Archduchess Vethara Mikhailovna
|Birth||12th July, 1107 A.S.|
|Titles||HIH Grand Duchess of Taraskovya, Duchess of Zoria, Duchess of Kheper-kekui-kha-mesti, Benefactress of the Church|
|Issue||Tatiana Georgieva (adopted) †|
|Father||Grand Duke Mikhail Alexeevich †|
|Mother||Grand Duchess Ekaterina Vladimirovna †|
|Siblings||HRH Anastasia Mikhailovna †, HMAM Mikhail the Vasilevs of all Taraskovya|
Vethara, Grand Duchess of Taraskovya (Vethara Mikhailovna Shakhovskaya)(born 12 July 1107 AS) is the third child and second daughter to the late Grand Duke Mikhail Alexeevich and Grand Duchess Ekaterina. She is currently the heiress presumptive to the Taraskovyan throne, currently held by her brother, His Most August Majesty Mikhail the Vasilevs of all Taraskovya.
She, as all Shakhovskoy, is a symbol of unity and harmony between the two peoples that have for generations shaped the destiny of her nation - the Russians and the Taraskath. With the fiery Russian vivacity and spontaneity and the cold Taraskath pragmatism, as well as their extreme longevity, Vethara combines all the traits that caracterize a modern Taraskovyan.
Just like her mother Ekaterina, the Grand Duchess became one of the Orthodox faithful. She is very devout and is a great supporter of the Church, to the point that her merits were recognized by the Vigvar Patriarchate when she was bestowed with the title of Benefactress of the Church.
- 1 Early Years
- 2 Revelation to the Public and Subsequent Years
- 3 The Plague and the Federal Era
- 4 Return of the Grand Duke
- 5 Imperial Era
- 6 Favourite Pastimes
- 7 Trivia
- 8 Other Titles
- 9 Foot Notes
Her Imperial Highness Vethara, Grand Duchess of Tarasovka, was born in the Vigvar Winter Palace, on the 12th of July 1107 After Strife and was bestowed with the title of Her Royal Highness the Archduchess. However, both the fact of her birth and her very existence were hidden from the Taraskovyan people, the Leib-doctors having been instructed to remain silent.
It is not known what reasons pushed the Grand Duke and his wife to act so. The early life of Vethara is, thus, clouded in mystery and gave birth to many a rumour, all of them dismissed by the Ruling family.
Revelation to the Public and Subsequent Years
When the Archduchess was 22 years old, her existence was finally revealed by the Grand Duke to his subjects, but no exact reason for the previous secrecy was given. No scandals erupted, however, and Taraskovyans were quick to celebrate the appearance of a whole new child of their beloved ruler.
The near absence of negative reaction is sometimes explained by a thorough preparation of the event by the Grand Duke and the Taraskovyan National Security Department.
Higher Education and Life as a Doctor
She then was engaged by the Vigvar Grand Ducal Leib-hospital as a general practitioner. At the same time, she entered the Pediatrics Department of the Faculty of Medicine, striving to become a pediatrician, which she did at the age of 30.
Due to her clouded past, Vethara quickly became the focus point of Taraskovyan media and, as such, was very quickly integrated into the social life of the Grand Duchy. Due to her kindness and generousity, she quickly became popular with the people, who often favoured her more than her father.
The Archduchess became active in the so-called “Bread for Sword” program, taking on the handling of finances and touring of the country to foresee to the needs of those benefiting from the program. In the “Bread for Sword” the Grand Duke of all Taraskovya offered financial assistance to the poorest Taraskovyans in exchange for armed service should war come to Taraskovyan soil and the Taraskovyan army be in dire need of men and women. In practice, none of those assisted in the “Bread for Sword” ever served a single day and, as such, that program was often referred to as charity. However, it helped many start a new self-sufficient life.
Vethara was also actively involved in supporting the Taraskovyan Church and even earned the honourary title of Benefactress of the Church.
The only public known romance of Her Royal Highness was with the Poruchik Nekshas Tenathir of the Leib-guards, Count of Terth, with whom Vethara was first sighted in public in 1138 AS at the Vigvar Opera House. In May 1141, Poruchik Tenathir was baptized in the Orthodox faith and in June the couple announced their engagement. However, their union never came to be as the Plague erupted in September of the same year and the Count fell on the battlefield.
The Plague and the Federal Era
The Plague, as Taraskovyans call the violent civil war of 1141 AS, came as a shock to the Archduchess. The death of her fiancé and father in the first weeks of warfare literally cut the young woman down. By the end of December 1141, her brother also presumably fell in battle. The war also claimed the life of her sister Anastasia, the initiator of the conflict. Her mother’s heart could not endure such a tremendous loss and Ekaterina also departed for a better world in the days following the end of the Plague.
