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Name: Danika Vanier
Age: Looks 23 | Actual age: 264
Face Claim: Anya Chalotra
Once there was one tale told by many in southwest Wales in the late 18th century. People were divided into two categories of which everyone knew; the rich and the poor. The rich, only a tiny minority of the population, lived luxuriously in lavish, elegant mansions and country houses, which they furnished with comfortable, upholstered furniture. Meanwhile, the poor, they were left with whatever remains they could get to survive in the harsh civilization. A tale of the unfortunate lady that paid a reminder for young women to be cautious and steer clear of trouble. It was a tale that continued for more years to come.
The woman was Raeliana Vanier, the eldest daughter of Howard Vanier, who was the former marquess. She was born in Pembrokeshire and was celebrated for her birth. Ever since she was born, she was given everything a child could possibly want; ranging from the love her parents supplied her with, respect from her peers and good friends who won't ever leave her when she's in need. Or at least, that's what she thought. Up until a time where nobody was willing to give another glance towards her direction, much less offer to help her when she was in a distressed state. Unfortunately for Raeliana, by the time she reached 12 years old, her beloved father departed a bit too soon for their family, taken away after he fell from the stairs of their home due to a heart attack. It was all so sudden, nobody expected it.
Howard Vanier was a healthy man in his late 40s, he didn't have any previous health complications, which led many people to doubt the 'natural' cause of his death. Some even suspected that he was poisoned by his own young wife, Elise, following the loud argument the pair had the night before his death. Elise was a timid woman and even Raeliana couldn't believe that she would do such a thing. How could she? That's her mother. Her parents never had any serious arguments before, which begged the question as to why they would suddenly break out one in the middle of the night after her father returned from his journey to the capital. Nonetheless, due to all the clamor and suspicions raised by her aunts, an investigation was carried out.
Everyone was questioned, even Raeliana herself. At some point, she hated all the people who came to their house since they would only ask about her mother's vegetative state and how she's holding up. There were times when she was so tempted to snap and tell them it was all because of them. Her mother had fallen ill shortly after the investigation was carried out, nobody knew why but many suspected she was overridden by the guilt of killing her husband, which she had attempted to deny one last time before succumbing to her comatose condition. Even after another two years, the investigation did not stop and the case of her Howard Vanier's death was still open. Everyone stopped visiting Raeliana, even her aunts who once doted on her. It was just her and her mother in the big mansion. She realized how big the house felt with only the two of them inside. It never seemed so lonely when her father was alive, she swore she could hear bells of laughter in the living room every time she walked past it. They used to be so happy.
With the Industrial Revolution, which started in the middle of the century, came new machinery that saved time and made some people very wealthy. The rich were getting richer and the poor, poorer. Raeliana tried to fend for herself and her family alone, she was the sole breadwinner seeing as she's the only child in the family, with her father dead and her mother still ill, she knew they couldn't possibly just depend on the wealth her father left. Sooner or later, there would be none left for them. At the mere age of 14, Raeliana decided to work instead of furthering her studies. There was no reason for her to study when nobody would dare to even marry her with everything that's happening. Her future was going to be bleak. And for women back then, to study is a privilege; unfortunately, a privilege she couldn't have.
By day, she would work as a baker, her mother used to teach her how to bake, and her father would always ask her opinions on the current political issues. She could read and write, like any other intelligent noble-born woman. She could even sew, Raeliana would often sew tapestries, one which became her favorite; their family's emblem. The same emblem was sewn on her handkerchief, it was the only thing left of her family that she could remember. Her aunts had abandoned her altogether after failing to suck the wealth her late father, their late brother, left behind. Apparently, her father had left a will, stating that his estates and wealth would be given equally to his children. Since Raeliana was the only child, she automatically inherited everything. When the will was made public, the people who once ignored and forgot about her suddenly came back, the ladies would offer their sons in marriage and the lords would offer their friendship. She wasn't naive to believe their sugar-coated words, knowing every single one of them was dressed in deceit.
She took care of her household, without anyone's help. On the eve of her 17th birthday, her mother took her last breath and passed away in the night. Everyone offered their condolences and attended her funeral. The case was also finally closed for the sake of respecting her family. Amidst the crowd in her family home during the funeral, she was greeted with overwhelming news. His father had another child. With a mistress that passed away years ago. He finally made his appearance, Ignatius Vanier, same age as Raeliana, dare she say they would be twins, only they were born from different mothers. He stood tall, as if he was commanding the ballroom, everyone was so convinced he was a Vanier from the way he carried himself with such dignity. But not Raeliana. Not her.
She didn't believe a word he said. It was too good to be true, as soon as her mother passed away and she was left alone, a mysterious hidden child came out of hiding and declared himself an heir to the family, therefore inheriting half of what was left to her. She was so sure that it was planned and how Ignatius was a fake. For the first few months, he had treated her with kindness yet she never returned the same gesture back. Raeliana still had her suspicions and refused to acknowledge him as her brother. Her father was a good man, he wouldn't have an affair behind his wife's back. Her father loved her and always told her that she was his jewel, there was no way he would lie to her. Ignatius told her that Howard Vanier had no idea that he had a son, which only made Raeliana furious. She told him he had no right to be there and said even if he is a child of Howard Vanier, he was still deemed illegitimate. It would make Ignatius her half-brother only. A half-brother she never wanted and didn't want.
