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Diane de Moriamisby Kit Navarro
Viscountess of Malinbois
Wife of Prince Malachie du Marais of Morlay-Malinbois
Alchemist of the Third Circle
"It takes my beautiful diamonds hundreds of years to become perfect. Why should I take less?"
Diane de Moriamis is a fat lady in her fifties, squat and thickset, and has a tendency to waddle when she walks. She constantly has a sour expression on her face, her eyes squinted, her podgy nose wrinkled up, her lips in a tight pout, as if she always smells something rotten. Her expression only changes in two ways: when she finds something amusing, and she opens her mouth, ear to ear, in a sordid smile revealing her crooked yellowed teeth; or when she becomes infuriated, with which her face turns crimson, and her eyes bulge out of their sockets like fireballs about to explode.
The Vicomtesse de Malinbois always appears in public covered with pearls, gems, and other glittering trinkets. People who can see past all that jewellery will notice that Dame Diane always wears outdated clothes, antiquated dresses that were in fashion about three centuries ago. And those who are even more observant sometimes notice her auburn brown locks, set in an Old Averoignian coiffure, to be slightly off centre, or unnatural high or low along the hairline. This is because Dame Diane is hopelessly bald, and wears a wig to avoid ridicule.
Long-lived Glantrians will tell you that Madame La Vicomtesse-Though unmarried for most of her life, she has always been referred to as "Madame," as she has always been old and matronly-has appeared this way for the past three hundred or so years, never aging, but never getting younger. More than once in that span has she been likened to a wereswine with a wig-except less charming.
Personality & Quirks
People who have had the displeasure of meeting Dame Diane have found her self-centred, obnoxious, pretentious and uncouth. Those who have been unfortunate enough to see beyond these initial impressions would likely agree, and add the descriptions of being shallow, petty, infantile, and greedy. Those who have known her for some time know that Dame Diane is also uncaring, self-deluded, hateful, and vengeful. Gladly, she is also quite impatient and too lazy to carry out any true and dangerous acts of revenge, beyond the immediate spiteful, but quite harmless prank.
It is not true that Diane is totally without talent or merit, but she does manage to use even these natural gifts for her own disadvantage or the detriment of others. She is quite intelligent, but has always been too lazy to apply herself in wizardry or politics. She has a sharp eye for detail, which she only uses to find the finest jewellery to steal at a party, or to find fault and weakness in a person she has just met. She has a keen understanding of human nature, instinctively sensing how to impress a person and press his buttons; but all too often, she uses this understanding to insult and offend a person, with the most impact possible. Diane is even considerably skilled with her hands and fingers, and could be the finest of alchemists or gem-cutters, if she used her deftness for tasks other than remove loose gems from their settings, unclasping an expensive brooch, or palming an overlooked bauble left lying around.
Dame Diane loves jewellery. She is particularly fond of ancient and old-fashioned ones, since they remind her of her father in Old Laterre (although she will not admit this!). She is also interested in magical jewellery. For a time, Dame Diane had the reputation of being a connoisseurs in such valuable items, and had a repertoire of spells and alchemical formulae to appraise and detect their authenticity. Despite her despicable personality, many Glantrian nobles, including Duchess Margaret Hillsbury of Fenswick, trusted in her skills and availed of her services ("A woman that crass could not be lying!" the Duchess once said.). Only recently, after she had one too many appraisals that a precious heirloom was fake-and promptly confiscated, of course-that Dame Diane was suspected of some dishonesty. Though nothing was ever proven, the Glantrian nobles have stopped bringing their jewellery to her.
Dame Diane also loves to attend soirées and banquets and balls. Unfortunately for her, many Glantrians make it a point not to invite her. However, there are still occasions when a host is too helpless to prevent her from coming. And it has also been known for a Prince of Glantri-or three-to invite Diane to a rival's social gathering for the express purpose of sabotage. Dame Diane is invariably bad company. More often than not, she will find an excuse to be slighted and offended at a party (usually of her own doing), after which she will cast one of her notorious spells to ruin the event. And if even Diane is having a genuinely good time, she just might cast a grease, stinking cloud, or irritation spell, just for fun.
But beyond jewellery and balls, there is one thing Dame Diane loves more-Sire Malachie du Marais. In her eyes, her albino-skinned white-haired husband is the prince charming of her dreams, her own personal white knight, who will protect her from the evil of stepmothers, the ravages of aging and ugliness, and the humiliation of the public, and the ostracism of the nobility. Nothing he does, not even hurting her, could make her want him less.
