Ael i-Mhiessan t'Rllaillieu served as a khre'Riov (or "Commander-General") for the Romulan Star Empire in the mid-23rd century in command of the Imperial Warbird ChR Bloodwing, before leading an uprising against the corrupt government and being installed as Empress of the Romulan Star Empire in 2276. (TOS novel: Rihannsu series)
Ael came from a family with a long history of military service, and Ael prepared for a military career from childhood. Her father once required Ael to completely disassemble and re-assemble every system on his old warbird, a task she completed in three months.
Ael's niece was the Warbird Commander known as Liviana Charvanek, who was disgraced when she allowed a cloaking device to be stolen from her ship by James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise in 2268. When Charvanek was sentenced to exile following the incident, Ael pleaded passionately on her behalf before the Romulan Senate, to no avail. (TOS - Rihannsu novel: My Enemy, My Ally)
Ael's appearance was that of a deceptively frail woman who did not even reach five feet in stature. However, in battle she proved a cunning and fierce warrior whose crew aboard Bloodwing was loyal to her unto death.
When tensions began to rise between the Empire and the United Federation of Planets in 2275, Ael found her ship and crew in many skirmishes with Federation forces along the Neutral Zone, including several indecisive encounters with Kirk and the Enterprise, who were patrolling the Federation side of the Zone.
Ael believed very strongly in an old code of Rihannsu behavior known as mnhei'sahe, which was described by Enterprise linguist Lieutenant Janíce Kerasus as, "...not quite honor -- not quite loyalty -- and not quite anger or hatred or about fifty other things. It can be a form of hatred that requires you to give your last drop of water to a thirsty enemy -- or an act of love that requires you to kill a friend."
Ael served the Empire faithfully, even as the Senate became corrupt and greedy and abandoned even the pretense of mnhei'sahe. But when the Praetorate approved a plan to harvest living tissue from the brains of live Vulcans at a secret lab at Levaeri V as a means of obtaining mental abilities like those of their distant cousins, Ael spoke out strongly against the effort, believing that it would make the government even more corrupt.
For her efforts, Ael was "rewarded" with command of the ChR Cuirass, a ship of spies and malcontents, and given a distant border patrol from which she was not expected to return -- an exile in all but name. With the help of her loyal crew on Bloodwing, Ael was "liberated" from her "exile", and set about finding an ally in stopping the mind-power experiments. (TOS - Rihannsu novel: My Enemy, My Ally)
Ael sought to turn an enemy into an ally, and set about finding Enterprise and James T. Kirk. Ael proposed a plan to Kirk which would require maintaining the fiction that Enterprise was under Romulan control for the journey deep into Romulan space and Levaeri V, where they would destroy the experiments and retrieve the genetic material.
Although Kirk came to believe Ael's tale, he was still reluctant to utilize Ael's plan, believing it to be too risky and foolhardy. That changed when word came of the disappearance of the USS Intrepid, a starship staffed completely by Vulcans, at the hands of the Romulans from a nearby sector. Now, with the lives of the Intrepid's crew on the line, Kirk decided to implement Ael's plan.
Together, the crews of Bloodwing and Enterprise raided the Levaeri V installation, successfully rescued the Vulcan crew and destroyed the Romulan research, while gaining access to experimental new Sunseed technology.
It was a bittersweet victory for Ael, however, as her son Tafv betrayed her and tried to take Enterprise by force while his mother was on the station. The effort was defeated by the Enterprise crew. Tafv blamed his mother for the exile of his cousin Charvanek, who was also his best friend, believing that Ael could have done more for her. In an act of mnhei'sahe, Ael took the life of her own son for his betrayal.
A year after the events at Levaeri V, Ael was contacted by Starfleet Intelligence, who requested her assistance in extracting Dr. Leonard McCoy from Romulus (Or as Ael would have called the planet, ch'Rihan). McCoy had been sent to Romulus to ascertain the status, both operational and psychological, of undercover agent Terise Haleakala-LoBrutto. McCoy was in Romulan custody, and scheduled to testify on his own behalf before the Senate before his execution for espionage.
