The fourth Emperor of Rigel, as well as a renowned general who stood on the battlefield from a young age, with numerous victories to his name, Rudolf was chosen as the successor of Rigel III despite being only an indirect descendant due to his ability to wield the Falchion and bearing the brand of Duma . Having had a strong relationship with Mycen in their adolescence, both were thoughtful yet hot-blooded men who would stay up all night to debate Rigel’s future and current state.
Following his ascension, a young Rudolf met with the War Father at Duma Temple. During this time, Rudolf sensed Duma’s disturbing descent into madness. Nevertheless, he pledged dominion of Valentia to Duma. However, he did not specify the time of invasion. Instead, he ruled while promising to prepare for war. Thereafter, in order to convince Duma of his intent to conquer Zofia, he bolstered the Rigelian army’s armaments. Seeking guidance, Rudolf met with Halcyon, the High Priest of the Duma Faithful. It was then that he received a prophecy foretelling Valentia’s spiral into destruction, with only two with special Brands, one born in Zofia and another in Rigel, held the power to free the Valentian continent from the gods’ control–the “Children of Fate.”
About 17 years prior to the events of the game, Rudolf was blessed with a son who bore a special brand of Duma on his left hand. Upon seeing this mark, as well as receiving a report that a Zofian princess with a Brand was born around the same time, Rudolf realized that Halcyon’s prophecy was in motion, and secretly met with Mycen, where he entrusted his son to him to raise into a great warrior.
Through the years, Rudolf enacted a plan to spur the Valentian people into conflict in order to end the rule of Duma and Mila on the Rigelian and Zofian people respectively, both whom he viewed as a danger to humans as a whole. During said preparations, a man was washed ashore in Rigel and discovered by a Rigelian priestess, who showed great skill as a knight and the two became close. Naming him Ezekiel, or Zeke for short, Rudolf tasked him to follow a man who bore a mark on his left hand should he ever meet him in battle. Zeke would later uphold this promise, following Alm in his cause.
As such, when the poor harvests persisted to the point where the Empire’s food stockpiles ran out, Rudolf made the decision to invade Zofia, starting the invasion. By becoming a conqueror, seemingly set on unifying the continent of Valentia under a single rule, Rudolf begins his real plan, requesting the Falchion from Duma in order to seal Mila, and aiding Desaix in his rebellion in order to provoke the true heroes to come out and stop him or unite the continent by military might.
Over the years, Rudolf became acquainted with his nephew, Berkut, who desired to become heir to the Empire by becoming a great knight worthy of Rudolf. Rudolf often humored Berkut's ambitions and grandeur, but when he constantly failed him during the conflict against the Zofian force, the Deliverance, Rudolf sidelines him to prevent further shame upon the empire.
End of the Age of Gods
Alm, who leads the Deliverance, eventually reaches Rigel Castle. At the dawn of the battle, Rudolf praises his knights for their loyalty and orders them to surrender peacefully should he fall in battle.
Eventually, Alm meets Rudolf atop the castle and the two clash weapons. Rudolf willingly allows Alm to mortally wound him without fighting back. Alm is confused by Rudolf's lack of resistance, but Rudolf hushes him so he can give him his final words. Rudolf reveals that Alm is his long lost son, Albein Alm Rudolf II, whom he sent away with Mycen to become a great hero. With his dying breath, Rudolf expresses pride in his son and knows that he will be able to be the hero who will slay the oppressive gods of Valentia and lead the people to a prosperous future without their influence. In his death, the truth of Alm's heritage is revealed to the Valentian people. Before the battle, his trusted personal guard, Massena, was fully informed of Rudolf's 17 year long plan, who in turn puts all his effort in seeing Rudolf's ambition come to fruition.
Though Rudolf did not live to see his plans succeed, Alm eventually fulfilled his father's vision by slaying Duma and laying both Divine Dragons to rest.
A man of great ambition, Rudolf commands Rigel with great respect from the masses and undying loyalty from the knights in his service. Even his final order was strictly observed by his order of knights upon his death. Even Berkut admires Rudolf, possibly being the only individual he has ever shown such respect. However, despite caring for Berkut like a son, Rudolf kept him at arm's length due to his plans for the continent. Inversely, due to the war he launched against Zofia, he is seen by the Zofian people as a power hungry conqueror who is merely trying to unify Valentia through force.
In truth, Rudolf was a man of great order and initiative, seeing that the influence of Duma and Mila on the Valentians were too harmful for the Valentians and awaiting for the circumstances that could lead to the end of the rule of the Divine Dragons. Upon seeing the Brand on his son's hand and hearing of a Zofian princess with the selfsame mark, Rudolf enacted his plan, even at the expense of his son and himself. Even after 17 years, after seeing his son for the first and last time since he first gave him to Mycen to raise, he expressed great pride in his son's power and kindness and dies happily knowing that Valentia would have a great leader in his absence.
- Considering, that Alm's surname is Rudolf, Emperor Rudolf likely goes only by his surname.
- Rudolf is the first "Imposing Emperor" type villain of Fire Emblem. Characters like Walhart were inspirated by him.
Fire Emblem Gaiden & Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
Fire Emblem Awakening
Fire Emblem Fates
Fire Emblem Warriors
Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE
Fire Emblem Heroes
Fire Emblem: Three Houses