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Image:Scroll2.png "I speak to you as your Emperor, yes, but before that I speak to you as a man. For too long have we looked at each other and seen wizards or non-wizards. Judge not a man by his robe... From today on, there will only be man and woman. Our great founders taught us to reach the sky, but today we all learn to love the land on which we stand."
- Emperor Kovinus, coronation speech (Grand Address)

Emperor Kovinus the Wise
Date of birth62 BV
Place of birthTreval, Alahea (destroyed)
Date of death11 BV (aged 51)
Place of deathTreval Woods
TitleEmperor of Alahea, the Wise, King-savant

Kovinus Woniam Nymkarta was the penultimate sovereign of Alahea and its last male Emperor, as well as the father of Queen Kova. He was the only non-wizard Emperor in the history of Alahea. Known as an exceptional leader, orator and philosopher, Kovinus delayed the fall of Alahea by thirty years, until his death by assassination. His influence was not limited to his daughter: his ideas have inspired generations of post-Valterrian thinkers with notions of moderation, justice and social equality.


Birth and early life

Kovinus was born in 62 BV in the halls of the Imperial Seat in Treval. His father was Emperor Aterax Nymkarta, a mediocre statesman who was little more than a puppet in the hands of his court mage, Rupert Pycon. Kovinus grew up in a gloomy environment in which the shadow of Suvan's victory loomed more and more dangerously. In 43 BV, Aterax's firstborn son Akridius led the Alahean forces into a decisive battle against a massive Suvan army at Boonvalley. They suffered a tremendous defeat which changed the locality's name to Bloodvalley. The Alahean army was obliterated, and Akridius with it. Only Rupert Pycon and his squad of battle wizards prevented the Suvan army from marching on Treval and conquering Alahea within ten days. The court mage unleashed a tremendous disease agent upon the Suvan soldiers, forcing the enemy to take out thousands of their own infected soldiers. Judging morale too low to press on, the Suvan generals decided to retreat, leaving Alahea alone but almost undefended.

Emperor Kovinus

When the news of Alahea's defeat and the death of the heir to the throne reached the Imperial Seat, Emperor Aterax reportedly went into a catatonic stupor. Official sources state that the sovereign fell ill and died a few days later, but it is much more likely that he committed suicide. His twenty-year old son Kovinus was hastily crowned and took the mantle of leadership in a country on the edge of oblivion. In the wake of his coronation, things looked dire for Alahea. Suvan would be sending in more troops in a matter of months, and there appeared to be no counter to their might. Even worse, the new Emperor had absolutely no magical talent. For the first time in its history, a non-wizard - and one without apparent martial skills, either - sat at the helm of Alahea.

Kovinus' gifts lay elsewhere. He held a great speech at his coronation, carried throughout the city by magical resonance and then to the countryside via criers and messengers. In this Grand Address, still regarded as one of the most important pieces of rhetoric ever written, Kovinus did the unthinkable. He took a scattered, stunned people and remade them into a nation, rekindling the long dormant patriotic spirit that, Kovinus knew, was a major reason behind Suvan's successes. The new Emperor overturned belief in the superiority of wizards over common people: until now, the average citizen had delegated his safety to wizards, and this reliance had brought the nation to its knees. Kovinus shattered millennia of established tradition and stated in clear terms that all people were born equal, and all had to take responsibility for their country.

Kovinus followed through with his actions, proceeding to eliminate many privileges of the wizard class almost overnight. It was a risky gamble, but it proved a winning one. Citizens enlisted in militias that, while nowhere as well-trained as the Suvan armies, were intimately familiar with the territory and capable of engaging in deadly guerrilla warfare, or operating simple magical machines. For the first time in centuries, wizards and non-wizards were collaborating to defend the nation. Using a combination of covert warfare, scorched earth tactics, controlled floodings and other applications of magic, Alahea managed to stave off the Suvan armies long enough to rebuild a military force of its own.

From there on, the war turned entirely defensive. Enormous golems built long sections of protective walls, towers and bastions, the ruins of which still litter eastern Mizahar. Alahea had lost any ambition to invade Suvan, but it had deeply entrenched itself, taking away any hopes Suvan may have had in a quick, painless victory. More than any wall or castle, however, it was Kovinus' presence that cemented his nation. Suvan never conquered a single inch of Alahean land as long as he lived, but the state only lasted eleven years after his death.


