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message 1: by the_rabid_snail, Suo Jure Marchioness (new)

the_rabid_snail | 242 comments Mod
All completed and approved character forms are posted here.


message 2: by the_rabid_snail, Suo Jure Marchioness (last edited Jan 15, 2020 09:49PM) (new)

the_rabid_snail | 242 comments Mod
Rowan T. Lockwood - Part One

Name: Rowan Tarquin Lockwood

Age: 19

Gender: M

Appearance: Rowan honestly tries his best to look the part of a gentleman, but lacking any guidance, the result is someone who looks (accurately) like a commoner who stole an expensive suit. His shoulder-length, wavy, orange-red hair is always slicked back into a short ponytail tied with a silk ribbon over the nape of his neck, but his hair is so unruly that more often than not a strand or two escapes the fine binding and droops over one of his eyes. He stands at roughly 5’6, the average height for men during his time, but because he slouches most of the time, he appears to be shorter. His skin is shockingly pale, and blue-green veins are visible as well as a few purple arteries. A few freckles dot his cheeks and nose much to his dismay, and he has a small birthmark in the vague shape of a lightning bolt on the back of his left shoulder. The sole stunning feature he possesses is his sparkling, emerald eyes. Indeed, no eyes as bewitching and captivating as his exist in all of England. They are wide and shining yet hold immense solemnity and could drown someone in wonder and fascination as surely as a siren’s song lures a sailor to her cold embrace of death. Long, dark lashes frame his eyes, and light, ginger eyebrows arch slightly over. His facial features are fine albeit bony, and he has high cheekbones, a small nose, delicate ears, and thin lips that never seem to contain much color. His neck is slender yet perfectly elongated, and the rest of his body is lanky and lean, nearly too lean. His spine protrudes from his back just a bit, and his ribs are clearly visible unless he is wearing a suit or vest as he usually does. His usual expression is a worried frown or thoughtful gaze, and he possesses no laugh lines.
Rowan normally wears well-tailored suits in neutral colors and earth tones, silk ties, and modest dress shoes. The one nice thing he always carries with him is a gold pocket watch with the family crest engraved on the back which he received from his grandfather before he passed away. When he has to dress up, he prefers suits with emerald or gold accents to complement what little looks he has and colorful ties to match. He shies away from clothing that is white or certain shades of yellow that make him look paler than he already is. He owns several pairs of glasses as he is always losing them, but he uses them only for reading because he has strained his eyes by reading in the dark far too often.

Personality: Rowan is the thoughtful, studious Lockwood. A true introvert, he prefers to be alone with only his books and science experiments for company and will do just about anything to avoid being near or actually talking to other people, including even his own family. He can often be found with his nose buried in one of his books both day and night with pen and paper nearby upon which he jots down notes in miniscule, nearly illegible handwriting. He finds no appeal in fictional writing and instead reads scientific and philosophic textbooks. Both fields of study come easily to him, especially physics. When he isn’t reading, he is designing and performing his own experiments. Sometimes he attempts to recreate famous experiments, but many times he invents his own, making do with the materials he can find around the house and grounds. He is both inventive and resourceful.
He hates being forced into social situations. He is awkward, clumsy, and usually ends up with his foot in his mouth when he tries to be genuine. Many times he simply recites lines he’s heard before and seems distant, uninterested, cold, and robotic. Others perceive him as dull and dimwitted, but he is very sharp. He’s read the entirety of Newton’s Principia more than once as it was originally written in Latin.
He regularly cuts himself off from the world and retreats into his own little bubble where the only things that matter are books and science and philosophy. Nothing else exists in this safe space he’s created for himself. He struggles greatly with anxiety and chronic feelings of intense loneliness, so he copes with it by immersing himself in something so thought and time consuming that there is no space for his anxiety and depression to torment him. When he is in his room alone working and studying, he doesn’t realize that he is alone, but when he is around others (even his own family), he feels like the loneliest person in the world. In fact, the more people who are around him, the emptier and lonelier he feels.
He is not good at masking his emotions and is a terrible liar. This most likely stems from his inability to read body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions well. He can recognize the obvious signs of course. He knows when someone smiles or laughs that they are happy or when someone raises their voice and flushes that they are irritated or angry, but he can’t tell a genuine smile from a forced one or a thoughtful frown from a worried one. He is socially clueless.
Despite living on some other plane of existence most of the time, Rowan is kind and desires to do what he can for his siblings, even if it means staying far away from them and forcing a life of solitude upon himself. He never wishes to do anything to hurt anyone ever, even if they might deserve it. He can’t even bear to see animals hurting or in distress. His heart is gentle and fragile, and in essence he is a dreamer, a dreaming scholar. His hopes are easily raised and dashed and then raised again.
While he is kind and clever, he is not particularly brave, preferring to hide in his room or on the estate grounds than face his fears. He says he cares not about what others think of him, but on the inside it matters a lot to him. It is a major source of the anxiety he feels when interacting with others, and he has been known to skip meals just to avoid his siblings’ judgment whether it be malevolent or benevolent.
He has a great many insecurities and fears, but despite this his mind is brilliant and his heart kind.

Magic: Rowan can temporarily drain away other Lockwoods’ powers, but he cannot use them. He can choose to take the entirety of the magic away (which takes a large toll both physically and mentally on him) or he can take a portion of it away. When choosing to take away only a portion as he usually does, he can either render the user’s magic less potent or he can remove certain faculties from it. When he uses his magic, it is not a painless process for his target. If he takes only a little power and does it just a little at a time, the effect on the other person could be as minute as a slight headache, mild nausea, or a small amount of fatigue. If he takes more power and does it faster or more forcefully, the effects increase in severity and can range from migraines to fever to vomiting and can include other symptoms.
Rowan gets a bit of an emotional high off the power he stores from others, but he would rather not cause his siblings pain to achieve this. Though try as he might, he still drains a miniscule amount of power inadvertently from whoever is near him. This may cause a mild headache, minor case of nausea, slight fatigue, a small pinch, or any other slight discomfort. Because of this, his siblings usually know when he is near, and he has become an outcast.

History: Rowan was always a strange child, even from the moment he was born. For one thing, he did not cry at all for the first full day of his life. His parents were worried as most children cry right when they are born, but he simply looked around at his surroundings with wide, innocent eyes and then kept on doing so even when he was laid on top of his mother’s chest. He didn’t seem to like sleeping much, but he wasn’t a restless child. He preferred to just stare at things. Unlike most children his age, he hardly ever screamed and cried. He would fuss a little when he needed something and would only actually cry if he was hurt.
He didn’t learn how to speak or walk until later than usual, and his siblings deemed him slow and dimwitted. He didn’t understand what they were saying at the time as he was too little, but he grew used to hearing it. Later on, he would understand, and to this day, he still thinks of himself as slow and stupid.
His parents were grateful for the fact that he ate neatly (he didn’t seem to like messes and would fuss a bit if his food was touching) and almost never threw temper tantrums. He was as docile and quiet a child as there ever was and was content to play on his own. In fact, as he continued to grow, he started to prefer to play alone more and more, away from his teasing siblings. At the time, it puzzled his parents and siblings and everyone who knew him, but anyone who knows him currently would simply nod and acknowledge the sense of it.
His favorite toy as a child was a stuffed bear with soft brown fur and a silk, yellow bow around its neck. He named it Patrick and took him everywhere with him, talked to him, played with him, and slept with him at night. Patrick became his security blanket and his best friend in the absence of healthy bonds with his siblings.
Rowan taught himself to read and was going through books quickly. He soon tired of children’s books and started to read anything he could get his hands on. Much of the other books in the house were boring or confusing, but he did find some that interested him. His nursemaid noticed how much he liked to read and sent for some children’s books that were a little more challenging than the ones in the house. He went through those quickly as well, but he very much liked them and often toted them around with him out to the garden or down to one of the sitting rooms to sit near his mother and read. Although it was apparent she didn’t always quite understand his peculiar interests, he loved her all the same and enjoyed being with her when all was quiet.
As he grew older and continued to read more difficult books, one of his siblings’ tutors took an interest in him. Pierre was a very intelligent Frenchman with a love of literature, but finding books that lit up Rowan’s face when he read was challenging. The child didn’t seem to want to read fairytales or nursery rhymes. He made strange faces nearly the entire time he read Cinderella and refused to ever read it again. This exasperated Pierre. What child didn’t like fairytales?
One rainy afternoon, Pierre found Rowan flipping through some of his teaching materials, concentration etched clearly on his face. The tutor peeked at what he was reading and was surprised to find his pupil looking at his science materials. There were no pictures, but that didn’t seem to bother Rowan. He read on in fascination and only stopped because Pierre had to teach his other siblings.
While Pierre was puzzled, Rowan was very happy with how he had spent his afternoon. He had been reading about the scientific method, and now he had decided to put his new knowledge to use in figuring out his special abilities. Out of all his siblings, his powers were the least understood. He knew he could give his parents and siblings headaches and cause them some slight pain, but his abilities never seemed to have any effect on anyone else. After trying many times to use his powers on the servants, he figured that his powers could not affect the non-magical. This still made no sense to him. His other siblings could use their magic on the servants and others, so why couldn’t he? He continued to experiment with and develop his abilities until he figured out why.
Not much later, he was hiding and testing his magic on one of his siblings who suddenly exclaimed that they could no longer use their magic. Rowan thought this was strange and stopped using his powers in confusion. He was even more confused when his sibling was able to use their magic again.


message 3: by the_rabid_snail, Suo Jure Marchioness (last edited Jan 15, 2020 01:54PM) (new)

the_rabid_snail | 242 comments Mod
Rowan T. Lockwood - Part Two

History cont'd: So, like any good scientist he ran the experiment again. And got the same result. He then designed an experiment, tried it on all his siblings and both his parents, and, finally, understood why his abilities did not work on the non-magical. His magic did not cause people pain as its primary use; the pain was merely an unfortunate side effect. The main purpose of his magic was to take away the magic of others. He was overjoyed that he had finally figured it out and immediately shared it with his mother. However, he would come to wish that he had kept it to himself and not told everyone in his family.
Whenever his siblings would get into particularly nasty fights and his parents were afraid they’d use their powers on each other, Rowan was called upon to make sure that they couldn’t hurt each other. It was a task he dreaded doing, but he had always endeavored to obey his parents lest he risk his father’s anger and be punished. Plus, he was easily persuaded by his father at the time that he was acting in his siblings’ best interests, though it pained him to use his magic all the same.
Over time his siblings began to resent him for this, but things didn’t get better as they all got older. He was no longer told to use his abilities on them since they were capable of having more civil disputes, but he could do nothing about the trickle of a drain he caused on their powers just by being near them no matter how hard he tried. They demanded that he stop, but it was impossible. He hated that his magic did this – that he did this – and didn’t want them to feel any discomfort, so he decided to stay away from them altogether. He took to staying in his room the majority of the day and spent the rest of his time on the grounds alone. The only times he saw his family were at the dinner table or if he was called downstairs. He busied himself with the musings of philosophers and the theories of scientists to pass the lonely hours by and eventually found that he had a greater appreciation for fiction and fairytales than he had before. He still would rather read nonfiction, but he could bear reading an occasional fictional story if it had some kind of information in it. As a child he had been more curious about how and why everything worked the way it did and had no patience for the nonsense of fiction, but now he was old enough to realize that there was at least some grain of truth in most fiction.
He took up an interest in botany and started gathering all the texts he could on the subject. He even started to experiment with some of the garden plants, unfortunately killing some of them in the process. Everyone thought that animals were uprooting some of the flowers until apparently one of Rowan’s siblings saw him experimenting with the flower bed one day and informed their parents. That was the end of most of his botany experiments. He decided to wait to perform more tests until things cooled down a bit, but by then he had moved on to other fields of science and wasn’t as interested in botany anymore.
One summer, his parents announced that they were visiting their grandparents for a holiday on the seaside. Rowan dreaded the trip as he hated when his work and studies were interrupted, but he had no choice in the matter. By this time he was a teenager, and his anxiety and loneliness had increased greatly. Nevertheless, his bags were packed by the servants, and he even managed to sneak in a book or two underneath his clothing. He felt like dying the entire trip to his grandparents’ house as he was forced to be around his siblings, who were also less than thrilled about being near him. He tried his best to stay close to his mother, but he did have several other siblings vying for her attention at times. Finally, they made it to his grandparents’ house on the seaside, and Rowan was anxious to have some time to himself.
However, he didn’t end up being allowed to have much alone time. Apparently his mother was worried about how much time he spent isolated from everyone and had decided to make sure he was around family for the majority of the vacation. Rowan was not happy about this at all, but he was too anxious to say anything and knew better than not to obey his mother. The last thing he wanted on this vacation was any kind of time with his father who far more often than not had only criticism for him: he was too skinny, he was too pale, he neglected his responsibilities, he spent too much time living in a dream world, and on and on and on.
Rowan was not one for swimming and didn’t like the feeling of sand everywhere, so he stayed indoors or near the house most days. When he was forced to be out near the sea by his mother, he would bring his sketchpad and draw small fish or shells to pass the time. At least that way he wouldn’t have to interact with his family or anyone else very much. Once he forgot his sketchbook and got dunked and held down under the water by one of his siblings and panicked, not knowing how to swim. From that time going forward, he never forgot his sketchbook if he was told to join his family near the sea.
But for the most part, he was able to stay indoors. Even though his mother ensured that he was never alone, it was better than being by the sea. Usually he was with one or both of his grandparents while inside the house. He did not particularly care for his grandmother; she talked too much and too loudly, wasn’t interested in any of the things he was interested in, and squeezed him too hard when she hugged him every single time she saw him. His grandfather was quieter but grumpier, and his mother did her best to keep him around her and his grandmother.
However, one afternoon Rowan managed to escape his mother’s sights only to find his grandfather in a more secluded room of the house where he had hoped to spend the rest of the afternoon alone. His grandfather eyed him for a moment and then went back to his book with a sigh. Rowan sat down quietly with his own book, telling himself that at least the room was quiet and that there was nowhere else to go where his mother wouldn’t find and disturb him. The afternoon passed by in silence except for the soft rustle every time he turned a page and his grandfather’s gruff voice telling him to turn the pages quieter. At the end of the afternoon as Rowan turned to leave and wash up for supper, his grandfather startled him, asking him what book he was reading. Rowan flushed a bit in embarrassment but politely answered, holding up the book for his grandfather to see. To his surprise, his grandfather revealed the book he had been reading: a different book by a different author but written on the same science as Rowan’s book. After that afternoon, Rowan spent most of his time with his grandfather, much to the confusion of everyone else who didn’t understand his fondness for the grumpy, blunt man. Sometimes Rowan and his grandfather talked, but most of the time they read or just sat in silence together. Rowan quite enjoyed it and was sad when the holiday was over. Before he left, his grandfather gave him a Lockwood family heirloom: an antique, gold pocket watch. Rowan treasured that gift and took immensely good care of it. His grandfather had showed him how to take it apart, fix it, clean it, and put it back together again. In those several weeks Rowan felt the closest he’d ever felt to having a father. He was devastated to learn of his grandfather’s passing a year later. The two of them had been writing letters back and forth, and his grandfather had never mentioned being sick. And now after a brief period of happiness in his life, he was subject to the depths of depression once again, and life continued on as it always had. His mother noticed the change when news of his grandfather arrived, but she could do nothing to brighten his days like his grandfather had. It was then that she learned of the pocket watch Rowan now had, but she never said a word to anyone about it, letting the boy grieve on his own since he wouldn’t open up to her.
Rowan had been encouraged by his grandfather to learn Latin to aid him in his studies, and his grandfather had left him his personal Latin to English dictionary as a gift in his last will and testament. It took Rowan several months to open the book, but when he did, he cried for the first time in years. The book was full of his grandfather’s notations and marks, and the inside of the book’s cover contained a lengthy note in the scrawl that had become so familiar over the past year. He tried not to sob too loudly and hoped no one could hear him, but as he read the note and his grandfather’s little markings in the book, he could hear that grumpy voice again reading everything out loud. He didn’t cry again after that, but he buried himself in Latin, determined to learn it as his grandfather had wished. He read several books in Latin as he went through the dictionary to help him learn faster and ended up loving Latin more than English. It made perfect sense to him, and he practically devoured all three volumes of Newton’s Principia, going back to them again and again.
The years passed by, and Rowan continued to grow and mature, invisible to his siblings. Though shy and anxious, he could hold his own in even a highly intellectual conversation if he was comfortable enough and able to focus. And though he still missed his grandfather dearly, the wound didn’t sting quite so harshly as it once did. He had finally begun to heal, but just when he allowed himself to hope, his parents made an announcement that shattered what order and comfort he had been able to bring about in his lonely, anxiety-ridden life: he and his siblings were to be married to members of the aristocracy in order to preserve the future of the Lockwood family legacy.

Other: Rowan is the heir to the Lockwood title, estate, and fortune as he is the eldest male child.


message 4: by the_rabid_snail, Suo Jure Marchioness (last edited Jan 15, 2020 09:50PM) (new)

the_rabid_snail | 242 comments Mod
Isolde L. Blackwell - Part One

Name:
Isolde Lillith Blackwell
Nicknames: Izzy (she hates this nickname, and it is usually only used by her sister)

Age: 16

Gender: F

Appearance: Isolde has a head full of thick, silky ebony hair, though it falls barely an inch below her shoulders and will never hold a curl for more than five minutes no matter what she does. Although at her age she is expected to wear her hair up to look more mature, she more often than not wears it down or braids it down her back. Her wide, sea-green eyes typically glimmer with mischief, but even so they have an innocent sheen to them. Short but thick, dark lashes frame her eyes. Her face is only slightly angular with rounded, soft edges, but her cheekbones are high and fairly pronounced in contrast with the smoothness of the rest of her head and face. She has full, pink lips, a petite forehead, a rounded nose, and dark eyebrows. Her skin is not a lady-like shade of pale. Instead, it is slightly tan from hours and hours spent outdoors, and a few freckles are splattered across her cheeks and nose. She is of a smaller stature, but her figure does not quite meet the current fashion standards of a tiny waist, wide hips, and slim shoulders. Her waist is not tiny, but it also not plump. Rather, it is healthy and lean, yet not slim enough to adhere to the dictates of late Victorian era fashion. She does not possess a curvy figure, her hips are modest, and her bosom is small, giving her the appearance of a girl whose body has yet to change. Her shoulders are broader than desired, and it is obvious that she is unusually athletic for a girl of her time period as her body and limbs are not frail and bony. Although she is slightly short, her frame has muscle and strength to it. She is not winded by walking up a flight or two of stairs. Even so, her muscle is nothing compared to those of actual athletes, but it is noticeable when compared to other ladies of her rank. She has no birthmarks or beauty marks, but on the upper left corner of her forehead, she has a small white scar, which is usually covered by a few wisps of dark hair. She also is normally sporting at least a few scrapes and bruises, though they are carefully covered up when she is out in public.
Isolde does not care much for fashion. She can count on one hand the number of times she’s worn a corset over her entire life and plans on never wearing one ever again. She usually wears gowns from the aesthetic movement or garments highly reminiscent of the previous romantic style of dress. Tea gowns are what she prefers to wear, and she will wear as few layers under her skirts as she can get away with. She also dislikes heels and will wear the flattest shoes she can find. As much as she dislikes them, she is always wearing gloves to cover up her scrapes. She wears little jewelry unless it is an exceedingly special occasion and her mother and sister force her to, but she likes to wear jewelry set with onyx when she has to. As her skin testifies, she has never once used a parasol and also does not own any folding fans as she finds it easier just to wear fewer layers and no corsets.

Personality: Isolde is a headstrong young woman who is about as demure as a wild stallion. She has an adventurous nature and always has to be doing something. It is impossible for her to sit still for more than a few minutes at a time before she will begin to shift back in forth in her seat, tap her shoes loudly on the floor, hum, make weird noises with her mouth, and any number of other, annoying things. Above all, she yearns to be outdoors and has a great love for nature. Feeling the whispering breezes, the rays of the sun, or the tears of the clouds invigorates her. She feels completely alive outside as opposed to how stifled and caged she feels indoors.
Her curiosity can never be satisfied, and she asks a million questions a day, usually to the point of exasperation of whoever is the target of these endless inquiries. However, she is exceedingly nosy and will inquire into people’s personal lives whether she knows them well or not. She will even resort to eavesdropping on conversations not meant for her ears or snooping around in other people’s houses. She is either oblivious of other people’s boundaries or she chooses to ignore them.
Let it never be said that Isolde is a yellow-bellied coward. She is exceedingly brave, though perhaps stupidly so. She is rash, reckless, and never thinks things through all the way. She lives in the moment, hardly ever thinking a step ahead. While she may be foolishly audacious, she does stand her ground and doesn’t back down. She has strong convictions and sticks with them no matter what, and she will stand up to anyone, no matter their title, gender, or importance.
Isolde is too mischievous for her own good. She loves planning and pulling pranks on others and often gets into a lot of trouble. To top it off, she lacks any subtlety. Her pranks tend to be extravagant, and most of the time, it’s not hard to figure out that she’s the one responsible. No one is safe from her mischief; she pranks friends and foes alike whether they deserve it or not. However, she does like to inflict her own justice on others through her pranks sometimes. She is not very forgiving and holds grudges for an impossibly long time even over the smallest things. In fact, she still remembers small slights from several years ago, though depending on the severity of the slight and the person inflicting it, she may or may not still be angry about it.
She is very opinionated and holds to strong convictions, but this is entirely unladylike. Oftentimes she has to be reprimanded to hold her tongue as she likes to share her opinions to anyone and everyone whether they think she should have an opinion or not. However, she is never unsure and always knows what she wants. She never struggles with indecisiveness, and she emanates a distinct aura of confidence and certainty.
Impatience might as well be Isolde’s middle name. She gets bored and frustrated easily and has little tolerance for long waits in which she has nothing to do but think of how slowly the seconds and minutes tick by. Doing nothing agitates her and puts her in a bad mood where she tends to try and make everyone else around her as miserable as she is, though this is usually unintentional. As long as she can find something to distract herself while she is waiting, she will do fine. It’s the instances in which she has nothing to do except think about how long she has to wait that put her in an unpleasant mood. She also has no patience for book learning or lectures and learns best through hands-on methods.
She loves challenges and has never been known to back down from one, even the stupidest of dares. The more someone tells her not to do something, the more she wants to do it, and oftentimes she eventually gives in and does it, not thinking long on the consequences of her actions. She performs exceedingly well under pressure. In fact, the more pressure put on her, the better she does. However, in some cases more pressure makes her nearly outright rebellious, but this normally only happens when someone is lecturing her or forbidding her to do something she wishes to do.
She loves change and the promises of new adventures the future holds. Consistency and patterns bore her, and she is not one to live in the past. While she loves change and excitement, she would rather her own self and character remain static, a paradox to be sure. For no one leaves a grand adventure the same way they entered. Even so, she does her best not to change her fundamental nature, often acting immaturely.
She is stubborn to a fault and doesn’t like to admit when she is wrong. Peer pressure doesn’t affect her when it comes to compromising her opinions or convictions, and she could care less of what other people think of her, the exception being her parents.
Although she often seems confident and carefree, there are times when she severely doubts herself, but she is normally cheery, adventurous, and inquisitive.

Title: Lady Blackwell (Courtesy Title Holder, Daughter of the Marquess of Huntly)

Family:

Father: Edmund Blackwell
Mother: Adelaide Blackwell
Sister: Tabitha Blackwell

History: Isolde grew up with both her mother and father and her older sister, Tabitha. As a small child, she was always following her older sister around and begging to be included in whatever Tabitha was doing. From day one she was a social creature and detested being left alone and forced to entertain herself, so she endeavored to be glued to her sister’s side at all times whether or not her sibling was pleased with her presence. When she was younger she struggled to say her sister’s name correctly, and ended up calling her “Tabi.” Fortunately, it didn’t seem to bother her sister, and her parents found it adorable. So, she just continued to use her sister’s nickname all through her childhood and well into her teenage years.
Isolde was an exceptionally happy child in her early years and made friends wherever she went with both nobles and commoners alike, though her parents discouraged her friendships with the latter. She still loved to tag along with Tabi, but she didn’t spend every waking moment with her sister as she once had. Instead she sometimes had other playmates, usually other children of noble blood from reputable families in England. Isolde was content to have anyone to play with, but she didn’t particularly like the daughters of a duke and duchess close to her parents. Unfortunately, her parents often spent time with the duke and duchess, so she was forced to sit through pretend tea parties, dress up, and allow Cordelia or Jemima to do her hair. Cordelia and Jemima were the youngest daughters of the duke and duchess, and Isolde only grew to dislike them more and more as the three of them got older. Jemima was always prattling on about something or other that Isolde always seemed to find dull and completely useless, and Cordelia, though quieter, was obsessed with her reflection in the mirror. It didn’t help matters much that everywhere they went, Cordelia was admired and praised for her beauty and good standing as this only served to make the girl more unbearable to be around. Isolde started looking for any excuse to get away from their company.
One summer’s afternoon, Isolde was at the duke and duchess’s house with her parents and Tabi, and she was stuck yet again with Cordelia and Jemima. Her parents were off with the duke and duchess, and Tabi was nowhere in sight, most likely with the eldest of Cordelia and Jemima’s sisters. The day had been far too long already, and Isolde had just about had it with Cordelia and Jemima. She excused herself to wash up and skipped down the hallway of the mansion with glee when she was out of sight of the other two girls. She explored the rest of the mansion with her newfound freedom, being careful to avoid the servants, her parents, and anyone else who might be displeased with her actions. To her delight, no one caught her. Eventually she tired of being inside and decided to visit the gardens and grounds of the estate. The day was sunny and warm, and she trod about barefoot in the gardens, feeling the grass and soft earth in between her toes. Her skirts became tracked with mud and grass as she moved about, but she never noticed, too absorbed in wonder and curiosity at the beauty before her eyes. It was then that she met the son of the duke and duchess. He was sitting on a bench in the garden, just staring at a flower bed, so Isolde approached him and took the liberty of sitting down next to him. He was very surprised as he hadn’t noticed her, but he introduced himself as Bennett. The two got to talking and quickly agreed to be friends, both finding that they had likeness of adventurous spirit.


message 5: by the_rabid_snail, Suo Jure Marchioness (new)

the_rabid_snail | 242 comments Mod
Isolde L. Blackwell - Part Two

History cont'd:
The afternoon ended with Isolde boasting that she could climb the great oak tree behind them faster than he could, and so a frantic race ensued. Bennett won, being able to climb trees much faster since he wasn’t wearing an itchy gown, but Isolde swore she would beat him the next time. As they were sitting in the branches of the tree together, Bennett noticed that she had torn her dress in her scramble to get up the tree first. Isolde didn’t think much of it, but Bennett insisted that she change into one of his sisters’ gowns. He led her back to the house and waited in the hallway while she swapped dresses. When it was time for her to leave with her parents and Tabi, no one remarked upon her wardrobe change. At least not until she was back home and preparing to go to bed for the night. In the dark of the room she shared with her sister, Tabi asked what had happened to her other dress, and Isolde told her. The room lapsed into silence when Tabi didn’t reply, but Isolde figured that her sister was just tired as she herself was exhausted.
One of Isolde’s closest friends was a servant in her house named Asa. The two became best friends eventually, and as children, one was never far from the other. Asa was a mischievous little sprite, much like Isolde, and the both of them were usually getting into trouble together, though, being a servant, Asa typically took most, if not all, of the blame. He didn’t seem to mind much as long as Isolde included him in her next, tremendous idea.
In her parents’ eyes, she could do no wrong as she was simply an innocent, little girl. They lavished attention and doted on her, and her father would enthrall her and Tabi with stories of his travels at her request every night before bed. Her parents both encouraged her love for nature, and her father often took her and Tabi to gardens and museums or wherever else she wished to go.
But sadly, such freedom didn’t last forever. Eventually, Isolde’s parents informed her that it was time for her to attend lessons with Tabi and her tutor. They had put it off long enough, but now she must learn to act like a proper lady of her rank. Reluctantly, Isolde sat down for her first lesson, hoping it wouldn’t be so bad. The first thing her tutor did when he arrived was order her to go upstairs, fix her hair, and put a more proper gown on. Isolde scowled but obeyed, yanking on another dress and running a brush through her hair a few more times. However, she didn’t even make it all the way down the staircase before her tutor, Antonio, told her she still looked unseemly and to try again. This time, she put on one of Tabi’s dresses and tried to remember what Cordelia and Jemima would do to her hair. It sort of looked right… in a completely wrong kind of way, but it was the best she could manage. Her tutor made her go back upstairs yet a third time to fix her hair, though he did add that the dress was much better. Isolde ended up having to redo her hair a few more times before Antonio was satisfied. Once her appearance was to his liking, the real lessons started, and Isolde quickly grew to despise them.
She was never sitting right: she was slouching, her shoulders were drooping, her rib cage was too open, her legs were too far apart, her head was too high, and on and on. She couldn’t sit still and quietly, she talked too much, she couldn’t concentrate on the lessons, and she couldn’t focus long enough to finish reading the books and materials her tutor assigned to her. Tabi was no help to her either. As they grew older, her sister seemed to dislike her more and more, and Isolde couldn’t understand what she had done to anger her sister. She had apologized for borrowing Tabi’s dresses no less than a hundred times, but every time she did so, her sister merely shrugged and told her it was fine. Around their parents and friends or out in public, Tabi was mostly kind to her with only a whispered, spiteful remark every now and then. No matter how hard she tried, she could never do anything to make Tabi like her again the way she did when they were much smaller.
As she continued to do poorly in her lessons, her parents started to reprimand her for not taking her education seriously, and eventually they began to punish her. Isolde did try to pay attention to her lessons, but it was exceedingly difficult. It didn’t help either that the lessons were so painfully useless. How could anyone ever expect her to use any of this book learning? She was going to travel all across Europe and have adventures like her father, wasn’t she? She was sure she could get by without embroidering and history and grammar and music and all the other silly things Antonio attempted to teach her.
Antonio became increasingly frustrated with her. She simply couldn’t learn anything, so finally he left but no before informing her parents that she was slow and dull. Isolde overheard his outburst and ran outside barefoot, seeking comfort in the outdoors she loved so much. Asa found her a while later sitting in a tree with twigs in her hair and grass stains all over her skirts. He climbed swiftly up to the branch she was perched on and simply sat next to her, unused to things being quiet around her. Eventually she spoke about what had happened, and he snorted. At first she was hurt, but then he explained that she was just good at different things. This made Isolde brighten up as she had honestly been worried that was, indeed, stupid. Tabi told her that daily among other, unpleasant things. Isolde now told Asa about the things her sister said too, and the servant boy decided that they would get her back. So, the two of them started to pull all sorts of pranks on Tabi. Some were successful, and some weren’t. But Isolde and Asa quickly got better at teasing her sister.
Isolde infuriated tutor after tutor and began to rebel with great spirit the more disappointed her parents became and the more horrid Tabi acted towards her. She knew her parents loved her; they took great pains to remind her of the fact, but they were still upset at her behavior. Stricter rules were enforced, but Isolde found ways around them and continued on as always. She and Asa often snuck out of the mansion and visited the docks, watching the ships arriving and departing and listening to multitude of foreign tongues being spoken. Isolde had never been any good at foreign languages, but she actually picked quite a lot up just by ear. Many times she and Asa talked to some of the cabin boys or other sailors, though Asa always insisted that she never talk to a sailor or visit the docks without him to protect her. Isolde usually retorted that she could take care of herself, but still she knew some of the sailors were unsavory characters and did as Asa said.
One day, her parents and Bennett’s parents announced that they had come to an exciting arrangement. Isolde and Bennett were to be married when they were of age and would one day inherit the titles of duke and duchess. Isolde thought this was a ridiculous idea, but on the upside it gave her more opportunities to spend time with her friend. After this announcement, Tabi became even worse than before. The hateful words became more frequent, and her sister often tried to embarrass her in public. Fortunately, nothing much embarrassed Isolde, and Tabi seemed to hold her tongue when they were around Bennett’s family.
Isolde and Bennett grew closer as the next year passed, and if she hadn’t been so naïve, she would have realized Bennett’s growing affection for her. Bennett was typically surrounded by many girls much prettier and lovelier than Isolde, but the both of them still daydreamed of adventures and change and excitement together. However, Bennett started to tell her to be more ladylike. He wouldn’t climb trees with her or practice fencing with her anymore. This frustrated Isolde, and she told him as much. But he simply told her to hold her tongue like a lady. This drove a wedge between their friendship.
When Isolde was fifteen, she and Bennett were walking through the gardens at twilight alone, just talking and admiring the lovely colors in the sky. Isolde started to say that she might take up painting if only to paint something so beautiful as to be able to stare it all day when Bennett suddenly took her by the hand and kissed her roughly. Isolde squirmed and tried to push him away, but he was too strong for her. His hands touched her in places she didn’t want to be touched, and when she managed to shove him off and spit on him, he struck her across the face, causing her to fall and hit her head on the stone hard. Something warm and sticky trickled down her head, and the world was turning quickly all around her. She tried to stand up, but she was so lightheaded and dizzy that it was impossible. Bennett came near to her to finish what he started, but all of a sudden he was pulled away by something, or rather someone. Asa punched Bennett in the jaw, knocking him down. Bennett got up and retaliated with a blow of his own, but Asa was much quicker and faster and soon had the duke’s son surrendering and bleeding from the mouth and nose. Tabi, Isolde’s parents, Bennett’s parents, and many of the servants arrived just then as they had heard all the commotion. Isolde was carried inside, and Bennett’s servant helped him to his carriage to leave.
After that, the engagement was broken off, and Asa was fired. Isolde was ordered to rest and let her head heal, but after a week, she ventured out and looked for Asa near the docks. Luckily, she found him, and he was delighted. He told her that he hadn’t trusted Bennett and when he had heard that she had gone to the gardens alone with him, chased after her in time to stop him. Isolde thanked him, but he told her to go home and rest until she was completely better. He would be around the docks when she wished to see him.
Isolde’s head healed completely. The only sign of the incident ever happening was a small, white scar on one corner of her forehead. She continued to visit Asa in her free time to escape her sister and tutors, and he confided in her his plan to join a crew and sail off. Isolde was excited for him but also sad that he would be gone. She tried to convince him to let her tag along if she disguised herself as a boy, but he would not be persuaded.
When she arrived home that day, her parents informed her that she and Tabi would be visiting the Lockwood mansion and that this was their chance to marry well, especially since Isolde had ruined their last plans. Isolde said goodbye to Asa the next day, wishing him and his voyage all the luck in the world, and he promised to visit her when he returned in several months. That very day her luggage was packed, and she set off for Eldritch Manor with only Tabi and a couple servants.

Other:


message 6: by the_rabid_snail, Suo Jure Marchioness (last edited Jan 15, 2020 09:53PM) (new)

the_rabid_snail | 242 comments Mod
Tabitha C. Blackwell - Part One

Name:
Tabitha Catriona Blackwell
Nicknames: Tabi

Age: 18

Gender: F

Appearance: Tabitha is truly the perfect portrait of a lady. Her glossy, dark brown hair bounces naturally into thick, luxurious curls, so she normally makes sure to leave a few down in order to frame her delicate face when she styles her hair. Her wide, dazzling eyes are liquid amber with a few flecks of glittering gold, and dark, gorgeous eyelashes complement them. Her pale, creamy skin is soft as silk and ever flawless and has never been diminished by so much as a freckle, unlike her younger sister. The only mark she has is a small, light birthmark on her back just under her right hipbone. She has a small, heart-shaped face and delicate, rosebud pink lips. The edges of her face are smooth and aesthetically pleasing to look upon, and her cheekbones are just high enough to provide shape and structure to her face. She has a petite nose, which is ever so slightly turned up in a noble fashion, and narrow, gently rounded ears. Just like her facial features, her neck is slender and graceful, seamlessly transitioning into her slim, smooth shoulders. Her bosom is nothing to brag about, but it at least gently accents the rest of her figure. Luckily her delicate form has been blessed with elegant curves, and her trim waist and only slightly wide hips add to this portrait of perfection she has both been gifted with and worked hard to maintain. Her legs are lean and elongated with hardly any muscle, but given how little she weighs, they support her adequately. She is a touch taller than average and definitely taller than her shorter-than-average sister. Her fingers are long and slender with neatly trimmed, pearly pink nails and skin as soft as an angel’s. She always carries herself with the utmost grace and serenity, and her lean, gracious limbs allow her to move seamlessly and flawlessly, as smooth as water. While her physical appearance seems frail, no one would ever describe her that way. There is a large amount of spirit to her, and though she may at times try to contain it, it simply seeps through into her every action and gesture, though she can at times come across as intimidating.
Nothing about Tabi’s appearance is ever out of place. Her hair is always neat with not a single, stray hair, and the light cosmetics she applies do nothing less than accentuate the natural beauty she already possesses. She loves to wear the latest styles and greatly enjoys dressing up when the occasion calls for it. Deep hues of purple or red are her favorite colors to wear, and she often wears gold accessories or jewelry to complement her amber and golden irises. Though she tries to be a demure lady, she can’t resist making a statement with bold, rich colors and ornate details when it’s appropriate. For everyday occasions, she wears dresses that are a bit simpler but still display thoughtful details like matching lace or embroidery patterns. Accessories are her favorite, and she always takes care that they complement or match her outfit. Parasols, earrings, small pearls, or delicate bracelets are her go-to’s for normal occasions. For more sophisticated events, Tabi enjoys being among the more finely dressed attendees. She loves to don striking dresses of fine silks with intricate details, and the jewelry she picks out is always nothing short of stunning. Elegant, jeweled hair combs are among her favorites, and she also prefers elegant earrings accompanied by gold or jeweled necklaces. Elbow-length gloves are another favorite accessory of hers as well as rings and brightly-colored feathers. She will also apply slightly more dramatic makeup for special events. Whatever the occasion, Tabi can always be expected to dress appropriately.

