|If there is a counterbalance to the power of Arch-Duke Astridi in the Spinward Marches, it is Grand Admiral William Grey. The Rich and powerful Duke of Rhylanor is considered one of the Imperium's greatest naval commanders and has a considerable following among the Navy and other armed forces.
His taciturn, reserved demeanor is in stark contrast to the ebullient Astridi, and the two have engaged in a personal and political rivalry since they were captains. Stiff and formal, very competent, and impatient with those less capable. Analytical.
Grey's first wife, Admiral Cassandra Vesser, was a very intelligent woman who played dumb. She was always maneuvering for more power, but was madly in love with Grey. Vesser allied herself with the losing side during the power struggle after Emperor Strephon's death, and committed suicide. Grey, a recovering alcoholic (this is not common knowledge), fell off the wagon in a rather spectacular fashion after Vesser's death. His friends covered for him until he was able to re-assume his duties.
Admiral Grey has been variously described as cold, ascerbic, humorless and shy. He has lost two wives and only recently remarried to Danirelle Kalugin.
Grey continues to command all Spinward fleets, and takes a very active role in operations. The Spinward Fleets have been described as Grey's 'Big Stick'.
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