Otto I, Grand Prince of Muldav
Otto Sigmar Barbanov-Alimar, known as Otto I, (12th of Snow's Maiden, 1690 - 18th of Grand Harvest, 1764) of the House of Alimar, was the third Grand Prince of Muldav following his nephew Kazimar's disappearance. After Ser Tiberius Barrow's unexpected death in the Rubern War, he was elevated to the position of Lord Regent of Hanseti-Ruska, serving from 1755 until Sigismund II's majority in 1762. He then served as Lord Palatine of Hanseti-Ruska until his death in 1764. He was a vocal proponent of Haeseni autonomy, a position which earned him the nickname "the Muldav Menace". While the name was originally meant to describe Otto, it has since become a term used for any opponents of Imperial centralization, and even a nickname for Haeseni people in general.
Early Life and Young Adulthood
Born in Markev to Prince Edward Barbanov and his wife, Lady Irena Colborn, Otto’s childhood was defined by chaos. He and his brothers were the definition of troublemakers, pranking and attacking innocents in the Krepost palace as young boys. As an adolescent, Otto trained with the soldiers of the Royal Army and often joined their ranks to fight against bandits and other raiders, quickly developing a name for himself as a military man. It was during these fights that he developed his most noticeable feature, his blinded eye. He also earned a reputation as a drunkard, having one of Haense's most extensive alcohol collections. He continued this lifestyle of drinking and fighting even after being selected to serve as Exchequer of the Interior by his cousin, Marius II. He supported Marius's decision to support Joseph I in the War of Two Emperors, and fought in the Battle of Upper Rodenburg and the failed Siege of Helena. The loss of his brothers Godfric and Georg affected him profoundly as he sought comfort and distraction in service to the Kingdom. It was during this time that Otto turned from drunk soldier to statesman.
Solicitor-General of Oren
Following the end of the War of Two Emperors, Otto was chosen by Emperor Alexander II to serve as Solicitor-General of the reformed Holy Orenian Empire. As Solicitor-General, Otto saw to the publication of the Law Codex of the Empire, but was idle for the remainder of his time in office. He had no interest in law, and largely sat on the Emperor's council to combat the radical centralization reforms suggested by others members of the council.
In 1731, Alexander's opponents and dissidents ousted him by fabricating the identity of his true birth father. In doing so, they removed his legitimacy as Holy Orenian Emperor and forced him into exile. In protest, Otto resigned from his position as Solicitor-General, along with Terrence May, the then-Chairman of the Board of Notaries. This opinion was shared a majority of Haense, where Alexander had immense support.
Lord Marshal of Hanseti-Ruska
After returning to Haense, Otto was appointed Lord Marshal to revive the military of the Kingdom, which had suffered multiple losses in soldiers and officers. As Marshal, Otto reformed the Brotherhood of Saint Karl and saw to the Brotherhood's growth to 2500 soldiers. He set in place procedures for oathing and recruitment, and established a base for the military that could be expanded upon in the future to promote further growth. He served as Marshal for three years before returning to his post as Exchequer of the Interior. He was succeeded as Marshal by Baron Wilheim Barclay, who continued Otto's growth of the Brotherhood.
Grand Prince of Muldav
The death of Grand Prince Josef a few years prior had left his son, Kazimar, as Grand Prince of Muldav and head of Alimar. However, much of Josef's line had defected to the Principality of Rubern, an enemy of Haense at this time due to their involvement in the Rubern War, and Otto and his sons grew discontent with Kazimar's lax attitude towards the rogue branch of their family. Kazimar abdicated his title as Grand Prince of Muldav, and was later murdered by Ruberni bandits. Otto declared himself the new Grand Prince of Muldav.
Otto's first act was to disenfranchise the Ruberni branch of Alimar, restoring some semblance of stability to the family. He continued to serve Haense as Exchequer of the Interior and restored Alimar's image as a loyal house to Barbanov. Through a series of political marriages to Barclay and Stafyr, he maintained Alimar's relevance as a noble house separate to the Biharian line of Barbanov.