Personality: Tabi is the life of the party and the center of every social circle. She is never boring or dull to be around, but she still manages to remain a lady unlike her younger sister. However, though she has a great spirit to her, she has learned to wear many masks over the course of her life so far. She can be gentle and quiet when she needs to be and witty and quick when the occasion is appropriate.
Tabi tries her best to act the part of a lady at all times, especially in the presence of her parents, important personages, and gentlemen. Her self-control and discipline are nothing short of admirable, and she has trained herself to bite her tongue even when she is dying to spit out a sharp or sarcastic quip. She forces herself to become an entirely different person and even behaves in a shy and helpless manner in order to act like a proper young lady. On a couple of occasions, she has even pretended to faint. She also pretends to be an innocent, delicate creature as if no gentleman has ever so much as found her pretty. Although she acts as demure as she can, there still remains a bit of mystery about her that attracts many potential gentlemen suitors.
Another mask of Tabi’s appears at large social events. She’s talkative, bubbly, outgoing, and even bordering on flirtatious. There is a hardly ever a party or event that she does not receive an invitation to, and she is typically the highlight of every party. Many of the young, noble ladies look up to her as their role model, and she is the leader of the most exclusive cliques. She always has a witty remark or humorous quip to add to any conversation, and she almost seems to abandon her shy persona, especially among other girls around her age. It is very much like meeting a completely different person. However, the moment she is near her parents or certain adults, she resumes her shy, fragile demeanor until said people are out of earshot.
Tabi has an exceedingly sharp silver tongue and a razor-sharp intellect. She can hold her own in nearly any conversation even with well-learned gentlemen, but it doesn’t happen often since she is usually too concerned with acting the part of a proper, well-mannered lady. Proper ladies do not talk to men as if they are intellectual equals. Although most adults and gentlemen see her as quiet and perhaps slightly dim, she is exceptionally intelligent and picks up on more than most people realize. She hates having to bite her tongue, but she does realize that being silent and invisible can be very useful. She usually knows more about other people than they think she does, but she is careful not to divulge this information lest it unnerve any potential alliances or suitors.
She is just as competitive as her younger sister, maybe even more so. It’s even to the point where she is not above backstabbing, breaking the rules, or just playing dirty to win. Once she sets out to do something, she doesn’t let anything stop her, which is an admirable trait except for the part where she can’t stand losing and will do whatever it takes to get what she wants. She’s stubborn and doesn’t like to back down or submit (though she will when certain people are around) and has strong ideals of her own that she firmly holds to, even if she has to keep them hidden for part or most of the time.
Although Tabi works hard to seem innocent and sweet, the truth is she can be very manipulative of other people. She knows just the right things to say and the right times to say them in order to gently nudge people in the direction she wants them to go and has become a master at it. Being able to wear so many masks and personas also helps her greatly in manipulating others. Oftentimes her motives for manipulating people are self-serving since she has learned from a young age that she cannot trust anyone but herself to look out for her best interests, and she rarely goes out of her way to help anyone else unless there’s something she wants or some benefit she can get out of it. However, she purposely keeps her true self distant from nearly everyone, and no one but her sister would ever even pause to think that she may have an ulterior motive for doing something kind or thoughtful.
If Tabi was one of the seven deadly sins, she would be envy. She is easily jealous, especially of her younger sister, and she can’t stand it when other people are receiving far more attention than her. This stems primarily from her childhood and chronic feelings of loneliness. She is constantly seeking the approval of others’ to fill the emotional void inside herself, but no matter how much attention she receives, she still feels as empty as ever, which in turn causes her to become more envious and competitive and look for more attention and approval. She cares too much about what other people think of her and will do almost anything to maintain the perfect image she has created. The only exception to this is her younger sister. She really could care less about what Isolde thinks of her and doesn’t usually bother to act the part of a sweet, loving sister unless other people are around.
Tabi is very detail-oriented. She also has a photographic memory and can remember even the most trivial of details, including ones that aren’t visual. She can remember in detail conversations she’s had with other people and then writes them all down in her diary in flowing cursive to cement them into her memory. Being attentive to details allows her to always look her best, wear a variety of masks, and manipulate people into doing what she wants.
Tabi is more than meets the eye. She has many remarkable traits and is very intelligent, but she often uses these talents to help herself at the expense of other people. She is perceived by certain people the way she wants them to see her, but she uses her many masks and personas to cover up the hurt and loneliness she feels on the inside.

Title: Lady Blackwell (Courtesy Title Holder, Daughter of the Marquess of Huntly)

Family:

Father: Edmund Blackwell
Mother: Adelaide Blackwell
Sister: Isolde Blackwell

History: Although her sister’s childhood and teenage years were mostly happy, Tabi’s were ultimately very unhappy. She was born the eldest child of two to a marquess and marchioness and was a very messy and boisterous infant. She cried loudly when she was born and always let her parents or nursemaid know when she needed something by fussing or sobbing incessantly. It seemed that she hated being left alone and liked having the attention of her mother or father over that of her nursemaid. As she grew from infant to toddler, she loved exploring and crawling or walking around the mansion, and she also liked to talk to anyone who would listen. She often distracted the servants from their chores, wanting them to play with her when her parents were busy, but most of the household staff didn’t mind. She was an adorable little girl who loved to laugh and make others laugh with her. The servants didn’t even mind cleaning up after her messes most of the time. She was far from the clean and pristine woman she is now and was, more often than not, a mess. Her mother gave her as much attention as she could, but her father was much more distant and didn’t seem to have much of an interest in her. To remedy this, she tried to follow him everywhere once she could walk and would do anything to get his attention. Unfortunately, it didn’t usually work, and her father would just order one of the servants to take her elsewhere and entertain her.
Then, Tabitha’s sister, Isolde, was born. Isolde was a noisy baby like she had been and received most of her mother’s attention. Even her father would spend time with her little sister, but he continued to remain detached from Tabi. Tabi didn’t understand it and grew frustrated. As she continued to grow older, her mother started teaching her how to behave like a proper lady, and she immediately tried her best to do what her mother told her to in order to make sure her family’s reputation was not tarnished by her actions or decisions.


message 7: by the_rabid_snail, Suo Jure Marchioness (last edited Jan 15, 2020 09:52PM) (new)

the_rabid_snail | 242 comments Mod
Tabitha C. Blackwell - Part Two

History cont'd:
She hoped that learning to be graceful and well-mannered would make her father love her the way he loved Isolde, but it didn’t. Sometimes her father would give her a nod or brief remark of approval but only when her mother brought her up in conversation. She knew her mother loved her, but she also knew that her mother loved Isolde more. It was obvious in the way Adelaide looked at Isolde and was always showing her off to their friends and family. Tabi never remembered her mother doing anything like that with her, and neither did the servants.
Isolde followed her everywhere she went once she could walk, and Tabi patiently played with her or included her in what she was doing. She didn’t mind her sister much, even though she could be loud and annoying at times, and kind of liked helping her explore and discover things. Maybe it was because Isolde reminded her of herself and how she longed to be. A part of her hoped that her father or mother would see how she cared and looked after her baby sister, but they never seemed to notice it. Perhaps they thought it was as sisters should be and didn’t realize the effort Tabi put into it, but even so, Tabi began to feel crushed and rejected.
A few years after Isolde was born, Tabi’s parents sent for a tutor to give her a proper education and instruct her how to be a reputable noblewoman. Her tutor was named Antonio, and he was exceptionally strict. Tabi didn’t think he liked her very much at first because he criticized her often, but she took his rebukes to heart and was determined to become as charming, lovely, and proper a noblewoman as ever there was. Maybe once she did well in her studies, her father would finally notice her, and her mother would brag about her the way she did about Isolde. She progressed at a quick pace, and Antonio started to warm to her. His reports of her advancements were all glowing, and she had to try hard not to beam with pride at her accomplishments. But still her father didn’t love her, and her mother didn’t love her as much as Isolde. Tabi couldn’t understand it. Isolde frolicked barefoot through the gardens, ruined most of her clothing, and liked playing with commoners. Why did her parents love such a little heathen more than her? She did everything she was told in a respectful manner, denied herself of most of her desires, and excelled in her academic learning. How she longed to be out exploring like Isolde, but she knew her parents would never tolerate it. Why was Isolde different? Why was she forced to become someone else while Isolde roamed freely, doing whatever she wished with whomever she wished? These and other questions tormented her day and night, not even giving her a rest in her dreams.
For as long as she could remember, her parents had been close with Duke and Duchess Grey, and she had grown up alongside their four children: Alexandrina, Bennett, Cordelia, and Jemima. Alexandrina was barely older than she was, and she endeavored to be good friends with the girl in order to maintain the close relationship between the two families. Alexandrina was a sweet and lovely girl, but Tabi quickly discovered that she was no match for her own wit and intellect. It was boring to talk to her after a while, and Tabi eventually sought to be more loved and respected than the duke and duchess’s eldest child. Maybe if everyone else liked her, her parents would too.
She focused on climbing up the social ladder as well as her studies and did very well for herself in both. Soon she had a large group of friends and even a few potential suitors. Still, she felt empty inside despite how her friends flocked around her, and her parents were still enamored with her little sister. Her father would regale Isolde with tales of his travels at night, and he would take her nearly anywhere she wanted to go: museums, theaters, gardens, etc. Tabi had always wanted to see the opera, but her sister’s wants overruled hers every time.
When Isolde joined her and Antonio for lessons, things got worse. Now Antonio was preoccupied with her sister, scolding and reprimanding her at every opportunity. He had little time to help her with her singing, something she loved to do more than anything in the world. Again, Isolde was more important than she was. But why? Her sister only did things that could embarrass the family while she herself was out forging friendships and alliances with children of other, powerful nobles. She was the one preserving the future of the family, and Isolde was just trying to destroy it. Anger, resentment, and envy churned in her stomach and festered in her heart. When Isolde explained to her how Bennett had offered her one of Cordelia’s dresses after she tore hers, Tabi could say nothing for fear she would erupt in fury. She had liked Bennett for some time, and now it seemed he was enchanted by her heathen sister. Would everyone always choose her sister over her?
Sometimes she just couldn’t help but say something spiteful to Isolde. She tried to bite her tongue, but it was so agonizingly difficult. Her sister wormed her way into everything, and Tabi couldn’t have anything to herself. Eventually, Antonio left because of Isolde, and Tabi was heartbroken. Her tutor had been her closest friend, and now he was gone forever. Other tutors came and went, but none of them were like Antonio. They didn’t challenge her like he did and paid the vast majority of their attention to Isolde until finally they gave up on her little sister. She started to become close to the tutor who first replaced Antonio, but Isolde drove him away too. She had to learn not to become close with any more of her tutors after that.
Since her lessons didn’t require much time anymore, she was free to work on her ascent up the social ladder. She worked her way up rapidly and soon became one of the most popular young ladies at every occasion. The most exclusive cliques and groups were all eager to have her join, and she even had several potential, gentlemen suitors. Her quick wit and sharp intellect were matched by none, and even the more elderly nobles enjoyed her company. She had made a few enemies on her way to the top, but she was so well-respected and refined now that no one dared to attack her character or standing. Anyone who hurt her would be looked down on with disdain and distaste.
One night, Tabi accidentally found out the truth. She had snuck into the house late at night after meeting a young nobleman for an evening stroll and heard her parents’ voices from the hall. She wasn’t planning on eavesdropping, but when her name came up, she pressed her ear against the library door to hear their words more clearly. Apparently, she wasn’t her parents’ child at all. Her mother’s first child had been stillborn, but a servant who used to work for her parents was also with child and had delivered a baby girl on the same night. The servant had conceived the child out of wedlock and filled with worry gave up the girl to the grieving marquess and marchioness. Adelaide and Edmund paid the servant handsomely and arranged for her to live in another city. Not only was she a commoner but illegitimate. She hurried upstairs to her room and tried not to sob for fear she’d wake Isolde.
Not long after, her parents announced the engagement of Bennett and Isolde, and that was when she finally snapped. Of course her parents would engage her younger sister to a higher-ranking noble even though she was the eldest daughter and should be married first. She wasn’t of noble blood. Everything made sense now. Why her father was distant, why her mother loved Isolde more than she loved her. Tabi was, and always would be, last in everything. She became angrier to cover up the gaping hole in her heart and took out her confusion, fear, and anger on her sister. When the engagement of Isolde and Bennett was called off, she wasn’t sad. She was a little sad, but only because Bennett would want nothing to do with her family after this. She now had no chance with him.
Not long afterwards, her parents informed her that she and Isolde would be traveling to Eldritch Manor in order find a suitable husband. Tabi was not thrilled that Isolde was going with her, but at least she had a chance to be engaged in a place where no one knew of her true parentage. Maybe at Eldritch there would be someone who wouldn’t choose her sister over her for once.

Other:


message 8: by Crabby Constance, Crabby Countess (last edited Jan 15, 2020 08:15PM) (new)

Crabby Constance (crabbyconstance) | 118 comments Mod
Marguerite C. St. Pierre - Part One

Name: Marguerite Cosette St. Pierre
Nicknames: Mari, Rita

Age: 18

Gender: Female

Appearance: Marguerite has averagely thick, dirty blonde hair to her mid back with some slight waves throughout. Sometimes, her hair even appears to be a very light brown, especially so when it’s wet or pinned up. Mari really does prefer to let her hair hang untouched, but occasionally she will try to pull it into an easy, simple style. Her wide eyes resemble a watery lagoon brimming over with crystal whites and vivid blue, accented by faint, blonde brows and a brush of thin lashes. Marguerite’s nose is narrow, connecting to her angular cheekbones and the rest of her bony face. Besides this, her lips are a perfect, smooth shape and averagely full, and they match her large eyes. Her face is a sharp, diamond shape, and her complexion is fair and completely clean of blemishes, freckles, or any other markings. It’d be too much to ask for her hair to stay out of her face though, and there’s usually two or more strands over her forehead and the side of her face. There is always a sickly pallor to Mari as well. Oftentimes, the rim of her face is covered in a sticky sweat that spreads to her hair and neck, and without cosmetics she can appear deathly pale. As another effect of this, she seems skinny and twig-like, her bones visible unless covered by clothing. With a little more fat on her, people always tell her she could turn into as graceful a lady as her personality dictates. Her height does something for her too, thankfully. She has a long neck with wonderful posture, reaching to about 5’5 when she holds herself properly. Unfortunately, without more weight than her current average of 105 pounds, she will always be awkwardly taller than her frame would reason. Marguerite doesn’t have any curves worth mentioning, but nevertheless she’s grateful for her less-than-averagely small waist because that’s about all she got. She makes a point to appear neat, though, which is about the only thing she can really do to improve her image. Her nails are pearly pink, clean, and carefully trimmed to the same exact length – not too long, not raggedly short – and her light skin is perfectly free of markings, scratches, or cuts. She even takes the time to clean her hair daily, so she has an everlasting, pleasant fragrance. The few, graceful bones she was born with are her long arms and slender hands. They move as if in water, transforming her gestures into something elegant. Her fingers possess the ability to create the most ornamented cursive, and they’re also unbelievably soft and thin to the touch too. Of course, it hardly makes up for her bony legs and figureless body, but she’s happy with anything positive.
Mari’s dresses are always simple. She hates frills and lace, but instead prefers to wear classic designs with just a few details. She does fits well into a corset however, except it also serves to accent how stick straight her body is. There isn’t really a color that compliments Marguerite – at least, not any bright or bold colors. Mari looks best in soft shades of lavender, pale blue, light green, pearly pink, or sometimes a deep purple. Nothing too dark, and especially not ever any yellow. If she avoids these, she looks less sickly-pale than otherwise. Her favorite dress is a light lavender, and she can be absolutely stunning in it, in her opinion. Of course, not drop-dead, stop-the-ball stunning, but pretty-for-what-you’ve-got stunning. The fabric is also soft and comfortable, so that’s a plus. Mari loves headpieces, too, and she often places a bow or barrette the color of her dress just below the crown of her head. She always wears a small necklace or choker for some added sparkle or detail, but never anything too much or obnoxious for her sense of style. Mari would prefer to wear flats everywhere she goes so she doesn’t look unfashionably tall, but she can only get away so much from the typical heels or boots.

Personality: Marguerite is a docile, quiet young lady with enviable manners. She never speaks out of turn or rudely to another, and most of her time she spends actively listening. Mari carefully filters what comes out of her mouth, which may be why she just doesn’t talk an awful lot. She does make a considerable impression in the social circle though: not for her looks, but for her tame, refined way of speaking and acting. Marguerite is never boisterous or obnoxious, rather serious, resigned, and quiet. It isn’t just her speech that reflects this, but it’s her voice as well. She’d never raise her tone against someone else, and she’s often spoken over since she refuses to talk at an average volume.
Marguerite finds something about everything to be optimistic about. If you told her that a relative died, to her it means she would be able to meet new relatives and share hope and grief with them. She realizes when things are unchangeable, thus she doesn’t understand why someone would want to sit in a mound of wistfulness and sorrow instead of simply improving their viewpoint. She’s the same way about everything. This part of her carries throughout all of her life without exception. She’s been accepting unfortunate facts and dealing with them by moving on since she was a young girl, and it’s honestly helped her with all the misfortune life has handed her. People often ask her how she does this and some find her constant gratefulness irritating or fake, but it’s really just her own coping method. She’d spent part of her childhood mourning everything and constantly swimming in despair that she’d never want to go back to that. Now, she’s nothing less than optimistic at all times. Some interpret this as thankfulness, but while it’s true she is grateful, this really stems from her positivity. If she ceased to be positive, her appreciativeness would disappear too.
Marguerite is usually very encouraging to others. She uses her natural optimism to help others see the bright side, mainly because she knows how much it has helped her in turn. She’s very sensitive to others’ emotions and struggles, and she rarely lets a rude word leave her mouth. Mari is always really careful about how her words might be perceived, so the most she really says to anyone is some sort of compliment or affirmation. Unfortunately, she doesn’t keep friends – or herself – in check because of this. She would hate to make an enemy or hurt a feeling that she’d never point out something that hurt herself or a trait that isn’t someone’s best. This isn’t normally a problem because not many people would do so with mere acquaintances, but with her it is. She gives close friends and family free passes frequently even if they have a continual problem. She would never tell the truth about someone if it had a slight chance of hurting them, yet she’s always encouraging people and sharing her optimism.
Mari also hates gossip, and she really strays away from the people who have a tendency to spread rumors and involve themselves in others’ business. She knows those girls would just as soon turn around and whisper about her behind her back as they would tell her about someone else’s misfortune. She sees gossip as unkind and insensitive, but she’s too against hurting a person to even tell someone to stop carrying the rumors around. However, she’d never do it herself, and that counts for something, too. She likes to spend time around those who stay away from the gossipers as well, mainly because she knows they won’t betray her or her secrets. It took her some time to learn this, especially when she first came to England and was the very popular subject of the ladies’ judgment. Nevertheless, she’s always felt alienated from the other women her age. She was different, uncultured, and she didn’t grow up with them. She’s constantly encouraging no matter what, but she’s found herself around the less popular people since she’s not that widely accepted. It hurts sometimes, but there’s usually some piece of optimism that she reminds herself of.
Marguerite is a hopeless romantic and dreamer. She’s never wanted to shortchange herself into a marriage, and it’s always been a continual promise to herself no matter what. She wants to have a happy future with someone she loves, and that loves her. Mari has spent time dreaming about this since she was a little girl, but it’s not something she commonly discloses. Instead, the daydreamer part of her is kept under wraps. She thinks herself foolish and shameful for believing in something like true love, but she’s never tried to convince herself out of it. There’s just a comfort in it for her. Most of her alone time is spent lying on her back envisioning a future for herself, and she really loves this alone time. She’s most definitely an introvert, and a hopeless one at that. It’s a dream she’s always wished for, but her life hasn’t been the happiest so far and she honestly doesn’t know what to expect after all her losses.

Family:
Parents: Gael and Chanel Cosette St. Pierre
Sibling: Raphael St. Pierre
Uncle: Edward St. Pierre

Title: Lady St. Pierre (niece of the Marquess of Normanby)

History: Marguerite Cosette St. Pierre was born in her and her family’s homeland of France - quite some time after her brother - to her poor parents, Gael and Chanel, who did their best to be loving but just frankly couldn’t afford to do so. Honestly, she really was raised by her brother. While both her parents worked to feed them and clothe them, she and Raphael were free to do as they pleased. They had quite the street urchin reputation, and the siblings were close despite the large age gap. Raphael was actually the one who lovingly nicknamed her Rita, and as a child that was all she was known by. As a kid, she and Raphael would run the streets, pickpocketing where they could and ending the day covered in grime and dirt just for a bit of food. Never mind that their uncle in England was nobility, he refused to aid them. Half the family had journeyed to England, half had stayed in France, and no more words were spoken between them since it happened almost half a century ago. So, both Raphael and Marguerite had very little knowledge of any of their relatives.
Eventually, Raphael realized that Rita wasn’t exactly a normal child. She was sick frequently, and her heart just never seemed strong enough. She was often faint and weak, but there was nothing anybody could do. Doctors were too expensive, and both Gael and Chanel knew that the answer they’d give them would be hopeless anyway. Raphael was always overprotective of Rita after that, and he made her rest all the time. When she was ill, he’d force her into bed and go out onto the streets by himself. Occasionally, he’d bring her a piece of candy that she’d treasure, but such a treat was rare. Money was just scarce. When she was about nine, her parents decided she should go to the school down the street. Raphael had never gone and was by now just too old to start learning, but Rita was young and bright even though she was sickly. She missed weeks of school sometimes due to her heart and weak immune system, but nothing could be done about it. It was just the way things were. Unfortunately, her parents died around that time, both due to a fire at work which collapsed the building on top of them. Raphael had forgotten to pick her up from school that day, so she walked home to find him on the top step in tears. He explained their deaths to her, and they grieved together for the remainder of the night. Rita was never close with her parents, but Raphael had known them better and even the idea of being all alone in the world terrified her. No longer would Gael and Chanel Cosette St. Pierre appear inside their home at night, and no longer would she see them ever again.


message 9: by Crabby Constance, Crabby Countess (new)

Crabby Constance (crabbyconstance) | 118 comments Mod
Marguerite C. St. Pierre - Part Two

History Cont’d: After the short, weepy funeral, which passed in a blur to Marguerite, Raphael sold their house and moved him and Rita into one of his friend’s apartments. She kept going to school, but Raphael would never pick her up anymore. He had to get a job to provide, and it was just the way things were.
Marguerite hated the new way things were, but she adjusted over time whether she liked it or not. After a long day of school, she’d return home to an empty apartment that somehow wasn’t complete without either her parents or Raphael. She was free to do whatever, but for a while she just didn’t want to do anything. Dealing with the loss of her parents, plus the huge change it had brought about, was really hard for her. At this time, he stopped calling her Rita, too. She was no longer a child, so her childhood nickname was gone. He resorted to calling her Marguerite, and only that. After a year or two, it began to pass and she became accustomed to things. By this time, she’d successfully learned to read and write French, and her school had even taught her some English as well. Raphael made the decision to pull her out and have her find some work for herself. He was in his early 20s at least, but still poor as ever. Work went slightly better for her since she’d had schooling, and she never really minded it. She helped out at one of their neighbor’s shops, and she enjoyed visiting with the customers. With two incomes, they had some extra cash and decided to move out of Raphael’s friend’s apartment. They began renting their own, and Marguerite loved to decorate it and find furniture with what extra cash they had. She enjoyed the process of creating their new home, her work, and the friends she’d made at school and at her job. Finally, happiness was seeping through into both their lives. When she was fifteen, Marguerite started dating a boy named Alaire. He was her first boyfriend, in fact. While he wasn’t any less poor than the St. Pierre’s, he was funny and she could tell he cared about her. Raphael wasn’t ever really informed of Alaire. They’d been close as children, but they both matured younger than normal and simply didn’t have time to stay close. Alaire and her other friends nicknamed her Mari, and she’s preferred to go by that since. Alaire and Mari were clearly in love and happy despite their poverty. When she was sixteen, Marguerite was ripped away from everything she loved, including him. Raphael had died in a work accident, and this was what really mellowed out Marguerite’s fun-loving, wild personality. She changed into a quiet girl with not much to say, in shock over the loss she’d experienced already in her short life. With no one to care for her, she was forced to contact her Uncle Edward, the only person she knew of who could care for her. A tearful, grief-filled goodbye took place between her and Alaire, as well as the rest of her friends. She and Alaire both knew it was the end of the line for them. It was foolish to think they’d ever reunite, and this was the one part of her life that she never found any optimism in.
Arriving in a foreign world, Marguerite tried to settle in as best she could at her uncle’s home. Being part of the noble world was strange to her, and at first she hated how the lavish way of living made her feel. She was angry for the longest time over this. Why couldn’t her uncle have helped them? Did he not care about her or her brother? Even then, how could people live like this without a thought to anybody else? Her first months there were spent relearning English, and trying to find hope in this new world. The parties, social circles, dresses, and such were an adjustment, and she never really did make any friends. Her uncle never did spare her much thought either, and he provided the bare minimum so she wouldn’t embarrass him, but that was it. She had to learn to act a different way here, but she was surprisingly good at being genteel and docile. She’d already been quiet before, though just not as well-mannered. A year or two later, her uncle saw a way to be rid of her and shipped her off to the Lockwoods. He told her it was her chance to secure her own future, and that she’d better marry if she wanted to continue living like this. He made sure she knew that she wouldn’t be welcome back if she didn’t find a husband, and she feels immensely pressured because of this. At the same time, she hates the idea of marrying anyone. She’d dreamed about finding true love since she was a little girl, and she thought she’d found it in Alaire before she was forced to leave her homeland. She’s very confused, but also very closed off to the idea of actually getting married. Nevertheless, she’s packed her bags and here she is, for better or for worse.

Other:


message 10: by Crabby Constance, Crabby Countess (last edited Jan 15, 2020 08:17PM) (new)

Crabby Constance (crabbyconstance) | 118 comments Mod
Desmond S. Winsmore - Part One

Name: Desmond Sinclair Winsmore
Nicknames: Des (though he hates this), Sinclair, Clair

Age: 17

Gender: Male

Appearance: Desmond resembles a disheveled lupine with his often pure forgetfulness as to his appearance and hygiene. His dark brown hair ends up straight or curly on any given day, accompanied by an abundance of thick tangles and out-of-place locks down to the middle of the back of his neck. It’s rarely trimmed or styled, thus betraying the current fashions with its shaggy sight. A few strands usually hang over his forehead and caramel eyes, as well as his dark, thick eyebrows. His eyes are warm, almost syrupy, and golden, amber traces can be glimpsed throughout his otherwise brown irises. Desmond’s short eyelashes remain visible around them, yet only by their own charcoal color and not of length or thickness. His wide forehead gently tapers towards his chin, his raised cheekbones leading the way to his bony, narrow nose, and thus determining his ovoid face. He has oddly thin lips, a lighter pink than his warm skin would normally dictate. Along his jaw and above his lips, a blatantly apparent stubble is always present, another example of his slovenly nature. Desmond has a brawny build with muscled limbs and abs, and he stands handsomely at about 5’9 and 167 pounds. His skin is always naturally tanned, primarily on his forehead, cheekbones, shoulders, neck, and legs. His arms are often much paler, all the way down to his ragged fingertips, too.
Desmond’s clothes are nothing short of messy, with missing or skipped buttons, uneven collars, and consistently dusty vests – the latter caused by his habitual attraction to the Winsmore’s musty library. He wears dark greens, blacks and browns, and nothing else other than that to avoid thinking about his dress any more than required. Desmond also never goes anywhere without his favorite, but dilapidated and weathered tawny overcoat. He’s constantly forgetting his black hat, and if he does ever remember to don it, he leaves it in the strangest of places when he takes it off. Most of his time is spent searching for it after that. He also has the bad habit of hurriedly knotting his neckties, thus they’re always crooked and even sometimes torn. In short, Desmond could appear a handsome gentleman if he cared enough, or didn’t refuse to dress in anything other than his tired vests and coat. But instead, he appears as if he just woke up - and his millions of snapped buttons and those frequent mornings that he accidentally skips over one - hardly help.

Personality: Sinclair is an idealist. He’s always formulating his own opinions, and sticking firmly to them no matter who questions him. He’s often told his views are the ideas of a young boy and not a man, but he’s not about to throw away years of book-learning at the hands of a shallow insult. Most of his time is spent thinking. Whether he’s pondering a deep theory or hosting a trial-and-error in his head, he can be counted upon to be stuck in his own little world like any other antisocial butterfly. He tosses away people’s condescension with ease too, as others’ opinions have never held much substance for him. One of his favorite things to do – besides thinking, of course – is putting his thoughts to use. He never hesitates to debate with someone or counter someone’s arguments even if it affects his credibility. Desmond loves opportunities to learn something new, so he often sticks himself in situations where he’s likely to gain information and experience. However, he’s always refused to find a mentor or teacher, and when he was tutored, he constantly surpassed the man with his book-reading and questions. Eventually, his father dismissed the man after he’d complained about Desmond’s insolence and fascination with theologies and philosophies one too many times. The tutor’s accusations were quite accurate though, but Sinclair, staying true to his ideals, refused to apply any of his critiques or advice. Being an idealist to him meant daydreaming and envisioning how to achieve the best state of government or politics, whether some of his propositions were practical or not. His goal is to figure out a way to reach this idealism, and it often pains him to fail at this. However, he isn’t known for his rationality, so he marks it as simply ‘in progress’ and hurries on to the next challenging dilemma. Since he can’t ever seem to pick one thing and finish it before debating something else, he has multiple projects continuing at the same time. He visits each based on what he feels like or if he’s thought of something new, though at some point he begins mixing up everything when trying to explain it to someone.
Desmond likes to do things for himself, almost to a fault. He absolutely refuses to accept someone’s answer or explanation, and he has to arrive at that conclusion himself even if the other’s was correct. Of course, he always tries to affirm the other’s if they turned out to be right so as not to be rude, but with everything he has on his mind he often forgets. Sinclair mostly blames this on his confident trust in his thought process, and his lack of faith in everyone else’s. He knows himself to be a careful thinker, and he wants to ensure his musings reflect his views on other things. One of his biggest frustrations is inconsistency. He hates it in himself and in others, and he’s quick to point it out despite however rude it may be. When he learns things, he must figure whatever it is out on his own no matter how long it takes him and how many failures he experiences. He abhors hints and direction, for that subtracts from the amount of it he’s done by himself. Thankfully, Sinclair is perfectly fine relying on himself. He eventually grasps concepts through books and his own brain, and if he can’t otherwise, he simply revisits the basics and keeps researching it until he does. Similar to this, he must formulate his own opinions by himself. He listens to others, discusses with others, reads things written by others, and absorbs it all in to ultimately produce a very detailed, deep opinion. He’s constantly considering new ideas and research, but anyone who inquires about them instantly regrets it. Desmond is almost too well-read, and the flow of scattered information he spits out loses people. The thinking he performs well, but the communication not so much.
Desmond experiences the most critiques simply because his manner of speaking could use some work. The way he conveys things is confusing, and it depicts him as a boy with advanced visions and little practicality. Practicality isn’t his specialty either, but he could appear much more so if he didn’t just spout things at people randomly without really referencing literature. He seems to assume that since he trusts himself so much, others will too. Obviously though, that isn’t so. Even his writings are the same way. Transferring his ideas into something tangible is a huge struggle for him, yet it does greatly improve when he practices talking things out in his head or with his group of close, idealist friends. Another reason he’s often addressed as impertinent is that he’s very outspoken. Desmond never hesitates to speak his views even if the timing is wrong or his ideas lack respect for his peers. He simply doesn’t care what others think; he’s not going to let his well-thought-out opinions and book-learning go to waste by sitting there dimwittedly when the conversations arise. Thus, others’ perceptions of him are often terrible, and it’s good that he doesn’t allow them any credit.
Desmond is very ambitious. While he tries to be gentlemanly, he thinks that the goal is dull and that people should be more eager to actually do something with their lives. His idealistic worldview definitely stems from this ambition, whether the goal is to improve society or solve problems. Since Desmond is inwardly-focused however, he probably appreciates the problem-solving more than the selflessness that results from it. He’s constantly reaching for the next thing, especially the current, popular debates and arguments. He wishes to be involved in all of these, thus he reads and then invites himself into the conversations. Desmond has some perfectionistic qualities to him, and he’s even forced periodic exercise into his routine so he isn’t just sitting around all day. He’s actually grown to enjoy the activity however, incorporating it whenever he can. He finds that he can think better when he’s out and about, and several hobbies have originated from this. Walking, running – really any form of exercise – clears his brain. The results are a good bit of muscle, the satisfaction of not being lazy, and much better focus when he sits down to his studies later on. His ambition drives all of this, constantly reaching for the newest heights. He’s always searching for things to improve his thinking too, so some better hygienic habits have occurred through his research of them, but if someone’s just told him to do something it’ll have no effect.
Desmond is appreciative of good humor too. While he’s only funny because of his foolishness, he’s fond of light-hearted jokes and comedic people. If things are serious too long, he tires of discussion and often steals an entertaining saying that he’s heard before to achieve that purpose since he can’t seem to do it very well on his own. That said, most of his close friends love witty humor just like him, sharing their jokes with him at every chance they get.

