Reza Elizaveta of Turov
Reza Elizaveta Sergeievna (Common: Theresa Elizabeth; High Imperial: Therasia Elisabeth; Auvergnian: Thérèse Élisabeth) (30th of the Amber Cold, 1565 – 17th of Sun's Smile, 1596), monikered the Fierce, the First and the Golden Griffin, was the first Queen-Consort of Haense as the wife of King Andrew II of Haense. It is incorrectly believed by many that the wife of the first Haeseni king, Elizabeth of Metterden, was the first Queen-Consort of Haense, but such is untrue, due to Elizabeth dying years before Peter Barbanov was elevated to the status of king.
As the first Haeseni queen, Reza attempted to emulate the grandeur of Orenian empresses, a move that proved to be wildly unpopular in her time, but would later lead to the glorification of her character centuries later.
Reza was born on 30th of the Amber Cold, 1565, to Sergei Kovachev and Roseia Staunton within the confines of Carnatia, an Orenian duchy headed by her formidable grandfather, Jan Kovachev, the son of King Varon of Akovia.
She was the eldest daughter of five siblings, and exerted an air of great maturity even in her youth; when her siblings played outside and mingled with the common born Carnatian children, Reza stayed within the walls of her family’s keep, occupying herself with ladylike tasks such as embroidery, reading, and tending to the babes of her relatives. It was due to her elegant disposition that she was a favorite of her grandfather, and commonly was the only female family member of his that accompanied him whenever he visited the imperial court. Reza would later become a full-fledged member of the imperial court after it was decided by her family that she would be educated there, and it is attested by many of her contemporaries at court that Reza was so sophisticated that people nearly forgot she was a Raevir.
After Reza had completed her primary education, her family called for her return to Haense. At first, she did not want to go, seeing as all she had known for a very long time was the imperial court and her many friends there, but she knew it was the foremost duty of a noblewoman to return to her kinsmen when asked. Upon her arrival, her sadness caused by her departure from the capital was quickly dashed after she was informed that she would be marrying the newly installed Crown-Prince of Haense, Andrik Otto. Reza had only seen her betrothed once, at the crowning of King Peter II of Haense, which took place at the imperial palace, but she had assumed that Andrik would most likely marry a Horen princess, as to further legitimize the House of Barbanov as a house of kings. Though, some believe a young Reza must have had her suspicions that she would be considered as a bride for Prince Andrik, seeing as at the time, her house, House Kovachev, frequently rallied the most men for Haense. Whatever the case may be, Reza was overjoyed and felt as though it was her God-given duty to serve as the first Haeseni queen. Many of her old imperial friends were very excited for her, and those that made up the early Haeseni court waited in restless anticipation to see what their first queen would be like.
In 1583, Reza was wed to King Andrew II of Haense in an exceedingly humble and somber ceremony. It is known that Reza attempted to try and plan her own wedding, and she had wanted it to be rather sumptuous, but was barred from doing so due to some feeling as though a Raevir bride-to-be planning her own wedding was uncouth. She was slightly dismayed by this, but she did not let it have too much of an effect on her, since her wedding attire was very costly: she wore a velvet white gown, a chiffon veil, a large pearl headdress, and an underskirt that was completely made of cloth of gold. The vast majority of Haeseni did not react to Reza’s expensive dress well, many even daring to call her spendthrift. Upon seeing Reza’s attire, the traditional Raevir priest performing the ceremony refused to perform it without being able to give a long sermon on decadence, prying women, and the dangers that would befall any woman that dared to not be as mild-mannered and meek as the saintly Julia, the wife of Horen. The bridegroom, King Andrik, appeased the priest, and it is accounted by many present that out of everyone in attendance, Andrik clapped and shouted the loudest in agreeance, most likely due to his obvious dislike of Reza.
At first, Andrik and Reza enjoyed each other's company, but as time went on and they came to learn the other better, Andrik grew to detest his future wife, frequently telling his friends that she was far too proper, luxurious, and horribly different from other Raevir women. It is believed by many of Reza’s contemporaries that even though Andrik disliked her greatly, Reza somehow had fallen in love with him, and refused to denounce Andrik even after he committed regicide, all the way to her deathbed. The reason as to why the marriage was not called off was due solely to her father’s great power and her family’s large army.
