Charlotte of Oren
Charlotte of Oren (15th of the First Seed, 1573 - 7th of the Amber Cold, 1650), additionally known as Charlotte Sophia Marie of Alstion, and monikered “Charlotte, Mother of Monarchs”, was the only daughter of Emperor John III of Oren, and later the wife of King John I of Lotharingia.
The Horen is renowned for three attainments: she was the first official Princess Imperial of Oren, she served as the first Queen-Consort of Lotharingia, and her crowning achievement was birthing three kings, two queens, and an empress. The aforementioned third accomplishment is the one that earned her her moniker.
Family and Childhood
Charlotte Sophia Horen was born on the 15th of the First Seed, 1573, in the Palace of Saint Adrian, which was at the time the residence of the imperial court of Oren. Her father and mother were Emperor John of Oren and his cousinly consort, Julia of Furnestock. She was the ruling couple’s fourth child and only daughter. It is alleged that moments after her father laid eyes on her, he was entranced by her cherubic face and named her as Oren’s first Princess Imperial on the spot.
Months before she entered the world, it was supposedly prophesied by many throughout the empire that the parents of Charlotte were somehow the pure-blooded couple that sired four sons and would rule over the whole of humanity as described in some archaic folk tale. Unfortunately for the more superstitious Orenians, John and Julia were apparently not the aforesaid mythological couple, seeing as they were instead gifted with a daughter, rather than a fourth son. It is believed that Charlotte’s parents were believed to be the participants in the aforementioned legend because John and Julia’s union was an incestuous one, seeing as they were first cousins and both donned the Horen surname, thus making them and their progeny ‘pure-blooded’.
Foolish myths aside, the imperial court was excited that they were finally gifted with a new princess, and there was a decent amount of revelry in honor of Charlotte’s birth all throughout Johannesburg.
Growing up, Charlotte and her three brothers were gifted with an unusual amount of love from their regnal parents. Usually, children of Orenian monarchs would be split up and shipped off in various different directions as wards to foreign courts or pupils in some far-off overpriced academy, but John and Julia opted to keep all of their offspring close, and ended up spending a fortune on educating all of them.
On the 10th of the Sun’s Smile, 1587, Charlotte was married to John d’Amaury, who was then only the Archduke of Lorraine. She was but fourteen years old at the time of her wedding, and was reportedly very small for her age, which severely limited her options in terms of what style of dress would compliment her pint-sized frame.
The princess eventually settled on just wearing a wedding gown in the Imperial fashion of her era. Her dress allegedly was made of lily white velvet and it had a golden lace square neckline bedecked in amethysts, long trumpet sleeves made of cloth of gold, and her underskirt and foresleeves were purple satin. Apparently, the general consensus of everyone present at the wedding was that Charlotte was the absolute epitome of a Horenic bride.
For the first few years, Charlotte and John’s union was childless, and it was rumored that John was somehow an abusive, controlling husband. Historians believe that this was whispered about at the time simply because Charlotte, for some reason, stopped going to the capital altogether after her marriage. She apparently did not even come to fetch her remaining belongings from her apartments in the imperial palace, and instead lackeys of her husband did. Such an occurrence made absolutely no sense to those at imperial court, seeing as Emperor Philip and Charlotte were extremely close, and she was arguably the favorite sibling of her monarchical brother.
Fortunately, after three long years, Charlotte proved her fertility and gifted her husband with a set of twins: Lothar and Marie-Thérèse. After the aforementioned twins, the Horen seemingly produced child after child, and gossip about possible domestic violence in Charlotte’s marriage began to subside somewhat. Although, even by the time of the birth of her third child in 1591, Charlotte supposedly still did not visit imperial court, and only came to Johannesburg after her brother, Emperor Philip, sent an official summons for his sister and her children to visit the capital, alone.
Upon her highly anticipated return to imperial court, courtiers described Charlotte as looking better than ever, albeit the princess was more timid than she had been in years prior, and also easily startled. It is accounted by many that Emperor Philip ordered everyone, save for Charlotte, to exit the throne room after a court session. To this day, no one knows what the two siblings spoke about, but it is known that immediately after the exceedingly private discussion, Philip had it announced that Charlotte’s second son would be named in his honor and christened in the cathedral of Johannesburg, and the baby definitely was.
Fall of Oren
Shortly after the grave Battle of the Gorge, it became plainly apparent to those at imperial court that defeat was a strong possibility.
