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The Orlesians have a saying: You must dance with the dowager if you want to play the Game.

To a foreigner, this might sound like some sort of proverb. In fact, Dowager Lady Mantillon has been one of the most influential members of the Imperial Court for over thirty years, and nobody advances in the Game without her favor. The rumors surrounding her are many: She was Emperor Florian's mistress. She was Florian's assassin. She placed Empress Celene on the throne. She once killed a rival with only harsh words. She rules Orlais from the shadows.

One thing is certain, however. If you must have the best society in Orlais, ask a dance of the dowager.

—From A Guide to Good Society, by Lady Alcyone

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