Kovinus' policy allowed Alahea to survive, but it came at a price. Wizards had long been the nation's might and lifeblood, and while many embraced the new era out of idealism or simply because everyone was on the same boat, quite a few ultra-conservative wizards quickly grew to resent the Emperor and his ideas. Among his most ferocious opponents was his own court mage, Rupert Pycon.

The tensions between Kovinus and Pycon were well-known at court, yet never disclosed to the public as both were legends in their own right. Kovinus would have wished for nothing more than to sack Pycon, whom he deemed totally amoral and probably insane, but he feared to create an irreversible rift with the more strict wizardry wing, the Uplifted. These wizards believed that whoever wielded Djed was inherently superior and deserving to rule - a belief also emerging in some fanatical post-Valterrian groups.

When Kovinus ordered Pycon to suspend research on clay men to be sent on suicide bombing missions in Suvan territory, the mercurial wizard secretly defected to Suvan without a second thought. His clay creatures were now to be employed against Alahea. Kovinus' reign may well have come to an end, if not for a young Benshira wizard, Sahgal Hrinn - later known as Sagallius - discovering Pycon's plan and putting an end to both them and the court mage himself.

With Sagallius appointed as the new court mage, Kovinus finally had someone he could trust. The Benshira had something of a god complex, but he was benevolent and shared Kovinus' ideals. Sagallius controlled the Seven Robes, the council of the strongest wizards, and the Uplifted, being commanded by one with such an incredible magical talent, were forced to abandon the idea of a coup. Even so, many of them continued to operate outside Sagallius' control, researching and performing forbidden magic. This trend would only grow in time, and become incontrollable during Kova's reign.


Kovinus married early with a priestess of Eyris, Ariathea. She was a woman of great beauty and intelligence from one of the Northern Municipalities. Her gentle firmness was so disarming that she staved off all criticism at her not giving Kovinus a child for many years. She would smile whenever one of his advisors insisted (in her presence) that he conceive an heir from a concubine as his duty to the nation. Kovinus never took another woman, and stated that Eyris was merely delaying his heir until the right time.

Kova, his only daughter, was born in 18 BV, when Kovinus was well in his forties and Ariathea was headed that way. He seemed to know there would be no more children, as if one were the right number to fulfill the fate of the nation.


The need to eliminate Kovinus became apparent to the Suvan top brass as early as his crowning, and there were several attempts at doing so over the years, though none succeeded. While Suvan did not doubt that they would conquer Alahea eventually, they could not afford to wait forever. There were intelligence reports of rogue Alahean wizards operating outside every form of control to build deadly weapons that might be able to incinerate both nations. When Suvan got hold of Alahean schematics for underground bunkers designed by the Uplifted against major magical disasters, efforts to dispose of Kovinus were intensified.

In the end, the Odalah dynasty entrusted general Ludwig Marsh with the killing of Kovinus. Marsh was the son of the commander who had decimated the Alahean forces at Bloodvalley. He spent months planning the deed, and assigned it to a squad of assassins led by a state killer known as Wolkirk the Slayer - the "most lethal man alive" in the eyes of many.

Kovinus was known to love hunting, his only vice by his own admission. Wolkirk and his group attacked him and his family during a fox hunt in the Treval Woods, in 11 BV. The assassin stabbed Kovinus and Ariathea to death, but did not manage to kill Kova as Sagallius cast him into the Void at the cost of his own sanity. The young girl would find herself a queen at age 7.


While Kovinus is not as universally known in the post-Valterrian world as his daughter Kova, he is still a famous name. The tenets of the Syliran Knights are, in parts, inspired to his philosophy of justice and the common good. Kovinus wrote a treatise on the virtues of a fair and just monarch, The Good King, which is still studied today, as are his inspirational speeches and philosophical essays.

Kovinus himself has become something of a fairytale character: whenever a story features a good king, it is usually named after him or strongly reminds of him. These stories often have absolutely no historical accuracy.

The memory of Kovinus is still despised by modern wizard supremacy groups such as the current Seven Robes, who hold wizards to be racially superior.