Lord Regent of Hanseti-Ruska
Following Andrik IV's death, Ser Tiberius Barrow had been appointed Lord Regent by the Aulic Council to lead the nation until Andrik IV's son, Prince Otto Sigismund, came of age. However, Tiberius was soon captured and executed by AIS leadership as part of the ongoing Rubern War and, in accordance with the law, Otto was elevated to Lord Regent.
As Regent, Otto's first challenge was to secure the loyalty of the Valwyck Pact, a political faction that had formed in protest to what they saw as Otto's nepotistic appointment as Regent. Following a series of meetings and private debates, the Pact recognized Otto's authority as Regent in the Valwyck Compromise. Throughout his regency, Otto saw to the growth of the city of Reza, overseeing the construction of a new district in the city and the formation of the Royal Academy of Saint Catherine. In doing so, Haense remained a player on the world stage while many nations of the AIS suffered from mass migrations of their population and desertion from their armies. Meanwhile, Haense's population rose and its military remained strong under the leadership of Count Erwin Barclay. Otto continued as regent in the final few years of the Rubern War, maintaining the Kingdom's stability as suffering AIS nations signed treaties to leave the war.
In addition to the population and military growth the Kingdom had, Otto oversaw the expansion of Haense's treasury by expanding its trade connections. The appointment of Rennard Amador as Lord Treasurer, who was also the chairman of the Crown owned Haeseni Fur Trade Company, saw the treasury triple in size from the start of the regency. This increase in wealth ultimately aided in the joint Haeseni-Imperial purchase of the lands of the now dissolved Kingdom of Suffonia.
One of Otto's greatest shortcomings as Regent was the lack of attention he paid to knighthood in the Kingdom. His critics and supporters agree that, as a result of this lack of oversight and vision, knighthood devolved into nothing more than glorified security for royals and other important officials in the Kingdom. His critics also note that he was a staunch monarchist, disagreeing with the idea of a Duma that held power. As such, he vetoed many bills that passed the Duma if he considered them to be against the authority of the King in any way, leading many of his opponents to consider him a tyrant.
Lord Palatine of Hanseti-Ruska
As Sigismund II reached the age of majority, Otto stepped down as regent and took up the position of Palatine. He served for two years and spent much of this time overseeing the reformation of the Brotherhood of Saint Karl, which had been Haense's primary military force since the reign of Andrik III, into the Haeseni Royal Army which remains the main military of the Kingdom. He also began the first steps of forming a relationship between Haense and the Silver State of Haelun'or, inviting scholars from Haelun'or to help with the Royal Academy and to tours of the Alimar Memorial Library.
Even as Regent, Otto's deteriorating health had been a concern for himself and for the Kingdom. Injuries sustained from war and other accidents had left him blinded in one eye and with a permanent limp. In addition, his memory had begun to fade in his advanced age. Courtiers and officials alike noted that he would forget where his office was at times, or devolve into episodes of trauma. In one such episode, he permanently crippled his son's ward, thinking that the young boy was a Renatian general from the old War of Two Emperors.
This deterioration of his health would ultimately lead to his death, with Otto passing in his sleep in 1764. He was succeeded as Palatine by his Palatine-Aspirant and prime diplomat of the Valwyck Compromise, Duke Petyr Baruch, and succeeded as Grand Prince of Muldav by his son, Godfric I, Grand Prince of Muldav.
|Godfric I, Grand Prince of Muldav||1721||1773||Princess Margaret of Kaedrin||Firstborn child of Otto I and Ambrosia. Successor of Otto I.|
|Prince Georg Lothar of Muldav||1721||Alive||Unwed||Second-born son of Otto I and Ambrosia. Bishop of Jorenus.|
|Princess Kamila Irena of Muldav||1721||Alive||Erwin I, Duke of Reinmar|| Firstborn daughter of Otto I and Ambrosia. Duchess consort of Reinmar