Mariya Angelika of Reza
Princess Mariya Angelika Barbanov (15th of The Deep Cold, 1705 - 6th of the Grand Harvest, 1738), nicknamed Blackwing, was a Haeseni princess and member of House Barbanov, later marrying Duke Adrian of Adria and thus becoming the Duchess-Consort of Adria. She'd later become the female face of the Holy Orenian Empire when her husband was elected to the position of Lord Protector in 1731 following the death and scandal of Alexander II. As the eldest daughter of King Marius II and his primary consort, the late Valera of Adria, she was additionally bestowed the titular honor of Princess-Royal at birth.
As the firstborn child to the then Crown-Prince Marius I and his consort Valera of Adria, Mariya Angelika's birth was widely celebrated throughout the Haeseni lands. Though much of the population longed for a son and future heir, the birth of a healthy child to the couple brought upon great joy over the young Princess-Consort’s fertility. Mariya was bestowed the honorary title of ‘Princess Royal of Reza’, being the first royal daughter born to the new capital. Growing up, the princess was known for her wildly volatile and snide temperament, having largely assimilated into the renowned image of her distant aunt and primary carer, Aleksandra of Vidaus.
Despite a brief courtship shared with Tiberius Tiber in her early teenage years, Mariya’s first engagement was to a close childhood friend- that of Vladrick I, Prince of Rubern. The two were known to be incredibly happy together, and their betrothal came as no surprise for much of the Kingdom. Notably however, for unknown reasons, Mariya and Vladrick chose to remain unwed for a number of years.
It was during this time in which the Duke of Adria, Adrian Sarkozic, arrived upon the doors of the city of Reza, declaring his intent to seek a Barbov bride. He was promptly suggested Mariya by her sister Sofiya Theodosiya, despite Mariya publicly being engaged to Vladrick Alimar, the reigning Prince of Rubern.
She was henceforth brought to the Duke, immediately rejecting the idea of a marriage due to her standing engagement with the prince. Sofiya, however, persisted in urging Mariya towards Adrian, and after ongoing negotiations, caused her sister to relent in favour of the Duke's offer of betrothal. Though reluctant, Mariya recognised the political situation, and took heed of the importance of a Barbanov and Sarkozic alliance.
The betrothal would later prove to inspire a widely known scandal of the time, as the Duke was found to be engaged to both Mariya, and Princess Ester of Curonia, at the same time. Adrian had sought a Barbov alliance without first nullifying his prior arrangements, leading an explosive confrontation during Emperor Alexander's coming of age feast, where the two princesses discovered each other’s promised marriage. Secondary to the double-engagement discovery, it was at this same event where Prince Vladrick was informed of the loss of the betrothal to his beloved princess.
The scandal caused tensions to quickly rise between Rubern and Adria, with the Duke and Prince establishing a rivalry-like relationship. Accompanied by a sizeable retinue of soldiers, Adrian later petitioned the court of Mariya’s brother, King Andrew III, for her official hand in marriage- where it was thus declared that she was to wed the Duke of Adria.
The pair married within Reza’s cathedral on the 8th of the Sun’s Smile, 1729, sealing in matrimony a historic alliance of crows.
As Duchess of Adria
Following her wedding, the Princess relocated to the town of Renzfeld, capital of the Duchy of Adria. She immediately thrust herself into her duties as Duchess, finding solace in the straightforwardness and simplicity of her work. Two years after their marriage, the ducal pair welcomed their first child- a son. Struggling to connect emotionally with her child, Mariya found motherhood inherently difficult, often times leaving her son's early upbringing entirely to the staff of the court.
It was that same year in which her husband was declared as the Lord-Protector of Oren following the death and legitimacy scandal of Alexander II.
The house of Sarkozic, now rebranded as de Sarkozy, then took residence within the Imperial city of Helena- beginning to rebuild the fractured pieces of the empire. This started first and foremost with the formation of a new capital city, to which Mariya aided in small parts of the design, as well as overseeing the construction. Within a letter to her Aunt Mariya Oliviya of Haense, the Lady-Protector is allegedly to have quoted:
Throughout her residency within Helena, and further her positions within the Empire, Mariya is regarded to have somewhat lessened in her former cold and detached demeanour. The Duchess took upon her role with pride, hosting a variety of guests within the Palace's walls, as well as arranging for a varying amount of events to be held. Despite a lacklustre marriage, Mariya and Adrian confided within eachother, sporting plans for an empire of new- an Empire beneath the rule of Sarkozy. The pair began preparations for a likely ascension following the conclusion of the Orcish war, to which Mariya regarded with wary anticipation. Yet after numerous consolations with both her family and close companions, she learned to embrace the coming responsibility- a position she was certainly not born nor raised to hold. Alongside her cousin Helaine Sarkozy, she drafted extensive plans for a revival of Imperial courtly life.
Allegedly, the Duchess furtively had Coronation garments tailored, as well as a variety of crowns worthy of an Empress-Consort. Correspondence spoke of a cascading golden gown, decorated with intricate embroidery symbols of both her Hanseni and Imperial heritage. To accompany, both a red sash and a historic headpiece- the crown in which her Mother Valera had worn in a single instance, her wedding to Marius II of Haense, and never again. Yet even still, the existence of said gown has yet to be confirmed.
However tragedy would strike the Empire, with the Lord Protector, Mariya's husband, falling ill and passing away shortly after the Orcish battle. With her plans shattered, now both widowed and without power, she fell into an extreme depressive state. From there onward, she lived between Helena and Haense- finding much grief in the memories held within the new Imperial Capital. She was known to rarely leave the confines of her room, wearing the darkened colours of mourning for the remainder of her life.
But a single year following Adrian's death, Mariya paid a visit to the ruins of her prior home, Reza. It was within the remnants of the Prikaz that the Duchess met a gruesome end- murdered assumedly by one opposing the Sarkozic regime. Her body was later recovered, though details of her death are left mostly unknown.
Following her murder, those handmaidens closest to Mariya delivered a series of letters- detailing her final words to numerous people, as well as leaving items to her will. Months later, the Queen Milena was officially coronated wearing a dress with stark similarities to words spoken of the Duchess' alleged gown, sparking theories that in fact, it was passed on to the Hanseni Queen.
|Joseph Francis de Sarkozy||1st of Malin's Welcome, 1731||Alive||Unwed||Firstborn child of Adrian and Maria. Sucessor of Adrian, Duke of Adria.|
|Anna Carolina de Sarkozy||19th of the First Seed, 1734||Alive||Unwed||Secondborn child of Adrian and Maria|
|Philippa Valeria de Sarkozy||7th of the Grand Harvest, 1736||Alive||Unwed||Thirdborn child of Adrian and Maria|
|Charles Casimir de Sarkozy||12th of the Deep Cold, 1737||Alive||Unwed||Fourthborn child of Adrian and Maria|
|Ancestors of Mariya Angelika of Reza|