Vlad Ward

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Vlad Ward
Vladimir Ward
Also known as Vlad Ward
Born 3026[1]
Died 3083
Affiliation Clan Wolf
Rank Khan
Profession MechWarrior

Vlad of the Wards (trueborn 3026 – died 3083, aged 57 years), later Vladimir Ward, was a trueborn warrior and a staunch Crusader of Clan Wolf. Following his Clan's devastating defeat in the Refusal War, Vlad became Khan of the reborn Clan Wolf and led it through the turmoil of the Jihad and the Wars of Reaving.

History[edit]

Early Life[edit]

Trueborn in 3026, Vlad of the Bloodhouse Ward was raised in a mixed sibko which also included Ranna Kerensky, Carew Nygren and Evantha Fetladral.[2] [3]

Clan Invasion[edit]

Star Captain Vlad was a participant in the Clan Invasion from the beginning, taking part in the preliminary attacks on Periphery worlds. On one such world, The Rock, Vlad was among the Wolf warriors crushing Kenny Ryan's pirate band when they ran into a group from the Kell Hounds tasked with the same mission. In the ensuing battle Vlad defeated and captured Phelan Kell, taking Phelan as his bondsman.[4]

Under the orders of Khan Ulric Kerensky Vlad and his sibkin Carew interrogated Phelan aboard the DropShip Devil's Island, first concerning his heritage and service, then later on about the political and military state of the Inner Sphere nations. During this time Vlad developed an intense hatred of Phelan, partly because Phelan had damaged his 'Mech during their first encounter, and partly because Khan Kerensky claimed Phelan as his own bondsman. As a trophy, Vlad kept a wolf's head belt buckle given to Phelan by Tyra Miraborg, viciously beating Phelan when he tried to reclaim it.[5]

Following the conquest of Rasalhague in July 3050, Vlad was among the Wolf warriors who toured the devastated capital of Reykjavik with Khan Kerensky and Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht. When a homeless refugee approached the Wolf Khan begging for aid, Vlad attacked the man and continued beating him until Phelan intervened, knocking Vlad out.[6]

Vlad was later present on the Dire Wolf's bridge at Radstadt when it was rammed by Tyra Miraborg's Shilone. His life along with that of Ulric was saved by Phelan, though his face bore a permanent scar from his injuries. When Ulric cut Phelan's bondcord and inducted him into Bloodhouse Ward as a warrior Vlad was the first to welcome his 'kin', though his hatred ran deeper than ever.[7] [8]

By the time they had returned to the Clan Homeworlds, Vlad considered the newly adopted Phelan a rival for the Ward Bloodname. Thus in the political maneuvering during the Year of Peace Vlad aligned himself with Conal Ward, a rival of Ulric Kerensky, and served as an opponent during Phelan and Natasha Kerensky's Trial of Position. [9] [10]

Bloodname Trials and Tukayyid[edit]

When Cyrilla Ward took her own life to open a Ward Bloodname for Phelan to compete for, Vlad furiously opposed the nomination. During the ensuing Trial of Bloodright Vlad successively killed his opponents, believing that to leave an enemy alive was weak and foolhardy, until only Phelan remained. Ulric proclaimed that they would face each other after the [Battle of Tukayyid]] was over. During the battle, Vlad fought in the Eleventh Wolf Guards and proved his valor when the unit routed the ComGuard's 278th Division[11] [12]

After the battle Phelan and Vlad fought each other on Tukayyid's plains. Loremaster Conal Ward cheated to give Vlad the choice of whether to fight in 'Mechs or hand-to-hand, with Vlad choosing the former. Phelan decreed that they would fight on open ground, and the two faced off in their 'Mechs. Phelan proceeded to outfight and out-think Vlad, shooting him out of his Adder, beating him on the ground, and reclaiming the belt buckle Vlad had taken from him when they had first met. Vlad demanded that Phelan give him a warrior's death, but Phelan refused, saying he was more than a warrior and Vlad should understand what that meant.[13]

Refusal War[edit]

Embittered and seething at the Truce of Tukayyid, Vlad hitched his star to Clan Wolf's Crusader faction and became a spokesman for the younger Wolf warriors who saw themselves denied opportunities for glory and acquiring Bloodnames. He aided Wolf Loremaster Dalk Carns in his campaign to unseat Ulric Kerensky on charges of treason and conspiring to destroy the genetic heritage of the Clans, with these efforts reaching a successful conclusion in July 3057.[14]

