Ayn Vanar XI
| Ayn Vanar
Empress of Khador
Ayn Vanar was born in 569 AR, the eldest child of the son and heir to King Ivad Vanar. Ivad outlived his own heir by a short time, and died when Ayn was still an infant. Since Khadoran tradition dictates that monarchs shall not be crowned until reaching their majority, on his deathbed King Ivad asked his friend, Great Vizier Simonyev Blaustavya, to rule as regent and to watch over Ayn.
Queen Ayn Vanar XI was crowned in 597 AR. Having taught her all he could, Blaustavya stayed on to serve as great vizier. Many historians have called the transition between Ivad to Blaustavya to Ayn XI the smoothest extended transition of royal power in Khadoran history, and there is no question their combined efforts resulted in a golden era of power and prosperity for the nation.
One of Ayn's earliest acts displayed her intolerance of any hint of treason when she pardoned the warcaster Orsus Zoktavir for his part in the Boarsgate Massacre, a slaughter incited by a town near the Ordic border whose citizens had threatened to secede from Khador. Though Zoktavir had gone so far as to execute his own soldiers when they questioned his violence against the traitors, his pardon sent the message that disloyalty would not be tolerated.
Ayn XI militarised the nation as never before, investing not only for the elite forces but for the Winter Guard as well, and insisted that higher standards of military training be implemented throughout the army. She was aided by the great military genius Gurvaldt Irusk, who in time revolutionised modern warfare, and she instituted the High Kommand as a governing council and advisory board to oversee the military. Over the course of the first sixteen years of Queen Ayn’s reign, the Khadoran Army became the greatest fighting force in western Immoren.
In 602 AR, Great Vizier Blaustavya unearthed a conspiracy to manipulate trade in the capital. The conspirators, led by Great Prince Yrkovna, sought to enrich themselves at the cost of the nation. Ayn demonstrated her wrath in a series of public executions, including that of Yrkovna, who thought himself above the law. She also stripped his surviving family of their noble title and seized their wealth, using a portion of it to redress wrongs done by the family. Ayn reclaimed the Khadorstred volozk for her family and now governs it personally. Word of this action did much to magnify her considerable popularity among the masses.
Near the end of the Llaelese War, Ayn receives news of a caravan of recently converted Khadoran Menites leaving the Motherland for the Protectorate of Menoth. Encouraged by the High Kommand, the Queen sends word to Kommander Orsus Zoktavir and requests assistance in reminding her people of the consequences of treason. The Butcher kills all the pilgrims, then stacks their skulls on a barge down to the Protectorate as a message.
After the successful conquest of Llael, Ayn Vanar called the Motherland’s elite to Korsk as she prepared to usher in a new age. Military officers, heads of noble families, and leaders of both the Menite and Morrowan faiths bore witness as she declared herself empress of the new Khadoran Empire on the 16th of Tempen in 606 AR. Empress Ayn Vanar thus publicly reaffirmed her commitment to defeat every enemy that threatened her nation and to crush any that would stand in the way of its rightful claims.
As Gurvaldt Irusk prepares an assault on the Cygnaran fortress of Northguard, Ayn comes to Ravensgard at his behest. Irusk asks her to witness his victory so he could deliver Northguard to her hands. After a crushing defeat, she gives him a cruel and scathing accusation of, among others, wasting the lives of his men, and makes it clear to him that she'd accept nothing less than victory. She orders her nation’s greatest general to take the fortress or be forgotten by history.
Returning to Korsk, Ayn summons Irusk again and promotes him to the rank of Supreme Kommandant. She presents this rank to him as a challenge delivered to hammer home the nail of his failure. In her way, she indicated that his death would not serve as an acceptable atonement. Against the officers who oppose the idea of having a supreme kommandant set apart from the High Kommand, Ayn maintains that the High Kommand exists primarily to provide advice to the sovereign and to formulate top-level strategy, not to serve as leadership to the people fighting away in the field, a task better suited to Irusk.
After Nyss refugees flee from the north to Khador from a great catastrophe, under urging from Primarch Arius, Ayn allows the Korsk Vicarate Council to grant sanctuary to them. She gives permission to them to store a holy relic below the Katrinksa Cathedral, and to a small group of Precursor Knights from Caspia to help protect the grounds.
When Great Vizier Blaustavya presents a secret Cygnaran colossal project and proposes Ayn to meet the new danger with a colossal of their own, she decrees that not only would the Motherland field her own colossals, but the machines would be completed before Cygnar’s. The first operational colossal, called the Conquest, parades through Korsk for the benefit of the people and the empress weeks before the Cygnaran Stormwall debuts.
In 608 AR, after efforts of Great Prince Vladimir Tzepesci to unite the Umbrean people, Ayn consolidates the two smaller volozkya and single Llaelese duchy that had once been Umbrey were joined into a single massive volozkya beholden to Great Prince Tzepesci. She shrewdly makes it his responsibility to protect the occupied territory, which enables her to accommodate the High Kommand’s desire for the bulk of the Khadoran Army to remain elsewhere.
Near the end of the year, when Khador and Cygnar are currently in a truce against Cryx, Zevanna Agha, the Old Witch of Khador, pays a sudden visit to her, delivers dire pronouncements regarding Cryx and says that Ayn would regret ignoring the Thornwood. With proof of tragic calamities befalling Khardic and Khadoran sovereigns who disregarded Zevanna Agha, Ayn decides to risk her life and travel to the forsaken place, arriving in the Khadoran camp in the Thornwood to speak with King Leto Raelthorne of Cygnar.
Empress Ayn queries the value of the alliance and attempts to negotiate with Leto for more favourable terms for Khador, though during the meeting a group of Helldivers tunnel into their tent to ambush them. In the ensuing skirmish, Orsus Zoktavir nearly kills Coleman Stryker, though Ayn stays his hand and he restrains himself. Eventually both sovereigns make it out unharmed, and Ayn admits she was wrong to question the alliance.
Even as the Khadoran Army is committing fully for a final assault on the Cryxian necrofactorium, Ayn prepares for the next phase of the war by secretly seeking Irusk, Blaustavya and Aleksandra Zerkova. She tells Irusk to get ready to betray Cygnar, muster other forces to seize Armandor and Torre Torcail in Ord and Stonebridge Castle in northern Cygnar immediately after the victory over Cryx. Zerkova is ordered to escort Ayn north, ensuring her safety until she could return to Korsk, then prepare an ambush for Hierarch Severius during his return to Leryn.
Empress Ayn Vanar is a shrewd and powerful politician with ambitions deeper than the Khardic Sea. From the beginning, Ayn expressed a keen desire to return Khador to the greatness of the former Khardic Empire, a notion inherited from her grandfather and a dream of Blaustavya’s. Intent on expanding her empire, Ayn created a new and formidable army trained for a singular purpose: the conquest of western Immoren. Convinced her destiny is to rule all the Iron Kingdoms, she will go to any length and use any means to realise her ambition.
Empress Ayn Vanar has solidified her esteem in the eyes of the people through careful displays of political acumen and benevolence. She possesses a fearsome reputation not only for dealing harshly with nobles who abuse their people but also for tirelessly rooting out treachery. In addition, she deftly handles matters of religious differences in her vast nation. Though openly Morrowan, she pays considerable respect to the visgoths of the Khadoran Temple of Menoth. Her inclusion of both religions is viewed favourably by many, and she is beloved by Menite and Morrowan faithful alike. This perception has been aided by acts of considerable charity, through which she supports the efforts of both religions to tend to Khador’s poor or disenfranchised.