It seemed as if every other week, previously good, loyal Orenians defected and positioned themselves firmly in the ranks of the Coalition.
A few days prior to the Battle of Goldfields, and well after Charlotte’s husband rebelled and had himself invested as the King of Lotharingia, her brother had somehow sent her exceedingly private summons that she opted to oblige. Charlotte lied to the Lotharingian court and painted for them a dramatic tale in which her mother, Empress-Dowager Julia, had fled the intrigue-ridden halls of Saint Adrian’s Palace and was now awaiting her at the border with only a handful of protectors of questionable loyalties.
Expectantly, the Lotharingian court was elated that even the mother of the emperor saw that Philip’s cause was a lost one, and that same night they readied themselves for a triumphant promenade that would take place the following day.
When the morning came, Charlotte complained of severe stomach pain, and the royal physician begged her to remain home, lest she miscarry the child she carried. Of course, her husband took heed to the words of the medic, and instead had he and Charlotte’s eldest daughter, Marie-Thérèse, lead the charge alongside him.
Immediately after the Lotharingian host left Metz, Charlotte disguised herself in a blonde wig and cast aside her purple garbs for the day. Then, after she was dressed, she and a very small party hastily made their way to Johannesburg. She maintained her costume all the way up until she found herself in the chambers of her brother, having been granted access to the heavily guarded rooms under the pretense that she was simply another one of the emperor’s private mistresses.
Akin to many meetings between the imperial siblings, it is entirely shrouded in mystery and nobody has the slightest idea as to what was discussed. However, the outcome of this occurrence is well known, Emperor Philip had tried to murder his pregnant, only sister, Charlotte. No one knows why he wished his own sister dead, perhaps he somehow felt betrayed by her, or maybe he knew that defeat was imminent and he did not want his most beloved sibling to live in a world without him, most seem to go with the latter.
Fortunately for the Horen and her baby, Philip’s own personal guardsmen rushed in upon hearing a sword being sheathed and a scream, believing it to be the emperor or even the empress who was in bed rest. Once the doors swung open, Charlotte, with a gaping wound on her arm, ripped off her wig and made her identity known to the Nauzica. Quickly, they unarmed their own sovereign and rushed the dying Horen to the Court Mage. Thankfully, the mage whose name is lost to history, performed a magical act of sorts that restored Charlotte to full health.
She would then bribe the Nauzicans that had saved her with whatever jewelry that remained in her old bedroom so that she may escape with her entourage that had been detained. Sadly, Charlotte would go on to never see her favorite brother again, although she is reported to have had a great love for him for the remainder of her life, and even denied him attempting to kill her all the way to the grave, irregardless of numerous surviving witnesses and even a medical ledger detailing the happening.
Meanwhile, the Lotharingian procession was told by a gaggle of farmsmen that the emperor had tried to kill his sister in a fit of madness. Many of King John’s underlings assured him that the news was simply hearsay, and a ploy orchestrated by Philip so that he could get to his mother before they did. John, being madly in love with his Horenic bride, ignored all counsel and rerouted the entirety of his party right back to Metz.
There, in the aforementioned city, the queen laid peacefully asleep in her bed, completely unscathed. King John was furious, seeing as he thought he had been outwitted by Philip. Charlotte, in all her cleverness, played her part well and wept convincing tears for what may have become of her mother.
It is attested by many that on the eve of the bombing of Johannesburg, Charlotte lit a memorial candle in Metz Cathedral in honor of Philip, much to the displeasure of the court.
Upon her husband, John d’Amaury’s defection from her brother’s demesne, and the elevation of the Archduchy of Lorraine to the Kingdom of Lotharingia, Charlotte was suddenly thrust into the auspicious role of a queen-consort.
It is unknown to history if Charlotte was thrilled or not to become a royal consort, many assume she was at first reluctant to perform her duties, seeing as she was most likely repulsed by the idea that she was created a queen simply because of her adopted country rebelling against her dearest brother.
However, a few weeks after the fall of the Imperium Quintus, and of course the death of her dear Philip in his bombing of Johannesburg, it is believed that Charlotte felt it was her obligation to keep the courtly traditions of the Johannians, her people, alive; the Horen made it her mission to mold the royal Lotharingian court into a smaller version of the courts of Anpalais and Saint Adrian’s Palace, and based on the attestments of her contemporaries, she was largely successful in that endeavor.