Realizing that opposing the motion could tear Clan Wolf apart, Ulric redirected the charges to the Grand Council where he appeared on August 8th. While the Crusaders managed to oust Ulric as ilKhan, he outmaneuvered his Crusader opponents by bidding all of Clan Wolf in a Trial of Refusal against the entirety of Clan Jade Falcon.[15] In the ensuing Refusal War, Vlad served directly under Ulric and eventually came to respect his former Khan despite their differences.[16] [17] [18]

Vlad survived Falcon saKhan Vandervahn Chistu's ambush and murder of Ulric Kerensky on Wotan, rescued by Marialle Radick after being trapped beneath rubble for three days. Discovering that Chistu had retroactively declared the Trial to be one of Absorption, Vlad used his status as the sole remaining Wolf to set about salvaging his Clan. Playing the two Jade Falcon Khans against one another, Vlad first goaded Chistu into a Trial of Grievance and killed him after exposing his treachery.[19]

Khan Elias Crichell rewarded Vlad by allowing him to claim a Ward Bloodname, which he won unopposed by his fellow warriors. Crichell then undid Chistu's declaration that the Wolves had been Absorbed, but created Clan Jade Wolf rather than revive Clan Wolf itself. Enraged, Vlad accepted this for the moment and won election as first Khan of Clan Jade Wolf. When the Grand Council next convened on January 2nd, 3058, and elected Crichell as the next ilKhan, Vlad immediately contested Crichell's qualifications as a warrior. By challenging the ilKhan directly rather than the vote, Vlad trapped Crichell into facing him directly in a Circle of Equals. Within a few minutes Vlad brutally beat Crichell before crushing the ilKhan's throat beneath his boot.[20] [21]

Khan[edit]

Rebirth of Clan Wolf[edit]

Vlad then announced that Clan Jade Wolf with all of its members would now be part of a 'new' Clan Wolf. This legal technicality allowed for Clan Wolf to effectively continue its existence while sidestepping the charges of genocide that had led to the destruction of the 'old' Clan Wolf. The other Khans assented to this, and to a delay in resuming the invasion to enable candidates for the ilKhan's position to prove themselves. After the Council session concluded, Khan Marthe Pryde challenged Vlad's opinion of the Falcons being honorless and hidebound, and warned him to expect an Absorption vote against both of their Clans.[21]

Outbound from Wotan, Vlad reviewed Clan Wolf's troop strength and concluded that he needed to rapidly bolster his touman's numbers, even if that meant the distasteful practice of allowing civilian caste members to qualify as warriors. Vlad also decided that to stave off the threat of Absorption, the Wolves would need to mount a daring strike on a powerful and haughty Clan. The Wolves' old enemy, Clan Smoke Jaguar, was the obvious choice and Vlad prepared for a long-range attack into their occupation zone.[22]

A month later, as the Wolves were ending a successful raid on Kiamba, Vlad was notified of a Lyran Alliance JumpShip that had arrived in the middle of his fleet. Its unexpected passenger, Archon Katherine Steiner-Davion (now calling herself Katrina Steiner), demanded to be taken to Khan Ward. Upon her arrival in his stateroom, Vlad was immediately smitten but maintained his composure. The two leaders soon came to an understanding: they would work clandestinely together against common foes such as the Jade Falcons and Phelan Kell's Wolves in Exile.[23]

Clan Homeworld politics[edit]

During the politicking which permeated the Clan Homeworlds after the Battle of Coventry, Vlad and Marthe Pryde made an informal alliance to protect their Clans from Absorption by their rivals.[24] As Ice Hellion Khan Asa Taney schemed to make himself ilKhan and built up a Home Clan Coalition towards this end, Vlad undermined Taney's efforts by making it known that he intended to Absorb units his Wolves defeated in combat. Since these "harvest trials" offered a sure way for Home Clan Crusaders to join the invasion, Vlad was able to simultaneously replenish his understrength touman and drain support for Taney's movement.[25] [26]

The Second Star League[edit]

When Task Force Serpent attacked Huntress, Vlad dismissed ilKhan Lincoln Osis' claim that the Second Star League would continue to threaten the other Clan worlds if they won on Huntress, and voted with the other Khans against lending aid to the Smoke Jaguars.[27]

