- "Sigmar Preserve us, but I often put much more trust in the Dwarfs than I do in my fellow Electors."
- —Count Marius Leitdorf of Averland.[2a]
Marius Leitdorf, known most infamously as the Mad Count of Averland, is the late Elector Count of Averland and is counted as one of the Empire's bravest if not most sane Generals within the Empire's armed forces. Not many men can be said to have waged wars against forests, swarms of bees and half-imagined fishmen, so it is not without good reason that Marius Leitdorf is known as the Mad Count. Most knew Marius for his eccentric and flamboyant nature; his bouts of screaming rage, his periods of melancholy and his mercurial conduct at court.[1b]
Indeed, for it is common knowledge that he relied on the advice of his warhorse, Daisy Kurt von Helboring II, as much as any advisors. In fact, his outrageous behavior and roguish improprieties with the daughters and wives of the noble houses were such that few other counts welcomed him in their courts. One of Leitdorf's harshest critics was Kurt Helborg, who according to the Mad Count himself, he thinks "has a poor mustache, an even worse dental hygiene, and a horrible sense of humor to rival a Troll". On the last point, at least, Marius' judgement was correct, and the enmity between the two had since become legendary.[1b]
However, Leitdorf's reputation did him a gross disservice, for while he is clearly "unconventional" in his manners and flamboyant in his clothing, he had an incisive mind. Indeed, he was an accomplished poet and an inventor of some standing. Furthermore, Leitdorf was an exceptional swordsman and military tactician who led his armies at the front with considerable flair and skill. In fact, a number of great victories are owed to his insane courage and uncanny insights, and Karl Franz counted Leitdorf amongst his most trusted allies.[1b]
- "Some men are destined for greatness. They're touched by it. Unlike me, I was touched by something else..."
- —Elector Count Marius Leitdorf.
As an Elector Count, Marius traveled to Altdorf in 2502 IC after the death of Luitpold I to vote for the next Emperor. He voted for Luitpold's son, Karl Franz, in the first round, believing him to be destined for greatness even though he made clear that he did not want the throne. Boris Todbringer got eight of the votes, two shy of becoming Emperor, meaning a second round would be held in a fortnight.
Extraordinary circumstances later changed Karl's mind about the throne, meaning he and his ally Maximillian von Königswald arranged a meeting with Marius and Hisme Stoutheart, the Elector of the Moot, in the Haunted Calf. There Marius tried to not-so-subtly intimidate Hisme into supporting Franz, who insisted in gaining the Halfling's trust rather than having him vote for him out of fear. The price for Hisme's vote was a tariff on the River Stir, which would benefit both the Elder and Marius against Ostermark. After Franz agreed and the matter was settled, Maximilian, Marius and Franz traveled home while Stoutheart stayed drinking. On their way home, the Electors were confronted by a group of Middenland thugs, who came to the city for the election. Marius responded with glee and attacked them first, shocking their attackers, though he was almost killed but for Franz's help. Afterward, Marius confirmed to Franz that he had supported him from the start before retiring for the night. Less than a fortnight later, Karl Franz was elected Emperor with all votes but one.
The Mad Count
Marius Leitdorf had long caused problems for Karl Franz early in his reign. For years he had challenged the other counts, led nonessential military campaigns after imaginary foes, and generally cause an air of unrest for his neighbors. After Leitdorf's ruthless suppression of the infamous Halfling Rebellion of 2502 IC, Karl Franz dispatched his dour champion, Ludwig Schwarzhelm, to hold robust negotiations with the eccentric Elector Count.[1a]
The cheerless Schwarzhelm's orders were simple - he was to ensure that Leitdorf's notoriously unpredictable behaviours did not imperil the Empire any further. With some unsubtle guidance from Karl Franz through his Champion, Marius was appointed new advisors to curb the worst of his excesses, and the Emperor became fond of the eccentric Count, seeing him as a brave if not insane warrior of the Empire.[1a]
The Death of the Mad Count
In 2520, having been returned to the fold as one of the Emperor's trusted allies, Leitdorf sent word to Karl Franz that a massive horde of Greenskin warriors were once again advancing on Black Fire Pass and that the provincial army of Averland would not be enough to hold them back alone. Karl Franz responded with the combined military might of all the Reikland's armies and those of the city-state of Altdorf, with a trio of powerful Steam Tanks following close by. With such a force at his command, the Emperor reinforced Leitdorf's beleaguered army and stemmed the tide of the Orcs.[1a]
However, even with their combined might the Greenskin army that came towards Black Fire Pass was as apocalyptically large as the one during the time of Sigmar Heldenhammer some 2,500 years ago. During the ensuring battle, the Mad Count and his core company of Averlander Greatswords stood as an island in a sea of greenskin warriors. Against all hope, the Mad Count fought the Orc Warboss and lost, his lifeless body thrown to the ground. Though the battle was won by the efforts of Karl Franz, the Mad Count of Averland was no more...[1a]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (8th Edition)
- 2: Sigmar's Heir (Fantasy Roleplay)
- 2a: pg. 44
- 3: The Prince of Altdorf (Short Story) by Andy Hall
- 4: White Dwarf #325 (UK Edition)
- 4a: pg. 73