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Eryk Vodenicharov ( unknown date 1912 - 1999) was the first president of Darmania and the grandfather of current president Iulia Vodenicharov.

Early Life

Little is known about Eryk's life prior to the revolution. He was likely born in the Ursk valley, and a monument over the former president has been raised there by the Darmanian government, situated in the village Vitaut by the Darja river. Thousands of Darmanians visit the monument and village each year; however, many experts doubt the claim that this is the actual place of his birth. It is generally agreed that other details surrounding his early life are mostly correct. Experts agree that Eryk was the eldest of seventeen children, with his mother being a good-for-nothing drunk and his father a general good-for-nothing. At the age of three Eryk had taken over the running of the family mill and caring for his younger siblings. He continued to do this until the revolution of 1932 broke out.

Military Life

During the Civil War

Many civilians were drafted into the army at the beginning of the civil war, among them the eldest Vodenicharov siblings, Eryk and Maryya. Although reluctant to leave their younger siblings to their parents' care, Eryk, as he later said, "wasn't a fucking quitter".

The siblings were both well suited to military life, being strong, resilient, and stupid. Maryya quickly rose in the ranks and became a decorated officer. Eryk, meanwhile, never rose above the rank of sergeant, as it was discovered he had a rebellious streak and could occasionally think for himself. He was disliked by his superiors, but well liked among his peers and subordinates; known as the Lion of Ursk he instilled hope and trust in the soldiers. It was during this time Eryk met his future wife, Tomislawa, who for a time was stationed at the Ztreganna Fortress with him.

With the Freedom Fighters

In 1935, after three years of fighting with the royal army, Eryk had grown increasingly unhappy with the king and his allies, seeing them as tyrants who wanted to rule Darmania for no other reason than that they had done so before. Many soldiers and lower officers had already deserted to the opposing side, and even more had tried only to be captured and subjected to severe punishments. This Eryk saw as yet another result of the tyranny of the leaders. He gathered a few like-minded individuals and in the fall began to plan their escape. Maryya was not included in these plans even though she was stationed in the same area and Eryk could have easily contacted her as Eryk did not trust her to keep the secret. He did, however, attempt to persuade her to come with him on the night of his escape. Maryya refused but allowed him and his accomplices to leave without alerting anyone.

Eryk reached the freedom fighter base in the northern mountain range in the winter at the beginning of 1936. He was welcomed by several old friends and subordinates and quickly got the attention of the leaders of the freedom fighters, who saw an opportunity in having a popular former officer in their ranks. Sure enough the following spring saw a small surge in desertions from the royal and noble armies.

The Cucumber Coup

In the winter of 1938, the civil war had come to a standstill, but food and other resources were at an all-time low. Both sides of the conflict raided civilian settlements for supplies. The royal army was more well-off than the freedom fighters, and soon a rumor began to circulate that they had access to a secret stash of cucumbers which might prove a critical advantage if the food shortage continued. Eryk and three brave companions and in a daring move crossed into enemy territory, made it to their main camp, managed to trick up to forty guards with different disguises and fake beards, and finally got hold of the secret stash (which turned out to also be full of potatoes, something that probably saved more lives than the cucumbers did.) At various points on the trek back to their own camp, all three companions tragically died, however, Eryk returned safely with the vegetables.

The freedom fighter's army was very small at this time, many fighters having returned home in dismay, and the food was sufficient to feed both it and all the civilians in the area. This led to an increase in the morale of the remaining freedom fighters as well as a rush of new people joining the army. These were then disappointed when they found out it was not Eryk who led the army and demanded a change of leadership.

Presidency and later life

After he had secured his position as president of the republic, Eryk worked quickly to establish peace and order while tying power to himself and his government. The new constitution was written on site in the new capital of Vjecnigrad (renamed fro Mladengrad) and was essentially a copy of the old constitution though written with different words and containing such words as 'democracy', 'republic' and 'elections' without actually applying any meaning to them. Although it gave Eryk near totalitarian power, the constitution was nevertheless hailed by an overwhelming majority of oblivious Darmanians.

Married life

Eryk married Tomislawa in the spring of 1939 following the establishment of the Bordered Container of Darmanian Soil. The wedding was followed by five days of national celebration, during which people were encouraged to refrain from working and instead dance and sing on the streets, leading to a complete shutdown of stores, communal transport, hospitals, police and fire-fighter departments. Eryk and Tomislawa drove around Vjecnigrad in a golden carriage pulled by eight bikers on white bicycles to recieve the love of the people.

The marriage was said to be a remarkably happy one. Eryk and Tomislawa frequently appeared together and were sometimes reported to sneak out of the President's palace dressed as civilians to engage in couple activities such as attending public executions. Their first and only child, Lyudmila, was born in 1945.

Death

Towards the end of his life Eryk grew increasingly hot-tempered, and was said to burst into lengthy rants or bouts of violence at the slightest inconvenience. He was extremely concerned about the future for his country and often reminisced about his earlier life, especially his days as a freedom fighter. Only the presence of his granddaughter Iulia consoled him.

Towards the end of 1998 rumours began to spread that Eryk was bed-ridden and extremely ill. Both locally and abroad it was speculated that he might even have passed away, although this was proven false when Eryk made an appearance on TV, pale and visibly ill, claiming he had been mauled when wrestling some of his pet bears but would soon be back on his feet. Only shortly after this appearance Eryk once again disappeared from the public eye, with the official explanation that he had extorted himself crushing boulders with his bare hands. Eryk made a final appearance on TV on February 21, 1999. He likely passed away at the end of February or the beginning of Mars.

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