The Royal Heir Yonis Ardishapur was the head of the Ardishapur Family, one of the Five Heirs to the Amarr Throne, and the leader of the Ammatar Mandate. He was a staunch conservative and clashed behind the scenes with Empress, Jamyl I, over her policies. Thanks to his savvy mind, personal charm, and political sharpness, he carved out one of the most powerful fiefdoms in the Empire.
As the first son of the powerful heir, Yonis was groomed to take over for his father. Since Emperor Heideran VII was entering his third century of rule, it was anticipated that this day would arrive in the next few years. As such, the young lord was put under enormous pressure, spending the majority of his time in studies both religious and worldly. Despite the demands on him, Yonis proved a bright, energetic, engaging student, readily soaking up knowledge and drawing great acclaim from his father's Holders.
By his thirtieth birthday, Yonis was well prepared to step into his father's shoes. However, Emperor Heideran continued to rule in frail, but unchanging, health. This created tension within the Ardishapur Family, as Yonis had been molded to be ambitious and clever in dealings. Rumors began to circulate that the younger Ardishapur was growing dissatisfied with remaining in the shadow of his father.
In what proved to be one of the first of many diplomatically savvy moves by Yonis, he announced his intentions to study with the Speakers of Truth. By making such a move, Yonis removed himself as an immediate challenger to his father's power. Following a decade of study with the Speakers, Yonis then reemerged with his father's blessings and took on a more active role in the Family's affairs. He frequently stood in for his father during court and made judgments on his behalf that were well regarded among his Holders. He also acted as a diplomat and negotiator, repeatedly proving his cunning.
It was during these years that Yonis began his fascination with collecting religious artifacts. His collection began small, but rapidly swelled, as he used his influence and familial wealth to gather some of the oldest and most prized relics. He also sponsored many archeological explorations across the cluster, many of which uncovered treasure troves of religious items. Some of these he donated to the Theology Council and museums throughout the Empire, but opinion holds he kept the choicest pieces for himself. Many of his artifacts are rumored to date back to the collapse of the EVE Gate.
Royal Heir - Early Years
In YC105, Doriam Kor-Azor won the Amarr Championships and was crowned the Emperor of the Amarr Empire. As is tradition, Idonis then committed the ritual suicide of Shathol'Syn. Yonis immediately stepped in and consolidated his power in his holdings, with his Holders universally pledging their dedication to him in a traditional loyalty ceremony. Yonis refused any gifts given to him to celebrate his ascension, preferring to earn such platitudes by his own merits rather than the death of his father.
Early in his reign, Ardishapur proved willing to step into controversy in order to maintain the religious path of the Empire. Following the Tal-Romon cathedral incident caused by Aritcio Kor-Azor, Yonis publicly voiced his displeasure with his fellow heir and demanded an investigation by Doriam II. He was further outraged when the holy site was purchased by the Tash-Murkon Family, who planned to turn it into a tourist attraction. He and Uriam Kador met privately to discuss the matter, forming the beginning of a steady alliance between the two houses.
It seemed that Yonis received his way when Doriam II seized control of the cathedral and made it his personal property. However, there were whispers that such drastic intervention directly against one of the Heirs had caused Yonis worry. In recognition of Doriam's newly extended power, Yonis avoided conflict with his fellow heirs for some time after.
In the same year, he had his family express displeasure at a Quafe Ultra ad that he felt blasphemously portrayed the cathedral at Dam-Torsad.
When Doriam II was assassinated in YC107, Yonis pledged much of the Family's manpower to discovering the killer. However, his efforts were rebuked by Chamberlain Karsoth and CONCORD, who preferred to conduct their own investigation without outside intervention.
Yonis privately pushed for another Amarr Championships to be held without delay. However, he found reluctance from his fellow Heirs, who had all just recently come into power. Aritcio Kor-Azor and Catiz Tash-Murkon were especially against it, and Uriam Kador proved noncommittal on the subject. Additionally, House Sarum had yet to name an Heir, leaving a power vacuum that needed to be filled before a new Emperor could be named. Chamberlain Karsoth also pushed against the crowning of an Emperor soon after the death of Doriam II, stating that the Empire could not stand having an Emperor while the killer of the previous one remained at large.
The stonewalling from his fellow Heirs embittered Yonis, who had no choice but to accede to their wishes. This strained his relationship with Uriam Kador, whom Yonis began to view as weak-willed and incapable of making decisions on his own.
In the following years, Yonis had little choice but to attend to his own domains, ensuring their stability and prosperity while the rest of the Empire struggled leaderless.
Return of Jamyl Sarum
By the middle of YC109, the lack of an Emperor had ignited passions across the Empire. Capsuleer loyalist alliances, along with masses of commoners, protested directly to Chamberlain Karsoth about the constant delaying in the proceedings. Yonis Ardishapur spoke briefly to the Amarr News Service about the matter, stating that he was in favor of Championship trials as long as they remained racially pure; he did not want foreigners to decide the fate of the Empire.