Even though the wedding was not a very joyous affair, many cite this wedding as the cause for the popularity of the Haeseni name “Elizaveta”, seeing as Reza opted to use the relatively archaic Raevir variant of “Elizabeth” as her middle name. In short, she essentially reintroduced the name to Raevirs.
Queen-Consort of Haense
Reza was Queen-Consort of Haense for a total of four years, and within those three years, she experienced fierce opposition from many at the Haeseni court. Her greatest enemy at court was her husband’s own brother, Prince Karl Sigmar. It was Prince Karl that attempted to block some of Reza’s attempts to formalize the Haeseni court, he felt as though Reza was attempting to make the Barbanovs into “northern Horens” with her court reforms, and he would stop at next to nothing to stamping them out as quickly as she could think of them.
Her husband opted to take a less aggressive approach than his brother, King Andrik instead completely ignored Reza by sleeping in different chambers, barring her from any official political positions, and not allowing her to sit-in for any council meetings. All he requested of her was that she stands beside the throne during court sessions with a sealed shut mouth, and to visit his chambers once a month to perform her marital duty.
By this point in her life, Reza felt completely helpless and all that she looked forward to was the visits from her Kovachev kinsmen that became increasingly infrequent as the years went on. It is not known why her father, the powerful Count Sergei, did not help her fight against her multiple enemies at court, most believe he was simply too busy personally ruling Turov and was rarely at court to witness the many injustices suffered by his daughter.
In an attempt to prove her aptitude for making alliances and friends, she organized a ball with the Empress-Consort of Oren at the time, Julia of Furnestock, and dubbed it “The Unity Ball”. The reason for throwing the ball was to inspire a closer relationship between Northern and Southern Orenians, but the vast majority of Haeseni at the time were staunch isolationists and detested the imperial court. Many at Reza’s own court openly told her to cancel it, but, at this point in her reign, Reza was tired of being defeated and went along with the ball anyways. On the day of the ball, the only Haeseni that were in attendance was Reza, King Andrik, the Kovachevs, and a sparse number of Haeseni guardsmen. Andrik would leave early on in the event shortly after paying his respects to Emperor John III. Her husband left with the entire royal guard that accompanied them on the way there, which made Reza depend on a few guards from her father and a makeshift wagon as her escort home. Andrik had left with her carriage and claimed it had fallen apart on the way back to St. Karlsburg.
On the 12th of Malin’s Welcome, 1584, Reza finally gave the Kingdom of Haense an heir. The birth was a long and stressful one, since she was giving birth to twins, and it also did not help that Reza had suffered a miscarriage before, which caused her to be a very stubborn patient. Those present at the birth said that she was very reluctant to push hard, since she was absolutely terrified to miscarry again.
Shortly after the birth of her twins, Marius and Katherine, Reza began to outfit herself in a crown that was almost identical to the official Crown of Haense. This proved to be a horrendously unpopular move, but many historians assume that by this point in her reign, Reza simply did not care anymore about the negative things people had to say about her. In retaliation to her heightened confidence after giving birth to the Haeseni crown-prince, he was kept away from her, and given a very rigid education.
During the time of Andrik’s rebellion and his personal assassination of Emperor John Augustus, Reza was bedridden and very ill after the birth of her last child, Prince Otto. She was not even made aware of any of the happenings at court until she was called from her sickbed by her husband and brother-in-law to answer for the kidnappings of her two elder children, Marius and Katherine. They had accused Reza of having a part in it, since the children were taken to the imperial court and watched over by her very own friend, Empress-Consort Julia of Furnestock. It is attested by many at the Haeseni court that after finding out that two of her three cherished children had been kidnapped, Reza’s sickness grew considerably worse and some thought she might even die. It only intensified when her husband disallowed her from having any contact with her family, after her father had made it very clear that the Kovachevs did not support a rebellion.
Upon King Andrik’s execution on the 2nd of the Deep Cold, 1586, Reza became the Queen-Mother of Haense. Even though she was very ill, she made the arduous journey to the capital from St. Karlsburg in order to get her son, the infant King Marius, and to participate in an event where notable Haeseni formally apologized to Emperor Philip one-by-one in front of the whole of the imperial court. Apparently, Reza went first, and all of the imperial courtiers that had once known the bright-eyed and youthful Reza were shocked to see the miserable and sickly woman she had become: her skin was deathly pale, her hair was unkempt and covered completely by a thick white veil, and she wore a tattered black cotehardie. She was only twenty-one years old, but looked decades beyond her age. The only thing on her that reminded her old friends of the old Reza was the glistening crown she wore atop her head.