With help of Starfleet Lieutenant Naraht and Ensign Ron Luks, Ael manged to bring Bloodwing into the heart of the Romulan capital itself, stun everybody within a kilometer of the building, and whisk McCoy away.
But, not before she made a statement of her own to the Senate. She took the sacred Sword of S'task from its resting place in the Empty Chair where it had sat untouched for hundreds of years in honor of S'task, the leader of the exodus from Vulcan long ago.
She told the furious Senate that they no longer deserved possession of such an honorable artifact, and that she planned to hold on to it, for "safekeeping", until such time as honor was restored to the Empire.
Later, after delivering McCoy to the Federation, Ael once again took her ship into unknown space, little realizing what form the repercussions that her impulsive action with the sword would take. (TOS - Rihannsu novel: The Romulan Way)
The Romulan Civil War
In the weeks that followed Ael's taking possession of the sword, many dissatisfied worlds from the outer reaches of the Empire, worlds that labored for the greater glory and wealth of the Imperial homeworlds but did not share in that glory and wealth, turned Ael into a rallying point and a symbol for an Empire whose populace was growing more dissatisfied by the day.
The ruling Tricameron of the Empire sought to quell the uprisings by demanding Ael's extradition and the return of the Sword from the Federation. These overtures were cut short by several aggressive Romulan strikes on the Federation side of the Neutral Zone including an ambush at 15 Trianguli that nearly took out both Bloodwing and Enterprise.
Ael returned to Romulan space after she received a communication from a faction in the Artaleirh system led by a Romulan named Veilt tr'Tyrava, followed closely by Kirk and the Enterprise. Veilt and his allies (many of whom were descendants of the original "Ship-Clans") had secretly constructed a number over-sized capital ships whose purpose was to move entire planetary populations from one world to another in an echo of the original exodus from Vulcan centuries prior. Hoping that such an exodus would not be necessary, Veilt offered the services and the considerable firepower of his ship, the Tyrava, as well as a number of conventional ships that had come under Veilt's influence to the Free Rihannsu Movement.
Bloodwing, Enterprise and Tyrava defeated the forces of the Imperial Grand Fleet at Artaleirh and Augo before moving on to Romulus itself. Once at Romulus, the Free Rihannsu fleet destroyed the orbital headquarters of the Grand Fleet, and proceeded to land ground troops on the planet's surface.
With the defeat of the Grand Fleet and the capture of the Tricameron, Ael returned the Sword of S'task to its resting place in the Empty Chair, where she believed her work to be done. The recently liberated population of Romulus, who had their mnhei'sahe restored to them through Ael's actions, had other ideas. Somewhat against her own will, Ael bowed to the will of her people and took the title and position of Empress of the Romulan Star Empire, and hoped to restore mnhei'sahe to the Empire. (TOS - Rihannsu novel: The Empty Chair)
- Note: It is unknown how long Ael served as Empress, but it is safe to conjecture that she ruled throughout the rest of the TOS movie era (2276-2293?) given the apparent lack of open hostility between the Federation and the Star Empire in this period. The Romulan Ambassador Caithlin Dar, seen in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier certainly seemed as if she could have been a product of Ael's more progressive regime. Serpents Among the Ruins established a militant (and male) Praetor leading the Star Empire by the year 2311 and the infamous Tomed Incident. (TOS - Rihannsu novel: The Romulan Way)
|ChR Cuirass personnel|
|tr'Khaell • t'Liun • Ael t'Rllaillieu|
|ChR Bloodwing personnel|
|Nniol t'AAnikh • Dhiemn • Dhisuia • Dhiov • Ejiul • Eriufv • Gehen • Gioufv • Haehwe • Helev • T'Hrienteh • Ireqh • Giellun tr'Keirianh • K'haeth • Kiel • Hvaid t'Khaethaetreh • Khiy • Aidoann t'Khnialmnae • Khoal • Hilae • Himif • Lahae • Lhian • Lyie • N'alae • Raha • Rai • Rhioa • Ael t'Rllaillieu • Tafv tr'Rllaillieu • T'maekh • Triy • t'Viaen|
|Emperors and Empresses of the Romulan Star Empire|
|Valkis • Vitellius • Valkis XIV • Ael t'Rllaillieu • Shiarkiek • Sela|