In 1798, a small group of Virginia Baptist missionaries decided to travel to the Excalbian Isles in an effort to convert the natives to Christianity. They booked passage on a Yankee merchant ship familiar with the islands, but needed financial backing. Alvis Miller, a prominent merchant in the port of Alexandria who was affiliated with the Baptist congregation at Fairfax, agreed to sponsor the trip and join the ship's company. Miller, according to his letters, hoped to establish a profitable trade with the natives that would finance further missionary efforts.
A storm, likely a hurricane, crashed the Narwhal against the Western coast. Stranded, but alive and still possessing much of their goods and supplies, the missionaries began working to convert the Lowlanders and Miller, together with the crew of the merchant ship, began establishing control of the local trade routes and building alliances with the local tribes.
For years the Lowland tribes of the Excalbian Isles had lived in tension with Highland Kingdom of Excalbia. The balance of power had always favored the Highlanders until the arrival of the Narwhal. By 1801, the missionaries and the ship's crew had created a settlement known as Landing Township. Miller was chosen as governor of settlement and established friendly relations with the Lowland natives, many of whom had converted to Christianity.
The newly assertive Lowlanders, backed by the missionaries and by the guns of the ship's crew, soon came into conflict with the Highland king, Ragarth. In 1805 a second American ship arrived, reestablish contact between Landing Township and North America, bringing in new supplies for the township and its Lowland allies. While a few missionaries and seaman returned to America, most remained and some, including Miller, sent for their families to join them.
Low-level conflict between the Landing-backed Lowlanders and the Highland Kingdom continued until a truce was declared in 1807. Seeing the balance of power tilting to the Lowlanders, Ragarth undertook a diplomatic mission to Landing, which had become the de facto Lowland capital. While in Landing, Ragarth’s still unmarried son Thorvald converted to Christianity and adopted the Christian name Joshua.
Joshua married Abigail Taylor, the daughter of a missionary, in 1808 and became king in 1809. At that point, he engineered a union between the Lowlanders and their allies and the Highland kingdom. On Christmas Day in 1809, Joshua proclaimed the Holy Empire of Excalbia, named Miller, the former governor of Landing, his Chancellor and established Christianity as its state religion.
Emperor Joshua I launched an aggressive campaign to bring modern education and knowledge to his kingdom. Chancellor Miller played a central role in this endeavour by bringing scholars, architects and engineers to Excalbia from both North America and Europe. He also integrated American settlers and Lowlanders into the former Highland administration and persuaded the Emperor to establish the Imperial Senate as a legislative body for the new Empire.
Despite his efforts to maintain a non-partisan government, political factions began to emerge near the end of Miller's term as Chancellor. Lowlanders, though represented in the Senate and in the Cabinet, still felt their position was inferior to that of the Highlanders. This lead to the formation of the Lowland Party (LLP) in 1814. The LLP's creation was quickly followed by the creation of the Sovereignty Party (SP), which advocated more power for the traditional baronies. Finally bowing to growing anxiety that his centrist and loyalist government was losing ground to the two opposition parties, Miller allowed his supporters to create the Excalbia Party (EP) in advance of the 1816 elections.
Seeing that the EP had gained a solid majority in the Senate and feeling confident that the Emperor's modernization programme would continue, Miller stepped down as Chancellor in 1817.
Miller retired with his wife Esther to his estate outside Landing. While his oldest son eventually returned with his family to Virginia to manage the family's businesses in Alexandria, the rest of Millers children remained in Excalbia. His grandson, Sir Richard Miller, later served as Imperial Chancellor under Samuel II from 1853 to 1858. Miller died surrounded by his children and grandchildren in 1825.