Marion Michaels

Marion Michaels
Died 2410
Affiliation House Davion
Spouse Etien Davion
Children Edmund Davion
Edward Davion

Marion Michaels was an influential figure in the political structure of the Federated Suns and the wife of President Etien Davion.[1]

Biography[edit]

Marriage and Children[edit]

Marion Michaels married Etien Davion,[1] in 2361; Marion was an ambitious woman and a good decision-maker - although also an uncompromising woman.[2] When Etien and Marion married, Etien was the son of President Reynard Davion and a serving officer in the Federated Peacekeeping Forces, who had served with distinction during battles for Lee, during which he had received an injury that would later be determined to have left lingering mental problems in its wake.[1] The two had twin sons together, Edmund and Edward, in 2362.[2]

Etien Davion[edit]

In 2371 Reynard Davion suffered another bout of Black Marsh Fever, an illness he'd contracted during his time in the FPF while serving on Gallitzin. This time, the Fever proved stronger than the man, and Reynard died.[3] Marion's mother-in-law Jeanne had died a number of years before,[4] and Etien was the first Davion to be considered to have an unquestioned right to the titles of President of the Federated Suns and Prime Minister of New Avalon, as a result of the empire-building efforts of the previous Presidents.[3][4] Etien inherited a strong nation and a military as loyal to the Davion name as it was to the nation. A week after Reynard's death, Etien was sworn in as Prime Minister of New Avalon; a month later, he was declared President of the Federated Suns.[4][5]

Having come to power at the age of thirty-three, Etien's initial months in office were considered auspicious by many. He was considered more deferential to the Council than either Reynard or Charles had been, and more interested in the judicial work of the Presidency than both as well. During the initial three-month period a truce was declared within the Capellan March, emissaries were exchanged officially with the growing Draconis Combine, and three new worlds were admitted to the Federated Suns. Etien's popularity was such that songs comparing him to Lucien Davion became common on the major worlds in the Federated Suns, and the twin causes of peace and prosperity seemed to be advancing.[4][5]

Unfortunately, after those first three months the personality changes caused by his earlier injuries began to crack his benevolent image, as his mood became erratic, swinging back and forth between extremes and leaving him excitable and prone to irritability and wild rages. Etien killed one of his closest friends during a casual bout of fencing because of a fit of temper; on another occasion, he beat a courtier almost to death during a procession because the courtier failed to step out of Etien's way. Etien's work initially appeared to be unaffected by his instability, but his judgement in the judicial cases that came to him began to become erratic, a trait that increased as time passed.[4]

The sixty years of subservience towards the Davion of family that had become a way of life among the leaders of New Avalon worked against the Federated Suns, who were looking to those same leaders to curb Etien's excesses, and left them lacking initiative. Etien's brother, Paul, wasn't considered a viable alternative to Etien, being a sickly recluse; Etien had his sister Marie shipped off to a military unit on the frontier because he was jealous of her popularity. Marion proved able to exert some influence over him, but in 2376, during his fifth year as President, Etien divorced Marion without cause.[4]

Etien's divorce from Marion marked the point where his behavior began to deteriorate at an accelerating pace. He indulged in the most decadent of extravagances, completely neglected the responsibilities that went with governing, and ordered arbitrary executions. Having reached the point where he simply couldn't handle the mental strain of making decisions, Etien rejected his responsibilities and instead used his absolute power to indulge every whim and fancy that came to him.[4]

With his behavior making him increasingly unpopular in political circles, Etien's remaining time in office was marked by numerous plots against him, including two assassination attempts and an effort for numerous worlds to secede from the Federated Suns; those schemes all ultimately failed because even though Etien was mad, sycophants and those eager to profit personally by protecting him betrayed the conspirators. Certifiably insane and suffering from frequent bouts of depression, Etien's discovery of the various plots against him built on his lingering feelings of inadequacy and guilt.[4]

The final straw for Etien came in 2378, in the form of the second of the two assassination attempts against him.[4][5] The perpetrator, Jeremiah Monroe, was a childhood friend of Etien's, and someone who had fought alongside him in the campaign for Lee. Although Etien's bodyguards had foiled the assassination attempt, Etien was so upset at the discovery that Jeremiah was the assassin that he killed himself before any of his bodyguards could stop him.[4]

