Stelaphina Onlinger Brandt

Stelaphina is the daughter of Imperial Prince Royal George Onlinger and Her Imperial Highness Madeline Dorman Onlinger. Her father is the son of Frederick, Emperor of Hulsteria. Madeline is the daughter of the former Imperial Grand Duke of Stratton and sister to the current. She is the oldest of the couple’s three children. She has an older brother, Roderick, her father’s bastard, whose mother was a distant cousin of Madeline. Her brother’s birth created quite a scandal.

Stelaphina was promised to Edmund Brandt, Imperial Prince Royal of Xasha when she was in her early teens. The engagement was announced after her father caught Stelaphina and her brother Roderick embraced in a kiss. At the time neither was aware they were siblings. It was this kiss that forced George to claim Roderick as his son.

Stelaphina was happy with the man chosen to be her husband when she realized her and Roderick could never be. Initially, their marriage was a happy one. The couple had three children – Joseph, Edwina, and Alexander. The marriage quickly became stale when George passed away and Stelaphina began spending more time with her grandfather to learn the duties she would eventually assume. Stelaphina tried to make time for Edmund but her duties took precedence over her marriage, leaving Edmund to feel neglected. Stelaphina never believed her husband was faithful, she had heard the whispers, though Edmund swore she was the only one to hold his heart.

Her sisters, Orthia and Sofia, are well loved by Stelaphina though Sofia tests that love regularly. Orthia is kind which causes Stelaphina to see her as needing to be protecting believing she is too naive. Sofia, the self-centered brat, tests Stelaphina’s patience.

She did not feel she was ready for the challenges that laid ahead. However, most who took the throne were not prepared for what they were to face. Her grandfather had faith in her, more than she would ever have in herself. He believed she would be a great ruler.

The struggles that face Stelaphina in ‘Making of an Empress’ would shake her to the core. She detests the hatred and prejudices the “deviants” are subjected to not only in Hulsteria but across Saaveth. Her first task as Empress is to remove the criminal prosecution of the homosexuals, much to the older Imperial and Royal members’ dismay. Her reason for her stance is her beloved cousin, Rupert Turlington. Though never verified, Stelaphina believed him to be a homosexual. She watched him attend events with male companions, introducing them, falsely, as Royals or Imperials in an attempt to have them accepted.

Her Scientia, Thomasine, provided her information on a vision. Thomasine had seen events that would unfold during Stelaphina’s reign. She would face many challenged that would tear her family apart and leave Stelaphina to oversee the realm alone, losing all of those who once supported her. The Scientia saw a child who would cause her great pain, a war upon the shores of Hulsteria, and smoke and fire consuming the great kingdom of Jascaessau. This knowledge brought caution to Stelaphina’s rule, it also bred paranoia in the young Empress.

If I were to give a face to Stelaphina, I see her most resembling Kate Beckinsale but with blue eyes.

What is a Dowager?

When a woman of title is widowed and the heir is either married or a female, she takes on the title of Dowager. For example, if the King of Raamsfeld were to die and his heir was married, the Queen Consort would be titled Dowager Queen of Raamsfeld. If the heir is unmarried, the widow would maintain her title of Queen Consort. Widows of Kings and Emperors may also fashion their title as Queen Mother or Empress Mother, respectfully.

In Making of an Empress, Madeline, Stelaphina’s mother was never an Empress Consort, she should have retained the title of Imperial Princess. Instead, upon Frederick’s death Stela fashioned her Empress Mother.

Dowagers maintain title and privilege after their husband’s death. Though they lose any holdings that might be transferred to the new title bearer. Typically their child would allow them to continue to live on the estate which they previous held.

The title has also been associated with wealthy and powerful older women who never married.

Explanation of Imperial Titles

I have received some feedback about the titles used in Making of an Empress, so I thought I should take some time to explain them and put them in order of importance.

Several titles were used in the book and will continue to be used in the series. I will review all the titles that have been used and explain those that have not yet surfaced, just to give you insight. Now, they are based on realistic titles but I have made some adjustments, after all, it is fantasy.

Titles can be categorized three ways – Imperial, Royal, and Noble. Imperial titles are the highest title one can receive, followed by Royal and lastly Noble. Within the categories, there is a pecking order, order of importance if you will.

This post will explain the Imperial titles. Imperial titles are hereditary meaning they are passed down a family line. The Imperials are the most respected of the titles.

