| Duchess of Lillah|
She is the most influential noble of Nova, short only of the Crown Princess Elodie, who she will be evaluating for most of the game. Much of her power is also due her familial connections.
Her family has a very sordid history that she takes efforts to keep under wraps. Elodie may discover some secrets with enough Internal Affairs training, but to know the full history she may need an internal source...
Spoiler Warning: Plot details follow, read at your own risk
Arisse's family has a storied background. She herself has been married three times and has six children.
Corisande, Kevan and Charmion are her children from her first marriage to Nalin. Hyacinth was her stepson by Nalin. Briony and Noll are her grandchildren by Corisande, and Bram, Linley, Bryce, Remus, Astrid, Hale and Peri are her grandchildren by Charmion.
Kiran, Adele, and Thaddeus are her children from her second husband, Jael, a commoner who was involoved in various hushed up scandals.
Her high status and numerous family means that she's indirectly involved in most of the game, and directly involved in many political scenarios during the second half.
Kevan will appeal to Elodie for the judgement of an attempted poisoner. Arisse will be appeased if Elodie deals with it in a manner that isn't scandalous (either imprisoning, executing or giving hard labor to the accused, or peacefully convincing the accused that her justice was misplaced). If Elodie angers Kevan enough that he personally kills the accused, Arisse will be against Elodie if a vote of no-confidence comes up later.
Elodie can choose to dance with her by passing an Intrigue >40 and Court Manners >40 check, or choosing "Someone scandalous" while both Julianna and Brin are absent, though this doesn't change Elodie's relationship with Arisse. It seems the duchess doesn't like dancing very much...
If Banion calls for a vote of no-confidence, Arisse will vote either in favor or against Elodie. If Elodie has decent Noble Approval, did well at the gala and handled the poisoner's judgement correctly, Arisse will vote in her favor; if Elodie has low Noble Approval, did poorly during the gala and made a mess of the poisoner's judgement, Arisse will vote for change. Fabian will echo Arisse's vote.
After Fabian passes away, she will be one of the choices for regent of Elath (as Adair's guardian), one other option is her daughter Adele. Choosing Arisse will please her, choosing Adele will at least appease her, choosing to marry Adair will keep her neutral, while choosing Armand will displease her (though not as much as to cause her to rebel just for that). Choosing Erwin, however, is a sure way to have Arisse hate you if you don't take measures to protect Adair from Sedna assassins.
Letting Adair stay with Arisse will not stop her from leading a rebellion if Elodie is a bad ruler, instead giving her more power if a civil war comes up.
If Elodie sent her agents to investigate "Noble plots" and either has Noble Approval under -30 or displeased Arisse, they will inform her of the duchess planning a rebellion. If Elodie hired Sabine as a spy, she can send her to investigate further.The threats may be real or not, mostly depending on the choices made during Week 22. Either way, Elodie can try to arrest Arisse (in vain), have her quietly assassinated (ends the threat of war, but someone will try to take revenge during Week 33), send Sabine to investigate, or do nothing.
Note: If Arisse is currently pleased with you, but becomes displeased in the coming weeks, your agents won't learn of the rebellion.
Continuing from the previous week. If you sent Sabine to Lillah, she returns with her findings. Flavor text and results depend on Adair's survival and passing a Noble Approbal >-40 check.
If Adair is alive, but in Mazomba, and you pass the approval check, Sabine reveals that the duchess is simply holding a personal grudge. If Adair is dead and/or you fail the approval check, Sabine confirms the possibility of rebellion. If the latter happens, pass a Strategy >40 or Public Speaking >60 check to "Try to win her support"; all other choices are the same as the week before.
Winning Arisse's supports gives the same results as negotiating a compromise during Week 30.
If Elodie has good relations with Arisse, she will send Elodie a cushion embroidered with the image of a horse, Lillah's symbol. This gift is meant to signal positive relations between the crown and the nobility, since Arisse is by far the most powerful noble in Nova, after the Queen. If Arisse is dead, the gift is sent by her family, and Elodie suspects a far more ominous meaning.