During the Elder Invasion in YC110, Ardishapur space was mostly spared. While the Kador and Kor-Azor regions were suffering heavy losses, Ardishapur's defense fleets moved quickly into position to drive off invaders. In the end, the Elder Fleet never reached Ardishapur's holdings, as they were routed in Sarum Prime by the return of Jamyl Sarum.
Yonis joined his fellow Heirs in Dam-Torsad to discuss the mysterious return of Jamyl from the dead. Yonis believed Jamyl to be a heretic had who violated the tenets of the Shathol'Syn and Sacred Flesh by cloning herself. However, the other Heirs stood in opposition to him, with Uriam Kador displaying more indecision by allowing himself to be swayed by Catiz and Aritcio. Outnumbered three-to-one, and knowing that the Empire would hail Jamyl as a savior, Yonis gave in with disgust and chose to bide his time until he could act against this heresy.
Despite his objections, Yonis was chosen to release word that the Heirs had chosen Jamyl to accept the throne. As the most devout of the Heirs, it was believed his voice would carry the most weight with any who would object. Yonis, however, viewed the matter privately as a massive insult.
After the Theology Council affirmed the Heirs' desires, Yonis departed hastily without speaking. A spokesman gave a brief statement on his behalf which did little to praise the new Empress.
Following Empress Jamyl I's coronation, she vowed to "return what others give to the Empire". In response, Yonis announced a massive public works campaign within his domains. He leveraged a portion of his family's wealth to construct hundreds of schools, cathedrals, and monuments. In announcing the project, he made pointed reference to religious laws, which some viewed as a veiled attack on Jamyl's legitimacy.
Ruler of the Ammatar Mandate
In a surprising move, Jamyl I placed the Ammatar Mandate under the vassalage of the Ardishapur Family, essentially integrating the quasi-independent state into the Empire. Publicly, the move was made in response to Ardishapur's Public Works program, as the Empress felt Yonis would be the most capable of rebuilding the shattered Mandate.
Privately, it was rumored that the Empress was placing an albatross around Ardishapur's neck. Ardishapur's public statements, while never openly criticizing the Empress, were frequently found to have subtext challenging her rule. The Empress likely believed that Ardishapur would flounder in the Mandate: Either his religious conservatism would lead to clashes with the Ammatar people, or he would neglect the territory, thus weakening his own stance within the Empire. Seditious elements within the Mandate shared these beliefs.
In the beginning, it seemed their expectations would be fulfilled, as Yonis began moving lesser Holders from his traditional domains and putting them in vacant leadership positions in the Mandate. Yonis himself disabused notions that he was going to take the title of Governor, saying he was searching for the proper candidate.
Update of the Ammatar Fleet
He followed this by arresting Admiral Einkur Aro, the head of the Ammatar Fleet, on charges of treason, dereliction of duty, and failure to prevent mutiny - actions that spread fear he would begin a purge of the Fleet's leadership. To the shock of many, the Admiral pled guilty to the charges. He was sentenced to death, while his family was to be enslaved for his crimes.
Yonis continued his consolidation of power by appointing the head of his security forces, Admiral Hastar Jibril, as the new head of the Ammatar Fleet. The portion of the heir's personal fleet under Jibril's command was likewise integrated into the Fleet's forces, in order to bolster the decimated forces of the Mandate. Some considered this a savvy move on Yonis's part, as it placed the Mandate Fleet's loyalty firmly in his hand, which protected him from the Empress stripping his fleet as she did with the Kador Family's. However, the tides of concern began to turn in Yonis's favor when Admiral Jibril announced a swath of promotions through the Mandate Fleet. The vast majority of the promotions were given to veterans of Ammatar birth, particularly those who showed loyalty and bravery during the Elder Invasion.
Public works program
This was followed by Ardishapur announcing a repeat of his public works program within the Mandate. Trillions of ISK were poured into the Mandate to build schools, hospitals, cathedrals, and repairing infrastructure damaged during the Elder Invasion. The package created millions of jobs, as slave labor was unable to meet demands, and was believed to be one of the largest initiatives of such type in Empire history. The move restored the economy and won him wide acclaim in the Mandate, as people found their lives quickly improved beyond what they'd had even before the Elder Invasion.
Following the reconstruction of the Mandate's infrastructure, the focus was placed on building hospitals and religious buildings in the "Body and Soul" program. Yonis ordered the naming of a major seminary after the martyr Abel Jarek, which was viewed as a message that Minmatar converts to the Amarr religion would not be forgotten.
The rebuilding of shipyards was next on the agenda. Five shipyards on Sasta were reopened and began producing vessels for the Mandate Fleet, including a new series of "Yonis Variant" Abaddons intended for prestige patrol duty. The food production of the Mandate was restored to pre-war levels shortly after.
The reconstruction of the Mandate was considered completed when Yonis appointed an ethnic Ammatar, Ekroz Salaf, as the new Mandate Governor. This move allayed many concerns that the Ammatar would remain in subservient positions in the Mandate under Yonis's rule. Salaf's appointment helps raised morale throughout the Mandate.