The highest title is, of course, Emperor or Empress. The Imperial ruler oversees all the kingdoms within the realm or country. He or she is the highest authority (next to the Church). The Imperial ruler’s word is law. The Imperial ruler is not alone in decision making, they rely on a Council of Advisors, typically made up of high-ranking officials from within the realm. Saaveth has four realms, each with its own Imperial ruler. The proper way to address the Imperial ruler would be His or Her Imperial Royal Majesty.

The spouse of the Imperial ruler is known as a Consort. The wife of the Emperor would be known as the Empress Consort. The Consort is not necessarily an Imperial in his or her own right but has married into the Imperial family. Spouses of other Imperials are simply given the title appropriate for their gender, there is no consort.

The children of the Imperial ruler are Imperial Princes and Princesses and are address and Imperial Prince Royal.

Next is the Imperial Grand Archduchy. An Imperial Grand Archduke (IGA) or Duchess is the eyes and ears of the Emperor in each kingdom. The Imperial Grand Archduke is of higher position than the king or queen of his assigned kingdom. Each kingdom is assigned an Imperial Grand Archduke. The proper way to address an IGA would be His Imperial Royal Highness. IGA’s are considered Imperial Princes and Princesses of the realm. The IGA does not command the king but simply ensure the Imperial ruler’s laws are enforced.

The Imperial Archduke oversees a duchy (county) within a kingdom, as such he is of higher rank than the duke of the county. The proper address for the Imperial Archduke is His Imperial Highness.

Imperial Grand Duke is the title of one who oversees the Marques (cities). He is of higher rank than the Marques. His proper address would be Imperial Royal Prince.

Imperial Duke oversees each barony (town). His address would be Imperial Prince.

These are the titles of the Imperials as used in the Hulsteria series. Imperial titles can only be bestowed by the Imperial leader. Not all cities and towns have Imperials. The Imperial ruler uses the titles as a way to reward those who serve him well.

Edward I of Hulsteria

Edward I of Hulsteria was the second Emperor to rule the realm and son of Declan I. Born in the year 53, he married Kathleen Bamford in the year 69. The two had three children, Abigail, Archibald, and Keiren. Keiren would become the ancestor of the King of Uhl, while Abigail would become the first Empress. What became of Archibald remains a mystery. He was the heir to the throne, though he never ascended.

Edward was a sadistic ruler, taking great pleasure in inflicting pain on those who questioned his rule or opposed his authority. Many felt the realm had become what they fought to be free of, tyranny. As people became more dissatisfied with Edward’s rule, an uprising began to form, even the royals joined in the resistance. The rebels began their assault on the Imperial Capital on the island kingdom of Jascaessau (Jazz-Say-Sow) in the year 86, the battle to dethrone Edward only lasted a year.

When he heard the armies were headed toward the palace, Edward ordered his men to surround the outer walls and stop the rebels from entering the castle. Alone within the walls with only his family and a handful of soldiers, it was Abigail, frustrated and angered by her father’s injustice, who with the help of the few soldiers, captured Edward and imprisoned him.

The people wanted Edward to die for all that he had done against the citizens of Hulsteria but Abigail believed it important, that if he repented for his atrocities against the realm, he should be permitted to determine his own sentencing. She gave him the choice of death or life in the dungeon. Edward being the man he was, requested life in prison hopeful that someone would help him escape and reclaim the throne. Against the wishes of the people, Edward was placed within the dungeons of Rothmar Palace to live out his days. Within six months of his imprisonment, in the year 87, Edward was found dead in his cell, no one was ever quite sure if he took his own life or if the rebels had taken his punishment into his own hands.

Declan I of Hulsteria

Declan Dorman was born in the year 36 to Cormac and Mary Crewe Dorman, in the city that is now known as Xodon, in the kingdom of Uhl. In the year 52, Declan married Beverly D’Vay, the daughter of Joseph and Stephanie Hanover D’Vay. The two had five children together.

Declan was raised in a time that saw little order and even fewer laws. Villages throughout Hulsteria were pillaged by wandering bands of nomadic barbarians, whose only purpose was to destroy the lives people were trying to build for themselves. Having grown tired of living in fear of attack, Declan gathered the men of Xodon and neighboring settlements to begin opposing the hordes.

The battles were long and riddled with blood, many a good men lost their life to secure the safety of Uhl. The word of the band of fighters in Uhl spread quickly among the land. More joined the cause to push the barbarians from the shores of what is now the mainland of Hulsteria. In the year 69, after ten years of battle, the people had successfully forced the barbarians out of their lands.

The people decided that Declan was the man to unite the lands and made him the first emperor of the newly formed Realm of Hulsteria. He ruled the lands until his death in the year 77, when his oldest, Edward ascended the Imperial Throne.