However, Raeliana still allowed her brother to stay in their home, as a form of consideration. A year passed by and Ignatius grew closer to her. He displayed a good sense of understanding as her brother, helping her whenever she needed it even when she wouldn’t even request it of him. For a while, her cold exterior fell bit by bit, perhaps he wasn’t so bad. Maybe she shouldn’t be judging him when all he seemed to want was a family. Then finally came the day when Raeliana could finally claim all of the inheritances as her own, that’s when everything went terribly wrong. Ignatius, the brother she thought to be kind and wanted nothing out of the family name except a family of his own, started to show his true colors. Colors she couldn’t possibly believe came from his true self. Was she tricked by his soft spoken self the entire time? She was just about to sign the contract stating her claim over all the properties her father left when the male suddenly emerged from behind the curtains and announced his presence. It took her a moment to realize that he was putting his claim over the inheritances and she could feel the heartbreak. Even more so considering Raeliana trusted him but the wolf had just been hiding under the veil all this time, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
Somehow, he had the rights to claim before anyone else all because he was considered the eldest in the family, being born 2 months before Raeliana. Ignatius was cunning, he refuted that the will only stated the inheritances shall be given to Howard Vanier’s children, it never said who, specifically. Raeliana was thought to be the only child for long, everyone including her, truly believed it was going to be her. Once he was considered the firstborn in the Vanier family, he would be declared legitimate, erasing any further doubts ahead. Before Raeliana could even say another word, the contract had been snatched out from her grasp. His signature was there instead of hers; his, Ignatius Vanier. He decided to give her the estate, the house she grew up in, the house she housed him when he was begging for her to believe him. Only that and nothing more. After every legal representative took their leave, Raeliana demanded an explanation on what just happened and why he did what he did. “I did what I had to do to survive” he mused, she couldn’t believe what she was hearing, who was this person? She remembered asking him that, only to be given an answer that would forever cause her to regret ever taking him in the first place.
“Who are you?”
“I’m your brother.”
Nobody was allowed to see her. She was basically living her life in solitude in her own home, even the maids couldn’t do as much as to communicate with the young mistress of the family estate. All because Ignatius said so. That didn’t mean she would be discouraged, no, it only fueled her motivation to find out who Ignatius really was. Her anger and resentment was nothing compared to Ignatius’ greed but for the young lady, it was everything that motivated her to live another day and rest only after she'd taken him down. Raeliana sold her jewelries to pay private investigators and every single transaction was carried out in silence. Nobody knew. Not even the maids. She knew better than to put her trust on anyone who was easily bought over, loyalty meant nothing to them. It was why she remembered to come up with a contingency plan to keep her eye out on the private investigators too, in case someone discovered her scheme and tried to buy them out.
Years went by, Raeliana was nearing her 21st birthday, she had already compiled every piece of information she had on Ignatius over the past 3 years, waiting to reveal the devious snake. Like her past birthdays, Ignatius would visit her on that day before leaving her to rot for the rest of the year. She was prepared. There was nothing left in her chamber, no jewelries, even the dresses were limited, she even sold the things inside the house in order to pay the investigators. It was worth it, she reassured herself. If it meant being able to take Ignatius down, then it was all worth it. She was already seated politely in the living room by the time Ignatius arrived. Little did she know, Ignatius was always one step ahead. Always.
Ignatius created the game and Raeliana had unknowingly played into it. She ate every bait that he left and it made him amused to see how determined Raeliana was, risking everything, just to take him down. He allowed her to make her piece, she told him how she found out he wasn’t really her brother. Ignatius tricked everyone and got everything. “You’re right, I’m not your brother, but who’s going to believe you?” He wasn’t wrong, Raeliana was so hell bent on taking him down, everyone thought she was losing her sanity. Nobody would believe her and the evidence she collected would never step a foot outside. But at least she knew. It was the last effort to make her feel better. He left her with a taunting smirk, telling her she was never going to step a foot outside anymore. That exact night, Raeliana tried to take her own life. A cloth was tied around her neck as she kicked the chair. It was over, there was nothing else you could’ve done. She lost everything to a stranger. Her name, her pride, her family. Before she blacked out, Raeliana saw a silhouette of a man rushing over.
She didn’t expect to wake up again. She didn’t want to live another day knowing she would only rot inside her home. The dark-haired female found herself on a bed, it wasn’t hers, the room she was in wasn’t hers. Dragging her hand over her neck, she noticed there were marks, one she suspected from her attempt to take her own life that night. “I’m glad you’re awake... “ Alan Michaels, he had been her childhood friend but she hasn’t seen him ever since he decided to take over his father’s business. The lad scolded her for even attempting to take her life without thinking of the consequences that would follow suit. “Were you thinking of leaving me? I didn’t leave flowers and notes every week for you to kill yourself” It occurred to her that she never found out who tended to the flowers outside and left notes for her under the door. It had been him, all along. Raeliana expressed her frustration and told him about Ignatius, only to get another scolding from him. Alan reminded her that even when she thought she was alone, she was never truly alone.