Title: Baron Winsmore (son of the Earl of Tipperary)

Family:

Parents: Engelbert and Aurellia Winsmore
Siblings: Eberhart, Cornelius, and Amanda Rose Winsmore

History: Desmond was born second, a few years after his elder brother Eberhart. Eberhart clearly reigned as their father’s favorite, and Desmond often called him their “perfect son” out of spite or annoyance with him. Eberhart grew to be only more egotistical, constantly shoving it in Desmond’s – and only Desmond’s – face. Desmond was never close with Eberhart, and he never would be. Soon, their younger brother Cornelius arrived, thankfully acting as a peacemaker between the two brothers. Eberhart was never very close with Corie either, but Desmond enjoyed playing with him when the two were young.
The boys attended parties and events since they were little, surrounded by fancy nobility and well-known people. While Eberhart fit in like it was his own home, Sinclair and Corie felt out of place and overwhelmed. Clair would’ve much rather relaxed at home by himself than attend, but Engelbert and Aurellia didn’t give him a choice. Instead, he caused minor mischief with Corie. Gorging themselves on cakes, sneaking off to explore the venue, mocking the ladies, trying on the men’s coats; they did whatever entertained them. Corie was the one with all the ideas, and Sinclair simply tagged along since no better option presented itself. Engelbert became very stern after their nonsense had gone on long enough. Soon, Desmond and Corie were forced to remain by his side at any event, at which Eberhart held over the boys’ heads. Engelbert and Aurellia clearly announced they weren’t going to condone any foolishness or sloppiness. Unfortunately, Corie was foolish, and Desmond was sloppy. Ever since he could dress himself, his appearance was constantly messy and often ridiculous, driving both his parents up the walls. Desmond never cared enough to change though, so his parents eventually became accustomed to it. The servants attempted to dress him for a while, but he’d swat their hands away and usher them out of his room. He could get himself presentable just fine – or not just fine – but either way he was doing it alone. He wasn’t helpless, and he didn’t need their condescending stares picking at every wrong little thing.


message 11: by Crabby Constance, Crabby Countess (new)

Crabby Constance (crabbyconstance) | 118 comments Mod
Desmond S. Winsmore - Part Two

History Cont’d: When he grew of age, his parents allowed Eberhart’s tutor to begin teaching him as well. Desmond actually enjoyed the structure and the lessons, but he found the tutor dry and dull. He was frequently taught on manners and how to present oneself, which he figured was at the request of his father. Nevertheless, he sat for several hours a day absorbing the information, and rarely applying it. The two often studied in the dusty, old library that most of the family members either ignored or despised, and after one particularly interesting subject, Sinclair decided to see for himself if there were any other books on the topic. He stumbled across texts about philosophy, sciences, politics, and thoughts and stories from great minds; it was then that his idealism began. Sinclair spent hours every day pondering different theories and points, actions of men and women, or really anything he found that might refine his opinion. Most called his opinions fantastical and unrealistic whenever he voiced them, thus he learned that supporting his ideas would be necessary as well. Clair only became more well-read, and eventually his tutor decided he couldn’t teach Sinclair much more. He’d been taught everything he’d need, and Desmond was usually off in his own little world anyway. While he’d liked having someone to discuss things with, he wasn’t sad to see the tutor go. It’d just leave him more time for his studies. However, craving people to share his ideas with – even despite his introversion – became a regular feeling for him.
Around the time his tutor left, the three boys’ received a little sister. Amanda Rose was a regular sweetheart, and she won everybody’s attention. The huge age gap between Corie and Mandy Rose remained, but even Eberhart and Desmond didn’t mind sparing some time to play with their baby sister. Mandy was a lot slower at things than the boys had been, and she’d barely started crawling and talking by the time she was two. Other than that, not much foreshadowed the problems she’d experience in the future. Mandy Rose loved being with Desmond as she grew past her toddler years, and he never minded spending time with his sweet angel of a sister. Mandy’d often play in the library next to him while she studied, and she’d constantly beg him for stories. Desmond created notoriously good stories with his own philosophy mixed in sporadically. Mandy Rose absolutely hungered for them, her blonde curls bouncing around her pouty face whenever she asked. On occasion, Sinclair would agree and the two would cuddle up with Amanda hanging on to every word. She preferred to sit most of the time, which was probably why she and Sinclair had bonded the most.
While she was still under her tween years, Desmond was turning into a young man of courting age. His father announced this happily one evening, meaning that Sinclair would obviously dread it. Engelbert became much stricter with him though, and his appearance and behavior was constantly criticized in order to morph him into a respectable gentleman. Unfortunately for everyone involved, Sinclair hardly cared about respectability, and he and Engelbert were habitually at each other’s throats. Finally, Engelbert left Desmond alone and instead matched him up with the daughter of a viscount. The two courted for maybe a week or two before the girl tired of his constant rhetoric. Desmond was more than happy to let her go, even if it meant his father held a fit of anger that night. Desmond continued to court around after that – per his father’s request – but none of his serenades turned serious or lasted long. One thing that did come of his forced socialization was a group of intellectual friends who met at the events and discussed philosophy. All of them were quite well-read, and Desmond often headed the meetings despite there only being three of them. They matured into his closest friends whom he shared everything with, and they were his constant support when Amanda Rose fell sick a few years later.
Mandy’s illness started off as a fever, but it continually persisted and worsened for a week until Engelbert and Aurellia worriedly called for the doctor. He diagnosed her with scarlet fever, saying it was too late to really help her. Aurellia refused to believe such, and she searched for every doctor throughout the whole of England to receive any diagnosis with an ounce of hope, but Mandy’s illness only progressed. The family was forced to vacate the home and burn everything she’d touched. When Aurellia and Engelbert realized they’d contracted it, they traveled straight to the doctor, and thankfully they’d both recovered. By that time though, Amanda Rose had already slipped away. Desmond remained angry for the longest time, angry at the doctor for not helping her, angry at not being able to be with her, angry at his parents. Yet, his close friends kept him frequent company during his grief, and he slowly adjusted to life without Mandy Rose’s sparkle and happiness. Desmond also refused to court any longer after this, which Engelbert accepted silently. Desmond only became angrier when Eberhart announced his marriage to a young lady he’d been courting for a while just a few months after Mandy’s death. It was insensitive, he and Corie both agreed, but Engelbert and Aurellia joyfully immersed themselves in the marriage. Six months after Eberhart married – which Desmond described as a huge pile of fake happiness – Engelbert returned to his idea of marrying Desmond. Desmond turned his anger on his father, and things normalized after that. With the two at each other’s throats, Engelbert decided to send him off to the Lockwoods. Desmond was outraged at being forced to leave, but his bags had already been packed and loaded by the time the news was announced. Aurellia was in tears at Engelbert’s decision – losing three kids in such a short time was painful for her – but Engelbert wanted Desmond to find a wife and that was that. Engelbert never really liked the Lockwoods, but he figured his eccentric son might find someone in the midst of the eccentric family. Desmond traveled here fuming at the separation between his friends, but fighting back was obviously futile now.

Other:


message 12: by Crabby Constance, Crabby Countess (last edited Jan 15, 2020 07:40PM) (new)

Crabby Constance (crabbyconstance) | 118 comments Mod
Hester M. St. James - Part One

Name: Hester Mary St. James
Nicknames: Hess, Hessy, Mary

Age: 20

Gender: Female

Appearance: Hess’ hair borderlines between orangey-red and brown, morphing into a coppery, light auburn that reaches her mid-back. It appears more of golden brown when pinned up and paired with flowers, but when her hair hangs in its typical waves, her ginger accents are apparent again. However, her hair is hardly ever left alone. Most of the time, she styles it extravagantly and pairs it with a headpiece that accents her beauty. Her favorite thing to do with her hair is tie it back using a dark brown ribbon, but it’s often too simple for the current fashions, thus she rarely ever does this. One of her other favorite styles is crimping and curling, and she always ensures a few ringlets frame the sides of her face. Her hazel eyes also appear brown sometimes as well. Strands of honey, amber, and bronze intertwine themselves in rings around her iris, with intermittent flecks of jade green and smoky gray to form its asymmetric patterns. Above her soft irises, precise, angular brows and abnormally long lashes create a smooth outline for her eyes. Her nose is quite petite and barely noticed compared to her complex eyes, but they dull the pathway to her averagely full lips. The indent just between the middle of her mouth and nose tends to seem more stressed than most, and her warm skin highlights her natural, strawberry red lips. Hess has high cheekbones that, from their connection to her temple, begin tapering down towards a jutted chin, forming her face into a diamond shape with a few spatters of freckles across her cheeks, nose, and forehead. Her creamy, fair skin has glowing, tan undertones that especially darken on her legs and arms, but lighten for the perfect complexion on her face, neck, and shoulders. Hessy also has the perfect figure. Her bosom, petite waist, and hips are all to be envious of, only further cementing her stature as a fine lady. She stands shortly at about 5’1, and her thin, slender body adds up to a weight of 108 pounds.
Hester always dresses in the latest fashions and colors. Her restrictive corsets accent her figure, with her heeled, stylish shoes increasing her height. Hessy’s favorite colors are red, pale blue, and purple. In fact, her favorite gown is pale blue with slim sleeves, a low neckline, tight bodice, hourglass shape, pleats at the waist, and a white collar and cuffs. However, she wears hoop skirts frequently as well, but that’s not to say she doesn’t have every fashion for every occasion available in her closet. Whether it’s a riding gown, evening dress, hoop skirt, hourglass, bustle, tapered skirt, you name it – she owns it with the best of fabrics and details. She also enjoys wearing aesthetic movement gowns, but she hardly ever dons these since she’s expected to be a traditionally classic woman. Hess never leaves home without a bonnet, cape, and pristine, elbow-length gloves.

Personality: Hess’ constant measuring of her self-worth based on her performance and appearance has led her into a depression that’s controlled most of her teen years. She’s often very distant and secluded in public situations, but she’s practiced feigning her emotions for so long it’s a habit that surfaces without her realizing it. Avoidance is another one of her common habits, though she’s not attempting to improve this one. She’s perfectly fine to be cooped up in her own world, and she honestly wouldn’t like it any other way. At least this way she isn’t always comparing herself to others as she is when she’s actually aware of her surroundings. Comparison has been one of her biggest enemies, as have her perfection and vanity. The vanity was influenced upon her by her younger sisters Irene and Cecilia, and so have the unwelcome competitions of perfection. But with expectations hanging over her head, she was forced to play and hasn’t been able to fully quit it since. She’s the social girl that is constantly beautiful, proper and the source of jealousy to others, very popular with her peers for her standing, except that’s really only her façade. Unfortunately, this continually separates her from other girls her age as their spitefulness has slowly formed into a rift, yet in the wonderful game perfectionism, they’re all happy friends and gossipers. Hess feels a hated fakeness when she’s around anyone, which is another reason she’s frequently isolated. She despises the way she is, how reliant she is on others’ praises to help her feel not so worthless, but she simply can’t tug away from the things that hold her captive.
Hess isn’t very opinionated, or if she is she doesn’t show it. She thinks if she doesn’t agree with her parents or peers, she’s disappointing them. Seeing as that’s one of her biggest fears, she’s shoved away all her original ideas long ago and settled to confirming whatever anyone else says. She eagerly lets others walk all over her, using her, controlling her, really doing anything that suits their own interests. Her parents and friends form decisions for her, and she practically jumps to follow their instructions simply in order to impress them. Whatever they want of her, she’ll do; whatever they think of her, she’ll become. This has led many to dislike her – whether out of envy or her lack of any visible depth. She may not really be shallow internally, but that’s how she acts everywhere else. It’s another thing she hates about herself, and she hasn’t been able to change it. She does console herself by comparing her own vanity to that of her sisters’, though it may not be a good habit.
Besides spending loathed hours a day on her always under-perfect appearance, Hess is extremely proper. Her conversational skills are excellent, as is her dignity, even though at times she’s never as invested in the discussion as she seems. She wishes she could hide in a room alone all day, but it’s required of her to attend events. Hess is the center of the social circle there. She knows the frequent gossip, points of interest, topics, manners, politeness, and behaviors that stick her in the middle, and many realize she’s the girl to be around for popularity. At these social events, she’s engaging and interactive, constantly laughing and friendly, but with the delicate properness as a piece of china. She’s fun-loving with her so-called friends, and graceful around superiors and boys. In short, Hess is the perfect lady on the outside. Perfect keeps her world spinning, and she can’t handle the crashing-down chaos that’d happen if she released her hold on it.

Family:

Parents: Thomas and Catherine St. James
Siblings: Irene Lenora, Cecilia Prudence, and Priscilla Temperance St. James
Cousins: Silas, Solomon, Josiah, Lucien, Cecil, Larkin, Paris, and Isidore St. James

Title: Lady St. James (daughter of the Earl of Cairns)

History: While her younger sisters were much more boisterous and happy during their childhood and teen years, Hester actually lived. She became more isolated for several reasons, and her life was often very unhappy at times.
When she first came along, Thomas and Catherine absolutely loved Hess. She was undoubtedly their favorite, but with that meant their expectations for her were set unusually high. As a young girl, her vanity was similar to her sisters’ Irene and Cecelia, though they acted much worse. Constantly changing their dresses, buying new corsets that accented their natural beauty, applying cosmetics to fix every blemish – even if there weren’t any – whatever thing they thought might improve their appearance. Hess formed some of the same habits, and her own self-worth suffered because of how commonly she stared at herself in the mirror. Criticisms nested themselves in her brain; it also didn’t help any that her sisters were competing for who could stay the most beautiful and win the most suitors. Her parents expected Hester to reign at the top of the list constantly. She was pressured into being the center of all social circles and the envy of every single one of her peers. Catherine never outrightly mentioned this, yet it was silently understood. Caught up in their self-obsession, Irene and Cel hardly noticed, mostly ignoring everyone who wasn’t themselves. Priscilla, the youngest sister, only spent time with their cousins – who were conveniently all boys – and she and Hess were so different that they were worlds apart at all times. Thus, Hess continually became more secluded from everyone. Her relationships were purely fake, but she remained on top just to please her parents. Unfortunately, this only progressed her depression. When she wasn’t at parties covering up her loneliness with her perfect smiles and appearance, she hid herself in her room and avoided everyone at all costs. She was also tutored as well in her spare time – just another thing her parents automatically expected her to excel in. The tutor critiqued her sewing, embroidering, and penmanship until she used every hour up to reach perfection in these areas as well. Soon, the tutor was singing her praises. He eventually even asked if he could court her, but he was promptly fired and a new one was found to replace him. The woman pronounced Hess’ schooling complete, and moved onto her air-headed sisters, Irene and Cecilia. Perfect Hess was a source of jealousy for all around her, especially her younger sisters, who actually almost despised her for part of their teen years. Eventually, her parents decided she was ready for courting, so they discussed the idea of matching her up with their closest friends’ son. Really, they’d been discussing it for years, and she knew it was expected of her to someday court the boy. She and Patrick had been companions ever since they were young, so it didn’t necessarily bother her. Thinking of him romantically would be a big adjustment for her, but it was what her parents wanted. Thus, she forced herself into wanting it too. Patrick was a quiet, handsome gentleman who treated her with utmost respect and kindness, but she believed the feelings remained mostly one-sided. She grew to dread her evenings with Patrick even if he was nice, wishing she could pursue other courtships. But perfect Hess could never commit such a crime, so she feigned her feelings for him. At a party one night when Patrick could not attend, she met a young man named Simon. He was very close in age to her, and she actually felt something for him. She spilled her guts out to him while he listened patiently. Their friendship continued on, and after a while Simon asked to court her. Hess couldn’t resist agreeing, but she had to hide it from her parents to maintain her perfection. Unfortunately, Patrick found out a few months later when she stood him up for Simon, and he broke ties with her. Her parents were horribly upset and forbid her to leave the house without their supervision, but by then she was too in love to follow the rules. Her depression drove her out of the house, often spending afternoons and evenings with Simon until she snuck back into her parents’ home. A few months after her breakup with Patrick, Simon announced he’d have to travel to meet his aunt to assist her with things after his uncle died. Hess hated the separation, but there wasn’t anything she could do about it.


message 13: by Crabby Constance, Crabby Countess (new)

Crabby Constance (crabbyconstance) | 118 comments Mod
Hester M. St. James - Part Two

History Cont’d: On the trip back, Simon died in an accident, leaving Hess devastated and more alone than ever. In tears, she told her parents about him. They were obviously upset and disappointed, but she just stopped caring about what they thought. She tried to cease her habits of vanity and perfection, though nothing could quit so simply like that. In her mourning, she became more secluded. Her losses finally brimmed over the surface, and her parents realized that she needed a change of scenery. When they decided to send Priscilla to the Lockwoods, Catherine had the bright idea of having Hess join her. It would be terrible for her to end up an old maid, and it might even be good for her, they said. Reluctantly, she allowed her servants to pack her things and traveled here.

Other:


message 14: by Aphromisna (new)

Aphromisna (bopbear1324) | 80 comments Name: Lilyanna Lenora Lockwood
Nicknames: Lil, Lily, Anna, (most of the nicknames reserved for her parents, servants or special siblings Lily being the generic one that she allows for anyone to call her).

Age: 13

Gender: Female

Appearance: Split apart from the rest of her siblings and family, Lily has golden locks that are normally kept in two very tight braids that fall down the side of her face, with the occasional few strands of bangs that fall loose and cover part of her left eye. But the differences don't stop there as her eyes are the brightest of blues that would capture anyone's attention and seem like they were being hypnotized, despite that not being her magic ability. Having gotten the short end of the gene pool she hardly hits five foot at the time, though she definitely still has time to grow a little bit.

Personality: Lily could very well be a contender for the most extroverted Lockwood child out of the bunch, though she herself is still very reserved. Normally being able to be found sitting outside with her sketchpad and pile of objects laying discarded around her she's apt to talk to anyone that would come up to her and speak first. In her eyes, not speaking when spoken too was quite rude and sitting in silence afterwards would kill her. If she isn't found under the trees, she could be found in the house with her parents or trying to drum up some kind of conversation with a sibling or two. She's the child who has followed in the footsteps of her siblings just from observation alone. Having forced her personality around what she grew up around the older she got the more she realized that being like everyone else wasn't what she wanted. Lilyanna found out early in her life that though she did enjoy holing herself up in her room or the library with her nose in a book, she would rather be elsewhere with her sketchpad, thus transforming her into a quiet and well mannered teen that kept to herself unless she was told otherwise. She would jump at any opportunity to be able to go and explore to find herself more as she always had a sense of adventuring in her.

Magic: Lilyanna's magical ability stems out from what's turned into the love of her life, drawing. Whenever she draws, if she wishes for it to be real she can stick her hand into the paper and pull out a perfect replica of what she had drawn. Sometimes, if she wishes for it to be, it could be much larger or smaller than how she has drawn it. The changing of the size being something that she's working on little by little as it can be draining after working on the drawing itself. She has found that whenever she pulls something that could be harmful out, also as a fail safe, it doesn't do damage, it bends just like a piece of paper would. Lily has to be careful though of what she pulls out because depending on the size it'll disappear on her quickly. The smaller the object, let's say a coin, could last for a couple of days because of how tiny it is. A stuffed animal would last somewhere between a twelve hour span and twenty four hours. While something much larger would only last for mere hours or minutes.

History: Born early on a breezy April morning the cries of Lily woke the household as she had to make the others know that she was finally there. As the first few months wore on and she started moving they weren't able to keep her around or even on her mother. Lily was a very active child who wanted nothing more than to explore her surroundings. They once said that she never learned how to walk, she had learned to run. And run she did, causing havoc everywhere she went. If the floors weren't kept clean or were being cleaned while she was awake there was no chance of it happening. Lily never left any of the servants alone long enough to do their job, or at least properly anyway.

As the years waned on she grew tiresome of wreaking havoc and turned to children's books, then to roaming the outside world. Once she had turned five even that had grown to be boring, so she started sneaking and spying on everyone else to see what she could find that was new. Within a couple of weeks she finally settled on picking up a pencil and paper. It didn't take her long to find out that she enjoyed to draw and create her own adventures within the pages that she filled.

Though she rushed through her studies now, it didn't stop her from being a very bright child who only had to be shown something once to get the hang of it. But her real calling still laid within the pages of her many sketchpads that littered the manor. If inspiration ever hit her, she wanted to be able to stop and draw it right then.

It wasn't soon after her seventh birthday that she had discovered what her magical power was when she had been listening to some of her siblings argue and her hand flew through the page she was working on. When she extracted her hand from the paper, out popped the opened book she was drawing. Having saw what happened when the others had spoken up about what they could do she didn't want that to happen to her as well.

It wasn't until her tenth birthday had come and gone that everyone started to question if she had magic or not. After letting them all talk for a few weeks she finally came in the house and pulled a stuffed horse from her paper without a word to them before she sat down to eat her own dinner. They sat at the table in silence as usual, but for Lily this silence was even worse than normal until her parents finally said something about it near the end.

After that she tried her best to keep away from the rest of the family as best she could, lest she have to draw something for them and then bring it to life for them to use against each other. At least that's what she hoped they thought since she'd never explicitly said that her things cause harm or not.

When she heard that her parents had made the decision to open the doors to find everyone suitors she almost scoffed, but as she thought on it, the more she enjoyed the perspective people she could possibly frighten by pulling a sword or dagger out of a piece of paper even if it done nothing. Despite being one of the younger children she relished in the thought of maybe finding someone who wasn't too much older than she that perhaps would come to like her weirdness and want to pick her. There was that but also the idea of being able to leave the grounds and explore more of the world, broaden her drawing skills and in return her magical power.

Other:


message 15: by Alexandria (last edited Jan 27, 2020 02:02PM) (new)

Alexandria | 69 comments
NAME: Charlotte Lucille Isabella Alderidge

AGE: 18

GENDER: Female

APPEARANCE:
Charlotte bears much resemblance to her mother, her grace, the Duchess of Grafton, the prized french beauty who, for a great many years, has been the object of much envy. Like her mother, Charlotte's fair appearances are the very depiction of ladylike grace, elegance and delicacy; a noble and aristocratic visage well suited to the daughter of a Duke. For most, there had never been a doubt that the Duchess' children would be beautiful, and Charlotte proved them all right even as a child.

Charlotte boasted hair almost identical to her mother's, it fell from her head in long, dark chocolate brown tresses, ending at the point just before the centre of her back. Its soft, silken feel and appearance are resultant of much care. Her hair is washed and brushed regularly, thoroughly, and with great care. Charlotte would never be seen in public with unkempt hair, though that is not necessarily a result of her own efforts. She has always been tended to by servants, and her mother was sure to keep her daughter looking preened and proper, ensuring that her daughter is ever the lady that she was born to be. Resultantly, Charlotte's hair is often kept either tied neatly and close to her head in some sort of simple but aesthetically pleasing manner or in lively ringlet curls. So long as her hair is in fact styled, it is always in a manner that is both suitable to her features yet fashionable and respectable.

Charlotte's eyes happen to be the one feature in which she doesn't look quite like her mother, but instead like her father, his grace, the Duke of Grafton. Like him, her wide and ever so slightly upturned eyes are a striking shade of cool sapphire flecked with a glittering silvery grey. They glitter like a crystal clear lake, a dignified set of features that seem to carry a certain intelligence. Despite the glimmering beauty they hold, there is a certain level of hidden restraint and struggle that can be seen if one looks carefully enough into her eyes. These enchanting eyes are framed by long, dark, and delicate lashes that starkly contrast her brightly coloured eyes. Just beneath her eyes rests something that at a glance could go unnoticed. She has faint dark circles beneath her eyes, the result of her struggling to get sleep as well as her declining health.

The rest of her face is adorned by dainty and refined features befitting a lady of her social stature. Her complexion is the pallid shade of polished ivory with a light rosy colour on her cheeks. Her fair skin tone is so light in colour because for all her life she has been sheltered from the sun, often being kept indoors and under canopies when outside. It was very rare that she ever saw the sun and even rarer that its rays touched her skin. She bears no unsightly blemishes upon her face, her skin being as smooth as well cared for porcelain. This is once again the result of having nothing but the best things with which to care for her skin and a bevvy of servants to ensure she uses them. Across her nose and the upper areas of her delicate high cheekbones, run a spattering of very faint and quite small freckles, almost entirely unnoticeable from any great distance, but present nevertheless and somewhat more clear from up close.

Charlotte's nose is small, not overly prominent, but relatively proportionate to her face. It comes to a definitive point, refined and as previously mentioned, a smattering of very faintly coloured freckles runs over the bridge of her nose. Her lips are by no means large or full, though their rather typical size and natural light pink colour are well suited to the more delicate and almost elven features of her face. The corners of her lips are most often lifted ever so slightly into a practised smile that she has perfected over the years so that she never appears to be either upset or angry by accident.

Charlotte's relatively long and delicate neck leads down to an equally delicate and fragile seeming figure. Standing at no more than 5'3, Charlotte cuts a very unimposing silhouette, especially considering her small frame. Her health makes it more difficult for her to put on weight or muscle, she exhausts far too quickly for exercise, and most days her appetite isn't all that large so she only eats what she has to. The fact that she's usually stuck with rather simple foods that are, as her doctor says, the absolute best for someone with her condition, doesn't necessarily make her want to eat more. Her hands are soft and fragile with long fingers, unaccustomed to hard work, though the very tips of her fingers are often somewhat reddened from playing some sort of instrument.

In regards to clothing, Charlotte's wardrobe is stocked with the finest gowns and accessories from both Paris and London as well as a set of heirlooms handed down through both sides of her family for generations. Though it's her mother who selects dresses and jewels in the shops, it's Charlotte who chooses which to wear every morning. Taught how to dress from a young age, Charlotte is aware of what to wear with what and tends to stick to a more refined and simple appearance, often only wearing a few accessories at a time as not to appear gaudy or tactless. Charlotte realises that how she dresses reflects upon her family and thus takes it as seriously as she does any of her other social graces. There isn't a single piece in her wardrobe that's not something that lesser nobles envy, everything she wears is chosen with the purpose of making her stand out as the belle of the ball, a symbol of the dignity of the noble house Grafton. Her preferred colours tend towards cooler shades such as powder blue and lavender, though cream, white and even gold are not entirely alien to her.

PERSONALITY:
Charlotte is composed of two different aspects, there is the carefully crafted front of poise she utilises to keep herself safe and there's the warmer side of her that longs to resurface, but she fears the consequences of not maintaining perfect control over her every word and action. Resultantly, she presents herself as tepid and ladylike, a symbol of what the ladies of the aristocracy are supposed to be. Her competencies make her stand out as someone who fits in exceptionally well, a peculiar paradox, but an enviable trait for someone of her status and position.

The face she presents to the world is one that she has spent her entire life fabricating, taking lessons all her life on how to be the perfect lady. She is noted often for her flawless etiquette, a tribute to the labours of her governess who spent a great many hours ensuring that the social graces expected of a Duke's daughter were ingrained into her and so well practised that they were simply instinct. Charlotte needn't spare a thought to consider the proper etiquette for a certain situation giving her an air of ease and grace despite formalities that would trip others up. Comparatively, Charlotte has difficulty with informality. She is unadjusted to speaking to someone in a casual setting and thus she can come off as distant or perhaps insincere, but with time she can settle into such an interaction, though it requires a degree of comfort for her to do so.

Her formal and polite manner is derived from the sense of dignity she has in regards to her family. All her life her father would remind her in little ways of the honour and dignity that came with being a member of the great house of Grafton, and that for centuries they have proven themselves, time and again, to be the pinnacle of the aristocracy. Though Charlotte secretly longs for greater freedoms, she is grateful for all that her family provides for her, she sees the value of protecting the long-standing legacy left to her by her ancestors and would hate to be the one to squander that which they spent their lives to perfect. Charlotte's drive to well represent her family only increased when she saw her brother face the consequences of failing to live up to the standards of the family. She respects the many who have worked their lives to forge the legacy and fears the consequences of not living up to it which is perhaps the perfect formula for procuring one's loyalty.

The aforementioned fears also influenced her overall demeanour. Worried that she may make a fool of herself and thusly her family by being overly expressive and acting in only grand gestures, Charlotte has made a point of being quite mellow. The once cheerful and vivacious young girl quelled her impulses to present herself as calm and serene, just as one would expect from a highborn noble. She may at times appear somewhat unaffected by things, but it's all apart of an effort seem well put together. To keep herself collected, she goes to great lengths to avoid conflict even if her efforts are futile. Some forms of debate over topics such as art she can handle, but the moment things heat up Charlotte is the sort who simply chooses to walk away as not to create a scene or get worked up.

In conversation, Charlotte often aims to seem logical and reasonable. Often times she takes on the perspective of a realist, choosing to use facts to determine the outcome of a situation. At face value, this means that she has the potential to come off as blunt or callous, but like her mother, Charlotte has learned to speak every word as though it is poetry. Through this skill, Charlotte can take these more analytical observations and present them eloquently to produce a certain effect. Nevertheless, realism isn't natural to Charlotte, often she verbally walks herself through the situation trying to make it seem like she's explaining her reasoning when really she's just attempting to figure out what exactly is the realistic response.

Her true perspective is that of an optimist. She hides this behind a more logical front, but she always hopes for the best. Its this side of her that gives her hope that her brother may be happy with his new life, and it's this part of her that gives her the will to keep trying to be the perfect daughter. Though she disguises this fact, thinking others would find it too naive for the daughter of the great Duke of Grafton, it is possible to get it to show. When caught off guard by a question or if she's on a sort of rant she may forget to filter her behaviour. Nevertheless, this is one of the things that drives her to go on with her superficial life despite the perils she may face.

Charlotte has also learned to redirect her sense of fun and whimsy into art. Once a child who could play for hours by herself using just her imagination, she always had a sense of creativity. A woman hired by her family to teach her of the arts would always demand she directed all her creativity into art and not little games. Charlotte, being the obedient pupil she was, gave up on her playful ways and practised music, dance, and art until she tired herself out. They weren't quite the same in her mind, but she was happy to learn more and improve and so she threw herself into her practices, hoping to become as skilled in each subject as her tutor. Following her brother's departure, her lessons and practices became the main focus of her day and her skills saw considerable improvement. This focusing of her more lighthearted and playful nature made it easier to act formally and gave Charlotte an outlet for any of her urges or inner musings.

CONTINUES in next post...



message 16: by Alexandria (last edited Apr 04, 2020 02:14PM) (new)

Alexandria | 69 comments
Another of Charlotte's defining traits is intelligence and a passion for learning. Though her knowledge of more academic subjects is quite limited, a result of her being restricted to learning things deemed more feminine, she excels in her knowledge of what she has been taught, and her ability to pick up on new concepts is quite keen. She is happy to accept any opportunity to learn about something new. Though she doesn't show this side of herself unless it is brought out by someone else, once she gets going it is the easiest way to get her to let down her guard. She could go on forever about the things she has learnt and all the things she still wishes to know. It does become apparent in the little things she does over time, but until she is pulled out of her shell it usually doesn't come to the very forefront.

Unfortunately, Charlotte often doesn't act much like herself and lacks much in the way of willpower. She does everything she can to be what parents expect of her in fear of ending up cast aside like her brother who was sent away for his unruly behaviour and though she would never act as uncontrollable he did she still fears losing everything that she has because of some screw-up. Charlotte has nothing that is truly and unequivocally hers and so she simply cannot risk losing favour with her parents and to maintain their favour she has to be the perfect lady. Even though she'll be far from home, she still has to be careful not to make a fool of herself, though Charlotte has never been away from her parent's watchful eye before, so to her, it is a degree of freedom she has never had before and thusly a world of new opportunities to make her own way in the world.

HISTORY:
The noble house of Grafton has stood as a pinnacle of English nobility and aristocracy for well over a century. The family has counted many great figures in history amongst its members and allies, and is respected even by the other duchies of England. The Alderidge bloodline can be traced back centuries earning them certain privileges that many other nobles lack and a degree of dignity that is a cut above the rest. Their heritage is a point of pride, and they are renowned for their refinement and grandeur as one of the great houses of England.

The family's current head and the current Duke of Grafton is Duke Henry Charles of Grafton. Henry was raised to be an authoritative, honourable and dignified Duke just as his father and his father before him were. Henry holds himself and his family and high regard and as such will not allow them to live any life but the best. He is a commanding figure in the aristocracy, one that many look to as an example of how the nobility should present itself. His pride and grandeur, however, is not all there is to him, he is hardworking and respectable, he provides for those that depend on him and finds no greater honour than in helping those who need it, though this kindly nature does often get culled by his deeply ingrained sense of family dignity.

The Duke's wife, Duchess Amelia Vivienne Isabella of Grafton, was a woman he worked tirelessly to pursue. Amelia was the fair and beautiful daughter of a French Marquess. Amelia's prospects were many, scarcely was there a man of noble blood or otherwise who did not seek her hand in marriage upon the very first time they laid their eyes upon her. She was as accomplished, fashionable and educated as any French noblewoman, but with the calm and proper sensibility of an English lady. She was the perfect wife and though it took time and effort, Henry procured her as his own and his wife became the envy of much of the aristocracy. She moved with the grace of a trained dancer and spoke with the eloquence of a poet and so one day would her children.

The first child of the Duke and Duchess was a boy, the Lord Thomas Frederick Alderidge and the future Duke of Grafton. As he grew older Thomas was slight in frame, though impishly handsome and charming. In his early youth, he was a sweet and fearless boy, though what was once an endearing boldness developed into arrogance. He saw the pride his father had, imitated it and in his head contorted it. Though he wasn't unnecessarily cruel to others, he acted superior and condescending, as if even those ranked above him were just children. The Duke and Duchess loved their son, but the older he got more and more troublesome. He would behave flippantly and though he understood formalities and even followed some by mere instinct, he often overstepped certain unspoken boundaries.

When Thomas was thirteen years old, their second child was born and her name was Charlotte Lucille Isabella Alderidge. With their son and heir already born, Charlotte's parents were more than happy to show her off like a young girl would a new doll. Even as a very young age, others would point out the uncanny resemblance she bore to her mother, the timeless french beauty. At the time Charlotte was entirely unaware of what that meant, but in her future, she would be flurried by shallow compliments on her beauty and elegance just as her mother always was. Until that day came, she would be pampered by her parents, dressed in the finest gowns to match her mother and wrapped in the softest blankets imported from distant lands.

Charlotte was a decidedly quiet infant and toddler, she scarcely ever cried and she was by no means a gurgling baby. She never once had reason to shed a tear, all her needs were taken care of before she even knew she had them, there was a servant around every corner each who would pass her along to teach her this, or to help her with that. When it came to the babblings and noises made by most babies, Charlotte stayed quiet, and only when adults pestered her and accosted her in hopes of hearing a baby's pure and innocent sounds would she ever give in and make noises.

Within the house of Grafton, family was a valued thing, the family was the thing they derived their pride from and as such, they often found companionship in one another. Though some would assume Thomas' condescending nature would lead him to dislike his younger sister he actually quite adored her. When she was a baby he would carry her around and when she was a toddler she would follow him intently, like his very own little helper, happy to do as he said. Charlotte was family to him and thus she was one of few people he thought was worth his time and so whilst he dismissed nearly all other boys his age, his younger sister became someone he cared for quite deeply.

Being the daughter of a Duke meant more than just being something to show off. At the behest of Charlotte's mother, Charlotte was to begin her education from the moment she could speak. Her father arranged for her to learn the skills that were necessary of a lady in England at the time, such as reading, writing, dance, sewing, etiquette and fashion. Charlotte's intelligence was quickly apparent as she picked up subjects quicker than her brother had and was a talented problem solver, but despite her gift of intelligence, she had been confined to learning only the subjects deemed more feminine. Mathematics, science and business were far from her curriculum, though she did show some sort of natural gift for figuring the basics of such things out on her own.

Charlotte's lessons were given to her by a governess by the name of Lydia Montfort, the daughter of a well to do Viscount down by the Southern coasts of England who had spent his entire fortune on a single investment that failed horribly leaving with him barely enough money to maintain his own staff. Without anything more than a title, his daughters, who once had both been very respectable young ladies expected to marry above their station, lost their prospects. With marrying them off no longer an option now that they had grown older, both daughters were forced to take up careers as governesses to help their father.

Lydia Montfort was the pinnacle of what a lady should be which made her an excellent educator for Charlotte. Lydia also took her work very seriously as it not only gave her a place to stay in the home of the Duke of Grafton, but it also allowed her family back home to have a home as well. For Charlotte, this meant her governess was devoted to ensuring that Charlotte grasped every concept down to the finest details. She wasn't just taught to sew, she was taught to sew with the skill of a tailor and her etiquette was tweaked and improved upon until it was instinct for her to be perfect. The consequence of this was that Lydia tended to be strict, Charlotte had to do things right or she would not be given a break.

Lydia provided a stark contrast to Charlotte's brother, who instead of telling her to be proper and ladylike, encouraged haughtiness and mischief. Charlotte often fluctuated between following each of them, her parents, although not always present, clearly wanted for her to behave as Lydia instructed, but she adored and idolised her brother which is why she also did as he did. She developed a pattern of behaviour. When around the nobility and other such respected individuals she would behave as expected, but when it was simply servants and family she would follow her brother about and do as he said which often got Charlotte in some form of trouble.

There was a day where Charlotte had been playing in the gardens, having tea with her dolls. She had seemed unusually tired that day, but as far as any observers were concerned it seemed she was just having a more mellow day. She sat pouring pretend tea for the porcelain dolls and speaking in high pitched voices all while under a lightly coloured floral canopy that had been set up for her by to of the family's servants. It was nothing more than a simple escape from the constant lessons and events that pervaded Charlotte's every day. It seemed entirely routine until Charlotte collapsed.

