Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan

Dramatis Personae


Elspeth, Queen of Wicca, Witch Queen, Empress of the Underworlds, etc etc.
Species: Probably human, but she is a master of glamour spells and nobody knows for sure.
Age: Unknown

Elspeth is queen of witches, and her kingdom has no borders. She demands, and usually gets, obedience from every witch and wizard straying within her sphere of power, no matter which country they reside in or who their liege lord. Like most "royalty" of this period, she's a ruler not by heredity or democratic election: She does it just because she can.


threatens Gudrun Elspeth is immensely powerful, and immensely ancient. There have been Witch Queens before her, but nobody can remember just who or just when. The fact that she's been rejuvenated and reincarnated numerous time without ever taking a day off the job does not make the would-be chronicler's job easier, of course. In due time Elspeth will teach Machiavelli a few tricks, but here in the year 1000 those in the know use "elspethian" as a synonym for devious, manipulating, uppity, creepy, oh-no-I'm-dead. She believes in making long-time alliances, such as her accepting the disinherited Princess Jara at court with open arms. She's what grown-up witches threaten naughty little witches with, and what Satan threatens unruly demons with. The tales of Elspeth circulating in wicca kindergarten are hair-raising enough that even young adult witches like the headstrong Krakatoa revert to their blubbering infancy when given a talking-to by the WItch Queen.

Elspeth is sometimes called Queen of Wicca, even if that's somewhat misleading. She's no priestess. There are wiccans who hate her guts (or whatever it is that squirms inside that withered body), but few who dare stand up to her. Most of those are never heard from again. Elspeth believes in setting examples, and in the power of imagination. She rules by hints, intrigues, secret schemes and by letting her people wonder just what was in the 100 small packets carried out of the palace dunegons one late night under the full moon.

Elspeth's one open enemy is, curiously enough, ofttimes not only tolerated but even invited to the Royal Court. Countess Alcydia von Dönnerwetter, whose only and oft-spoken ambition is to "become Witch Queen instead of the Witch Queen" is a useful tool for Elspeth. Leaving enemies into the hands of the feared Alcydia is a sure-fire method to quieten down the simmerings and schemings at Court for a few months. She's really more wary of Alcydia's cousin, Duchess Guðrún. The duchess works her schemes quietly, out of the public's eye, and even dares refuse direct orders from her queen - if she thinks she can get away with it. Either Guðrún is succeeding where Alcydia is not, or Elspeth is deliberately letting her get enough rope to tie herself to the stake with.

Elspeth's seat of power is the Undercity, a hidden sprawling underground palace spanning muliple dimensions. In the world of Clwyd-Rhan, the Undercity is believed to be located somewhere under the city of London. Elspeth is somewhat miffled with the boisterous Saxon kings and drunken Norwegian tourists who have been rampaging around over her royal head lately, and is secretly working to get a new and more orderly management in place. But that's not to be for 66 years yet.

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© 1992-2003 Reinder Dijkhuis. Thanks to Geir Strøm for the bio.