Sigmar I, Duke of Valwyck
Sigmar Joren Baruch 'The Dutiful' (Common: Siguine Joren Baruch), known formally as The Duke of Valwyck, or referred to simply as Sigmar. He was the eighth patriarch of House Baruch, succeeding his father in 1715. He was the firstborn son of Count Jan and Lilliana Kortrevich. He was the fifth Lord Speaker of Haense and the fourth Aulic Envoy of Haense, assuming the positions in 1733. He is regarded as the most influential Haeseni statesmen in modern Haeseni history and is responsible for the souring rise of House Baruch to a Duchy.
Early Life and Young Adulthood
Sigmar Joren Baruch (1709-1813) was born to Jan and Lilliana (Kortrevich) Baruch, alongside his twin brother Eirik Sigismund within the Keep of Marianburg, County of Ayr; their familial home. He was the eldest of the two by a few minutes, meaning it was his birthright to succeed his father as patriarch when he came of age. His parents would later bear another child, Kamilla Baruch, a year after the twins; she would be the final child of Jan and Lilliana. Sigmar grew up in a time where the cracks of humanity began to crack once more. Within a few years of his young life (1711), The Pertinaxi Empire was thrown into turmoil after Emperor Antonius I sent his men to burn down the City of Ves, the capital of the Duchy of Adria, after its people accused his son Prince Yury of raiding and killing the townsfolk; this event would later be known as the Sacking of Ves.
During this time, Sigmar and his siblings were raised by their mother and great grandfather, the former Count Marius Baruch. His father, Ser Jan Baruch, had become entrenched in imperial politics while also serving as a Knight in the Marian Retinue. It is said that during this time his parents’ relationship became strained, as Jan distanced himself from his family as well as the Haeseni court because of his ambition and arrogance. Jan invested much of his time into the Imperial court instead, attempting to gain favor with Emperor Antonious I.
Regency and Count of Ayr
In 1715, humanity descended into war. The War of Two Emperors began, pitting the [Kingdom of Haense]] and the Marnan Coalition against the Remnants of the Pertinax who called themselves the Empire of Renatus. Sigmar’s father, Ser Jan Baruch, betrayed his Kingdom and broke his oath as Kingsguard when he snuck off in the night to join the Renatians, leaving his wife and children behind. In the early months of the war, Jan would be captured and executed for treason against the Crown and would be given the moniker ‘The Black’ for the stain he left on his family and legacy. Lord Marius Baruch, Sigmar’s great grandfather, would petition King Marius II to grant Sigmar his treacherous father’s titles and to let them keep their land. Marius II granted these requests in exchange for an oath of loyalty from the family along with the appointment of a regency council until Sigmar came of age.
Lord Marius would chair Sigmar’s regency council alongside their kin Lerald Vyronov, Joren Baruch, as well as his mother Lilliana Kortrevich, until her unforeseen treachery in 1716 where she would join her brother Ser Rodrik Kortrevich in Renatus. During this time, Sigmar would continue his education under Lerald and Marius in laws and histories and would train in combat with his cousin Joren. In the concluding months of the war, Sigmar would trick his mother into returning home under the guise of a truce. When she arrived she was arrested and executed by order of the young Count for treason against the Crown of Haense. This gained him notoriety amongst the Renatians who put a bounty on the young lord's head for executing the sister of the Grand Knight of Renatus, Ser Rodrik Kortrevich. At the age of fourteen, two years after the end of the War of Two Emperors, Sigmar was Count of Ayr in his own right. Much of his early reign is unextraordinary, the majority of his time was spent attempting to gain favor within the Haeseni court.
In 1729, Sigmar along with Erich Stafyr visited the town of Adria during the height of tensions between the Adrians and Lorraine, they were threatened and assaulted within the city, escaping before a skirmish between Adria and Lorraine along with their allies the Caer Bann of Kaedrin. Sigmar and Erich alerted King Andrew III to the events that transpired, and rallied the Haeseni forces who marched to Rubern to meet with Prince Vladrick Alimar and his men. After rendezvousing in Rubern, Andrik and Vladrick’s forces met with the Adrians and marched to Kaedrin, where the Caer Bann and Lorraine soldiers attempted to overthrow King Adrian of Kaedrin, there the Three Crow alliance routed the coup, and made the plotters flee. Archancellor John de Balain then declared these plotters rebels, and ordered their land seized and their leaders executed. This event is now known as the Loraine Revolt.
