The man who would be Emperor of all Tamriel
was born Thoriz Pelagius Septim, a prince of the royal family
of Wayrest in 3E 119 at the end of the glorious reign of his
uncle, Antiochus I. Wayrest had been showered by much preference
during the years before Pelagius' birth, for King Magnus was
Antiochus' favorite brother.
It is hard to say when Pelagius' madness first
manifested itself, for, in truth, the first ten years of his
life were marked by such insanity in the land itself. When
Pelagius was just over a year old, Antiochus died and a daughter,
Kintyra, assumed the throne to the acclaim of all. Kintyra
II was Pelagius' cousin and an accomplished mystic and sorceress.
If she had sufficient means to peer into the future, she would
have surely fled the palace.
The story of the War of the Red Diamond has
been told in many other scholarly journals, but as most historians
agree, Kintyra II's reign was usurped by her and Pelagius'
cousin Uriel, by the power of his mother, Potema -- the so-called
wolf queen of Solitude. The year after her coronation, Kintyra
was trapped in Glenpoint and imprisoned in the Imperial dungeons
All of Tamriel exploded into warfare as Prince
Uriel took the throne as Uriel III, and High Rock, because
of the imprisoned Empress' presence there, was the location
of some of the bloodiest battles. Pelagius' father, King Magnus,
allied himself with his brother Cephorus against the usurper
Emperor, and brought the wrath of Uriel III and Queen Potema
down on Wayrest. Pelagius, his brothers and sisters, and his
mother Utheilla fled to the Isle of Balfiera. Utheilla was
of the line of Direnni, and her family manse is still located
on that ancient isle even to this day.
There is thankfully much written record of
Pelagius' childhood in Balfiera recorded by nurses and visitors.
All who met him described him as a handsome, personable boy,
interested in sport, magic, and music. Even assuming diplomats'
lack of candor, Pelagius seemed like, if anything a blessing
to the future of the Septim Dynasty.
When Pelagius was eight, Cephorus slew Uriel
III at the Battle of Ichidag and proclaimed himself Emperor
Cephorus I. For the next ten years of his reign, Cephorus
battled Potema. Pelagius' first battle was the Siege of Solitude,
which ended with Potema's death and the final end of the war.
In gratitude, Cephorus placed Pelagius on the throne of Solitude.
As king of Solitude, Pelagius' eccentricities
of behavior began to be noticeable. As a favorite nephew of
the Emperor, few diplomats to Solitude made critical commentary
about Pelagius. For the first two years of his reign, Pelagius
was at the very least noted for his alarming shifts in weight.
Four months after taking the throne, a diplomat from Ebonheart
called Pelagius "a hale and hearty soul with a heart
so big, it widens his waist"; five months after that,
the visiting princess of Firsthold wrote to her brother that
"the king's gripped my hand and it felt like I was being
clutched by a skeleton. Pelagius is greatly emaciated, indeed."
Cephorus never married and died childless
three years after the Siege of Solitude. As the only surviving
sibling, Pelagius' father Magnus left the throne of Wayrest
and took residence at the Imperial City as the Emperor Magnus
I. Magnus was elderly and Pelagius was his oldest living child,
so the attention of Tamriel focused on Sentinel. By this time,
Pelagius' bizarrities were becoming infamous.
There are many legends about his acts as King
of Sentinel, but few well documented cases exist. It is known
that Pelagius locked the young princes and princesses of Silvenar
in his room with him, only releasing them when an unsigned
Declaration of War was slipped under the door. When he tore
off his clothes during a speech he was giving at a local festival,
his advisors apparently decided to watch him more carefully.
On the orders of Magnus, Pelagius was married to the beautiful
heiress of an ancient Dark Elf noble family, Katariah Ra'athim.
Nordic kings who marry Dark Elves seldom improve
their popularity. There are two reasons most scholars give
for the union. Magnus was trying to cement relations with
Ebonheart, where the Ra'athim clan hailed. Ebonheart's neighbor,
Mournhold, had been a historical ally of the Empire since
the very beginning, and the royal consort of Queen Barenziah
had won many battles in the War of the Red Diamond. Ebonheart
had a poorly-kept secret of aiding Uriel III and Potena.
The other reason for the marriage was more
personal: Katariah was as shrewd a diplomat as she was beautiful.
If any creature was capable of hiding Pelagius' madness, it
On the 8th of Second Seed, 3E 145, Magnus
I died quietly in his sleep. Jolethe, Pelagius' sister took
over the throne of Solitude, and Pelagius and Katariah rode
to the Imperial City to be crowned Emperor and Empress of
Tamriel. It is said that Pelagius fainted when the crown was
placed on his head, but Katariah held him up so only those
closest to the thrones could see what had happened. Like so
many Pelagius stories, this cannot be verified.
Pelagius III never truly ruled Tamriel. Katariah
and the Elder Council made all the decisions and only tried
to keep Pelagius from embarassing all. Still, stories of Pelagius
III's reign exist.
It was said that when the Argonian ambassador
from Blackrose came to court, Pelagius insisted on speaking
in all grunts and squeaks, as that was the Argonian's natural
It is known that Pelagius was obsessed with
cleanliness, and many guests reported waking to the noise
of an early-morning scrubdown of the Imperial Palace. The
legend of Pelagius while inspecting the servants' work, suddenly
defecating on the floor to give them something to do, is probably
When Pelagius began actually biting and attacking
visitors to the Imperial Palace, it was decided to send him
to a private asylum. Katariah was proclaimed regent two years
after Pelagius took the throne. For the next six years, the
Emperor stayed in a series of institutions and asylums.
Traitors to the Empire have many lies to spread
about this period. Whispered stories of hideous experiments
and tortures performed on Pelagius have almost become accepted
as fact. The noble lady Katariah became pregnant shortly after
the Emperor was sent away, and rumors of infidelity and, even
more absurd, conspiracies to keep the sane Emperor locked
away ran amok. As Katariah proved, her pregnancy came about
after a visit to her husband's cell. With no other evidence,
as loyal subjects, we are bound to accept the Emperess' word
on the matter. Her second child, who would reign for many
years as Uriel IV, was the child of her union with her consort
Lariate, and publicly acknowledged as such.
On a warm night in Suns Dawn, in his 34th
year, Pelagius III died after a brief fever in his cell at
the Temple of Kynareth in the Isle of Betony. Katariah I reigned
for another forty six years before passing the scepter onto
the only child she had with Pelagius, Cassynder.
Pelagius' wild behavior has made him perversely
dear to the province of his birth and death. The 2nd of Suns
Dawn, which may or may not be the anniversary of his death
(records are not very clear) is celebrated at Mad Pelagius,
the time when foolishness of all sorts is encouraged. And
so, one of the least desirable Emperors in the history of
the Septim Dynasty, has become one of the most famous ones.
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