Eleanor of Lotharingia
Eleanor of Lotharingia (10th of the Sun’s Smile, 1594 - 12th of the Deep Cold, 1669), was a princess of the former Kingdom of Lotharingia, and the Queen-Consort of Hanseti-Ruska as the wife of King Otto II of Haense. Eleanor is also known as Eleanor of Lorraine, Eleanor of Metz, Eleanor Alexandra, Eleanor d’Amaury, and Eleanor Barbanov.
She was the middle child of the “Lotharingian Sisters”, a set of three sisters from House d’Amaury that were all wed to prominent human monarchs in rapid succession.
Eleanor was born on the 10th of the Sun’s Smile, 1594, in the city of Metz. Her father was the King of Lotharingia, John I, and her mother was his Horenic consort, Charlotte of Alstion. At the time of her birth, Metz was the capital city of the Kingdom of Lotharingia, and the Lotharingian kingdom was only a year old. She was her parent’s fifth child and second daughter.
There are conflicting accounts on why exactly she was named Eleanor, some claim that she was named after one of her aunts, Eleanore d’Amaury, who married a renowned Orenian Arch-chancellor, while others believe that her name was taken from one of her maternal great-aunts, Eleanore Theresa Horen. The narrative historians tend to go with is that she was named in honor of the latter, seeing as she would go on to be educated at the aforementioned Horen’s ducal court. While there, the princess received excellent, yet relatively unconventional lessons for a girl from her era — her tutors, handpicked by her great-aunt, taught Eleanor the art of Savoyardic political deception, bookkeeping, and the occasional character study of a prominent politician of yore, amongst a wide array of matters. It is rumored that the young Lotharingian was bestowed with this knowledge because her parents wished for her to one day reign as a Princess-Abbess, a position that requires a great deal of self-governance and tact.
Most of her childhood was spent within the confines of the Duchy of Alba (her great-aunt’s dominion in Aeldin), and it appears she only returned home during the winter months, allegedly because her health did not fare well in the bitter Albaian climate.
According to those who resided at the royal Lotharingian court, Eleanor was a lively, intelligent, and strong-willed young lady who was skilled at conversation, dancing, and singing. Some accounts even suggest that out of all of King John’s daughters, Eleanor was the most domineering one. An account in particular claims that when Eleanor was still very young, a nobleman asked to dance with her, only for him to be promptly asked if he was a king or a prince, and when the man admitted that he was neither, the princess promptly marched off.
Eventually, Eleanor’s great-aunt, Eleanore Theresa, decided that Eleanor’s schooling was finished and it was time for her to return home. Eleanor had expected to be married or at least engaged a few months after returning to Metz, but, when she actually made it to Metz, she discovered that her mother, Charlotte, was very distressed and had not even thought of looking for a possible husband for Eleanor. Eleanor was at first very angry with her mother, until she learned that her older sister, Marie, was betrothed to the Crown-Prince of Courland, Joseph Staunton. A young Eleanor decided that she would make a far better queen-consort than her older, and more dainty sister, Marie, which caused her to attempt to convince her older, and favorite brother, Lothar Augustus, to offer her up to the Courlandic prince instead of her older sister, Marie. For a very brief period of time, her brother seriously considered her proposal, but, for some reason, Marie remained betrothed to Joseph and Eleanor remained without a fiancé.
Immediately after the assassination of her favorite brother, King Lothar, Eleanor went into mourning and fled to her great-aunt’s ducal court in Aeldin. Since Eleanor fled to Aeldin right after Lothar’s death, she would not be in Lorraine for more than a month during the time in which Anna Sophia tried to usurp her family’s kingdom.
After Anna Sophia had been defeated, Eleanor swiftly returned to Metz. According to her contemporaries, she was ecstatic that her brother, Philip Owyn, was the King of Lotharingia, seeing as she believed Philip, who was allegedly very benevolent and selfless, was the king Lotharingia needed. Unfortunately for Eleanor, her brother, Philip, who she had such high hopes for, would be assassinated. It is said that right after Eleanor found out that another one of her brothers had been assassinated, she let out a screech and fell to her knees prior to demanding to know where her only living brother at the time, Hughes Pierre, was, only for her to find out that he was now believed to be dead, since he had been missing for so long. Various accounts say that Eleanor, who was only thirteen at the time, vehemently disagreed with the election of her cousin, Odo d’Amaury, as the King of Lotharingia.
Days after Eleanor was almost assassinated in Metz, she was invited to reside in the city of Aleksandria, which was then the capital city of Courland, by her sister, Marie, who was at the time betrothed to King Joseph I of Courland. Eleanor did not enjoy her time in Courland, however, and she commonly quarreled with her sister, Marie, who had converted from Canonism to the Courlandic faith. Those at the Courlandic royal court did not particularly like Eleanor either, mainly because she frequently slighted the daughters of the Courlandic King Tobias, Elizabeth Maria and Sophia Alexandra, and ignored the instructions of Marie’s confidante, Maude Elizabeth, who was also the infamous mistress of Emperor John Sigismund of Oren.
