Ways of the Seven
The position of Valuan Emperor is hereditary and patrilineal. Upon the death of an Emperor, the Emperor’s son ascends to the throne, unless he has not reached majority and requires the aid of the Imperial Diet as a regency council. Male siblings of the Emperor are next in line for succession, followed by grandchildren and other more distant male relatives. Imperial law stipulates that if the Imperial lineage goes extinct the throne would pass to the Duke of Erathir and his dynasty.
If an Emperor dies due to violence or accident, the Grand Hierophants of Avandra and the Patriarch of Erathis convene to perform a ritual to hold council with the Goddesses and determine if it is their will that the Emperor be brought back to life. The likelihood of receiving the gods’ permission to resurrect the Emperor generally depends on the quality of the Emperor’s deeds in life and the circumstances of his death. An Emperor who dies of old age or other natural causes is never resurrected.
Dead Emperors lie in state in a grand mausoleum in the Imperial Tower in Avandras for three days following their deaths, during which time priests lead public mourning and adoration of the body. Following this period, the Emperor’s heir, the Patriarch of Erathis, and the Primate Heirophoant of Avandra sail to the Isle of Thrones to send the Emperor to his long rest.
The Isle of Thrones is a tiny island in the Gulf of Harask, off the coast of Avandras. A magnificent marble shrine takes up most of the island, and contains the entrance to a massive shaft into the earth. Around the border of the shaft are carved balconies connected by a spiraling staircase. On the circular balconies are hundreds of carved stone thrones dating back to the early days of the Valuan Empire. The bones of every Emperor ever to rule Valua are seated on a throne here, dressed in the regalia of their rulership. At present, 56 thrones are occupied, but hundreds await future Emperors. Each occupied throne contains a thorough carved record of the Emperor’s name, parents, offspring, and notable deeds, as well as the time and place of his birth and death. This final resting place is commonly referred to as an Emperor’s “Eternal Throne,” and “ascending the Eternal Throne” or “going to the Isle” are common euphemisms for an Emperor’s death.
Only the Imperial Heir and the two leaders of the Imperial Cults are permitted to set foot on the island. The rites performed as the Emperor’s body is borne to its throne and placed upon it are known only to those individuals and are shrouded in secrecy.