As the eldest child of King Merrick of Aerlion’s younger sister, great things were expected of Emelia Echtheit. In addition to her royal mother, her father was a prominent nobleman hailing from Geheim’s smaller neighbouring state – adding wealth and foreign prestige to her royal birth. From her mother, Emelia inherited the blue blood that automatically elevated her above all of her peers and brought with it a regal bearing in everything she undertook. From her father, she inherited an exotic beauty and a ruthless determination to punch well above her weight … and get her own way.
Despite this, she did not have a close relationship with her parents and only rarely did she see them while growing up. She was, instead, raised by a succession of tutors, governesses and handmaids who saw to her education and well-being. The only time she ever really got to spend with her parents was during formal functions at her family estates, or on state occasions. In both circumstances, proceedings were dictated by formal custom that ruled out any familial affections considered normal in all other families. Her household staff changed frequently, meaning that she rarely bonded even with the servants sent to raise her. They would blow in and out of her life sometimes before she even learned their real names. She soon learned to keep an emotional distance even from those caring for her most intimate needs.
This is something that has stayed with Emelia to the present day. The only people she’s even known are servants and, therefore, has a tendency to look at everyone as being in servitude to her. Other people are a commodity, like any other, and there to do her bidding. If they let her down, she is sure to make her displeasure known.
Right from the off, it was drilled into Emelia that, despite her privileged birth, her destiny was not her own. Her husband would be chosen for her, her home would be chosen for her and even the date of her marriage would be decided for her. It was her duty to her family to obey, which she did despite her horror at being told she was to marry the King of Geheim who was almost thirty years her senior. While she had never believed in Knights in shining armour, Emelia at least hadn’t entertained the idea that her parents would be so callous as to marry her off to a man with one foot in the grave.
Having learned to mask her real feelings a long time ago Emelia, who was just eighteen at the time of her betrothal, hid her disgust well. She dutifully married the old king, knowing he would soon be dead and, if she played her cards right, all that was his would soon be hers. The King, after all, was a man like any other. He could be used like any other man and she could benefit. As such, Emalia soon warmed to her geriatric groom. All she had to do was make sure the King’s wedding present to her was a new will, with all his lands, titles and incomes signed over to her and their future sons, with her serving as regent until they reached a majority. The only catch was that she had no intention of ever giving the King an heir.
Before she could do anything, however, she had to play the dutiful wife and Queen. There could be no shadow of doubt about her loyalty to the King when she chose to do the deed, so was meticulous about how she presented herself during her brief marriage. She was always attentive, laughed at all his unfunny jokes and was ever the gracious host at every feast and function held in the palace. She was especially gracious when presenting her royal husband with the vintage wine she had spiked with an odourless, colourless poison made from nightshade and snake venom. Served in small doses, the king’s demise was slow and painful, deliberately orchestrated to make the poison resemble a slow burning fever.
In the immediate aftermath, Emelia feared her plot would be uncovered. She even heard whispers of the suddenness of the king’s illness, of how something wasn’t quite right. He had always been a robust man, hail and hearty. Realising she had to act fast to not only save herself, but secure her grip on power, she made sure the dead king’s most loyal advisers paid the price. By planting evidence of treason in their quarters, she rid herself of the old regime with a speed and ruthlessness even she didn’t realise she was capable of. Just when it seemed she had lost, the heads of the old regime adorned the outer walls of her keep. Once it was done, her coup was complete and her confidence soared. If she could take on Geheim, then why not Aerlion?
Emelia knows that to take Aerlion she will have to be twice as strong a ruler as any man, twice as ruthless and twice as cunning. But her coup against her husband has proven to herself that she can be all of this and more besides. Because, although she has already framed certain inconvenient people for the death of her husband, she was too clever to come out and say so explicitly. To this day, she continues to use the rumours about her husband’s sudden death as a whip to keep her advisers and councillors in line.
Now that the old king’s councillors have been replaced by her own men, she keeps them in line with a mixture of threats, material favours and subtle manipulation. Each and every person entering her court has been carefully checked out by her circle of spies. Once in her employ, Emelia carefully selects an item of their clothing or a lock of their hair, to be used by the Mages in her employ to keep watch on them using their supernatural skills. A practise that has already brought her into open dispute with the Church, who long ago deemed such things as heretical.
On top of all other precautions, Emelia always ensures that everyone has plenty of mirrors in their private chambers.
Emelia's decision to defy the church made itself. She was raised as a royal, whose birthright elevated her above the laws mere mortals are compelled to adhere to. That includes church laws. What sealed her determination to ignore the church was also her overriding ambition. Nothing must be allowed to stop her rise and none must ever be permitted to undermine her. If that means hiring Mages against the will of the Church, then so be it. She has no respect for them.
Although Emelia has no friends to speak of, she does have siblings. All but one of her sisters are married, but none were given a marriage as advantageous as hers. Her older brother had an unfortunate hunting accident while still a child. In keeping with her independent nature, Emelia is not especially close to any of them except the youngest sister. A girl of fifteen who has recently been orphaned, Emelia has taken this sister under her wing to raise to be as ruthless as she is herself. Because she has no intention of remarrying, Emelia looks upon her youngest sister as a potential heir.
Emelia is an elegant woman, who dresses well and adorns herself with Geheim’s finest gems and precious stones. Her gowns are the finest fabrics and latest fashionable cuts. Now that she’s in her thirties, she is more meticulous than ever about grooming and outward appearances. Just under average height for a woman, she favours stacked heels and low necklines. Although pleasing to the opposite sex, she never flirts. It’s up to them to try and win her heart; a heart that’s petrifying more and more as she continues her fractious ascent to absolute power.
Because Emelia views other people as vassals, there to do her bidding, as well has finding it difficult to form personal relationships, her options for taking a real lover are limited. She is not above using her sexuality to entice men who can help further her ambitions, for sure. But she would tease them with promises and innuendo, rather than actually taking them to her bed and letting them lie with her. As such, she has not taken a proper lover and has no intention of doing so.
Although clever, Emelia is increasingly paranoid. Harbouring fears she lashes out on those nearest to her. She uses her paranoia as a shield, but in reality it’s her biggest weakness. It makes enemies of those who should be friends and she imagines plots and treason around every corner.
Despite everything else going on in her realm and in her life, only one thing matters to her: the acquisition of all Emeria.