Lord-General The Lord Edward de Vries, the Earl of Hertfordshire [Vicky]

Player: Vicky
Rank: Viscount (Rank 3)
Religion: Church of England
Reputation: Graced
Email: edward_de_vries@albion.chaosdeathfish.com

Born the son of Viscount of Hertfordshire, a most respectable family, Edward de Vries inherited his estate after the recent disappearance of his father. His misfortunes continued when his fiancée died of a wasting sickness a little over a year ago.

In the last few years he has risen swiftly in the Earl of Essex' Dragoons till he is now the Lord-General of that regiment. Additionally he has been ennobled further to the rank of Earl. He is also one of the most famous and honoured soldiers in that Regiment after his impressive feats of arms in freeing the Netherlands from the Spanish, rescuing the Duke of Somerset's daughter from their vile clutches and his role in defeating the demon Moloch.

Dragoons Lord-General (Rank 5)


Being a New Biography of the Late Lord-General of the Dragoons


It is easy in any history of the Lord-General the Earl of Hertfordshire Edward de Vries to simply list the military achievements, for he was the greatest military man of a generation of strife and warriors. His career is a meteoric tale of achievement, beginning with his rapid rise to the rank of Colonel and then through an unbroken string of military accomplishments on the battle fields of the Dutch Republic, France and Spain to the command of the Dragoons. By the time of the first Civil War Edward de Vries was already acknowledged as the pre-eminent military leader of the Realm, and he demonstrated the correctness of this assessment at a dozen sieges and fields of battle over the next five years.

He fought on every front, in every significant battle. Although he could not save London from ruin he drove the traitorous Catholics from her and saved some thousands of her citizens. He marched upon Bristol and with the angels of Alexandros broke the ranks of the besiegers and saved the city. Some believe that no one man could have been in so many places, lead so many charges or fought so tirelessly, invoking divine favour as the only possible explanation. Whatever the source of his energy, Edward de Vries was always in the thick of the battle, always at the front leading his men to victory. Aided by an able staff - he personally praised Belvoir and Halewson in many dispatches from the front - and with the growing strength of powder and supplies from William Milton and Richard Molyneux he helped turn the tide of the war. For at this remove it is easy to forget that the treacherous Papists were better prepared, they had trained and armed in secret while the loyal troops of Albion had to make every shot count as they marched to battle with powder pouches half-empty.

This is the powerful tale of patriotic zeal and triumph known to every schoolchild in Albion; that launches countless careers in the military service of the Crown by those seeking to emulate even a fraction of the achievements of their hero.

These facts are not in dispute, but how much do they tell us about de Vries the man? For every achievement in his public life there seems to be a matching tragedy in his private. The disappearance of his father in a distant land. The death of his young fiancée Alice despite his desparate efforts to save her. The death of his brother Sir Simony in mysterious circumstances, overshadowed by the almost simultaneous death of the King. All these are part of the public record too, if not a part of the popular tale. Other darker rumours surrounded the estate in Hertfordshire at the time, tales of ritual murders and a dark beast connected with the de Vries family that had to be hunted down by the Lord-General and killed.

How much did these tragedies shape the young leader? In this book I propose to go beyond the tale of glory to explore the man himself and […]

Sir Alexander's Wife

[…] It is impossible to say whether Sir Alexander charged his friend Edward to take care of his wife Katherine before his ascension, but it is clear that Edward took a keen interest in her well-being. At the siege of Bristol he fought his way to her side through the ranks of the entire Catholic army as she stood at the breach in the city-walls, an angelic glow seeming to deflect the hail of Papist arrows directed against her.

In peace too he sought to protect and serve her. He helped fund the Milton Institute and used his considerable influence to protect the fledgling academy from the envious Invisible College and the more direct threat posed by zealots amongst the clergy. Faced with the combined temporal power of Albion's greatest general and its Prime Minister, few repeated their spiritual criticisms.


[…] many of the servants remarked on the uncanny resemblance in both looks and manner of his new bride, the Baroness Adelicia von Rückleben, to the Earl’s late love and this is perhaps the key to the affair. Amongst the depredations of warfare and the personal moral cost of rooting out the treacherous, Adelicia represented a pure and unsullied past.

Although the record keeping of the slovenly Germanic people is famously remiss, ever eager as they are to burn down the towns and libraries of their cousins, it seems clear that the Baroness never was; that Rückleben never existed. Every historian who studies the life of the Lord-General must ask then who she really was. It is clear that though for many years she shunned much of polite society and went about veiled (when questioned the Lord-General would claim she had been burned most badly in a fire upon her estates) but she could not be hidden away entirely.

As the letters and journals of the ladies who met with her have been published it has become clear that they believed her to be, in truth, an English gentlewoman of considerable refinement and a gentle and generous nature. The correspondence of the period is as rife with speculation as to her identity as any 10 modern biographies of the Lord-General. Fanciful theories included the idea that she was the reborn fiancée Alice of his youth, a homunculus or other product of powerful alchemy, or that she was the still immortal Lady Mayer converted from her heretical faith and phanatism by the wisdom of de Vries. Calmer heads seem to have assumed she was a lady of noble birth but damaged reputation.

