|Profession||General of the Armies|
In November 2843 Marcus contracted a virulent strain of meningitis on Loric while campaigning on the Free Worlds League front. Marcus returned to Tharkad, undergoing treatment at the Martin Luther Memorial Hospital, but in February 2844 he slipped into a coma. Melissa had not produced a heir and her husband had not appointed a successor, triggering an immediate power struggle in the Commonwealth for the position of Archon. Melissa believed she should become Archon-Designate while Marcus's younger brother Claudius - then a Leutnant-General and commanding officer of the Second Lyran Guards - automatically assumed the Archonship should be his, sending a brief and threatening communique to Tharkad that there was no doubt it should pass to him. The Estates-General assumed authority over the government and began debating the succession while General of the Armies Miles Kempec assumed control of the military.
The Estates-General ultimately selected Melissa despite her lack of political experience and Claudius's open threat, with the General Speaker of the Assembly, Harlan Dinesen, confirming her as Archon-Designate in December 2844. When Marcus died only a few short months later on the 13th of March 2845, Melissa took the throne immediately.
- Handbook: House Steiner, p. 41, "Timeline: The Commonwealth and the Second Succession War"
- Handbook: House Steiner, p. 42, "Dark Succession"
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 59, "Claudius the Cruel"