The Exarchs are tyrannical Atlantean mages who ascended to the Supernal Realms by climbing the Celestial Ladder, which they then destroyed. Their ascension granted them godlike power, but the destruction of the Ladder wreaked enormous damage, allowing the Abyss to separate the Supernal Realms from the Fallen World and preventing most mortals from Awakening.
The Exarchs supposedly hold a great deal of sway over the Fallen World, largely through the Seers of the Throne, who believe they are servants of the Exarchs. One of their major goals is blocking access to the Supernal Realms, in order to gain exclusive power over them. However, the more influence an Exarch's given Ministry holds over the Fallen World, the more power said Exarch has. At any given time, there are four Exarchs that hold the title of Archigenitor. These Exarchs have the ability to bless their ministries with legacy-like powers that ignore the influence of the Lie, making them all the more powerful. But Archigenitors come and go depending on the events of the Fallen World, which makes the battle for supremacy all the more bloodthirsty among the Ministries.