|Emperor Zero Cuhlecain|
|Previous Ruler||Emperors of the Interregnum|
|Next Ruler||Tiber Septim|
Cuhlecain, known widely as Emperor Zero, was a petty-king of Falkreath who sought to claim the Imperial City amidst the Interregnum, like many others at the time. He was able to unite the Colovian Estates with help from his prized general Hjalti Early-Beard, and his conquests were the progenitor of the Third Empire. He has since been memorialized by the Cult of Emperor Zero, founded in his honor by his successor, Tiber Septim.
Cuhlecain was born in the Nordic kingdom of Falkreath, which at the time was part of the Colovian Estates. He later assumed the title of its king and sought to reunite the fractured Estates. Before he could advance south, he recognized the need to secure his northern border, where the Nords and the Reachmen had long been at war. Cuhlecain's forces allied with Skyrim, and his general, Hjalti Early-Beard, led his armies. The general's resilience and his efficiency with the thu'um gave Cuhlecain the power to claim the Colovian West, and so his forces soon moved south across the Jerall Mountains. An allied force of Nords and Bretons took control over the Jerall region and its various mountain passes and settlements. The holy fortress of Sancre Tor was captured in 2E 852 and became a great roadblock to Cuhlecain's conquest. In response, the king sent his general, now known as Talos, to retake the city. In the midst of the Sack of Sancre Tor, Talos found the Amulet of Kings and left the city in ruins upon the realization of its weak strategic location.
Cuhlecain's and Talos' military successes caught the attention of Chevalier Renald, a remnant of Reman III's Dragonguard from several years prior. Renald began to support Cuhlecain's campaign for the Imperial City, but only did so to get closer to Talos Stormcrown. Within a year, King Cuhlecain brought the Estates together and made his way to the Nibenay Valley. The defending battlemages quickly surrendered and Cuhlecain took control of the Imperial City.
Before he could be named the Emperor of Cyrodiil, however, Cuhlecain was murdered by an unknown assailant in 2E 854. The historical consensus is that he was assassinated by Reachmen from the Western Reach, yet other sources say that his death was the result of a conspiracy by General Talos, who then blamed it on his enemies. Regardless, Talos' throat was also slit in the attack, and although he survived, he was no longer able to use his thu'um. The general subsequently donned Cuhlecain's crown and took the Cyrodilic name Tiber Septim as the first true emperor of the Third Empire.
Tiber Septim continued Cuhlecain's legacy of conquest by advancing upon other nations like Hammerfell and Morrowind. In honor of his former king, Septim founded the Cult of Emperor Zero, which recognized the king's wisdom in appointing Septim as his general and his bravery in the battle for the Imperial City. The cult hood is among the most popular temple-cults worshipped in the Nibenay region. Cuhlecain's visage was crafted by topiary-mages, which were displayed throughout Green Emperor Way.
- During the Tiber Wars, Falkreath was governed by the Far Falkreath Estate, one of the several Colovian merchant families that made up the estates. It has strong ties to the holds of Skyrim, but whether Cuhlecain was related to the noble family is unknown.
- The Richtons, a minor noble family near the Strid River in Colovia, supported King Cuhlecain's bid for the Ruby Throne back when he was vying for control of the Estates. One of their own, Amiel Richton, served as Admiral of the Imperial Navy and was known for his victory at the Battle of Hunding Bay.
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Cyrodiil — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- The Arcturian Heresy — The Underking, Ysmir Kingmaker
- The Legendary Sancre Tor — Matera Chapel
- The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard — Character Bios