Nikolai Brandon is the authoritative ruler of an empire known as the Central Custody of Dominion (CCD). Believing himself to be a god, he has titled himself the Ascendancy, based on his seat as President of the former Ascendant Soviet Union (ASU) and his self-believed superiority above mankind.
Origin: Baltimore, MD
Height: 180 cm (5’11”)
Weight: 80 kilo (170lb)
Alignment: Lawful evil
“Sheep do not follow sheepdogs. They follow the grass.”-From the writings of Nikolai Brandon, 2002
The Reincarnated Greek God of The Underworld and Lord of the Dead, Hades
The Ascendancy is an eloquent, confident man well suited to the public eye. His high regard for proper standards of conduct frequently lends to a stern affect and militant discipline, traits honed by a decade of contemplation in a Datsan monastery, a part of his life largely unexplored by public knowledge, as it did nurture an interest in the deeper aspects of life.
He is not easily prone to anger, and despises rash eruptions of emotion, which he sees as weakness in other men’s ability to focus. As such, it is not to say he is without compassion and justice. Indeed, he is a champion of those who cannot help themselves. In theory, at least. However, as mankind largely brings the woes of the world upon themselves, their plights do not weigh upon his conscious. For this, his reserve and reticence are often mistaken for coldness and lack of feeling in the west. His superior, and often interfering expression further drives the illusion of a dictator’s aura when meeting with other heads of state.
Above intense blue eyes, he neatly styles his black-dark hair and frequently maintains close-groomed facial hair. His hairstyle and general appearance shifts from year to year with the exception of his style, which is strictly business. His public relations team works very hard to maintain a strong, dramatic appearance no matter the occasion. For instance, the cuts of his suits and style of his appearance subtly changes depending on the Dominance, but he himself sets the trends of the time. Accessories are minimal. He usually wears the enamel pin of the Executive Office of the Ascendancy, the infamous double crescent, on his lapel.
At thirteen, he was transitioned from public to a prestigious private school where he excelled academically, though was pushed by his parents to take advanced education in history, economics, government, and language. Although he explored Latin, Arabic, and Chinese he never reached fluency in any one language.
His father, Alek Brandon was president and founder of an American-based energy company that searched, extracted, and shipped oil and natural gas. By the time Nikolai was a teenager, theirs was a multi-billion dollar company. Nikolai interned often with the company, frequently accompanying exploration scientists and in doing so, intimately learned the concepts of the energy industry.
Harvard Business School
Shortly before his father’s suicide, Nikolai had been accepted into the prestigious business school at Harvard, intending to advance his education in entrepreneurship so to someday take over Brandon Oil. After the suicide and restructuring of the company, he reseeded his acceptance.
University of Bologna
Located in the ancient city of Bologna, Italy, this university is the oldest in the world, founded in 1022. Not only did the travel abroad distance himself from the tragedies at home, but also from the capitalistic country that betrayed all his father sacrificed. Though he only attended the university for one semester, he specialized in studying the philosophy of law, constitution, and government. Ironically, Bologna was also the former seat of the waning Italian Communist Party, an organization that intrigued Nikolai’s long-term prejudices against society. He left the university at the end of his first semester.
Datsan Monastery, Siberia
After abandoning his education in Bologna, Nikolai spent the next decade living the life of an acolyte at a traditional Buddhist temple of education located near the Siberian border with Mongolia. There he likely would have remained, until events sprung him from contemplation and philosophy. The specific events that led to his return to modern civilization are unknown. All that remains of the monastery is a scorched hillside and a lot of graves. Clearly, however, what happened catalyzed his ambitions for he soon transitioned into Russian business while yet confirming, in his mind, his godhood.
Russian Industry Executive
Siberia has long been estimated to harbor an undiscovered shale formation. Ironically, it was an American living in Siberia, Nikolai Brandon, the son of a long dead tycoon of the twentieth century, who found it. Upon his discovery, the new hire surveying deep in the asian ranges north of Mongolia-Siberia border, quickly climbed the industrial scale.
Enormously advantaged by his knowledge of the energy industry, ambitious goals, and decade of cultural experience learning local dialects, languages, and traditions, Nikolai won a fast climb from Senior Surveyor to Regional Executive. The Russian government swiftly intertwined itself with the burgeoning company, much to Nikolai’s planning, who used the sudden connection to spark his own political career.
