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"Do you really wish to know?"
Spoilers from the books and/or adaptations to follow!
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Impertinence is the one thing I cannot abide.
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- Anna Henrietta, Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
Audio version:
Anna Henrietta voice line

Anna Henrietta was the ruling duchess of Toussaint, and beloved by all her people. She ruled the country with her husband Raymund until he died in 1265, two years before Geralt and his friends arrived in Toussaint, after which she ruled as the sole monarch.[3]

Her official, protocol title is "Her Enlightened Ladyship", unofficially "Her Grace" and in more casual matters outside the court she is to be referred to as "Lady Duchess." However, the Chamberlain and Marshal of the Court Sebastian Le Goff strongly advised Geralt to address her as "Your Grace" at all times. She is known to a select few by the shorter name, Anarietta.

Biography

In 1261, about six years before Geralt and his company arrived, while Raymund was in Cintra and staying with a lover there, Dandelion and the duchess met and fell in love, carrying on for two months. However, this wasn't well hidden from the population and when rumors started, Dandelion prudently left. Shortly after Raymund returned and was informed. Despite himself constantly cheating around, the duke raged, destroying furniture, punching people in the face, and killing the informer, before imprisoning Anarietta in her chambers and threatening to torture her if she didn't tell him everything.

With that, she revealed the bard's name and Raymund ordered people to find and kill Dandelion with the hopes of tearing out his heart, cooking it, and making Anarietta eat it in front of the entire court.[4] Luckily, the bard had long left the duchy and, as most disliked the duke as much as they adored the duchess, Dandelion was safe from being pursued. Roughly 4 years later, in 1265, Anarietta's husband died from apoplexy and subsequently she took over as the sole ruler of Toussaint.[3]

Meeting Geralt

2 years later, in October of 1267, she and Dandelion were reunited, as the bard had been traveling with Geralt and his company to save Ciri and their path had taken them right into Toussaint. On learning Raymund was now dead, Dandelion wholeheartedly headed straight to Beauclair and the two picked up right where they left off to the point Dandelion decided to stay behind with Anarietta while the rest of the group continued their trek.[4]

Things went well for a while but, true to form, Dandelion could not keep his wandering eyes to himself. He was discovered in the arms of the Baroness Nique and sentenced to death by Anarietta. However, she had a last minute change of heart and merely banished him from the duchy forever.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Blood and Wine expansion

Anna Henrietta appears in the Blood and Wine expansion for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt as one of the main characters. After the events of The Beast of Toussaint, Geralt can find the duchess in the northwestern corner of the central courtyard of Beauclair Palace where they can chat about the knightly tournament and how she met Dandelion.

Associated quests

Journal entry

If this world has ever known a ruler who enjoyed the absolute admiration of her subjects without the need for systematic repression or a particularly cruel hangman, it was, without a doubt, the sovereign of Toussaint, Duchess Anna Henrietta. Called Anarietta by those who knew her well, she was the widow of the late lamented Duke Raymund and one-time lover of a very famous and talented artist who would prefer to remain anonymous.
A few years prior, when the witcher and a band of friends were visiting Toussaint, Anna Henrietta had had the pleasure of meeting Geralt of Rivia. When a mysterious Beast began attacking her courtiers, the duchess thus knew exactly whom to summon...
While searching for the Beast, the duchess proved that, when the need arose, she was able to throw off the chains of convention and get her hands dirty with direct action alongside the witcher. Even if she had to do so in a state of relative dishabille.
Surprisingly enough, the duchess handled the rigors of the trail as adroitly as she did those of palace audiences. Geralt quickly saw how, even when stripped of her sumptuous gown and wrapped in a coarse cloak, Anna Henrietta remained the same confident and tenacious ruler as ever. Yet then again, this should not have come as a surprise, for the Toussaint court on a daily basis hosted battles of cutting remarks, malicious half-truths and bald-faced lies that were just as fierce as any fought with sword and cannon. The duchess was an unchallenged master of this courtly warfare, and the witcher had the chance to make use of this experience.
If Geralt thought the tales of Her Illustrious Grace's implacable wrath were exaggerated, he quickly was shown how greatly he was mistaken. As soon as Anna Henrietta learned the vampire had not only escaped, but had also threatened the life of her sister, she flew into a rage that precluded all discussion. She presented matters very clearly: Geralt was to complete his contract and bring her Dettlaff's head on a silver platter.
If Syanna survived and Geralt convinced her to forgive her sister:
Luckily, the duchess' wrath burned with an intense but short-lasting heat. When Geralt managed to stop Dettlaff, Her Grace forgot all about his previous missteps and even awarded the witcher the Order of Vitis Vinifera, Toussaint's highest honor.
If Syanna survived but Geralt failed to get her to forgive her sister:
The same compassion and loyalty which earned her the love of her subjects proved Anna Henrietta's doom, leading to her murder at the hands of her own sister. Ever since that tragic day, Toussaint has celebrated an annual Week of Memory. For these seven days, the duchy enters into mourning: music stops, lights are shuttered and people hang dark curtain in their homes. They say all those who were fond of the duchess do likewise, even those who live far away, in the North...
If Syanna was killed:
Luckily, the duchess' wrath burned with an intense but short-lasting heat. When Geralt managed to stop Dettlaff, Her Grace forgot all about his previous missteps and even awarded the witcher the Order of Vitis Vinifera, Toussaint's highest honor.
It was not hard to predict how Geralt's time in Anna Henrietta's company would end. Eventually, the witcher fall into Her Grace's disfavor with a typical witcherly lack of disgrace. Who could have foreseen handing the duchess' sister over to a vampire would end badly for him? Not Geralt, it seems. Knowing Her Grace's fiery character, he was quite lucky he didn't leave the duchy a head shorter.