She had been playing normally until her brother decided he would try to raise the energy levels. Thomas chased her around under the canopy, much to her delight, but very quickly she began to feel tired, a sense of dizziness swiftly overcoming her. She panicked which only worsened the effects of what was happening. Charlotte fainted and could remember little else of that day afterwards. She had been rushed inside, carried by both her governess, Lydia, and a servant, with her brother following closely behind.

Charlotte was brought to her bed and a doctor was summoned to her room by the Duke. The doctor took his time to determine what it was that was ailing her and performed careful tests in order to guarantee accuracy. He deemed her to be safe from any immediate danger, but there was more to what had happened than just a simple fainting spell or passing illness. She had an ailment of the heart, though the doctor painted the picture with broad strokes referring to it only as heart failure. The doctor informed the Duke and his wife quite firmly that her illness, from what he could tell, was not fatal so long as she was well cared for regarding both her diet and activity, though he also told them that it would never pass and she would live with it for her entire life.

CONTINUES in next post...



message 17: by Alexandria (last edited Jan 26, 2020 06:54PM) (new)

Alexandria | 69 comments
The entire house took on a sombre tone in the following weeks. Charlotte was kept in her room at first. Lydia was to continue with her lessons, though she was softer on Charlotte for fear of overworking her too soon after the incident as it had come to be called. Charlotte's mother visited the room often to check in with her, to ensure she was alright and often during her visits she would tell her stories her life in France before she came to England to marry Charlotte's father. Charlotte was often enchanted by the stories her mother would tell her of the art and culture back in France, not just because it was her mother telling the story, but because she was thrilled to be learning something beyond etiquette and fashion.

Despite the fact that she even saw visitors from outside the manor, Charlotte felt unusually lonely. Since she had returned to consciousness she had not seen her brother at any point aside from dinner. She was used to seeing him quite often despite the differences in their schedules, if only in passing. What CHarlotte did not know was that it was her parents that had arranged for it to be as such. Their son was a troublesome child and though his intents were genuinely just to play with his sister they had trouble believing it. It was so often he got her into trouble, and it was clear from how he was around others that he had a fickle understanding of respect which is why they were convinced that he knowingly pushed his sister too far that day, despite his assurances that he didn't realise she was feeling ill that day at all.

Once she had fully recovered, Charlotte's life regained some semblance of normality, though from that point on there was never a moment she was not constantly being watched over by a caretaker. Neither her mother nor father was willing to let their daughter be left unattended following such an incident. She underwent her usual lessons, Lydia keeping a careful eye on her, when she played it was expected that a servant was watching, and she was escorted from place to place by someone they could trust. Everything she ate was always tailored to what the doctor recommended. Her life became very controlled, but this was a fact that even Charlotte, a child, understood to be important, for the loss of some privacy came with the guarantee of longevity in spite of her ailment.

No longer seeing her brother led to Charlotte's wilder natures to be mellowed, and her insensibilities to be culled. She began to fit the role of a lady of the aristocracy quite well. There was no noble who could deny her perfect manners or her youthful charm. She had a childlike naivete and optimism that made it difficult not to be put at ease around her, even when things seemed hopeless. Spending more time with her mother with her brother often kept away from her she began to absorb her habits and mannerisms, from her light, airy and dance-like way of movement to the soft and melodic intonations of her voice. She became more and more like her mother with each passing day, and people told her this often and Charlotte could find no quarrel with it and was always proud to be compared to her mother.

Eventually, Charlotte got a firm grasp upon the things she was learning, from sewing to etiquette she was quite gifted and so her mother spoke to her father about finally giving her lessons regarding other things such as art, music, culture and even some history. At first the Duke was hesitant, in the history of the house of Grafton very few women had ever been so educated, but he came to see the value in having a daughter who could match the charms and wit of any other lady and outdo them in any setting, a daughter who could shine as bright as the morning star. They hired a woman, from France where Charlotte's mother had been raised. Her name was Yvette Amirault, an older woman who was educated in the arts. In her youth she was a Prima ballerina, she later in life took on playing music to accompany the younger dancers, refusing to leave the spotlight, learning from the masters who had once upon a time accompanied her performances.

Compared to her governess Lydia's more firm sensibilities, Yvette seemed a curious figure. Charlotte saw Lydia as someone to obey and respect, but Yvette was much more of a mystery. Charlotte would always question Yvette about everything and at times the woman would respond in kind and others, not at all. Yvette seemed bitter to Charlotte, unhappy with where she ended up whereas Lydia always seemed grateful for what she had. Charlotte had decided quite early on she would rather be like Lydia. Nevertheless, she learned much from Yvette that interested her. It was not as vital to her livelihood as what she was taught by Lydia, but it was certainly leaps and bounds more interesting.

In the meantime, whilst Charlotte revelled in newfound knowledge, her brother had found himself restless. Thomas had truly done no intentional harm to his sister and yet his parents acted as if he had. Thomas loved his younger sister, but his parents did all they could to keep them separate, something which seemed cruel to him. He thought that she was like him, that she too was above the world and though they were far apart in age, they shared blood and to Thomas that was what mattered. To have his own parents take that away from him was, in his mind, a betrayal. He became wary of them, trying to decipher what ill will it was they had toward him, but this bred only paranoia and he began to act out more and more.

Charlotte was quite unaware of her brother's state, she had grown accustomed to not seeing him as often and assumed that it was simply a coincidence. She would hear whisperings amongst staff and even words regarding him between her parents and Lydia who remained Charlotte's primary caretaker throughout the day to which Lydia had no objections as it gave her employment beyond just her lessons and thusly a small raise in payment. Charlotte knew her brother was sometimes troublesome, but she didn't realise the extent he had reached with his behaviour. His behaviour was kept a secret from much of the public and events he had before been allowed to attend he was barred from and even when he was somewhere he was always by the Duke who was keen on watching him. Charlotte, on the other hand, was toted around as a trophy, the perfect daughter that distracted from any imperfections that laid elsewhere.

Charlotte was a stark contrast to her older brother, she was the ideal daughter, mellow and quiet, yet with a cheerful and sweet disposition. She learned to play the piano and violin and would put on small shows for her mother, father, Lydia and some other members of the staff with Yvette to oversee it. Yvette was not keen on being present for such things as it was often outside of her typical work hours, but Charlotte's father was happy to compensate her for it so long as Charlotte believed Yvette simply wanted to be there to help. She also liked to draw and paint in her free time a skill she was naturally quite good at and it became a good skill as it gave her something to do on days where her health was in a worse state and she was confined to her room. Fortunately, such days weren't overly common.

When Charlotte was ten years of age, nearing upon the age of eleven, her family was graced by a great honour. NEarly half the nobility was to visit for a dinner party. The reason why had something to do with her father and something he had done somewhere though Charlotte was not told much more than that. Charlotte would never forget that day, but not simply because the creme de la creme of society was to eat at their table that night. It began that morning when charlotte had been given a reminder of all the proper ways to behave around the nobles. Lydia had been quite firm with Charlotte about this because even for her it was an important test, a test of how well she had taught the Duke's daughter. Her mother and father obsessed for hours about everything, doing absolutely everything they could to prove how truly important and noble the family was through even the finest of details. That night Charlotte's home rivalled even the royal palace in its splendour.

When evening came Charlotte was dressed in her finest gown, imported from Paris and made of silks and fabrics from around the world. There was not a hair out of place on her head, she was immaculate from head to toe. She remembered seeing her brother pass her room as her mother came in to check that she was prepared. Even he was dressed well although there was a fair chance that he was forced to dress well. Nevertheless, Charlotte was happy to see that he would be there as well. Thomas was getting older and in truth, despite being heir to the title of Duke of Grafton, his outbursts and apparent narcissism had lost him all his prospects. This was, in fact, his first social appearance in a long while as it was becoming more difficult to make excuses for his behaviour. Their parents had only treated him more and more punitively as time went on fearing that he would tarnish their legacy.

When dinnertime had arrived, Charlotte could remember the fanfare with clarity, the select group of highborn and wealthy guests all whispering to on another about the latest gossip. She remembered seeing the another man, a powerful foreign dignitary served before even her father, something that was entirely new to her, though she had been prepared for it by Lydia in advance. The night seemed to go by in luxurious simplicity until her Thomas spoke up, speaking right over the powerul man from far away lands. Charlotte was stunned, from what she was told that was absolutely forbidden. Her memories of what he said became jumbled, she remembered trying to quietly ask him to explain to her what he was doing, but he hadn't noticed. He shouted and gestured wildly, but was silenced by the Duke. Thomas was removed from the table and shortly after the dinner was concluded.

Charlotte remembered how horrified she was, not just by the fact that her brother had acted like a maniac in front of the very highest members of society, but also by the fact that her father was so harsh to him. She was was worried about the family's reputation and well-being, but also about her brother. Lydia put Charlotte to bed early that night, but Charlotte couldn't sleep. Hollow voices echoed through the manor's gilded halls. She crept out of bed that night and followed the voices. She stood outside of the room they came from, it was her father's private study and she could see through the sliver of openness that it was her father, brother and mother arguing. She missed the beginning of the conversation they had been having where her brother had been spouting words far worse than even those he spoke at dinner. Charlotte only heard the very end.

The Lord Thomas Frederick of Grafton, heir to the Ducal of the house of Grafton was from that day on to be known as Mr.Thomas Frederick Alderidge. He was disowned by his father who placed the honour of the family and the sanctity of the crown above his mercy for his son. Disinherited and shunned. Through Amelia's kindness, he was allowed to take some of his things and was given enough money to start a new life in the Americas, far from England. His father said if he heard Thomas had returned to England he would not stand for it and though he could not formally exile someone, the sentence he gave his own son was not far off from just that. Charlotte was beyond distraught. Her brother had said awful things, but she loved him and even though she didn't see him as often as she once did, she knew she would miss him.

CONTINUES in next post...



message 18: by Alexandria (last edited Apr 04, 2020 02:39PM) (new)

Alexandria | 69 comments
When they finished and her parents were about to leave the room, Charlotte ran from the door to her bed. She cried that night because she had come to learn something that she didn't want to know. Charlotte was already aware that all those around her only spent time around her because they were paid to by her father. Lydia cared for her because it supported her family, Yvette taught her because it gave her enough money to pretend she still lived a poised life of glamour and respect, and the servants of the house only watched her small performances because they'd lose their jobs if they did not heed the orders of the Duke when he asked them to listen to her. No one ever knew she knew this because she kept it secret. Like Lydia, Charlotte wanted to be grateful for what she had and not bitter about what she didn't have like Yvette was. She was also aware of the fact that most of the nobility would have never realised she even existed were it not for her elaborate gowns and her father's title.

There was only one thing that Charlotte was absolutely sure she had and that was the love of her family, but that night taught her that the love of her parents was conditional. She didn't know how far Thomas had pushed the limits but what she did know was that if she pushed the limits too far she too could end up exiled to distant lands. Were it not for her being such an idyllic child she realised that she may very well lose the affections of her parents. She also recognised the fact that this meant her brother was perhaps the only person who, despite his misguided ways, cared for Charlotte simply for the fact that she was his sister and that was enough. The one person whose love for her was unconditional was being sent away, banished from his own home.

That night, Charlotte didn't sleep a wink. Charlotte spent the whole night awake thinking about what would happen the following day. She used that time to decide what she would do. That night Charlotte resolved to be perfect. To always listen. To do everything right. To be quiet and softspoken. To be ladylike. To bring honour unto the house of Grafton. To ensure she too didn't meet that fate. To be grateful for what she already had. This night marked a turning point for Charlotte and from that night on she became a very different version of herself.

When the morning came Charlotte's parents came to her room. They had already sent Thomas on his way with what things he could pack. Charlotte could see the ink stains on her mother's hands. Amelia had stayed up all night worried. She felt her husband's actions were too much, but dared not speak the words and so she tried to do what damage control she could. She wrote letter after letter, explaining to the guests of the dinner in eloquent wording what had happened, proceeding then to ask that they not speak of it. In the envelopes, she enclosed a portion of money in order to ensure their silence on the matter. It was her who said goodbye to Thomas as he left whereas the Duke merely watched from a window. When they spoke to Charlotte, their voices were soft, a far cry from the voices she had heard just that night. They told her Thomas had disappeared on a trip that night leaving only a note saying he was headed to the Americas and that he apologised for his behaviour. This lie became the lie they told everyone, and with all those who saw it fairly compensated for their silence, it seemed a plausible and considerably less scandalous situation.

Charlotte began to understand how Yvette could have become so callous and bitter. Yvette lost her sense of self-value and Charlotte lost her brother, and yet the world eerily went on as if nothing had happened. Charlotte's father had the formal paperwork that disinherited Thomas completed by the end of the week and was able to make it all go through quietly, likely involving cash incentives. Despite this, he acted as though nothing had happened, but until he had a second son, Charlotte became the heir to his title. Slowly but surely the Duke and Duchess worked up to saying they received a letter from him, forfeiting his title and though it caused some troubles they were able to handle it far better than they could the truth.

In this time, Charlotte continued with her lessons. She didn't ask quite so many questions and simply did as she was told to. She excelled wonderfully and received praise from her parents, but the praise that once filled her with such warm joy seemed so much more fickle now. She found her joy only in little things such as the arts. With all her fundamental skills necessary for life as a lady polished she threw herself into learning how to draw, paint, play instruments, sing, dance and dress. She also enjoyed learning about distant lands where she could only hope her brother was travelling, perhaps with friends that he met in America.

Charlotte's outward optimism was replaced by a calm sense of realism, though deep down she still always hoped for the best. She was generally quieter and her cheer and broad toothy grins were replaced by a faint serene smile and softer contentment. She was mellower, more graceful, and more ladylike, though somewhat less herself, particularly around her parents who she sought to please. She gained increased self-control, able to quell any urges she felt. She never acted overly excited, but simply appropriately excited, she didn't get angry, only disappointed. There was scarcely a lady twice her age who could manage such a regal bearing, but for Charlotte it became instinct. Her parents simply thought she was maturing and were happy to see her growing up, but didn't realise what truly inspired these changes. Her parents tried for a new child in order to have a male heir to carry on the family name, but their efforts were fruitless.

As Charlotte got older the pampering never stopped, she was still given the finest gowns and accessories and she was still always with company, and Charlotte learned to accept that that was how she was going to live. Though it wasn't the same as receiving genuine affection from her parents she knew that that was how they showed they cared. So long as she maintained her perfect act, they'd never stop pampering her, they would always care. She did still worry about her brother but knew better than to bring him up or to tell her parents she knew the truth of what happened with him. She had managed to take a few of his old things that were left behind before her father had Thomas' room cleared out. A pen, a book, an old toy soldier and a music box. She kept these things deep in a trunk in her room where they would be safe and untouched by any of the servants who cleaned her room.

The Duke and Duchess' attempts to have another child remained fruitless for years and though they still cared for their daughter there were certain parts of parenting they forgot such as finding a suitable marriage for her. They had grown so protective of her considering her health and following the incident with Thomas it became difficult to fathom letting go of the one child they had left who did nothing to merit being sent away, but when the Lockwoods spread the word that they wanted to find suitors for their children, it gave them an opportunity to find their daughter match who could parallel her noble ranking and gentile upbringing, as well as one who brought something more to the table than just a title. It was something that made them truly worthy of the perfect daughter of the great Duke of Grafton, and that was magic, the one thing that their money could not buy them and their power could not obtain for them.

Charlotte, of course, was polite in her acceptance of her father's proposal that she consider marrying one of the Lockwoods, it was, after all, her duty as a nobleman's daughter to marry well. What Charlotte would never outwardly say was that she was almost excited by the freedom that would be given to her in going beyond the borders of her own home without her mother and father. She was also quite hopeful that by some chance she may actually find love, but of course, that would simply be the ideal. If the situation presented itself that she had the opportunity to marry a Lockwood, she would, at her father's behest, accept, whether or not she was in love, but she would languish in finding someone who truly cared for her as they would be the only person in her life who she felt loved her for her. Nevertheless, as she learned from her father, the family's dignity and the sanctity of the crown both come before one's own feelings.

Charlotte was sent off with bags upon bags of luggage containing a wardrobe worthy of the Alderidge name, a violin, drawing and letter writing supplies, toiletries, and a few other personal effects. Charlotte was accompanied by a slew of servants each of whom was supplied with a specific duty by Charlotte's father to ensure the smoothness and ease of the trip and to care for her during her stay at Eldritch Manor. Fortunately, they were also to follow Charlotte's instructions meaning that she could send them away when she wanted some degree of privacy.

TITLE: Lady
Following her brother being disinherited by her father, the Duke of Grafton she became the heir. Her parents intend to have another son, but Charlotte currently remains the sole heir.

FAMILY:
Mother - Duchess Amelia Vivienne Isabella Alderidge
Father - Duke Henry Charles Alderidge
Brother - Lord Thomas Frederick Alderidge (Former; disinheritted)

OTHER:
- Charlotte plays piano and violin primarily though can also play the harp, harpsichord and flute with some degree of competency.

- Charlotte is a skilled artist and writer, though her writing tends to be confined to neatly penned letters and little more.

- Charlotte has picked up a fair amount of French from her mother, though still prefers English.

- She has a crippling weakness for pastries though often has to abstain from eating them because her parents worry it'll affect her health which only makes her relish in eating them more.

- As an Alderidge, she not only has a highly regarded reputation but also the backing of her father's extremely vast fortune.

- Though her parents are always watching and caring for her they do so indirectly and she scarcely sees them during the day making her relationship with them strangely disconnected despite it being the only relationship she has that isn't based on her title or money.

END.



Anna N.~God, Keep My Head Above Water (illyria18) | 19 comments (view spoiler)


Anna N.~God, Keep My Head Above Water (illyria18) | 19 comments (view spoiler)


Anna N.~God, Keep My Head Above Water (illyria18) | 19 comments (view spoiler)


Anna N.~God, Keep My Head Above Water (illyria18) | 19 comments (view spoiler)


Anna N.~God, Keep My Head Above Water (illyria18) | 19 comments (view spoiler)


Anna N.~God, Keep My Head Above Water (illyria18) | 19 comments (view spoiler)


Anna N.~God, Keep My Head Above Water (illyria18) | 19 comments (view spoiler)


message 26: by Max (last edited Apr 01, 2020 04:10PM) (new)

Max | 26 comments description description description descriptiondescription
The prince of darkness is a gentleman

__________________ | James Desilva Lockwood|________________
__________________|Jamie (if he really loves you|_______________

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message 27: by Max (new)

Max | 26 comments James Desilva Lockwood continued

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message 28: by Chess (new)

Chess | 118 comments Name;
Tyrus Victor Ambrose

Nickname;
Rune

Age;
Nineteen

Gender;
Female

Appearance;
Rune has an athletic frame, firmly riding the line between a sturdy and svelte body type with defined musculature but almost lanky looking limbs. Just a hair over five foot eight with perfect posture, Rune can hit five foot nine with her favorite pair of thick-soled shoes (she’s still puny in comparison with her veritable giants of a father and uncles – they’re all six foot easily – and tends to feel that she takes more after her mother in that regard, considering that she’s a much more reasonable five foot four). Her dark brown hair is kept cleanly trimmed, though she’s allowed her sideburns to grow out a bit. Rune’s eyes are a cold bright gray, though they tend to look even brighter than they actually are since she has fairly dark eyelashes.
She has several scars, but the most notable is a thick, faded white scar on her forehead in the shape of a rounded check mark.
Rune tends to wear perfectly (and very specifically) tailored three piece suits with matching gloves., generally in dark blues or browns though she prefers black but apparently that’s ‘too depressing’, so she sticks to blues and browns. Instead of a tie, she tends to wear silver bolo neckties imprinted with the Tiwaz rune – she also carries a windup pocket watch with the same symbol on the inside of the lid. A monogrammed handkerchief she keeps in the breast pocket of her suit jacket has the Othila rune embroidered under the initials TVA in one corner.

Personality;
Rune tends to go through a cyclical pattern of moods; stress, followed by confidence and ending on a dull emptiness before starting back over again. The pressure to constantly maintain a masculine persona and always perform perfectly no matter what she does is what unsurprisingly keeps her stressed. Her natural perfectionist tendencies only make things that much worse, her own mind keeping her working harder than her parents ever could have. She’s never able to get things quite good enough no matter how hard she tries, a fact that can keep her up at night. Rune’s aware that she overthinks things, but is still unable to keep herself from continuing to do so to the point of being nearly paralyzed with indecision over the smallest details.
On the other hand, sometimes she does realize just how much all her hard work has paid off – she can hold her own in debates and conversations of philosophy, she can speak fluently in three languages, she can ride, box, wrestle, fence and dance, and cuts a handsome figure with an attractive face (though admittedly, that last one’s more genetic than from any particular effort on her part). Those times are the most satisfying, but also the most dangerous – Rune balances on a blade’s edge between the exhilaration of being completely comfortable with herself and feeling in control, and the pitfall of failing terribly, or, even worse, revealing her true gender. Still, as long as she remembers to watch herself, Rune can be her best self when she’s in a confident mood.
Then, of course, comes the times when Rune just stops feeling anything. It’s hard for her to keep up her normal standards of behavior and performance during these times, though she continues to do so to the best of her abilities regardless even if it’s more out of a dull feeling of obligation and habit than actual investment. Rune tends to spend a lot of time tucked away in a hidden spot to stare blankly at nothing, mulling over the utter pointlessness of her life.
Rune is fully aware and resigned to the fact that while it’s taken her years of hard work and sleepless nights to be the impressive specimen that her parents have molded her into, it’ll all amount to nothing once her grandfather dies and her parents are finally able to get her out of the social eye and replace her with her new little brother. She just tends not to think about it too long or too often, since it’s fairly depressing and makes it hard to care about anything.
She doesn’t have any particular affection for her family – she’s loyal, certainly, but it’s more towards the idea of what she imagines her family could have been than the actual people themselves. Rune gets along just fine with all of them besides her parents (that relationship’s a bit strained) but she’s made sure to stay politely detached, acting just cold enough that no one starts getting attached. Rune is eternally trapped between the desire to get close to her family and to make friends, and the knowledge that it’ll be easier on everyone if she doesn’t.
Rune has an extremely strong competitive spirit, once it’s awoken (she has to actually get interested/invested in something before she actually hits the point of wanting to beat other people – otherwise, she’s just doing her best just to do her best) – stubbornness combines with determination and pride to make her unable to give up until she’s completed a task or goal. She’s a very poor loser, though this doesn’t show in the way she treats her opponents; Rune is far more likely to take her anger/irritation out on herself in private than ever even consider doing so to another person.
She avoids interacting with twins when she can since they tend to make her feel either distinctly uncomfortable if they don’t get along well or painfully wistful if they do. It’s a bit like seeing how the relationship between her brother and her might have gone in another world, and, while it’s occasionally a nice sort of pain getting to watch happy siblings interacting, Rune still prefers to just keep her distance.
Rune tends to keep her own council – she’ll speak up if someone’s blatantly wrong and no one else is speaking up, or if someone asks her a question, but otherwise tends to be rather quiet in public. When she’s particularly excited or invested in a topic, however, generally surprising whoever she’s with unless they know her well enough to expect it, she’ll get more animated and her voice will get louder.
Fortunately for Rune, she’s always been quite the tomboy and thus doesn’t actually mind playing a boy as much as she would otherwise, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t occasionally wish she could do a few more traditionally feminine things. She’s aware that this likely stems more from being forbidden to do said things than any belief that said things are as idealized and enjoyable as her daydreams would lead her to believe, but that doesn’t stop the occasional cravings.
She has to struggle some days to keep her vanity in check – Rune’s family is blessed with attractive faces, and she’s gotten used to mostly interacting with other good looking people over the years. Thus, she has to get past an instinctive mental sneer whenever she meets someone who is anything less than attractive, as well as an irrational feeling of being superior. Rune is aware that that’s just her own privilege speaking and despises that part of herself, but, regardless, it still takes her far longer than she’d prefer to finally wrestle that little voice in her head silent each time.

Title;
Lord Ambrose (granddaughter of the Earl of Bristol)

Family;
Father;
James Erickson Ambrose

Mother;
Margaret Jeraldine Ambrose

Brother;
Vincent Elhazon Ambrose

Grandfather;
Victor Eugene Ambrose

Uncles;
Harold Norris Ambrose
Reginald Merric Ambrose

Aunts;
Helena Sarah Ambrose
Livinia Roseanne Ambrose

Cousins;
Victor Harold Ambrose
Aaron Gareth Ambrose
William Eric Ambrose
Victoria Lilian Ambrose
Eunice Bea Ambrose

History;
From the day she was born, Othilia was considered unimportant. She was the unwanted half of a pair of twins, the quarter hour younger sister to the truly desired boy of the family, Tyrus. While Tyrus spent most of his first few days being cooed over and snuggled by various members of the Ambrose family, Othilia was sent off to the newly made nursery with a nurse. This beginning turned into something of a pattern over the next few years – Othilia was more or less ignored as long as she didn’t cause trouble and stayed out of the way, while Tyrus got all of the attention and care. This could have easily led to severe jealousy on Othilia’s part, and it still did on occasion, but, while the majority of the Ambrose family didn’t pay Othilia anything more than passing attention, Tyrus himself spent as much of his free time with Othilia as possible, the two becoming the closest of friends.
Othilia could never understand how Tyrus didn’t enjoy being kept in the spotlight, the older boy telling her he found it uncomfortable to be so smothered all the time, but she could see that he was genuinely serious about it and so didn’t press the matter. Much. (Alright, so she teased him about it every chance she got, but she had to get rid of all her irritation somewhere and it certainly wasn’t gonna be expelled towards their parents or grandfather) Tyrus, unimpressed, eventually got fed up enough to be willing to show her exactly what he was talking about – the two switched places for a day, achieved easily enough with a change in posture and speaking mannerisms and avoiding smiling (Othilia was missing a molar at that point in time) on both sides.
It was like a dream.
Sure, she had to struggle a bit through Tyrus’s studies since he was apparently getting more complicated schooling than she was (and was learning a few subjects that her own tutor had never once even brought up in passing), but everyone was so patient and understanding about it that it was barely an issue. At meals, she was allowed to eat as much as she wanted and wasn’t lectured on manners. Her parents actually interacted with her instead of just nodding as they crossed paths, and when their grandfather dropped by for a surprise visit, she learned what it felt like to be the reason he was laughing and in a good mood instead of just being sat in a corner and told to behave and be quiet. It was almost disappointing when the evening finally came – Othilia didn’t want to switch back, while Tyrus was more than ready to do so. This was apparently more because the older boy just found having been wearing a dress when their grandfather visited both humiliating and terrifying than because he especially wanted to take back his life again – Tyrus was honestly shocked by just how easy his day had been, with minimal babysitting and schoolwork that was so easy he could have done it in his sleep. Neither sibling were able to convince the other that they had the better life, just winding up feeling more certain that they were right and that the other should be way more grateful for how great they had things.
They wound up switching places a small handful more times, usually when one or the other was having a particularly bad time, managing to pull it off undetected seven times.


message 29: by Chess (new)

Chess | 118 comments Unfortunately for both, Othilia got caught out by their parents on their eighth try – they noticed something was off when she didn’t remember a conversation Tyrus had had with them the day before, but only realized that the twins had switched places when one saw that she didn’t have a scar on her hand where Tyrus had been slashed by the household cat. The twins had never been in such deep trouble before – Tyrus hadn’t even ever actually truly gotten on their parent’s bad side before, but apparently being caught cheerfully playing in a dress with his sister’s dolls under the watchful gaze of Othilia’s nurse was enough to manage it. Both children were struck for the first time in their lives by their beyond-livid father, the man then dragging Tyrus off while Othilia was locked in the twins’ room. When it was time for bed and Tyrus finally returned, it was with red eyes, a growing bruise on one cheek, and a brand new cropped short haircut instead of the page-boy cut that the twins had shared up until then. Needless to say, neither twin slept well that night.
It took well over a month before they were allowed to be around each other again any more than just during bed time, and even then they were pointedly babysat by both of their nurses. Othilia had seen what how hard Tyrus had taken their father’s fury and wasn’t about to push things and risk getting her best friend hurt again, quietly acquiescing without protest to the strict boundaries their parents had set. Tyrus, on the other hand, just took it as a challenge- Othilia was terrified when her brother dragged her out of bed and out the window, knowing that their father would be furious if he found out and having a bad feeling that he’d take it out on Tyrus, but Tyrus refused to take no for an answer. Several weeks later, once they’d gotten more comfortable taking their nightly walks, he admitted that he had needed to be able to do something to spite their father or else he would have blown up at the man, likely at the worst possible time. Their nightly walks were relaxing – it was nice to just be able to goof off without worrying about anyone catching them, and the land around their home was absolutely gorgeous to wander on. However, they did have a favorite spot to go to - or rather, Tyrus had a favorite spot, and Othilia was just happy to see her older brother’s tension melt away when they were there; the stables. Tyrus absolutely adored horses, and their grandfather had actually gifted him a beautiful little colt and mare with the reasoning that the colt would be big enough to ride once Tyrus was old enough to start riding. Tyrus loved coming out to visit the horses, so that was where they went three times out of five.
One night, Othilia’s brother wanted to try something different – instead of just visiting his two horses, he wanted to go check out a new stallion that his father had gotten. Othilia didn’t have any objections, so they went over, Tyrus slipping into the stall while Othilia stayed out, not being as fascinated by horses as him. Now, the problem was that while Tyrus assumed that he was a horse-whisperer because he had only ever been allowed to interact with the sweeter, more docile horses, he was not, as it turned out, actually able to tell much about horses – otherwise, he would have noticed that this horse was very unhappy to have a small human in its stall and would have gotten out before he antagonized it further. Unfortunately, as mentioned, he wasn’t, and so he didn’t… and thus wasn’t able to get out of the way in time when it reared up and lashed out, knocking him to the floor before stomping down on him. Othilia screamed and tried to rescue him, only for the horse to rush the gate and send her flying as the door hit her with all the force of a peeved horse behind it before the horse itself darted off into the night. Othilia struggled back up to her feet and tried fruitlessly to get her brother up, terrified at how utterly still he was. The rest of the night and the next few days were mostly a blur after that, Othilia having vague memories of trying to drag her brother back to the house only to eventually just run the rest of the way on her own, pounding frantically on the front door until someone finally unlocked it with a curse that trailed off into a shocked exclamation, people coming back with her to where her brother was lying… but the one thing that she could remember with perfect clarity is the moment when her father – a man who was always put together and sternly calm – letting out a choked gasp of a sob as he cradled her brother, her mother already wailing beside him, and Othilia realized that Tyrus wasn’t just unconscious – he was never going to wake up.
The next morning, the adults had gotten through enough of their shock to start working on getting themselves together to let the rest of the family know about Tyrus’s death, only to get a surprise when a messenger came with the happy, happy news that one of Othilia’s uncles was going to have a child. Oddly, upon hearing the news, Othilia’s father vanished into his study for well over half the day after muttering he needed to think, his expression darker than Othilia had ever seen it since the day he caught Tyrus wearing a dress. When he reemerged, he grabbed Othilia and dragged her back into his study, closing the door behind them. She could tell he’d been drinking, the smell hanging in the air, a rare occurrence for him, and could see just how angry he was, Othilia shrinking into herself as she found herself genuinely scared of her father for one of the first times in her life. That fear, mixed with a generous amount of residual shock and grief, was what made her stay silent as her father informed her coldly that she was no longer his daughter – did she understand? Othilia nodded shakily, assuming he was throwing her out and working to keep from bursting into tears, only to lose that fight as he grabbed her shoulder tightly and stormed back out, calling to get everyone’s attention.
However, what he announced was not that she was being disowned. No, what her father said was how sad it was, that his only daughter Othilia had died so horribly, trampled in the night when she and Tyrus had snuck out. The family would obviously need to be informed of this tragedy. The manor was dead silent, watching Othilia’s father, until he snapped at them to get moving. The small handful of family servants snapped to it, though Othilia could hear them murmuring amongst each other as they did so, Othilia’s mother coming up to talk with her father. Othilia’s father was having none of it, however, and eventually her mother gave in.
Her father’s fingers still digging into her shoulder, Othilia allowed herself to be briskly steered to her bedroom, winding up staying there with only a few visits from her nurse over the rest of the day. The next day, her father stormed in and gave her a much more in-depth explanation of what precisely was going to be happening. Othilia had died that night – Tyrus had survived. Othilia didn’t exist anymore, only Tyrus. And what pain Tyrus must be going through, to have watched his beloved twin die in front of him. Obviously, between the injuries he had accumulated himself during the incident and his intense grief, there was no way that Tyrus was feeling like himself. But of course, while he may never be quite the same after such a traumatizing event, Tyrus would continue to be the pride of the family. Othilia– no, Tyrus, was left with the final parting shot ‘you two wanted to play each other so much? Well. You should be absolutely thrilled, then.’
Life was more or less a living nightmare after Tyrus’s brother died – she didn’t actually get much time to process her grief, the time that everyone else was told she spent grieving actually being spent being mercilessly worked to catch up on everything that the original Tyrus had learned. Once her father was satisfied that she should know enough to be able to pass as him, he shoved her straight into the deep end- right into the arms of aunts and uncles who had known both her and the original Tyrus their entire lives. She made it through the next few days of tearful condolences, learning exactly how little any of her relatives had actually known her as they scrambled to try and scrape together fond memories of her and stumbled over how to describe her as they tried to connect with Tyrus in his grief, the closest anyone came to actually realizing that she wasn’t the original Tyrus being everyone’s agreement that ‘he’s so quiet, the poor dear...’
Her relationship with her father went from distant but good enough to one-sided detestation. He couldn’t stand to look at her, and it was no secret that he put the full blame of the original Tyrus’s death squarely on her shoulders. Not that that was particularly surprising, considering the fact that she did the same thing. Tyrus’s mother, on the other hand, seemed to actually start believing that she was actually Tyrus after a while – the woman even went so far as to use her pet name for the boy (Rune) whenever she talked to Tyrus. This was both extremely uncomfortable for Tyrus and mildly comforting – Rune was a far less painful way of being referred to than Tyrus, since she could have just as easily gone by Rune as her brother, while being called Tyrus was just a slap in the face… but it was also odd to be genuinely considered to be her brother by someone who should have known the truth.
Rune’s life became nothing but a haze of lessons in anything and everything her father thought a man should know after that, her day starting at dawn and lasting until the tutors he picked out had been satisfied.
Dealing with ‘becoming a woman’ was unpleasant on multiple levels, though it was kept in hand with a few visits and long talks with Ophilia’s old nurse and some carefully crafted clothing that gave the illusion of a flatter chest and broader shoulders.
A few months after Rune’s sixteenth birthday, she overheard her father speaking with one of her uncles, the two laughing over their commiserating griping over her grandfather and his odd fancies. One in particular caught her attention, a mention of some bet over which of the three brothers would have the first son. Something about that felt off, and when she broached the subject with her mother, the woman immediately recognized what she was talking about and elaborated. Apparently, back before Rune and Tyrus had been born, their grandfather had taken gravely ill. None of his sons had managed to have children yet, and the patriarch was very concerned over the continuation of his line. With that in mind, he announced that whichever son had the first son, or if more than one of his sons managed to have sons around the same time, whichever son had the best, most impressive son, would inherit the majority of his fortune. Tyrus had been the first grandson born, thankfully to the eventual heir of the earldom (it would have been mildly awkward for the eventual earl to be destitute in comparison to a title-less brother), and thus accordingly, the majority of the inheritance had been willed to Rune’s father.
It wasn’t hard for Rune to draw a few more lines and figure out why she had been more or less forced to become her brother – if he no longer had an heir, her father would likely lose the fortune that he had assured for himself since both of his brothers’ wives had given birth since then to boys.
The next day, Rune’s mother announced that she was pregnant again.
When she eventually gave birth, it was to a boy.


message 30: by Chess (new)

Chess | 118 comments That evening, Rune was taken aside by her father and told that she would not be allowed anywhere near her new brother. She was also informed that once her grandfather died, which shouldn’t be too many more years, her presence at the manor would no longer be necessary. She would get a monthly allowance and a little house, far, far out in the middle of nowhere, where she would be left to live the rest of her life as a new person in whatever manner she pleased as long as she never darkened their doorstep again. This was a shock, understandably, but it wasn’t anything she hadn’t been kind of expecting since her brother had died.
Despite having told her that she was essentially going to be discarded once he’d gotten his use out of her, Rune’s father didn’t let up on her in the slightest, keeping her working herself ragged to keep up to his ideal of what a man should be and know.
Rune only found out that she was headed to Eldritch Manor the day before she was meant to leave, her father explaining curtly that it had been her grandfather’s idea, the old man concerned over the fact that his favorite grandson had been keeping himself cooped up and hadn’t once ever shown any interest in courting the local lovely ladies. Rune, admittedly, could sympathize with the Lockwoods – she knew exactly what it was like to be forced into something whether it was what one would have wanted in the first place or not because of someone else’s problem. Still, she had no illusions that she was going to be in any better of a situation there – it was just going to be a new place with strangers that she was going to have to keep her distance from instead of just dealing with her family at home. Not that her desires mattered. Her grandfather had decreed it, and thus she was going. At least she was going to have two familiar faces going with her – a maid a few years older than her, the daughter of one of the family’s longtime servants, and a middle-aged manservant; both having long since been sworn to secrecy and repeatedly proven their loyalty to the family.


message 31: by the_rabid_snail, Suo Jure Marchioness (last edited Mar 29, 2020 09:44PM) (new)

the_rabid_snail | 242 comments Mod
Nathaniel A. Halbard - Part One

Name: Nathaniel Alyosha Halbard
Nicknames: Nathan, Nat, Lyoshka

Age: 20

Gender: M

Appearance: Nathaniel has a head full of thick, sandy blonde hair with several natural, golden highlights. Most often he slicks it back or combs it into a side part on one side or the other since his hair just barely brushes the nape of his neck in the back. His locks also have a slight wave to them, but they cooperate with a brush or comb for the most part. His eyes are glimmering, ocean blue with hints of turquoise at the very edges of his iris. While the outermost part of his eyes is lighter in color, the hues of blue darken steadily inwards until they are overtaken by midnight black pupils, much like a comparison of how oceans darken further and further the deeper they reach till all light is extinguished. Although the pupils of the eyes are dark because of an absence, Nat’s seem to be filled with twinkling, ebony night instead of just being a vacant abyss in the structure of the eye. He stands at approximately 5’8, which is above average for men of his time and has a lean yet strong build. His skin falls more into the paler categories, though he is not as a fair-skinned as most women, and his face sports zero freckles, something he is perfectly happy about. He does, however, have a light birthmark that sort of – but doesn’t really – resemble a miniature elephant on the back of his right shoulder. Like a true gentleman, his hands, feet, and the remainder of his skin bear not even one callous, bruise, or scrape, and the only place his skin has a rough feel from time to time is his face when it is in need of a shave. Speaking of facial hair, Nat is mostly clean-shaven; more often than not he leaves a bit of stubble on his face, but he never lets it grow out long enough to be considered an actual beard or mustache. He also is not particularly fond of sideburns and takes care to trim them periodically. As far as facial features go, his are mostly broad and square in accordance with the rest of his build. He has a square, somewhat chiseled jaw, but his lips are a bit thinner and paler than desirable. That’s not to say they’re white or unhealthy in appearance; they simply are a touch lighter than most people’s natural lip color. He has a broad forehead, which is occasionally, partially shrouded from view by his blonde locks, and prominent cheekbones, but they aren’t sharp or high, just middling in placement. His nose and ears are smaller than some of his other features but not enough to appear out of place or disproportional, and he has dark blonde eyebrows and short, ebony eyelashes. His neck is elongated to a divinely perfect degree, and he possesses broad shoulders and a fairly muscled chest and back. In addition, he has large hands and feet with short, clean nails, a long, lean torso, lengthy legs, and defined calfs.
Nathaniel prefers to dress in a variety of styles and colors. While some people in his family (namely his brother, Lawrence) stick rigidly to a few, certain types of clothing, he enjoys having a wide variety of various outfits for different occasions. For relaxed evenings or afternoons, he wears understated suits with simple patterns and designs and some of his moderately nice shoes. Always for formal events he takes care never to be the neither the most nor the least underdressed person. Typically he wears a white or cream shirt with a winged collar underneath a sapphire, forest green, or black tail coat with a dark waistcoat and trousers to match. He also will tie a silk bow tie around his neck and don a pair of leather shoes with the smallest heel he can find. When he goes hunting or shooting, he prefers loose, single-breasted jackets that do not bind when his elbows are raised to fire a gun, woolen breeches, and boots. When the weather turns chilly, he puts on velvet or fur topcoats (he has a preference to velvet over fur) or overcoats that fall to the calf. Although hats are fashionable, Nat tries to get away without wearing one as often possible except in the winter when they help keep him warm. Because the dictates of fashion keeps deeming different styles of hats unsuitable for formal wear, he chooses to wear them as little as possible to avoid the risk of wearing something too informal for an important occasion.

