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Name: Victoria Windham
Age: 455(actual), 32 (looks)
Faceclaim: Kate Beckinsale
Adaptive | Courageous | Dutiful | Independent | Vivacious
Quiet | Reserved | Graceful
Calculating | Opinionated | Unrepentant
Along the outskirts of Elizabethan England lay a small stretch of fertile land, nestled comfortably south along the channel separating England from France. Home to a scant 100 or so souls Windham was to most a bump on the road to London, a place to stop and rest with nothing exciting or intriguing going on. The residents that proudly lived beneath the Windham standard were more than happy to let the city folks exercise in political intrigue and starve within the famine wrought streets. Located so far from the Capital the Earl and his wife were quite wealthy, smart in their investments, and had always been centered upon looking after the people who took shelter within their crenelated walls.
Sir Kenneth Windham inherited his wealth, land, and title from his father, carrying on with all the morals and merits taught to him by those loving parents. He fell in love in Clara at an early age, the pair marrying as soon as they were both 16 much to the excitement of the entire Windham estate. Clara was a lady of high breeding and tender sensibilities, inspiring great loyalty with her kindness and steadfast affection for Kenneth. The pair quickly became a solid fixture within the community, taking over smoothly from Kenneth’s parents which were all for the better once they passed away.
It was many years and buckets of tears later before the couple finally managed to conceive a child, the pair rejoicing for more than a week after Clara confirmed she was with child. The pregnancy was easy, with many people seeing to the mother’s every need and on a rainy night in early spring Victoria Windham was born. She was a beautiful baby, bright blue eyes with a full shock of midnight locks adorning her head, and lungs that kept up half the castle for the first year of her life.
Victoria grew up sheltered yet loved, her natural curiosity lending to the fondness that her people felt for her and her parents. The residents of Windham exercised a good among of vigilance over the precocious little girl, always watching her carefully as she flitted through the castle and grounds surrounding the estate. Though the land was small in comparison to many of the other earls and lords within the English kingdom, the world was still fraught with danger. Such a little and bright young girl could be snatched or killed at any moment, and the people of Windham protected the little Lady with a fierceness that put even the Queen’s protectors to shame.
From an early age Victoria displayed a keen sort of intelligence, her abilities for observation rivaled that of seasoned warriors causing many headaches for her parents and guardians. Her cleverness often got her into trouble, lending to a sassy mouth that stirred both admiration and vexation in equal measure. As she grew older Victoria managed to curb her more wild and unruly impulses, pouring her brilliance into learning and growing as a Lady of the realm. Her father taught her to read and write, the speed at which she managed to master these simple things spurring the Earl of Windham to employ a governess to further Victoria’s education. Under the careful instruction of her Governess, the young woman learned mathematics and philosophy, several languages, the appropriate running of a household, manners befitting a Lady of nobility, and many other talents needed for a woman of her station.
Much like her mother Victoria had a talent for managing people, for recalling names and events in such a way that everyone she met was made to feel special. As with most children, she was a pleasant mix of both parents, with her mother’s soft-spoken sensibilities and her father’s talent for getting straight to the point Victoria was becoming a force to reckoned with. Her intelligence was tempered by an observant and sharp eye, molded into the constructs of diplomatic prowess and cleverness that next to no one had as yet been able to overpower or even counter.
As was the want of the time period, Kenneth became ill in the fall of his daughter’s 17th years of living and despite the best efforts of the healers he succumbed to the sickness and passed away. Heartbroken and shell shocked Clara became a ghost, haunting the halls of the castle in a listless and inattentive manner. In the absence of her father and in the face of her mother’s seeming break from the world, Victoria took the helm of Windham without hesitation. With the death of the Earl of Windham Victoria traveled to London to deliver the news to the Queen, who seeing a capable woman named Victoria Countess and sent her back home with all condolences.
For the next several years Countess Windham ruled her small yet rich lands much the same as her ancestors had, with a steady hand. Handling her people was second nature and with her knowledge imparted by her father, she often anticipated problems before they arose. The Queen even took notice of the added wealth from the small lands of Windham, doting upon the Countess and encouraging her to search for an advantageous marriage. Many by then had been giving Victoria similar advice, supporting the prospects of expanding her circle of influence as her talents seemed wasted in such a small stretch of land as Windham.
