in a private meeting, the Imperial vassal king Athelmark of Jarrland met with Syana and Wandao and his release was negotiated, on condition he not take up arms against the Triumvirate or any of its Grand Coalition partners in a war of aggression again. Wandao agreed and returned to the Imperium, where he soon regained the Silver Throne from his brother in circumstances unknown.
Wandao subsequently pursued conciliatory policies, both towards his vassals and towards many northern realms. He allowed the sect of Ascension to spread, though less enthusiastically than his brother had done during his reign, and oversaw the transfer of Minotron and Bor-Teire to the rule of the Priory of Ascension. He endorsed the occupation of Vennland by neighbouring Jarrland and allowed the Kingdom of Serendel to retain political control of Requiem, and the Kingdom of Celero to manage Propinlonge and, later, Lahai. He made concessions in the Imperial Charter, drafted by the Priory during Hanyeo's reign, to allay the concerns of King Athelmark and prevent the threat of secession by Jarrland from the Imperium, though the Priory never forgave him for his apparently unilateral alterations to the document.
In 392 he hosted the Moonshroud Festival in Xianzhi Urbe, an international occasion which also marked the first time in recorded history that foreigners had been allowed to set foot in the Imperial capital. During and shortly after the festival he became close to Empress Syana, and within a few years they were married, much to the distress of the Priory. Together they had one son, Xiu Zhuang Ignato, though he was barred from inheritance in the Imperium. Syana provided assistance with the reclamation of Shengdi both with Ignato troops and her Huroshan allies, though, while the land was recovered, the campaign was a disaster for reasons largely beyond the control of the commanders. Among the many casualties was Wandao's only son by his first wife, Xiu Tian'o.
Early in the fifth century Wandao provided tacit assistance to the movement to overthrow Tupelo Cornus, in support of his vassal King Athelmere, who was one of the foremost opponents of the AQUA coup, and apparently due to a personal distaste for the overthrow of a government by violence. He avoided the Imperium proper becoming dragged into the diplomatic incident surrounding the printing press scandal, though was unable to resolve tensions between Jarrland and Ashenia. Soon after the new century and with a new succession secured in the shape of Xiu Tailong, he announced his abdication in favour of his brother and stepped down in 407. Initially he travelled to Aloren to be with his wife and son, then following Syana's abdication in 415 the two of them absented themselves from international affairs. He made his last public appearance at the dual weddings held in Horbeach in 415.
What became of Wandao after Syana's death is not known. There were rumours of a man matching his description joining an expedition to find and slay Ridovo in the late 440s, though by that time he would have been very old indeed.
Opinion on Wandao's reign is sharply divided. In the Priory he was seen as an arbitrary tyrant, and his resumption of power in the 380s having surrendered the throne once was to form a key plank of the Priory's declaration that the house of Xiu had lost the Silver Mandate. Undoubtedly this was partly politically motivated, however, since Wandao was known to be wary of the doctrine of Ascension and its political implications. In Jarrland Wandao is fondly-remembered, still sometimes referred to as "the good Qzare", a ruler who took difficult but necessary steps to hold the Imperium together through one of its greatest crises. The civil wars that followed soon after his reign are blamed on his successor's failure to meet his example, and the Priory's ambition.
In foreign policy terms, Wandao left the Imperium almost unrecognisable from that which he inherited, having overseen its transition from an isolationist and largely monolithic entity to a multilateral and international power, with trading and diplomatic ties across all of Telluris, a process which continued under Tailong and Tianshi.
Wandao first married Wang Renfan (351 - 370), a Salterri noblewoman. Together they had one son, though Renfan died shortly after his birth:
- Xiu Tian'o (370 - 400), died unmarried without known issue. He was killed fighting the undead in Shengdi following the recapture.
Wandao later married the widowed Empress Syana of Ignato (350 - 423) in a secret ceremony some time in the mid-390s. Together they had one son:
- Xiu Zhuang Ignato (400 - 422), Ignato Emperor from 418, executed in 422 for treason and fratricide. Never married and died without known issue.
|Qzare of the Salterri Imperium|
367 - 376
| Succeeded by|
|Qzare of the Salterri Imperium|
c.381 - 407
| Succeeded by|