Garkeh Khanid (born 22972 AD), better known by his regnal name Khanid II, is the current sovereign of the Khanid Kingdom and head of the Khanid Family. Prior to the ascension of Heideran VII to the Imperial Throne of the Amarr Empire, he was one of the Amarr Heirs, but refused to commit Shathol'Syn upon his defeat and rebelled to found his eponymous kingdom.
Garkeh was born in 22972 AD as the first son of the Khanid Heir. From an early age, he was groomed to take over for his father. Proving to be a charismatic child and a natural leader, his father nurtured his ambition and drive while also ensuring he received the best schooling in religion, military strategy, and politics. He seemed to excel in all areas of leadership, earning his position as Heir presumptive.
When his father died in 23033 AD, Garkeh claimed his position as Heir and was subsequently made the Grand Admiral of the Amarr Navy. One of his first acts was promoting his brother Dakos to Admiral of the 3rd Fleet, a fleet with much history among the Khanid Family. He made similar promotions throughout the Navy, carefully placing commanders loyal to him in positions of importance, while slowly shuffling off those who might challenge his authority to dangerous or unimportant posts.
Life as an Heir
Much of Garkeh's time as an Heir was spent overseeing the expansive Amarr Navy. In those days, the Empire's main threat came from piracy, heretics, and disunified Minmatar terrorists. As Grand Admiral, he was a very hands-on commander-in-chief, often leading the charge against threatening elements in his flagship. This, coupled with his careful promotions, won him widespread loyalty within the Navy. Soon, the Khanid Family dominated the Amarr Navy from the top down, making Garkeh the most powerful and influential Heir in the Empire.
Garkeh wielded his influence openly and without restraint. He often used his power to get his way, claiming rich systems, favorable trade agreements, and placing his underlings in positions of strength. Thanks to his charisma, he was able to keep his enemies constantly off balance, playing them against each other while picking up the scraps in the fallout.
When the emperor died in 23041 AD, Garkeh was widely assumed to be the one who would win the throne. However, the succession trial did not go his way. To the surprise of many, Heideran Kador, claimed victory and ascended to the throne instead.
Schism from the Amarr Empire
Despite imperial law demanding Garkeh forfeit his life in ritual suicide, the young Heir famously refused to do so. He immediately challenged the validity of the succession trials and, when his objections were denied, famously declared, "I will not be ordered by some whimpering fool to destroy myself when my work is unfinished. You will not take anything from me, not my kingdom, not my people and least of all my life." He called on his loyal followers to rally about him. He confiscated one of the Empire's two Titans, took a third of the Navy which remained loyal to him, and withdrew to the Khanid region to fortify his holdings.
Soon after, he declared his domains the sovereign Khanid Kingdom, named himself King Khanid II (posthumously promoting his father to the position of King Khanid I), and dared the Empire to dispute him. At the time, Emperor Heideran VII was busy strengthening his own hold on the Imperial Throne, while the other four royal families were busy inducting new Heirs and getting their own affairs in order. Coupled with the defection of a large portion of the Navy, the Empire was in no position to attempt to put down the rebellion.
In an effort to hold the fracturing Empire together, the Theology Council gave Khanid II a chance to explain himself. In response, Khanid II sent the Council an inverted Imperial Seal in Khanid Family colors. The Theology Council interpreted this as meaning he considered man's law (ie. his own) to be more important than God's law, and thus a direct challenge to their own authority. Whatever Khanid's intent, he adopted the symbol as his royal seal.
For the first year of Khanid II's reign, the Kingdom was unified behind him. However, behind the scenes his brother Dakos secretly gathered support against him. In 23042 AD, Dakos declared himself the true Heir to the Khanid Family and rose up in rebellion against his brother. He had gathered the support of a large number of the Holders under Khanid's rule.
The war was hard fought in the beginning, with Dakos's fleets making significant gains against Khanid's forces while suffering heavy losses. Eventually, the war bogged down into a stalemate. Dakos massed his forces for a final push into the heart of the Kingdom, but before he could, he was assassinated by his adopted son Luxian, who had been turned to Khanid II's side during captivity. With Dakos's death, the remnants of his forces fell apart.
Dakos's rebellion had two important lasting effects on the Kingdom. The first, and perhaps most significant, was that the Royal Khanid Navy was hardened by the crucible of war, allowing it to stand firm when the Empire finally invaded. Secondly, in an effort to stave off future coup attempts by his family, Khanid II demanded all women and children of the lesser branches live in the royal palace alongside him, ostensibly as guests, to act as hostages and insurance against future rebellion.
Rule over the Khanid Kingdom
The Khanid Kingdom in many ways resembles the Amarr Empire. The caste system is intact - the Holders still reign as the social elite. The governmental structure and administration are all but identical, the only difference being the lack of checks-and-balances that many entrenched institutions and local barons exercise within the Empire. Khanid II is in name the undisputed leader of his realm, but in practice a number of magnates and Holders share or dilute this power. Khanid II has proven to be a somewhat hands-off ruler on the issue of slavery, allowing his Holders to rule in what manner they see fit. Additionally, as there is no Theology Council or centralized religious authority in the Kingdom aside from the King, the Kingdom Holders assume many of the duties undertaken by the priesthood in the Empire.
