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Nicator (c. 824 BF – c. 712 BF), born Nikolas, was the founder of the Seleucarian Empire. He laid the brickwork for the nation that would dominate and unify the continent of Sapience for nigh on 800 years, steeling it against the Black Wave of the Tsol'teth.

Early years

Nikolas was raised on the outskirts of Thera at the edge of the Sangre Plains. When he was 15, soldiers embroiled in the third cycle of the Ashtan-Shallam Wars breached his home's threshold and murdered his parents. This prompted him to begin what was known as the Time of Wandering, an eight-year period of vagrancy during which the boy served variously as a metalworker, shepherd, woodcutter, and servant. Notably, six months of his self-imposed exile were spent under the tutelage of Hypathia of Shallam, in which he learned of a higher sense of justice and injustice beyond that of material disputes.

Nikolas's return to Thera was little remarked. What began as an idle philosophical conversation outside a Theran general store became an inspired oration of the power of mortals to save themselves from their life's downtrodden lot. This attracted the criticism of Severian Marcella, a Theran farmhand of Nikolas's age, who tempered Nikolas's lofty ideals with down-to-earth cynicism. It was here, in this fateful first confrontation, that Nikolas revealed his vision of the utopian land known to his dreams as Seleucar.

Thereafter the two became travelling companions, and as they trekked across the hills and dales of Sapience, their public debates – Nikolas the hopeful optimist, Severian the wry voice of reason – grew to almost legendary status. Famous among these was what came to be known as the Sermon on the Rocks. Vagabonds and rogue warriors joined their procession little by little, collected from each village as the duo's orations ranged across the continent, until they finally came to a head in a climactic debate at the Theatron Sarapin just outside of Shallam. Here, Nikolas's vision overwhelmed Severian's pessimism in a public forum, to unequivocal public acclaim, and the band set out from there to found Seleucar in proper.


Nikolas, Severian, and their fellow settlers crossed the Southern Vashnars and forged deep into a swampy jungle, just as Nikolas had foreseen in his visions. All the while, their progress was beleaguered by waters tainted with disease by the Tsol'teth. As workers dug wells and assembled stone houses, Nikolas thought deeply upon his burgeoning city's role in world affairs. He stumbled out into the jungle and wandered for days until finally, in an epiphany that would forever alter the course of history, the Logos appeared to the dying and newly pious Nikolas. Sarapis decreed that Nikolas would henceforth bear the name "Nicator" and would marshal his city against the oncoming tides of darkness that would strike a century hence. Two artefacts were bestowed upon Nicator: a rock covered in the water-purifying amar moss and the Staff of Nicator.

In the wake of this renewed purpose, Nicator went on to forge alliances with both Chief Grolmar Lightning-Hand of Moghedu and Emre Nikain Ironhand of the Mannaseh Swamp, bringing both the Mhun and Trolls into his burgeoning empire's fold. Aided by these regiments, the king went on to conquer first Shallam (due largely to Shallamese underestimation of the small Seleucarian army's militant status) and then Ashtan (with the assistance of Delosian Priests such as Sister Lavaine).

In the following years, Nicator went on to conquer many settlements and bring them into the Seleucarian fold. He took a harem of foreign wives in order to strengthen diplomatic ties (chief among these Queen Petra of Thera), though this brought with it accusations of lechery. His manic, fervent drilling against an unnameable and unknowable entity drew likewise ire, with many of his subjects suspecting him to be mad. Even as he spent copious sovereigns upon the poor and downtrodden, in line with his belief in the potential of every individual, there arose concerns of his perceived wastefulness.

Nicator died 88 years after his empire's founding. His funeral service was held within the Chrysalis Basilica in Delos, at which a sea of people from all races, classes, and upbringings stood in solemn attendance. Present at his immediate side were Chancellor Severian Marcella, longtime friend and once-duke of Seleucar; Queen Petra and her sister wives of the former lord's harem; Prince Piraeus, Nicator's eldest son and heir apparent to the throne; Princess Selicande, Nicator's daughter; and his four other children.


The immediate consequences of Nicator's regime solidified just twelve years after his death in the War of the Deeps, as the prophesied Black Wave struck out against the century-marshalled legions of his son Piraeus's Seleucar. Nicator's bloodline, the deSangre dynasty, persisted for the entirety of the Empire's existence and was in fact synonymous with it; the death of the last deSangre spelt the death, both figurative and political, of the Seleucarian Empire.

Mount Nicator, the highest peak in the Southern Vashnars, is named after the legendary emperor, as is the Great Library of Nicator in Ashtan. Nicator was further immortalised as a legend in the game known as Balance of Power. The Staff of Nicator is awarded at the championship games held every 50 years, to be borne aloft as both Nicator and his descendant Catarin deSangre did centuries ago.

Tomes written about Nicator include:

The great boon Nicator bestowed upon his followers is signified in the Nicator card of the Deck of Legends.