Blood and Jazz
Fyodor Medivich I
Eleventh (and Probably Last) Monarch of Dvirhim
Emperor Fyodor Medivich I was born in the summer of 3896, during the “Golden Reign” of his grandfather, Andrei Medivich III; his father, who would otherwise have become Emperor Andrei Medivich IV, drowned alongside most of the rest of the passengers and crew of the Reveler in the spring of the same year. When Andrei III passed in 3901, bringing the Golden Reign to an end, Fyodor’s uncle Alexei was declared Regent until Fyodor came of age.
In 3909, following an assassination attempt on thirteen-year-old Fyodor’s life, Fyodor’s mother Lidia Orel Medivich became convinced that the Regent had engineered the assassination attempt as a bid to take the throne for himself. When her own House Orel proved unwilling to give shelter to Lidia and her son, she fled with the young emperor to the wild wetlands of southwestern Dvirhim. From this point onwards Lidia taught Fyodor to trust no one and fear everyone; be they peasantry, small nobles, great nobles, or foreigners, any or all of them could be in the service of enemies conspiring against him. She taught him next to nothing about the practical social and economic dilemmas of ruling, as noblewomen of Dvirhim were not traditionally schooled in such matters.
In 3936, having come of age, Fyodor finally reappeared at the Imperial Palace to confront his uncle and claim his birthright. He proved his identity by way of the distinctive port wine birthmark covering the left side of his face and by way of a considerable amount of divination. Upon being confirmed as Emperor, Fyodor promptly pardoned his mother for kidnapping the heir of Dvirhim and executed his uncle Alexei for treason. This return was met with wild approval by the commoners and nobles alike, not only because it was dramatic, but also because Alexei had been notorious for raising taxes to support a series of major Dvirhimmish military reforms, taxes which nobles could not afford to pay without working their serfs near to death.
In 3937, Fyodor successfully negotiated for the nobility of the inner regions of Dvirhim surrounding the imperial city of Medyova to abolish serfdom entirely. Caravag claims, and is likely correct, that this was not done out of sympathy for the commoners but rather out of fear that a revolution could begin right at the imperial doorstep if the common folk in the region remained in bondage. This act was met with similarly wild approval by serfs across the rest of the nation, who expected to earn their freedom as well over the course of the next few years—but not by the serfs of the inner regions, who were granted their freedom but had no homes or source of income (since their housing and equipment were all still the property of their lords). Suddenly unable to earn food, thousands of families starved before they could find refuge and work in nearby cities. The nobility remained loyal to Fyodor, however, as they were able to sell their land and equipment at great profit to urban entrepreneurs looking to invent a new system of labor to replace serfdom (the system that Darysiel Markohnwë would later refer to as ‘capitalism’).
Hoping to take advantage of the young emperor’s inexperience, Svergurd convinced the neighboring dwarf nation of Gazadhim to be its ally in an invasion of Dvirhim’s southeastern borders in 3941, beginning the Dark War. Unfortunately for them, Fyodor had left the great military reforms instituted by the Regent Alexei intact, and this modernized army combined with the infamous Dvirhimmish Winter proved to be Svergurd’s and Gazadhim’s undoing. Winning the Dark War solidified Fyodor’s favor with the nobility and the common folk even further; he was now a great warrior-king on top of being a liberator and reformer.
In the following decades, however, Fyodor let the nation fall into disrepair. Economic power gradually shifted from the crown to new corporate giants like Bogdan Volkova. Fyodor’s implied promise to free the rest of the serfs went unfulfilled. With the lingering idea of Fyodor as a heroic long-lost heir still in their minds, the common folk were unsure of who to blame, which contributed to the failure of the Revolution of 3977; however, David Caravag’s media warfare has done what the Revolution of 3977 could not, all but erasing the love of Emperor Fyodor across the entire nation. This has served to make Fyodor more paranoid and mindful of his mother’s old teachings than ever.
The sigil of the Imperial House Medivich is a wolverine, and it is said that few creatures are more dangerous when cornered.