Immediately after Hughes Pierre successfully took power away from their cousin, King Odo, and became the King of Lotharingia, Eleanor hastily returned to Metz in order to witness the coronation of her last living brother. For the remainder of her teenage years, Eleanor would live relatively peacefully in Metz alongside her brother, King Hughes, and her sister-in-law, Mary of Leone.
Adulthood and Marriage
Around the time of the sixth return of Oren, Eleanor was just turning twenty, which meant that she had little time left before she was considered a spinster. At this point in her life, finding a suitable husband for herself became something of an obsession. Eleanor considered herself the perfect bride for the newly-crowned Emperor of Oren, John V, since she was the eldest unwed Lotharingian princess, so she set in motion a plot to see herself presented to John so that an engagement could be proposed between the two soon after, but, she grew too confident and spoke too openly of her plans, so openly that word got out to her greatest enemy in the Lotharingian court, Pepin de Bar. The de Bar quickly dispatched an envoy to Auguston, then the capital of the empire, proposing a marriage between the emperor and Eleanor’s younger, and more gentle sister, Claude of Lotharingia. John V, after being exposed to Claude’s beauty, quickly accepted the proposal and immediately began a courtship with the young princess. Claude and John’s courtship was a well hidden one, since Eleanor would only find out about it mere days before their wedding, and it is said that after Eleanor discovered the treachery, she went on a rampage all throughout the Lotharingian palace, breaking everything in sight, and only stopping after she found and smacked Pepin de Bar.
Eleanor spent little time remaining defeated, a few months after Claude and John’s grand wedding, the princess set her sights on the Kingdom of Haense. King Stephen I of Haense’s wife, Elizabeth of Courland, had recently died and Stephen was now a widower with no heir. At first, Eleanor opted to take things slow by making sporadic visits to the Hansetian court, but, after the Emperor’s sister, Princess Augusta Maria, returned from Aeldin and Stephen began to show an interest in her, Eleanor hastily set in motion yet another marriage plot. It was around this time that the Kingdom of Lotharingia was reduced to a mere archduchy, thanks to the efforts of Eleanor’s cousin, Leufroy, and Eleanor despised him for it. However, in order to speed things up, she needed her cousin’s help, as he was the patriarch of the d’Amaury family. It is unknown how Eleanor so quickly mended relations with her estranged cousin Leufroy, some even say that she seduced him, but whatever happened, Leufroy began a long and grueling correspondence with the Hansetian court. At first, they sought to marry Eleanor off to the Hansetian king’s cousin, Henry Otto, who was serving as the Palatine of Haense, but Eleanor would not have it, since all of her siblings either acted as monarchs or were wed to monarchs. After three years of an incessant game of back and forth between the Lotharingian and Hansetian courts, Eleanor had to concede defeat, accepting a marriage proposal between herself and King Stephen’s cousin, Otto Georg. Eleanor made it abundantly clear to all that she was not pleased with her match, even going so far as purposefully delaying her arrival to her own wedding by an hour by stalling her bridal party in Metz.
Even though she was displeased with Otto’s lack of a royal or imperial title, she could not bring herself to be directly rude to him, or any of the Barbanovs for that matter, due to the great kindness both Otto and the whole of the Hansetian royal family showed her. Eventually, Eleanor and Otto grew to love the other, and they sired three children together that they showered with a considerable amount of affection and care.
Queen-Consort of Hanseti-Ruska
After King Stephen succumbed to his illness and died with no heirs, Eleanor became the Crown-Princess of Haense, seeing as her husband’s father, Otto I, was now thrust into kingship. However, her tenure as a crown princess was exceedingly short, thanks to Otto I abdicating in favor of his son after only a five-day rule.
At this point in her life, Eleanor was ecstatic. The very epitome of happiness. All of her life she had been promised queenship, just like her sisters Queen Marie and Empress Claude were, and just as she began to lose hope of becoming the consort of a monarch, her fortunes changed amazingly. It is believed that as soon as Stephen laid on his deathbed, Eleanor began a secret correspondence with her mother, Queen-Dowager Charlotte, in order to receive some words of wisdom that would prepare her for her impending queenship. While her Barbanov relatives wept and prayed for Stephen, Eleanor was ordering extravagant gowns and tiaras from the famous court tailors of Aeldin in secret, using the money from her mother’s lucrative bread company, Queen’s Bread.
Prior to Eleanor, no Queen-Consort of Haense had ever been crowned alongside their husband, or crowned at all for that matter, but, Eleanor resolved to change that. She influenced her grieving husband to allow for her to be crowned with him. At first, she had wanted a holy man to place the crown on her head as well, but she eventually settled with her husband’s decision of him simply placing it atop her head. For her and her husband’s coronation, she wore red roses in her hair and a Banardian court dress with four-foot panniers that were made out of cloth of gold. Many Hansetians were dazzled by her gown, most of them having never been exposed to southern court fashion, let alone a gigantic Aeldinic dress.
Soon after the coronation, the Kingdom of Haense found itself in a war against the House of Romstun. Even though the war had a grievous effect on the kingdom, Eleanor was a gigantic supporter of it, seeing as the Romstuns were the ones who assassinated her last living brother, King Hughes, and she also had a mutual hatred for the most prominent of female Romstuns, Zoey Romstun.
