Vladimir is a mercenary who was the Duke of Demongate until his death.
Baron Vladimir Uristovitch von Demongate
Pre-DemongateEditVlad grew up in the worst part of the worst mountainhome in the (to the dwarves who founded Steelhold, at least) Outlands. It is here that Vlad picked up his accent and bizarre alphabet. Vlad never knew his father aside from a note he left claiming that being fatherless was a family tradition. Vlad actually recalls the gutter with fondness, often reminiscing that there nobody thought they were better than anyone else because they'd been born with something - if they had been, someone would have pinched it already.
Vlad ran off (to the general relief of his mother, who was wondering when he'd get a job) to join the mercenaries at age 12, serving as a soldier, a caravan guard and running a thriving second-hand boot business. This lasted until his company was decisively defeated at Savagewinds, a fortress located near the south pole that was conquered by local goblin necromancers. In the aftermath of this defeat, the survivors fled to what was known (to the dwarves who founded Steelhold) as the New World, where Vlad ended up getting recruited into the first expedition to Demongate.
Vlad, upon arrival, was roped into serving as the fortress woodcutter/carpenter, a role he served until Demongate's swelling population allowed him to focus on purely military matters. Vlad remained appart from fortress politics (excepting when he became Thane's lover during her term and making fun of Brenzen) and the fortress in general, prefering to sleep in the barracks by the surface.
Vlad became an advocate of Demongate's military, suggesting new defensive constructions, tactics and requesting much-needed supplies and equipment for Demongate's fledging militia. Many of these requests (the largest exceptions being the surface barracks and the main palisade, which was kind of an obvious necessity) were however ignored by the civilian overseers and the formal head of the military, Brenzen. The military, with the exception of Olin, looked to Vlad as their leader, and Brenzen begrudgingly promoted him to captain of his own squad. Coincidentally, it contained the entire military except Brenzen and Olin at the time.
Brother Cornelius, possibly in a drunken stupor, recommended to the representative of the mountainhomes that Vlad become Demongate's Baron. The diplomat, also potentially in a drunken stupor, saw nothing wrong with this and immediately approved it. Thusly, Vladimir, a vaguely foreign bastard mercenary, enetered the nobility.
Following a particularly enjoyable 'Evening Prayer' session, a note got taped to Vlad's back proclaiming him the new Overseer. Nobody seems to remember how exactly this note got there or who placed it, but Brother Cornelius didn't dispute it. Thus Vlad legally became Overseer, and was unable to get rid of the responsibility until his year was up.
Vlad set about improving fortress quality of life, resulting in morale reaching unprecedented heights. Vlad's more ambitious project however was completely reforming the military. After declaring himself the new commander of the militia (basically seizing the position from Brenzen) Vlad completely reorganized it, resulting in the creation of squads based on weapon usage. Vlad continued to draft and equip new soldiers throughout the year, increasing the size of Demongate's militia.
Vlad finished the magma pumpstack begun under Brother Cornelius (although it was a close thing; at one point half the pumpstack had to be torn down and repaced due to the wrong materials being assigned) allowing for the future revolutionization of Demongate's metalworking industry. Materials used in this new industry would include adamantine, as Vlad first began its extraction and use through 'shaving' the sides of the known spire.
Vlad and the militia also fought numerous forgotten beasts (the large amount undoubtably attracted by Demongate's rapidly escalating wealth). However, they also killed the leader of a local human civilization who'd come to visit on the grounds of him being a lizard-man vampire (possibly crippling one of Vlad's soldiers in the process). The result of this would be war with the humans in the comming year. Vlad also slightly damanged his relationship with Thane due to his unnecessary verbal assault on Gnora, who was highly opposed to Sunshine consumption for some reason.
Vlad, with his year up, finally found someone to dump the responsibility of Overseer on. Thus, the reign of Helgarde began.
The Duke remained relevant through the subsuquent overseerships, directing the military, conspiring with the Evening Prayer Group to better the fortress and managing Demongate's foreign policy. This ended in 664, when a disastrous charge during a goblin siege ended up costing Vlad his life. He was buried in a tomb close to the magma sea; following his death, the position of Duke was abolished and formal control of Demongate reverted to the office of the mayor.
Vlad was a disturbingly cheerful dwarf, quick to see the humor in things and, despite his near-constant stream of complaints and exagerrations, able to put up with most everything with a smile on his face. One of the few things Vlad actively disliked was other people thinking they're better than him. Which he assumed everyone who tells him what to do did.
Vlad was totally lacking is both subtlety and shame. Since he was somewhat morally bankrupt (if rather benevolent) this often leads him to (mostly one-sided) conflict with anyone who objects to his blatant disregard for the life, limb, feelings and (if deceased) property of anyone who crosses his path.
Later in life, Vlad (a devout worshiper of the god of rulership) became concerned primarily with ensuring that the greatest good for Demongate was achieved, and dedicated himself to this almost exclusively.
Vlad befriended Thane on the way to Demongate and managed to become the then-overseer's lover, perhaps based on their shared distrust of nobles and absolute honesty. Alternatively, Thane in her desire for heroices may have mistaken Vlad for some sort of anti-hero.
Gnora has a grudge against Vlad. Vlad himself doesn't seem to really mind, despite Gnora frequently going out of her way to screw him over. By the end of his reign, Vlad had managed to give Gnora an emotional breakdown.
Strangely, Vlad seems to get along well with the Knights of St. Zane. Brenzen, at first highly disdainful of Vlad, eventually winds up one of his friends, both recognizing in eachother a rare, competend leader. Likewise, Tarmid was the first (bar Thane) Overseer to treat Vlad with respect and actually listen to his suggestions. Later on, Tarmid is described by others as 'licking Vlad's boots' due to Vlad's rise to the nobility.
Brother Cornelius and Vlad regularly share 'prayer sessions' which consist primarily of binge drinking.