Paul and Marie Davion[edit]

After a certain amount of debate, Paul Davion became President of the Federated Suns after Etien's death; a sickly academic, Paul seemed an unlikely candidate, particularly as Etien's capricious rule had weakened confidence in the Davion family, but a cabal within the High Council moved to support him in the belief that he would present the image of a wise and intelligent leader, while being easily manipulated by them. To their disappointment, despite Paul's combination of hypochnodria, intermittent paranoia and various eccentricities, he was a determined and imagainative ruler. Although his tenure on the throne was relatively short, he managed to undo most of the harm that Etien had inflicted on the Federated Suns, checked Capellan Confederation ambitions towards annexing areas of the Federated Suns and was a generally able and skilled leader.[6][7]

Marion was determined to see her sons rise to rule the Federated Suns, but her ambitions were frustrated by Paul. One of Paul's early decisions was to recall his sister Marie from the wilderness, and she soon proved herself an able diplomat and administrator. After a particular success in negotiating with the Terran Hegemony Paul officially made Marie his deputy, and despite having to sometimes rule from a sickbed, Paul's reign continued until 2394, when he succumbed to illness - a real illness, unlike the many psychosomatic illnesses that had blighted his life.[7] Paul's death marked the end of a general decline in health that had begun in 2390 and which had seen Marie ruling in his place in all but title.[1][8] Paul's rise to the Presidency had been in part due to arguments that Marie lacked age and experience; now 46 years old and a skilled diplomat, administrator and soldier, as well as Paul's permanent deputy, there were no reasonable arguments that could be brought to block Marie's claim to the Presidency, where she would continue Paul's good work.[7]

Marion attempted to block Marie from taking the Presidency, arguing that her sons were the legitimate heirs to House Davion, but Marie was by far the more qualified candidate and the High Council was unwilling to depose her in place of the twin sons of a madman and tyrant. However, Marion wasn't without power and influence, and was able to force Marie to name Edward and Edmund as the principal heirs to the throne, until Paul's son Simon reached his majority.[1][9]

While Marie hoped that she would be able to remain in power long enough to ensure that the Simon would become President, skipping the twins completely, she agreed to have Edmund placed in an intensive training programme aimed at preparing him to serve in government, as the older of the two twins.[1] Marie's intent to have Simon succeed her directly would prove a topic of some debate within future generations of the Davion family and the Federated suns in general.[10]

In 2402 Marie suffered what appeared to be a series of strokes and died at the age of 54. Simon, her preferred successor, was just 24, and his training in governmental affairs was still in the early stages. While there were rumors that Marie had been poisoned and that the publicly-declared cause of death was a cover-up, the military and political situation in the Federated Suns made Edmund Davion her inevitable successor, much to the eventual detriment of the Federated Suns.[1][10]

Despite a number of calls for Marie's remains to be tested in the centuries after her death, the Davion family never authorized a new autopsy. Marie's death provided ample fodder for conspiracy theorists, who pointed out the convenience of Marie, a woman with no significant medical problems or indicators of ill health suddenly succumbing to a stroke and then dying from complications caused by that stroke. Alert but unable to communicate after a brief period on life support, Marie's medical records indicated that her doctors believed she had a good chance to recovery before taking a sudden turn for the worse, falling into a coma and dying without regaining consciousness. Edmund was a mediocre politician at best, largely propped up by Marion, whilst Simon was rapidly proving himself a highly capable individual. Rumors persist that elements of Marie's journal indicate that at the time of her death, she was close to confirming Simon as her successor, removing Etien's successors permanently from the line of succession.[10]

Edmund and Edward[edit]

Although Edmund had become the titular President of the Federated Suns and Prime Minister of New Avalon, the de facto authority within the Federated Suns was actually Marion, who had been exerting control over her weak-willed elder son for all of his life. Marion influenced Edmund to implement a number of reforms, some of which were popular; she arranged to have the influence of the First Families on New Avalon completely removed, something that made Edmund popular with the general population, who were increasingly aware that the First Families were on their way to becoming a new interstellar aristocracy (Something that would eventually happen anyway).[2][11] Marion also influenced Edmund to further reduce the power of the High Council, and reimplemented the executive commissions model established by Paul, although without anyone realising that the committees lacked the powers Paul had assigned them, reducing them to advisory bodies only. In effect, through the intelligent and subtle use of her influence over Edmund, Marion restructured the governance of the Federated Suns into something that was a monarchy in all bar name.[2]