Whatever the truth, in public none ever dared suggest that she was anyone other than she claimed to be. (The single recorded exception was at a dinner in Cambridge at which a drunken student implied, outside the Earl’s hearing, queried why he was willing to “roll in the common muck of that German sow”. Fourteen other students are recorded as challenging him to a duel before he could accept the first. He was famously fatally stabbed the next day still drunk, asking that he be allowed to die before he could suffer a hangover too.) The Lord-General was beloved of the Queen and respected throughout the land, and a single strange peccadillo could be overlooked in polite society. Besides the correspondents speak in unanimity of the evident love between the two; an entire private literature, shared between impressionable young ladies, appears to have briefly blossomed about the “forbidden” romance of the pair.

The wedding between the two was however entirely real, and the fifteen children she bore were legitimate beyond doubt. The firstborn, now Viscountess of Hertfordshire herself, served as Lady in Waiting of the Queen for a number of years. Sons included Edward, Simony and Alexander. The latter two joined the Dragoons themselves and proved competent officers and Edward became a senior lawyer in the relocated Inns of Court. Two of the Lord-General’s daughter also followed in their father’s footsteps, with the Major-General the Lady Christina de Vries reaching the most senior rank of any of her siblings. Only his young daughter Alice embarked on a career in alchemy. Although her progress is followed with some little interest it is too early to say whether her skill with potions will ever equal that of her father with enchanted material. […]

Later Life

[…] With the end of the Dragoon's involvement in suppressing the Scottish rebels began the Lord-General's gradual retirement from public life. He maintained a keen interest in the force he had served with so long, instituting many far reaching reforms that promoted the permanence and professionalism of the force whilst maintaining its glamour. One trait he shared with his illustrious predecessor, the Earl of Essex, was a dislike of the fop and popinjay more interested in her dashing figure and easy success with the gentlemen of Albion than the quality and moral of her troops.

[…] the seriousness of each of these crises can be judged by the volume of demands that the Lord-General be summoned forth from his retirement. But each time the old warhorse was left in peace, secluded in his alchemical laboratory or enjoying his leisure with his lady wife and his growing family.

[…] weekly ritual in which he would lock himself in his room and require he be left undisturbed. A few scraps of paper are the only evidence of what transpired in these periods, scrawled with a seemingly random mixture of the names of women who had fought and died alongside him and traitors he had questioned, loyalist and rebel alike who had died in the wars, and each of the handful of crumpled pages splashed with tears.


An extract from the Diary of Sir Benjamin Freland, Senior Alchemist of the Invisible College. Sealed by order of the Senate of that institution.
And the Lord-General though Weary from his Exertions at Bristol did return to the Tower and the Traitor there. All Know that he Took from her the Immortality that shielded her from the Justice of Queen and God alike but None but he Know How it were Done. For de Vries spent many days alone with the wretch and when he departed she was Mortal and felt the Pain of mortality and would answer to Question. Those without the Alchemical Sight did not see what Left with him; a Sealed Vial and though it was Stoppered, from it seemed to pour a constant sense of Wrongness and of promise of Eternity. I have made discrete Enquiries amongst the General’s Staff – and lubricated the answers as I needed with some little Silver – and I believe that he had Not it about his person when he slew the Papists at Portsmouth the following Day. It is my Belief that he Discarded it in the Thames; that somewhere on the bottom of the River lies Eternal Life. I ask myself do I Dare to Seek it, Knowing the little I do of the Danger it must be to any Soul that Partake of it?

The sentence of Dr. Judith Harrow
Judith Harrow, lately Doctor of the Invisible College until your Doctorate was Revoked by that Institution and your Name stricken from the Rolls, you have been accused of Conspiracy to Murder and of High Treason. It is charged that you did Cooperate Willingly and With Fore-Knowledge of the Consequences in the Desecration of the Ritual known as “Cry God for Harry” with the Intent of Allowing the Murder of the King and of his Subjects. And that you did Flee from Justice until Captured by the Dragoons of the Lord-General.

You are found guilty of these charges and are sentenced be Taken from this Place to that Other Place and there to be Hanged from the Neck until Dead.

Dame Fiametta Castaldi
In the early days of the Civil War it seemed that the Royalist Troops had a powerful advantage, through enchanted drums they could speak with some small portion of their troops instantly no matter the great distances that separated them. These means were at once used to rally the defence of Bristol. But the Lord-General de Vries was suspicious; the Papist enemy was cunning, an enemy not to be underestimated, but he reacted too swiftly and with too much confidence. Troops sent by secret routes met with ambush and crucial supplies were captured by traitors raiding deep into friendly land. Through means either magical or mundane, whether by alchemical arts or simple false information it is not known, the Lord-General established that the Traitors were privy to all orders transmitted by the speaking drums. The Rebels were not so quick to learn they were discovered as the knowledge was used to split their forces and trick them into ambush.

Dame Castaldi was questioned on her role in the matter but her guilt proved impossible to prove beyond doubt. In the febrile atmosphere of the Civil War this might well have proved little protection but the Lord-General did intervene on her behalf, as in his clemency he did for many others whose loyalty was merely divided rather than deserted. Dame Castaldi’s reputation however never recovered and she left Albion forever to find a new life in the Italian states of her ancestry.

bio/edward_de_vries.txt · Last modified: 2007/09/25 22:56 by ivan