The monopoly soon became the leading supplier of energy to the European continent, and as the business was government controlled, Nikolai bellowed as much from a platform of praise directed at Russian standards, superiority, and nationalism. It was unsurprising, then, that the man responsible for this sudden transformation, of the west finally bending a respectful knee to the eastern power, that Nikolai secured political power through the invigoration of the cathartic land he now called his. He easily won the 2020 Presidential election.
Powers and abilities
Nikolai has the capacity to live in excess of a thousand years. Physically, his apparent age is consistent with a man in his late twenties, however his presence, confidence, and demeanor is far more telling of an ancient soul.
He is naturally skilled with the manipulation of underworld elements. He can identify, manipulate and control vast deposits of fossil fuels, hydrocarbons, and ore. There’s no oxygen beneath the earth’s crust, and when the temperatures rise to 110° Celsius or higher all organic matter gradually changes into oil. The process takes at least a million years, but he has been experimenting with an instant induction process to expand CCD natural resources.
Due to an innate affinity with the elements comprising the underworld – earth, fire, pressure, and energy – he can dramatically manipulate these forces with complex and far-reaching effects. He must be in the approximate vicinity of such epicenters of force to adequately manipulate the elements to the effect he desires. Sometimes the momentum of his experimentation rages out of control, and the effects can be devastating such as what was experienced in the Dayton Disaster – an accident at a nuclear power facility outside Dayton, Ohio.
Nikolai Brandon has been a world leader and in the public eye for twenty-five years. By now the media should have an understanding of his identity, but he is still a mystery. This for a man who has been described as coming from nowhere. His penchant for dramatic public appearances is well known. His public relations team has orchestrated range from images of the Ascendancy as a game hunter to swimmer to night club crooner. Smoke and mirrors aside, there is a real, if ascendant, man behind the imagry.
His first obstacle to leadership was election to the Russian Presidency. He learned early in life that security was essential to success. Therefore, his philosophies transitioned to a shrewd and tactical politician.
“The State does not serve the individual, but the individual serves the State.”Millennial Message, Vladimir Putin, 1999
He amassed a vast wealth of information about his rivals, both to keep tabs on competition, but also to maintain information about misdeeds or crimes that may have been committed. He rarely used this knowledge for blackmail, but rather, to earn the loyalty of the powerful. He used their collective strength to stabilize the Russian political and economic landscape and recollect the former countries of the old USSR. By his will alone, the Ascendant Soviet Union proudly emerged, patriotic, prosperous, and solid and not a voice in the world dared object. To this day he ensures stable and mutually beneficial relationships with the Russian mafia.
“Don’t destroy your enemies; harness them, control them, manipulate them, and use them for your own goals.”From the writings of the Ascendancy, 2041
In the five years that spanned his rise in Russia to the formation of the CCD, devastation and carnage shook the globe. Due to his life experiences, Brandon was obsessed with planning for and dealing with worst-case scenarios. While the rest of the world crumbled, his state grew stronger.
Critique of tactical campaigns by twentieth century authoritative rulers: Insustainability of violent rule by fear.
Excerpt from a biography revealed from one of his earliest works that went on to be published in a small journal that at the time was considered to be posthumously authored.
“An estimated ten percent of the Russian population was at one time imprisoned. Torture – mutilation of men and women, gouging out of eyes, perforating of ear drums, and encasement in nail boxes – was common practice in the People’s Commissariat and often conducted in front of other family members for added humiliation and shock. Effective, but when trainees were led to the torture chambers ‘like medical students to laboratories to watch dissections’ all Stalin accomplished was the breeding of future rebels. Stalin’s power dominated fifteen soviet countries and half of Eastern Europe in reigns of terror to outlast both Hitler and Roosevelt. Had these dictators exchanged brutality for charm, their realms might still remain. Their personal paranoia, taste for sadism, and hatred funneled at a single people group led to their downfall. Sheep do not follow sheepdogs. They follow the grass.”
Comments on the immaturity of democracy and current rule of law
Published shortly before Brandon was elected President of the Russian Federation. The work largely focused on the fallacy of Russia’s failed attempts to emulate US democracy and called for a return to traditional Russian values. It was very popularly received by the Russians. At the time, few gave it little consideration despite the radical calling it proposed, as nobody imagined a foreigner could win the highest seat of power in Russia.
