"No one gathers power for innocent reasons. No one ever wishes to be unopposed in order to be benevolent. There will always be opposition for those seeking to gain complete control; I will ensure it" -14th Councilmember
The 14th Councilmember is named such due to the structure of the Ashed government being that every city is governed by a council of 12 business leaders, a citizen picked by lottery, and a seat of power for the Immortal should it choose to attend. The 14th chair is often left unoccupied.
Little is known of this Immortal as it has become a recluse from the world since the end of the Great War where it received its label "the Betrayer" by the Kushanese and Circle nations by withdrawing its forces as victory over the expansionist empires seemed imminent. Historical records indicate its reasons for preventing victory of its allies were to "keep the world interesting". As a result, global peace remains elusive.
The Ashed government's official policy is that the 14th chair is reserved for this being and that it has veto power over law with the exception of unanimous vote.
The 14th is considered a historical figure by the Ashed in terms of founding the confederacy of city states. Historically speaking, Ashed texts acknowledge the 14th as the founder and political leader of the Confederacy.
The 14th when not acting out different cover personalities while blending in with mortals tends to be incredibly literal minded.
"I first mistook the 14th for a chamber servant, walking around with a tray of food in commoners clothing offering morsels to the various other assembled diplomats. When he attempted to strike up a conversation with me I dismissed him as any person of my station would, for what could an uneducated commoner know about global affairs? When he sat down in his council chair feet on the table he grinned and told me that now he knew what kind of person he was dealing with. I fear our shipment of processed goods may be a bit more expensive this quarter" (Technocracy representative, Council meeting)The 14th appears to be Ashed in bloodline. The 14th dresses in commoner's clothing of Ashed confederacy style, dark grey or blue, often tied to the body with sashes. When travelling he often carries no personal items aside from the clothing on his back and possibly some currency, preferring to start from scratch with possessions wherever he goes.
"You say I have no loyalty, and its partially true. I am not loyal to people, nations, or any other kind of organization you care to name, I am loyal to ideals. When something embodies those ideals, I will always be faithful, but I leave the moment those ideals are lost"
"I've been called inconsistent for changing my mind, and that is correct. I change my mind when I learn something new, and why shouldn't I? What kind of fool believes in the same kind of world after learning that world does not exist?The 14th has been described by many as being an agreeable if absent minded figure, being helpful, but subtly manipulative. This is described as being his "true" persona, as he adopts other identities and mannerisms while living among the Ashed people in the cities. This is partly to keep an eye on the Ashed civilization to keep it on track, partially to distract himself from the madness and despair that comes from immortal life.
The 14th holds opulence and excessive comfort with disdain, valuing utility and practicality above all. His own personal chambers in the city states being mostly bare stone rooms, he purchases the same services the citizens of the city states buy for entertainment, with currency earned from his private businesses within the city not at taxpayer expense.
"Most problems in the world are caused by the false believe that in order to win, someone else must lose"
"Everyone gets a fair chance at life, removing people from the race for nonsensical reasons only makes the world poorer as a whole"The 14th finds few things sacred and will often dismiss morality and ethics unless a logical reason for them can be provided. Though many ideas are mocked, all ideas are humored and the 14th does not dismiss anything out of hand before hearing them out.
The primary driving force of his actions seems to be to give as many people as possible the opportunity to build something for themselves without encroaching on the works and dreams of others. The 14th lauds success, but will sabotage that success if it means impoverishing others before they have had their chance to strike back. The 14th acknowledges most people are unremarkable, many will fail, and only a scarce few will truly exceed and create great and terrible things, but every human should have a fair chance at making their mark on the world even if the vast majority will not. The 14th takes steps to ensure those within his control have the ability to do so, and attacks those that seek to shape and control others' destiny before they are even born. Judgement on aspects of one's life they cannot control is a particular spot of contention.
"The worst part about the 14th is that you can never be certain what is his fault, or what is just bad luck." -Circle Immortal meeting
Within the Ashed city states
- Starting hundreds of conspiracies which subvert the authority of both councils
- Shaping the Ashed ab human race
- Posing as normal Ashed citizenry to monitor their activities
- Sabotaging monopolies and mafias
- Controlling a large portion of the Ashed economy
- Allowing the corruption and continued existence of NorthGuard in order to keep the rest of the confederacy in line
- Corrupting the council of NorthGuard personally
- Starting the Corpsebloom epidemic
- Starting the trade war
- Briefly staying at the Cathedral of the Truest King during the Tallet siege
- Creating multiple bio temples
- Sabotaging expansion efforts of Collective, Tallet, and Goran forces
- Marching 400 Ashed mercenaries into Goran territory, staying for a month and leaving for unknown reasons
"It would be impossible for someone to live that long and not leave a trail. No matter how difficult it is to follow, we will find the truth." -Private investigator journal
Within the Ashed city states
From city records of meetings and Ashed history texts, some activities can be confirmed.
- He founded the Ashed city states.
- He founded Ashed city Government and Ethics council.
- He banned lead sealant for water pipes.
- He set up the Ashed justice system.
- He killed the first council of twelve in NorthGuard prior to their secession.