Yonis gained additional acclaim when he authorized the introduction of several penal regiments for Ammatar criminals and officers dishonored during the Elder Invasion. As an alternative to slavery, these regiments allowed those serving a method of absolving their crimes.
The impact of Yonis on the Mandate went beyond rebuilding, as his influence caused the orthodox Amarr faith to supplant the Ammatar Church.
Interaction with the 24th Imperial Crusade
An archeological team sponsored by Ardishapur escaped from a contested area between the Amarr Empire and Minmatar Republic. Their dig had discovered several significant relics, the majority of which belonged to St. Anam and had been though long lost. The Saint notably founded a groundwork of religious ethics.
As a result of these findings, the final resting place of St. Aman was uncovered. However, the area was in Kourmonen, which at the time was occupied by the Tribal Liberation Force. In response, Yonis took the unusual step of commanding the 24th Imperial Crusade to retake the system. The command was a success and the Crusade reclaimed the Bleak Lands the next month. The bones of St. Aman were recovered and moved to Dakba, where Yonis made a public appearance and personally escorted them to their temporary resting place. He praised the capsuleers who aided in their retrieval and promised to reward them. In recognition, he awarded medals to pilots who fought with "particular vigor" in the engagements.
Yonis pledged significant funds to help rebuild war-torn Ezzara, which had changed hands between the Tribal Liberation Force and 24th Crusade numerous times since war broke out.
Strained Relations with the Tash-Murkon
Ardishapur suffered some small embarrassment when a Khanid convoy en route to one of his stations was ambushed by Minmatar terrorists and had to be rescued by nearby Tash-Murkon forces. He was forced to offer his personal thanks to the Tash-Murkon Family, while also insinuating that the presence of Tash-Murkon vessels near his space had caused the incident to begin with.
Yonis came under some criticism when he appointed an ultra-conservative theologian to the post of chancellor at one of his newly-opening schools. The chancellor, Derek Tanar, believed that only True Amarrians were deserving of leadership in the Empire and that all other bloodlines should remain subservient. He had particularly gathered ire for suggesting the Tash-Murkon Family be expunged from their Royal seat. Yonis distanced himself from Tanar's more controversial views, while declaring him an exemplary choice for administering the school. Some viewed this as a veiled attack on the Tash-Murkon Family by Ardishapur in response to the embarrassment he suffered at the hands of the Tash-Murkon earlier in the year.
As Ardishapur spread his influence in the Mandate, one Tash-Murkon Holder gave up his holdings and declared his intent to move to the Ammatar Mandate. The holder viewed the more conservative and faith-based leanings being promoted by Ardishapur superior to the liberalization in Tash-Murkon.
Rise in Popularity Across the Empire
Following the terrorist attack on the Theology Council station in Pashanai which led to the death of Mervan Moritok, Yonis publicly addressed the shaken Empire. He pledged to leverage his personal power to ensure such events did not occur in the Empire again.
Shortly after, Yonis announced his plans to begin an Empire-wide speaking tour. He expressed a desire to connect with the "common people" of the Empire, with a thirty-date tour planned. He began with an engagement in Dam-Torsad attended by roughly a thousand, where he urged listeners to focus on the "roots of the faith" and urged the embrace of all who follow the Amarr religion. The initial engagements did well. While some success was accorded simply to his celebrity, listeners quickly came to appreciate his message as well, and the positive reaction encouraged Yonis to extend the tour.
In an unusual move, Yonis began holding public court within his domains following each speaking engagement. While Heirs traditionally hear from their Holders and other nobles, Ardishapur admitted commoners and Holders alike to these courts. Ardishapur's rulings proved popular with his subjects, who publicly praised him.
These public courts brought some ire down on Yonis from Imperial authorities, after rumors began to circulate that he was offering judgments outside of his realm. Following a speaking engagement in Dantan in the Kador region, it was revealed that Yonis had mediated a dispute between two Holders. Though Uriam Kador was pleased with his intervention, Theology Council authorities believed the Heir had overstepped his bounds by offering his judgment in another Heir's territory.
As a result of his public courts and speaking engagement, a groundswell of support for the Heir began to rise through the Empire. Disjointed proposals for Yonis to receive more power in the Empire began to come from many sectors. Yonis displayed modesty, reminding his followers that only the Empress could grant him greater authority.
When Uriam Kador launched an incursion into Gallente Federation space, Yonis considered the act another folly of his former closely allied Heir. Privately, he distanced himself from Kador and effectively cut ties with the Kador Family.
When Jamyl I issued her emancipation decree, one Holder in the Ardishapur domains falsified records to attempt to keep his slaves. The Holder was stripped of his titles and holdings by the Theology Council and the Ardishapur Family quickly moved to replace him.
When Khanid II visited the Empire for the first time in centuries, Yonis was the last Heir to arrive to the meeting. During the several-day long meeting, Yonis departed abruptly, leaving his nephew Arim to deal in his stead. Though he left with the permission of the Empress to deal with matters inside his domains, rumors spread that the Heir was unhappy with the nature of the discussions. He did, however, return in time to be present as the Empress announced that the Khanid Kingdom was to receive a full Privy Council seat.