After the creation of her constant enemy, Prince Karl Sigmar, as the official Regent of Haense, Reza knew all was lost for her and all she would know for the coming years under Karl Sigmar’s reign would be silent suffering. Again, she was barred from political positions and important meetings. She openly argued with her brother-in-law on various occasions, and made it known to any who would lend her their ear the great cruelties she had to endure under her brother-in-law’s administration. Reza honestly felt as though she should have been regent for her son, and she even attempted to foster a conspiracy that would see Prince Karl removed from power, but with little support, it never materialized.
It was only when her son, King Marius, came of age that Reza would be given some sort of power. Even though Marius was largely kept away from Reza by her enemies, he still had a great love for her. Many believe that Marius’ love for his mother stemmed from pity and his religious nature. He honestly felt as though Reza did not deserve all of the mistreatment she had to endure, and frequently apologized to her on his predecessor's behalf.
On the day of her son’s coronation, Reza outfitted herself in her Haeseni crown and a brand new bliaut made in the colors of House Barbanov: black and gold. She was afforded the honor of being the only person behind the king as he made his way through the hall and to his throne. Days after the coronation, she was given a position on the Haeseni council. Promptly after her investiture as an official advisor of her monarchical son, Reza successfully orchestrated the downfall of her aforesaid rival, Prince Karl Sigmar. The exact method in which the dowager was able to sour Karl in the eyes of Marius remain unknown, with multiple theories being alleged throughout the centuries, but what is definitively known is that her son ousted his paternal uncle from his position as Lord Palatine in 1593, and erected Reza’s brother, Henrik Kovachev in his place, on the recommendation of his mother.
A few years after her installment as a member of the council and Karl Sigmar’s subsequent fall from grace, he would end up dying in battle, and one of Reza’s first actions following his death was to successfully advocate for a street in St. Karlsburg to be named after him. Historians are baffled as to the reason why a common trend in Reza’s life was to honor those who treated her cruelly, as evidenced by her undying love and support for Andrik, and the aforementioned act in Prince Karl’s honor.
For a couple of years, Reza experienced great happiness and lived in harmony at her son’s court. However, this happiness would prove to be short lived. When her son took a wife, Adelaida-Isabel of Metterden, her relationship with him grew strained. Reza could not stand Adelaida, and thought the tall, red-haired Ruthern was unsophisticated, dishonest, and not deserving to be her successor. As Adelaida’s influence grew over Marius, Reza soon found herself estranged from her beloved son. Eventually, Marius released his frustrations on his mother in front of his maternal family, the Kovachevs, by starting an argument with her. The argument was a horrible one, and it resulted in Marius and Adelaida storming off, and Reza opting to reside in Carnatia with the Kovachevs for a week. Reza only returned to St. Karlsburg to resume her duties as a member of the Haeseni council and to witness the birth of her first grandchild.
Unfortunately for Reza, she would not be able to meet her first grandchild, seeing as she died just one month before he was born. She suffered a stroke at the young age of thirty-one. Many historians believe that the only reason someone as youthful as Reza could suffer a stroke was due solely to the extremely miserable and stressful life she had lead.
Reza would be given an unceremonious and quick funeral that was not witnessed by many. Her remains were confiscated by her Kovachev kinsmen with no objection, seeing as many did not think it appropriate to bury her alongside her husband, as is the custom, since they had such an unpleasant relationship in life.
|Marius I of Haense||12th of Malin’s Welcome, 1584||15th of Sun's Smile, 1611||Adelajda of Metterden||Firstborn child of Andrik and Reza. Twin of Katerina. A renowned King of Haense.|
|Katherine Aleksandra, Princess Royal||12th of Malin’s Welcome, 1584||Deceased||Sergei II Kovachev||Secondborn child of Andrik and Reza. Twin of Marius.|
|Otto I of Haense||27th of the Deep Cold, 1586||13th of Grand Harvest, 1627||Katerina Reza Kovachev||Thirdborn child of Andrik and Reza. Had a brief tenure as King of Haense.|