Pragmatic by nature the Countess began entertaining potential suitors which much to her surprise and delight she had many. The Queen’s friendship lent to her very long list of hopeful husbands, all who vied for the attention of the very lovely and graceful Victoria. Her hopefuls were from all walks of nobility, from the super-rich and powerful looking for the Queen’s favor to a few lowly Knights with scant coins to their name looking for a place to call home. Gifts and flattery abounded while Victoria despaired of finding a love like that of her parents, a love that wasn’t based upon amassing riches or standing.
Before Victoria could lose hope completely Sir Halland Grady sauntered into her life. Sir Grady was a grizzled yet handsome knight of the realm, returning home after a long campaign abroad he stopped into Windham castle to pay respects to the Countess. After traveling for many nights straight he was tired and footsore, hungry and in desperate need for sleep. The Knight had expected to be met with a spoiled brat of a woman, with no charms or graces to speak of and what he found within the stout walls of Windham castle were very much different. A couple of days turned into a few months, and before long Sir Grady was deeply besotted and in love.
As choices for a spouse went Sir Grady was far beneath many of the suitors vying for her affections, but her heart lay squarely in his hands. With the blessing of her mother and the people of Windham Victoria decided upon her Knight and together they went to the Queen. Happy that her friend had found someone she could love Queen Elizabeth blessed the marriage, throwing a large celebration in honor of the couple. Amid the well wishes and grudging respect, there were a few of the suitors who were angry at her choice, feeling slighted by her dismissal of their wealth and titles they begrudged the couple for the slight upon their honor. Among them was Sir Walter Raleigh, a neighboring Earl who had hoped to expand his wealth and area of influence in order to reach for a higher title.
Oblivious to the dark shadow that watched them with growing jealousy and spite the happy couple returned to Windham, beginning what they hoped to be a long and prosperous marriage. Sir Grady, the new Earl settled in nicely among the people, taking to being the lord and leader easily. In a few years, the couple would boast even more riches for the good of England, even becoming valued confidants of the Queen herself. Windham had never known such a period of prosperity and happiness in all its history.
Such was life the happy times were a precursor to much more sad and strenuous times. It began with the death of Victoria’s beloved mother Clara, a woman who had survived her husband and clung to life long enough to see her daughter happily married. Some would come to say that Lady Clara had slowly wasted away, turning into a ghost of a woman and finally succumbing to the desperate heartache she felt in the absence of her husband. News of her death spread far and wide, her funeral was a large affair that sparked even more trouble for Windham.
Lord Raleigh took the first opportunity after the conclusion of the funeral to inform the Countess of the impending war he intended to start, her slight to his honor would no longer be ignored. Aghast and distraught for her people Sir Grady dispatched a messenger immediately in order to inform Queen Elizabeth as to the threat of civil war and perhaps receive help from their sovereign. Unfortunately, the messenger’s never reached the capital, murdered on the road by individuals who would forever remain unknown.
The war began small, cutting off the citizens of Windham from the outside world and slowly starving them. Starvation drove Sir Grady and Victoria to the brink of despair, as many of their people died under the terrorism of the imposed siege. Sir Raleigh had the land in a choke hold and finally out of no other option the citizens of Windham agreed that some agreement needed to be made or there would be no one left to continue on in Windham. Sir Grady resolved to enter into peace talks with Lord Raleigh, who surprisingly agreed to discuss the terms of peace. Under the white flag of truce, Sir Grady went alone to speak with Lord Raleigh, attempting to free his people from the assault and save his beloved wife along with the child she carried.
Tragically though not surprisingly Lord Raleigh went against the rules of engagement and beneath the agreement of the truce he struck down an unarmed Sir Grady. With the help of several other warriors and a number of archers, Sir Grady was killed almost instantly, his body thrown at Windham castle walls as an insult and declaration of all-out war. The siege resumed in earnest, with the people of Windham rallying around a heartbroken and distraught Victoria. Not allowing herself to give in to the despair her father had drilled into her the necessity and responsibility of ensuring her people were taken care of.
Shoving aside her personal feelings the Countess attempted to keep her people safe and alive, though she was enormously outgunned the young woman valiantly did everything within her power to defend her birthright and the lives that lived under her protection. Unbeknownst to all those involved in the skirmish, perched high above on a church steeple sat a creature of shadows, watching the fighting carefully and with a critical eye. Having been drawn by the scent of blood and sounds of battle he watched as the humans fought with one another for some reason unknown to him. As sad as the death and bloodshed were he was loath to interfere until the advancing general showed his hand.
