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"Every man fears destruction - whether of himself, or what he holds dearest to him. To unlock this fear, or indeed any fear, you must present a realistic prospect of its realisation."

~ to BN-012883.

Introduction

Yulia Trotskaya is the daughter of Elena Trotskaya and a high-ranking officer of the Mechanocratic Starfleet and the Order of Cybermancers. In addition to being a deadly swordfighter, Yulia is a powerful psyker. It is this trait for which she acquired the nickname 'the Storm Witch of Eridanus' (often paraphrased by her enemies as 'the Bitch of Eridanus', to her not infrequent irritation).

Background

Yulia would spend her early childhood watching her mother languish in private about the loss of her lover and Yulia's father, Victor. When asked why she was so sad, Elena would reply only with "some nasty people did something horrible to him". Even before the girl was told of the Flight of the Polunochnaya, she had learned of them through hearing the radical anti-Sidh populist Varfolomei Kaffarov speak over the radio about it. Alongside popular cartoons and comics, Yulia would grow up watching the populist's speeches on television and reading his works, and Kaffarov would become her personal and greatest hero.

By the time Yulia had reached schooling age, she had already developed an extreme hatred of Sidhae, fully aware she was of renegade Alain's attempt to kidnap her and her brother when they were infants. Her teachers would note a rabid obsession with "making the aliens disappear" coming from an introverted, hate-filled girl determined to get revenge for her family and cause as much bloodshed in the Imperium as possible. Her mother had little idea of what to do with the troubled Yulia, until it emerged that she possessed the cerebral tumour that was necessary for the beginnings of psionics to take place. From there, the Grand Curatrix asked Timofei Prime to help mentor her and teach her how to use her growing psychic power.

Yulia would also develop a fascination for the military after watching her mother and the Mecharussian generals direct World War IV from Gatchina Command Centre, and would talk to Supreme Marshal Anzhela Sokolova whenever Trotskaya was absent from Sunikagrad. While the Grand Curatrix and the Final Thirteen led the Novaya Chthonians into battle, Sokolova would show Yulia the basics of military science and also introduced her to fine art. It was also during this time where she would become acquainted with the capital world of Jotunheim, Trotskaya having ordered her to be sent there to keep her safe as the intensity of the war reached its apex. There, Prime would help Yulia hone her psionic abilities, and she developed an affinity for electrokinesis.

Throughout these years, Yulia retained her loathing of Sidhae, and aspired to one day lead a huge invasion of the Imperium and destroy it for the events of the Flight. However, she was shrewd enough to recognise that the Imperium would never be defeated in a conflict of the conventional kind: such a war between her country and theirs would likely result in the destruction of both. Remembering what Sokolova taught her about strategy, Yulia began to study her enemy at the most fundamental level to see if she could find a weakness to exploit. She developed a particular interest in the scorched-earth tactics of the Imperial Alpha Legion, and would regularly be found perusing documents about the Altoris Campaign, the Purge of Pnakotas and other such successes. These studies would, along with stories told by her mother, also endow her with a high degree of grudging respect for archistrategos Arcadius Drax. With further assistance from Timofei Prime, Yulia was able to pass her officer examinations in 2165 – at the age of just thirteen.

Her first combat deployment, however, would be a year later, in 2166. With the conflict back home coming to a close, the Mecharussians, having hitherto been forced to content themselves with barely-inhabited systems, had been itching to turn their military might towards bigger systems across the Multiverse in their massive territorial land-grab. With a brand-new Starfleet consisting of Marsianingrad-class destroyers, Berijev-class cruisers and Badanov-class battleships, the first of which were hardened in the flames of World War IV, the Military Council had set their sights on the Eridanus system in the Triarium dimension. Controlled by a race of humanoids that formed the Helleonic Confederacy, Yulia was to command the forces of the Fourth Orbital Assault Brigade under the supervision of General Visarion Tokarev.

