Alexius Hawkwood is the new emperor of the Known Worlds. Former leader of House Hawkwood he rescued the besieged Stigmata garrison. Defeating the forces of House Decados and House Hazat he managed to conquer Byzantium Secundus ending the Emperor Wars.
He was elected, in a bitter process, in 4993. In his newly-forged reign — now but six years old — peace has finally come. The jumproutes are open again, and pilgrims can travel safely to other worlds. Merchants can once more ply the starlanes, selling exotic goods to people who have not seen them within their grandfathers’ lifetimes.
Much to the chagrin of his younger brother, the current house leader, the new emperor doesn't favour House Hawkwood. Alexius' goals are much more far-reaching: he wants to create an independent government strong enough to stand on its own, with the means and authority to pacify the Known Worlds.
To reach this distant goal he carefully plays the noble houses against each other, trying to prevent any rebellious anti-governmental alliance. He has busied himself in reorganizing and strengthening the Imperial Eye and the imperial military.
For all his virtues Alexius is not perfect. He has been neglecting the pressing need for an advantageous political marriage to solidify his alliances. Furthermore a ruler needs an heir for the throne. He is often seen with his mistress Salandra Decados, Duchess of Cadiz.
And adventure awaits, for the new emperor has called for a great quest: to explore the stars, re-discover the lost worlds of the Second Republic, and solve the mystery of the fading suns.