Although His Gloriousness, The Emperor, is referred to as The First, The Last, The Only, it stands to reason that there must, at some point, been a time when there was not an Emperor. It is staunchly maintained by many of the Emperor's most solid supporters that He is immortal, this has never been independently confirmed.
Because of the rumors surrounding His life (or, at the very least, alleged lack of death), the Emperor's actual history is shrouded in a shroud of mystery, a shroud so shroudy that it shrouds all who would attempt to de-shroud it (paid for by the Circle Square Societie for the Promotione and Expositione of Shroudes).
The current Emperor Ullyanov I was once known as a beast of some notorious power-lust. I think you can see where it led him.
Emperor Mar'kan II ascended the Imperial throne in the Year of the Glib Marmot, a year that boded ill for politics throughout the Imperium. The Guild of Lawyers, Debaters, and Haberdasherers was dissolved by the outgoing Emperor in a fit of pique, while the Guild of Clerks, Secretaries, and Aides split up, citing creative differences. They reformed weeks later as the Guild of Clerks, Secretaries, and Executive Helpers, but were forced to split up again after three months of dismal reviews. The Guild of Clerks et al. has been in the business now for 308 years, 278 as other Guilds. The Clerks and Secretaries have, at various times, elected to admit the Joculators, Embalmers, Tool and Die Makers, Wastrels, and Mimeographers (a recent addition; using the awesome power of the Mime, precise, if highly interpretive, recordings of meetings and discussions can be kept for future use. An ideal solution, as it deals neatly with both the need for commercial accuracy and the regrettable glut of Mimes. Storage, however, remains a problem).
The Guild was split up again recently by the current Emperor after a recent Mime-o was misinterpreted as reading, "The Emperor is a funnel cake". Adjustments to suit this new state of affairs were made with commendable haste by the Guild, but it was not enough. The guild was dissolved, and the Mime put to death. They are looking to reform again in a few months, with the addition of the formidable Schoolmarm Union. No nonsense, it can be predicted, will be brooked.
The Emperor! His very name strikes fear into the hearts of his enemies, and awe into the hearts of his supporters. The previous Emperor, to continue with a vein of discussion that was begun so long ago, ascended in the Year of the Glib Marmot. It was a rough year for many, particularly the previous Emperor, who, having been embroiled in a much alluded-to but never adequately explained scandal, was forced to step down, at great speed. He stepped down so fast, in fact, that he forgot to take the noose off of his neck. Lord High Executioner Langston Wordsworth, who happened to be present during the incident in question, said that His Highness "didn't notice" the noose until it was too late. They never do.
It is interesting to note that, despite the unanimous veneration of His Majesty's Divine Being, virtually all of the past Emperors met some violent or unpleasant end. The fourth Emperor, Meroving'ian, was found in his bedchamber, tarred, feather'd, and waxed. This would not have been a problem but for the unfortunate happenstance that he had also been turned inside out. A note was pinned to his rather messy jacket. It read, "We don't like you. Signed, The People". His son, Meroving'ian II, was no better off. There was a regrettable yachting accident in which he was quite accidentally drawn, quartered, and thrown into the sea. The fourteenth Emperor, Heroclites, attended the first ever operation of his marvelous invention, "the Killotine", where he suffered injuries that ultimately (and entertainingly) led to his death. The fifteenth Emperor, Adamantius, died peacefully in his sleep. This would no doubt warm the hearts of any interested listeners, were it not for the fact that he was in his early twenties at the time and in perfect health. The four hundred-odd passengers, waiters, and crewmen on his Imperial Yacht that stormy night were not nearly so lucky.
The only Emperor (thus far) to not die under tragic, not to say inevitable, circumstances was the second Emperor, Tarquin Superbus. He seized control from the first Emperor, Milarkus the Malcontent. Tarquin claimed afterwards that he was "sick of [Milarkus'] constant complaining". It was a bloodless coup, given that garroting seldom creates open wounds unless the assassin is young and inexperienced. With Tarquin, this was not the case.
