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"EVENTUALLY, AND AFTER MANY WARS, THE LANDS OF SIGMAR DID DIVIDE INTO TWO PARTS. There were those Counts who did follow the Ottilian Emperors of Talabecland, the descendants of Empress Ottilia, and there were those who continued to choose an Emperor from their own number, who called themselves the Electorate Emperors. This division can be traced to the time of Empress Ottilia in the years following 1360. There stands yet an ancient and most worn statue of the Empress in the marketplace at Talabheim which depicts her with her consort, the river god Taal, whom the people of that town venerate even above the Lord Sigmar himself, for such is their impudence."
Excerpt from Old Reikhard's Almanac. Parte II, by Reikhard of Gotham[3a]

Ottilia was the Grand Duchess (Elector Countess) of Talabecland in the Age of Wars that followed the assassination of Emperor Mandred Skavenslayer, and proclaimed herself Empress in 1360 IC without election, founding the dynasty of the Ottilian Emperors.[7a][7b]

History

After Mandred Skavenslayer's death at the hands of a Skaven assassin in 1152 the Elector Counts failed to reach a decision as to who should be the new Emperor. Personal rivalries, conflicting ambitions and petty jealousy drove them apart.[1a][2a][6a][7a][7b]

In 1359 IC, after years of deliberation, the Grand Duke of Stirland was named the new Emperor and crowned in Nuln.[7b] Since he was an obvious Sigmarite pawn and long-standing enemy of Talabecland, Grand Duchess Ottilia felt she had finally had enough, and after consulting the Cult of Taal, began to make preparations. Ottilia approached the Ar-Ulric with claims that she had proof that all Sigmarites were heretics, and that Sigmar was no God after all. The so-called vision of the hermit all those years ago had been completely misinterpreted - Sigmar had not been deified, it was just a sign that his reign had been blessed by Ulric himself. This suited the High Priest's political ambitions very nicely, as a conflict had sparked between him and Graf Heinrich of Middenland[4a], and he happily accepted her invitation to move his cult to Talabheim. Ottilia welcomed the Ar-Ulric to the Eye of the Forest, and the Ulrican cult claimed all Sigmarites were heretics after viewing Ottilia's fallacious evidence. Ottilia then banned the cult in her lands; Sigmar's temples were desecrated and his priests pursued by Witch Hunters.[1a][5a] This is also said to have been done in retaliation for the Stirlander Count's taxes on the Cult of Ulric.[4a]

When Talabecland then declared itself independent from the Empire, and Ottilia claimed the title of Empress without election, being crowned in 1360 IC[1a][2a][3a][4a][4b][6a][7a][7b] by the Ar-Ulric just as Sigmar had been, the other Grand Provinces were stunned. They were even more stunned when Ottilia marched an army from her unassailable bastion of Talabheim and destroyed the numerically superior force the Stirlander Emperor had sent north to quell her rebellion at the Battle of the Talabec. Her statement made, she withdrew to impregnable Talabheim, and war raged all around her.[5a]

Meanwhile, the elected Emperor continued to hold court in Nuln, and attempted to wage war on the "blasphemous she-devil" in Talabheim. But the Emperor was himself under attack from Middenland and years of civil wars had taken their toll on the Empire's many armies.[1a] From here on the private wars of the Empire took a religious tone, with Sigmarite provinces clashing with Ulrican ones as the two thrones struggled for power, though it was not uncommon for other provinces to side with their ostensible enemies for short-term gain.[4a] Although successive emperors tried, none could break the crater walls of the Taalbaston, and Talabheim never fell.[5a]

The result was a stalemate which lasted for nearly 800 years. During this time Ottilia passed her "crown" to her descendants, while "true" Emperors were still chosen by elections held in Nuln.[1a] In effect, Talabecland had ceded from the Empire, and was joined at various times by other provinces that were dissatisfied with the current elected Emperor. The Court at Talabheim became a natural refuge for enemies of the Elector Count of Stirland.[2a] Thus the Ottilian Emperors (as they would come to be known) would rule Talabecland until Magnus the Pious finally reunited them with the Empire in 2304 IC.[5a]

Sources

  • 1Warhammer Fantasy RPG 1st Ed.: Enemy Within
    • 1a pp. 10-11
  • 2Warhammer Armies: The Empire (4th Edition)
  • 3Warhammer Armies: The Empire (6th Edition)
    • 3a pg. 59
  • 4Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd Ed.: Sigmar's Heirs
    • 4a pg. 17
    • 4b pg. 21
  • 5Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd Ed.: Tome of Salvation
    • 5a pg. 19
  • 6Warhammer Armies: The Empire (7th Edition)
    • 6a pg. 10
  • 7Warhammer Armies: The Empire (8th Edition)

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