Blame the Devil
Fortunately for Talingarde, Martius (Markadian II) had a son — Marcus. The grandson of the Victor was neither mad nor a recluse. He had been clever enough to avoid the Adarium and the capital during Prince Hallen’s angelic rampage. Marcus was a handsome knight twenty nine years of age and closely resembled his grandfather the Victor. Thus was Talingarde spared another disastrous war of succession.
Marcus returned to the capital and was crowned Markadian IV called the Zealous. The new king quickly realized that he needed to solidify his power and explain away the difficulties of the last six and a half years. In short, he needed an enemy to unify this fractured Talirean nation. He found one – in the Temple of Asmodeus.
King Markadian IV blamed the cult of Asmodeus for using their black magic to summon a devil to possess the former king thus driving him mad. It was a brilliant political solution but with dubious validity. Indeed, no real evidence of such an act has been discovered but the proclamation served its purpose by removing blame from the royal house of Darius and instead placed guilt squarely upon a small, unpopular, marginalized cult. This was the beginning of the Asmodean Purges.
The Knights of the Alerion took the lead in destroying the temples. High priests were burned at the stake and the sect was driven underground. For twelve years, the Zealot sat upon the throne and during that time he did his best to annihilate the cult of Asmodeus. He very nearly succeeded.
Markadian IV died comparatively young, only 41 years old of a mysterious illness. There were rumors that the Cult of Asmodeus had placed a curse upon the king. These rumors only fuelled the purges further.