[Note: This article concerns the title of godking and the historical usage of the term. For information on Madri, commonly known as The Godking, see Godking Mandri .]
Let us note, carefully, that while Godking Mandri is, himself, a ruler without precedent, the term "godking" and variants thereof has a long history of common usage throughout Amfal and surrounding lands.
The editors of this encyclopedia would like to clarify that the use of the word "godking" is a matter of historical record and linguistic merit, and in no way suggests that and of these so-called godkings were in any way related to the First Gods or Godking Mandri.
A godking, classically, is any ruler which is able to lay claim to having divine blood, and therefor a particular mandate for rule. In practice, because it is politically-useful for even small-time warlords to convince their people that the First Gods have granted them a right to rule, Amfallian history is littered with "godkings," with a new one appearing on the scene roughly once a decade, sometimes much more rapidly, and rarely lasting more than a few years in power. There is little doubt that most of these cases are outright frauds; officially, these leaders are called "godking imposters," though in practice they are of so little historical or cultural value that they are best not discussed at all.
A much, much smaller subset of those who called themselves godking were exemplary. While my editors insist that I emphasize that there is no evidence that they (or indeed, anybody prior to or subsequent from Mandri) were possessed of divine blood, some rulers during the Late Classical Period were magically potent, either displaying a preternatural talent for spellcraft or access to enchantments or artifacts which have since been depowered or otherwise lost.
While the term "godking" was in use since as far back as 5,000ya, it can also be used as a generic synonym for a hundred different titles; in many cases these can be treated as rough translations (e.g.: the Southron Isles history of "dieuroix," or the many god-emperors of the shattered wates ). That said, a number of rulers who were considered godkings were possessed of reasonably unique powers, both divine and political, and adapted titles which reflected their particular nature. Some examples include:
- The Shade-Lords of the shattered wastes
- King Rax of the Nine, ruler of Analur (of of innumerable claimants to be the ruler of Asyi's patron city, Rax is the only one with even circumstantial evidence to that end)
- The Whispering General (responsible to the expansion of Erissa)
- The Eye of Kolis
- Xepheryte (a godking notable for abjectly refusing to recognize a distinction between herself and her country)
This is, of course, a small sampling.
Certain historians and priests are keen to strike these godkings from the historical record entirely, and there is no small degree of controversy regarding how seriously to take their claims of divinity; even this encyclopedia, aware of the potential for repercussion from multiple quarters, will self-censor on this front. Suffice it to say that there is controversy over the usage of the term.
One potential solution, popular in academies at the Southron Isles, is to mark three categories of godkings: imposter godkings (IGKs), plausibly divine rulers (PDRs), and true godkings. Of course, this solution, though elegant, is not without its own controversy with regard to whether a figure such as Xephyryte belongs in the first or second category, or even the third.
Of course, "godking" was also the title which Madri selected for himself, doubtless aware of its long and overloaded history. His reasons for choosing the term are his own, and not to be speculated upon, but following his rule there has been a shift in the definition of the term; it is no longer used as a generic term, and most would express surprise and alarm to discover not only that there were godkings in Amfal prior to Mandri's ascent, but just how many of them there are.
Interestingly, in areas of the shattered wastes south of the Qel desert, warbands have taken to referring to their rulers as "modru"; this term is not known outside of sub Qel dialects and has no known translation, but the role of the rulers is clearly that of a historical imposter godking. The similarity between modru and Madri is indisputable--it is clear that the Godking's name has entered into their vocabulary as a generic descriptor of a divine ruler. Whether the term will last or spread is uncertain.