- "A whole eye and half a life I have spent fighting these things. Vicious, powerful creatures they are, the more terrifying because some have Human intelligence to work with their animal cunning and Chaos-spawned savagery. Yet the worst of it is not that some of them used to be Human—the worst of it is never knowing which apparently normal, pious Human is a Mutant in disguise. They act as the Beastmen’s spies; aye, and sometimes as their assassins too."
- —Boris Todbringer, Elector of Middenheim[7b]
Boris X Todbringer, Graf of Middenheim and Grand Duke of Middenland, Elector Count of the Empire, bearer of the titles of "Prince of Carroburg," "Protector of the Drakwald," "Warden of the Middle Mountains" and "Beloved of Ulric," was the last ruler of the Grand Province of Middenland.[8a]
Graf Boris was a great warrior and a brilliant statesman, and had been the head of House Todbringer for decades. The last years of Graf Boris were full of whispered rumours that personal and political problems weighed heavily on his mind.
However, if these rumours were true, Boris Todbringer was a determined man indeed, for outwardly he remained as vigorous as ever, a fearsome fighter and leader. He regularly led the armies of Middenland personally, smiting his enemies with his Runefang and urging his soldiers to victory.
When Karl Franz was elected Emperor after the death of his father, only Boris Todbringer of Middenland opposed him. Boris lost the vote despite the support of the High Priest of Ulric, but has since proved to be the most loyal and energetic of Karl Franz's Elector Counts.[1a]
- "As long as the fire of the Great Temple lasts, Middenheim and Middenland will never fall."
- —Boris Todbringer, Elector of Middenheim.[8a]
Boris Todbringer married very early; his first wife, Maria von Richthofen, died one year later giving birth to Stefan, whom Boris named as heir to his title. A few months earlier, Boris had learned he was father to another son, Heinrich, born to a lady-at-court. There are unconfirmed rumours that Heinrich was conceived the night before the Graf's marriage to Maria.[4b]
Baron Stefan was named the Graf's heir a day after his birth. Unfortunately he grew to be a drooling and palsied invalid, subject to fits of extreme violence and mania. However, his condition improved with the appointment of the Tilean doctor Luigi Pavarotti as Stefan's personal physician. In complete contrast to Stefan, the Graf's eldest son, Baron Heinrich Todbringer, was blessed with considerable intellectual gifts and physical prowess. Despite this, his illegitimate birth disqualified him from inheriting his father's title of Graf of Middenheim.[4b]
At the age of 47, the Graf took another wife, Anika-Elise Nikse, daughter of the Baron Werner Nikse of Nordland. Unfortunately the marriage produced no children, and Anika-Elise died ten years after the marriage. Graf had one more child, Katarina, born to a lady-at-court prior to his second marriage. In recent months, however, the Graf has been losing his usually firm grip on things. The Graf’s grief has slowly degenerated through melancholia into virtual feeblemindedness, so that he now does whatever a majority of his advisers tell him.[4b][3c]
What made the Graf’s decline doubly tragic, was the business of his two sons - the elder by an illegimate liaison with an ex-lady of the court, and the younger by his first wife. The latter is Baron Stefan Todbringer (Boris’ first wife died giving birth to him), who was named heir to his father’s title the day after he was born. This has proved to be a most unfortunate mistake, for Stefan has grown into a pitiful invalid. A palsied, feeble-minded, and drooling idiot, caring for him is made doubly difficult and exacting because of his extreme agitation and occasional outbursts of attempted self-mutilation and violence against others.[3c]
The elder son, Baron Heinrich Todbringer, was - by contrast - a man characterised by considerable intellectual gifts and physical prowess. For some years Heinrich has been entrusted with diplomatic missions by his father, but this gifted man had been put in a desperately difficult situation by the enfeeblement of Graf Boris. Since he wasn’t heir to the title he now had two mentally and physically enfeebled relatives above him, and he felt unable to take over the Graf’s duties - how could he?[3c]
In a desperate attempt to redeem the situation, and attend to Stefan’s needs, a famous Miraglianese physician had been imported into the City. In spite of having been there but a few weeks, Luigi Pavarotti had already gained a city-wide notoriety for his enormous "appetites", and was known universally (despite his Tilean origins) as "Herr Doktor". Remarkably, this Svengali-like character managed to stabilise the condition of Baron Stefan. Certainly when Luigi was around, Stefan was remarkably docile. But although there was little hope that "Shaking Stefan" would ever be in a position to assume his father’s mantle, Graf Boris showed no signs of wanting to alter his Edict of Succession (in favour of Heinrich, for example).[3d]
Stefan and Heinrich died a few years ago — according to some, as a result of some plot by cultists. Because of this, a great deal of diplomatic activity focused on winning the hand of his daughter — called “the Princess” by Middenheimers, even though she was not officially permitted that title — on behalf of young nobles from across the Old World. So far, no suitors have been found suitable.[5a][5b]
- "Give me an enemy I may meet with strong steel and stout oak in my hands, not a dagger in the night and an accounting-book."
