During the last few minutes of the rule of Tortaalik, Adron e'Kieron seized control of the Orb using Elder Sorcery. At the same time, Tortaalik was assassinated, causing the Orb to seek out the sucessor to the throne which was, interestingly enough, Adron. This circumstance led directly to Adron's Disaster, but raises the question of whether or not Adron himself might have been--legitimately--Emperor... For a few minutes, at least.
Points in favor of this:
- Adron had full control of the Orb during this time.
- The Orb obviously thought he was the legitimate Emperor, else Adron's disaster would not have happened.
Points against this interpretation:
- No one later considers that Adron was ever Emperor.
- The cycle clearly did not simply change during this period, else the Lyorn (Or the Dragon) would have been the house to restore the Empire later, but instead it was another Phoenix, Zerika.
Another way of looking at these events is that the cycle was actually completely broken. This means that Zerika's later reign as Emperor is NOT, in fact, simply a continuation of the turn of the Phoenix that started when Tortaalik took the throne, but was a completely new beginning to the entire cycle. The fact that Zerika's reign lasted at least 309 years (20 more than the minimum length of a reign) makes this at least plausible. It is also possible that the cycle did in fact change
A third possibility is that Adron became Emperor briefly, but as the cycle had not changed, it could not accept a Dragon while the cycle of the Phoenix was still extant, and the cycle itself contributed to Adron's spell getting out of control. It is also possible that the cycle did in fact change, but that somehow the events of the disaster caused it to change back, running in reverse.