What Lady is That?

[b]A Guide to the Mysterious Ladies of Fallen London.

[/b]If there is one point of confusion that I see more often than any other in the Neath, it is: which one is the Duchess, and which one is the Empress? They are both ladies of the highest society, who reside in the Shuttered Palace and bear similar titles - how is one to tell them apart? Why, by purchasing this useful guide, priced at a very modest two Surface-shillings, of course!

How to identify the Traitor Empress:

[ul][li]She lives in the Court, at the heart of the Shuttered Palace.[/li][li]In the game, she is only depicted in silhouette: she appears to be Queen Victoria, though rather unwell.[/li][li]She is reclusive and capricious - she demands that her Court be kept very quiet and dimly lit, and her guests and staff dressed in dark colours.
[/li][li]She has a great many very strange children.[/li][li]She is married to the Consort - a wan, though agreeable, gentleman.
[/li][li]She keeps one or more mysterious creatures locked in a labyrinth beneath the Palace.[/li][/ul]How to identify the Duchess:

[ul][li]She lives in the Tortoiseshell Wing of the Shuttered Palace.[/li][li]In the game, she is depicted as an old English lady, with unusual eyes like those of a cat.
[/li][li]She is a favourite of intellectual society, though aloof.[/li][li]She has no known children, though she does keep a tremendous number of cats.[/li][/ul][spoiler]

  • She is married, though her husband was somehow transformed (in an event relating to the fall of a former city) into the beast known as the Cantigaster.[/li][li]She regularly visits the Cantigaster in the cellars beneath the Palace.[/li][li]She wears makeup to disguise herself - her actual appearance is young and dark.[/li][li]She seems to be terribly old, and regularly trades in ancient relics and life-extending elixirs.[/li][li]She may be the youngest sister of a royal house of the Second City, residing in London at the Masters’ convenience.

//She wears makeup to disguise herself
Where is this mentioned?

[quote=Fhoenix]//She wears makeup to disguise herself
Where is this mentioned?[/quote]
It’s part of the story where you see her meeting the Castiganter.

The Gracious Widow really deserves to be on this list too - she, the Duchess and the Empress are very much three of a perfect pair - but A: she’s rarely confused with the other two, and B: so much of her life is unclear (not least because The Silver Tree has multiple endings and it’s not certain whether -any- of then are canon (particularly as the original Kickstarter spoke of a proposed Part 2 which featured the real Fall of the Fourth City!)

Is it during the university investigation? I think I remember her speaking about him, not sure about meeting. Do not remember anything about the make up.

From the University investigation story, in the scene where you observe them meeting:

A woman passes you. She is dressed in a simple white linen shift and about twenty pounds of gold jewellery. She is dark-skinned: African, perhaps. There’s something familiar about her, though. Good God! It’s the Duchess! Freed from from her paints and powders, she is much darker. And younger! She looks barely thirty. It’s definitely her, though, strange eyes, cat-earrings and all.

You’re not the only person not to notice that detail - not sure why the Duchess attracts so much confusion! Perhaps her paints and powders include something with an irrigo tint.

Frederick, thank you so very much. Until this very moment, I was certain they’re the same woman… embarrassing, considering the fact that I’m at an end game stage now.

And now I remember reading that! Thanks for refreshing my memory.

It should also be known that the Empress also hates peaches and recognizes the Correspondence.

If you decide to include the Gracious Widow, then be sure to mention her interactions with the Capering Relicker.[li]

I don’t confuse the Gracious Widow with the other two, but I often get the Gracious Widow and the Soft-Hearted Widow mixed up.

The Soft-Hearted Widow lodges you in her attic. The Gracious Widow lodges you in the Stolen River.

Snarky, but reasonably accurate. The Soft-Hearted Widow does as Flyte says; she provides low-cost housing to new arrivals to Fallen London (payment is a modest sum of Whispered Secrets and you get 2 Opportunity cards in hand). The Gracious Widow engages in criminal trading (smuggling?) operations and is based in Spite; it’s hinted that she may be Chinese or, perhaps, Mongolian.

I believe it’s expressly stated, actually. During the Affair of the Box, upon giving her Romantic Notions/Fourth City Love Letters, she recognizes them and points you towards Yesterday’s King, who also hails from the Fourth City .