We romanticize democracy. We like to blame politicians and bureaucrats and argue that if the people were just more engaged, more educated, had more direct say in their government, things would be better. Unfortunately, the data show pretty much all of this to be untrue. People regularly vote against their own interests, are ignorant of the issues, and even when they are well-informed, they are easily swayed by group identities and emotions. As Winston Churchill once said: “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”Nikolai Brandon
Is American-style, liberal-capitalist democracy truly as unopposed as it seems?
“American-style liberal-capitalist democracy has presented itself to the world as the only legitimate form of expression or decision-making power.” This work explores the validity of that statement.
Well-informed citizens, too, have come in for their share of criticism, since their well-organized ‘ideological’ thinking often turns out to be just a rather mechanical reflection of what their favorite group and party leaders have instructed them to think. Elections do not force successful candidates to reflect the policy preferences of the median voter. No, the bigger problem is that the average person is proud of not knowing things. Americans have reached a point where ignorance, especially of anything related to public policy, is an actual virtue. To reject the advice of experts is to assert autonomy, a way for Americans to insulate their increasingly fragile egos from ever being told they’re wrong about anything.Nikolai Brandon
Correlation analysis of economic growth and government virtue: Proposal for drastic reform
Brandon argues: “Citizens’ steadily rising democratic consciousness and the grave corruption among party and government officials make it increasing urgent to press ahead with demands for political system reform … the backwardness of the political system is affecting economic development.”
When voters got a chicken in every pot at election time, they usually liked the incumbent party’s ideology just fine, whatever it happened to be. But when incomes eroded and unemployment escalated, they became ripe for defection to anyone who promised to bring home the poultry. When feelings matter more than rationality or facts, education is a doomed enterprise.Nikolai Brandon
This work stresses that the party must keep overall control of its values, but offers a detailed account of how gradual political reform could unfold in three phases over a twelve year period. It suggests that a democratic party’s powers could be restricted and increasing freedom given to citizens, journalists and faith groups.
The Coddling of the Modern Masses
This work analyzes how the entitlement culture and technology-born generations shape cultural values, which should be acknowledged but also manipulated by government to bring about a long-lasting society with the potential to use cultural trends rather than be swept away by them.
From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.Nikolai Brandon
Alex Brandon – Nikolai’s father to whom he greatly admired. He committed suicide when Nikolai was 18 when the company he built from the ground up restructured and forced him out as President and founder.
Wilhelm Ravid – Seeing the potential in Nikolai, this former Regus inducted him to the Atharim in hopes that he could someday succeed to the office of the Regus himself (deceased).
Garret Ravid – Wilhelm’s son. He was paired with Nikolai as flatmates at the University of Bologna. Intelligent, forward and witty, he was probably Nikolai’s closest friend. An Atharim himself, it was Garret who witnessed Nikolai’s first wielding of the power, named him a god, and attempted to execute him (deceased).
Armande Nicodemus – He Regus of the Atharim who discovered Nikolai was Apollyon and must be prevented from destroying the world. Armande commanded a Curse Tablet of Hades to send an Ijiraq to disable him in order to launch a violent and gory attack. He would have successfully killed Nikolai if he hadn’t been healed by Jensen James.
Jensen James – An American-born channeler who upon discovering his abilities by a CDPD detective, Ivan Sarkozy, brought him to Nikolai for Healing after the attack by Regus Armande. Jensen was then contained in the Kremlin until sent to the USA on an important mission, although he was ignorant of the motive at the time.
Alric Rainer – Found incarcerated in The Facility, he is the first confirmation to Nikolai of the presence of other gods. A powerful channeler in his own right, Nikolai has earned Alric’s loyalty in exchange for training him.
Nicholas Trano – The front-runner for the 2048 United States Presidential election and an outspoken enemy of the CCD. He was last seen in Washington, DC. He was invited to be a special guest of the Custody Foreign Press Corps that Nikolai may have a chance to show him a different side of the CCD. He gave Trano an interview to that end. It did not work, but it was revealed to Nikolai that Trano was also a channeler.
Marcus DuBois – Previous Sigma in the Executive Office of the Ascendancy, he was hand selected by Nikolai to the position of Consul of the Custody of Channeler Affairs. He remains a trusted apprentice to Nikolai.
