Rudolph von Habsburg
|Archduke Rudolph von Habsburg|
Portrayed by Colin Salmon
|Introduction:||Higher Than Hope|
All I do, I am doing to preserve my country and its people. And I will do whatever it takes
A man with a dream of a mutant-ruled world, Rudolph disappeared after two separate raids left his organization in pieces and nearly killed him in the process.
Name: Archduke Rudolph von Habsburg
First appearance: Higher Than Hope
Family: Three children - Maria Sophia, Joseph and Karl
The Archduke is 45-50 years old. He has three children: Maria Sophia (19, heir), Joseph (17, mutant) and Karl (12). Rudolph was born in exile in the UK, his family having fled the rise of the Communist regime in Western Europe. However, with the fall of the Soviet Union in December of 1991, his father resumed his place as Archduke of Ksavia and led the country to independence from the Hungarian protectorate of which it had been a part. Rudolph used the name William Rolfson while attending the London School of Economics and caught the attention of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which recruited him directly out of university. He worked with the IMF for about five years, traveling around the world to its member countries, working to help them maintain economic balance and to instate self-correcting policies which would ensure economic balance and international economic cooperation, though his true, personal interest lay in the subject of economic reinvention. While traveling, Rudolph dedicated time and effort to continued studies, eventually earning a Masters and then a Doctorate in Economics, specializing in the development and reconstruction of disadvantaged economies.
He had learned at a very early age that he was 'different' from others, different even from the other members of his family, and so had worked to minimize the exposure of his unique talents. While in university, he met others who were also different, others who had a wide array of talents from which to draw, and he maintained contact with these early friends while traveling for the IMF. Rudolf also actively sought new allies and contacts while traveling, believing that the mutants with which he became friends would one day prove invaluable to the reinvention of economics and politics worldwide. He continued to maintain his own secret, though, only allowing a handful of people he trusted implicitly to know that he, too, as a mutant. Slowly, as he witnessed the violence most mutants dealt with on a daily basis, his ideology began to changed - still steeped in the knowledge that genetic diversity would be the cornerstone upon which the next mighty civilization was built, he started to espouse a rhetoric heavy with mutant superiority. In his late twenties, he married a Ksavian woman from a wealthy family with a distant, noble background and threw himself into learning the language and culture of this country which he would one day rule. Rudolph's willingness to immerse himself in his people's culture made him a popular public figure.
When his father passed away in 2003, having suffered a massive stroke, and Rudolph ascended the Ksavian throne, he had already had control over the country's finances, having directed much of its growth through trade and international cooperation. He continued to do what he thought best for the country, reaching out to his network of contacts when Ksavian's major export, coal, died a sudden death due to exhausted mines. While still popular in a general sense with his people, there were rumbles of discontent given his lax stance on communism as well as his willingness to make deals with Hungary and those who supported a return to the Hungarian protectorate. Shortly after the birth of their third child, Rudolph's wife was killed in a car accident, an event which shook him on a personal level and left him seemingly adrift for several weeks. Ksavia's economics continued to suffer despite Rudolph's knowledge and his canniest business maneuvers.
In desperation, he once again reached out to his friends and associates within the mutant community, still believing that they were the key to a complete economic reinvention for his country. However, if he was to succeed before his country suffered a massive economic collapse, he needed to hurry. Several of his contacts moved to Ksavia to assist him, bringing with them some inherently unsavory characters. These characters suggested that the easiest way to get the money required to completely rebuild and restructure the Ksavian economy was to tap into the murky black market which trafficked in all things mutant. Unwilling to give into this suggestion immediately, Rudolph first attempted to gain the assistance of very specific mutants with some success. However, not everyone was amenable to his way of thinking and so he turned the mutants who would not do his bidding over to those with black market contacts and asked no further questions.
Money began to trickle into Ksavia's coffers, just enough to keep the country stable while enabling Rudolph to reach further afield for potential mutants who would benefit his country. A tech-savvy friend set up a website that attracted moderate attention from just the right sorts of people - young, open-minded mutants full of hope and potential. This was the new blood Ksavia needed to survive, the new people who would allow Ksavia to flourish in a new age of mutant superiority.
In October 2014, Rudolph saw the dream he'd worked so hard to achieve begin to crumble around his ears. A few weeks after Sarah Ryall and Azazel kidnapped Laurie Collins and Hope Abbott, an event was raided by X-Force, and in the midst of the fight Emma Frost reflected one of his energy blasts and he took a full blast to the face, burning and disfiguring his entire head. The damage was later exacerbated by a fight with a similarly powered Angelica Jones, and he appeared to be killed by her and Scott Summers. However he disappeared in the aftermath, along with the remnants of his followers.
In September 2016 he ordered Scanner and Garrulous to influence the political system in Richmond, Virginia to get anti-mutants laws past. They were stopped by Hope, Doug Ramsey, Darcy Lewis, CJ Ward and Cara Montgomery.
Physical invulnerability and the power to generate highly destructive bio-nuclear microwave energy blasts, the latter of which enables him to fly.
Socked by: Rossi
PB: Colin Salmon