Using what she learned about the Alphas during her studies in her own tactics, Yulia skilfully commanded her forces once they landed on the surface of Eridanus IV, overwhelming Helleonic positions with and allowing the rest of Tokarev's forces to make planetfall. One particular tactic she put to great use was surrounding a Helleonic hive-fort with heavy artillery and hammering it with a near-constant barrage, conjoined to orbital bombardments and assaults using strategic bombers and attack aircraft. The forts could withstand a conventional siege for potentially decades (as then-Captain Natalya Volskaya discovered the hard way during the catastrophic first battle of Vega), but were never designed to account for such a ferocious bombardment.

Yulia's scorched-earth methodology was so effective and savagely efficient that several Helleonic commanders abandoned their positions despite orders to fight to the bitter end because they thought that they would just get annihilated anyway – of which Hivelord Sha-gor-reth informed Mecharussian diplomat Spartak Danko during ceasefire negotiations in 2168. The only one who stood her ground was Azikal, the queen of an elite hive of Vespatym who were feared by the Helleonites for their mastery of shock and awe tactics. Both Yulia and Azikal used weapons of mass destruction to the same extent as each other – the result was that by the waning months of battle, Eridanus IV had been reduced to a barely-inhabitable wasteland, comparable to Earth at the end of the nuclear exchange of 2077.

However, it was Yulia that won out, and Azikal was brought before the Brigadier in chains. Instead of executing her, however, Yulia opted to challenge and beat the queen in single combat before her hive – not because of any honour on her part, but because of a Vespa martial tradition that a being that succeeded in defeating a hive queen in such a battle became her successor by default (the Vespatym never accounted for alien species when devising this tradition, either out of exceptional arrogance regarding their own racial supremacy or sheer conservatism).

Although Azikal was a ferocious fighter in her own right, Yulia had been heavily augmented and extensively trained in hand-to-hand combat by her mother. She also possessed three decisive weapons that Azikal simply could not match – a sound mind, a technologically superior warblade, and psionic abilities. It was therefore no surprise to anyone that Azikal was defeated with almost laughable ease, Yulia splitting her in two with Excidium at the waist in front of most of her hive. The defeated queen's final sight was the pledge of allegiance that her former hive made to Yulia before her eyes per tradition, before being put out of her misery with a blast of eldritch lightning.

Thus, in one fell swoop, the brigadier not only concluded her conquest of Eridanus IV – a bloody, corpse-strewn campaign that made the Trail of Bones campaign twenty years prior look like a joke by comparison – but also managed to acquire an entire cadre of elite and unquestioningly-loyal stormtroopers comparable to the Chernodrakony that her mother once commanded. The feat would be among the handful of major Mecharussian victories in the First Helleon Campaign, and it made Yulia infamous overnight. In addition, her frequent application of psionics on the battlefront, a science unknown to the Helleonic forces, was what earned her the nickname of 'Storm Witch of Eridanus'. Among her troops, she would become known as the 'Child General' (despite then holding the rank of Brigadier), but it was Witch that eventually stuck.

Following the success of subjugating the Eridanus system, ending the First Helleon Campaign in 2168, Yulia was promoted to full General rank and given overall command of the Seventh Starfleet. She was also fully augmented to Novaya Chthonian standard, making her nigh-immortal as well as exceedingly powerful, and would go on to play a key role in various Mecharussian expansion campaigns, readily invading and scorching planets all across the multiverse and making herself known as a fearsome warrior and commander. As a result of her prowess in the art of warfare, for her seventeenth birthday, her mother granted her command of the first Arkhont-class superdreadnought, the first vessel in the Mecharussian Starfleet able to go toe-to-toe with the long-dreaded Dies Irae and Fenrir-class star dreadnoughts of the Imperium of Sidhae.

Aditionally, Yulia successfully persuaded Ermakov Military Systems, the state-operated armaments company, to produce a complete battery of M-2000 superguns, and even commissioned a whole line of self-propelled artillery pieces using repurposed T-100 chasses. The long-outdated tanks had been mothballed and stored away years ago, a decision that Yulia saw as atrociously wasteful considering the monumental task that lay ahead of the Trotskaya Regime in regards to fulfilling Directive Gotika.

