The Scarlet Empress is the founder and sole ruler of the Realm. During the Great Contagion, it was she who braved the Imperial Manse and used its control of the Realm's ancient magical defenses to save Creation from the invading Fair Folk. She then crowned herself Empress of the Realm — using her control of the Realm defenses to crush all opposition, as well as an alliance with Chejop Kejak and the Sidereal Exalted — and proceeded to rule the world for the next 763 years. Her disappearance in RY 763 has upset the status quo of Creation, and the return of the Solar Exalted has only complicated the situation.
The Scarlet Empress was originally a soldier of the Shogunate at the end of the First Age. During the attack of the Fair Folk that resulted in the fall of the Shogunate, she and several companions infiltrated the Imperial Manse and were able to appease the guardians of the manse, activing the defenses within, the sole survivor drove the Fair Folk from Creation.
The early years of the Realm involve the self-crowned Empress putting down revolts with the aid of the Dragon-Blooded who joined her and the Immaculate Order. The most notable of these revolts is the Seven Tigers, an alliance of Shogunate Generals who tried to seize power for themselves. The Empress also tried to pacify Lookshy, the only community with an arsenal equal to her own, but was repelled.
After solidifying her power, the Empress began forming the fundamental services of the Empire: The Thousand Scales, the Legions and the Imperial Eye. In addition, she began raising a family, taking various consorts and bearing heirs who became the Dynasty, the various Great Houses of the Realm.
Much of the Empress' activity seems devoted to protecting the Realm and herself from revolts and coups. During her reign, she faced revolts from the Bureaucracy, leading to her developing the Thousand Mazy Paths strategy, by which she ensured that the various branches of the Thousand Scales could not get anything done without her. She instituted the Deliberative to give noisy Dynasts a place where they could theoretically debate her laws, but which was mostly a chamber of empty pomp designed to keep the most enthusiastic rebels under her thumb. When her own offspring (notably House Manosque) attempted to replace her, she began playing the Dynasts against each other, raising up Houses such as Nellens and V'neef to counter their siblings, and condemning house Iselsi to a slow and painful dissolution.
The Empress regularly disappeared during heir reign, often for years at a time. While nobody knew exactly what she was doing during these disappearances, the government of the Realm was designed to accommodate these absences, continuing forward through sheer inertia. Various popular myths ascribe a variety of activities to the Empress, most notably wandering the Realm disguised as a commoner. In truth, she was maintaining the Imperial Manse through arcane sacrifices (including Exalted she collected from the Wyld Hunt) and magical rituals.
The Empress disappeared in RY 763, five years before the beginning of Exalted. While the Imperial system is designed to survive short absences, the Imperial system is also designed to make her irreplaceable. As a result, the Realm is rapidly falling apart, with the various Great Houses gearing up for civil war.
Appearance and Personality
The Empress' personality may be best reflected by her daughter Mnemon, who is often compared to her. If so, then the Empress is a highly paranoid and cold-blooded control freak of the first order. This would be in line with what is known about her from her history of almost constant betrayal.