Gertrude Strollo

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For fifteen years, I've lived in their shadows, but at last, at long last, I have won! I've won! Fate is on my side! None of you will escape! Not a single one!
—A derranged Gertrude celebrates as her plan of unleashing the Voice of Terra comes into fruction

Gertrude Strollo is an NPC in Arknights. She is one of the antagonists of Lingering Echoes.

Background

Gertrude is the current Lehnsfrau of Vyseheim who has been seeking vengeance against the Witch King's Remnants throughout her life. Her father, the then-Graf Strollo, had been ardent supporters of the Witch King. Although after his fall, the family fell from grace, he still conducted secret experiment onto his forbidden Arts, including the accursed "Voice of Terra" that is believed to possess his consciousness. Around fifteen years ago during the bloody purge onto the Remnants by the Twin Empresses, her father, formerly an ardent Remnant, plotted to betray the Remnants out of cunning opportunity and hand in his research to the Empresses, but was ultimately silenced.[1]

Since then, Gertrude deeply hates the Witch King, the Empresses, and the Kurfürsten for each playing a part in her family's downfall, and shows a deep resentment for others in the world allowed to thrive while she struggles. She holds no loyalty to any of them, being solely focused on her own survival, so she has since been vying to restore the Strollos' past glory. She easily eliminated her elder brother through food poisoning, hence becoming the head of the Strollo house.[1] In order to achieve her vengeance, she pretended to be a Remnant herself, but was unable to draw their attention until she resumed research on the "Voice of Terra." However, unbeknownst to them, she planned to bide her time, gain their trust, and then take her revenge on those she saw as the ones who ruined her family's standing.

Gertrude has been the financial supporter of Czerny for a long time before their ultimate falling out. Following the publication of his work, Morgen und Abend, she acknowledged his talents and wished to use his name to develop Vyseheim into a musical center.[2] On the other hand, although Gertrude did have genuine respect for his talent, she ultimately sought to use him as a mere puppet to restore her family name. This eventually aroused Czerny's anger and led to them going their seperate ways, as he saw her using music solely as a tool as blasphemous.[3] To this day, although Gertrude retains lingering respect for Czerny, the latter vehemently sees Gertrude as a greedy woman without any bottom-line.

Story

Lingering Echoes

Gertrude invited Ebenholz to Vyseheim in order to use him as a pawn in her plans. She offered to transfer the "Voice of Terra" in his body to Kreide, but did not disclose to him that she would kill Kreide and disguise his corpse as Ebenholz's in order to fulfil her promise of granting Ebenholz his freedom. Upon finding this out, Ebenholz was furious and broke off their deal. She appeared when Ebenholz, Czerny and Hibiscus were investigating the Afterglow Concert Hall, where she revealed that she had converted the entire hall into a massive amplifier to project the Arts from their concert throughout all of Vyseheim, killing the entire Infected population in the process of removing Ebenholz's Voice of Terra. She dueled Ebenholz using her Arts outside the concert, but ultimately lost was apprehended by the Twin Empresses' secret service agent Biegler, with there being insufficient evidence to fully convict her.

While under house arrest, she explained her true plan to Biegler and began to play the harp in time with Kreide, Ebenholz and Czerny's performance as the latter tried to extract the two boys' Voices. Unbeknownst to everyone, even after the concert hall's amplifiers were disarmed, she had still created her own resonance to magnify and destabilize the "Voice of Terra" within Kriede and Ebenholz, seeking to use it to kill the Witch King Remnants she had gathered along with herself and everyone in the hall. Her plans were foiled by Kreide taking both "Voices of Terra" into his body and sacrificing himself, which stunned Gertrude as she had fully expected him to lose sight of his noble ideals after being faced with the "reality" of the amplified Voice of Terra. Mid-rant, Gertrude was abruptly killed by Biegler, and spent her dying breath cursing the world.

References