When the war concluded, Eleanor opted to install herself as a fashion icon of sorts, frequently changing her style of dress, and even going so far as to brazenly bare her shoulders for a couple of events. Eleanor enjoyed a great friendship with the Empress-Consort of Oren of this era, Elizabeth of Alba, regardless of the fact that Eleanor and the Emperor, Peter II, resented each other greatly due to a failed relationship from years prior to Eleanor’s wedding. Eleanor adored the Hansetian people and appreciated how hospitable they were to her, even though they were commonly closed off to southerners. Although Eleanor was an extravagant and expensive character, the Hansetian people respected her greatly, and she enjoyed many warm welcomes wherever she went in Haense. She had a positive relationship with all of the Barbanovs, and she cherished each and every one of them greatly since she had essentially lost the entire family that she was born into. She also experienced a good relationship with all of her children - she adored Otto III and his wife, Ingrid, she made frequent visits to the Marnan court after Henrietta’s marriage to the King of Marna (a marriage she fought hard for), and she loved Karl, and was one of the few that did not pressure him to wed.
A couple of years into her reign, her family's land, the Archduchy of Lorraine, was dissolved after the death of her beloved nephew, Archduke Lothaire. Eleanor was apparently outraged after discovering that Emperor Peter had disbanded the archduchy, and Eleanor took it upon herself as the Hansetian queen to fight for the restoration of Lorraine. However, her other nephew, Philip Louis, wished to live out the rest of his days peacefully in Aeldin, as to avoid the untimely death that claims all of the d'Amaury patriarchs. As for her sons, Crown-Prince Otto and Prince Karl, neither of them wanted it; Otto knew he could not effectively reign over both Lorraine and Haense when he ascended to the throne, and Karl simply did not wish to rule over a realm of Savoyards and Auvergnians. A frustrated Eleanor then attempted to stake her claim to the archduchy by confronting the newly installed ruler of all Lorrainian lands, Duke Callan Gromach of Rosgar. Unfortunately, the only things to come out of this confrontation was foul words from both parties, and the gifting of the flayed skin of King Hughes to Eleanor. After Eleanor had been personally handed the flayed remains of her dear brother, Hughes Pierre, Eleanor made a great scene and declared a blood feud between the d'Amaurys and the Gromachs. Months after the aforementioned fateful encounter between Eleanor and Callan, Eleanor filed a formal complaint to Emperor Peter, and he promised to placate her with the ownership of the city of Metz, her birthplace. However, he could not give her the title of Archduchess of Lorraine, most likely because it would have caused great unrest in the nobility. Sadly, Emperor Peter would abdicate, Oren would fall, and the world would descend into chaos, before Eleanor was granted the rights of ownership of Metz.
Widowhood and Eventual Death
When her husband died, Eleanor fell into a great depression. She confined herself to her chambers for a couple of days, sleeping in a closet full of her late husband’s clothes, until a confidante of hers compared her reaction to widowhood to that of her younger sister, Claude’s. Quickly after the comparison, the Queen-Dowager got back on her feet and immediately started making frequent trips between Haense and Marna, tending to her grandchildren and helping her children in any way she could. She had seen how widowhood had destroyed her sisters and mother, and she resolved not to be anything like them in that regard.
After the death of her firstborn son, Otto III, Eleanor opted to leave Haense for good. While Hansetians had always shown her substantial kindness, she still decided that it was time for her to reside elsewhere, a place where she may live out her last days in merriment, rather than in mourning. At the age of sixty-one, Eleanor departed for the Kingdom of Banardia in Aeldin, where she was received by the young Queen-Regnant, Marguerite-Athénaïs of Banardia, with much fanfare. Finally, after all of these years, Eleanor was once more in an environment akin to the one she had grown up in, an Auvergnian court. Eleanor excelled within the Banardian court: she spent her last days being known as “Tsarine Dorée” (Auvergnian for: Golden Tsarina), a pet name that was reportedly given to her eons prior by her husband, participating in various court intrigues, and tending to the children of Queen Marguerite. The Lotharingian died on 12th of the Deep Cold, 1669, alongside a confidante of hers, Benoȋt-Arséne de Auberlés, after they enjoyed a meal together that happened to be poisoned by an unknown person.
The following morning, her de Morvelyn relatives demanded that her remains be sent to Alba to be interred in the extravagant mausoleum of her mother and sisters there. Banardians, eager to prove they had no hand in the dowager queen’s death, promptly sent her remains to the aforementioned lands, and that is where she lays proudly, surrounded by grand mosaics depicting the tragic, albeit glamorous lives of her and her kinswomen.
|Otto III of Haense||2nd of the Snow's Maiden, 1621||1665||Ingrid of Ulgaard||Firstborn, successor to Otto II.|
|Prince Karl Ludvik, Duke of Alban||3rd of the Snow's Maiden, 1623||--||Margaret of Oren|
|Henrietta of Haense||2nd of the First Seed, 1625||--||Frederick I of Marna||Queen-Consort to King Frederick I Horen-Marna.|