Vethara, thus, became the only remnant of the Ruling family and the Grand Duchess by Right of all Taraskovya. However, the Sword of Rulers was taken by the Church of the Seven Deities back to the Sacred Citadel of Zynthris and Vethara never had the time to give the Oath of Faith (or, in other words, be enthroned). As such, she never wielded the Sword and could not bear the title of Shokath-Kshas.
During the political void created by the massacre of the royal family, a triumvirate of high ranked army officers seized the opportunity to assert their power over the nation in order to prevent the country from slipping into further chaos. Even if at first the three Ruling Councillors were keen to use Vethara as a symbolic leader above them, the young woman soon came to be seen as a threat.
Exile in Menelmacar
A group of loyalist officers, sensing the threat that posed the Ruling Council, managed to smuggle Vethara out of the country and into Menelmacar, where she was given refuge by Lady Sirithil. The Ruling Council, having lost the opportunity to force Vethara into abdicating, proceeded to illegally abolish monarchy and proclaimed a Republic, under the name of Taraskovyan Federation. Vethara, in the meantime formed a Government in Exile, which was keener on working with loyalist elements within Tarasovka than seek international support and recognition.
The many years of Exile opened the Archduchess to foreign customs and realms, as she established personal friendly relations with some foreign rulers, even if only the Eternal Noldorin Empire and the Danaan High Kingdom officially recognized her as the legitimate ruler of Tarasovka.1
Return of the Grand Duke
In spring of the year 1148 AS, just as the nation was still recovering from the latest White Legion uprising, the presumably dead and buried Mikhail II of all Taraskovya made an unexpected return. However, he did not lead a bloody coup, choosing instead to become a member of the Ruling Council. He took the seat of Admiral Puchinov, who was killed during the Vigvar Attacks perpetrated by the White Legion during their 1147 AS Uprising. Mere months later, the Taraskovyan people were called to vote on a new Constitution, which would restore monarchy in Tarasovka, even if the Grand Duchy was drastically reformed.
Vethara at first refused to recognize “Mikhail” as her real brother. Yet, as the People and Fiefdoms approved the Grand Ducal Constitution and Mikhail II became Grand Duke again, she had to eventually abandon her claims to the Sword of Rulers. The final reconciliation between the two happened during the coronation of High King Owain of the Resurgent Dream and heralded the return of the Archduchess to her homeland and put a definite end to the Time of Troubles.
Life in the new Taraskovya
Following the beginning of the Second Grand Ducal Era the Archduchess was made Duchess of Zoria by her brother and became dedicated to turning it into a jewel of the Taraskovyan nation. The virgin islands on Venus offered a great plethora of possibilities on which Vethara's management skills could be fully revealed. Currently, the Duchy of Zoria enjoys a booming development, spearheaded by excellent trade relations with C'tani and Menelmacari dominions on Venus.
She is a fervent servant of the least fortunate of Taraskovyans and dedicates a lot of time and effort to aid the victims of the Plague and the Time of Troubles. After visiting an orphanage, she got attached to a girl orphaned by the Plague. The girl, called Tatiana, was later on adopted by the Archduchess and Vethara became a loving and caring mother.
Vethara has also spearheaded a somewhat controversial project which involved selling a photo album in which Taraskovyan and international celebrities would pose in lingerie. The photo album, called Mystery of Goddess, regrouped women from all spheres, from diplomats to heads of state and from actresses to journalists. Vethara herself took part in the album in a rather open attire, but only after having secured the relative approval of the Patriarch Nikon II. It is said the Archduchess was herself quite surprised by the amount of interest her little project got and never expected foreign heads of state to take part in it.
Vethara has also been trying to spend as much time as possible with her brother following their decade long separation and many deem that is she the Grand Duke's most trusted confident and advisor, even though the two siblings do not always agree on everything. But due to the heavy schedule of both of them, they do not have all the time they'd like to, even if they never miss an opportunity to endulge in a game of horseback archery.
On December 7, 1150 AS the Archduchess became the victim of an assassination attempt on her life. Vethara was gravely injured, but her life was saved due to a timely and efficient medical treatment. Her adoptive daughter Tatiana, however, was killed, which became a tragedy to the Archduchess. Following her discharging from hospital, her brother sent her on a Christmas vacation to Pantocratoria, where she stayed at the Palace of Chantouillet as a guest of Emperor Andreus I of Pantocratoria. It is worth noting that the Archduchess spent both the Gregorian and the Julian dates of Christmas there.