Personality: In most respects, Nathan portrays all of the proper and expected attributes of an earl’s eldest son. He is polite, charming, even-tempered, and diligent, but he carries himself with an exultant pride and illustriousness that is not quite befitting of his station. This purely Russian pride and dignity that influences the way he acts has caused him to be mistaken for someone of a higher rank on occasion, and at other times caused him to be treated with a bit of disdain by others who know he is only the son of an earl. He tries to rein his pride in, but a portion of it always manages to shine through wherever he is. Consequently, his friends and brothers have taken to saying that he could never blend into a crowd even if he was wearing the same clothes as everyone else.
He acts like a true gentleman at nearly all times and especially when he is in the company of other nobles or ladies, and he has no difficulty being polite, dignified, and a good conversationalist. One of his major weaknesses at social functions is his trouble inventing witty remarks and comebacks on the spot. Since he is slower to process things and a more methodical thinker, he oftentimes thinks of good comebacks after the chance to say them has already passed. Still, he is well-read and has no trouble keeping up with intellectually taxing discussions in the realms of history, literature, politics, and economics.
Being the eldest of his brothers, he has acquired several leadership skills in addition to the innate ones he possesses. He is mature and disciplined from having to live up to his father’s expectations and dependable, resourceful, and trustworthy from having to get his youngest brother out of trouble far too often. Despite having to be responsible for his more restless siblings, he is very fond of them, almost to a fault. He protects some of them when it would be wiser to let them face the consequences of their mistakes and learn from them. He is overprotective and will drop whatever he is currently doing to bail them out of anything they’ve gotten themselves into. Even though the wiser of his brothers warns him to let some of their siblings fall on their faces once in a while, Nat tells himself that he is also helping them in order to spare the family any humiliation or embarrassment, but in actuality, he just can’t bear to sit and watch any of his siblings deal with the ugly fallout of their actions and choices when he could have done something to prevent them landing themselves in a world of hurt.
Nat is one of the more ambitious members of his family. Although he strives to please his father and wants to continue his legacy, he also desires to do something to fill the void he feels in himself. He has never felt like he was one of English nobles; he has never felt that he belonged anywhere. In many ways, he feels more Russian than English, and it seems to him that everyone around him can sense that. It disheartens him that his destiny in the English peerage is sealed, and with every year, his dread and feelings of not belonging increase. On the upside, he has the advantage of being a more practical thinker than some of his siblings and listens to his head more than sentiment, daydreams, and wishes made on shooting stars. His views on love and marriage are also more pragmatic. Having never experienced any kind of romantic feelings – much less actually being in love - he sees marriage more as a mutually beneficial system for amalgamating wealth, status, land, and power. Perhaps one day he will discover that thinking tactically isn’t always the best strategy when dealing with other people’s feelings, but he’d have to actually court a girl first to find that out.

Title: Viscount, Son of the Earl of Harrington

Family:

Father: Phillip Halbard
Mother: Elizaveta Komova
Brother: Alexander Pyotr Halbard
Brother: Lawrence Demetrie Halbard
Brother: Phillip Ivan Halbard

History: Nathaniel Alyosha Halbard was born the oldest child to Lord and Lady Harrington. His father, Phillip, was an English earl whose family had been among the nobility for well over a century, but his mother was Elizabeth, the daughter of Russian nobility descended from the boyars of a previous era. Elizabeth arrived in England as Elizaveta Komova with her father and eldest brother along with another Russian diplomat. While in London, she met Phillip Halbard and later courted him in secret. When her and her family’s year in England was up, she stayed behind to marry Phillip and started going by the English version of her name. Even as a young child, Nat could sense that the other nobility treated her differently, and it never ceased to bother him. However, Elizabeth never let it show if she felt insulted or looked down on and encouraged Nat to do the same. Since his father was a respected Englishman, Nathaniel was treated with more consideration and regard, much like any eldest son of an earl. His first name was an English one, but his middle name was Russian, though he never disclosed it to anyone. Just by observation, he knew all too well how his peers would act towards him if he ever revealed his foreign ties.
He grew up speaking both English and Russian at home, although he spoke exclusively English in public. Sometimes his mother called him Lyoshka, a nickname derived from his middle name, but his father did his best to discourage that. Despite Phillip’s qualms, though, the nickname caught on when his younger brothers were born. When his first brother, Alexander, was born, Nathaniel was nearly two years old. At home, they called him Alexei. Even his father used the nickname occasionally, claiming it sounded more English than Lyoshka. Alexei was actually the one who gave Nathaniel the nickname Nat since he was unable to say his full name until he was older. The next sibling to be born was Nathaniel’s brother, Lawrence. Nat always thought his second brother was a peculiar child even from birth and normally preferred to play with Alexei, who was much more inclined to play the types of games Nathaniel liked whereas Lawrence preferred to sit and read quietly or play strategy games like chess as he grew older. The youngest sibling was Phillip, named after Nathan’s father. Around the house, they called him by his middle name, Ivan, to distinguish between the father and son, but again, Nathaniel’s father discouraged the practice at every opportunity.
As Nathaniel became older, more responsibilities and higher expectations were placed upon him, and he was forced to mature faster than his siblings, leaving behind both Alexei and Ivan. The only sibling who kept up with him in that regard was Lawrence, though they called him Demi or Demetrie in the privacy of their home. Earlier in his childhood, Nathaniel had the least in common with Lawrence, but once he entered his teenage years, Lawrence became the brother he was closest with. He was still very fond of his other, two brothers; they just didn’t want to grow up like he and Lawrence had. Alexei could be a bit rash at times, but he was always in good humor and very likeable albeit a bit thick-headed and stubborn on occasion. The only thing that really seemed to rile him up was kind of petty. His middle name was Pyotr (the Russian spelling), but people never failed to misspell it as “Peter.”
Lawrence, on the other hand, almost never got irritated over anything. He was the wisest sibling and the most analytical, but he was far more depressed than Nathaniel or either of their other brothers.


message 32: by the_rabid_snail, Suo Jure Marchioness (last edited Mar 29, 2020 05:06PM) (new)

the_rabid_snail | 242 comments Mod
Nathaniel A. Halbard - Part Two

History cont'd:He preferred Russian over English and shared Nat’s desire to visit their mother’s homeland, although Nathaniel thought he had a better chance of actually making it over there since he was only the third sibling. Lawrence and Nathaniel often stayed up late into the night playing chess and discussing their futures. Nathan usually lost the game to his more strategic brother, but neither of them normally cared much whether they won or lost. It was more about the conversation for both of them. Lawrence speculated that once their father died they could both visit their mother’s city and family if they had an adequate excuse to leave England for a short period of time, but Nathaniel was more hesitant. He knew by that time his father would have arranged an advantageous marriage for him, and it would be harder to leave England even if he didn’t take his wife and any potential children with him. As far as he knew, Lawrence planned on remaining a bachelor for as long as possible, perhaps forever. Of course that idea was dependent on their father passing away before he could force Lawrence into any marriage arrangements. The two major differences between Nathaniel and Lawrence were pride and melancholia. Lawrence was the most humble sibling, preferring to be invisible even at home while one of Nathaniel’s greatest troubles was keeping his pride in check. Lawrence was also significantly more melancholy and quiet-mannered than Nathaniel and both of their other brothers. Their father called him sensitive and said he was in need of some toughening up, but Nathan knew that wasn’t it. From colossal amounts of time spent with his younger brother, he had come to the conclusion long ago that Lawrence might be the most unaffected by the words and actions of others. His brother didn’t seem to take hardly anything personally and easily shrugged things off that might have incited someone like Ivan or Alexei to do something foolhardy. In that respect especially, Nathan wished his two, other brothers would be more like Lawrence.
Ivan was the troublemaker of the family. He was just about as prideful as Nathaniel and the most fearlessly audacious brother. In fact, at least half of the time Nathan spent with him was devising ways to get him out of whatever snake pit he’d landed himself in. Ivan was very smart and capable, and Nathaniel and Lawrence both tried to draw out those qualities but with limited success. Ivan thought only of fun and risk and didn’t care enough to use his brains all that much. As Ivan was the youngest of four brothers, Lawrence reminded Nathaniel more than once that it was in the boy’s nature to be irresponsible and inconsiderate, but Nathaniel was of the opinion that Ivan could overcome whatever birthright destiny he had if he tried hard enough. Lawrence agreed with him to some extent, voicing his own thought that Ivan was only 15 years old and had several years yet to grow up. Nonetheless, Nathaniel did whatever it took to help his littlest brother. Sometimes he found that Ivan dared to do things that he himself wished to but would never dream of actually doing, like the time Ivan went off on the middle son of a marquess for insulting Elizabeth. Nathaniel strangely admired his younger brother’s actions and had a difficult time convincing himself and Ivan to undo what his brother had said.
Nathaniel and all his siblings were tutored by an Englishman named Theodore Ellington. Theodore was a strict teacher, but he was not uncaring. He had a special fondness for Lawrence and Phillip, though he spent most of his time with Nathaniel. Nat could tell that Theodore liked Alexei the least since his brother had the hardest time out of the four of them focusing on his lessons. Ivan also had no easy time completing his schoolwork, but he was intelligent enough to make adequate marks. Nathaniel often helped his younger brothers with their lessons, and sometimes Lawrence offered his assistance if he didn’t have his nose stuck in a book. Although Nathaniel never minded helping his siblings, he sometimes wished to do something just for himself. However, that was not to be.
Years passed, and Nat’s life continued its painful monotony. Of course, whatever trouble Ivan (and occasionally Alexei) managed to land himself into stirred things up for a while, but even dealing with that became old hat after a time. Nat was steadily approaching his twentieth year, and before long, he knew he would be at an altar saying “I do” to some nobleman’s daughter or sister whom he barely knew. He would have liked to have a say in whom he married, but he knew it was unlikely. When the Lockwood family opened the doors of Eldritch Manor, he was certain his father would send him off to marry one of their daughters, so he wasn’t surprised when he arrived home one afternoon after a hunting trip to find that his father had already ordered the servants to pack his luggage. He had thought that either Alexei or Ivan might accompany him to the manor, but apparently he was to travel alone. His father must have had other plans for his younger siblings, and he wasn’t certain whether he should be envious of them or not for at least knowing whom they would be engaged to. He didn’t know much about the Lockwoods or even their names aside from the Duke and Duchess’s, but he had not been presented with any kind of choice in the matter. However, the day before he departed, his father decided to send Lawrence along with him. Nathaniel wasn’t sure what had caused the change in his father’s plans, but he didn’t question it. He was just glad he wouldn’t be going alone into a strange and unfamiliar place filled with peculiar people he didn’t know the first thing about.

Other:


message 33: by Crabby Constance, Crabby Countess (new)

Crabby Constance (crabbyconstance) | 118 comments Mod
Ethel D. Lockwood

Name: Ethel Delilah Lockwood
Nicknames: Eth

Age: 15

Gender: Female

Appearance: Ethel has unruly, black-brown hair to her shoulder blades, its thickness and tangled curls frustrating any of those patient enough to try to mold it into something neat or elegant. Unless she bathes and washes it daily, it becomes even more impossible, and she’s known to have broken at least a few brushes whilst attempting to comb out her messy waves. Eventually, the servants started weaving her hair into a single, neat braid to hold it in place, hopefully cutting out possible knots that developed from letting her hair hang or blow around in the outdoors. Her hair has been styled like this every day since this useful discovery. Even after the servants announced that her noble status obligated her to wear more elegant, ladylike updos, Ethel taught herself how to braid and continued to do so despite their protests. She appears almost as if she doesn’t fit correctly in her own body without her long, dark locks in the familiar weave. Highlights of chestnut and chocolate brown accentuate her creamy, alabaster complexion, a few stray, ebony strands usually curling around the edges of her face. Ethel’s skin exudes an even, natural glow, and is disrupted only by a few light freckles on her cheekbones. While freckles aren’t considered fashionable, they add an extra dose of charm to her appearance. Usually, a pink sunburn warms her cheeks and petite nose into a rosier color, though without it her paleness is drastically emphasized, especially in contrast to her deep brunette mane. Ethel’s eyes are her most shining feature though. An icy, crystal blue shadowed by ashy rings around her pupils brilliantly light up her whole face. The gray flecks only add to the complexity of her irises, fascinating most as to how the sparkly, electric color streaks through her eyes like lightning and sheds off the nebulous, overcast clouds with its illumination. Paired with a bright smile, Ethel always has a twinkling expression plastered on her face for those around her. She reaches 5 feet in height, her body weighing about 94 pounds. While she possesses a set of strong shoulders and legs, her waist is fairly slimmed down. Only a few, slight curves are evident on her figure, but her dresses are often tailored to underscore her thin torso and thus she appears to have more to boast about than her reality dictates.
Ethel looks best in blue, pink, or purple. She hates dark, dreary colors, preferring bright, happier colors. She also likes silver, white, yellow, or light gray as secondary colors. Almost every outfit she owns is a tea gown - a simple dress with a narrower skirt and no corset necessary. Her absolute favorite is a cornflower blue with white accents. Eth owns several pretty pink gowns, as well as a few sunny yellows. For nicer occasions, she uses an orchid purple dress that has gray trim. If she can help it, Eth avoids shoes altogether, but otherwise she dons low, black heels.

Personality: Ethel is a classic sweetheart. She’s often seeking out ways to express kindness through spontaneous gifts or encouraging words, all of which act as a genuine attempt to connect with others. She loves brightening everyone’s day, especially so if she notices a particular person seems upset, tired, or conflicted. Her selfless characteristics emphasize the importance of aiding anyone, even mere acquaintances. At the slightest concerned or uncomfortable expression on somebody’s face, Ethel hurries over and tries to entertain them in a conversation. She frequently fails to realize that certain people just desire solitude instead of a friendly companion, but through consistent observations that her presence has not soothed the person’s emotions, Eth eventually catches on. By that time, most are annoyed with her. Otherwise, she’s very in touch with others’ feelings, including her own.
Ethel is always extremely friendly and enthusiastic. Her dislike for solitude drives her to seek out any possible companion to socialize with. She’s willing to do whatever the other wants since she can find interest and curiosity in anything, and her selfless desires usually override her underlying preferences. Eth is just happy when surrounded by any person. It’s quite rare to find someone that she’s uncomfortable around or dislikes. However, she’s talented at masking these feelings and painting over them with positivity. The main way to tell if she is disinclined towards a person is if she stops seeking them out for company, and if she’d rather be alone than around them. The people she mostly evades are those who reject her friendliness or companionship consistently, those who act selfish or don’t ever return any effort to their relationship, or those who bring out her insecurities, awkwardness, or fear of insignificance.
Ethel’s mood is very static. She’s unceasingly positive and caring, with random bouts of enthusiasm sprinkled throughout the day. However, her whole world does not revolve around other people. Besides spending time with family or friends, Ethel possesses a remarkably inquisitive nature. Because of this, she’s habitually scatter-brained and spontaneous. She focuses on whatever catches her curiosity, mainly science or the outdoors, both of which she loves profusely. Eth prefers being alone when exploring something, though she doesn’t mind having a close family member nearby. Her curiosity bothers or annoys some people, thus she’s naturally closer to those who don’t mind it. She works best in a no-pressure environment, dealing horribly with stress or the need to finish a project. Oftentimes, she starts things and leaves them unfinished until the mood strikes some odd months later. On a bad day, Eth can feel angry and frustrated, but she tries to subdue these feelings since she hates being irritated. The rest of the time, she’s happy, inclusive, and adventurous.

Magic: Ethel can read the thoughts and emotions of those around her at will, but while doing so everyone around her can read her thoughts too - though only her thoughts and not emotions.

History: Ethel was one of the last children born to Horace and Andromeda. From an early age, she was infatuated with the outdoors, leaving her hair tangled, smudges of dirt on her face, and scraped knees that she managed to hide under her dresses. In any other noble family, it wouldn’t have been tolerated, but the Lockwoods lack of communication with the world allowed her more freedoms. She frequently invited others to play outside too, but she tended to spend more time in the gardens alone. Her mind wandered when outdoors, so she liked to think about whatever she pleased without interruptions.
Most of the time, she did prefer company though. At a young age, she followed Abatha and Catherine around constantly, whether they found it annoying or not. It was really just a compliment to them. They were her favorite older siblings, and so naturally she liked being around them. Eth especially enjoyed listening to Abatha’s stories, begging for more and inquiring as to how she created them. With Catherine, she found her religion fascinating. Early on, she bugged her endlessly about it. At first, she brushed her questions away, but as the two got older, Rin began responding with enthusiasm. Eth always had about five more queries per every answer she received, but her elder sister was very pious and didn’t seem to mind. She loved hearing about various Bible verses, their meanings, and prayer. With Rowan, she mainly started to avoid him after a while. Ethel had offered many times to play with him, but his consistent denial hurt her feelings and she remains fairly neutral about him. She doesn’t dislike him, but she certainly isn’t going to request his company. As Owen grew older, Ethel found a new playmate who was closer in age to her. She loved being around him especially. Eth didn’t mind creating stories and acting them out with him; in turn, he didn’t mind listening to her talk about science and her other, current interests. He also wasn’t annoyed by her incessant questions, and she wasn’t annoyed when he used his silver tongue because she could see through it with her own powers. The only time she couldn’t use her magic well was when Rowan stuck around, which was another reason she didn’t like him very much sometimes - even though she hated herself for thinking it. When Eth was with Owen, she usually left her mind open to him and then read his thoughts too. Honestly, she really just liked communicating through thoughts better than speech, so it wasn’t because she didn’t trust him. Of course, she didn’t at first, but over time her distrust for him disappeared entirely. Ethel trips over her words if she gets too excited about something, so in order to tell him anything in those circumstances, it was just easier to do so through her thoughts. They also understood genuinely where the other was coming from all the time. Mainly, Ethel loves having someone to share her curiosity and outdoor playtime with, so that’s why Owen is her favorite sibling.
Lily, the youngest, wasn’t her favorite playmate though. With her mind-reading, Eth knew the full details of her powers, and basically just thought Lily was really selfish because of how focused she was on not letting their parents know about them. It seemed like a prerequisite that you keep all of her secrets in order to become friends with her. So after a while of Lily going off on her own constantly and not spending as much time with the family, Ethel stopped asking for her company. Eth hates selfishness and lying, and she roughly perceived Lily as a self-centered girl with consistent lies about her magic and a strong desire to be alone.
Most of Ethel’s life revolves around her siblings, and she always exerts emotional energy into her relationships. Without her passion for science and the outdoors, she would’ve burned out a long time ago. When she’s not with her brothers and sisters, she spends every other second researching and reading anything she can. She prefers a more hands-on approach to learning, but occasionally she’s built up the patience to read a book or two. If it revolves around science, it’s worth it to her.
At the announcement of having suitors, Eth was pretty excited. She doesn’t especially care for the idea of marrying right now because she likes the way things are, but she does enjoy the prospect of meeting new people.

Other:


message 34: by Crabby Constance, Crabby Countess (new)

Crabby Constance (crabbyconstance) | 118 comments Mod
Priscilla T. St. James - Part One

Name: Priscilla Temperance St. James
Nicknames: Cilla, Cill

Age: 16

Gender: Female

Appearance: Cilla is the picture of a homely peasant. Her thick, chocolatey brown hair holds no curve or curl whatsoever, instead hanging firmly down to her mid-back. Occasionally, her servants style it up with pins and adornments, but it only survives through Cilla’s fidgeting for a few hours and usually falls down by the end of whatever event she’s attended. Her irises are a plain, lackluster brown, her eyes small, and her eyelashes short, narrow, and unladylike. Over time, her pale skin has grown ruddy, tan, and often sunburnt from the amount of time spent outdoors. The only trait she shares with her sisters are her naturally strawberry-colored lips, but even then, without proper care, they grow chapped and lose all hints of pink. Cilla’s smooth oval face rests on a stubby, dark neck and a pair of sturdy, sinewy shoulders. Instead of a dainty frame as was the fashion among the nobility, her short, five-foot figure is carved thickly with work-hardened muscles. While she’s not heavier than she should be, she also isn’t a tiny-waisted, fragile piece of china - as she preferred to describe the other noble ladies, including her sisters.
Cilla always clothes herself in her comfortable, blue tea dresses when given the option, leaving her hair down and sporting boots. Otherwise, her sisters dress her up in elegant gowns, constricting corsets, aching heels, and frilly bows. She acts as if she’s in a straight jacket when wearing a corset, and she often has a difficult time breathing, too. Cilla resembles a poor peasant rather than a noble lady, a feat she accomplished under her parents’ ignorant eyes.

Personality: Cill certainly does not look the part of a noblewoman, but she can otherwise act similar to one. She’s very humble and quiet around anyone who isn’t one of her cousins, and her manners are passable. She’d never let her boisterous, opinionated traits show through to the other nobles, only to her closest of friends. Cilla has also become quite skilled at avoiding or covering up any embarrassments at parties or dinners. Her only goal as Lady St. James is to attend every event unnoticed. Sometimes it seems futile with her peasant-like appearance, but she does possess the perfect personality for it - if she weren’t so clumsy. Cill can chop wood and find wives for her peasant cousins, yet she simply cannot master the art of holding a teacup the right way. She can sleep on dirt, wear pants, and spelunk barefooted, though she can’t clothe herself in gowns, shoes, or sit on furniture properly. However, she tries her best at appearing demure, and over time her effort has payed off. Cilla speaks reverently, offers an attentive ear, and treats her superiors with respect.
Still, she hasn’t been able to shed off her comfortable, careless nature. She rarely pays attention to her appearance, and often doesn’t even realize what’s wrong with it. Cill just enjoys relaxing. The desire for her worn tea dresses only increases how boxed in she feels while wearing a corset at a party. If she isn’t cozy, she isn’t happy. However, she also possesses a rare amount of self-assuredness, which she finds a deep satisfaction in.
The one most striking thing people notice about Cilla is how thrilled she is with receiving less. She drains every ounce of energy running, working, or dancing, yet she loves doing so. She’d rather eat bread and butter than the bounty of food her family usually ate. It takes no hesitation for her to aid someone else by buying them a gift or teaching them something. She can find joy in some of the most joyless tasks.
Cilla is a very guarded woman. Because her true nature would probably embarrass her family in front of society, she hardly tries to form relationships. In fact, she’s developed no close friendships in any of the other nobles. In her opinion, it just seemed like she’d be forced to constantly cover up her personality. Besides, none of the other nobles were appealing to her, and she’d already found the best of friends in her cousins.
Cill is not the most empathetic individual. She can be quite oblivious to other people’s feelings, or judgmental of the reasons they supply for their emotional imbalances. Usually, someone has to point out the fact that she’s being thoughtless and apathetic for her to even realize it. It’s especially harder for her to change this trait because of the fact that she can’t recognize it very well. Over the years, her cousin Silas has almost trained her to cut people slack, but this hasn’t solved the main problem. She still lacks the ability to understand others’ feelings, and it’s caused her quite a bit of trouble among people who don’t know her well. This also fuels her desire to stay away from nobility. She definitely isn’t the person to confide detailed emotions and drama in. Her solution to everything is to slap logic on the problem or avoid it entirely. Of course, she often consults her more sensitive cousins about different matters to help her rethink the way she plans on solving some of her own dilemmas and questions.
But mainly, Cilla is basically just a pleasant girl who rather wishes she were a peasant.

Title: Lady St. James (daughter to the Earl of Cairns)

Family:

Parents: Thomas and Catherine St. James
Siblings: Hester Mary, Irene Lenora, and Cecilia Prudence St. James
Aunt and Uncle: Philip and Mary St. James
Cousins: Silas, Solomon, Josiah, Lucien, Cecil, Larkin, Paris, Isidore

History: Priscilla was born the youngest child of the St. Jameses, only a month older than one of her relatives Larkin. She mainly spent her days with her cousins - the rowdy all-boy crew of Uncle Philip and Aunt Mary - often mocking her sisters and covering herself in dirt. She found her sisters to be insufferably self-obsessed. Irene stared at herself for hours a day into a mirror, then she’d critique something, fix it, undo it, and fix it again until it she felt immensely satisfied with her work. Irene also brought in several servants to style her hair in the most fashionable of ways, and to tailor dresses specifically for her with suffocating amounts of fabric and frill. Cecilia didn’t differ much from her elder sister. Of course, Irene and Cecilia acted as if in their own, regular clique, but the two constantly fought and competed. On multiple occasions, they’d steal suitors from the other or hide or ruin dresses, makeup, and headpieces. Priscilla almost couldn’t help but laugh at how petty they were. Cecilia had once been courting the “man of her dreams,” and then Irene had appeared in some ethereal outfit and convinced him she was better. The next day, she dumped him on the street and Cecilia’s smugness and pride wouldn’t allow her to return to him. They were at each other’s throats constantly, yet sickeningly sweet when they desired an outside opinion on fashion, needed to borrow a dress, or any other favors that possibly arose. Priscilla hated them.
However, no matter how much she despised Irene and Cecilia, she abhorred her eldest sister about twice as much. Hester: the condescending, self-obsessed, rude, awful, fake, yet perfect young woman. Hester never did anything wrong. Hester never looked bad. Hester never spoke out of turn, never acted boyish, never embarrassed their parents, never steeped to Irene, Cecilia, or Priscilla’s level, never giggled obnoxiously, never ate too quickly, never turned away a suitor, never failed to do as her parents asked, never failed to be absolutely perfect at any given time no matter what. And Priscilla hated her.
Honestly, whenever Priscilla stuck around her sisters, she felt like throwing up. Thus, she mainly surrounded herself with her dirty cousins, who were only a short horse ride away. She rather preferred being around the grubby boys. Her parents had actually been granted their title by the queen around the time of Hester’s birth, and so Uncle Philip and Aunt Mary possessed no such formality. They were just about as low as any other commoner, except the fact that Priscilla’s father often purchased nicer things for them in terms of lodging, clothing, food, or materials. She felt it relieving to be around them. Over time, her cousins acted as if they were her siblings rather than Hester, Irene, and Cecilia. Her parents really only knew she visited the relatives quite often, but mostly were never around to witness the horrifyingly unladylike way she acted. Priscilla simply treaded more carefully whenever nearby them, though eventually some of the boyish mannerisms and hobbies seeped into her everyday life anyway.
Priscilla was actually nicknamed “Cilla” by her eldest cousin Silas. Silas assumed the role of the wise, older brother, constantly listening to her complaints and providing advice. For some reason, he thought calling her Priscilla was impersonal, or so he lied to her so he didn’t have to tell her that the name sounded snobby like Irene or Cecilia. He seemed quite introverted since he rarely spoke in situations with large groups of people - for instance, whenever his bunch of loud siblings was around. However, he loved providing Cilla with interesting conversations, encouragements, or comfort. The whole world of being pretty, acting lovely, and fake sisters exhausted and worried her to no end, meaning she desired a lot of interaction outside that. Silas could be very quiet, and thus was a great person for her to speak to when she just wanted a listener.
Solomon, the second-born, was sort of like a younger version of Silas. Cilla often called him mini Silas, though with a positive connotation that he thankfully understood. Solomon was reserved at times, but just very slightly more to the center of attention than his older counterpart. This could be attributed to the fact that he enjoyed his younger brothers’ jokes, laughter, and rowdiness even if he didn’t necessarily engage in the latter. However, he led much lighter conversations than Silas tended to, which made him the more popular brother to complain to if one hadn’t bonded with the Silas. Cilla, on the contrary, had bonded with Silas. Of course, Solomon also had been the one to nickname her “Cill” for short, therefore further cementing her close relationship with him as well.
Josiah was born third, and apparently inherited the best genes in the family. Every village girl whispered about him, spied on him, showed up randomly to the house, all simply just to see him. Josiah was popularly sought after, but he mostly discarded the girls’ efforts and ignored them. He did not like being treated as if he was an object to admire, although he wasn’t particularly touchy about the topic. Josiah was flattered, laughed at the teasing his older brothers and Cilla subjected him to, and sometimes acted as if he let his attractiveness go to his head, though it was all in good fun. Oftentimes, there were a few commoner girls who’d approach Cill and ask her about Josiah. She’d return home to inform her cousin all about this, joking that he was apparently more important than a daughter to the Earl of Cairns.
Lucien was the athlete of the boys. If the family ever needed more wood chopped, materials to be hauled, sheds to be built, or other broken household objects to be fixed, he volunteered obnoxiously in hopes of surpassing his elder brother in attractiveness. Most of the jobs he found involved some sort of strength or tinkering skill, and Lucien grew proficient in both of these categories. Despite his boasting though, all the ladies still went after Josiah. Unfortunately, his elder brother refused to pick a woman, meaning Josiah remained the most eligible and sought after St. James instead of Lucien.


message 35: by Crabby Constance, Crabby Countess (new)

Crabby Constance (crabbyconstance) | 118 comments Mod
Priscilla T. St. James - Part Two

History cont’d: Nevertheless, he continued his ridiculous amount of hard labor and repairs, and basically never let his brothers do any of the work around the house. He also nicknamed Cill “the pleasant peasant,” because she was always eager to work too.
Cecil, thankfully, was the most serious out of all the siblings. He tended to shut Lucien, Josiah, and Larkin up whenever he thought it necessary. Like all the St. Jameses, he did possess a sense of humor, but it was harder to touch than Josiah’s or Lucien’s. At one point, he began working for an owner of a bookshop. When business was slow, the man taught Cecil to read. He was the only one out of all his brothers who knew how to do so after that. Cilla began bringing him books too or helping him with harder words, but he learned quickly and soon didn’t require her assistance. Of course, sometimes Thomas would deny their requests for the books, so Paris would steal them if the chance ever arose.
Larkin was the most skilled in the ways of flirting, actually surpassing Lucien. While he didn’t care about buffing himself up, he’d been born with a charming grin and a knack for creating compliments that didn’t hold any water no matter how much it seemed as if they did. He could be quite persuasive too, besides the fact that he just might’ve been the most gullible kid on earth. Picking up on sarcasm or women denying his efforts was not his specialty. He seemed oblivious to most everything, and Cecil often played random pranks on him just to see how many stupid things he could get his brother to fall for. He’d also taken it upon himself to instruct Cill in the ways of being charming and pretty, which Silas and Solomon snickered in the corner at.
The second youngest, Paris, decided as a young boy to fulfill his duty to his family by stealing things. The first occasion of this happened simply as he was walking by an orchard, and couldn’t resist eating an apple for himself. Of course, if he returned home with apples for the whole family, he’d be a hero. After his parents found out he’d picked a basket full of the fruit for everyone by sneaking around an orchard, they’d forced him to return it. Since then, he learned to never let Philip and Mary in on his actions. When he stole food, he’d practically cram it into his siblings’ and Cilla’s mouths just to be rid of it before their parents arrived home. He knew his parents also wouldn’t condone him snagging books for Cecil, so they lied about receiving it from Cilla’s parents.
Isidore was the youngest, born about three years after Cill. While he didn’t steal like Paris, flirt like Lucien and Larkin, ignore everything like Cecil and Josiah, or maintain some sort of calm presence like Silas and Solomon, he still fit into the family perfectly as the ultra-hyper child. It seemed his high energy never turned off, and he was responsible for keeping his brothers up till well past midnight. He could sprint, yell, and laugh for hours, often exhausting all his siblings. Even Cecil couldn’t quiet Isidore. It seemed the only one tuned into his serious side was Cilla, but how she did so remained an urgent mystery to the rest of the family.
Honestly by this time, her home was with her cousins rather than her actual parents or sisters in their manor. Cill enjoyed the small meals of bread and vegetables compared to the expensive pheasant heart and extravagant dessert her parents normally served. She much preferred dressing in Isidore’s trousers and shirts instead of uncomfortable gowns, and she clearly could never wear a corset since she was too used to looser clothes. Her parents were very lenient with her. They rarely required her to attend any events, probably because her other sisters never missed a single one. Cill’s presence, as a result of her sisters’ ambition, wasn’t usually necessary. Oftentimes Cilla even slept over in Philip and Mary’s little cottage. Her cousins always worked for extra food to allow her to stay and eat, and usually on the warm summer nights she and the boys would sleep under the stars. Otherwise, Silas squished himself and his brothers on one side of their bedroom to create the appropriate space and gap for Cilla. Her cousins never complained when she stayed over. Instead, the boys could barely calm themselves down. Knowing Cilla wasn’t picky and liked their style of living better than her own made her a very enjoyable guest to have, too. If Cilla had smaller servings of food in comparison to her sisters and parents, Isidore’s muddy pants to sleep in, a tiny, stuffy bedroom cramped with excited boys who rarely stayed asleep the whole night or an itchy, grassy, hot field under the stars with a few scratchy blankets next to them, and if she had a tired, but somehow cheerful aunt and uncle who worked the day and returned home to a hungry group of kids plus their niece, Cilla would always be content. Always.
Unfortunately, Priscilla was not born to Philip and Mary, rather to Thomas and Catherine. Unfortunately, Priscilla’d have to be married off someday, attend events, dress nicely, and maintain a ladylike personality and appearance. Her parents, instead of bringing in a tutor, insisted on her sisters teaching her all these things. It meant she had less time to ride to her cousins’ household, but she seemed to account for her losses by speaking with Silas, joking quietly with Solomon, teasing Josiah, pranking the obnoxious Lucien deviously with Cecil, tricking Larkin, stealing with Paris, and shrieking in the mud around Isidore much more faithfully and loudly. Nevertheless, she hated the time spent with her sisters. Every lesson, Irene would enter Cilla’s room gracefully and then wrinkled her nose in disgust at her younger sister’s appearance. She’d compliment Cill’s “natural beauty,” but then proceeded to insult everything else about her. In Priscilla’s absence, Cecilia had mastered the art of envy. She’d often remark wistfully at how pretty Cilla’s chocolatey brown hair was, and touch it constantly as if she thought the feature would somehow transfer to herself just by doing so. Hester, though, became the real teacher. She’d strike Cilla with insults when she didn’t try hard enough, pick at the tiniest, most minuscule things, criticize her manners, her fashion, her hairstyle, her cosmetics, and everything else under the sun. Never did a smile form on Hess’ face, nor a joke, a positive comment, a compliment, or a lenient excuse on Cilla’s behalf. Hester expected perfection. Hester would not accept imperfection. Still, Priscilla never reached any respectable position on the social ladder. Her tomboyish manners and appearance leaked through the facade of gowns, makeup, and etiquette lessons no matter how hard her sisters tried. Cilla simply refused to act like them. Eventually, her parents grew frustrated with her. “People would think you’re not even a part of this family with how much time you spend at your cousins,” her mother would remark frequently. Thomas and Catherine could never forbid her visits to their relatives though, nor could they enforce it either. They were stuck with what they received. Silas listened and encouraged her patiently, and Solomon, Josiah, Lucien, Cecil, and Larkin tried to aid her parents’ quest somewhat, though she accepted their help gratefully since they’d practically grown up together. She was much more willing to hear advice from them. At one sudden point, Hester stopped teaching Cilla’s lessons. She became secluded and isolated, only growing in weepiness. Priscilla knew that Hess and Patrick had broken off their engagement several months before, but surely that didn’t explain her sister’s sorrow. For one thing, Patrick was a bore. For another, wouldn’t Hester’s have occurred shortly after the fact and not weeks later? Silas’ advice upon her consultation of him was simply that her sister had probably experienced something Cill knew nothing about and to be kind to her. It was much easier said than done. Part of her wished to be rude now that Hester was no longer the “perfect daughter,” but she mostly held her tongue and avoided her.
Instead, she spent her time trying to find both Silas and Solomon wives. Neither of her cousins were at all interested in marrying, but Silas was on the brink of turning twenty and Solomon a year younger than he. Josiah had finally found a girl he liked, Ruth, but she publicly despised him and spurned his efforts. Josiah called it a work in progress. He assured his family that she was the girl he was going to marry though. For Solomon, Cilla found a sweet, quiet, young woman named Mercy. She was a bit fragile and weak, but Sol promptly fell in love, brushed away her concerns, and the two married. Silas was harder to find a wife for. After some trial and error, Cilla met a headstrong girl named Danielle and arranged for the two to meet, though neither party knew Silas’ cousin had actually orchestrated it. Silas might not have married Danielle if he did. However, he only suspected Cilla, but by the time he figured out the truth he’d already become her husband. Silas thankfully did not mind much.
While searching for wives for her cousins, Cilla even obtained a beau of her own in the village. Joseph actually sought her out after they first met on the streets. Cill admired and liked him greatly, enough to deal with her cousins’ teasing. The two courted for a while, but her parents were horrified when they found out. Having conveniently received an invitation to the Lockwoods’ just a few days before, her mother quickly sent Cilla away to them from the world that she was so seemingly fascinated with. Hester also joined her, an addition Cill felt quite neutral about. At least she wouldn’t be completely alone, and perhaps her sister might be willing to help her navigate the nobility’s way of things. Of course, she still shed several tears after having to leave both Joseph and her eight cousins, but she pointedly promised the latter that she’d return soon.

