- "This is an order Black Knight,” the man barked. “As Dread Emperor Baleful the First, I command your obedience.”
“I serve the Dread Empress Malicia, First of Her Name, Tyrant of Dominions High and Low, Holder of the Nine Gates and Sovereign of all She Beholds,” he said. “You have no right to command me, Chancellor. Or to sit on this throne.”"
- ―Chapter 45, Corpses
Baleful was a former emperor-regnant of Praes. Before he became a Claimant for the Name of Dread Emperor he was a Chancellor who ruled in truth during the decade when Dread Emperor Nefarious was nominally in power. He was eventually overthrown by empress-claimant Alaya of Satus who became Dread Empress Malicia.
By the time Nefarious was poisoned by the then Imperial concubine Alaya the Chancellor already laid down the groundwork for his reign. He had the backing of the High Lords, the Legions were in his pocket and he controlled Ater. Ascensions to the throne had been built on a third of that kind of support. He also had the support of the Warlock of the time as well as the High Lady of Wolof, Tasia Sahelian - Akua's mother.
The Black Knight, along with his band of five, declared for Malicia and emerged victorious in the ensuing imperial civil war. He named the band of five villains the Calamities. He was killed by getting drawn and quartered after his brief reign was toppled.