He had brought her back to his home to look over her well-being. He made her promise not to try something so stupid and reckless ever again. Raeliana, being as stubborn as ever, tried to go back home but was prevented by him warning her that Ignatius had everyone looking for her; dead or alive. It was better for her to stay with him because nobody would suspect him since they haven’t met one another after she turned 17. She didn’t like being indebted so she would constantly help him do the house chores, claiming it was her responsibility to take care of the household while he works. “You said the same thing when we were kids, you would be the housewife taking care of the household and our kids while I work” Alan always knew how to leave her a blushing mess. She remembered he had promised to marry her when they were 7. Now, 14 years later, he could still remember something she had forgotten.
One evening, while they were dining together, Alan broke the silence by telling her they could still do that. He could still marry her and she’ll be able to live with him legitimately as his wife. Ignatius wouldn’t be able to lay a hand on her since she is his responsibility now. “You’d be free to do whatever you want,” he said. He had been nothing but kind to her, always wanting to cheer her up, giving her flowers every day in hopes that she would remember the liveliness Raeliana Vanier once had. The girl he fell for, the same girl he wanted to take care of, still. She accepted his proposal eventually, and before long, the wedding was planned secretly. It was her request to have a small ceremony just for the two of them with only a few witnesses present. Her mother-in-law and father-in-law bore witness to their marital union and gave the two their blessings. Everything was fine, Raeliana thought this was her second chance at life. Perhaps, after her near-death experience, she was able to grasp the littlest things in life.
It didn’t take her long to get pregnant, it was the happiest news for the entire household, such as she remembered her mother-in-law telling her it was the same for Elise and Howard Vanier when Raeliana was conceived. Everyone heard of the news, how Raeliana became Alan Michaels’ wife, she was sure Ignatius knew too but said nothing. He had sent her his ‘congratulations’ in the form of a letter, which she burned upon reading who it was from. Whilst life for Raeliana continued to improve, Ignatius suffered greatly. He was accused of manipulating his identity and soon the evidence stating his identity fraud and document forgery was released to the public. It was also discovered that his uncle was the one who poisoned Howard Vanier and framed Elise for it. Raeliana’s aunts demanded for every bit of inheritance to be returned to Raeliana and by the time she was 7 months due, she got everything back. She was able to return to her family estate and their name was finally restored. Patience would be your virtue, her mother once told her. In due time, everything would be revealed and it did.
Ignatius disappeared with no trace. The authorities couldn’t find him. On the eve of her 23rd birthday, so early in the day, Raeliana went into labor. Unfortunately, she was experiencing plenty of complications. Her breathing was uneven and she was losing too much blood, nobody thought she would be able to survive this. Even if she was able to deliver the baby safely into the world, she wouldn’t survive afterwards. And that was fine, Raeliana was fine with that. As long as her baby was fine. She remembered smiling at her baby girl before taking her last breath. Memories of her life rushed in and Raeliana hated that she couldn’t be there to take care of her baby. She wanted to be there for her. Who would take care of her? Would her baby even remember her mother that died giving birth to her? Don’t take me away just yet. She begged to be given another chance.
Raeliana was greeted by a light, not just any light, the longer she tried to stare at it, the better she could make out what it was. It was a person. She felt reluctant to follow this person, but she was told it was going to be a second chance. The mere mention of a second chance was enough to make her dive in whatever that needs to be done. What she found was so much more than what she had expected, even then she had no idea what she expected. Raeliana was a human, who had no prior information regarding supernaturals, at all. Everything was new to her. Being trained to become an Aurazin was quite the process, their training was rigorous but she loved it. She took every chance possible to learn. Most people chose the path into being an Empath but not her, no matter how much she wanted to be someone who could help comfort another on Earth, or perhaps… to see her husband and child again, she felt more connected to the void. Perhaps, it was because she laid there for what seemed to be forever. To help people the same way someone saved her from the void; a Shepherd. Picking up a new name to shed her past away was easy for her, she had a very exhausting life, didn’t she? Being able to choose her own path this time feels relieving. Danika, which meant morning star.
It became a routine, she befriended other Shepherds, people like Lucien and others. Danika still tried to look out for her family, whenever she could. But they were happy the last time she heard. That was enough to keep her energy fueled. Help others, the same way people helped you. Danika navigated her way in the void and tried her best to rescue the souls before the monsters could attempt to chase them down. It made her feel like she’s got a purpose; a good one. When the veil was locked, she was on her mission and couldn’t return. Thinking it was only her but knew soon enough it wasn’t anything temporary when she saw the others were also locked out. Like other Aurazin, she too was rendered confused. What happened? Why were they locked out? Knowing they didn’t have time to spare, Danika followed their newly-appointed leader, Lucien, into Evermore, the place where it would seemingly serve as their temporary home until they found a way back into the Veil. Adapting would be a very important factor in this life, where they will need to eat and sleep, even rest, in order to replenish their energy.
Maybe, this was another test?