In 1731, Sigmar married Marya Adelheid Ruthern, a political marriage to strengthen the bond of Baruch and Ruthern, however it is said the two were taken with one another and had a happy marriage until her death in 1761. They would have four children, Petyr Sigismund, Viktor Aldrik, Josef Marius and Marya Annaliese. In 1732, to reward his cousin Joren Baruch for his counsel and service, Sigmar petitioned Andrew III to allow Sigmar to grant the Barony of Gant, a title held by House Baruch for decades, to Joren. Andrew III granted Sigmar’s request and the cadet branch of Baruch-Gant was formed.
Aulic Envoy of Haense
In 1730, Sigmar was appointed as Aulic Envoy (formerly Lord Kastellan) by Andrew III, after a recommendation from his uncle who served as Lord Palatine to the King, Lerald Vyronov. His tenure was mainly spent overseeing reconstruction of vassal keeps and mending relationships amongst noble families in war-torn Haense, as the foreign duties of the office were mainly overseen by the Palatine, Lord Lerald. In 1733, the position of Lord Kastellan was renamed to Aulic Envoy and the responsibilities of the position expanded twice fold. For twenty years, Sigmar ensured steady relations with the Imperial government of Oren during turbulent times sparked by the growing desire for Haeseni autonomy.
During much of his tenure, Sigmar offered the Kingdom with a voice of reason. Due to his success, he would often be sent to represent Haeseni interests abroad. One of his most notable achievements as Envoy would be the inception of the ‘Emissary’ position which is now formally known as the ‘Aulic Ambassador’ position. In 1753, Sigmar resigned as Aulic Envoy and the position remained vacant for nearly forty-years till its re-establishment under King Josef I.
Lord Speaker of Haense
In the early years of Sigmar’s countship, he outsourced his seat in the Royal Duma of Haense to a representative named Terrence May, a local fisherman of Ayr who was chosen by the peasant folk to be their spokesperson to Count and his council. In 1732 however, Sigmar became involved in the Royal Duma as May was appointed as Lord Palatine after the resignation of Lerald Vyronov. Sigmar advocated alongside Palatine May for the formation of the 1732 Committee, a group formed by the pair alongside Lord Speaker Konrad Stafyr, Prince Otto Alimar, and Lord Markus Kortrevich. This committee founded two parties to represent the two main ideological differences amongst the nobility of Haense; the Feudalists and the Centralists. The Feudalists, founded by Sigmar and Terrence May, advocated for more noble rights, such as levies, more vassal autonomy, and lower Crown Authority. The Centralist, founded by Prince Otto Alimar and Markus Kortrevich, advocated for more Aulic Council power and Higher Crown Authority.
A few years after the founding of the benches and restructuring of the Royal Duma, Konrad Stafyr was appointed as Lord Palatine following May’s resignation and Sigmar was appointed as Lord Speaker and Councillor Paramount to the Crown. Sigmar’s tenure coincided with the expansion of the Royal Duma’s power, spearheaded by a network of partisan lords and representatives. The two parties were at their heights, and there was much civil discourse and productivity. Sigmar served as impartially as he could, although there were many rumors and reports of partiality and secret meetings with the feudalist bench leader, Henrik Vanir, the Opposition Leader to Konrad Stafyr and later Markus Kortrevich’s Centralist governments.
Unlike the previous Lord Speakers, Sigmar often butted heads with his peers, especially Lord Palatine Markus Kortrevich. Tensions reached their peak in the middle of his tenure as Speaker when he allowed for Henrik Vanir and Siguine Ruthern to call for a vote of no confidence against the Palatine after Lord Markus threatened to furlough the Royal Duma, calling it a “Mummers farce” and “an ineffective body” after it voted down a main point of his agenda as Palatine. Sigmar did not advocate for the Palatine’s removal publicly, but allowed for the symbolic vote to take place, which was an unprecedented move at its time, as a statement to the government’s threats against the body. During his twenty years as Lord Speaker, many bills passed, the most consequential being the Centralized Academic Sector, the reformation of the Centralized Army known as the Brotherhood of Saint Karl, and the founding of the state-owned business of the Royal Fur Trading Company.
