A Brief History of the Sons of Silver

The Sons of Silver

Political History

Although their name has become synonymous with intrigue, conspiracy, and assassination, it could be argued that for the first five centuries of their existence as imperial bodyguards, the Sons of Silver were, on the whole, a positive for the Empire of Ishtul. During this time they mostly removed (or, to be more exact, allowed the removal of) cruel, weak, corrupt, and unpopular emperors while generally supporting strong and popular rulers; especially emperors with a strong martial leaning. By protecting strong, centrally organized monarchs (thus extending their reigns), and by keeping disorders of the common mobs, as well as the intrigues of powerful, wealth aristocrats in line, the Sons helped give the empire a much needed stability. This stability allowed the initial expansion of the Ishtii Empire, as well as provided a core cadre to protect valuable cities and territories during turbulent times in Imperial history.

Only after the reign of Yzarpur III, whose death triggered the Imperial Crisis, did the Sons begin to deteriorate into the ruthless, mercenary and meddling force for which they have become infamous. It is druing the Crisis, primarially under the Adventurer Emperors that the Sons reached the nadir of their prestige. With the passing of the Crisis, the Sons found new life in the restructured and reconstituted Empire. The profound changes in the institutions, society, economic, and eventually, religious life that marked the resurgent Empire spurred a renaissance across the human world - the Sons included. It is these changes that have led some historians to consider this revitalization a New Empire and some to regard the societal restructuring as the dividing line between the historical periods of the Classical Empire and the Late Empire.

The Sons were seldom as active during the two centuries of peace and prosperity. The days of the Emperor riding into battle, the Sons flanking him, were over. The Emperor under the Csetiphon Dynasty rarely fought on any of the Empire’s frontiers. Instead the period is marked by a consolidation of territory without the previous, and to some over, expansion of Ishtii. It is here that the order began to turn inward becoming decidedly more monastic and less martial. After the reign of Decian the Half-Elf, the Sons faded into the background politically and militarily.

It was the civil wars from 748 to 812 that again brought the Sons influence. Under the Fifteenth Master the Sons began to side with various factions of the crumbling Empire. However, unlike the Crisis-era Sons, these alliances were formed based on principles and politics as opposed to opportunity and avarice. The Sons formed the core of the Imperial strike force under Milvian and fought in battles against usurpers and alternative claimants to the throne. The Sons were nearly wiped out during the Battle of the Dragon Bridge; it was only the mercy and reverence shown by Aurelian (who won control of the Empire after the battle) that the Sons survived.

The Empire’s disintegration after the Aurelian dynasty limited the Sons newly gained influence to the splinter of Imperial territory held around Ishtul. The Sons do not prominently figure into the history of the Empire until the re-conquests of Justus II. It was during the invasions of the kingdoms surrounding the Sea of Grass that the Sons once again provided military and intelligence support to the Imperial Army. The short-lived gains of Justus were soon, however, wiped out during the Hordic conquests (c. 977 and 1020). The Sons performed admirably during the Siege of Freeport.

After the Horde finally sundered the human world with the fall of Nimocadia, the Empire was essentially divided into several independent kingdoms. The Sons were allied with the Ravenal line centered on Ishtul and the Central Sea. The grandson of Ravenal, Kharzorus the Exarch of Ishtul reduced the status of the Sons; they were no longer to be part of palace life, as Khazorus constantly moved his capital during his three decades of conquest. Two new groups, the Cudgel and Cuthbert (named after St. Cuthbert, the official state religion of the Exarch), replaced the Sons as the personal protectors of the emperors, a practice that remained intact with the Exarchy. By the time Khazorus left the newly re-conquered Northern Empire to his heirs the Sons had become only a minor order, renowned for their history and asceticism as opposed to their military and political influence.