Arisse may start a rebellion if her step-son Adair is assassinated in Week 26, if Talarist becomes Duke of Elath (succeeding the deceased Adair), or if Elodie displeases the nobility in other ways. She demands to become the princess's regent, complying will end the game while refusing will cause a civil war to break out; if Elodie has Public Speaking >70 she can bargain to give Arisse a position as Royal Advisor and Elodie herself as Thaddeus's betrothed, thus dissolving the rebellion.
If Briony is alive and taken as hostage, Elodie can use her to demand either the dissolution of the rebels, a ransom payment or the exile of the rebel leaders (Arisse, Corisande and Charmion); the first two will end the war, though the third will require Cruelty+Presence >150 to pull off.
If you fail negotiations or decide to go to war, the outcome will be reflected next week. If you win, Arisse is executed as a traitor. Someone in her family will try to take revenge during Week 33.
If she is Royal Advisor during the Shanjian invasion, she will try to prevent Elodie from leading the troops, citing the high risk of death. Elodie needs to pass a Strategy+Swimming >100 check to convince her otherwise.
Arisse plays a part in the epilogue where Elodie marries Thaddeus after previously proposing to marry Banion. Banion will spread rumors of Elodie's infidelity to ruin her marriage, but Arisse can reveal him as the source of the slander, humilliating him in front of nobility and preventing Thaddeus from breaking up with Elodie.
She's also the subject of the epilogue where Elodie marries Kiran after having Arisse assassinated. Kiran will gladly marry Elodie... But after a time, will discover documents connecting Elodie to his mother's "natural" death. The last paragraph describes Kiran as preparing for a rebellion.
Arisse is a fine example of the Iron Lady archtype. Shrewd, no-nonsense, imposing and impatient with those she considers weak rulers. She has played the court's game for a long time, and it shows. Is thanks to her temperament and influence she was given the moniker of "Eastern Queen of Nova".
If she considers Elodie to be a weak or tyrannical ruler, she will act against her. If Elodie has been a bad ruler but has enough sense to negotiate, Arisse can be convinced to become her Royal Advisor. As an advisor, Arisse proves herserf very cynical, with little faith in Elodie's abilities, and harshly judgemental, but also reasonable and even wise in her advice.
She's very protective of her family. The quickest way for Elodie to get in her bad side is to cause them harm (causing the death of Adair, leaving Briony alone in the Old Forest) or upsetting them (angering Kevan); but also, threatening her family with worse damage is the quickest way to make her relent (holding Briony hostage). In a more low-key example, she worries for the mental health of her traumatized son Thaddeus, and will try to engage him to Elodie in some cases, believing that the right marriage will make him better. Though, being family doesn't shield one from her retaliation, as both Jael's and Hyacinth's deaths can attest to.
Her relationship with Kevan is highly ambiguous. On one hand, she had her own husband, his abuser, killed for his crimes, and will become incensed if Elodie makes a mess of the poisoner's judgement. On the other hand, she passed over the inheritance of Lillah to her fourth son, has a terribly estranged relationship with Kevan, and it's possible that she may resent Kevan for being Jael's victim (as per medieval mentality).
If Elodie gave Adair's custody to Armand and has her agents investigate Arisse, they might warn her that the duchess is preparing a rebellion. If Elodie also has Sabine investigate, however, she can reveals something amusing about Arisse: She's simply holding a grudge against Elodie, with no real intentions of causing a war. Despite her poise, she can be as temperamental as Kevan and Thaddeus.
One conversation with Arisse as royal advisor reveals that she considers it a responsability of nobles to have as many heirs as possible to avoid a succession crisis. She may have passed this mentality to Charmion, who also has a numerous family.
- It's suggested that Arisse held considerable respect for the late Queen Fidelia. Fidelia is hinted in the game as having been a fair ruler of appropiatedly queenly demeanor, which may be why she's so critical of an uncourtly Elodie.
- "Arisse" sounds very similar to the English word "arise", meaning "to stand up, rise, spring up, ascend". Somewhat fitting given her position has the highest-ranked noble, only below the Queen.
- Coincidentally, Arise is the name of an historical racing horse. Horses are the symbol of the duchy of Lillah.