Throughout the reigns of Paul and Marie, Marion had arranged to keep both Edmund and Edward unmarried and childless, intent on ensuring that both could be used to form political alliances in the future.[2] After becoming President, a show marriage was arranged between Edmund and the daughter of the Councillor for Palmyra, despite the rumors of Edmund's homosexuality. Despite pressure from Marion, Edmund would never established a family; while Edmund's marriage produced a daughter, Judith,[2] in 2405,[12] Judith was actually illegitimate. It was determined (possibly posthumously) that Judith's father was actually the Commander of the Presidential Guard.[2]

Edward also married while Edmund was President. Edward's wife, Rachel Masters, was the daughter of Virgil Masters, the High Council delegate from Numenor, and their marriage in 2409 came as quite a shock on New Avalon, where Edward had a well-deserved reputation as a rake who had slept with the wife and daughters of every prominent figure on the Federated Suns political circuit. The only person not surprised by the wedding was apparently Marion, who commented that Edward "would have married a tree slug if he thought it was secure his inheritance."[13]

Death and Aftermath[edit]

When Marion died in 2410, her work was incomplete; Edmund was a weak-willed man, easily manipulated by both Marion and Edward, and Marion was under no illusions as to Edmund's nature. As she lay dying, she implored Edward to ensure that their blood remained on the throne of the Federated Suns after Edmund died. Marion's ambitions suited Edward, who had every intention of seeing Arthur one day rule the Federated Suns.[2]

The influence of Edmund and Edward on the Federated Suns, unconstrained by Marion's influence, was disastrous. As they descended further into depravity, they crippled the economy and destroyed the respect of the people for House Davion, leading to movements and conspiracies to remove them both from power. Although Edward believed himself to be a skilled manipulator like Marion, he sorely lacked her intelligence and ability.[11]

In 2415 Edmund died[12] under mysterious circumstances[11] and Edward swiftly seized power.[12][11] Immediately following Edmund's death, Edward moved to consolidate power in himself; he arranged to have Edmund's wife and her lover arrested for high treason, and after a swift trial had them both declared guilty and executed. He then had his niece Judith quietly removed from the public eye and strangled by one of his bodyguards, clearing his way to the throne.[12][14]

Edward also attempted to move against Simon, but failed;[12] believing his grasp on power to be secure, Edward continued to try and consolidate absolute power over the Federated Suns within himself. He increased the Presidential bodyguard even further, and took the secret police network he had begun building during Edmund's rule and expanded it significantly, pushing the Federated Suns ever-closer to becoming a police state. Weak as he was, Edmund's style of rule had been both arbitrary and whimsical. Edward's rule was different - ambitious and craving power, Edward's rule was both greedy and ruthless. The various delegates on the High Council swiftly realized that Edward was intent on removing them completely, and ruling as an absolute monarch, leading to an organised conspiracy against him. Edward was killed by Simon on New Avalon in 2417, in front of the entire High Council.[15]

The last member of Marion's bloodline, her grandson Arthur, would die a hero in service the Federated Suns - and would be largely forgotten to history, ending Marion's influence on the Federated Suns.[13]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 28, "Maiden Aunt"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 28-29, "Twin Tyrants"
  3. 3.0 3.1 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 25, "The War Leader"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 House Davion (The Federated Suns)|, p. 26, "The Mad Davion"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Handbook: House Davion, p. 23, "Etien The Mad"
  6. House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 27, "The Scholar"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 27-28, "A Noble Effort"
  8. Handbook: House Davion, p. 25, "Paul The Scholar"
  9. Handbook: House Davion, p. 25, "Marie Davion"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Handbook: House Davion, p. 25, "Death of the Maiden President"
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Handbook: House Daion, p. 26, "The Twin Tyrants"
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 29, "The Ares Summit"
  13. 13.0 13.1 House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 31, "The Forgotten Davion"
  14. Handbook: House Davion, p. 26, "The End of the Tyrants"
  15. House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 30, "Death of a Tyrant"

Bibliography[edit]