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Grand Duchy: Familiar Faces of the Movable Feast

Grand Duchy: Familiar Faces of the Movable Feast

The Love Song, 1868–77. Sir Edward Burne-JonesOf late, the Beloved Imperatrix tolerates much mischief and merriment in her court—a nod, perhaps, to the elf nation’s relation to the frivolity of the fey. So, it’s no surprise that among the most familiar faces at the Movable Feast these days are a clown soldier, a prized winemaker, and a philanderer of the forest.

Daffyd O’Dell, Male Elf Bard

Her majesty’s current favorite among court wits, Daffyd does not wear the traditional harlequin’s motley. He appears in a parody of a high-guard’s panoply, complete with mismatched grieves and arm guards, an ill-fitting helm, and a dull bent spear.

In the role of an inept guard, he is fond of mocking those who seek to impress her majesty by providing descriptions that clearly stretch the truth of their martial exploits. He usually does this from the wings, just to the periphery of the speaker, so he can be seen out of the corner of the eye. As the warrior provides a blow-by-blow account, Daffyd pantomimes the actions. It never fails to fill the court with laughter and, at the same time, humble the speaker.

Daffyd is not permitted to entertain during actual war councils, as such buffoonery would be inappropriate. Even so, he is reasonably well-informed about the inner workings of the court. He refuses to talk about his past or reveal his true name.

Ilta Vinter, Female Elf Aristocrat

Ilta is a regular member at court. With close-cropped hair and wearing a navy coat and trousers tailored in a military uniform style with brass buttons and gold shoulder braid, she cuts a striking, albeit stiff, figure. She wears gowns only for balls or formal occasions.

Despite being so serious, she provides the refreshment that is celebrated as the source of much merry-making. Her label of wines is prized for its sweetness, flavor, and powerful intoxicating effects. No gathering is complete without a bottle of Ilta’s finest.

There is much gossip and conjecture as to whether Ilta is secretly a member of the Imperatrix’s camarilla—courtiers who fill no official capacity but occupy a place among her majesty’s private cabinet of advisors.

Ilta denies being a confidant, but she is almost always on hand for petitioners’ pleas. She evaluates them with curt frankness and a rustic honesty that is refreshing in a setting where flowery language and verbal elusiveness is the norm.

Ilta is absent only during the autumn months when her small holdings—a tower and vineyard on the western boundary with the Argonnesse—require her personal attention for the grape harvest and early stages of the winemaking process.

She is not prone to gossip. Being fair-minded means she will, if asked, advise newcomers at court how to avoid missteps and intrigues meant to entrap them.

Trivistan Gossem, Male Elfmarked Wizard-Ranger

Few courtiers elicit such affection as the dashing, cheerful, and amorous Trivistan. A carefree soul, Trivistan’s whirlwind dalliances are too numerous to list. They are such fleeting affairs that fellow courtiers say of him—with only a hint of exaggeration—that a new paramour comes each sunrise, a passionate embrace with each sunset, and a parting kiss at the first winking of the evening star. To his credit, all his departing lovers land lightly, like dandelion seeds on the meadow.

The green-clad Trivistan belongs to a band of mage-woodland runners that call themselves the Order of the Needleleaf. It’s a tight-knit enclave that is gaining influence at court. Trivistan and his fellows are something of a throwback, representing that time when the elves and other allied faerie folk were plucky, happy-go-lucky residents of the green. All members of the order are belted mages—that is, proficient with the sword—and their exploits of derring-do clearly set them apart from those spellcasters who sequester themselves in towers and libraries.

The order is generally absent from court during the spring and summer, giving watchful parents and guardians a respite from Trivistan’s relentless pursuits. But the order gladly and promptly responds at any time to a royal summons.


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