Unfortunately for the young Queen-Consort Charlotte, her tenure would only last a mere four years, due to her husband passing of natural causes. Although, the aforementioned Horen had proved herself to be an astute stateswoman in such a short time, which was mostly attributed to her constant, public, and active participation in court sessions, vassal disputes, and political meetings. Her knack for politics made her the ideal choice as a regent for her son, the young King Lothar, and she was swiftly made Queen-Regent of Lotharingia moments after the death of King John.
As regent, she further proved herself capable, and she wasted no time in creating a council of sorts that answered only to her. Although, Charlotte’s troubles were far from over, seeing as her regency over Lotharingia would only last a meager two years, until her son, Lothar, was assassinated and couped by a former friend of hers, Anna Sophia of Pruvia. It is said that Charlotte would only learn of the great treachery while escorting Princess Helaine Horen-Marna of the Westerlands to meet, and be engaged to, her sovereign son. However, it is unknown how exactly she reacted to the news, and who in particular informed her of it, but it is well known that after the death of her Lothar at the tender age of twelve, Charlotte’s wits, and her overall demeanor, was never the same, and she suffered bouts of insanity and intense paranoia, that caused her to talk to the air as if she was speaking to a deceased loved one, amongst many other terrible symptoms.
With Lotharingia in the midst of a grisly civil war, and Charlotte’s mental health completely shattered, she was lovingly sent off to the Aeldinic duchy of Alba by her remaining children, where she would be tended to by the Governor-General there, her great-aunt, Princess Eleanore Theresa.
Later Life and Eventual Death
As the years progressed, Charlotte’s mental state only worsened and her intense illusions of the dead grew more and more troubling as her children started to die off in seemingly rapid succession; out of six children, she was outlived by only one.
She spent the majority of her last days secluded in lavish apartments amongst the various Horenic refugees in the aforesaid Duchy of Alba in Aeldin. There, she was afforded an immense amount of respect as the only daughter of the last truly great Johannian emperor, John III. Rarely, she would make visits to her homelands, but only to witness the coronation and marriage of her youngest son, King Hughes, and the marriages of her two youngest daughters to an Emperor of Oren and King of Haense respectively, Claude and Eleanor.
Charlotte Sophia Marie of Alstion would eventually succumb to a fever, that was believed to be mild at first, on the 7th of the Amber Cold, 1650, at the advanced age of seventy-seven. She died just one month after her eldest daughter, Marie-Thérèse, and most opt to go with the narrative that her death was the nail in the coffin that caused Charlotte to put up little to no fight in the face of death.
Her last living child, Eleanor, witnessed her death and let out a screech in honor of her, as per Johannian tradition. Shortly after, the aforementioned daughter remarked, “My mother was the last true Johannian Princess Imperial — with her death, all the greatness of the Imperium Quintus has truly departed from this cruel, undeserving world, and will not deign to return.”
A grand, white mausoleum with beautiful mosaics depicting the lives of her and her three monarchical consort daughters, the Lotharingian Sisters, would be erected atop the graves of Claude and Marie so that Charlotte’s could rest squarely in between them on a dais. More than a decade after Charlotte’s death, her daugher, Eleanor, would pass and her remains would be interred alongside her mother and sister’s, and thus a family of consorts would be reunited for eternity.
|King Lothar I of Lotharingia||1590||Deceased||Unwed||The King of Lotharingia, Assassinated.|
|Marie-Thérèse of Lotharingia, Queen consort of Courland||1590||Deceased||King Joseph Staunton||Twin to Lothar, Queen-Consort of Courland, Eldest daughter of John I and Charlotte|
|King Philip I of Lotharingia||1591||Deceased||Unwed||Second son of John I and Charlotte, King of Lotharingia, Assassinated|
|King Hughes I of Lotharingia||1593||Deceased||Mary of Leone||Third son of John I and Charlotte, King of Lotharingia|
|Eleanor of Lotharingia, Queen consort of Haense||1594||Deceased||Otto II of Haense||Second daughter of John I and Charlotte, Queen-Consort of Haense|
|Claude of Lotharingia, Holy Orenian Empress||1596||Deceased||John V, Holy Orenian Emperor||Third daughter of John I and Charlotte, Empress-Consort of the Holy Orenian Empire|
|Ancestors of Charlotte of Oren|