There hadn’t been a reasonable way to disguise the fact that Archduchess Lersha of Maelonbourg and the Wenigzustand was pregnant even before she took the lead on a diplomatic mission to Kleine Provinzen. Her charms were nevertheless as sharp as always even if she was physically unable to strut about as had been her custom before her pregnancy. But in the weeks following the so-called “Grand Trespass” of the Lotharingians and their erstwhile allies it became even more obvious that Lersha wasn’t too keen on travelling far from her home. And so it was that the world would come to Lersha instead.
The constant companion of the archduchess during this time has been Lucinda, the strange and enigmatic woman who was apparently cloned by the illithid from blood taken from Lersha herself during a battle in wildspace. Despite this conflicted origin Lucinda and Lersha have bonded quickly and with unerring strength. While Lersha is more chaotic and prone to fits of fancy, Lucinda is much more regimented and disciplined. Now that Lersha is for the most part confined to her bed it is Lucinda that has taken on the duties of making sure her “sister” is attended to and not disturbed by meddling visitors. This has been a mix of success and failure because the ever persuasive and persistent local herbalist Gilla shows up daily to see how the archduchess is faring.
Gilla has always had a fascination with Lersha. Most casual observers will attest that Gilla will do nearly anything to try and earn the archduchess’ respect and friendship. The best way Gilla had to accomplish this is to keep Lersha’s adventurous husband alive and out of harm’s way. Far easier said than done even with Gilla’s impressive array of people and resources. As a herbalist Gilla does quite well, and as a provocateur she does even better, but there is no getting around the archduke’s knack for getting himself and his friends into trouble. These folks are collectively known as “the Troublemakers” and true to their name they are forever in a constant state of peril. To some degree this has been a successful entry for Gilla to gain access to Lersha. Now that her majesty is bedridden Gilla has made it her duty to show up every day to bring her food and soothing potions.
With Ella the silver dragon off wreaking mayhem along with the archduke and his armed forces doing who-knows-what in Forêt Verte, Lersha was left in the company of Lucinda and Gilla. Her adopted son, a mute orcish whelp named Grendel, was never around when he ought to be and had a tendency to leave with no notice whatsoever. He would always leave a note for “Ma Ma”, though, so Lersha wasn’t unduly concerned for the lad. Grendel also seemed to have picked up a flair for getting into trouble much as did his adopted father. Lersha wasn’t exactly bored because she still had her needlepoint and sewing, but she wasn’t thrilled that she had only two reliable companions and one of them she could only barely tolerate.
Lersha craved the company of Duchess Seraphina Thorngage, a spunky halfling who always had a bottle of schnapps in her possession. She also wanted to see her husband more. News was reliable from the battlefront but that wasn’t the same as having the big oaf lounging about the house where he belonged. The orphans that had regularly accompanied her on her strolls about town were all busy helping with the construction of the new capitol by running errands and learning trades. Here she was stuck in bed, abominably heavy with child, and she was edging into misery. It wasn’t the fact she was pregnant. The source of her majesty’s discomfort was that she was alone. A fitting irony for a woman who up until now had sought solitude and eschewed social contacts. Love does strange things to a soul.