Other:


message 36: by Crabby Constance, Crabby Countess (new)

Crabby Constance (crabbyconstance) | 118 comments Mod
Simon P. Lockwood - Part One

Name: Simon Peter Lockwood
Nicknames: Peter, Pete

Age: 18

Gender: Male

Appearance: Peter always looks like he just rolled out of bed. His thick curls jut out at odd, amusing angles until he smoothes them down flatly with his hand - a custom he performs multiple times a day. Unfortunately, this does not prevent irritating tangles from forming. Several, rare hints of dark brown at the nape of his neck spoil his otherwise dirty blonde hair. While his hair is trimmed habitually, a few waves naturally fall over his forehead and into his eyes. Peter’s irises are a pure, mischievous blue, the shade as shocking as the skies on a hot, cloudless day. Nothing could soil their flawless, clear, twinkling color. Lengthy eyelashes surround his large eyes, a thin, pale brow hovering above. Peter’s sun-kissed face is dotted with freckles, concentrated mostly on his scrubby nose and cheekbones. He has a smooth, clean-shaven jaw, and his narrow lips are always turned up in a smile. Peter’s build is quite average, excluding the abundance of muscle he possesses in his shoulders, abs, and legs. He reaches 5’5, but he tends to sit in his hips and slouch around everywhere. During the summer and spring, his arms, shins, calves, and neck tan easily, a side effect of the time he spends outside. However, his face only burns in the sunshine, but he’s grown used to it.
Peter’s favorite clothes are his pajamas. Every night, he dresses in the same, blue pants and the same, white shirt. Sadly, he has to wear real clothing in the daytime. Familiarity is very important to him, so he’ll typically clothe himself in a blue shirt and gray trousers. He especially likes looser outfits since he can move around in them better, but he always dresses nicer for family meals. He’s also usually barefoot unless it’s necessary to wear his black, polished shoes.

Personality: Everyone perceives Peter as that immature, annoyingly happy boy filled to the brim with laughter intended solely for lifting up others’ spirits. His internal storage of jokes is meant for much-needed laughter, and his cheer is the envy of most. Some might even describe him as depressingly happy, suddenly aware of how sad they feel in comparison to him. His smiles are never-ending. From the time he wakes to the time he retires to bed, a mischievous grin spreads across his face and his eyes twinkle. Peter constantly teases his little siblings, but most assume it’s good-natured. Maybe his targets don’t enjoy it, though that never seems to cross his mind. He’s also quite an ingenious prankster. Usually, his antics are harmless, and he does seem to understand the line between joking and being mean. He genuinely doesn’t try to hurt people’s feelings, but the victims of his tomfoolery still don’t necessarily think it’s funny. Peter flourishes in the spotlight, seeming to relish any and all attention. He’s quick to jump into conversations with his opposing opinions, and his stubbornness in these situations sticks him right back into the limelight. Peter’s static mood of untroubled enthusiasm either reinforces people’s love or absolute abhorrence for him. He seems to be an all-or-nothing type person, and the same is true for others’ attitudes about him. They either despise him or adore him.
Peter is also fantastically excellent at hiding every single thing about himself. Yes, he loves pranks, laughter, and lifting people’s spirits. Otherwise, everything else people think about him is utterly wrong. Internally, Peter is actually very moody, angry, and depressed. He’s consistently sad, and he feels overwhelming pressure and worry about nearly everything. Half the time, he thinks everyone hates him and is disappointed by him, which leads him into a cycle of self-loathing. He enjoys being around people, but his fear of letting others down and stepping on their emotions has driven him into a subtle isolation for years. Peter sabotages himself constantly. He forces himself to do everything that increases his sadness and worry, exhausting his energy on pointless frustrations. Peter even shoves down his empathy and sensitive nature from other people, though it’d probably benefit him if he let it show through to those around him. If he permitted himself to do so, he might even become overprotective of his little siblings and good at teaching them different things, too. But unfortunately, the only person he talks honestly to is his cat Beatrix. She is the sole being - besides his dead uncle - that also knows about Peter’s horrible temper. He allows his anger to build up inside until it’s unleashed out on a physical object, which he embarrassedly has to hide later. This may or may not explain the disappearances of random books, notebooks, or clothes around the house. He possesses more strength than he thinks, both with his physical presence and his words. Peter may be sensitive and emotional internally, but his self-sabotaging habits completely conceal all of his more attractive qualities.

Magic: Peter can sense people’s auras. He can pick out any strong feelings they’re experiencing, and sometimes he feels just slightly off when he’s around others. The emotions he detects from other people are very different from the way his own emotions feel, but it can be uncomfortable for him occasionally. He can also tell if a person is dying, sickly, or extremely healthy.

History: While on the older side of the Lockwood siblings, Peter really didn’t act mature for quite a long time. In his younger years, he enjoyed jokes and playing tricks on people. It was passable before he turned ten, but eventually his parents set their foot down. Even Abatha seemed disappointed sometimes, or as if she expected better of him. Rowan hid from the family, Catherine only increased how insignificant he felt, James brought out his guilt, Ethel was too genuinely happy, Owen was too nosy for his own good, and Lily acted too self-important to care about him. Peter was stranded in the midst of the people he hated the most in the universe. He’d been able to survive just fine for his first ten years of life since his older siblings hadn’t yet grown entirely unbearable, and his younger siblings were nothing but a mere, crying nuisance. But he found himself slowly falling into a state of perpetual sadness. Briefly, he exchanged his happy, external layer for the true emotions he felt inside - exhaustion and depression. About a month later, after being asked if something was wrong an annoying number of times, Peter just snapped. Obviously, he couldn’t tell them that he absolutely hated everything, including them. What kind of person would they think he was? So Peter transformed himself back into the fun-loving kid he used to be. Everything was a joke or a game because he no longer had an in between. In order to be serious, he’d have to reveal the things he hated most about himself.
The stress of maintaining a perfect facade wore him down, forcing him into an isolation that few people noticed. And if they did notice it, they didn’t think much of it. Instead, Peter spent his time finding the most secluded places in the manor. He eventually realized that having privacy in the house was nearly impossible though, especially when some of his younger siblings started growing up. So Peter began exploring the outdoors. There wasn’t a tree he couldn’t climb or a fence he couldn’t scale. He actually loved to sit atop the stone wall that wrapped around the manor. For some reason, he found comfort in being up high. Perhaps that was the reason that his other favorite place was the attic. During one of his escapades, shortly before he turned eleven, he stumbled across an abandoned litter of cats. He wasn’t an expert on animals, but the poor creatures seemed weak and scared. Of course, he failed to recognize the gravity of the situation. All the same, he nestled them into his vest and smuggled them up to the attic. He brought the three kittens saucers of milk and thick blankets to warm them with. After he ate dinner with his parents and presumably retired to bed, he snuck up to the attic again. His mind and body weren’t yet acclimated to staying up late, so he eventually drifted off to sleep with the cats huddled next to him. In the morning, he realized that two of the animals had stopped breathing. He grew so angry at himself for not being able to save two lousy kittens, but with one look at the last cat, still alive, he bundled her up and knocked on Abatha’s door. She wasn’t especially excited about being woken up so early, but she hustled Peter into her room to hide the animal. Peter gave the kitten over to Abatha, and she commented on how cute it was. She was the one that determined that it was a girl, and then suggested names for him to choose from. After listening to a few options - including Mathilde and Tinsel - he finally selected Beatrix. With Abatha by his side later that morning, Peter asked if he could keep Trixie. They agreed, with a few ground rules. The kitten wouldn’t be allowed to run around unsupervised, and she’d either need to be outside, in Peter’s room, with Peter, or with the servants. And Bea was in no way permitted to enter the kitchens. Unfortunately for Horace and Andromeda, the servants quickly fell in love with the kitten and fed her food while they cooked meals. Peter would often spend time in the kitchens just because of how much all the workers loved Bea, and how much Bea loved the food. Peter was also extremely against letting her outdoors until he was absolutely sure that she wouldn’t die, so she mainly stayed indoors unless he carried her out on the grounds. But the other two kittens hadn’t been buried yet. On one afternoon a few days after he’d originally found them, he asked some of the servants to dig a small grave. He held a little funeral by himself, rested the two cats in a box in the ground, and then had the servants fill it back up. Afterwards, he planted several flowers and crafted a cross out of two large sticks. On the sticks, he engraved, “Tinsel and Mathilde.” Since then, he comes out here once or twice a week to care for the garden and let Bea play in the plants. She seemed to enjoy being out by her siblings, sometimes lounging next to Peter in the sun. Sometimes she’d run around chasing his heels. He eventually trained her to come when called, so he no longer worried as much about her being outdoors, especially as she got older. And while his depression steadily overwhelmed him, he found a best friend in little Trixie. He could talk to her or read books to her for hours, and then he’d feel better. She was the one thing he loved most in the world.
Over time, his relationships with his siblings did change. On one occasion, an extreme bout of anger possessed him to grab a nearby stack of papers and rip them up. It was only later that he discovered it’d been Rowan’s papers. Peter felt an immense guilt. If he confessed, he’d see and feel an intense disappointment from his parents and Abatha, and he couldn’t bear that. So he simply hated himself. He hated himself for not owning up to it, for doing it in the first place, for making Rowan think an anonymous sibling hated him, for letting his anger build up. And then he hated himself for hating himself. He couldn’t even look Rowan in the eye. For the next year, he isolated himself from his family more than usual. He used the majority of every single day to walk out to Tinsel and Mathilde’s grave, work on the garden, and pour his thoughts out to Beatrix while doing so.


message 37: by Crabby Constance, Crabby Countess (new)

Crabby Constance (crabbyconstance) | 118 comments Mod
Simon P. Lockwood - Part Two

History cont’d: The kitten had calmed down considerably as she grew up, now content to sit with her owner for many hours. He felt perhaps he could talk to Abatha about things, but he was so scared of disappointing her. He admired Catherine greatly for how devoted she was to her faith, a faith that propelled her into being a better sister. How could he compete with that? How could he go to his amazing sister and discuss his emotions? He couldn’t. After Charlie’s death, Peter couldn’t look at James either. Pete had one mood: happiness. But nobody wanted happiness right then, so he avoided everyone as much as possible. He was just grieving, most presumed. And he hated himself for not grieving enough. After a few years, Abatha happened upon Peter speaking to Beatrix. They’d been moderately close ever since she’d helped him convince their parents to keep the cat, but Pete still never confided in her. Instead of laughing at him sharing his secrets with Bea, she simply asked him what he was thinking about. And slowly, Peter convinced himself to tell her. He explained how he hated everything, even himself, and that his laughter was only a lie. Abatha was really easy to talk to, and the pair grew very close. He was still afraid of disappointing her, but he forced himself to tell her that too. For him, it was relieving to have a human being that actually knew what was going on inside his head. But like always, times changed and Abatha left the manor to study abroad. Peter returned to isolating himself. During her absence, he decided to focus more on his powers. He’d discovered at any early age that he could sense people’s auras, though he only started calling it that till long after he figured his magic out. He could understand how people were feeling, and sometimes if their health was declining or not. Peter started paying this a lot more attention, especially after his namesake, Uncle Simon, visited. Uncle Simon lectured him for hours about different composers, and finally he convinced Horace and Andromeda to allow Peter to attend one concert. Pete absolutely loved the music, but his parents firmly said no to other concerts. So Simon and Peter spent time talking. Uncle Simon did like to be with his other nieces and nephews, but he really wanted to be with Peter since he’d been named after him. Uncle Simon was the second person Peter ever confided in. Something felt off though. He realized this after a time, and he pondered this for hours. He had to pay attention to Simon’s aura. Then, he stumbled upon the answer suddenly, a few days after Uncle Simon had left with sad farewells. Uncle Simon was going to die. He could sense it in his aura: the decaying life force, less vivacious than healthy people, that left a sour residue in his stomach. Peter wasn’t surprised at the announcement of Uncle Simon’s death roughly a month later. He still grieved at the news, but he’d already resigned himself to the idea that his uncle was dead. Peter missed him terribly. At least he had letters arriving from Abatha, and he eagerly responded to each one he received. They’d promised to keep their correspondence up while she was away by mail. But still, Peter tried to start classifying the different feelings he sensed from people’s auras, picking apart the complex combinations that made up each one and attempting to form distinctions to help him analyze other auras in the future. He’s actually quite excited about the suitors coming, if solely for the purpose of testing his magic. Unfortunately, this possibility is completely overridden by his depression. He’s stressed out at the idea of new people staying at the house, new people to interact with, new people to hide himself from. The other positive is that Abatha is finally home, but her aura has changed immensely. It’s sadder, somehow, in a way he can’t decipher. So he’s also worried about his favorite person in the world, the world that is crushing him with its weight.

Other:


message 38: by the_rabid_snail, Suo Jure Marchioness (new)

the_rabid_snail | 242 comments Mod
Abatha C. Lockwood - Part One

Name: Abatha Clothilde Lockwood
Nicknames: Abby

Age: 21

Gender: F

Appearance: Abatha’s golden blonde locks of hair are not much to be envious of. While they are thick and possess a lovely sheen right after being washed, they can’t hold a single curl for very long. She usually keeps it in simple but elegant buns with a few wisps framing her face or a strand of hair braided into her updo. Her eyes are mystical, cerulean blue that can tumble and roil like a storm at sea when she is angry or otherwise upset about something, but when she is happy or at peace, they’re clear as crystal. Her height is average for someone of her age and gender during the Victorian era, and her skin is slightly pale but smooth and flecked with a few, light freckles. She has a small, diamond-shaped face with high, prominent cheekbones and a sharp chin, and her forehead is petite to match the other fine features of her face. She has full, heart-shaped lips, small ears, and a delicate nose, and her slender neck broadens out into slightly wide shoulders. She doesn’t have the tiniest figure, but she has a generous bosom and a flat stomach. Her body doesn’t possess much muscle, but she is stronger than she looks and has more stamina and endurance than most proper ladies.
Abatha normally wears simple but elegant gowns in light or pastel colors that her hair accents. Her dresses are not over-ornamented, but they have thoughtful details and accentuate her curvy, trim figure. Her taste in jewelry is similar, but her with her petite figure, heavy or gaudy jewelry looks strangely wrong. She likes pendants, hair combs, flowers, small pearls, chokers, and slender bracelets. The heels she wears aren’t very high, but she’s tall on enough on her own not to need them. Although what she wears is typically understated, her clothes are made from the finest material and hand-tailored to fit her perfectly.

Personality: Abatha isn’t an overly cheerful person, but she isn’t melancholy or moody either. There is a quiet energy and an almost otherworldly grace about her. She loves expressing herself creatively, especially through stories, and also has a passion for absorbing herself in the written word like some of her other siblings. She has a way with words and is actually a wonderful storyteller. She might just love telling stories as much as she loves writing her own.
Although she sometimes sees things differently than her siblings, she is very protective over all of them. She loves spending time with them, even the more difficult ones, and would do nearly anything to protect or help them. What interests them interests her, and she prefers being with them over her parents or the servants.
Abatha doesn’t like to spend much time alone. She highly prefers being around other people, even when she is writing her stories as long as her companions aren’t being too noisy or distracting. Sometimes she doesn’t always talk much when she needs the occasional bit of space, but she would rather be in the same room with someone else than be alone in her own room. Although, as of late she has been spending an unusual amount of time locked in her room or wandering the corridors and grounds of the estate by herself.
While she is confident and outgoing around her siblings, she can be shy around strangers or people she doesn’t know very well, mainly some of the servants. She suffers from some minor social anxiety, but since she has grown up around the same people her whole life for the most part, it has never affected her much. She is not normally anxious to new situations. In fact, she loves adventures and the idea of travelling. She is only anxious about situations that involve new or unfamiliar people.
She is very kindhearted and sweet and loves her siblings, but lately she has been drawing more and more into herself, seemingly falling into some sort of a depression. Nothing holds much interest for her anymore, not even her stories. Ever since coming back home from her trip abroad, she hasn’t told her siblings a single story, and her writing occurs in inconsistent bursts instead of every day. Her written stories have taken on new themes and feelings of hopelessness and despair, reflecting the emotional state of her mind. She doesn’t want to be around her family, not even her favorite siblings, and her general mood is apathetic and indifferent to most things and people around her. She especially avoids her youngest siblings and the children of the servants who work at the manor for reasons no one has been able to figure out yet. When she has the energy to care, she regrets not spending more time with her siblings now that she’s finally back from the continent and tries to talk to her family or do an activity with her siblings that they like doing, but such periods of time are rare.
Most definitely she still loves her siblings and wishes only happiness and good health for them, but presently she sometimes can’t bear to be around them, isolating herself as her own personal form of punishment. She wholeheartedly believes herself to be worthless and impure, damaged goods. It is impossible for her to even imagine anyone ever loving and accepting her once they discover the truth about what she has done. As much as her voluntary seclusion is a means of punishing herself, it is just as much a way to protect herself from any of her siblings ever finding out the real reason she was sent abroad and what happened while she was away. For so long she has been the strongest sibling, the one that held the family together through both good times and bad times, that the notion that it is her siblings’ turn to support her has never even crossed her mind. She is used to being the most responsible and mature one and ensuring that her younger brothers and sisters get along and complete their schooling lessons, and she has always taken pride in being there for her siblings and in being accomplished and disciplined enough not to need anyone else’s help. Now that she feels she doesn’t know herself anymore, she is unable to stop her own descent into utter desolation.

Magic: Abatha is a dream walker. She can control her own dreams and can enter the dreams of others. She is even able to influence other people’s dreams while she is in them to some extent. However, she can only use her powers while she is sleeping.

History: Abatha was the first child born to her parents and was wildly adventurous from a young age. She enjoyed playing with her younger sister and liked to drag her around wherever she went whether her little sister liked it or not. Then her brother Rowan came along, and she had to split her attention between the two siblings. She loved playing with her sister, but she also liked being with her brother since he was the only boy at the time. However, Rowan was content to sit and do nearly nothing, and she found that boring. So as time went on, she ended up playing with her sister and the other children that came after him more often than not. When she was in the mood to read, however, Rowan was her favorite sibling to read to because he was the quietest and most attentive listener. Some of her other brothers and sisters were easily distracted and made it difficult for her to read aloud to them.
As Abatha grew older, she was to take lessons from tutors in etiquette, embroidery, penmanship, grammar, art, and music. She didn’t like it at all at first and was immensely difficult about it, but after a while she got used to it and settled down. She wasn’t the brightest or best student in the world, but as she progressed in her studies, her tutors realized she was gifted with words. ‘If she was a man, she might be a great author,’ they’d say. Being high-spirited, she always said she’d be the best author in the world, better than any man like Jules Verne or Charles Dickens. As for her other areas of study, she wasn’t that gifted. Average would be a better term, though through years of practice her penmanship and watercolor paintings became exceptional.
She started telling her siblings stories when she was around seven. At first she just read them stories from books or related stories she knew by heart. She made up different voices for all the characters, and soon story time before bed became a nightly routine. Eventually, she started running out of stories to tell. While her younger siblings didn’t mind hearing the same classics every now and then, they would get tired of them eventually, and she was getting bored telling the same ones. To remedy this, she started inventing her own stories. In the beginning, some were successful, and some weren’t. But after some practice, she started getting exceptionally good at making up her own tales. Sometimes she made them up beforehand, and other times she made them up on the spot, even letting her audience control where the story went on a few occasions.
As she grew older, she became gentler, more like Rowan than her more spirited siblings, but her rebellious streak wasn’t gone, just hiding. She didn’t mind Ethel following her every step when her sister was little; she had always adored small children, which came in handy since she was often called on to babysit her younger siblings and make sure they all got along. Sometimes when arguments arose, Owen would use his silver tongue to resolve disputes, and while Abatha knew that he meant well, she started to disapprove when the youngest children entered their teenage years. It was understandable when they were younger, and being left in charge often, she recognized that sometimes that was just the best way to calm everyone down, provided that Rowan was nowhere to be seen, of course. However, as the siblings aged together and started to mature, she worried that Owen’s magic might be hurting her brothers and sisters more than helping them in the long run. Eventually, her siblings would be in the world on their own, but they didn’t know very well how to peacefully resolve conflicts and settle arguments in diplomatic ways. They were used to magic doing the work for them. She didn’t worry as much about Owen since he was the one in possession of a silver tongue and since she felt he was particularly clever, but she was more concerned for her other siblings.
Abatha made time in her day to play with each sibling when they were infants and toddlers, and she read them children’s books and fairytales. When they were old enough to stay up, they graduated to her original stories. She also endeavored to find ways to connect with her siblings as they grew older and as their individual personalities became evident. Some of them were easy, like Ethel and Catherine, but others took more effort, like Rowan and Peter. Once she figured out that Owen liked dreaming up stories like she did, that made it easier to form some sort of bond with him. If she had the time, she sometimes offered to help write things down for him as well. Kind and caring Ethel was the sibling she typically went to just to talk about anything and everything. Science was not her best subject, but since she was significantly older than Ethel, it wasn’t too difficult to follow her sister’s questions and thoughts. With James, she tried to discuss literature, although sometimes she couldn’t always find her more distant brother when she wanted to spend time with him. Because they shared a love of books and because she had noticed that he was exceptionally observant and detail-oriented, she sometimes asked for his opinions or advice on her personal, literary works, although she never actually let him read them. She just gave him enough information to help her if she had an issue with a plot hole or a character arc.


message 39: by the_rabid_snail, Suo Jure Marchioness (new)

the_rabid_snail | 242 comments Mod
Abatha C. Lockwood - Part Two

History cont'd: Sweet, encouraging Catherine was another sister she went to if she was in need of light and interesting conversations, and when her sister immersed herself in religion, she discovered that Catherine was also a good person to talk to if she felt down or annoyed at something. She thought that her youngest sister, Lilyanna, might also be nice, but she never felt that she really connected with her in any sort of way. However, the sibling that was the toughest to spend time with and express affection for was Rowan. He isolated himself and acted like he didn’t want to be around her, which bruised her feelings a bit. After visiting his dreams once, she gleaned some knowledge about the aspects of himself he tried so hard to hide, but because of his particular magic, he could sense her presence and figured out how to drain away enough of her magic when she slipped into his dreams again to lock her out. Respecting his privacy (and also because he could just shut her out again), she didn’t attempt to watch his dreams anymore. She did learn that he didn’t hate her from the first time she visited his dreams, but most of her gentler ventures to coax him out of his shell were unsuccessful. Every now and then, she could get him to talk to her for short periods of time, but after their grandfather passed away, he shut down and hardly talked to her anymore.
Simon was another sibling that was harder to bond with, but she finally had a breakthrough when he knocked on her door exceedingly early one morning with a tiny kitten in his arms. She beckoned him into her room and helped him pick out a name for the cat before approaching their parents with him and assisting him in convincing them to let him keep the kitten, Beatrix, as a pet. Years later, she stumbled upon him having a mostly one-sided conversation with his pet cat, and years of patiently listening and trying to draw out Rowan had prepared her to do the same with Peter. She was thankful that she had happened to find Peter at that exact time later on since she felt that it resulted in the strong friendship they developed over time. She could never pick one favorite out of all her siblings, but Peter was definitely in the top three she most enjoyed spending time with.
Abatha was devastated when Charlie died. She mourned just as intensely as anyone and found comfort in Catherine’s company during that time. Catherine was also greatly sorrowful for the loss of her little brother, but she believed he was in a better place and often reminded her family of the fact whenever needed. Abatha appreciated her sister’s quiet hopefulness when she felt like life wasn’t worth living without sunny Charlie in it. She was especially careful to give James the space he needed since he had been the closest to his twin brother out of all of them, but when she thought it was time, she sought him out.
In the years that followed, life settled back into a new routine. She kept on inventing new stories and relaying them to her siblings. A couple of times she staged them into plays and enlisted the help of her siblings in acting out the various characters, trying to coax some of the more reserved siblings into playing along. She also continued painting and playing the piano, even though she was not the most gifted pianist, and sometimes she practiced her embroidery while she discussed different topics with her sisters or Peter. But after a while, she grew unappeasably bored. She wanted excitement, adventure, and romance like in the books she read and the stories she dreamed up. Eventually, she used an overhanging tree to climb over the stone wall surrounding the grounds and walked to the nearby village.
She met a young sailor there when she was eighteen and instantly fell for him. She was spending as much of her time as possible with him, meeting him halfway between her home and the town whenever possible. Sometimes they spent time together in town too. After being with him for several months, something scandalous happened, and she was forced to tell her parents that she was now with child. Her father was furious, and her mother was very disappointed. They decided to send her abroad to “study” and told her to find someone to adopt her child once it was born. Not knowing what else to do, she complied. At first it was wonderful to travel and do all the things she had dreamed of doing. She wrote letters to all her siblings, Peter especially, detailing the landmarks she saw, the foods she tried, the places she stayed in, and the people she met, but as her pregnancy drew nearer to an end, she found herself feeling more and more scared. But she was also growing horribly depressed. How would she give up her child? Her companion helped deliver the baby when it came and then took it from a sobbing Abatha to a nice family they had found. She returned to her family and the Lockwood estate almost immediately after and was just in time to hear her parents announce that they would be opening the doors to aristocratic suitors in a week. She was both shocked and terrified. How would anyone want her now that she was impure? But most of all, she mourned her child, wishing that she had kept her little boy and ran off with him to make her own life.

Other:


message 40: by Chess (new)

Chess | 118 comments Name;
Owen Terrance Lockwood

Age;
Fourteen

Gender;
Male

Appearance;
Owen has a svelte frame, though this is more from still being petite than from any particular lankiness on his part. At a little under five feet tall still, he’s more than ready for a growth spurt (any time now would be nice). His short black hair is neatly combed down and parted to the left, not that it sees the light of day often (or stays neatly combed down, actually) thanks to the fact that he is rarely caught without his favorite black bowler hat. Owen envies his older siblings’ distinctly green eyes, his own a dirty enough green that they tend to look brown in darker lighting. He still has enough puppy fat to round out his cheeks, which tends to give him far more of an innocent appearance than he really deserves. His smile is eternally lopsided, one corner of his mouth naturally tucked down even when he’s beaming, not that it takes away from the genuine joy his smiles exude.
He’s long since gotten over the delight of being old enough to finally wear proper suits, said delight having lasted maybe a month before disdain won out. He has a tendency to ‘accidentally’ forget his jacket and tie when he can get away with it, and only buttons up his vest when he’s outright told to.

Personality;
Owen has a smile for anyone and everyone he might come across, though this doesn’t necessarily mean he’s happy to see them or in a good mood – he just feels that smiling at people is an easy way to brighten their day, and that there’s no excuse to not brighten someone’s day if all it takes is a smile. However, people who know him or are particularly observant can tell the difference between his genuinely happy or pleased smiles versus his obligation smiles, since he smiles with his eyes with the former and only does so with his mouth with the latter. He also smiles because people generally tend to be put at ease by someone smiling at them, which makes them slightly easier to manipulate. It’s also an easy way to mask his actual feelings since most people don’t bother to examine smiles particularly closely for hidden signs of other emotions.
When Owen scowls, it’s a sign that he’s past the point of caring enough to hide his anger, which means that he is absolutely furious. Owen can and will hold grudges for years, though his forgiveness and good will can usually be reattained with a genuine apology – if he gets an insincere apology, he only gets angrier. Sincerity goes a long way with him. He doesn’t get loud when he loses his temper – in fact, he goes nearly mute.
Another way to tell what type of mood he’s in is just paying attention to his energy level. When he’s in a fantastic mood or is particularly excited, he nearly vibrates with energy. When he’s in a good mood, he’ll usually be bobbing his head or tapping his fingers or toes along with music in his head. When he’s feeling down, he’ll stop moving at all, and when he’s angry, he’ll move in sharp, short movements and his muscles will be tense.
Owen believes strongly in tit-for-tat; he’s more than willing to help someone else if they’ve helped him first, and he gets frustrated when others don’t repay favors. This isn’t to say that he doesn’t generally help people just for the sake of helping them, but that doesn’t make it any less irksome for him if people won’t do something for him that he was willing to do for them.
He’s rather loud once someone gets him talking – he either gets very invested in what he’s talking about or he completely loses interest. There are no other options for him. The more comfortable Owen feels in a subject, the more he uses his body to emphasize or aid him as he talks (and the more that people around him may want to take a step back to avoid getting accidentally thwacked with an overenthusiastic hand or two.
He loves his older siblings deeply and would do anything for them, though he tends to be a bit too awed by them to actually interact with them much – he keeps them up on a bit of a mental pedestal, which makes them vaguely intimidating. This does not keep him from spying on them whenever he gets the chance, and following them around from a small distance. Owen is a bit of a busy-body, and absolutely drools at any opportunity to learn any and all secrets that he can overhear. It makes him happy to be in the know, even if he’s not supposed to be (especially if he’s not supposed to be, if he’s being honest). Rowan, admittedly, has earned some distinctly negative connotations in Owen’s mind, thanks to his assistance in stripping Owen of his one defense against their parents, but Owen still thinks he’s cool. (He just thinks the older boy is a cool jerk)
Owen is extremely lazy when it comes to doing any of the things he’s expected to do – he’s got it set in his mind that he can’t do better, so why even bother wasting the time trying? However, he’ll put in a hundred and two percent to do random favors for others, even if it’s the very things that he’s positive he can’t do (though that’ll stop abruptly if the hypocrisy there is pointed out, his own self doubt immediately kicking in hard enough to make his work as bad as he thinks it should be). He’s also rather stubborn about being told that he’s better than he thinks he is – it all goes in one ear and out the other.
Owen’s conscience keeps him from being able to lie without his magic, his own guilt strangling his skill at rustling up a good story. Since this puts him at a huge disadvantage when his brother’s around, Owen’s gotten vaguely decent at being able to dodge questions and coming up with technical truths.(not that that does much when he gets asked something point blank – then it’s either lie or tell the truth)
Owen absolutely loves using his magic; it’s one of the only ways he’s been able to figure out to help smooth all the interpersonal problems between his siblings out (they don’t all exactly get along, so, whenever things get particularly bad, he’ll use his silver tongue to convince them to get along) even if it’s only ever a temporary fix and he winds up inevitably getting in big trouble once they realize what he’s done. Plus, it lets him put his story-telling talents to use, and gives him a captivated audience (being listened to seriously while he’s telling a story is honestly addicting enough that he can’t give it up, even knowing how annoyed/outright angry people get with him later when his lies are found out)

Magic;
Owen has a metaphorical silver tongue.
Whenever he uses his magic, people are unable to resist listening to what he has to say and they find it nearly impossible to consider it anything less than the truth. This doesn’t mean that his magic is restricted to just lying – he could use it while telling the truth as well (though this generally has the tendency to make people think that he was lying when they realize he was using his magic, since why would he use his magic when he’s telling the truth?) to get particularly stubborn or closeminded people to listen. It is impossible for people to distinguish when he’s just talking and when he’s using his magic to be particularly convincing – there are no physical or audible differences or changes.
When Rowan takes away Owen’s magic, Rowan’s magic nullifies not only any of the magic that Owen may have been using right at that moment, but also all of the magic that Owen had ever used.

