(...) Which brings us to the epithet of the current ruler of Redania – "the Stern." Allow me to diagnose the causes and consequences of this appellation.
Firstly, the seeds of Radovid's Sternness were surely planted in his childhood. When Radovid was born to King Vizimir and Queen Hedwig in 1255, his care was immediately entrusted to Philippa Eilhart, the court sorceress. While none dared question if she was fit for the role of tutor, few now envisage her as having been a warm caregiver to a young child – and whatever harsh lessons she gave Radovid clearly left a lasting mark.
The next step on Radovid's path to becoming the Stern? The death of his father when Radovid was but 13 years of age. Though rumor has it father and son barely knew one another, the mere fact of being thrust into one's inheritance at such an early age and in such murky circumstances must have had a hardening effect.
Finally, the regency finished schooling Radovid towards becoming the Stern. Led by Sigismund Dijkstra of Tretogor, the Regency Council imparted upon Radovid a style of politics seeped [sic] in Dijkstra's aggressive, no-holds-barred, reason-of-state-first principles.
Such are the causes of Radovid's temperament – now on to the consequences. Most manifestations of his fierce manner are well known, however, a few illustrative examples might prove useful here. They include his summoning of the Order of the Flaming Rose to be his armed enforcers, his later support for the witch hunters in their zealous cause, and finally, there is the massacre at Loc Muinne...
Yet it is in the fight against Nilfgaard that Radovid has proven himself truly the Stern. While the forces of other realms disintegrated in the face of the empire's onslaught, he has strengthened his own realm and taken command of the joint armies of the North. Whatever their opinion of him before, all clear-eyed observers now agree: Radovid V, known also as Radovid the Stern, is the North's last bulwark against Emhyr's expanding power.