|Title(s)||Duke of Liao|
|Parents||Otto Liao (father)|
Nicknamed "Melancholy Merlin" for the air of constant worry he carried around, Merlin Liao became Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation in 2917 when his father, Otto Liao, passed the Celestial Throne on. Otto had ensured that the doctrine of Elastic Defense was embedded firmly in the doctrine of the Capellan Confederation Armed Forces, keeping the Confederation safe from a massive invasion, although not from attacks in general.
Merlin's ascension to the Celestial Throne elicited worry in some people, with many fearing that he would prove to be as timid as his grandfather Dainmar Liao had been. He soon proved them wrong; his air of melancholy was due to the depth with which he cared about the toll the elastic defense his realm required took on the forces of the CCAF, knowing that the strategy not only required large parts of the armed forces to be on high alert more or less constantly, but that those periods of high alert were being broken more often by combat than by any opportunity for R&R.
Under Merlin a new, unofficial doctrine came into being within the CCAF, and was well-established by 2930; BattleMech losses had been so heavy in the Succession Wars that they had become almost too scarce to risk, and faced with situations that were either untenable or certain to involve heavy combat, commanders in the CCAF were withdrawing their forces to preserve them rather than fighting in pursuit of a final, glorious battle.
- House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), foldout (pp. 163–164 in PDF): "The Capellan Confederation's Line of Succession and Partial Liao Family Tree"
- Handbook: House Liao, pp. 33–34: "Melancholy Merlin"