Diane de Moriamis was born in Old Averoigne on Laterre, about 400 years ago, in the time of the Inquisition, when the persecution of wizards and sorcerers was at its height. She never discusses her early years, since it was such a long time ago, and they were too miserable to remember besides. The few rumours and half-forgotten stories of her past sound like a badly-written fairy tale: a silver-haired father who used alchemy to create trinkets of gold and gems, a cruel stepmother who forbade her from attending balls, hateful stepsisters, secret writings of a deadly concoction, a fateful dinner that ends in family tragedy, suspicions of murder and witchcraft, Inquisition guards, a chase, and an exodus to a new world.
Dame Diane de Moriamis arrived on Mystara in AC 728, together with the d'Ambreville family entourage. She was a lone middle-aged woman then, who had only begun to dabble in alchemy. Nonetheless, in this new land of magic-users, she was treated with respect and exaltation, something she was clearly unaccustomed to, and something that undoubtedly went to her head.
Over the next few decades, Dame Diane was in attendance at every social affair in the highlands, among the Averoignians and the Flaems, and even among the wealthier Traladaran, Thyatian and elven immigrants. While scarcely advancing in magic, Diane's ego had swelled to equal that of a Grand Master, and her appetite for hedonistic delights grew to compensate for her years of denied pleasure in Laterre.
By AC 750, Dame Diane was an ugly old woman, having grown fat with her excesses, and egotistic with her indulgences. She realised her gross state, and decided to remedy it by creating an ambitious concoction: Diane's marvellous elixir of eternal youth, perpetual health and unfading beauty. The potion was an astounding failure, but it did manage to prevent Diane from aging any further, trapping her permanently in the unattractive body of a hefty matron in her fifties.
Over the next two centuries, Dame Diane became obsessed with restoring her youth and beauty. Since that incident of magical preservation, none of Diane's spells and alchemy could directly alter her own physical body. Only once ever did she succeed again, when a laboratory accident managed to dissolve all her hair, leaving her permanently bald.
During this time, Glantrian society-and the whole nation itself-was experiencing great and rapid changes. Being a wizard was no longer enough to be someone in Glantri. Political power, wealth, contacts, wit, charm, and beauty were now standard issue among the new brand of Glantrian nobility. The few times Dame Diane ventured out of her laboratory, she became painfully aware of this, and it only fuelled her desire to regain respectability, through beauty, or power, or status.
In AC 983, with the return of the d'Ambrevilles into power, and after centuries of badgering Prince Étienne d'Ambreville for a noble title, Dame Diane was finally awarded the Vicomte de Malinbois. (Prince Étienne had originally planned to award Malinbois to Malachie du Marais, but Dame Geneviève de Sephora barred making Malachie a Viscount, and Malachie was only too happy to be in Morlay, far away from Geneviève. Thus, thus the charge fell on Diane de Moriamis). To Diane, becoming "Madame la Vicomtesse" did not mean political dominion or the responsibilities of ruling, but a license to appear in every social affair in Glantri and be hailed as nobility!
For the next few decades, while its ruler was out partying again, and Glantrian society methodically ignoring her, Malinbois did manage to run itself and prosper, mainly due to its proximity to Vyonnes and due to the great influx of immigrants (secretly lycanthropes) from all over the Known World.
In AC 1005, Malachie du Marais proposed marriage to Dame Diane. For years, the Baron of Morlay had been an ardent suitor, regularly sending her gifts of jewellery in gold and obsidian. To Dame Diane, the proposal was not only an expression of his love for her-for who could ever resist her charms?-but an affirmation of her acceptance into Glantrian society.
But the marriage to Baron Malachie did not lead to the fairy-tale life she had envisioned. Though Malachie became Prince of Morlay-Malinbois, Dame Diane received no such accolades for being the wife of a Glantrian Prince. She was not even well-accepted into the House Marais, where her Prince Malachie inexplicably refuses to look at her and talk to her, much less perform his husbandly duties, where the snake-tongued Noussoir du Marais takes no pains in sparing nasty gossip about her, and where the proud Suzanne du Marais had the insolence to treat her like an equal, as if Suzanne's relationship with Malachie made her a spellcaster!
By AC 1012 and in utter revulsion of her present state, Dame Diane retired from politics, withdrew from the social scenes, and retreated to Château Malinbois, where she forlornly awaits for her silver-haired prince charming to rescue her.
Web of Intrigue
If one asks Dame Diane who her friends and admirers are, she will namedrop several viscounts, a count and a marquis ("I knew them when they were still barons!"), a duchess or two ("Margaret has always been envious of my jewels!"), and not a few Princes of Glantri ("Étienne and I go way back!"). She will quickly add though, that many of them are actually jealous of her success, her style, her wealth, and most of all, her beauty.