History;
The first seven years of Owen’s life were the closest thing to perfection that was possible to experience while still living.
Or at least, that’s how he’s seen them ever since through the distorted lens of time and pining wistfulness. In reality, he still had to deal with life’s normal little struggles and the annoying trials and tribulations that naturally came with having a large family, but it was hard to see those past his fond memories of the innocently happy moments that had been unconsciously warped to be far more enjoyable than they had truly been. Not that he hadn’t had a happy childhood or a loving family, he certainly had, it just hadn’t been anywhere near to the point that he imagined it to be.
For instance, while his absolute adoration of his oldest sister Abatha and his love for his younger sister Ethel were exactly as strong as he remembered them being, they had not in fact always had the time or energy to give him their undivided attention. Abatha had spent quite a bit of her free time with him (or, to be fair, it would be more fair to say that he had spent quite a lot of time with her), but her focus was more often than not split up between multiple siblings at any one time, which was understandable considering the fact that she was a general favorite among the mass majority of the siblings. Ethel had also spent quite a bit of time with their other siblings as well as stealing away time alone for herself. Owen could completely understand both of their reasons, but it didn’t make him any less lonely (and occasionally bitter, which immediately made him feel horrible for being so selfish when he knew that they were just doing the best that they could for their entire family just like he did while also trying to take care of themselves, but that still didn’t always manage to take away the sting when he was left alone with only his self-pity and imagination to keep him company) at times considering that they were essentially the only two of his siblings that actually spent any real amount of time with him of their own accord.
Similarly, Rowan and Lily were no more socially welcoming towards him than they were now, despite Owen’s memories insisting that they had indeed been just a tad bit warmer, just a hair more willing to smile than turn away, just a hint less likely to vanish whenever he found them. In truth, while Rowan may have been around more, it wasn’t because he hadn’t wanted to be hiding out in his rooms, it was just been because he had still been being tasked with removing powers whenever the siblings got in fights. While Owen rarely experienced the full brunt of Rowan’s magic when he was young since he hadn’t figured out yet what his magic was, he still had gotten some rather nasty headaches and nausea from mere proximity – though the faint fear and unease from that was eventually negated and forgotten through understanding that Rowan had never intended or wanted to hurt him, that it was just an unfortunate quirk of his magic. Lily, on the other hand, tended to be more interested in either flying around the manor and the outside grounds with such wild energy that she just blurred straight past him and left him far behind in her dust, or she was absolutely absorbed and enthralled in her art to the point that Owen almost felt that it would be physically painful to disturb her.
Charlie was always really nice, and Owen knew that James loved him just as much as he loved the rest of their siblings under the rough exterior, but the twins tended to have a particularly special bond that he just couldn’t quite fit into. They were kind about it (Charlie moreso than James, but that was only to be expected), but Owen tended to feel like he was intruding anytime he tried to hang out with them for too long. Besides, it was hard not to be jealous of how close the two were, how easily they were able to fill each other’s weaknesses or support their strength.


message 41: by Chess (new)

Chess | 118 comments Peter was fun, even if he never seemed quite interested in hanging out with Owen for much longer than it took to complete a passing conversation or interaction. Owen loved how eternally cheerful his brother was, even if that good humor was occasionally bought with his own discomfort or embarrassment after being the butt of one of Peter’s pranks. Still, it was worth it to see the gleam in the older boy’s eyes as he grinned, absolutely pleased with himself, inviting everyone else around to share in his delight. The moment that that smile vanished was the moment that Owen now pointed to as being the beginning of the Lockwood family’s fall from their metaphorical heaven.
He hadn’t even noticed at first. It wasn’t something he admitted, even to himself, but at that point in his life he had mostly stuck around the two sisters that offered him the positive affection that he was starved for and just ignored the rest of his siblings to keep from being hurt by the fact that they all tended to ignore or shut him out first. It wasn’t until a concerned Abatha had mentioned she was worried about Peter that Owen had actually gone looking for his brother. Before that, he hadn’t paid attention to the fact that Peter hadn’t been around much because that was just kind of the norm for Owen outside of when Owen was the butt of one of his brother’s practical jokes or when Peter wanted Owen’s help to prank one of their siblings, but it was quite obvious that something was wrong once he finally did track Peter down and noticed the lack of his nearly trademark smile.
Owen may not have been as close with Peter as he would have liked, but he still loved his older brother and only wanted the best for him. It quickly became obvious that whatever was upsetting Peter was not something he planned on sharing with the class, so Owen did the only thing he could think of – to try and figure it out himself, he began secretly observing and following the older boy. He wasn’t exactly practiced at intentionally staying hidden back then and got caught an uncomfortable amount of times by both his subject and a number of quizzical passing family and servants, which only seemed to upset Peter worse each time he realized he was being followed. Owen remained determined and kept it up until he eventually built enough skill to avoid detection for longer and longer periods of time, but even then he still couldn’t figure out what was upsetting his brother so badly. That by itself was enough to leave his stomach in knots, but Peter’s second abrupt, unexplained mood swing left him more on edge than ever. Sure, it would have been easy to just accept his brother’s sudden good spirits, but Owen couldn’t quite shake the deep-seated unease that hit him whenever he came face to face with Peter’s smile despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that it was just as big and bright as it had ever been, if not even bigger and brighter. As uncomfortable as it made him, the experience did clue Owen into the idea that smiles could be used as tools, since it gave him a front row seat to watch the difference in how people treated Peter when he smiled versus when he hadn’t. Still unnerved by Peter’s inexplicable behavior, while Owen tried to get back into the swing of his normal routine, he now made sure to put some time aside each week to keep a cautious eye on Peter in the continuing effort to try and figure out what had happened.
Then, Owen found out that one of his other brothers was sick. Just like with Peter, he hadn’t noticed until someone else mentioned that something was wrong, their parents telling everyone that Charlie had gotten a fever over the night and thus was going to be staying in bed for awhile. It was unnecessary to add that James was staying with Charlie while he was sick – it was hardly the first time one of the twins had done so for the other and it was unlikely to be the last. Owen didn’t think much of it past offering to bring them tea once and just kept his space to avoid catching whatever bug his older brother had gotten, since fevers were a pain in the neck (quite literally, since muscle aches tended to go hand in hand with fevers) and he could always just spend some extra time with the twins once they were feeling better. The only problem with that was that by the time it registered that Charlie might not ever feel better, the older boy’s illness had gotten severe enough that the doctors weren’t allowing visitors.
And then, Charlie was gone.
It was a shock for everyone, not just Owen, but he couldn’t help taking it a bit personally – maybe if he’d paid more attention, he’d have been able to see something that would have helped. Maybe Charlie had eaten a poisonous berry or plant, but since Owen was busy distracting himself from his guilt over not being able to figure out what had happened to Peter by burying himself in Abatha’s stories and Ethel’s sweet cheer, he hadn’t been there to be able to tell anyone about it. Maybe Charlie had shown other symptoms when James had been asleep – if Owen had been there, he could have caught it. His mind was constantly filled with so many different scenarios where, if Owen had only been paying attention to his own family, his own blood, Charlie could have survived.
What made it all so much worse, though it was fully expected, was just how hard James had taken Charlie’s death. The very bond which Owen had once envied was slowly strangling the life out of the remaining twin, and there was nothing he could do about it. The only thing Owen could do for him was watch and feel absolutely sick to his stomach, and that’s exactly what he did. He watched as James managed to create a perfect illusion of a person for the first time, any sense of achievement or happiness that anyone might have felt at the accomplishment shattered into oblivion as the figure slowly became clear, Charlie shimmering into focus by James’s side – it was heartbreaking, how normal the scene should have been. He watched as James ignored everyone’s gentle sympathy in favor of hiding away for days with his consoling mirages, the merciless comfort Charlie’s effigy provided far crueler than any upfront torture could have been. He watched as an exhausted James slurred through unintelligible, one-sided conversations with the mockery of a ghost silently keeping him company, the boy talking until his voice went hoarse and then continuing to rasp on regardless. He watched James stagger and stumble blearily through the halls of the manor, nearly delirious, as Charlie’s image flickered like the flame of a candle behind him, the remaining twin desperately offering up every last scrap of magic he could produce to avoid having to watch Charlie be snuffed out for a second time. He watched James be carried back to his room when he eventually passed out, the bed-bound boy barely recognizable as being the same strong-willed and sharp-tempered older brother from barely two months ago. Owen watched and watched and watched some more, watching until he was positively sick over it but pushing himself to continue watching anyway – it was all his fault, and he deserved to have to see the consequences of his carelessness.
Eventually James began to recover, leaving a badly shaken Owen to try to wrap his head around what all had happened. For the first few weeks after that, Owen spent every last second of his free time shadowing his remaining siblings so that he wouldn’t miss any new catastrophe that might strike, making notes of anything and everything about them, their lives and their schedules that he could, filling several journals that he kept securely hidden under a loose floorboard under his bed (it was a pain of a spot to get to, but at least he didn’t have to worry about anyone else getting to them if it was that hard for him to get them out). Doing this on top of his schooling may have wound up being a far more exhausting and stressful endeavor than he had anticipated, but no one was going to hear him complain about it – it was the least he could do if it would keep his family safe and happy. Owen began staying up late into the night to finish his notes when his schooling and spending time with Ethel and Abatha began taking up more and more of his daytime hours, determinedly ignoring the bags under his eyes and the constant weariness that soon began bearing down on his shoulders.
What eventually got him to calm down a bit and relax before he wound up passing out in a corridor like James had was actually a combination of two things; discovering his magic, and starting to hang out with Ethel outside of just their shared time with Abatha.
Owen had been sitting with Abatha, carefully narrating one of his more complicated stories for her to write out for him, already aggravated since his focus was shot to pieces to the point where he’d already ruined three sheets of paper and a half hour’s worth of Abatha’s time thanks to several bits of plot that he’d forgotten about until it was too late, when she’d asked him for the fourth time that day if he was absolutely sure that he was feeling alright. His temper had flared enough that he’d forgotten both his manners and his adoration with his favorite sibling and turned to glare at her, spitting out an emphatic, “I am fine!” before he could stop himself. However, instead of being reprimanded for his tone or even just being given the same concerned, disbelieving look he’d found himself fixed with every other time they’d had this same conversation, Owen watched in shock as Abatha’s eyes glazed over for a brief second before she blinked, shook her head, and offered him a bewildered smile as she she sheepishly admitted that yes, actually he was looking fine, she didn’t know what she’d seen that made her think he might be coming down with something, and then continued on writing out his story like nothing had happened. It took some experimentation and a lot of practice to figure out how exactly to use his magic, but eventually he’d gotten the hang of it fairly decently. That by itself was a huge relief – if the worst came to worst, he could always ‘convince’ his siblings to be happy, to tell him what was wrong, or even to just plain out do as he said, if anything that desperate was ever called for. It was nice to know that he had that ace up his sleeve, even if it truly was only the last, most desperate card he’d ever play.
At the same time, he’d begun spending a lot of time with Ethel, which was quite the experience. It was a relief to not have to struggle and fight to keep tabs on how she was doing – it was just all out there for his easy perusal, all he had to do was ask. Of course the reverse was true as well, but he wasn’t overly concerned about that since he had nothing to hide. Owen didn’t actually realize how untrue that had become until he got a first hand look into how it looked from someone else’s perspective. That had taken a bit to come to terms with since he’d always considered himself to be an open book, only to find out he’d been hiding behind porcelain smiles, smooth deflections and way more magic than he’d realized ever since Peter’s smile had returned. It was an especially big shock to find out that his magic even worked on himself, and that he’d essentially been running on constant ‘I’m fine’s for weeks.


message 42: by Chess (new)

Chess | 118 comments Between unintentionally letting Ethel learn what his magic was, how it worked and what lies he was telling, as well as others using common sense to figure out why Owen had been telling a bunch of plainly outrageous lies for the past few weeks and why he never did so anywhere near Rowan, it didn’t really take long for the entire household to know what his magic was. That wound up being surprisingly unpleasant considering how much less everyone trusted him after that, even though there really wasn’t any point to it since his magicked lies they trusted without question so the only things left for them to doubt was when he told them the truth. He couldn’t blame them for their caution, but it still hurt to have an already fairly distant family go and take another step back.
Despite everything going on, Ethel’s company was what kept him from spiraling into a pit of self-hatred and pity. Honestly, he didn’t understand why their other siblings didn’t spend more time with her; her personality made her company nearly addicting. Sure, she could occasionally forget that he was there when she got particularly absorbed into whatever she’s focusing on, but that gives him time to just chill out and lose himself in working on his stories without being alone. It was fascinating and just a bit enthralling to observe and hear just how excited she got about science and each new current interest she came upon, the pure emotion easy to fall into and follow with her. The most annoying thing about being around her was when she would get distracted in the middle of a particularly interesting conversation or story, but even then all he had to do was make a note to remind her about it later and she was generally more than happy to finish or continue on where they left off. Her curiosity about the world helped him see things through a new lens, whether she was showing him some tiny details that he would have never noticed himself or whether he discovers something himself while trying to help her figure something out. Plus, frankly, her magic lifted a weight that he hadn’t even realized was there to not have to constantly filter what he said and how he acted. It was so nice to be able to just be known and understood, and to be able to know and understand her – they didn’t always necessarily agree with each other, but they understood each other and that was more than enough for Owen.
A few years went by, Owen managing to work out a far more reasonable schedule that still allowed him to keep an eye on everyone without running himself into the ground, and he relaxed, allowing himself to believe that perhaps things had gotten as bad as they were ever going to. Then, Lily suddenly and inexplicably shut herself away after showing the rest of the family her magic, avoiding everyone like the plague, and Owen’s anxiety resurfaced. It didn’t make any sense – why would she just suddenly start avoiding her family out of the blue? The only thing he could think of was that it might have had something to do with her magic considering the timing, though there was any number of reasons that that opened up. Perhaps it could give people around her papercuts when she used her magic, or maybe it was like Rowan’s magic and drained the energy of others when she used it. Or, perhaps, someone had teased her about her magic? Though who would do that, Owen couldn’t guess (alright, he could and had, narrowing the list down to Peter or James, he just didn’t think either would be that mean or not apologize if it had hurt her feelings enough that she was avoiding everyone). Or….perhaps she was dying? She might be dying and trying to cut off connections with everyone to make it hurt less when she was gone, and Owen was not going to stand around and watch another sibling die if he could help it. He very nearly panicked himself into going right over and forcing her to tell him what was wrong, but stopped himself by reminding himself that Ethel wasn’t upset over Lily’s abrupt distancing. Mildly irritated, yes – upset/scared/worried, no. While it was tempting to ask Ethel what was going on, Owen was very careful to respect the privacy of others when it came to magically gained knowledge; he never intentionally asked Ethel anything about the others while she was using her magic since that was a violation of privacy, just like he’d never force anyone to tell him something they didn’t want to with his magic unless it was an emergency. Still, he trusted Ethel enough to believe that she’d be more worried if Lily was actually in trouble, as uneasy as it made him to once again not have a clue what was troubling a sibling.
Less than a year later, Abatha went abroad, and half of Owen’s close social circle vanished. He’d already been getting to hang out with her less and less time with her recently, she’d apparently found something absolutely enthralling to do in town, but this was an entirely different creature. It was one thing to know that she was just a few miles out and would be back by the next morning, but to know that she was hundreds of miles away and having no clue when or if she would be back – how was he supposed to be able to help her, to be able to keep an eye on her and protect her, when he wouldn’t even be able to see the land she was on with a telescope. Well. It was nervewracking, to say the least, and he was torn between being selfishly devastated and grudgingly happy for her, since he knew she dreamed of adventuring.
That lead to another round of introspection on his side, and a mildly surprising conclusion. He could list off most of his siblings’ dreams, thanks to his spying as well as just having normal conversations with them; Abatha, obviously, dreamed of adventuring as well as romance (Owen hoped she’d find some while she was out adventuring – if she was going to have to be away, she might as well have all her dreams come true), Rowan dreamed of becoming a great scholar, Peter dreamed of mastering his powers and something to do with music (Owen hadn’t caught the entirety of that conversation, but he’d managed to hear enough passion in Peter’s voice to believe that whether Peter actually wanted to write music, play music or listen to music, it was something he really wanted.), Lily dreamed of being a great artist, and Ethel dreamed of learning the secrets of nature. Owen wasn’t entirely sure what James dreamed of – he loved horses, but Owen didn’t think he actually had any particular dream around them. Regardless, the vast majority of his siblings had clear goals that they were actively working towards, while Owen couldn’t think of anything that he dreamed of being or doing, or anything that he was particularly skilled at.
Owen wished he was as impressive as his siblings; each had some talent, some obsession, some interest that made them absolutely extraordinary, and that was without even touching on their magic. If their characters only revolved around their magic, Owen likely wouldn’t have been quite so awed by his siblings, but they had each managed to turn themselves into amazing people in their own right. Owen, on the other hand, knew that the only extraordinary thing about him was his magic. That was the only thing that set him apart from a majority of the world – billions of people cared for their family or make up stories. He was a perfectly average student, in that he managed to scrape by with passing grades in most of his studies (it was a close thing in his mathematics, though). He wasn’t great at dealing with people outside his family, the mere idea of actually actively interacting rather than just passively observing making him begin to sweat. He was too weak to be good at sports, too antsy to be a great reader (he did enjoy reading to a certain point, it just had to be in small stretches), and too clumsy and awkward to dance with strangers (he could handle dancing with family, though).
Owen had no earthly idea what he wanted in life, and realizing that made him feel surprisingly lost.
The question stuck in his head for the next few years, circling around aimlessly, Owen still not having come up with a satisfactory answer by the time Abatha finally returned home and their parents announced that the Lockwoods would be accepting suitors into their home. He’s extremely unexcited about the idea of people coming in to steal his family away, but as long as each Lockwood that leaves is happy about it, he’s decided he’s going to be happy for them. Who knows – it doesn’t seem like his thing at the moment, but maybe his dream will wind up being to end up with one of the strangers. Of course, when Abatha got her dream, she wound up coming back colder and far more distant than when she had left, so dreams might turn out to actually be nightmares in the light of day… but whatever.
Everything’s gonna be fine.
Right?

Other;
Owen always carries a pencil and journal inside his vest
His journals are absolutely off limits to anyone who is not him
There are no exceptions to this rule
Messing with his journals is a great way to immediately piss him off
He can and will use his magic to make transgressors regret their mistake


message 43: by the_rabid_snail, Suo Jure Marchioness (new)

the_rabid_snail | 242 comments Mod
Catherine A. Lockwood - Part One

Name: Catherine Arabella Lockwood
Nicknames: Rin, Cat, Ara, Arabella

Age: 17

Gender: F

Appearance: Catherine’s dirty blonde hair falls to the middle of her back in loose, rippling waves and contains natural highlights of gold, honey, and butterscotch. When she was born, her locks of hair were almost white-blonde, but as she grew older, they turned darker until eventually they ceased at the current colors in her tresses. Not all her strands of hair darkened at the same rate, which is why some are darker and some are lighter or golden. Her eyes are a rich, chocolate swirl of dark chestnut and caramel framed by long, ebony eyelashes and dark blonde, gently sloping eyebrows. She has a heart-shaped face with soft cheekbones and a slightly pointed chin, and she is blessed with a perfectly straight nose that turns up ever so daintily at the very end. Her complexion is flawless porcelain without a single freckle in sight, and her skin is as soft and smooth as velvet. She stands at about five feet and one inch, which is just below average for women during the time, and weighs approximately 95 pounds. She possesses a petite figure with slender shoulders and a delicate, graceful neck, but her bosom is nothing remarkable. Her hips are just about as wide as her shoulders, though she does not have any curves worthy of boasting about. Her willowy arms extend in a proportionate length to her short torso, and her hands are small with elegant fingers in the most ladylike fashion. To match her hands, she has narrow feet and tiny ankles with each toe a tad shorter than the one before it in a gently tapering line, and her legs are slightly longer than her torso, though not noticeably enough to not be perceived as proportional without scrutiny.
Catherine prefers to show off her natural waves and leaves her hair or portions of it loose more often than not. For more formal events, she pins the majority of it up in elaborate styles with the help of her servants but leaves a few strands of hair down in loose curls or tight ringlets around the sides of her face. Her favorite colors to wear are periwinkle, crimson, lime green, and rose pink, but she will also don clothing of any bright or bold colors except for yellows which are typically unbecoming on her. Small strands of pearls are her favorite accessories, and she has been known to braid individual strings of them into her hair more than once. Other pieces of jewelry she favors are chokers (preferably made up of or containing pearls), rings, and delicate, drop earrings. Vibrant flowers or colorful feathers are not rare sights to see in her hair or pinned on her clothing, and she has a penchant for satin ribbons. Corsets are no problem for her, though she does find them a bit uncomfortable, and because of her small ankles, she wears shoes with very low heels. Lacy parasols trimmed with ribbon are always in her hand when she ventures outside, and cream or ivory gloves of satin adorn her arms for finer occasions.

Personality: Catherine is best described as an ambivert, a nearly equal mix of extroversion and introversion. She enjoys being around her siblings and parents almost regardless of what they are doing, but she does prefer to stay inside, the gardens and courtyard being the two places she doesn’t mind venturing out to as long as she has a parasol or a hat to shade her face on days when the sun isn’t hidden by gloomy clouds or misty fog. She likes to knit, sew, embroider, and crochet to keep her hands busy while she talks to her family to keep her hands busy, but sitting on her own and doing those activities cause her to become easily bored. She has become adept enough with needles and thread that sewing or other aforementioned past times have turned into somewhat mindless tasks requiring less concentration, so any kind of conversation with others (whether stimulating or otherwise) is a necessity for her to finish any projects she starts without letting months slip by before their completion. She also doesn’t mind participating in other activities that her siblings want to do, like listening to either Abatha or Owen’s stories or visiting the gardens with Ethel.
Although Catherine is among the more socially inclined of her siblings, she tends to be weighed down with insecurities about her appearance and piety. Most of the time she is not bothered by the way she looks and is perfectly happy or at least content with most aspects of her appearance, but with news of strangers visiting the manor, her obvious lack of curves for the hourglass figure that is the pinnacle of fashion has started to annoy her more than usual. However, her more challenging insecurities are related to the fact that she feels she can never truly be a good enough person. Despite the fact that she recognizes she can never be perfect, she feels an obligation to be as exemplary as possible in everything she does, and this obligation doesn’t only extend to schooling lessons, art, music, sewing, and other similar activities. She also applies an unattainable standard of perfection to her character and actions on a daily basis, feeling guilty after snapping at someone or doing something she knows would annoy one of her family members. Normally she apologizes right away to anyone she thinks she’s wronged except if she’s gotten into a bad enough fight with someone. At that point it takes her at least a few hours to calm down enough to even consider going back to try and smooth things over.
Rin’s temper is one of the most volatile and easily provoked out of her siblings, an aspect of herself she has had to work hard on to improve. Her anger is usually about as easily quelled as it is agitated, but her memory of past grievances others have enacted on her can be quite extensive, though she is not normally a vindictive or vengeful person. Apologies or gifts are typically sufficient to make her forget any past fights or grudges, and she is quick to reciprocate any attempts made to repair the relationship.
Her pride sometimes causes her to stumble, and it is another of her traits that she has diligently worked at to become more humble, though she has had more success with it than she has with her temper. It only really flares up if she gets in a fight, but otherwise her pride is limited to manifesting only in how much she enjoys dressing up in fine silks and bold colors.

Magic: Rin’s magic is electricity. She can shock others with something as minor as static electricity or something higher in voltage. She also cannot be electrocuted.

History: Catherine Arabella Lockwood was Horace and Andromeda’s fifth child, but her siblings dubbed her Rin and Cat when they were younger and unable to say her name correctly. She was a normal enough child as an infant, spending much of her time playing with Abatha and anyone else who was willing, but once she reached her toddler years and beyond, things were different. She discovered her powers earlier than most of her siblings when she was about five years old, although her magic hadn’t yet reached its full potency, and she wasn’t shy about putting it to use. As she grew older and her temper began to surface, her magic made more and more guest appearances in her squabbles and disputes with her family. Usually it was harmless, but the day she shocked Abatha after being told it was bedtime, her parents started using Rowan to deprive her of her powers when things started heading south. Although it wasn’t completely Rowan’s fault, she didn’t see it that way, and he quickly became the sibling she liked the least. She didn’t use her magic on others on purpose when she was upset; she just lacked an adequate amount of control over it and couldn’t always rein it in.
Once she was able to gain more control over her magic, things got better, and Rowan no longer had to be called on to make sure she didn’t inadvertently hurt someone. She was able to make it up to most of her siblings by this point as well and likely tried harder than most or all of them to become a kinder, sweeter, and more generous person. It also helped once she found other ways to occupy herself and quell her temper. Reading was not something she particularly enjoyed at a young age, but she did find an appreciation for sewing and embroidery, later adding the abilities to crochet and knit to her repertoire. She was never any good at painting or drawing, though she practiced enough to at least have passable skill, but music came much easier to her. Her tutors instructed her in piano and singing, but she was too shy to sing in front of others. Her tutor, a woman named Eleanor Hastings, was barely able to convince Catherine to sing in front of her. It got easier after Rin practiced with Eleanor several times, but she still adamantly refused to sing in front of anyone else, even her siblings and parents. She felt more confident playing the piano for her family and eventually learned other instruments as well, being one of the more musically talented family members.
Rin grew very attached to her tutor over time, looking forward to her daily music lessons with Eleanor more than anything else. Eleanor had high expectations for her and pushed her at every opportunity, but she offered sincere praise whenever Catherine earned it. Rin mostly learned hymns and traditional songs from Eleanor, and it was in fact her tutor who was largely responsible for her later piety. Although Catherine and her siblings were all taught about religion by their parents and childhood nursemaids, they rarely thought about it except when saying grace or at prayers before bed, but even then most of her siblings had stopped praying in the evening once they were too old to need nursemaids. Eleanor took religion much more seriously and used their music lessons to teach Catherine about the history and meaning behind the songs she taught her. Rin would turn out to be eternally grateful for this because it gave her somewhere to direct her energy, and it soothed her tempestuous nature, molding her into the sweet and ladylike teen she is now. Eleanor also taught her how to play the violin, flute, and harp, and when Rin was ready, she learned to play Bach, Haydn, Mozart, and other composers, though mainly on the piano since she had been practicing it much longer. On numerous occasions, she played a piece or two for her family in the evening after dinner at her parents’ or siblings’ requests, and if she played a tune with words to accompany it, some of her family would sing along if they knew the lyrics. Abatha was among the family members that asked her to play the most, and Catherine usually obliged her if she had the time and energy, not wanting to refuse her big sister anything.
When Abatha started becoming very good at inventing her stories, she began scripting them into plays and cast her siblings in the parts. Catherine was typically one of the first to volunteer, hoping for starring roles since she had discovered how much she enjoyed acting out Abatha’s fictional adventures and melodramas. At first she had been skeptical and shy, but after playing once, she was hooked. It also helped that Abatha rarely wanted to perform them for anyone in the household except for the few servants and tutors that bothered her into letting them watch the finished product.
When Charlie was sick, Catherine prayed for him day and night, fasting and not leaving her room except to visit her twin younger brothers. Eleanor allowed her to skip her lessons until Charlie got better, but in the end, Rin and her family lost him. It was a devastating blow, and Catherine especially felt guilty. Had she not prayed often or sincerely enough? Was she being punished for hurting her siblings as a young child?


message 44: by the_rabid_snail, Suo Jure Marchioness (new)

the_rabid_snail | 242 comments Mod
Catherine A. Lockwood - Part Two

History cont'd: Eleanor assured her that all things happen for a reason and that if anyone was being punished, Catherine was the least likely target because she was by far the most reverent and faithful. Still, Rin somehow felt responsible, but her tutor comforted her somewhat by telling her that Charlie was in a better place and that they would all see him again someday. Catherine had a hard time accepting it, and it didn’t help her feel any better at first. But after a while, it brought her some form of closure to know that she would get to be with her younger brother again.
Unfortunately, she had to find a new normal rhythm. She still sang in her room or in the gardens when she thought no one was watching or within earshot, and her piano, violin, harp, and flute practice never ceased. She did well enough in her other areas of study, though she was not nearly as gifted in them as she was with music. Her art, penmanship, and other areas of study left much to be desired. She wanted Eleanor to teach her music composition, but her tutor could only be persuaded to instruct her in the basics. Apparently Eleanor was of the opinion that it was more ladylike for her to play the music of others rather than write it herself. Catherine loved Eleanor, but she thought her tutor’s convictions were ridiculous. She had no desire to be famous like Beethoven or Mozart, and she had no career aspirations in music. She simply wanted to be able to compose music for herself in her own free time.
When her parents announced to her and her siblings at dinner that they would be opening the gates of Eldritch Manor to potential, non-magical suitors, Rin felt a mix of excitement and dread. The possibility of meeting people from the outside world thrilled her. She could ask about music and composers and find out about things happening outside the manor grounds, but she also knew that her parents expected her to find a suitable match, which was something that she did not want to do. For the past few years, she had been planning her future, and it in no way involved marriage or courting. A few years after the death of Charlie, she decided to join a convent when she was old enough, and her parents had seemed fine with the idea. Maybe they had forgotten. Or maybe they had never planned on listening to her wishes in the first place. Either way, Catherine knew her future plans had been dashed, and she was hurt that her parents had not thought to even ask her if she still planned to become a nun before they decided to marry her off to someone who was likely as cavalier about religion as the rest of her family.

Other:


message 45: by Crabby Constance, Crabby Countess (new)

Crabby Constance (crabbyconstance) | 118 comments Mod
Beckett M. Stanford

Name: Beckett Maxwell Stanford
Nicknames: Beckertt, Buckethead, Buckerthead, Beckertthead

Age: 16

Gender: Male

Appearance: Beckett’s straight, dirty blonde hair is just a bit too long and thick for his liking, but it’s usually combed neatly off his face. He has a pair of wide, hazel eyes that mostly appear green, with long eyelashes and bushy, dark brows. His nose is a bit bulbous, but his pretty smile makes up for it. Besides his tanned cheekbones, his face is quite rosy. He has a square jaw, elegant neck, and broad shoulders. Beckett is a bit taller than most for the Victorian era, reaching roughly 5’7 when using his perfect posture.
He’s is always put together, with brown suits and green vests. His clothes are clean, he appears neat, and his shoes are shiny and polished. Beckett mainly prefers to wear earthy tones since they compliment his eyes.

Personality: Beckett is an impeccable gentleman. He’s extremely polite, but he seems to genuinely care about others. He can be very encouraging to people he enjoys being around, though this part of him hides when he’s with strangers. He sometimes seems a bit cold or distant, a quality he’s trying to change.
Internally, he has very judgmental thoughts, and he really dislikes being around any snooty or rude people. He thinks everyone should be able to act decent towards one another, even if their thoughts don’t reflect that.
Beckett is very self-confident. He doesn’t spend any time thinking about hurtful words that others’ have said to him, and he also doesn’t let people bring out his insecurities.
He’s very intelligent, but he additionally has exceptional people skills. He’s well-learned, and enjoys both mathematics and reading.
Beckett would never say a rude, improper word to another, though he does tend to distance himself from people who act like snobby nobles.

Title: Earl Stanford (son of the Duke of Somerset)

Family:

Parents: James and Lucinda Stanford
Siblings: Esmerelda, Sharon, Robert, Jemima, Cordelia, Delilah, Mitchell

History: Beckett was raised in a prestigious family, his parents holding high expectations for each and every child. James and Lucinda Stanford possessed quite an acclaimed title, and they firmly believed in their kids’ ability to protect the family honor. Thus, their children had very reinforced egos, sometimes unbearably so. Beckett barely dodged this curse, though perhaps this was only on account of his elder siblings’ intolerable personalities. Esmerelda acted as if she were a jewel, and her entitled nature drove Beckett absolutely crazy. She treated the servants like they were nothing but a mere animal, designed only to bring her satisfaction and relief from ever performing any tasks for herself. Like her self-importance, her laziness was also applauded. James and Lucinda especially appreciated how she used her time practicing more worthwhile arts, like dancing, etiquette, and respectfulness. They praised her endlessly, all while Sharon and Robert envied the pride she blessed her parents with. Meanwhile, Beckett was rolling his eyes in the background. In his opinion, all the Stanfords possessed an unnatural, unflattering amount of narcissism, but anytime he mentioned this, his comments were shaken off with a laugh about his immaturity and naïveté. Beckett found himself distanced from his older siblings, who deserted him with his own relief, gratitude, and gladness. Sharon was a younger version of Esmerelda, and Robert was a younger, stuffier version of their father. He in no way had any desire to remind anyone of his siblings. Perhaps that’s why he was thankful he didn’t inherit James’ brown hair like everyone else in his family. A few years later, the twins - Jemima and Cordelia - hallowed the world with their birth. Much to his chagrin, Cordelia looked very similar to himself. Thankfully, the narcissistic trait became less pronounced in the younger siblings. Otherwise, he quite doubted the success of his survival among the Stanfords. The little girls were primped and spoiled still, but they seemed to hide quietly in their shells rather than boasting about the amazing fact of their humanity. Then, Delilah arrived. She might’ve actually been his favorite sibling. His sister loved drawing, playing sweetly with the twins, or sitting with a random family member. She always offered kind encouragement to everyone - even Beckett - and she was adored greatly among many for her humility. Beckett always thought this to be ironic. Lucinda birthed another child, this time an egotistical boy named Mitchell, boosting James’ pride. Becket found this ironic too. A humble sweetheart fails to increase his pride, but a self-centered brat...yeah, what a catch.
Beckett spent most of his time with his tutors. Maybe he wasn’t the heir to his father’s title, but as the second son he still held an important role in the family. He remained in his brother’s shadow, his name always mentioned after Robert’s. Commonly, people’s tongues got twisted and they mentioned the eldest Stanford boys as “Robert and Beckertt.” Robert was also the one to create the loving nicknames of “Buckethead,” “Buckerthead,” and “Beckertthead.” From the beginning, Beckett hardly minded. Let his brother have the spotlight by all means. Beckett was content to do his own thing in the background. For him, that meant plenty of time for learning, as was desired of him.
His tutor, Augustine, mainly instructed him in reading, writing, and mathematics. He was actually quite intelligent for his age, and the instructor sang his praises. Of course, it was nowhere near the amount of boasting Robert’s tutor did for him. At one point, Beckett’s witty remarks flung out of control, and Augustine realized that he’d also have to teach him manners. Beckett felt neutral about the new topic of the lessons, so he allowed his tutor to mold him into a fine gentleman. Augustine couldn’t cease the never-ending stream of often judgmental thoughts, but he at least coerced him into holding his tongue. With Augustine’s successful instruction, his parents finally decided he was ready to match off to another noblewoman. At the recent invitation from the Lockwoods, James and Lucinda elatedly announced that he’d be traveling to Eldritch Manor. They had money and magic. What more could a boy want? Beckett disagreed, but he’s excited for other reasons. He absolutely cannot wait to escape his home, leaving the people whose egos have collected an insufferable amount of publicity in England. You could fill the whole country to the brim with his family’s self-importance.

Other:


message 46: by Dark Angel (new)

Dark Angel | 92 comments Full Name: Clarimond Orabella Selena Persephone Lockwood

Nickname: Clara, though this is reserved for family and close friends only

Age: Twenty
Born Gender: Female
Gender Identity: Female

Romantic Orientation: Clarimond is panromantic, but for the sake of continuing the family lineage she is determined to hide this fact and make a good match with a nobleman of means and status.

Appearance: Clarimond is indeed a rare and delicate beauty, indisputably one of the most comely members of the Lockwood clan. It was once said that she had the appearance of a porcelain doll brought to life by a sorcerer's enchantment, though comparisons have also been drawn to oil paintings and stained glass windows. She has an incredibly fragile figure, not ideal for childbearing but certainly pleasing to the eye. She is slender enough to be visually arresting, but not so slender that one could assume she is underfed. She has a naturally small waist, but alas does not possess the voluptuous hips that most men look for in a future mate. Her bosom is, like the rest of her, small and delicate. She stands at five feet and two inches.
Her skin is as white as the freshly fallen snow and her facial features are perfectly symmetrical, her eyes neither too far apart nor too near and equally spaced. They are a pale shade of violet, speckled subtly with gold. Above them curve eyebrows of argent-auria. Her face is a soft oval, with high cheekbones and a tiny nose that slopes gracefully downwards towards a pair of rosebud lips, which part to reveal a pair of straight, white teeth.
Her hair is every artist's dream and agony. It has been rhapsodised and soliloquized over many a time, for its colour is so rare. One bold admirer described it as 'moonbeam and sunray spun seamlessly into strands of argent and aurelian.' This mass of white, undertoned with silver and overtoned with gold, falls to her waist like a silken curtain, each strand possessing a subtle shimmer. When in her bedchamber, her hair is left long and loose, as she spends much of her time at rest. When she ventures out of her bedchamber, her hair is often styled in some sort of braided up-do.
In fashion, she favours jewel tones, pastels and darker colours. She is not known for keeping up with the current trends, but wearing what she finds beautiful. If there is a current trend she likes she will adopt it, but Clarimond has a style all of her own. Often she will wear nightgowns as she spends a lot of time confined to her room due to illness, but even they are extremely elegant in style.