During the Great Refusal Vlad and his warriors managed to fight Kai Allard-Liao and the First St. Ives Lancers to a draw.[28] After the Second Star League's victory, Victor Steiner-Davion addressed the Grand Council calling for a new era of peace and intercultural exchange between the two civilizations, but Vlad responded with an impassioned speech. He declared that the honorless Spheroids sought to erase Clan culture or commercialize it, and that Clan purity and strength would be debased by their taint. Vlad also announced that since Clan Wolf had abstained from the vote and remained undefeated, they were still free to pursue the conquest of Terra as a goal, though the Truce of Tukayyid would be respected until it expired.[29]

Horse Machinations[edit]

In 3060, following the loss of three Wolf systems to Clan Ghost Bear, Khan Ward came to an agreement with his fellow Crusader Khan Malavai Fletcher: after token resistance, the Wolves would cede three of their worlds to Clan Hell's Horses, giving them their own occupation zone. While facing political heat from other Home Clan Crusaders, Vlad had managed to stall further confrontations with a rival Clan whose touman outnumbered his four to one, as the long-running Horses-Bear feud ensured that his powerful neighbor would be focused upon the Horses. In 3063 the expected clash of arms between the two enemies finally came to pass, but the Horses were swiftly beaten and lost their Inner Sphere holdings to the Bears. The Bears then proceeded to seize Gunzburg and Rasalhague from the Wolves as punishment for Vlad's scheming.[30] [31]

While his scheming cost Clan Wolf some worlds in the short term, Vlad had also succeeded in buying time for his Clan to recover its strength.[17] In the long run, however, Vlad's politicking resulted in the death of his ally and Fletcher's replacement by James Cobb, a Warden whose revenge for the ill-use of his Clan would result in massive territorial losses for Clan Wolf during the Wars of Reaving.[32]

FedCom Civil War[edit]

In April 3066, as the FedCom Civil War entered its final phase, Vlad sent a clandestine message to Katrina. While Clan honor forbade him from breaking the Truce of Tukayyid or interfering in another party's conflict, he could strike at the Arc-Royal Defense Cordon and the Wolves-in-Exile there, if Katrina made it clear that they were not direct parties to her war. Though tempted, Katrina decided against accepting the offer, as doing so would imply she was no longer Vlad's equal.[33]

Later that year Katrina reversed her stance and informed Vlad. The Wolf Khan responded with an angry message chastising Katrina for her ignorance of Clan customs and implying that he and his warriors were for hire. Vlad's communique ended with the statement that Katrina would win or lose through her own resources.[34]

Following the civil war's end, Vlad traveled to Arc-Royal in August 3067, where Katherine was being transferred to a prison there. Meeting Victor and Phelan Ward, Vlad pointed out that the Truce of Tukayyid had expired and his Clan was free to attack the exhausted Lyran Alliance. In exchange for peace, the Wolf Khan demanded that Katherine be turned over to him. Victor agreed without protest and Vlad left Arc-Royal with the former Archon.[35]

Now called Katherine Wolf, the former Archon's presence within the Clan and apparent favoritism shown by the Khan caused significant internal tension within Clan Wolf, resulting in Vlad facing several Trials over his conduct.[36]

The Jihad and Wars of Reaving[edit]

After the Jihad broke out Vlad's warriors began conquering a number of Jade Falcon and Lyran Alliance worlds, and by January 3070 had established a salient which put their Clan in a better position for a renewed drive on Terra. But whatever Vlad's long-term intentions were, two new enemies intervened and forced Vlad on the defensive.[37]

Clan Hell's Horses struck in late 3070, overrunning Clan Wolf's near-Periphery holdings before driving deep into the Wolf Occupation Zone. A combination of lengthening Horse supply lines and Vlad's rallying of his Clan's warriors managed to stall the Horse advance by 3072; nonetheless, the Horses permanently held part of the Wolf Occupation Zone, including the Wolves' final BattleMech factory on New Oslo.[37]

During the Horses' offensive the Word of Blake hit the Wolf capital of Tamar with a nuclear strike in late 3070, killing saKhan Raddick and a large number of Wolf warriors and civilians. In addition much of Clan Wolf's new industrial facilities were destroyed, and over 90 percent of the Clan's genetic legacies were damaged or totally ruined.[38]

