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Vorbarra is a surname in the science fiction series the Vorkosigan Saga. It is the surname of the Emperors of Barrayar and the namesake of the planet.
The emperors of Barrayar have all carried the name Vorbarra. As of the last book in series time, the current Emperor was Emperor Gregor Vorbarra, son of the deceased Crown Prince Serg Vorbarra, and grandson of the former Emperor Emperor Ezar Vorbarra.
They are all descendants of Emperor Dorca the Just. Additionally, they are all related to Mad Emperor Yuri.
- Reign - unknown, during Time of Isolation
- Reign (Warrior's Apprentice till present)
- Reign (end of Mad Emperor Yuri's Reign of Terror till Barrayar)
Mad Emperor Yuri
Emperor Yuri acquired his nickname by virtue (or vice) of being an extreme paranoid who was so worried about others stealing his power that he sent death squads to kill everyone within the Imperial Blood Line. Aral Vorkosigan witnessed Yuri's death squad execute his mother and other relatives when Emperor Yuri sent a squad to kill the Vorkosigan descendants of Prince Xav, Yuri's half-brother.
Following the murder of Aral's mother, Aral's father, Count Piotr Vorkosigan, joined forces with Ezar Vorbarra in opposition to Emperor Yuri, beginning what would become known as Emperor Yuri's Civil War. When Yuri was finally captured, Ezar orchestrated an elaborate execution for him in which the principal members of the insurgence collectively dismembered Yuri, with young Aral striking the first blow.
- Reign (unknown till Aral Vorkosigan was roughly 13 years old.)
Emperor Dorca the Just
- Reign (unknown, overlapped the end of the Time of Isolation)
Vorbarra Princes that never Reigned
Crown Prince Serg
Younger son of Emperor Dorca Vorbarra, half-brother to the Mad Emperor Yuri. Diplomat, ambassador to Beta Colony, from where he brought his wife. One of his daughters was Olivia Vorbarra Vorkosigan, General Count Piotr Vorkosigan's wife and Aral Vorkosigan's mother; the other was Lord Padma Vorpatril's mother.
Vorbarra by Marriage
Crown Princess Kareen was the mother of now (as of Diplomatic Immunity) Emperor Gregor, and the wife of Crown Prince Serg. Prior to her husband's death she encouraged a not-entirely platonic relationship with Count Vidal Vordarian, hoping that upon the death of her father-in-law, Emperor Ezar Vorbarra, Count Vordarian would be able to protect her from her husband Serg's cruelty and depravities.
Upon the death of Prince Serg, Count Vordarian first sought to insinuate himself into power through his open courtship of the now Dowager Crown Princess Kareen. Kareen for her part, sought to let the relationship cool, as she no longer needed protection from her husband.
When Emperor Ezar died, Count Vordarian first sought to again exploit his relationship with Kareen to have himself appointed as Regent of Barrayar. When Aral Vorkosigan, Ezar's choice, was appointed by the Council of Counts, Vordarian and his conservative Vor allies fomented a coup d'état, since called Vordarian's Pretendership, in which he seized the Imperial Residence and sought to marry Kareen and have himself declared Regent for her son, the child-emperor Gregor. Loyalists were able to rescue Gregor from the residence, although Vordarian led Kareen to believe he had been killed in the attempt. At that point, Vordarian declared himself Emperor, and compelled Kareen to share his bed, with the intentions of marrying her to cement his claim to the throne.
Kareen was killed by a guard loyal to Vordarian when Cordelia Naismith was able to gain entry into the Imperial Residence and convince Kareen that her son had survived, at which point the emotionally wrought Kareen leveled a weapon at Vordarian.
Princess Kareen was described as pale, even wan, woman with a slender frame, dark eyes and beautiful dark hair that was always highly coiffed and elegant. She was in her early thirties at the time of her death.
Laisa Vorbarra (née Toscane)
Wife of Emperor Gregor. She is descended from a wealthy family from the planet Komarr; she holds a doctorate in finance.
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