Stephen I of Haense
Stephen I, also Stefan (Naumarian: Stefan Karl; 6 Snow's Maiden 1610 – 6 Amber Cold 1624) was the King of Haense from 1610 to 1624. He belonged to the House of Barbanov as the only surviving son of King Marius, following his brother's death to a deadly bout of measles. He assumed power after his election during the National Duma of 1610, at the age of fourteen.
Considered a national hero of Haense and one of the greatest Kings of the Dual Monarchy, Stephen was voted king (following the Greyspine Rebellion and its success at the Second Battle of the Rothswood) by the National Duma in a landslide victory. As monarch, his reforms turned Haense from an imperial backwater into the most powerful vassal of the Empire both in military and size. His deals with the Prince of Pruvia left Stephen master of a sizable fortune, advancing himself as one of the richest peers within the empire.
While a national hero of Haense and the Highlander people of the Empire, his meddling in imperial affairs which lead to the death of Emperor John V and subsequent abdication of the regent Robert of Marna left him, according to the words of Prince Philip Owyn "... a deviant to the Imperial State and a foe to all humanity."
Birth and Childhood
Second Battle of Rothswood
National Duma of 1610
The successful Greyspine Rebellion of 1609 led to a power vacuum in the northern states. The sudden retreat of King Joseph de Aleksandria from Haense mainland left a vast swath of land in control of numerous lords, all vying for power. The principal house of the rebellion, the Ruthern family, aspired and very much was claiming the northern crown for themselves, having the avid support of King Odo de Lotharingia and many southern lords.
Fearing for their own possessions as well as the distrust with the Ruthern family and the intermingling of the Kingdom of Lotharingia, the largest houses of the former Kingdom of Haense, including the Kovachev family and the Vanir family, created a coalition among themselves to combat the election of a Ruthern king. In an act to rival their claim, they suggested a duma, a senate of electors to choose their own sovereign. With Ruthern’s failure to consolidate control over the council itself, it came to be packed with supporters of both of the senior houses.
The Marquise van Vasiland and the Duke van Carnatia threw their support to young Stephen, in hopes of both protecting their reestablished control over their estates and check monarchical powers in their favor. A split in the Yellow Party (come to be known for their iconic yellow lilies worn upon their hats to signify support for Stephen) occurred when disagreements came to the selected council for the underage candidate led to the rise of lesser nobles in support of Adolphus Vyronov.
The duma (known officially as the National Duma of 1611) was split in three, the predominate Yellow Party, composed of elder lords and ancient nobility, the more populist White Party in support of Lord Vyronov, made up of many minor lordlings and knights, and finally the Greyspine Party, a cohort of veteran soldiery in support of the young Count of Metterden as king.
The Ruthern’s unpopularity to the noble duma left them shunned from majority of the noble groups, and while Lord Vyronov gathered a staunch support base, the Yellow Party won in a landslide. In a quick urge to solidify the newly-elected King Stephen to the northern throne, he was crowned in the Hochspitze Palace on 6 Snow Maiden, 1610.
King Stephen married once in his life, to Princess Elizabeth Maria of Courland, the sister of his rival King Joseph of Courland, shortly after his coronation. His council were the ones to arrange the peace deal between the two nations, in hopes of creating a peace- one of the first and last decisions composed by the lords without the full consent of the new sovereign.
They married within Hochspitze Palace (same place as Stephen’s coronation) in 1611, with his cousin Henry Otto, Count of Bihar, acting in proxy for the marriage. They fully consummated their union years later in 1613, shortly before the foundations of the City of Alban. The marriage was classified as a strange and typically unhappy one, and while producing one healthy daughter Victoria Catherine (Naumarian: Viktoria Katherina), they failed in the creation of a male heir, which set both the Haensic noble elite and the crumbling Courlander royal house on edge.
His wife sat as a mostly unpopular queen. While the nobility quietly supported the marriage, the lower burghers and peasantry saw it as a outrage, a slight to the former men who fought dying for the kingdom not a few years before. Atleast one notable riot broke out in 1615 over the matter, though it was quickly subdued by royal forces.
The marriage reached a breaking in 1618, where the believed healthy son (prematurely named as Petyr Karl) was strangled by the umbilical during the birth. Combined with family stress, resentment from both of her husband, fellow ladies and the peasantry in whole, the Queen is believed to have committed suicide a year later in 1619, though foul play was suspected from those in the royal court. Two years later, the lordling Petyr Barrow was subsequently hanged on charges of conspiracy against the crown, which historians point to as the likely candidate for Elizabeth's murderer, according to letters written between King Stephen and his cousin Prince Henry Otto.
War of Santegian Independence
Cabal of Three
The Rump Regency
Expansion and Diplomacy
Relations with Clan Frostbeard
Duel of 1622
Death and Legacy
Stephen passed away at the young age of 28 from Hodgkins Disease and with no legitimate issue left the throne to his uncle Otto I.