When the Grand Duchy of Taraskovya and the various outlying territories under its jurisdiction reformed themselves as an Empire, the former Grand Duchy ceased to exist as such. It was renamed the United Kingdom of Dakathia and Cardinia, with the title of King joined to that of the Vasilevs.
As such, the titles of Grand Duke and Grand Duchess were devolved the members of the Imperial family, the previous titles of Archduke and Archduchess abolished.
In her free time, the Grand Duchess is known to practice horseback archery and skiing, with some of her most favorite resorts being located in the southern Cardinian Chain. While on visits to those countries that offer ski resorts, the Archduchess tries not to miss a chance to try herself on the local courses. And if the hosts can offer her the grounds for a horseback archery game, they are bound to leave a lasting positive impression upon Vethara.
She also has a certain interest in gardening and was seen quite a few times studying various plants in the Great Gardens as well as adjacent greenhouses. Some say the Archduchess tried to grow a new sort of flower, but her attempts, it appeared, never came to fruition. The parks and gardens of Lorelei, the capital of Zoria, were designed personally by the Grand Duchess.
- Her "pet" wolf is a Cardinian Black, part of one of the two sub-species of the Taraskovyan Black (the other being the Dakathian Black), named Pushozverek. This translates roughly as "Fluff beast". Despite being fluffy, Fluff is capable of very nasty deeds if ordered so by Vethara.
- The Grand Duchess is renowned for her love of Swans. It is, thus, no wonder that her private bodyguards unit is casually referred to as Swans Guard, due to them using a white swan as symbol. Full unit name: Lorelei Regiment of the leib-Guard. Vethara is also the Colonel-en-Chef of her regiment.
- It is rumoured that Vethara’s name comes from an amalgamation of two words: the Russian noun veter (wind) and the Taraskath verb tharet (to carry away), with the most probable meaning being Carried away by the Wind (or Gone with the Wind).
- Due to the above information, the song “Swan and Kite”, written during the rule of the military junta, of the Taraskovyan metal band “Lost in Wonderland” is attributed as being dedicated to Vethara. Whilst the song can be considered as inspired by a Russian fairy-tale, a particular verse attracted some attention during the military junta, when press was censored and freedom of expression restrained especially concerning everything related to the Monarchy.
Унесенная ветром в чужие края,
Unesionnaia vetrom v chujie kraia,
Carried away by the wind to lands afar,
Benefactress of the Church
The title of Benefactress of the Church was bestowed upon Vethara by the Patriarch Nikon II of Vigvar and all Taraskovya in reward for her support of the Church and of the Orthodox faith. This is an extremely high honour and few are known to have gotten the title. During those days, the only other Benefactress of the Church was Vethara's mother, the Grand Duchess Ekaterina. As of today, Vethara shares the honour with Duke Anatoly Orlov, who was granted the title of Benefactor in reward for his support of the Church during the turmoil of the Federal era.
As a Benefactress of the Church, Vethara was awarded with the Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Apostle Andrew the First-Called by the Patriarch of Vigvar and all Taraskovya. The Order's star is made of silver and diamonds, and features the inscription "For Faith and Loyalty". The badge represents a double-headed eagle bearing a blue cross St. Andrew's Cross with St. Andrew crucified upon it.
Duchess of Zoria
Vethara is also the Duchess of Zoria. Zoria is a Taraskovyan possession on the planet of Venus, which was bought by the Grand Duke from Menelmacar as a gift to his sister in honour of their reconcilliation. Vethara, after first attempting to get something more modest from her brother, accepted the Duchy and the responsibilities that came with it. She exercises full authority over the Duchy, with her brother reserving the right to use it whenever military needs arise.
Duchess of Khamesti
The title of Duchess of Kheper-kekui-kha-mesti was bestowed upon Vethara by the Emperor of the C'tan. The city of Khamesti (as it is casually referred to for the sake of simplicity)is located in the Duat province of Aterat. The position is largely ceremonial and the Taraskovyan Archduchess holds no power over the city, even if Khamesti does generate a generous income for her.
This particular Ducal title, however, is not hereditary as is. In order to make it hereditary, Vethara entered C'tani civil service as a Governement Assessor on Pediatric Medicine.
Archduchess Vethara has also been bestowed with a number of Danaan honours. She is a Dame of the Order of the Gryffon, and a bearer of the Danaan Order of Merit. Albeit being rather basic, these are nonetheless high and prestigious honours that were awarded to the Archduchess during her stay in the Resurgent Dream following the coronation of High King Owain.
1: Some other nations never adopted any official stance on the issue and continued to deal both with the Ruling Council and with the Grand Duchess by right. Both sides were content with such a solution and never demanded an official recognition from any other State.