Some activities are confirmed by surviving transcripts from Council of the Undying and other histories.
- He attended meetings of the Council of the Undying, occasionally acting as host.
- He wrote several texts including "Gods and Humanity," a text touting humanity's infinite potential and irrelevance of the Immortals
- He sabotaged the Enlightenment Axis during the Great war by removing Ashed forces at a critical moment in what is now called "The Great Betrayal".
Relation to other Immortals
"It's a curious thing. So many of the undying curse his existence on a daily basis, though many that are otherwise at each other's throats all welcome him into their midst." -Family hearth Historian
Gor the Fire God
"From historical records, it is clear that the Fire God is either good friends with the 14th, or the two of them are the worst of enemies"It appears that Gor spends enormous amounts of time and resources pulling various non-destructive actions against the 14th such as releasing hordes of specially-bred howler monkeys into Ashed territory that vaguely resemble the 14th. The 14th in turn performs counter actions such as putting up large sums of Ashed gold to disrupt Goran activities abroad with the condition that the bounty will be taken down if Gorr consumes an entire steel barrel filled with boiled peanuts, in this particular incident Gorr proceeded to empty the peanuts onto the floor of his chamber and began eating the barrel.
These offenses go back and forth over the centuries, punctuated with the occasional visit or summit between the two, often inviting other Immortals to join this summit. It is theorized that these are peace talks with mediators. Evidence has surfaced including ledgers that request large amounts of alcohol, various foods and entertainment that suggests these gatherings could be social meetings for the Immortals hosted by the two.
"The actions you say he has taken do not sound like the man I know. I have listened to your warnings and thank you for them. But I will go find the truth for myself" (The Stargazer to Technocracy advisors)The exhumed Stargazer after the end of the Immortal War sought out the 14th to question him regarding the actions taken during the Ashed Confederacy's brief engagement in the war. After the physical and mental rehabilitation in the Circle, she made the trip to the City states for several years before returning to the Plateau to resume her research.
Tallet God Emperor
"That is your mistake. I was never your enemy, nor am I your ally. My intervention was to stop the destruction of both you and your enemies. I would be lying however if I said I am not grateful for your company." (14th Council to the Emperor regarding the Great War)
- The Immortal Tallet Emperor exempts the 14th council from his policy of capturing Immortals and imprisoning them within the Ivory Tower. The 14th council is the only Immortal the Tallet does not declare an enemy of the Empire. He is one of two other undying that have seen the Ivory Tower and were able to leave.
- Rumors abroad hold that the Tallet empire did capture the 14th and simply released an identical actor to take his place. Other rumors suggest that the 14th is the faceless Emperor making his rounds within the empire, though these have been mostly discredited.
"The blood of countless people- my people, my family- is on his hands, and for nothing. He let millions burn for the sake of some abstract concept of balance. From now until the end of time that monster is banished from my sight." -The Phoenix regarding the 14th
- The 14th Councilmember is banished from Kushan. Should it be discovered within the walls of the country, it is to be sealed with lead and cast into the sea.
The Truest King
"It is difficult to judge such a creature. Without condoning or condemning, I and my forces will remain out of his affairs" -Truest King's decreeThe Broken Kingdom has the official policy that the 14th is welcome at the Great Cathedral providing it follows the laws of the land.
The Blood Merchant
"It is hard to judge someone whom follows their own creed. But he will always have a full glass of wine when under my roof"- The Blood Merchant in regards to the 14thWhile some other Immortals distrust the 14th, the Blood Merchant remains neutral in his dealings with him. However, this changes slightly on a personal level where on the off occasion drink together accounting tales of their people. Both the good and the bad.
"One day, we will drag him in chains before the Great Council to pay for crimes against humanity. My only concern is that generations may pass before the trials are even over."The official policy of the Circle is to capture the Immortal known as "The 14th Councilmember" and hold it responsible for all of the crimes it has committed over the course of its existence and serve its sentences. Due to its resource strain, it is unable to send out task forces against this creature, but has offered a bounty on the capture of the 14th.
- Multiple parties have claimed to have captured the 14th and set up meeting spots with Technocracy agents to collect. Every one of these meetings without fail have been traps that end in robbery.
"One would think that we could leave them to their own devices rather than try and meddle, we've done enough of that already with those closest to us"The 14th puts no restrictions on the Ashed for interacting with the mortal nations, which due to outlander companies tend to exploit them for their natural resources. However the 14th often attempts to preven the more expansionist nations from absorbing smaller nations.
"Humanity is the single most dynamic entity that has ever existed. Within them holds the potential for infinite progress, knowledge, and destruction. We may guide some of them for our own amusement, but they need to be left alone if they are to realize that they are the true gods" (14th Council, Undying transcript)
"To the Ashed he said, Let me show you how to be as the gods are, to struggle for dreams and decide what you live for. You must last, when everything fades, above all else, you must endure" (Ashed Folk lore)
"Everyone is trying to conquer the earth and put it under one flag for their own personal version of utopia. The problem with putting that much power into one throne is that eventually the worst sort of person winds up sitting on it."
