THE SECOND GENERALISSIMO
The Right Honorable Henry Rothesay, Count of Sundholt, Imperial Fieldmarshal.
The War Office posthumously bestows the rank of Generalissimo, or six-star general, to the legendary sixteenth century strategist and general, Henry Rothesay. A scion of the cadet house of Rothesay, the young Henry cut his teeth into command after witnessing the Johannian hieromonk and Lord Seneschal Polycarp’s refusal to surrender the young empire to Midgor Ireheart’s harsh terms - the conflict that emerged from that defiance defined both his illustrious military career and the empire he served. The day after the event, Henry enlisted in the imperial officer corps and began building renown as one of the great outriders that defined conflict in the first seven years of raider warfare in the Eighteen Years’ War.
Despite a dizzying cadre of capable senior generals tested from the Dukes’ War prior such as Jan Kovachev and the Duke d’Amaury, none balked at his appointment as Imperial Fieldmarshal upon the onset of the formal campaign of imperial retribution - the mythic commander anointed the Fifth Empire as worthy of imperial grandeur in his decisive victory at White Mountain, dispelling all lingering notions against Johannian legitimacy by his military achievement. From there, Henry Rothesay sealed his own person in imperial legend by becoming the first imperial general to conquer a dwarven hold in the Siege of Rhewengrad. His legacies rest in the art of campaign, where his strategic and tactical innovations ensured Oren could weather defeats and even thrive in the longevity of the conflict. Advances in military administration can also be attributed to successes, namely through legitimizing the newfound office of Imperial Fieldmarshal, a mainstay in military tradition from thenceforth.
No other military commander has been able to maintain unity and excellence throughout a long and tested chain of large-scale engagements, an exceptional feat when considering abysmal state of feudal military coordination due to the Dukes’ War prior to the conflict. Furthermore, his work aside peer brilliant strategist Josef Vladov as notorious siegebreakers are unparalleled with no other fieldmarshal annexing as many holdfasts as him - in this way, he was a master of conquest and campaign, towering over his peers with a prodigious strategic insight that compels his country to name him the greatest general and military mind of the sixteenth century.
Below is Count Henry’s official war record, for all services in command rendered to the Holy Orenian Empire.
Skirmishes Against the Dunland Mercenaries, 1528-1535
As part of the Grand King Midgor’s efforts to collapse the nascent imperial state without committing to a formal army march, Dunamis mercenaries and dwarven auxiliaries raided the country for a seven year period. A young Rothesay proved valiant in its defense, eventually securing the crownlands from hostile presence and maintaining a firm enough supply line to begin a campaign in earnest.
The Cascadian Campaign, 1535-1537
The young empire was tested at the onset of the war, with many yet doubting the Horen restoration after centuries of the family’s obscurity. Rothesay’s triumphs at White Mountain and Rhewengrad reminded the world of the power in the empire by accomplishing a feat no human general had managed in recorded history with the conquest of the province of Cascadia. While repelled in the Valley of Flowers, the Emperor and Rothesay quickly maneuvered towards the isle of Avar and demonstrated adaptability in defeat.
The Avar Campaign, 1541-1543
While the initial amphibious assault unto the isle was spearheaded by Josef Vladov’s triumph at Cape Bronson after Rothesay’s defeat at Iron Mountain, John I granted Rothesay the executive command to secure the island under imperial banners. In two bloody sieges, Rothesay and Vladov smash through dwarven defenses, with Rothesay himself clearing the breach in heroic triumph at Jarnstrand on Hoar Hill. The isle secure, Rothesay is afforded a second chance to honor himself and carve into the Valley of Flowers once more.
The Mardanal Campaign, 1546-1547
Yet in a stroke of misfortune, within the opening hours of the siege Rothesay’s vanguard is struck by dwarven artillery and the assault is driven into disarray, with d’Amaury and Kovachev forced to reign in the ensuing chao and maintains the siege. Rothesay awakens with a crippling injury of the ear that would lead to his trademark deafness and early retirement - his attempts at reinvigorating the siege fail as the fresh conscripts break to dwarven defenses. With his second failure at conquering the dwarven heartland, he is sidelined for the Archduke Augustus, who assures a decisive victory at Marnadal to push the warfront towards Dunland - with that, Rothesay is set home to guard the crownlands as a reserve general in disgrace, and is absent at the Siege of Fort Dunamis, where John I perishes and the imperial offensive concludes.
Taxman’s Revolt, 1547
With John I dead, numerous Savoyard and Lotharingian aristocrats led by the Archduke Augustus d’Amaury’s successor attempt a coup on the throne amidst the succession. A grizzled Rothesay licking his wounds redeems his name aside half-elf Lord Mayor Mylas Amant by subduing the insurrection of Savoyard knights with local militias and the Rex’s honorguard who honored a blood-oath to the commander. Through their success, they secure the crown for John II and end formal Savoyard partisanship for some five decades until the reign of Philip I.
A chronicle depicting the Taxman’s Revolt and the succession maintained.
The Defense of Seahelm, 1547
Having restored his honor by securing the succession, John Sigismund appoints Rothesay final command in ending the dwarven counter-invasion - despite his condition of deafness now notably inhibiting command, he and Lothar d’Amaury secure a decisive victory defending the port of Seahelm and end the war with triumph in the Peace of West Avar.
Rothesay thus retires an imperial hero and is raised Count of Sundholt on the Isle of Avar for his service, where he maintained a small garrison in defense of the empire in future conflicts on Vailor.
The Defense of Sundholt, 1556-1558
While in formal retirement due to the crippling injury of ear sustained in the Mardanal Campaign, Rothesay played a role in maintaining the imperial garrison at Sundholt in face of Nordling aggression, refusing to surrender the province and maintaining masterful command of his garrison long enough for imperial troops to reinforce the island after the Battle of Dogger’s Bay. He passes not long after the quelling of the Third Rurikid Uprising and is granted a state funeral by the Archchancellor de Beaufort.