In truth, everyone hates Diane de Moriamis. Everyone. Even the d'Ambreville family to whom she has been loyal to for the past four centuries, ever since they saved her from the Inquisition of Old Averoigne, would rather have her back in Laterre, if she weren't useful to them. But although this universal hatred ranges from slight distaste to the uncontrollable desire to gate her into another Plane, no one has ever seriously considered doing away with her for good. In fact, Diane's saving grace-and most tragic flaw-is that no one takes her seriously at all.
In the social circles, she is a persona non grata, and the Glantrian glitterati would not mind if she never came out of Château Malinbois. Unfortunately for Glantrian society, Dame Diane is either too dense or too self-deluded to realise this, and still continues to attend the social affairs, even those she is not invited to.
However, Glantrians do love a scandal, and socialites and gossips still love to tell and retell the anecdote of her shouting match with Duchess Margaret Hillsbury, or that time when she got so drunk that she vomited all over the cape of Prince Morphail Gorevitch-Woszlany, or that incident when Prince Jherek Virayana III had to leave when she was making immodest advances at him, and those episodes where she sabotaged, not one, but three parties of Princess Carnelia de Belcadiz.
Politically, Dame Diane is a non-entity, just a space-filler in the game of musical dominions, an extra vote for House Sylaire that doesn't really count, a permanent fixture like an unsightly mole on a pretty face. Only once did her status as Vicomtesse de Malinbois have any significance: when Baron Malachie du Marais of Morlay married her and effected the enfeoffment of Morlay-Malinbois. For Prince Malachie, this one time act of taking her seriously had earned him her undying love and devotion, for better or for worse.
Her retirement from politics in AC 1012 was a big non-event.
Statistics & Style of Magic
11th-level magic-user (D&D), 10th-level transmuter (AD&D), Alchemist of the 3rd Circle.
Str 9 Int 17 Wis 12 Dex 16 Con 10 Cha 11; AL N (D&D and AD&D).
Weapon Proficiency: knife.
Skills: alchemy, ancient history (Glantrian), appraising, etiquette (but doesn't bother to use it), heraldry, spellcraft, reading/writing.
Languages: Sylaire, Thyatian (Glantrian dialect). Dame Diana has also picked up quite a few curse words in Flaemish, Traladaran (Boldavian dialect), Elvish (Belcadiz dialect, which she uses for both Belcadizian and Erewan elves), and Fenswick (specially learned for insulting Margaret Hillsbury!).
Diane is pretty lazy as a wizard. After 400 years, she has only reached mid-level. Unlike most showy Glantrians, she only uses her magic for specific and practical purposes. She is not research oriented, but has managed to craft a couple of spells to her name. She is not known to have ever used magic for combat.
Diane specialises in the school of alteration. She also belongs to the Secret Craft of Alchemy and has over the centuries reached the Third Circle (not out of diligence, but out of sheer duration of being an Alchemist!). For the most part, Diane uses her magic and her alchemy together.
Diane uses her Alchemist abilities, find components (first circle) and find magical components (second circle), to analyse the materials needed for potions and spells. Then she uses alchemical preparation (first circle) and magical preparation (second circle) to create her magical concoctions, usually oil of fumbling or oil of slipperiness, some dust of sneezing and choking, a potion of treasure finding, and an occasional potion of poison. Using her Alchemist abilities, Diane also creates the more expensive and more exotic material components for her spells, which she finds produces a more potent effect. Diane is also fond of using transmute matter (third circle), not just in the glorious transformation of straw into gold and sackcloth into silk, but also in the corrupting process of turning perfume to marsh gas and gemstones into cow dung.
It is ironic that Diane cannot use any of her magic and alchemy to alter her own physical appearance, due to the preserving effect of her marvellous elixir of eternal youth, perpetual health and unfading beauty. Even beautifying illusions she cast on herself appear as ghostly images vaguely superimposed on her form, rendering them easily to disbelieve. This however does not restrict any other spellcaster's magic, although she would never deign to allow anyone to cast magic on her.
Diane's unpleasant outlook in life reflects in the magic she casts. She sees herself as an evil fairy godmother whose mission is to ruins clothes, spoils balls, and change princes to frogs. Her repertoire of spells is not necessarily dangerous, but definitely irksome.
Over the centuries, Diane has also collected numerous magical items, particularly in the form of jewellery, such as rings, amulets, bracelets, gems and the like. Though most of these items have run out of charges, and Diane is just too lazy to recharge them, she keeps a hoard of these trinkets for decorative purposes.
"Why don't we load that devil swine onto an airship, fake and stolen jewellery and all, and drop her over Alphatia and sink their whole continent?"
(Margaret Hillsbury, on how to end the War with Alphatia, as well as her enmity with Dame Diane.)