Elrood Corrino IX
Elrood Corrino IX (9,999-10,156 A.G.) was the 80th Emperor of the Known Universe, son of Fondil III "The Hunter" and father to Shaddam IV. Elrood was the penultimate emperor in the Corrino Dynasty and ascended to the throne at the age of 19. During his reign of 138 years, Elrood married into many royal houses of the Imperium, among them House Mutelli, House Hagal and House Ecaz.
According to the appendix of Dune: House Atreides, Elrood married Barbara Mutelli in 10,019 A.G.; they had a daughter called Wensicia (who should not be confused with Elrood's granddaughter), and a son called Elliott. Elrood murdered one-year-old Elliott himself, after which "Barbara went insane; Elrood kept her, though, and impregnated her repeatedly ... the fertilized embryos were placed in storage for later dynastic emergencies." Barbara died in 10,026, and Elrood's subsequent marriage to Yvette Hagal in 10,036 produced three daughters: Crystane, Tara and Edwina (b. 10,070). Edwina would later marry Count Ilban Richese in 10,090, and eventually became the great-grandmother of Paul Atreides.
Yvette died in 10,075 A.G., and Elrood next married Alexandra Ecaz in 10,079. She gave birth to the Crown Prince Fafnir, but later disappeared in 10,098. Elrood's "impulsive marriage" to Habla of Hassika V in 10,100 was childless for 19 years. Using one of the frozen embryos from his first wife, Barbara Mutelli, Elrood made it possible for Habla to produce a son — Shaddam. Shaddam himself never knew that his genetic mother was Barbara.
Elrood's eldest son and heir Fafnir was murdered by Count Hasimir Fenring in 10,138 A.G. at the urging of Shaddam, who himself desired to inherit the throne. According to Shaddam, Elrood suspected Fenring's role in Fafnir's death (and later discovered Shaddam's complicity), but accepted it as part of Imperial politics. Though they never confessed, in Dune: House Corrino, Shaddam recalled that Elrood had "cackled knowingly and said:
It shows initiative that you are able to make difficult decisions. But do not be so eager to take the responsibility of an Emperor. I still have many years left in my reign, and you must observe my example. Watch, and learn.
In Dune: House Atreides, Shaddam remembered how Elrood had been amused when he learned that Shaddam "had been slipping contraceptives into the food of his own mother, Habla, so she couldn't conceive another son and rival to him." Elrood, however, had also fathered an illegitimate son named Tyros Reffa with his concubine Shando Balut, the future wife of Earl Dominic Vernius of Ix.
Elrood was Padishah Emperor at the time of the first Prelude to Dune novel, Dune: House Atreides. In his later years, Elrood gave the siridar-governorship of Arrakis to House Harkonnen, having previously given it to House Richese. He also created the title "Imperial Planetologist of Arrakis", and appointed Pardot Kynes to find out exactly how the spice melange was created. Elrood became a despotic and dictatorial ruler who in 10,154 A.G. authorized the Tleilaxu takeover of planet Ix and established the Project Amal program to create synthetic melange, intending to remove the Empire's dependency on Arrakis and control the spice himself. His long rule ended in 10,156 when he was assassinated, poisoned by slow acting chaumurky administered to him by Count Fenring (again doing the bidding of Elrood's son Shaddam).
In Dune: House Corrino it was revealed that Elrood’s remains were interred in the Imperial Necropolis:
He finally led Fenring to where the sealed ashes of Elrood IX waited in a relatively small alcove, adorned with shimmering diamondplaz, ornate scrollwork, and fine gems — a sufficient display of Shaddam’s grief at the loss of his "beloved father" ... Disrespectfully, Shaddam leaned against the resting place of his father’s ashes. The old man had been cremated to foil any Suk physician’s attempts to determine the true cause of death.
The following quotes and excerpts of Elrood IX's writings are referenced via epigraphs in the Prelude to Dune novels:
* Like many culinary delicacies, revenge is a dish best savored slowly, after long and delicate preparation. — Deathbed Insights (Dune: House Atreides) * Immobility is often mistaken for peace. (Dune: House Harkonnen) * Enemies strengthen you; allies weaken. — Deathbed Insights (Dune: House Harkonnen) * Blood is thicker than water, but politics is even thicker than blood. — Memoirs of Imperial Rule (Dune: House Corrino)