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Reman II: The Limits of Ambition

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Main article: Books (Online)

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Having found himself in command of the Empire after the deposition of the incompetent Kastav, Reman II's first notable endeavor was to negotiate a swift end to the Winterhold Rebellion of 2804. Reader, grant this thought due consideration—a new and largely untested leader was able to make peace with angered Nords without further unnecessary bloodshed. This was no mean achievement, and truly it demonstrated the quality of the man who would bring a golden age to the Second Empire.

How could a leader of such quality, one who not only calmed the rebellious Nords, but who subdued and united nearly all of Tamriel to usher in one of the most peaceful, productive intervals in recorded history, let the Empire come to ruin? I will divulge my ruminations on the matter, but not before recognizing the accomplishments of this remarkable man and the lessons to be learned from them.

Reman II was a master tactician, and studying records of the battles he fought shows not only his own acumen, but his respect for his troops—and those of the enemy. When he conquered new territory for the Empire, he established rule with a careful hand, avoiding too much disruption to local customs, traditions, and particularly to established trade. The Imperial culture spread, of course, but not through forced assimilation. Rather, the people came to accept and support the Empire by reaping the benefits of free trade, stability, and the development of better infrastructure. He gathered advisers from each province, and focused on his people more than many Emperors ever had.

For long years, peace prevailed across Tamriel. Necromancy and Daedra worship were abolished. Trade flourished, and, through the careful ministrations of Reman II and his councilors, the Second Empire thrived. And yet, the great emperor desired more. He turned his eyes to the provinces of Black Marsh and Morrowind, the unconquered territory weighing heavy on him. In the 2830s, he called forth the legions in an imprudent attempt to conquer Black Marsh. The losses to the swamp itself—its diseases and deadly beasts—nearly matched the number lost in combat with the Argonians, but the Empire managed to establish footholds in the northern and eastern marches by 2837. Reman declared Black Marsh to be officially annexed.

In perhaps his most critical folly, Reman II was not satisfied. He turned next to Morrowind and initiated the Four-Score War, a long, bloody conflict devastating to both sides. The battles were ugly, and the tenuous relations with Morrowind, which had shown some promise for diplomacy, were shattered. He perished fighting the Dunmer in 2843, and his heirs continued on as the Empire began to weaken, bled dry by the cost and wracked with dissent.

And that is, perhaps, the greatest lesson that Reman II can teach to any leader: to keep ambition in check. His success catapulted him to greater and greater visions for the Empire, but in his desire to unify all of Tamriel, he compromised the beliefs and practices that made the Second Empire's golden age great, engaging in a hopeless war unwanted by his people and unneeded to provide them with security, free trade, and a prosperous Empire.

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