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game

Anna is a Nilfgaard leader in the Homecoming version.

Reward Tree entries

Scroll 1: Duchess Anna Henrietta is widely revered for her many favorable qualities—in particular, her generosity, kindheartedness and sensitivity to the plight of Toussaint's commoners. If only she had but a touch more patience and perspective—why, she would have all the makings of a truly prodigious sovereign!
Scroll 2: The famed bard Dandelion who, for a time, became intimately entwined with Anna Henrietta, drew creative inspiration from his passionate affair with the duchess: "Across the world most fickle I've found, a mountain's weather and a little weasel crowned."
Scroll 3: Though perhaps not the wittiest words penned by the illustrious poet, they bring light to a very real problem. Anna Henrietta was prone to sudden changes of opinion without provocation—a reality that oft caused the already powdered faces of the duchess's court to turn a shade paler.
Scroll 4: For, when the duchess fell into a gracious mood, she doled out great riches and noble titles like chocolate soufflés at a royal banquet. Yet, should anything disrupt her fragile equilibrium, heads rolled down Beauclair's cobbled streets and crimson blood pooled on the palace's marbled floors.
Chest 1: Anna Henrietta never felt the weight of a sword in her hand, pondered the memoirs of great rulers, nor cared enough to deeply study the Continent's rich history. Yet these apparent faults have done little to diminish her duchy's successes in matters of war. Her secret? Knight-errants from across the Continent – drawn by word of Anna's beauty and charm – are willing to sacrifice anything to earn the duchess's favor. From a safe distance, in the company of her maidservants, Anna Henrietta fans herself as the chivalrous knights' declare their vows—casting them beguiling looks as they gallop off toward their doom.
Chest 2: When it comes to grace and couture, none go to greater lengths than the duchess herself. Gods forbid she be caught wearing the same gown twice, and woe betide any soul who spies Her Grace before her frizzy curls have been tamed into a perfectly symmetrical coiffure. However, should circumstances demand it, Anarietta would not hesistate to tear off her frilly skirt to mount the nearest steed and rush headlong into another adventure.
Chest 3: Despite Toussaint's status as a vassal state within the mighty Nilfgaardian Empire, Anna Henrietta never faced a significant conflict within its borders. It should come as no great surprise then that Beauclair's guardsmen are better trained for parades and fanfare than mortal combat. Thus, when vampires and other bloodthirsty beasts emerged to feast from the caverns deep beneath the duchy's capital, the city's only hope rushed to meet them with dull blades and frilled caftans—only to be decimated. Yet for those who survived, nothing could have better prepared them for the true horrors of war.

Notes

  • In the Blood and Wine expansion, one can learn that she admires the artist Dorian Vilesse and had hoped he'd paint her portrait one day. However the artist only painted nudes, and thus Anarietta's steward severed contact with the artist, feeling the duchess would not stand for such. On leaning this, she hints that he may still get the chance to paint her one day.

Gallery

References

  1. Dandelion's nickname for her
  2. CD Projekt's The Witcher franchise
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Tower of the Swallow
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Lady of the Lake
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