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Lord High Admiral Suvarov has served three Romanov Emperors.
The first, he respected and honoured.
The second, he loathed.
The third, he does not know.
He was born to a humble family. His mother's family comes from the Black Eagle worlds, and from them he inherited their martial tradition; his father's family served the Romanovs for many generations.
Neither side had the influence to assure him of an officer's post. He joined the Fleet as a crewman, and rose through the ranks. In the Battle of Bifrost, he led a boarding action of an enemy warship, and captured its bridge against heavy resistance. That heroism brought him to the notice of Prince Piotr - later Emperor Piotr, the grandfather of the current Empress.
With the Prince's backing, Suvarov soared. Piotr gave the young officer command of a battle squadron of warships, and Suvarov's tactical gifts and discipline became evident to all.
His crews called him Admiral Winter. He was an excellent judge of a crew's strength, able to push them to the very limits of their capability, but always short of breaking them. Marines said that one mission under Admiral Winter was worth five years' service - but took ten years off your life with its hardship and terror.
Once the post became vacant, Piotr appointed Suvarov as Lord High Admiral, commander of the Grand Fleet, Guardian of the Star of St. Andrew, and chief military advisor to the Emperor. Piotr and Suvarov shared a bond forged in battle, and the Emperor esteemed his friend's counsel above that of any other officer.
When Piotr died and his son Nikolai took the throne, Suvarov retained his post in name only. Unlike his father, Nikolai was not a military man, and he and Suvarov disliked each other immediately. The nobles of the court, too, had long held a grudge against Suvarov, and now they poisoned the emperor against his father's most trusted advisor. For years, Suvarov stood and watched as Emperor Nikolai ignored his counsel, as the Grand Dukes corrupted his fleet with nepotistic promotions and political appointments. Good officers were forced out. Suvarov retained his post only because the nobles could not agree on a replacement.
Suvarov saw hope for the future in Nikolai's eldest son, Nikolas. The young prince reminded the aging admiral of his friend Piotr, and this resemblance grew as Suvarov instructed Nikolas in tactics and leadership. He held onto his title in anticipation of the day when Nikolas would hold his grandfather's scepter, and the purging of the Fleet could begin.
Now, Suvarov finds himself serving an Empress. The Grand Fleet is lost thanks to the malfeasance of the dukes and their puppet admirals, leaving The Mandate defenseless. If the empire that Suvarov has served for almost a century is to survive, he must find a way to help the Empress win an impossible victory.
Are there any warriors in the diminished Fleet who still have the steel for sacrifice?