Infamous Villains: The Witch Queen

The only member of the Diosian Lodge that was female when she was alive is the Witch Queen of Dalmatia. Her sigil is a skull wreathed in flames and her flag is crimson and bright orange. In life she was a powerful illusionist, and as a lich she is the undisputed expert of things not being what they seem to be. She is the only member of the Diosian Lodge that routinely uses magic to mask her true appearance and the only one that has continued to take an active interest in the festivities and celebrations of her living subjects. For the other liches the people trying to eke out an existence in their domains are rarely anything more than a source of irritation and fodder for their armies or experiments. But the Witch Queen adores being fawned over, so she treats the people of Dalmatia considerably better than she otherwise might be expected to.

For this reason the land of Dalmatia is the most vibrant and “alive” of all of the realms ruled by the Diosian Lodge. While the taxes are still dreadfully oppressive to fund the lavish lifestyle of their undead matriarch, the Dalmatians do not have much else to worry about. It is a given that when they die, from whatever causes, their corpses will be sent to the local necromancer to be animated for military service or designated as suitable for further experimentation by the Witch Queen or her underlings. Until recently there was no other form of military conscription in Dalmatia. Only after the Diosian Lodge formally merged with the Fourth Imperium was the requirement for mandatory service mandated. The Witch Queen does not do this with great enthusiasm, however. If any of her subjects can think of a compelling reason to opt out her minions are inclined to let them slide. To say that the Witch Queen hasn’t an appetite for war is a fair statement. It is not fair to say that she hasn’t an appetite for inflicting pain and murdering anyone that gets in her way or jeopardizes her existence or the quality of it.

One of the greatest weaknesses the Witch Queen has is her affinity for luxury items. She maintains a number of palaces throughout her realm and spends an equal amount of time in each one. Fancying herself an expert on art, she has sculptures, paintings, mosaics, and even exquisite gardens on display in each of her properties. However, there is a catch. Much of it is purely illusionary. The finer things are real, but not for the reason one might think. Being a lich the Witch Queen is immune to even her own illusionary spells, so to truly enjoy works of art they have to be real. The illusions are enough for the living, but the undead need more than clever spellcraft to enjoy their environs. This means that works of art have to be imported from places known for such works, such as the city states of the neighboring Illyrian League. The overland route is treacherous and slow, so many of these precious and priceless treasures are brought via ship to the great Dalmatian port of Valore or the smaller southern port of Sarande. For years she fretted over these shipments being interfered with by the Dread Admiral’s prowling warships despite them ostensibly being allies. Now that both of them were under the benevolent yoke of the Grand Imperator Callidus Magna the Witch Queen had much less to worry about. The members of the Diosian Lodge were forbidden to interfere with or undermine their fellow members. None of the Diosian Lodge wanted to cross Callidus Magna and this meant that the Witch Queen was importing even more than she had been.

The upside of being a part of the Fourth Imperium for Dalmatia is that now the Witch Queen can extend her ambitions to find and acquire ever greater artworks and ornamentations. If her offered prices are not readily accepted she is well prepared to take the items by force. If an artist refuses her commission then they too might be taken against their will and tormented until they are ready to accept her conditions. It is one of the Witch Queen’s favorite things to say to any artist or craftsman that runs afoul of her and finds themselves being tortured without end until they submit: “Great art requires great suffering.”