Even at the apex of Mecharussian power and her career as one of the youngest great generals in history, Yulia never lost her desire to visit a terrible vengeance upon her mother's enemies. Consequently, she began to grow interested in the idea of weapons powerful enough to destroy entire planets.

Personality

Yulia (2)

Yulia's formalwear - a black hooded duster over a lightweight armoured corset. A pauldron fashioned from argentium sterling silver, a birthday gift from her mother, rests upon her right shoulder.

Yulia is more or less the exact kind of military commander you would never, ever want to cross. She never, ever forgets or forgives a slight, and you often have no idea when she will get her own back for one or even what shape that revenge might take. What is certain, however, is that that revenge will be dreadful: one knows this because of how she views people, assessing their importance to her goals before their personal virtues. To her, the value of anyone who falls outside of this paradigm rests somewhere between dysentery amoebae and gonorrhoea bacilli, and the aforementioned 'anyone' includes someone who falls out of her favour. She commands loyalty through cognisant application of reward and terror – those who assist her will be rewarded, while those who displease her are likely to become uncomfortably intimate with death or worse without much prior notice.

When speaking of Yulia, many tell that her cold, stolid gaze inspires dread, the woman reminding them of a shark on the prowl. In casual conversation to strangers or associates, she remains perennially calm, even when issuing an admonition or being bellowed at. Almost totally unlike her mother, who possesses a habit of openly threatening to kill her enemies, Yulia's threats tend to be more nuanced. She has demonstrated herself to be quite capable of casually speaking to someone while subtly implying that getting on her wrong side will result in some ineffably hideous fate. All of these traits combined endow her with a chilling charisma that most compare to Drakolich.

One of the very few things that will upset her, however, is an affront to her family. She possesses a deeply-entrenched concept of family honour, if not necessarily personal honour, and there are very few things that will displease her in greater measure than showing disrespect to her mother in particular. Despite this, Yulia does not demand or even want special treatment due to her lineage, going as far as to actually punish sycophants (usually by making them scrub the toilets with a toothbrush).

Family is, however, the primary motive for her extreme anti-Sidh views: having been raised with the knowledge of Alain's attempt to take her and her brother Evgeniy when they were children and the belief that her father, Victor Golovkin, was murdered by him, she very firmly believes that if the Imperium of Sidhae cannot be subjugated, then it must be destroyed if the Mechanocratic Ideology is to survive. This belief led her to mastermind a trump card against the Imperium of Sidhae – the World Eater, a giant dimension-traversing battle station that uses a planetary singularity laser to obliterate entire planets in one fell stroke.

Yulia also develops an obsession with finding her lost father, flatly refusing to believe her mother's assertion that he is dead. She regularly dispatches swarms of probe droids to scour Imperial outworlds to search for any possible trace of Victor that might be out there.

Habits and hobbies

Yulia shares a few of her mother's passions, such as weapon-collecting – although, largely because she is less mechanically-inclined than Elena, the collection of weapons that she keeps in her home on Carcosa Prime is considerably smaller than that of her mother. One advantage that she does hold over her mother, however, is the formidable art gallery that she keeps in the same room. Amongst this labyrinth of paintings and sculptures, some of Yulia's own creation, is a collection of Imperial Aquila pendants, all taken from victims of the Judicator-killing Fobosian Belov.

One of her most prized possessions is the polished augmented skull of a Judicatorial Abbot (another of Belov's captives) that she killed by her own hand, kept in a trophy cabinet aboard the Arkhont. She made a point of fighting and beating him in single combat – not out of any sense of honour, but simply for bragging rights about defeating one of the finest killing machines that her self-proclaimed nemeses have to offer (and, of course, conveniently forgetting to mention that she incapacitated him with a lightning bolt beforehand).

Notable appearances

  • Yulia appears in the Tale from the Frencoverse Lilita and is mentioned in The Sword of Pride.
  • Her first proper appearance is in the non-canonical Festival of Carnage, though that appearance was a prototype of the current character.

Trivia

  • Yulia is the only human character in the entire Frencoverse (aside from, obviously, Drakolich) who the Mecharussian author/narrator calls by her first name. The purpose of this is to avoid confusion with her mother, who is always spoken of with her surname.
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