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Girl Genius

A vision of the High Priestess

The High Priestess is a stock character who regularly appears in Heterodyne stories. The comic proper has never said much about her, but according to the Girl Genius Complete List of Absolutely Everybody, while Bill always ends up with Lucrezia, Barry gets paired off with this exotic soubrette,[1] who is not literally the same character in every play, but is typically some important muckety muck of whatever Mysterious Lost Civilization the Brothers are currently dealing heroically with. (It's been explicitly noted in-comic that the idea of a male Europan adventurer hooking up thusly with a barbarian queen-type ruler crops up quite a lot.)

Appearances[]

The Priestess has been depicted "in person" twice in the comic to date, once as a second-hand vision , and once as a gas-induced hallucination . In both cases, she is dark-skinned and wearing a rather skimpy and jewelry-adorned outfit.

She appears in some capacity in both Race to the West Pole and (evidently) The Socket Wench of Prague. In the latter play, the scantily-clad character in question concludes the proceedings in possession of a large wrench.

Yajeena[]

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Zeetha tells us that in Skifander (incidentally, the specific "barbarian" land whose queen Klaus married), the highest class of priestesses is known as the Yajeena, who have four arms. However, all of the real Yajeena were killed in the time of Zeetha's grandmother, and the means of creating new ones was lost, so in her lifetime the role has been filled by priestesses with merely prosthetic arms.

But as Lady Ariadne Steelgarter is apparently one of these elite priestesses, and as (if so — evidently) she is the last one surviving, she would in fact be the rightful high priestess of Skifander.

Depictions of the High Priestess[]

Pix in "Socket Wench of Prague", Sturmhalten

While performing with Master Payne's Circus of Adventure, the very pink and blonde-haired leading lady Pix prefers to play the High Priestess, rather than Lucrezia. She portrays the part in both of the above plays as staged by the Circus in Zumzum and Sturmhalten, respectively. Again, assuming the latter character is in fact the Priestess; when we see Pix backstage with the wrench, there is a dark-skinned troupe-member present, possibly Rivet, also dressed in a very Priestess-like outfit.

The aforementioned hallucination appears during the Battle of Sturmhalten, played by an unknown member of the Circus.

Pix continues to play the character after the Circus decamps to England, sporting an even more elaborate outfit complete with a pair of chopines that turn her into a literal high Priestess.


The Works[]

The Works contains no "high priestess" (nor any Geisterdamen cards). It does have a card for "You Know, Her" who may be "The High Priestess" in some sense (her appearance is somewhat similar), although her attribute is indeed "Queen", along with "Spark" and "Legend". The portrait is full-color, implying a character who may yet appear in the main storyline rather than only in flashbacks.

Novelization[]

In the prologue to Agatha H. and the Siege of Mechanicsburg, Lucrezia has a minion (performing classic minion tasks) named Mozek who is an old woman and also a "defrocked priestess". (p. 1)

Early in Agatha H. and the Voice of the Castle, Carson von Mekkhan thinks that for unspecified reasons Barry would be "furious" at his public pairing with the Priestess.

In Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess, when the Circus decides to perform Race at Zumzum, Pix states the opinion that that particular play features some of the best dialogue for the character.

During the backstage scene in Sturmhalten, the narrative explicitly notes that, yes, Pix is playing the High Priestess.

As an Aside[]

Pix's costume in the Sturmhalten production of Socket Wench is very nearly identical to the depiction of Agatha as Magna Scientia in the Studio Foglio Christmas ornament offering (and occasional wallpaper).

Theories and Speculations[]

One High Priestess who has actually appeared in the comic is Lady Vrin of the Geisterdanen. She and the still mysterious Loremistress Milvistle may or may not have influenced the creation of the stock character in the plays.

It might be noted that as the chosen representative (or "sacred guardian" ) of the Ancient God-Queen Albia of England, Trelawney Thorpe is a kind of high priestess as well. Her intended pairing is Gilgamesh Wulfenbach.

References

  1. soubrette: in comic plays, a minor female role as a pert flirtatious lady's maid; maybe not the best word.
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