Encyclopedia Realmgardica: Duke Mercurio

The Hero-Duke, founder of the Duchy that carries his name.

“There was battle and the Orc was slain.”
A depiction of Duke Mercurio battling the Orc to rescue the Elf woman Flavia, his eventual wife.

First entering the historical record several centuries after the collapse of the Elven Empire’s rule in Natalis, the eventual founder of the Duchy bearing his name first appears as the captain of a mercenary company hired by the ruling council of the city of Apridomum on the northwestern coast of Natalis.

It was during Mercurio’s early service to the city that the coastline was suffering under constant attacks by the Orc, a species of monstrous sea serpent. In a desperate attempt to placate the beast, it was determine that the city’s young women should regularly be offered up as food for the Orc.

This was, unsurprisingly, immensely unpopular with the people of Apridomum, though the ruling council insisted it was a necessary evil.

Luckily for the young women of Apridomum, Mercurio had a better solution to the issue.

Clad in full armour and carrying his shield and famous sword Dracomordax (aptly-named as it turned out; the name translates to “Serpent-Cutter”), Mercurio swam out to the rock in the sea where the unfortunate women were left for the Orc, arriving just in time to rescue the beautiful Elven woman Flavia.

A fierce battle ensued and Mercurio emerged victorious, striking off the Orc’s head, rescuing Flavia, and carrying her safely back to the city.

Upon his return, Mercurio was lauded by the people of Apridomum as a hero and they attempted to acclaim him as the city’s new ruler on the spot. Fearing a popular uprising would ensue to install Mercurio as ruler, the city’s ruling council attempted several times to assassinate him through plots that seemed clever at the time but did not really hold up to further scrutiny.

These multiple attempts on the life of the most beloved man in the city ultimately did cause the popular uprising they were intended to prevent. The former ruling council was driven out and Mercurio was installed as the city’s new Duke.

Over the course of his rule, Mercurio expanded his Duchy’s power and influence, establishing it as one of the great powers in Natalis. Eventually, he took Flavia, the woman whom he saved from the Orc, as his wife and their descendants continue to rule as Dukes of Mercurio.

The crest of the Duchy of Mercurio,
depicting the battle with the Orc.

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