The Phoenix King is the political ruler and military leader of the High Elves and thereby ruler of Ulthuan and its colonies. The position is not hereditary; upon the death of a king his successor is selected by the High Elf princes from among their numbers.
The election of a new Phoenix King is for obvious reasons a political decision of the highest possible importance. As far as it is known the election seems to be similar to the way the Electors choose the new Emperor in The Empire.
Upon the death a king the High Elf princes gather at the Shrine of Asuryan, located on the Island of the Flame, to select his successor[1a][2a]. Reputation, achievements, the power and influence of the realm of the prince in question are important factors in pair with intrigue, agreements and compromise. The military situation, in particular the war against the Dark Elves, will also influence if a warlike or a peaceful ruler is chosen.
Afterwards the new king-to-be must pass through the Sacred Flame at the Shrine, figuratively a final test by Asuryan.
During his reign the Phoenix King will hold a ritual year-long marriage to the Everqueen in order to conceive a daughter, the Everchild. Afterwards both rulers may have other consorts and children of these consorts, but only their daughter may become the new Everqueen. [1b][2b].
Not all Phoenix Kings have been warlike rulers or able generals; a king may appoint a general of his choosing in order to fulfil this role. Finubar, the current king, has appointed the hero Tyrion as defender of Ulthuan.
There are twenty-one forms of address for the Phoenix King although sire will usually suffice. [5a]
Known Phoenix Kings
There have been eleven Phoenix Kings to date and most, but not all, have been able rulers. All of them eventually earned a title which reflects their goals, politics, achievements and failures.
For unknown reasons some sources state that Aenarion's reign ended in - 4920 IC[1c][2c], which is a simple and quite obvious mistake. Aenarion's reign began in - 4500 IC and he ruled for 79 years. It took a whole year to choose and crown a new Phoenix King; this year-in-between is traditionally added to the reign of the former king (therefore, 4500 - 80 = 4420).
The latest army book avoided this mistake and provided the correct date.Needs Citation
- 1: Warhammer Armies: High Elves (4th Edition)
- 2:Warhammer Armies: High Elves (5th Edition)
- 3: Warhammer Armies: High Elves (7th Edition), pg. 15
- 4: Blood of Aenarion (Novel)
- 4a: Chapter Ten. pg. 182-183