The pang of magic was thick in the air, the dark Diviner drawing on words of power and the magic inherent to his kind to advance his cause and bring down the poor people holed up in the castle. The moment he realized that a creature was involved in and caused such destruction the warrior stepped in, crossing through the shadows of night to cull Lord Raleigh’s forces and in a moment of cold calculation the Valkyr ended the Diviner’s life. The mysterious death of the Lord caused great confusion, ending the bloodshed for the time being allowing the shadow to take stock of the damage that had been done. Entering into the castle he found many of the residents mourning, for the Lady of the land was struggling to hold onto the life.
Victoria didn’t fear death, everyone she had ever loved lie on the other side with the exception of the unborn child she carried. It was for that tiny life she mourned and was heartbroken, for she had failed in her duty to protect him and usher him into this marvelous life. Struggling to breathe, wrapped in heaps of blankets beside the raging fires in the great hall in an attempt to keep her warm as her life bleed from her in rivers, it seemed her eyes were playing tricks. The Reaper came to speak with her, asking her odd questions about her life and the decisions she had made. Thinking she was being tested, weighed for the purity of heaven she answered with her heart in her throat, hoping as her heart finally gave out that she had been found worthy to join her beloved and parents.
Gideon stooped down as soon as the woman was dead, wrapping shadows around both her body and himself while he infused her with his shadow charged blood. She was a brave and honest soul, a fighter down to her very core, and just the type of person he needed among his Valkyr. The moment she was reborn he whisked her away, finding her sustenance enough to satisfy the transformation and begin the process of acclimating her to her new life.
Victoria awoke to a world full of sounds and smells and darkness. Confused and scared she recoiled from the Reaper, her worst fear realized as her mind raced with the horrifying revelation that she had not made it into the kingdom of heaven. When her tears had abated enough to allow for a conversation the male explained what had truly become of her, that she had died and been brought back as a creature of darkness and shadow. Memories of her transition were clear in her mind, the taste of blood on her tongue coupled with all the new senses she was experienced became far too overwhelming.
In a move that Gideon, the Valkyrie of the species she was now apart of, had been anticipating Victoria ran from him. She pelted at a speed faster than she had thought possible, narrowly missing running into trees or tripping over stones as she raced back to her home. Broken and smoking as it was, it was still the one place she felt most connected to. When she arrived there was no outcry of celebration for her return, in fact, they all seemed to ignore her entirely. People who have known her entire life seemed to look straight through her as if she were a ghost and yet her ability to pick things up told her she wasn’t. The longer she stayed the more a feeling of profound sadness settled within her soul, along with an overwhelming urge to leave the home that was her birthright.
Appearing at her elbow Gideon informed her of why she was feeling the need to leave, that she could not continue with her life as she had effectively died. Her body had been entombed with the rest of her family and her entire world had changed. All of her sadness, devastation, and heartbreak coalesced into raging anger that she used to lash out at the only person who could presently hear or see her. Giving in to the profound and gut-wrenching need to leave she fled from her homeland, refusing Gideon’s help and warning him not to come near her again. Though he wanted to protest he could see it wasn’t going to make much difference so he let her go, worried that she wouldn’t be able to cope with her new life but knowing she needed to find her own way.
Unfortunately, for all her charms and abilities Victoria was not equipped or ready to live outside her sheltered home. Though she had been skilled in many things relating to her previous life, they had all been things that a spoiled and sheltered lady would be able to do, which had no bearing out in the real world. The newly turned Valkyr found the world to be a very harsh and unforgiving place. No matter where she went she was met with suspicion and distrust, leaving her to fend for herself in a world where nothing is free and compassion is hard to come by. Before long Victoria was poor, living on the streets, and barely hanging on to her sanity.
Just as she reached complete and absolute desolation, rock bottom, Victoria began to feel a bit of humility. Admitted to herself that she needed help the Valkyr sought out her maker, following that instinctual pull that rested within her heart to the leader of her people. Gideon was a gentleman when she arrived, taking it in stride that she needed help and though she hadn’t spoken the words was requesting them. The Valkyrie offered all the assistance she would need, giving her shelter and training and funds to be able to support herself. Humbled by his ready acceptance of her Victoria swore her allegiance to him and his cause.
Victoria fought at his side, came when he requested her assistance, and when he decided to settle in Evermore she was by his side. Now settled in as a Valkyr Victoria has become a levelheaded and modest individual. Under Gideon’s tutelage, she became an accomplished warrior, a creature of darkness that not many could rival in skill, and a surprisingly good diplomat. Her loyalty to the Valkyrie and her people has become unwavering, and though they can all feel the darkness growing in Evermore Victoria will stand with Gideon no matter what may come.