Nox Durante – A former Atharim who unexpectedly encountered Nikolai at the Datsun in Siberia. Upon learning he was Atharim and a channeler, Nikolai assumed Nox was there to kill him. However, upon assurances that was not the case, Nox was allowed to leave alive. Nikolai since encountered Nox two more times, both times Nox saved Nikolai’s life. Finally, Nikolai has decided to tentatively trust the former Atharim.
Michael Vellas – A commander in the CCD armed forces. He and Nikolai are aware of each other’s powers. Michael will soon take over the training channelers for the Custody. He also serves as the leader of the Nine Rods of Dominion, a group of channeler special forces loyal to the Ascendancy.
Evelyn Avalon – The American Congresswoman that accompanied the USA delegation to the CCD capital seeking an agreement to avoid using channelers in warfare. He was struck by her youth and vigor, particularly in how she took command of the delegation despite her junior rank status. She was also the only member of the delegation, including the Secretary of State, to stand up to him. More importantly, he was aware that she was a channeler and suspected President Dawson sent her specifically because of that purpose. The President’s gamble worked because Evelyn’s channeling quickly captured his attention. He had never been around a woman channeling before, and he was fascinated by the difference between their powers.
So his attention was effectively captured. That Evelyn was able to play the game at his level was strangely alluring. He was aware of her crush on him, and he used that to his advantage. That he slowly developed some feelings in return was surprising. Yet he successfully persuaded her that there was only one future for both of them, and it hinged on the Custody annexing the United States. For that to happen, Evelyn needed to change her stance from merely Custody-ally to Pro-Custody-Annexation. When he proposed, it was to secure her allegiance. Some part of him was sincere in the offer, though he doubts they will actually go through with a real marriage. She is Persephone reborn.
Noémi Jourdain – A new employee working for Consul Alexandrova Vladislavovna in the Executive Office of the Ascendancy that caught his eye. His attention was required to be subtle, or at least subtle enough for the behavior to be dismissed by her peers in the EoA. Therefore, Alexandrova arranged for her assistant to work late one night so that he could speak with her alone. He has been struck by her insights into the image he presents to the world conflicting with the soul within. Depending on how the relationship goes, his feelings are likely to become possessive and may even eclipse those for Evelyn. Yet no matter what happens, he will not jeopardize his plans for the United States. She is Menthe reborn.
- Interview with Nicholas Trano, Dayton, Ohio
- The Underworld, Siberia
- Signals and Shards, The Kremlin and continued at Door After Door, The Facility and Discovery, The Kremlin
- Stages, The Kremlin
- Reflections, The Kremlin
- A Blind Eye, Moscow City
- Touchdown, Dubai, Dominance V
- Change of Plans, Dubai, Dominance V
- Alerts and Anniversaries, Midair, Dominance V
- Recovering, Kuwait City, Dominance V
- Forbes releases annual billionaires list, The Scroll
- I am the Anomaly, Midair, Dominance V
- Damage Done, Midair, Dominance V
- Perceptions, Mecca, Dominance V
- No Russian, Midair, Dominance V
- The Greats, The Kremlin
- Birds, Dominance VI
- On the Heights, Dominance VI
- Trigger point, the Kremlin
- Dissonance or harmony, The Facility
- Evolution, The Kremlin
- War Games, Sorovsky, DI
- Exploring the Datsan, Siberia
- What happens next, The Facility
- When darkness meets light, The Kremlin
- Flipped turned upside down, The Facility
- And thus the world was changed, The Kremlin
- A new power rising, The Facility
- Waves in the crowd, The Red Square
- Into Erebus, The Kremlin
- Fallout, Central Clinical Hospital
- Your Father, The Kremlin
- Seeds, The Kremlin
- Traitors, The Kremlin
- The Proverbial Choice, The Kremlin
- A Day to Remember, The Kremlin
- Rerouted, The Facility
- The Pit of Doom, The Facility
- The Grand Ball, The Kremlin
- Blinded, The Kremlin
- Arrival, Kola Peninsula (Northern Russia)
- There Are No Beginnings, Internet
- Altar of the Gods, The Kremlin
- An Offer, The Kremlin
- Infidels, The Kremlin
- The End is Now, The Kremlin
- Arrows and Bombs, The Kremlin, South America, South Pacific, Japan
- A Mountain of Information, The Kremlin
- The Device, The Kremlin
- From Ashes, The Facility
- Idle Chit Chat, The Kremlin
- Intrusion, The Kremlin
- Into the Darkness, Underground City
- Emergence, Underground City
- Late-Night Assignment