These twin blows forced Vlad to enact a ceasefire with the Lyran Alliance, and also led to his decision that Clan Wolf would abandon the Clan Homeworlds entirely. Accordingly he reached a deal with Clan Wolf's historic ally, Clan Coyote. In exchange for all Wolf enclaves in the Homeworlds, the Coyotes would provide transport and replacement warriors.[38]

Recovering Kerensky's Tomb[edit]

After the Scouring of Tamar in early 3071, Khan Ward planned Operation DAMOCLES II to move all warriors, genetic legacies, and assets in the Clan Homeworlds to the Inner Sphere.[39] A secret part of that operation, codenamed "Spatha", was to infiltrate Katyusha City, board the WarShip McKenna's Pride, and steal the body of Aleksandr Kerensky. As the Kerensky Bloodnames were the founding legacies of Clan Wolf, Vlad justified the operation by claiming that the genetic line needed to be guarded from the unworthy Home Clans. He also knew that the Great Father's body would be a powerful icon for the Clan in the future.

Operation Spatha was led by Elemental Garmen Kerensky. Initially Spatha's members failed to return, but after a 5 year delay they reappeared with their target and more: Garmen had been forced to steal the Pride to escape. Fearful that the WarShip would attract enemies, Vlad sent Garmen's surviving men to join Stone's Coalition and had the Pride hidden in the Dark Nebula, concealing the location even from Katherine Wolf.[40]

Death[edit]

In 3083, Khan Ward led the Golden Keshik on a raid on Rodigo, in Clan Hell's Horses territory, declaring a Trial of Possession for the 53rd BattleMech Cluster. During the fighting Khan Ward was killed in his Timber Wolf by an enemy Hellstar. The enraged Wolves pushed for a full war against the Horses but were reigned in by new Khan Ivan Kerensky.[41]

Legacy[edit]

Despite his Clan's loss of territory under his command, Vlad was seen as one of the best Wolf Khans, with a legendary reputation.[42]. He would survive the ambush from the Refusal War and get revenge on the Khans who destroyed the original Clan Wolf. In turn, Vlad would take the Jade Wolves as his own and reform them back into Clan Wolf (albeit with a Crusader stance), with many clans recognizing them as the true Clan. Khan Ward would also work with newly-elected Jade Falcon Khan, Marthe Pryde to both stymie the efforts of the Home Clans and foil Jaguar leadership. With the former, Vlad and Marthe would initiate the Harvest Trials as a way to rebuild their battered Toumans after the Refusal War and to hamper the Home Clan efforts to join (or replace them) in the invasion of the Inner Sphere. With the latter, Smoke Jaguar leadership has shown themselves to be too inept and self-centered to lead the rest of the clans, so Vlad and Marthe would work together to bring about the downfall of Lincoln Osis and his clan. He would participate in the Great Refusal against Kai Allard-Liao and the Reborn Star League, resulting in a draw with them. Khan Ward would also draw controversy and misconduct after bringing Katherine Steiner-Davion (now Katherine Wolf) into Clan Wolf ranks while showing favoritism towards her, resulting in various Trials of Grievances. His most important work started in the Jihad during the Wars of Reaving. After mocking ilKhan Andrews in the Grand Council and getting abjured as a result, Khan Ward would lead a strike force (under a Kerensky) to steal the coveted Kerensky heritage from the Home Clans and bring the material to the Inner Sphere. He would even go so far as to recover the tomb of Aleksandr Kerensky and in turn, the McKenna's Pride from the Clan Homeworlds. Vlad made great efforts in hiding the Pride's existence and location from other clans, taking his secret to the grave, even from other clans and close associates. However, preparing for this situation, Vlad Ward created and hid a message for his blood descendants in all Wolf DropShips, which would activate when one of them, lead by a Ward, entered the Terran system. The message wasn't heard until 3135, by the future Wolf Khan Alaric Ward, Vlad's alleged descendant. While he wasn't on Terra to invade it, he was there to attend the funeral of his genefather, Victor Steiner-Davion.[43] Eventually, Alaric made very good use of the information, making Vlad's dream about the Wolf's conquest of Terra a reality in 3151.[44]

Other Appearances[edit]

Apocryphal Content Starts

The information after this notice comes from apocryphal sources; the canonicity of such information is uncertain.
Please view the reference page for information regarding their canonicity.