The reason Tarquin Superbus survived to the ripe old age of 85, and died of natural causes, is because he resisted, throughout his life, the urgings of friends and enemies to step aside, regardless of how insistent these urgings were. Although he was a fair and thoughtful ruler, Tarquin was also, to put it bluntly, an unstoppable killing machine. A number of unsavory characters attempted to remove him from power; all attempts met with failure, and tremendous laughter from those present.
A tribe of giant sea otters prevented the expansion of the Imperium to the east during the early years. While Milarkus had tried to achieve concorde with this brutal behemoths, all he succeeded in doing was reducing the supply of official Imperium messengers to near-critical levels. Tarquin, on the other hand, had a different approach in mind. The first night after being declar'd Emperor, Tarquin set off in a rowboat to the sea otters' island. He stormed those rocky shores with nothing more than a sneer and a spar of driftwood. The next morning, seven hundred otters lay dead and Tarquin had built a dock to receive ships, cabins to house workers, and a tavern that he could get roaringly drunk in. This exemplifies Tarquin's famous motto, "Vinae! NUNC!", a stirring reminder of the glory of bygone days.
Although the Imperium is currently enjoying the rule of its eighteenth Emperor, one wonders how long such a system can last. But one shouldn't. His Terrificality, The Emperor, Is Manifest.
The Drowning Fountain:Edit
Across from the Emperor's Palace is the Imperium-honored Drowning Fountain. Many lives had been ruined and several lost during the time it took for the Fountain to get where it currently is, but most historians agree it was worth it. The history of the Fountain is required knowledge for officers in the navy and is often told and re-told by Ministers and other Important Persons when speaking to the public for added flair. Everybody already knows the stories, and one shouldn't be ashamed of making up another. We've all heard the real ones by now anyway.
The Fountain itself was built by the Royal Architectural and Engineering Services Company, the first actual business to wrongly flaunt itself as being endorsed and supported by the Imperium's government. Laws to prosecute such businesses had not yet been passed, so the firm had nothing to fear until the Emperor ordered them to remodel his personal washroom to prove their so-called endorsement. The drafters and engineers quickly went to work, and by the end of the first week they had made a giant hole in the ceiling of the palace. Several of the government officials' offices had been destroyed in what the company claimed to be a side-effect of the washroom's expansion, but was really a crane operation gone horribly wrong. The Emperor, being an exceptionally stupid one, didn't complain about the emptying out of the offices. As a result the Public Health and Sanitation, as well as half of the Education Departments, were closed down for the rest of the Emperor's reign.
It took a month, but the Emperor's new washroom was finally complete. The crowing achievement of the project was the tub itself, that featured both cold and hot water, an engineering accomplishment beat out only by the extensive plumbing that now ran through most of the entire building. The firm had ordered pipes to be rolled somewhere overseas, but in an oversight of forgetting unit conversion they came back much too long. After several long nights of checking and re-checking floor plans of the palace, a plumbing arrangement had finally been found. Nothing had to be knocked down or ripped up (extensively), so the Emperor gave it his paws-up and the washroom was finished. When the Emperor gave his new bathtub a test run, he asked his personal assistants to let him wash by himself. Education Department officials later claimed that it was probably to let him sing. Unfortunately, the Emperor had bubbled up the water a tad too much and was quickly overwhelmed by soap suds. In an attempt to get out of the quickly filling tub, he lost his balance on the slippery tile and fell back into the water, where he drowned.
The Royal Architectural and Engineering Services Company was blamed for the fiasco, the argument being that the tile floor was much too smooth. The company members were tried in the High Courts and found guilty of beastslaughter. Instead of being sentenced to death like nearly everyone was for any crime, the Company was nationalized and thereby condemned to do community service work for the rest of its existence. The first order made by the new Emperor was to change the tile flooring of the washroom, and the second to install a fountain in a local park.
The fountain plans were made up and the contractors procured, and surprisingly the whole construction job was done in one night. Of course, the Company installed it in the wrong place, in the middle of the palace's own front lawn, and spitefully placed a statue of a bathtub in the structure of the fountain. The morning after the job the Company members were found and killed in their homes by the Emperor's personal guard.
The Drowning Fountain stands today as a testament to the Imperium's ingenuity and engineering prowess, as well as the stupidity of the Emperor. Palace officials claim that if you drown the current Emperor in the fountain you get a wish, but there has yet to be validation of the rumor.