- See also: Florian Valmont
Emperor Florian, in addition to being notoriously reclusive, was not fond of his own visage. Orlesian emperors and empresses are traditionally immortalized in gilded marble. Florian, forced to commission something, instead chose a red sandstone found only in the Hissing Wastes. He demanded his likeness be carved there - away from where he could see it.
When presented with an official proposal, the emperor idly drew on the paper, adding circles around the royal crest, the statue's eyes, and the dimensions and cost of the project. Florian's signature turned it into an official court document, and he refused to entertain more modest proposals hastily drafted and sent to his chambers, as he considered the matter "over and done with at last." Thus the Colossus of Orlais was born.
Dozens of sculptors, hundreds of miners, and three highly-paid surveyors selected a suitably stable hill in the Wastes to begin carving. A year into the project, workers uncovered an old dwarven ruin near the base of the statue. Believing this to be a sign that the ground was sturdy, the grand work continued—until Florian's death, when Empress Celene took the throne and ordered work on the costly effigy immediately cease. "We must give our subjects working on this noble project time to mourn," she said.
Strangely, Empress Celene never ordered work on the Colossus of Orlais to resume, nor offered a plan to transport it out of the Wastes.
—From An Illumination of the Art and Artifacts of the Imperial Court of Orlais, by Lady Simone Therese Germaine