In the MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries computer game, Vladimir Ward makes an in-game appearance. One of the possible endings for the game is that the player recovers the location of Katherine's prison, and a Rabid Fox agent convinces him to take the info to Vlad Ward. The Khan's reaction is to order a Trial of Position pitting the player against five Clan Wolf MechWarriors. If successful the player joins the Clan as a warrior and Khan Ward carries out the rescue of Katherine. During the battle Vlad observes from his Dire Wolf but does not participate directly.

Apocryphal Content Ends

Quotes[edit]

We Clans talk much of honor. Nothing is more precious to a Clan warrior than his honor. How do I define honor? Success.
  — CCG Crusade edition, 3058
Not just a body—the Great Father himself. Nicholas created the Clans though force of will, but it was the Great Father who gave us purpose. One day he will return to Terra, and on that day he will see what we have reclaimed.
  — Icons of War, 3077

BattleMechs[edit]

Gallery[edit]

Titles and Positions[edit]

Preceded by
None
Khan of Clan Jade Wolf
30573058



Succeeded by
None (reformed into Clan Wolf)


Preceded by
Natasha Kerensky
Khan of Clan Wolf
30583083[41]



Succeeded by
Ivan Kerensky

References[edit]

  1. Masters and Minions, p. 116 - "Vlad Ward Profile"
  2. Era Report: 3062, p. 102, "Ranna Kerensky"
  3. Lethal Heritage, Chapter 34 (PDF version)
  4. Lethal Heritage, Chapter 8 (PDF version)
  5. Lethal Heritage, Chapters 10, 12 and 14 (PDF version)
  6. Lethal Heritage, Chapter 29 (PDF version)
  7. Lethal Heritage, Chapter 40 (PDF version)
  8. Lethal Heritage, Epilogue - Name of the Beast (PDF version)
  9. Blood Legacy, Chapter 12 (PDF version)
  10. Blood Legacy, Chapter 19 (PDF version)
  11. Lost Destiny, Chapter 27 (PDF version)
  12. Lost Destiny, Chapter 37 (PDF version)
  13. Lost Destiny, Chapter 44 (PDF version)
  14. Bred for War, Chapters 6 and 11 (PDF version)
  15. Bred for War, Chapters 16 and 18 (PDF version)
  16. Era Report: 3062, p. 18-19
  17. 17.0 17.1 Era Report: 3062, p. 101-102, "Vlad Ward" profile
  18. Bred for War, Chapters 24, 29, 41 and 43 (PDF version)
  19. Malicious Intent, Chapters 1 to 6 (PDF version)
  20. Malicious Intent, Chapters 7 to 9 (PDF version)
  21. 21.0 21.1 Malicious Intent, Chapter 10 (PDF version)
  22. Malicious Intent, Chapter 14 (PDF version)
  23. Malicious Intent, Chapter 19 (PDF version)
  24. Grave Covenant, Chapter 2 (PDF version)
  25. Grave Covenant, Chapter 20 (PDF version)
  26. Field Manual: Crusader Clans, p. 138
  27. Shadows of War, Chapter 1 (PDF version)
  28. Prince of Havoc, Chapter 12 (PDF version)
  29. Prince of Havoc, Chapter 15 (PDF version)
  30. Shattered Sphere, p. 89
  31. Field Manual: Updates, p. 35-36
  32. Masters and Minions, p. 138
  33. Endgame, Chapter 12 (PDF version)
  34. Endgame, Chapter 23 (PDF version)
  35. Endgame, Epilogue (PDF version)
  36. Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 114 - "Clan Wolf"
  37. 37.0 37.1 Masters and Minions: The StarCorps Dossiers, p. 115-116
  38. 38.0 38.1 The Wars of Reaving, p. 60-61
  39. Icons of War, p. 6-7
  40. Icons of War, p. 183
  41. 41.0 41.1 The Wars of Reaving, p. 180 - "Founder's Future"
  42. Children of Kerensky p.36
  43. Children of Kerensky p.36-37
  44. Children of Kerensky p.172
  45. Lost Destiny, Chapter 43 (PDF verstion)

Bibliography[edit]