- —Boris Todbringer, Elector of Middenheim.[7a]
Graf Boris Todbringer, and the Todbringers are a family with a most distinguished lineage. They are distant relatives of the von Bildhofen family, descendants of Gunthar von Bildhofen - brother of Emperor Magnus the Pious, the virtual saviour of the Empire in times still remembered in verse, prose and song. Graf Boris has ruled within the context of a semi-democratic government developed by his forebears; technically he enacts all laws within the City, but he has many advisors and interested parties (merchants, artisans, religious leaders, and others) can make recommendations and representations to him through a variety of Bürgerlich Komissionen (City Councils), or even directly in some cases.[3a][4a]
But the Graf’s enlightened approach to rulership has one important consequence to be highlighted now - Middenheim is, perhaps surprisingly, a rather liberal place. Its people tend to be tolerant, even trusting, and while some parts of the City are poor, not to say squalid, Middenheim is a better place to live than many imperial cities. This liberalism might seem odd in a fortress city. It surely has much to do with the fact that the Todbringers have, for many years, taken care to listen carefully to their people when making and enforcing laws. The presence of many scholarly people, and the relatively harmonious relations between races, also perpetuates the liberalism of Middenheim.[3a]
Relations with the Empire
Although Karl Franz I is supposed to maintain absolute control over the whole Empire from his throne in Altdorf, Graf Boris, like the other Elector Counts, is able to do exactly what he wants. The only limits on his power are set by what his neighbouring Electors will let him get away with. Of course, in time of war, as declared by the Emperor (assuming the Electors feel the cause is just), the Graf is obliged to furnish an army for the Emperor to command. But then again, if Boris didn’t want to go to war, and he had good reason to believe that the other Electors weren’t going to gang up on him (or couldn’t afford to do so), then there would be nothing the Emperor could do about it.[3c]
Currently, relations between the Altdorf and Middenheim courts are somewhat strained. Graf Boris didn’t think much to the Emperor’s recent declaration that "there are no such things as mutants". He even went so far as to express the opinion to his Chancellor that "the old fool has finally cracked!" Graf Boris’ attitude to the Emperor is coloured, of course, by the fact that he is a follower of Ulric (albeit not a particularly ostentatious one) and he suspects that Karl Franz is little more than a puppet of the Grand Theogonist of the Cult of Sigmar. Hardly surprising then that High Capitular Werner Stolz (High Priest of Sigmar in Middenheim) is not a welcome visitor to the Graf’s court.[3c]
Graf Boris is also closely linked to the minor province of Nordland. The ties with this sparsely populated area date from the marriage of Brunhilde Todbringer to the then Baron Ludwig Nikse in 2368. Since that time, relations have been strengthened by the marriage of Boris’ father to Birgit Nikse in 2457, and Boris himself took Anika-Elise Nikse (daughter of the current Baron) as his second wife in 2502. Nordland looks to Middenheim for its security, for trade links with the south and west, and provides, in return, the main source of Wood Elf/human trade, political support, and the occasional regiment of archers.[3c]
To help with the day-to-day running of Middenheim, previous Grafs have often surrounded themselves with all sorts of advisers. Graf Boris is no exception. The most important offices at the court are those of Chancellor (the man who likes to say "no!") and the Law Lords (three, very serious, self-important "experts") who advise the Graf on the political ramifications of his decisions. Other advisers include the High Wizard of the Wizards’ and Alchemists’ Guild, and the three Midden Marshalls (responsible for the standing army and the City Watch).[3c]
Graf Boris himself is a reverer of Ulric, not least because the Grand Theogonist of the Cult of Sigmar was in no small part responsible for his ancestor Gunthar not becoming Emperor when Magnus the Pious died. However, Werner Stolz - Chief Priest of the Cult of Sigmar in Middenheim - is known to have very cordial relations with both the current Grand Theogonist and the two Arch-Lectors of Sigmar’s Cult in Talabheim and Nuln (all also Provincial Electors). These three make a point of making at least one annual visit to Stolz, and the tension between the cults is clear enough below the formal, seemingly placid surface. Stolz awaits any chance of putting one over, on Ar-Ulric and his Cult, even here, in its apparently strongest power base.[3b]
As the Elector Count of Middenland, he has access to powerful magical items, armour and weapons fitting for a man of his importance. He wears a full suit of Dwarf-forged plate armour and carries a shield. He rides an armoured warhorse and is armed with the Runefang[1a] known as Legbiter.[9a] The Elector Count also wears the Talisman of Ulric on a chain around his neck. This is an ancient heirloom of the Counts of Middenland, it offers protection against magical harm and heals wounds.[1a]
- 1 Warhammer Armies: The Empire (4th Edition)
- 1a pg. 72
- 2 Warhammer Expansion: Storm of Chaos (6th Edition)
- 2a pg. 43
- 3 Warhammer City: Middenheim
- 4 Warhammer RPG 1st Edition: The Enemy Within IV - Power behind the Throne
- 5 Warhammer RPG 2nd Edition: The Paths of the Damned I - Middenheim's Ashes
- 6 The End Times IV - Thanquol
- 7 Warhammer RPG 2nd Edition: Old World Beastiary
- 8 Warhammer RPG 2nd Edition: Sigmar's Heirs
- 8a pg. 53
- 9: White Dwarf #325 (UK Edition)
- 9a: pg. 73
- 10 Warhammer RPG 4nd Edition: Enemy in Shadows companion
- 10a pg. 15