"Conflict is the soul of creativity, creativity is the soul of progress"
"Paradise is only paradise because it is better than what you have now, if ever there were a perfect world, the people raised within it would be dissatisfied with their lives"
"The worst thing about our condition is that everyone assumes we immortals have some sort of mastery over death. People will beg for us to save them on their deathbeds, for if we don't perish then surely we know the secret of never dying. The sad truth is that we have no more control over death than anyone else, despite how convincing Gorr may sound at times. The only difference between us and mortals is that we have been spared for reasons unknown"
The Great Immortal War
"Between people that wish to make inconsistent kinds of worlds, there is no other remedy other than war. This was bound to happen at some point, I just wish I could have postponed it a bit longer. Let us see what we can salvage from the wreckage" (14th Councilor)
Start of the war
During the lead up to the great War, the 14th issued warnings to the various councils and liaisons within the city states to prepare for hostile actions and invasions, the city states prepared for a siege while soliciting every other nation for mercenary contracts. The warnings were always followed with "Make yourselves too valuable to attack, and too costly to take" For the first half of the war this advice served the people of Ash well before the sacking of several Ashed cities.
The 14th sent visited the heads of the other great nations, mortal and immortal in an attempt to minimize hostilities between them, many of these visits included small but significant gifts ranging from gold, favorable trade deals, finely crafted items, to high value political prisoners. This seemed to ease tensions off of the Ashed Confederacy early in the war allowing them to continue their war profiteering for decades.
Siege of the Black Cathedral
"Yes, terribly sorry regarding that war engine that's eating through your defenses. We did in fact sell that to them. Very durable, hence why your trebuchets haven't been able to bring it down, and if I remember the ledger correctly they have a few spares. But if I remember correctly there may be a way to disable it."
"Dick move sir..."During the 14ths diplomatic mission across Soi to placate the other nations and reduce aggression towards the Ashed, he found himself hosted in the cathedral fortress of the Truest King. While waiting for the King to return, Tallet forces sieged the the fortress. The 14th did as little as possible during the siege, only giving advice and attempting to stay out of the battle until the outer walls had been breached and Tallet forces flooded the cathedral, overwhelming the Kingdom defenders through brute force and numbers. When the inner sanctums were threatened and it became clear that the 14ths inaction would be taken as an act of war by the Truest King, the 14th took a more active role in the defense. With the help of the Immortal the Kingdom defenders were able to drive off the Tallet invasion force.
Tallet forces reported back of the 14ths involvement, causing hostilities between the Tallet and Ashed peoples, however due to the Tallet's reliance on Ashed goods to continue their war effort, the retaliation was delayed for decades until the eventual invasion of Ashed lands culminating in the sacking and burning of several City states.
Betrayal at Ivory Tower
"This world is balanced by the many opposing forces that dare not overreach lest the other overtake them. If I let your empire die, then the allied forces will claim the world as their own, and no one will be able to resist them. The world will be ruled by one united, unopposed force. That road of absolute power only leads to tyranny and abuse, that I will not have, and for that reason, I will save you" (14th Councilor to the God Emperor)In the final stages of the Great War, the Ashed had joined the allied nations of Kushan, Broken Kingdom, and Circle forces in ending the aggression of the Goran and Tallet forces. With the Goran devastated by the corpsebloom, and the Tallet crumbling under the combined military arms of the other great nations, the final push to the Tallet Capitol which could collapse the empire was imminent. As the allied forces of Kushan and Ashed neared the Tallet capitol, the 14th sent out a mass order to the rest of the assembled Ashed forces, commanding them to return to their cities and abandon the campaign. The assembled mercenary guilds, honoring the laws of the Confederacy and weary of the war, complied.
The Kushani forces assembled had been relying on the Ashed mercenary guilds, despite making up only 15% of the combined forces, to break the defenses of the city and assist the Kushani in directing the urban combat of taking the city. Without the Ashed specialists, the rates of casualty to the Kushani people would have been too heavy for the already ravaged country to bear. The Phoenix, leader of the Kushani, would not risk losing so many of her people to destroy the Tallet Empire, and commanded a retreat.
It is due to this action that many agree the Tallet Empire was spared destruction during the war, something the Phoenix has publicly condemned the 14th Councilor for, banning his entry to Kushan until the end of time, and provoking hostilities between Kushan and the Ashed cities. The Tallet Emperor has since withdrawn the bounty of capture specifically for the 14th, and has hosted him several times in the centuries afterwards.
"All the undying are disappearing from the world. Many were driven into hiding, others lost entire nations after the war and went mad from the loss, some simply lost faith in the world and spend their time trying to be rid of it. The 14th though, was never in the world fully to begin with. He's out there, hiding in plain sight, living among the mortals, pretending to be one of them. Sometimes he even forgets who he is for a while and is at peace" (Ashed Liason to the 14th)The 14th in the current era spends most of his time living in secret within the Ashed city states, working various jobs, starting families, and eventually leaving once his family is grown and it is inevitably discovered who he is lest he fake his own death after several years.
Every few years, the 14th comes out of hiding to maintain a presence in each city, often bringing policy changes that are needed based on observation of living as an average citizen.