After twenty years of service, in 1753, Sigmar retired to pursue other affairs, recommending the Feudalist Bench member and Leader of the Opposition, Henrik Vanir as his successor. Rumors spread that the two had come to an agreement for his nominations as his successor, as Henrik was Sigmar’s mentee for many years while he served as Speaker. In 1766, Speaker Henrik Vanir passed away after a bout with illness, Sigmar took up the position for a year as interim Speaker as he searched out a suitable long-term replacement for the position. Sigmar eventually endorsed and recommended the appointment of his daughter, Marya (Baruch) Kortrevich to the position. She was appointed as Speaker a few days later by his son Palatine Petyr Baruch. This led to speculation of nepotism and familial favoring over other candidates for the position, but the rumors did not bother the Baruch family as they continued to lead the Aulic Council for more than a decade.
Duke of Valwyck
In 1745, during the middle of his tenure as Lord Speaker, Sigmar was elevated to ducal status by decree of King Andrew IV, for years of service to his father Andrew III and the Aulic Council. The Duchy of Relavia, later renamed Valwyck by the request of Sigmar, was bestowed upon him and House Baruch. Sigmar served as Duke of Valwyck until 1753, when he resigned from his post as Lord Speaker and abdicated his ducal title to his son and heir, Petyr Sigismund Baruch.
Later Life and Death
In 1755, Sigmar would be re-appointed to the position of Aulic Envoy (formerly Lord Kastellan) by his son and Lord Palatine Petyr Baruch. He would serve in this position on the Aulic council for a year, before resigning once more and using his connections to get his nephew, Emerich Gant, appointed. Prior to his retirement in 1755, he and his son-in-law, Viktor Kortrevich introduced the Royal Newspaper Act of 1755. Having been unanimously passed in the Royal Duma, it received royal assent in the year following, prompting the creation of the state-newspaper of the Golden Crow Chronicles. For sixty-three years, the widely acclaimed publication sold tens of millions of copies in the nations of Haense, Oren, Kaedrin and Curon; receiving many nominations and awards for literary excellence. Additionally, many years later in 1769, he was inducted into the Order of Queen Maya and the Lily as a Hauchkossar. During his retirement, he continued to publish literary works through the Baruch & Kortrevich Publishing Company.
From 1765 to 1781, Sigmar Baruch was elected by the Haeseni people to serve multiple terms in the Imperial House of Commons. First, as a founding member of the Everardine Party, then as a member of an Independent Coalition, later known as the Haeseni Freedom Caucus. During his tenure, his Traditionalist and Feudalist values made him a staunch opponent to Imperial attempts at Centralization. He was notorious for shouting witty insults at proponents of centralization ideas. In 1781, he opted to not run again and once again retired to private life in his familial home of Valwyck. Three years after the Empire granted the Kingdom of Haense its independence, Sigmar came out of retirement once more at the request of Lord Palatine Konstantin Wick to serve as a High Judge (Jovenaar) of the newly independent Haeseni Justice System, he was the founding Jovenaar of this system, and oversaw the infamous Boniface v. Crown of Haense, where the former priest Boniface was executed for heresy and apostasy. He, alongside Reza B. Gynsburg, also wrote the two doctrines of interpretation of the Law Code, the Haurul Caezk. In 1813, Sigmar Baruch died of natural causes at the age of 104.
Titles, Styles and Honors
Titles and Styles
- 1733-1753: His Excellency, Lord Speaker of Haense
- 1730-1756: His Excellency, Aulic Envoy of Haense
- 1745-1753: His Grace, Duke of Valwyck
- 1715-1753: The Right Honorable, Count of Ayr
- 1715-1753: The Honorable, Viscount of Voron
- 1715-1753: His Lordship, Baron of Gant
- 1715-1753: His Lordship, Baron of Laval
- 1715-1753: His Lordship, Baron of Riveryn
- 1769: HKML, Hauchkossar of the Order of Queen Maya and the Lily
The formal title of Sigmar was: Lord Sigmar Baruch, Lord Speaker of Hanseti-Ruska, Aulic Envoy of Hanseti-Ruska, Duke of Valwyck, Count of Ayr, Viscount of Voron, Baron of Gant, Baron of Laval, Baron of Riveryn, Lord of Jorenstadt and Guardian of the Hanseti Coast, HKML of the Order of Queen Maya.
|Petyr I, Duke of Valwyck
|Sofiya of Vasiland
|Firstborn son of Sigmar I and Marya Ruthern. Successor of Sigmar I.
|Viktor Aldrik Baruch
|Secondborn son of Sigmar I and Marya Ruthern.
|Josef Marius Baruch
|Thirdborn son of Sigmar I and Marya Ruthern.
|Marya Annaliese Baruch
|Viktor I of Korstadt
|Firstborn daughter of Sigmar I and Marya Ruthern.