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(b. 801 – r. 833 – d. 833)
Ferdigard of Bodea, ninth Duke of that line, ruled for a brief period of only two and one–half days over the Grand Duchy Of Kroon. The last son of the Washults royal line, born to Annamarian the Cross and Robert the Henpecked, he distinguished himself as a child and young boy with a series of near-disastrous adventures. Most well known, perhaps, was his naïve decision (some would say foolish), while his mother was in Welstead negotiating a trade agreement, to ride the treacherous Charnel Road in a pony cart. This misadventure cost the Grand Duchy a battalion of trained soldiers, who, after receiving word from Ferdigard’s nanny of his disappearance, raced to the road and were slaughtered en masse by the Zombey hordes that line its pavements.
As a teen, Ferdigard jumped (some would say tripped) off the highest cliff of Nihumet Range?, towering 3,564 ducal feet over the Sea of Gorsh. Despite the razor sharp rocks that surround the cliff at its base, and the, to that time, 100% failure rate of all daredevils who attempted a successful jump from the cliff, Ferdigard survived. Not by any skill, of course, but by the sort of mad luck which he often encountered: a Mille-feathered Tarwing flying below seemed to mistake him for a feast for his goslings, and snatched him up out of the air, depositing him in a nest of baby tarwings. Despite the tarwings’ carnivorous leanings, on this day, as was his wont, Ferdigard had decked himself in ancient Bodean armor, which, while light and somewhat aerodynamic, has a metallic aftertaste akin to chewing on a piece of aluminium wrap. The tarwings, after one attempt to peck through the armor to get to the juicy bits below, quickly gave up and pushed Ferdigard out of the nest. Catching hold of a tree branch below, and swinging (some would say crashing) through the limbs, Ferdigard found himself on solid ground once more, three miles from the Nihumet Range?.
As a young man, Ferdigard’s daring quests (some would say misadventures) seemed behind him, as he settled down to his university degree in Obvious Studies. In hindsight, however, it becomes obvious that the Grand Duchess Annamarian the Cross, unable to bear any children other than Ferdigard, and long since disposed of Robert the Henpecked for a series of progressively younger and, one must be generous, more attractively featured consorts, had taken to locking Ferdigard in a small suite at Bodea Keep, to which his professors commuted each day, and where they were subject to a thorough search in order to prevent any believed dangerous object (including all liquids in containers of more than 3 ounces, any cutlery, hair accessories, or embroidery tools) from a proximity to Ferdigard.
Alas, in 833 Annamarian was killed while on a routine shopping trip to Lotnikk (some would say she was visiting one of that area’s famed and reviled face alchemists), and Ferdigard assumed the throne – in that he assumed he would become Grand Duke, although Annamarian’s latest consort, a commoner named Henrik, had other ideas.
On hearing the news of his mother’s death, Ferdigard was able to persuade his guard to release him from his room (some would say bribe – the estate known as Ferdigard’s Bribe, six miles to the west of Bodea-Lotnikk and owned to this day by a descendant of a Guard of the Keep, would seem to prove this point), or rather, to resume his duties outside the main door of the throne room, to which Ferdigard then removed himself. Henrik, after returning to the Keep with the late Duchess’s remarkably young-looking corpse and seeing to her proper funeral arrangements, attempted to reason with Ferdigard as to his unsuitability to the throne.
There are those as would remark that Henrik’s purpose in entering the throne room was not to speak with the young Duke, but to finally circumvent the precautions all who regularly approached the man were asked to take. The fact remains: a mere two and one half days after his mother’s untimely death, before the Lotnikkian half of the great metropolis was even aware of his reign, Ferdigard the Martyr died by drowning in a pool of 6 ounces of Aqua Vitae, otherwise known as the Holy Whiskey-Water of St. Howsat. Some say the liquid was found near a flask known to have been given to Henrik by the late Duchess, but this was never proven by the commission appointed by the Grand Duke Henrik the Studly (some would say sneaky) to investigate Ferdigard’s death.
It was Ferdigard’s professor in Obvious Studies who first termed the late Duke a Martyr, believing it was his close examination of and deep appreciation for the so-called Holy Water which proved his religious bona fides. Others would refer to him not as Martyr but as Martyn, a Bodean ephithet for a boy born out of wedlock to a woman whose lovers were too numerous to count.
He is remembered by a Chair at the University, lovingly appointed in velvet ribbons to symbolically bind the occupant’s hands to the arms of the furniture, and a children’s game called “Pulling a Ferdigard,” much like the more common pastime known as “Truth or Dare,” but without the compulsory truth-telling.
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