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Duchess Guðrún of Dungill Fens

Guðrún is a powerful witch and a shrewd politician. As a cousin of Queen Elspeth of Wicca, she had to be. In the presence of people she likes, she is arrogant, theatrical and overbearing. When she meets someone she doesn't know yet, she acts friendly and stupid, affecting an enthusiastic, squeaky voice. She is married to the kindly but stupid Duke Henry, which suits her just fine. Guðrún's magical ability almost matches that of the Witch Queen, but prefers to accomplish her aims by deceit, manipulation, bullying and threats, because it's more fun.

Guðrún has a scar on her forehead as a result of experimental surgery by her other cousin, Countess Alcydia, who has a similar scar herself. Alcydia uses a glamour spell to hide the scar; Guðrún on the other hand, is under a glamour spell that keeps it in place even though it has in fact healed.

Bio

Guðrún first came to the fore during the events of 997, when king Groy of Clwyd-Rhan was temporarily deposed by one of his generals under the guidance of Archbishop Sickepit. At the instigation of Queen Elspeth, she stayed out of the conflict officially, but backed Kel and Atra, telling them the things they needed to know to help put Groy back on the throne.

Early in the year 1000, Guðrún got in trouble with one of her relatives, Countess Alcydia. While visiting her native Iceland for a funeral, she was kidnapped by Alcydia and kept encharmed under a Mandrake root. Alcydia intended to swap brains with her to get closer to Queen Elspeth. To this day, it is rumored at the Queen's court that she actually succeeded in doing this. It makes little practical difference, as the two cousins still maintain a bitter animosity towards one another, behave absolutely nastily towards nearly everyone else, and do what they can to manipulate the Queen, or at least attempt to. In any case, someone was brought back alive to Duke Henry, and for what it's worth, he hasn't complained.

Guðrún is involved in many secret magical activities, including a plot with a Gnomian High Priest to control king Groy by means of a slow poison. This scheme hit a snag in the summer of 1000, and has been less effective since then.

At the end of the year, she was forced to switch to midwifery in order to deliver Ragnarok's baby. This worked, although this had more to do with her skills at advanced necromancy than her handyness in the birth room. A side effect of this experience was that she, Ragna, the witch Atra and Krakatoa were rejuvenated - Kra got only a small hit, but Guðrún lost almost two decades. The Queen has responded to this by putting a glamour on the women (except Ragna), hiding the rejuvenation.

It's not clear what Guðrún's long-term ambitions are. Since Groy's temporary deposition, she has turned Dungil Fens into a thriving semi-independent State-Within-the-State with the popular Duke as its figurehead and herself as the Duchy's eminence grise. As far as Clwyd-Rhan is concerned, this is as far as she can reasonably expect to go; the Duke is related to King Groy, but in the event of his dying without issue, the kingdom will be inherited by the Wessex King Ethelredd the Unready to whose ancestor Alfred it was entailed long ago. Ethelredd is expected to crack down on witchcraft within his realm, and as a result, Groy is worth more alive to Guðrún than dead. She may have designs on taking over from the Witch Queen, but she is firmly established, and has been for longer than Guðrún has been alive. For the time being, Guðrún contents herself with strengthening the Duchy's position within the kingdom, and humiliating her cousin Alcydia in front of the Witch Queen.

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