He personally can be counted as more lackadaisical and secular than the typical Amarr. This comes partly from that he redefined the position between God and man in a new way, and partly because he and the Kingdom embraces technology, including cloning, much more willingly than the Empire.
His policies can be described as an attempt to modernize the Khanid economy and society, which many claim to be highly successful. Socially, the Kingdom is widely considered far more dynamic and robust than the Empire. He has pushed for open trade with outsiders, particularly with the Caldari State, whom have become close allies of the Kingdom as a result. Over the centuries, the two have grown so close that many outsiders describe the Kingdom as a surreal mix of the Empire and the State.
Relations with the Empire
In the early years, Khanid II held a very hostile view of the Empire, which reciprocated the feelings. Khanid II openly coveted the Imperial Throne, but was also cognizant of the shortcomings of his smaller military. Though the Empire's invasions of the Kingdom were turned back by his more tactically sound fleet, he realized the advantages of fighting defensively would prove disastrous if he attempted a direct invasion of the Empire.
Instead, as the Empire lost interest in reclaiming the Kingdom's territory, Khanid II was content to allow the two nations to settle into an uneasy peace. When the disastrous Amarr-Jove War and subsequent Minmatar Rebellion occurred in the Empire, Khanid briefly saw a chance to invade, but for unknown reasons failed to grasp it. Eventually, Khanid II became a signatory to the CONCORD treaty, which brought the Kingdom into general alignment with the Empire.
As the influence of the nascent Minmatar Republic and potential hostile Gallente Federation grew, Khanid II found his interests aligning more and more closely with those of the Empire. The two settled into a cold, but comfortable peace. As Khanid II began to relax his grip over the Kingdom, a political movement known as the Khanid Unionists began to emerge, advocating a full reconciliation between the two Amarr nations. While true reconciliation seemed impossible, Khanid II and Heideran VII famously put aside their old grudges to sign a Treaty of Perpetual Friendship near the end of Heideran's life; a treaty later reaffirmed by Doriam II.
Following Jamyl I's ascension to the Imperial Throne in YC110, Khanid II began a series of negotiations with the Tash-Murkon Family to widen his influence in the Empire. The two entered into several lucrative trade agreements, which led the Tash-Murkon to rescuing a Khanid transport from piracy. Subsequently, the king bade his trade ministry assist in the negotiation of the Caldari-Amarr Economic Stimulus Agreement.
In late December YC110, Khanid II ordered the Royal Navy to begin assaulting numerous Blood Raider targets within their borders. The scope of the attack was larger even than the Empire's ejection of the Covenant from the Bleak Lands, leading many to wonder at the purpose. Though the Kingdom insisted the attacks were simply an effort to stem the spread of heresy, days after the offensive, the Empire announced that the Kingdom had captured its traitorous former Court Chamberlain Dochuta Karsoth. Khanid II quickly turned him over to Imperial authorities.
On May 26th, YC111, the Khanid Royal 1st Fleet, the personal escorts of King Khanid II, crossed into Imperial space. The fleet was immediately met by ships from the Amarr Navy, which took up escort positions. The group traveled to Tash-Murkon Prime, where Khanid II met personally with Heir Catiz Tash-Murkon. They revealed that the meeting was planned and that it was the beginning of a "new era for the Amarr Empire." The two held closed-door meetings for several days, before the king departed for Amarr Prime where he was met personally by Empress Jamyl I. The meeting was the first between the two heads of state and the first time Khanid II had set foot on Amarr Prime since his rebellion.
After several days of meetings between the empress and king, the five heirs were called to a full Privy Council meeting. This meeting also extended over several days, interrupted only by the sudden departure of Yonis Ardishapur, who left his nephew Arim behind to act in his stead.
On June 7th, Jamyl I made a historic announcement, officially granting the Khanid Kingdom a full seat on the Privy Council. Given partially in return for the Kingdom's assistance in capturing Dochuta Karsoth, the Kingdom in turn agreed to acknowledge Jamyl I as the empress of Amarr. The Kingdom remained independent, but entered into a mutual defense pact with the Empire.
Despite his advanced age, Khanid II remains in fair health and publicly appears to be relatively youthful. Though it has never been publicly acknowledged, rumors claim Khanid II has abandoned the precept of Sacred Flesh and has undergone therapeutic cloning to extend his youth. How much of this rumor is truth and how much can be attributed to the legendary longevity of the Khanid Heirs is up to debate.
Though he has apparently discarded some of the traditional Imperial trappings, Khanid II has retained some stereotypically Amarr habits which have drawn the ire of many outsiders. Of particular note is his possession of a former Gallente pop star as a personal slave. The Gallente Federation has, on numerous occasions, attempted to have her freed to no avail.
Though Khanid II has the right to attend Privy Council meetings in person, he frequently sends a delegate in his stead. This is not an uncommon occurrence among the Heirs, but it has still drawn some criticism, as the seat has only been recently granted. Similarly, the exact rights granted by the seat remain murky, with observers unsure if it grants him and his family a claim to the throne in the event of need for a future succession trials.