Prince of Nothing

Ikurei Xerius III was the Emperor of Nansur from 4081 until his assassination in 4112 (Year-of-the-Tusk). He is infamous for attempting to usurp the Holy War to his own ends using his Imperial Indenture.

Appearance and personality[]

Xerius is paranoid, superstitious and excessively proud of himself—arrogant to the point of thinking himself divine.[1][2]


The Darkness That Comes Before[]

Ikurei Xerius III hatches an intricate plot to secure any lands conquered by the Holy War for the Nansur Empire. Much of what was then called heathen Kian once belonged to the Nansur, and recovering the Empire’s lost provinces is Xerius’s most fervent desire. Since the Holy War gathers in the Nansur Empire, it can march only if provisioned by the Emperor, something he refuses to do until every leader of the Holy War signs his Indenture, a written oath to cede all lands conquered to him. The first caste-nobles to arrive repudiate the Indenture, and a stalemate ensues. As the Holy War’s numbers swell into the hundreds of thousands, however, the titular leaders of the host begin to grow restless. Since they war in the God’s name, they think themselves invincible, and as a result see little reason to share the glory with those yet to arrive. A Conriyan noble named Nersei Calmemunis comes to an accommodation with the Emperor, and convinces his fellows to sign the Imperial Indenture. Once provisioned, most of those gathered march, even though their lords and a greater part of the Holy War have yet to arrive. Because the host consists primarily of lordless rabble, it comes to be called the Vulgar Holy War.

Despite Maithanet’s attempts to bring the makeshift host to heel, it continues marching southward, and passes into heathen lands, where—precisely as the Emperor had planned—the Fanim destroy it utterly. Xerius knows that in military terms the loss of the Vulgar Holy War is insignificant, since the rabble that largely constituted it would have proven more a liability than an advantage in battle. In political terms, however, the Vulgar Holy War’s destruction is invaluable, because it has shown Maithanet and the Men of the Tusk the true mettle of their adversary. The Fanim, as the Nansur well know, are not to be trifled with, even with the God’s favour. Only an outstanding general, Xerius claims, can assure the Holy War’s victory—a man like his nephew, Ikurei Conphas, who after his recent victory over the dread Scylvendi at the Battle of Kiyuth has been hailed as the greatest tactician of his age. The leaders of the Holy War need only sign the Imperial Indenture and Conphas’s preternatural skill and insight will be theirs.

In an effort to forestall disaster Maithanet calls a Council of Great and Lesser Names, and all the leaders of the Holy War gather in the Emperor’s palace, the Andiamine Heights, to make their arguments. There Nersei Proyas shocks the assembly by offering a many-scarred Scylvendi Chieftain, a veteran of past wars against the Fanim, as a surrogate for the famed Ikurei Conphas. The Scylvendi, Cnaiür urs Skiötha, shares hard words with both the Emperor and his nephew, and the leaders of the Holy War are impressed. The Shriah’s Envoy, however, remains undecided: the Scylvendi are as apostate as the Fanim, after all. Only the wise words of Prince Anasûrimbor Kellhus of Atrithau settle the matter. The Envoy reads the decree demanding that the Emperor, under pain of Shrial Censure, provision the Men of the Tusk. And the Holy War marches.

The Warrior Prophet[]

Maithanet, the Shriah of the Thousand Temples summons Xerius to the temple of Xothei in Momemn. Maithanet asks Xerius if he has sealed a pact with the Fanim to betray the Holy War before it reaches Shimeh, Xerius lies and denies the accusation.[3]

The Thousandfold Thought[]

Xerius is killed by a skin-spy impersonating his mother, Ikurei Istriya, after the two attempt to copulate. He is succeeded by his nephew Ikurei Conphas.[4]