Personality: How Clarimond presents depends, to be quite honest, on how badly her head is hurting. She has a constant headache which never fades, which her personal maid is in charge of keeping track of by asking her to rank in terms of pain on a scale of one to ten each hour, one being non-existent and ten being unbearable. Depending on where she is on that pain scale, her behaviour may be drastically different.
When she is in little to no pain, she presents as an extrovert. Of course, she is always mindful of who she is talking to. She would not, for instance, rush up to a person she knew to be cold as the winter snow and kiss them on both cheeks. Always keeping her end goal of a good match in mind, she has taken care to learn all the social graces and never does she stray from what the many etiquette guides that line her shelves advise unless she senses that it is alright to do so. When she is in little pain she is able to tailor her behaviour to the person she is conversing with, while still allowing her own unique personality to shine through. When talking with Clarimond, there are certain eccentricities you are bound to notice. For example, she has a fascination with the Gothic and macabre. Not much seems to frighten her and she is drawn to the darker things in life, romanticising graveyards, black roses and phantoms in billowing cloaks. She has a lot of strange, random and morbid knowledge, and to those who are not disturbed by such things she will proudly share it.
Clarimond is very artistic. She appreciates art in all its forms and enjoys painting and drawing. She loves making collages and also enjoys making perfumes and jewelry, which she gifts to her sisters and her favourite servants. She loves music and as well as being able to sing -- despite being a soprano, her voice is ethereal and haunting rather than high and screeching -- she is able to play the pianoforte, pipe organ, harpsichord, violin and lyre. She has a wild and vivid imagination, which manifests in the gothic tales she writes, some of which have been published in women's magazines. Those she knows would be too frightening to be published in womens magazines she simply writes for her own enjoyment and keeps in her chambers to read. Sometimes the servants will ask to read her work and she is always happy to let them.
Clarimond is a very hard worker who takes the task of improving herself very seriously. She uses the reprieves she gets from severe pain wisely, taking that time to hone the skills she feels she will need in order to catch a good husband. Since she first came to understand her situation at age eight, she has learned a great deal, from embroidery to a trinity of languages (French, Italian and Russian). Though there are some skills -- like dancing, for example, which makes her extremely dizzy -- that she has yet to master, she keeps persevering, determined not to give up until she has molded herself into the ideal wife. She will not let her family down, nor will she endure the humiliation of making the worst match of the clan. A part of her feels humiliated that she must work so hard to be worthy of a non-magical being, yet she knows deep down that magic alone does not make a proper wife.
When Clarimond is in pain, she presents more like an introvert. She is incredibly quiet and soft-spoken, for loud noise of any kind is excruciatingly painful to her. She is still more than happy to hold conversations with those she trusts not to upset her but is more wary of entering into stressful situations as stress makes her headaches worse, so she tends to avoid controversy as much as possible when she is in a lot of pain.
Clarimond lives by the motto 'treat others how they treat you.' If others are kind to her, she is more than happy to shower them with kindness. She is, by nature, a warm and affectionate person. However, she will not tolerate being treated like a lesser being, mainly because this tugs at her insecurity that she is. She will not allow others to be unjustly cruel to her, nor will she stand by and watch unjust cruelty occur. Although there is a social divide between her and the servants she is always kind to them, even bringing them gifts and going out of her way to solve any problems they might have within the household if she can. She has made it clear to the servants that her door is always open if they need to talk about anything, or if they just want a friendly chat.
A romantic at heart, Clarimond dreams of finding true love. She sincerely hopes that will be with a man as that would be the ideal situation but she is ready to marry for convenience if none of the male suitors capture her heart. Her biggest fear is that she will fall in love with one of the female suitors and she prays that will not happen, as she cannot afford any complications in her plan.

Magic: Clarimond is a Seer. She can see the past, present and future through visions. Trying to prevent the visions is very draining, and often adds to her symptoms. She is unable, however, to prevent herself from having visions while she is asleep. On the other side of that, bringing on a vision at will has the same affect, worsening her symptoms. If her vision is of a small event her mind will remain present, but if it is of a larger event she will be forcibly astral projected into the vision. As well as visions, she is able to accurately receive psychic messages through devices such as tarot, tea leaves and the crystal ball. Due to her ailments, she is the most susceptible to Rowan's power. Depending on how much of her power he drains, he may do anything from increase her headache to give her a mild nosebleed to cause her to have a fit or fall into unconsciousness for half a day.

History: Clarimond came into this world precisely two months before she was supposed to, yet miraculously she survived. Perhaps that is the cause of her many maladies, nobody quite knows for certain, but from the moment of her birth the Lockwoods have seen to it that the very best doctors in the Western World attended her.
Clarimond spent most of her time in her extensive chambers, which are very large due to the fact that she rarely ever leaves them. However, on her 'good days,' she was able to spend time with her family and enjoy the rest of the Lockwoods' sprawling estate. As she matured, she began to comprehend her situation. She knew that it was her duty to marry well, but feared that no magical suitor would want her in her condition. Thus, she set out to improve herself. She was already a quick study as her teachers had often said, praising her ability to memorize difficult information. She was already an accomplished writer, having managed to get several short stories published in a few notable ladies periodicals. Her vocal instructor said that she had the voice of a fallen angel, but it was not enough, she needed to learn more. She was already fluent in French, but she set out to learn more languages. She asked for a music instructor so that she might learn to play the harpsichord, pianoforte and violin, and from there she went on to learn many more instruments. She learned calligraphy. Driven by terror that she would not make a good match, she set out to improve herself in any and every way she could.
She was not quite sure how to feel when she learned that they were the last remaining magical family. On the one hand, she felt that it placed her on a more even playing field with her suitors, but would even an ordinary suitor wish for a bride with so many ailments? She knew that her family were special, but was she special enough to belong to her family? Was she worthy of even a man of common blood?

Other: Clarimond loves to collect strange things, from porcelain dolls to dead insects (she uses the dead insects in some of her collages). Her maid, a human, knows a lot about magic despite not possessing any herself and is very skilled at alternative therapies, so Clarimond's chambers are filled with crystals and talismans. Clarimond herself knows a lot about crystals, aromatherapy etc. Clarimond is very fond of reading, particularly fairytales and gothic horror. She is also fascinated with true crime and is currently following the Jack the Ripper case with avid interest.
As well as having a constant headache, Clarimond suffers with semi-constant dizziness, fatigue and nausea. She will sometimes vomit or cough up blood and she suffers from hyperalgesia and photosensitivity.


message 47: by the_rabid_snail, Suo Jure Marchioness (last edited Oct 16, 2021 03:09PM) (new)

the_rabid_snail | 242 comments Mod
Jules D. Ashmore - Part One

Name: Jules Douglas Ashmore
Nicknames: Jule

Age: 16

Gender: M

Appearance: Jules’ ginger locks of hair have a slight, natural wave and barely brush the tops of his shoulders. In public, his hair is always slicked back, styled neatly, or tied off in a ponytail at the nape of his neck with a black or brown satin ribbon, but in the privacy of his home, neither brush nor comb touch his tousled locks, leaving them in an untamed mess around his lean face. His light, hazel eyes sometimes appear brown, blue, or green depending on the light and are adorned by a set of lashes any girl would envy. His skin is the velvety, pale complexion of a proper nobleman, though the illusion it creates of a sophisticated gentleman is disrupted by a few, faint freckles along his prominent, sharp cheekbones. His slightly pointed chin, high cheekbones, and slim forehead all combine to form an angular shaped, clean-shaven face, and his nose turns up ever so slightly at the end in noble fashion with a barely perceptible bump near the bridge. His full, pink lips conceal straight, pearly white teeth, and his medium-sized ears lie against his head. His height is about 5’7, slightly above average for his time period, due to his lean, tall build. He has slim shoulders, long hands and fingers, slender hips, willowy limbs, and narrow feet and toes and no distinctive scars or marks besides his faint freckles and a few callouses on the fingers of his right hand from writing so frequently for long periods of time.
In the confines of his family’s home, Jules’ choice of clothing is very understated and practical. Simple, linen shirts with buttons and either frock coats or morning coats in dark and neutral tones with narrow trousers and dark boots are his favorites, although as a nobleman’s son he can’t always dress as he pleases. For formal events, he wears fine, single-collared, button-down shirts of white or off-white material and waistcoats in vibrant shades (scarlet, gold, and emerald being his favorites) with ornate designs made of fabric with a texture opposite the rest of his garments. In contrast to the rich waistcoats, he dons dark, plainer tailcoats and gloves that match his shirts, but he also wears a cravat or a necktie in colors that match or complement his waistcoat. As for accessories, he happily abides by the rules of men wearing little jewelry and wears only a scarfpin and a watch guard. Outdoors or in colder weather he wears overcoats or shortcoats with scarves, boots, and gloves.

Personality: Since Jules’ older brother, Henry, bore the responsibility of being the practical one and his younger brother, Larkin, was the scholarly type, that left Jules to be the comedian of the family. At parties and social gatherings, he can be counted on to deliver sarcastic quips and witty comebacks, and he’s mastered the art of telling a humorous story with perfect timing, tone, and everything. He has a bad habit of not taking things seriously when he should and doesn’t always have the good sense to know not to make jokes at the expenses of certain people since anyone is fair game to be the butt of a joke when he’s telling it. He also suffers from an unfortunately short attention span. He tends to fidget and twiddle his thumbs together after having to sit still in one place after a minute or two, and if there is anyone nearby he will bombard them with jokes, stories, observations, and other remarks to pass the time by as it help keeps him from appearing nervous and fidgety. Naturally, he has never suffered from a lack of energy in his life, and though he is only the second son of an earl, he has a presence larger than life, an aura of ecstatic excitement, wonder, and joy.
Because of his other siblings’ evident talents, Jules has become a jack of all trades and master of one: tinkering. As a nobleman it’s not a very useful skill and carries with it a negative connotation, a working class prejudice. However, he takes pride in his ability to take things apart and put them back together or to fix broken objects around the manor and grounds, and he can put his problem-solving, critical thinking skills, and energy to good use. His approach to every problem and tricky situation is to think things through rationally and then find the optimum solution, but as a teenage boy, he also experiences many moments where he would rather just stay in the present and enjoy himself, not thinking about repercussions of his actions or what would be the best thing to do, only what would be the most fun to do. This tendency has gotten him into trouble with his father and others in the past and has led to some unfortunately ironic and unpleasant tasks as his father believes the punishment should fit the crime. Jules is still a little young to realize how some of the lessons his father has taught him through these punishments will help him further down the road, but he respects authority and his elders the way he was taught as a kid.
Jules detests being underestimated and being seen merely as the second son of an earl. Playing second fiddle to his older brother irritates him, and after drudging through that reality his entire life, he has little patience for being compared to Henry. In fact, he has little patience for most things except when he's fooling around with or fixing things. On his worse days just the mention of his older brother could be enough to incite an outburst from him and send him into a torrent of fixing up things around the house even if they don’t really need to be repaired. He is not and would never describe himself as an easily jealous person, but something about the difference between the way others treat Henry and the way they treat him seriously irks him and clouds his thinking to the point that sometimes he can’t help but release his pent up frustration on the nearest person or object. In the case of a person, they’d just have to suffer through a rant, and in the case of an object, it would be taken apart and then put back together again. As much as fiddling with things and taking them apart is fun and therapeutic, he can’t bear to leave something unfinished like this and must put it all back together again. Normally he isn’t a perfectionist, but his tinkering is the sole exception.

Title: Baron (Courtesy title holder, son of the Earl of Guilford)

Family:

Father: Henry Ashmore
Mother: Nora Ashmore
Sister: Mary Ashmore
Sister: Angelina Ashmore
Brother: Henry Vincent Ashmore
Sister: Chastity Nora Ashmore
Brother: Larkin Ashmore

History: Although Jules is now considered the second son of Lord and Lady Guilford by most, he had the misfortune of actually being the third son. A couple years after his eldest sibling, Mary, was born, his mother conceived and birthed a son, the first Jules Ashmore. Jules Henry Ashmore was perfect in every aspect and carried with him the dreams and hopes of both his parents as their first son, but sadly, he lived only until his seventh year and died of illness. By that time, Nora had delivered another daughter, Angelina, and was pregnant with a fourth child. To the family’s delight, she gave birth to another son, named after Lord Guilford, and a few years later, Jules Douglas Ashmore was born, named after his deceased older brother. Though he was glad that Henry was older and bore all the heaviest expectations of their parents, he could never seem to escape the remarks from his parents comparing him to the first Jules. By his age, the older Jules had better handwriting, made better marks in his schooling, could play the piano more skillfully, and on and on and on. He felt he would never be as good as his deceased brother in his parents’ eyes no matter how hard he worked and how dedicated he was to his studies. Thankfully once he reached his eighth birthday, the comparisons to the older Jules ceased, but soon after they were replaced by those to Henry. In Jules’ opinion, there was really no need for him to be as good as or better than Henry since his older brother was in perfect health, well-mannered, and devilishly handsome. There was no one Henry couldn’t charm with his warm affability and debonair looks, and so Jules was perfectly content not to be the eldest, living son. However, his parents were of the opinion that all their sons should meet the same standards as Henry.
A few years after Jules was born, his younger sister, Chastity, came along, and Jules enjoyed spending time with her more than his other siblings by far as she grew. They both shared a love for the outdoors and unfortunately short attention spans, making them the perfect playmates. When his youngest brother, Larkin, was born, Chastity and Jules were more than happy to include him in their garden outings and studies on the balcony. The three youngest siblings stuck to each other like glue, and for once Jules had family members who willingly delighted in him as his own, unique person, not imploring him to be more like his older, more refined siblings.
Everyone agreed Mary was the most musically talented sibling. She could sing, dance, and play the piano, harp, flute, harpsichord, and viola with exceptional skill. Oftentimes she played for guests they entertained or in the evenings after dinner. Jules was not as musically inclined as her, but he could hold a tune and sing on key well enough, and one of the few times he truly like being around his whole family at once was singing with his mother, Henry, and Chastity while Mary accompanied on piano. While Mary sometimes rebuked him sternly for not acting like a true gentleman or for some breach of manners, she was still kind to him, and he knew that she corrected him out of love, not to boast her own perfections as Henry often did.
Angelina was the artistic one in the family and spent much of her time sketching and painting to further enhance her skills. While Mary was sweet-natured and gentle, Angelina remained more aloof and pensive, easily being the sibling Jules had the weakest bond with. That might be partially his own fault for not working very hard to find some sort of connection with her, but it would never be said of Angelina that she was easy to talk to past niceties and polite small talk. During the days she was elusive, spending much of her time in some corner of the gardens with a lace parasol and canvas propped up against an easel, and usually the only times Jules saw her were at meals and evenings when his father required them all to be together. Once he had wandered into the section of the gardens where she was painting lilacs and roses, but she had shooed him away almost harshly, complaining that he was interrupting her focus. After a few more times of similar outcomes, he learned to stay away from her when she had a brush in hand, though sometimes his younger siblings could not be persuaded to do the same.
As he grew older and matured into a teenager, Jules discovered his knack for repairing everyday things around the house, but he had to be careful that neither his father nor Henry caught him tinkering around with things as it had been made clear to him that it was not by any means a gentlemanly pursuit. Larkin found his studies more and more interesting and morphed into the scholar of the family, which left Jules and Chastity to look out for each other. His bubbly sister was no good at fixing things like he was, but she kept his repairs secret and cheerfully served as lookout when he was unable to find a secluded spot to work in.


message 48: by the_rabid_snail, Suo Jure Marchioness (new)

the_rabid_snail | 242 comments Mod
Jules D. Ashmore - Part Two

History cont'd: When the Lockwoods opened their doors to noble families of England, Jules’ father was swift to make arrangements for him to attend. Henry would have gone with him, but he was engaged to the daughter of another noble and was soon to be married. Reluctantly, Jules left Chastity, Mary, Larkin, and his parents and somehow got through Henry and his father’s lectures on how he was to conduct himself. Mary and Chastity hugged him tightly, Larkin clapped him on the back, his father and Henry shook his hand, his mother wrapped him in her arms for nearly two minutes, and surprisingly, Angelina gifted him with miniature portraits that fit in his hand of each member of the family to take with him. Then he was off, waving goodbye through the carriage to his family as he departed, hoping to return engaged but frightened and unsure all at the same time.

Other: Jules can play the piano and sing with some skill.
Tulips are his favorite flowers since Chastity used to make wreaths and crowns out of them when they were little.
Reading is not his favorite past time, but he is well-read enough to be competent in conversation.


message 49: by Crabby Constance, Crabby Countess (new)

Crabby Constance (crabbyconstance) | 118 comments Mod
Sigmund H. Heller - Part One

Name: Sigmund Henning Heller
Nicknames: Sig, Siggy, Henn

Age: 20

Gender: Male

Appearance: Sigmund’s curly locks are perched on the border between brown and blonde, and nobody can quite agree on what color it actually is. He usually leaves his hair unstyled, allowing his curls to flop over into his eyes. His face has a creamy complexion, and its round shape makes it appear satisfyingly smooth. His clean-shaven jaw also adds to that illusion. Sig has steely blue eyes, with spots of indigo randomly surfacing near the middles of his iris. His eyebrows hover above, usually frozen in a thoughtful frown, and his lengthy lashes provide the perfect frame for his eyes. Sig has a splatter of freckles across his thin nose and cheeks – marks that refuse to fade no matter how much he stays out of the sun. Like his nose, his lips are also quite narrow. Their color matches that of his fair skin, although with a few more hints of pink. Sigmund reaches a height of almost 5’10, and his broad shoulders are muscled from work. His hands are also abnormally calloused, as are the tips of his fingers. He’s probably quite a bit burlier than most other nobles, but his slouching posture at least makes him appear slightly smaller.
He usually wears a brown suit paired with a green waistcoat, since it complements his skin tone. Sig also loves dressing in purple or blue ties. Although he hates wearing shoes, he will put on a black, shiny pair if the occasion calls for it.

Personality: Sigmund is driven by loyalty. He always wishes to do the best for his family, and support them at the expense of his own interests. He tries to place others above himself as much as he can. Oftentimes, it has cost him his happiness or freedom. However, he never lets it compromise his morals. Sigmund also generally prefers to let others speak. He offers everyone a listening ear, although he’s much more talkative with his close friends.
Sig loves to discuss any topic or engage in friendly debates with his companions. He’s usually one of the quieter speakers, found in dull corners at parties, but his statements and ideas are well-thought-out. He also offers advice to those who seek him out with their problems, although he remains patient and kind even when they don’t follow it.
Mostly, Sigmund is very comforting. He’s sat up with mourning family members, stressed siblings, or sisters involved in drama at their school. He’ll stay by their side in silence or in conversation, whether they talk his ear off about their problem or distract themselves by asking him random questions. Sig chooses not to complain. He finds that consoling and encouraging the people he holds dear is a sort of privilege, and he’s especially flattered when they come to him.
There are a few parts of Sigmund that aren’t quite so solemn though. He enjoys reading comedies or filling a house up with the sound of his instruments or telling his niece and nephew German folklore. He also finds a bit of a thrill from pranking or playing jokes on others. Sometimes he still slinks around his home and uses a cloth to block salt and pepper shakers from the inside. At this age though, most of his peers don’t enjoy his foolishness, which makes it all the more fun for him. Some of his best experiences in England have been messing with the nobility. He’s found that his demeanor is clearly very relaxed in comparison to his other acquaintances.
Sigmund also loves exploring the nooks and crannies of large places. He scopes out the best hiding spots, and then bolts out when someone walks by. One of the maids at another estate dropped a tea set out of fright once.
He goes for strolls in the gardens quite frequently, as well. The fresh air is comforting to him, and he likes to inspect the various plants and trees. He often perches himself up in the branches so he can observe the people below. Perhaps one of his most recurrent activities is people-watching. For some reason, the mannerisms and actions of others fascinate him. He likes to conduct his own experiments on them by forcing them to choose between two different things, or by having them face certain fears. Sig can spend hours orchestrating these various situations so that they never have any knowledge of what’s really happening. He never fails to record the results down in his notebook.
Sigmund definitely isn’t considered to be a proper noble. His mannerisms and appearance always reflect his previous status as a German commoner. When he’s nervous, he reverts to speaking German. He barely knows anything about English politics, and his conversational skills with the nobility are lacking. He’s simply used to more casual conditions. Yet, he always tries to put his best foot forward for the sake of his brother, and in the memory of his father, uncle, and grandfather.

Title: Lord Sigmund Heller (Courtesy Title Holder; Earl)

Family:

Great-great-grandparents: Rüdiger Heller and Hildegarde Heller
Great-grandparents: Hermann Heller and Abelarda Heller
Grandparents: Martin Heller and Dietlinde Heller
Uncles: Ludwig Rudolf Heller, Fabian Albrecht Heller, Heinrich Wilhelm Schroeder, Adler Helfrich Schroeder, Lanfrank Gunther Schoeder, Landrich Liebhard Schroeder
Aunts: Heidi Eloise Heller, Ida Margareta Schroeder
Parents: Friedrich Walter Heller and Susanne Ursula Heller
Siblings: Hans Christoph Heller, Klaus Werner Heller, Dietrich Eberhard Heller, Sabine Paula-Maria Heller, Johanna-Ruth Christine Heller, Paul Karl Heller
Cousins: Josef Mendel Schroeder, Johann Hartmann Schroeder, Adelheide Hannelore Schroeder, Berenger Hahn Schroeder, Marlis Gerlinde Schroeder, Florentin Brynner Schroeder, Lynde Bathilde Schroeder, Herbst Kaiser Schroeder

History: Sigmund Henning Heller was born to Friedrich and Susanne in their homeland of Germany, the sixth out of eight children. For quite a long time, his chaotic household in Germany was all he knew. His father sometimes shared stories of England with them - of their grandfather Martin and uncle Ludwig - but otherwise this little band of Hellers never had any intention of leaving their country. Their miniature home in Germany was quite odd, however. Friedrich Heller was a very bright man, as were his siblings and parents. He firmly believed in raising his children to be intelligent, well-read, and curious. He could be very strict about it sometimes, but he also showed lots of love for them. Each night at their routine family dinner, Friedrich asked every Heller present about some sort of controversial or scientific topic, which in turn led to very intriguing discussions. Oftentimes the youngest three had trouble keeping up, so Sigmund, Johanna-Ruth, and Paul Karl held their own conversations at the end of the table. Usually, they conspired against their older siblings for fun. Sigmund eventually graduated out of this club, but he did occasionally participate in different activities with the little ones.
Susanne was the much softer, more emotional parent. She could be very lax with restrictions and deadlines, and she always defended the kids against Friedrich’s stricter style. They argued about it often, but they were both willing to compromise and thus they balanced each other out. Susanne also loved surprising her children spontaneously, whether by buying them something they’d been silently wishing for, offering to take their shift at the family’s diner, or organizing a one-on-one activity. She enjoyed being surrounded by the whole family, but she especially thought that spending time with one child at a time could be extremely beneficial. Of course, as some of her kids grew older, she wasn’t able to do so as much, though she had very special bonds with Dietrich, Sig, and Paul Karl.
Hans Christoph Heller was the eldest son, and luckily he acted quite a bit more mature than the rest of his siblings. He set himself apart with responsibility and studiousness, but he showed a lot of affection for his family as well. Most of his life revolved around his baby brothers and sisters, when he wasn’t schooling himself. Hans particularly liked hunting, fishing, and hiking. Friedrich sometimes took Hans and Klaus on trips into the mountains, though that died off once Johanna-Ruth was born. Hans encouraged his siblings often, and he always told Sig how he appreciated his talent for playing music. The eldest brother was a bit hard to have fun with, but he did engage in the family’s shenanigans when he was younger.
Klaus Werner Heller was the second oldest son. Sig hardly remembered a time where Klaus wasn’t scribbling down some math occasion or whittling a variety of figures. He once presented Sig with a detailed violin for his thirteenth birthday. He never outrightly said this, but Sigmund knew that his big brother had been working on it for a month at least - with much trial and error. Klaus’ excellent attention span came in quite handily, and he also had a very good memory. Klaus’ other favorite thing to do was star gazing. Every night, he’d sit outside or at his window and stare out at the sky. He read any book on astronomy he found, and thus split his time between his family, his woodworking, his math, and his star gazing.
Dietrich Eberhard Heller was the third born. He brought bundles of energy into the family, frequently distracting his elder brothers from their pastimes. At first, Hans and Klaus were annoyed by him, but they embraced his hyper state. After all, they’d acted the same way when they were younger, too. He begged any of his siblings to play games with him, his favorites being billiards, chess, or card games. Sometimes he didn’t always possess the patience for these, so he got the rest of his energy out by running around like a maniac. This made him the perfect candidate to help out at two of the family businesses - the apple orchard and the diner. His mum would dress him up like a waiter and force him to carry out people’s orders, or she’d task him with carrying the barrels of apples to the orchard’s barn. Dietrich whined about it at first, but Hans would tug his ear and remind him to work dutifully and with a good attitude. He also possessed a large bit of pride too, which Susanne and Friedrich both tried vigorously to rid him of. Eventually, Dietrich was overwhelmed with a desire to study God, and his unattractive qualities fell away. He offered the hope of God to his siblings whenever they seemed to need it, transforming into a sweet, grateful man who shone brightly through his love of the Lord.
Sabine Paula-Maria Heller was the first daughter in the family - as well as Dietrich's twin sister - and she didn’t quite fit in with the excitable boys. She was quite literally the only child who wasn’t hyper, often disapproving of her siblings’ antics. Despite her serious, cold nature, she still thrived on the presence of others and despised being alone. Sabine was quite famous for her unbreakable focus, though she would often snap at people if they desperately needed her when she was in one of these trances. Mostly, Bine spent her time sketching, learning languages, and singing. She’d actually been the one to teach Sig English when they were forced to leave their German roots. Sabine really liked hanging out with Sigmund, especially since he could play an instrument while she sang along. When they were younger, they’d put on little concerts and plays for their parents. Sigmund would cater to all their musical needs, Sabine would sing, Hans would be the director, Klaus rummaged around for props, Paul Karl would make dinner, Dietrich added in some sort of biblical meaning to the story and usually assumed the role of the narrator, Johanna was the costume director, and they all participated as actors. They practiced every Saturday, and then performed every Saturday evening for their parents.


message 50: by Crabby Constance, Crabby Countess (new)

Crabby Constance (crabbyconstance) | 118 comments Mod
Sigmund H. Heller - Part Two

History Cont'd: It was quite the favorite tradition in the household.
Sigmund was born a year after Sabine, nicknamed Siggy or Sig - the latter being the better of the two, in his opinion - by his siblings. He hated the former, but he never could get them to stop. Since his parents called him Henning for some unexplained reason, he was rarely ever called Sigmund. Unfortunately, this meant that when acquaintances or strangers called his name, he usually didn’t know who they were talking to at first. After hearing his uncles Adler and Landrich perform a few musical duets on one of their visits, Sig was promptly inspired to learn an instrument. For his seventh birthday - after ridiculous amounts of begging - his parents gifted him with a piano. Since Adler was married and with kids, he didn’t come around much, but Landrich practically lived with the family sometimes. Through Landrich’s lessons, Sig nurtured his love of the piano. Of course, that wasn’t enough. He later asked for a violin, and then a clarinet. In the end, Susanne and Landrich pooled some of their money to buy him the instruments. His father insisted that he put several hours into the family businesses to help out, which Sig gladly agreed to. Ultimately, the violin became his favorite instrument and the one he most excelled at. He especially just loved the sound that it made, and so did his family. He also learned some woodworking from Klaus and archery from Paul Karl, but music took precedence above these other minor hobbies.
After him, Johanna-Ruth was born. She was simply called Johanna, but everyone knew she’d done something wrong if she was ever addressed as Johanna-Ruth. Sabine was elated to finally have a sister, though Johanna wasn’t exactly much different than her brothers. Her father disciplined her the most out of any of her siblings since she was quite a bit slower to learn her lessons, but her stubbornness eventually mellowed out. After she began investing her time in quieter activities - such as gardening and knitting - she was able to manage her ridiculous amounts of energy. She still enjoyed dancing the most, but she could at least calm herself down after playing with her particularly hyper brothers. Unfortunately, their mother never could fix the major disorganization problem she had. Johanna liked things messy, but she was sweet enough to not let it affect her siblings too much. She was heavily influenced by them, so she was melded into an odd mesh of their personalities. Of course, she willingly adopted their interests, seeing as she liked following rather than leading.
Paul Karl Heller was the youngest, and unlike most, when he was called by his first and middle name together, it didn’t mean that anyone was mad at him. In fact, if someone was mad at him, it was more likely that they’d just call him Paul. From birth, he’d always been addressed by both names for no reason, and that was that. Paul Karl was so used to being called Paul Karl that he actually hated being called anything other than Paul Karl. He was extremely hyper and loved to irritate and prank others. It took years for their mother to calm him down enough to sit and learn to read. Most of that process involved finding outlets for him to release all his energy into. One of those outlets was working in the family diner. Susanne had hoped that it would use up his energy, like it had with Dietrich. At first, Paul Karl served the meals and washed the dishes - a task which he hated and made sure everyone knew. He wished that his mother would let him cook. At first, she was extremely hesitant. For several of the family dinners that he'd cooked, he sprinkle in something especially nasty and then watch as his siblings and parents gagged at the taste. She did finally relent though, but not before making him promise not to do anything of the sort at the diner. His family members were wary of eating anything cooked by him, but once they witnessed others eating his food without any bizarre results, they allowed him another chance. He actually became very good at it. Soon, his mother just told him to always prepare dinner for the family since she was busy and everyone enjoyed his food better anyway. He would also alter the diner menu without permission, and include his new concoctions. His father chewed him out for this, although there wasn't much more to be said after several customers mentioned loving the newest addition to the menu. Thus, he continued changing it whenever he so pleased, and nobody demanded that he stop. He also included something called the "Paul Karl Special." If you ordered it, you were basically giving him permission to make whatever he felt like and then serve it to you. His father had laughed at Paul Karl when he found it on the menu. PK certainly had an obsession with food. He also preferred to be called a "food chemist," rather than a cook, although his siblings never did so. He even compared other people to food. He'd describe people through different spices and ingredients. He often said Johanna-Ruth was like sugar, and Sigmund was like thyme. Paul Karl also kept a journal, as his mother had made him start when he was young. She thought it might help him not blurt out inappropriate things to others, since they would go into his journal instead. Susanne was actually wrong this time, though he still kept up the journal simply because he enjoyed it. From the small portions of it that he chose to share, one could see that it was extremely detailed. He'd record favorite memories and new recipes, write stories and plays, and scribble in random jokes or ideas for pranks that he wanted to remember. Paul Karl especially liked to confuse his siblings. Sometimes he'd just shout gibberish at people, invent new words, or say things that didn't make any sense. He contradicted himself quite a lot for this very purpose. He loved being the center of attention, which meant he was very loud and joked around incessantly. He could never hold a serious conversation. Susanne once said he might actually be quite brilliant if he could be serious and focus long enough, but that theory wasn't ever tested. Besides cooking and mischief, he also loved archery. He grew quite good at it too, after years of practicing. Paul Karl asked Klaus to teach him whittling at one point, although he quickly lost interest in it. There were very few things that could capture Paul Karl's attention. One of those things was other people's lives. He was the biggest snoop of all time. If something was going on, without a doubt, Paul Karl knew what it was. He always seemed to figure out family secrets first, and that kind of infuriated the rest of the family. He did not understand that people wanted their privacy. Eventually, they all just got used to it. At least they were held accountable.
The Hellers altogether owned about three family businesses. Sigmund's parents ran the diner, his uncle Adler, aunt Ida, and their cousins all cared for the apple orchard, and his uncle Fabian and aunt Heidi operated a candlemaking shop. Usually for the harvest, Sigmund and a few of his siblings would pack up and travel to their Uncle Adler's orchard. Altogether, Adler and Ida had gifted them with eight cousins. The eldest was Josef. Hans, Klaus and Josef seemed to enjoy each other's company the most, and Johann and Dietrich bonded over their shared love of theology. The older boys sat for hours, occupied in discussion. Sigmund probably spent the majority of his time at the Schroeder household in the company of his cousin Berenger. The boy was a bit younger than himself, but Sig loved fooling around with him all the same. Berenger's elder sister, Adelheide, disapproved of their behavior, but more often than not she'd get roped into their games as well. Usually, Paul Karl and the two younger Schroeder boys - Florentin and Herbst - tagged along. Once, Berenger paid one of the boys from his school to travel over to the farm and pretend to discover extensive damage in the farmhouse structure. Aunt Ida freaked out and began hyperventilating, until Uncle Adler recognized the kid. Each one of them was subjected to a stern talking-to, even Berenger's friend. That evening, he had Sigmund, Berenger, Adelheide, Paul Karl, Florentin, and Herbst clean the barn and polish every piece of leather in the house. Berenger asked why they had to clean the barn, of all places, seeing as it was just going to get dirty again the next morning. Uncle Adler only dragged him out there by his ear and told him to start sweeping. After that, they never played a prank on Ida again. The rest of Sigmund's siblings stayed out of trouble, though. Johanna-Ruth hung out with the cousins her age, Marlis and Lynde. The girls crafted dance routines together, then begged Sigmund to be their musician. Sabine liked to giggle about girl things with Adelheide. Whenever Sig walked into Adelheide's room, his sister would promptly shoo him out the door so they could continue their "private conversations." He eventually became accustomed to the door shutting in his face. When he asked Aunt Ida what his sister and cousin could possibly be talking about for that long, he just received a sigh and some random comment about girls being girls. He didn't find that very helpful.
Thus, he returned to playing with Berenger, Paul Karl, Florentin, and Herbst. Sig and his siblings also attended their cousins' school during their stays at Uncle Adler's home. Berenger brought Sigmund to all of his classes, and usually asked him to do his homework. Although Sig thought it would be wrong, he still completed Bear’s work for him. Sigmund really didn’t have anything better to do, and in return Bear would get Adelheide to bake cookies with Sabine. Adelheide’s cookies were worth it. At one point, Sabine discovered that Sig did Berenger’s homework for him. She tried to explain to Sigmund that he was doing him more harm than good, since Bear hadn’t been learning anything like he was supposed to. Both boys shrugged it off, and Sabine just gave up and said Bear was doomed to fail his grade. Of course, Berenger didn’t actually fail, a fact which he never forgot to remind Sabine of.
During Christmas, Sigmund spent most of his time helping Aunt Heidi and Uncle Fabian. Candles were always in high demand at Christmastime, which meant they required extra help. Sabine and Dietrich often tagged along as well. Paul Karl used to help, but he’d developed a habit of burning the candles for fun, so he was quickly sent back home. Sig very much disliked melting down the wax, adding the scents, and trimming the wick, but his father always told him not to complain, so he just shut his mouth and endured the tedious work. Sabine was probably the only one out of the three who enjoyed it. Sig and Dietrich mostly tried to escape the work. Sometimes though, his aunt and uncle would let the boys operate the front of the store. Sigmund actually loved selling the candles, and he did a nice job, too. He led the customers around, advertised the different scents, and pushed a few extra candles on them by overestimating how many they might need.
When he wasn’t working in the chandlery during the holidays, Sig was celebrating with his family. Paul Karl forced him into the role of kitchen assistant, meaning Sigmund either brought his little brother the ingredients or sat idly at the stove watching things cook. He did enjoy claiming some responsibility for the finished meals though. The boys also baked desserts. Occasionally, Adelheide would visit and she, Sabine, and the boys would gather into the kitchen and prepare a multitude of delicious things. Paul Karl made it clear that he ran the kitchen though.


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