Imperators are the leaders of the High Legions, holding the second-highest rank in charr society (the highest being the Khan-Ur). The imperators are always descendants of the Khan-Ur, and only an imperator can claim such title. As there is currently no Khan-Ur, the imperators are the highest ranking charr and have the supreme authority within their legion's structure, acting as commanders-in-chief. As hinted by Seneca the Relentless, imperators are granted the right to personally interrogate, judge and sentence prisoners.
The first imperators were the four officially recognized cubs and heirs of the Khan-Ur who acted as his generals during the human-charr conflict. When the Khan-Ur was assassinated by an unknown force while planning a counterattack against humans, the four imperators of the High Legions blamed one another for his sudden death. They fought the War of Succession and ultimately divided the charr empire in their futile attempts to claim the title of Khan-Ur and regain control of all the charr legions. These High Legions became known as the Ash Legion, Blood Legion, Flame Legion, and Iron Legion, while each imperator ruled their respective autonomous region. The division among the charr allowed the humans to push them back and secure Ascalon for themselves for centuries.
According to some disputed sources, the primus warband of any of the High Legions would have historically carried the name of that legion—Ash, Blood, Flame, and Iron—as seen with e.g. Iron Imperator Forge Ironstrike. However, if this tradition ever truly existed among the charr, the naming of the imperators and their primus warbands became less strict during the reign of Iron Imperator Singe Seigemourn—who had no reference to Iron in his name—in the 13th century AE at the latest. The leader of the primus warband had to claim the name through blood challenge—a fight between descendants of the Khan-Ur for supremacy within the legion.
Occasionally, non-descendants of the Khan-Ur joined the primus warband and took the name of their leader as their own as was charr tradition. However, the leader of the primus warband was always a descendant of the Khan-Ur, the foremost heir of the legion and their rightful inheritor of the crown of leadership among the charr. The officially recognized imperators would always trace their lineage back to one of the known cubs of the original Khan-Ur; other heirs have historically been suspected, however, and occasionally a smaller bloodline surfaces with claim—but none have made a successful bid.
At the start of Guild Wars 2
- Malice Swordshadow — Current.
- Bangar Ruinbringer — Current.
- Gaheron Baelfire — Current.
- Unnamed Imperator — Lost a battle against the three High Legions on the Plains of Golghein during the charr rebellion. Stabbed Kalla Scorchrazor fatally with a poisoned dagger while surrendering to her, and was executed on the spot by Forge Ironstrike for his treachery in 1116 AE.
- Unnamed Imperator — Assaulted Ascalon City in 1090 AE, lost the Claw of the Khan-Ur, and died to the Foefire. Had his name struck from history records for his failure.
- Ventus — Invaded Orr in 1071 AE right before the Cataclysm.
- Smodur the Unflinching — Current.
- Singe Seigemourn — Pushed for the development of engine technology for charr ships in the 13th century AE. Attempted a peace treaty with Kryta which failed when the charr ship carrying holy human artifacts was looted by Cobiah Marriner's pirates before the ship could reach its destination.
- Forge Ironstrike — Lost a duel against Kalla Scorchrazor and fought alongside her as an ally on the Plains of Golghein against the Flame Legion in 1116 AE. Avenged Kalla by killing the Flame Legion imperator who had fatally poisoned her.
- Imperator is a Latin word that roughly translates into "commander", and is the root for the word "emperor".
- ^ a b c d The Ecology of the Charr
- ^ The Legions of the Charr
- ^ "Chapter 10", Ghosts of Ascalon by Jeff Grubb and Matt Forbeck:
- "As General Soulkeeper said, the charr were here on Tyria first and ran wild over the entire continent. When humans arrived, they were the first serious challenge to charr supremacy in centuries. But if it hadn't been for the death of the Khan-Ur, humanity might not have survived those ancient days. The Khan-Ur's children, who were also his four imperators—leaders of their own personal legions—fell to squabbling over his mantle, each accusing the others of treachery. They set their legions against each other. Blood, Iron, Flame, and Ash. None of them were strong enough to defeat the other three, though, and in the course of the civil war, the Claw of the Khan-Ur was lost. Yet, their internal dissension gave humanity some breathing room to develop, and with that time we conquered Ascalon."
- ^ Statue of Kalla Scorchrazor
- ^ a b "Chapter 10", Ghosts of Ascalon by Jeff Grubb and Matt Forbeck:
- "The imperator of the Flame Legion was so shamed by his surrender than when he finally met Scorchrazor, he stabbed her with a poisoned dagger. Charr may do anything to win a battle, but only the worst cowards would violate a surrender so. His treachery cost Scorchrazor her life, but her last words were 'At least I die knowing my sisters are free.'" [...]
- "What happened to the assassin?" asked Killeen, her hand still covering her mouth in disbelief. "Did he get away with it?"
- Ember shook her head. "Imperator Ironstrike himself throated the coward on the spot. The Flame Legion imperator went to his reward before Scorchrazor did."
- ^ Lore Interview with Jeff Grubb in GuildMag Issue 5, GuildMag.com
- ^ "Chapter 21", Ghosts of Ascalon by Jeff Grubb and Matt Forbeck:
- "The human tales never mention his name, other than the imperator of the Flame Legion."
- Ember nodded. "I do not know. After his disgrace, his name was stricken from our records."
- ^ "Chapter 21", Sea of Sorrows by Ree Soesbee:
- Sykox nodded. "Well, now Edair's planning to rule Kryta. News is that he's looking to increase the kingdom's holdings even before he's formally crowned. He's made no real headway in Ascalon, though. The charr are simply too much for his soldiers there." The engineer smiled proudly. "They're mostly Iron Legion, you know. Ascalon's ruled by our imperator, Singe Seigemourn. Heh heh heh. Forgive me while I indulge in a little bit of personal pride."
- ^ "Chapter 6", Sea of Sorrows by Ree Soesbee:
- "Yes, boss." Sykox crossed his furry arms over his massive chest. "That's my design. The imperator of the Iron Legion wanted us to push the boundaries, so I did. Took one of the experimental engines we've been working on and built her into the brig. Coal-foddered pistons propel a turbine beneath her stern, pushing us forward. With that, plus the wind in her jibs, she'll go half again as fast as one of your human galleons. We can turn ninety degrees and not lose speed. Doesn't matter what direction the wind's coming from—we can strike out with or against it and still make ground." The big charr's smile faded. "Unfortunately, the Havoc's the only one of her kind. We were out of harbor on a test run for the engine when the wave hit; that's the only reason we survived at all."
- ^ "Chapter 19", Sea of Sorrows by Ree Soesbee:
- "But you kept their money," Isaye replied. "And the charr freighter carrying Ascalonian relics?"
- "I had no idea they were carrying holy artifacts. Even if I had known, how was I to guess that they were a peace gesture bound for Port Noble? You were as surprised as I was to see those statues of Dwayna."
- "It's true, I was. But you sold them to a private collector for quite a bit of money, and that sank any hope of a treaty between Kryta and the charr," Isaye scolded [...]