Vaul the Builder
Race Human (Immortal)
Homeland Elysium, Sea of Grass, Pax Icatia
Aliases The Builder, Master of Horses
Born Unknown
Died Time of Fire

Magus, first Princeps of the Pax Icatia. Vaul was known as The Builder, and was one of the original five Magi who travelled from Elysium to the Cradle of the World by crossing the Threshold of Immortality. Before his departure from Elysium, Vaul was the master smith to an immortal known as Kolot. His knowledge aided his master in many wars, eventually establishing Kolot as the emperor of Elysium. For unknown reasons, Vaul joined a coup attempt with four other magi to unseat his former master. When the rebellion was defeated, he joined his fellow conspirators in exile.

Vaul travelled with Lao Te Zhou and Lagash after an argument with the magus Ahriman over who would rule Stygia. He made his way to the Sea of Grass, where he settled among the Brule, and began to teach them to tame horses and master the arts of horse breeding and riding. He remained with the Brule for many generations, but became frustrated with their nomadic ways. He eventually departed south across the Sea of Storms and landed on the westernmost island of the Shattered Isles.

Impressing the local tribes with his sorcery, Vaul established the city of Icatia and began to organize the local people into a fighting force. Over the next few generations, he led his Icatians on a victorious war of conquest across the Shattered Isles, eventually conquering all the islands and incorporating the defeated tribes into an empire under his rule. His holding secure in the Sea of Storms, Vaul turned his attentions toward the Land of the Young. Part of his interest in the land was due to his missing companion and former lover Issana, who had departed from Stygia at the same time as he had, but ventured south to this land. No magi had heared from Issana in decades, and Vaul was interested in her fate. The Land of the Young was also supposed to have rich farmland, which the magus would need in order to feed his growing empire.

Vaul personally led the invasion of the Land of the Young, participating in many of the early battles. Finally, his army was stopped at what is today Orm’s River by an alliance of Skrailing tribes. Frustrated, Vaul left his armies behind and travelled in secret in the guise of a wandering blind man. After several weeks, he discovered that Issana was serving as an advisor and mentor to Skrail the Strongest, and it had been her sorcery that had prevented Vaul’s forces from crossing the river and destroying the Skrailings when he had had the chance. He further discovered that Issana had been teaching the humans under her care the art of sorcery, something that the magi had collectively agreed not to do upon leaving Stygia. Incensed by her betrayal, the magus returned to his camp, taking his lover Misha as his first apprentice.

Vaul returned to Icatia the following autumn, and began organizing his empire. He proclaimed himself “Princeps,” or First Citizen of the empire, and revealed his plans for a “Pax Icatia,” or a peace through the might of Icatia’s armies. He established the Adepti as his secret police force, and restructured his armies to mimic the Myrmidons of the eastern islands. Vaul also turned his attention to the northwestern shores of the Land of the Young as well, dreaming of farmland there that could provide for his empire.

Vaul commanded both wars from the city of Icatia, using intermediaries to command his generals while he worked in his palace with Misha on a secret weapon. Finally, he revealed the Hidrans, soldiers born from the blood and bone of the Hydra Selmauk. The Hidrans were a definitive advantage for the Icatians, allowing them to recapture territory lost to the Skrailings and conquer much of the plains southern Abachwezi. With both wars won and farmland assured for his empire, Vaul focused his attention on ruling his empire.

It is during this time that the magus first noticed his waning power. Thinking at first that is was a result of age, the magis spent several years attempting to restore his youth an vitality through magic. He succeeded, only to find that his magic was weaker still. After years of study, Vaul finally used his sorcerous powers to summon a demon and demanded the answer to his difficulties. With great pleasure, the demon revealed the Law of Obsession to the horrified magus. His unrequited love for Issana, his love for Misha, and his dedication to ruling the Pax Icatia had crippled his powers. The only way to restore them was to destroy all that he loved greater than magic. Vaul retreated to his palace and remained in seclusion for nine days. When he finally emerged, he summoned Misha before him and sentenced her to exile for crimes against his person. The magus watched in silence as his first apprentice was dragged from the city and set adrift on a boat.

With this relationship destroyed, Vaul turned his attention to Issana, all the while searching for a way to divest himself from the empire while still retaining the resources that it provided him. He finally decided to pull away slowly from rulership, allowing him to use the powers of his empire to find and destroy Issana before concentrating of the destruction of Icatia. To that end, he established an advisory body known as the Senate to aid him. In the beginning, the Senate’s only duty was to advise the Princeps on matters of state, while the Adepti’s mission was to see that the commands of the Princeps were carried out. This arrangement allowed the magus to search for Issana undeterred. The search would continue fruitlessly throughout the Time of Heroes.

Finally, in the Thirteenth Generation, Vaul heard news of Issana. She was still among the southern humans, this time in the mountainous regions known as The High Places. Excited, the magus contrived a plan that would allow him to destroy both his former lover and his empire in an orgy of blood that would restore all his power. He led his armies back over Orm’s River in an apparent attempt to conquer the rest of the Land of the Young. This left his northern empire completely exposed to invasion by the followers of the prophet Kayyam. Vaul hoped that he would smash his way to Issana and kill her while his empire fell behind him from the hands of Kayyam’s fanatics. With both obstacles to his power removed by his own actions, his power would be fully restored.

At first, the plan worked perfectly. For generations, the Pax Icatia ruled itself while Vaul waged unremitting war against the Free People and the Skrailings. For seven generations, the magus warred against the southerners. Despite his inability to locate her with his magic, Vaul remained unperturbed. He believed that eventually the southerners would sustain so many casualties that they would die off, and Issana would no longer be able to hide behind them. In the meantime, the casualties his empire sustained could only weaken it, allowing threats from the north to become more and more pressing.

In the end, Vaul’s plans were defeated by his own empire. The proxy rulers the magus had placed in command while he invaded the south ruled that the armies be pulled back from the Land of the Young and reassigned to the northern border of the empire to combat the invasions from Kayyam’s armies. Vaul ordered the men under his charge to remain with him, but they ignored him and began to withdraw. They had grown tired of the war, and the possibility of their homes being threatened by invaders meant more to them than the ravings of one man, no matter how powerful. Vaul watched as his foces evaporated, understanding for the first time that he had spent so much time away from Icatia that then people no longer thought of his as their master. The Senate ruled now, along with the Consuls he had placed in charge.

Angered by having his victory removed from him when he was so close, Vaul returned to Icatia and made his way to the Senate building, intending to reestablish himself as Princeps and destroy both the Senate and the Consuls that had defied him. It was there, on the very steps of the senate he had created, that he was assassinated by the senators and by members of the Adepti.

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