For the Dhampir across Italy October 5th would forever be a national holiday, a day that the historians and poets would write about for centuries to come. With hair the color of bright flames on a cool fall evening and a musical wail of hope Ember Sienna was born the first child of Carlisle and Rita Rinaldi. The leading family within the Italian aristocracy couldn’t have been more elated, their gorgeous baby girl a shining beacon for the future. There was never any doubt in the young couple's mind that she would uphold the proud and ancient legacy that came with the name Rinaldi and the tradition inherent to the European Dhampir empire.
From the earliest days of little Ember’s life she was groomed and taught to be the perfect young lady. With the grace of a princess, the manners of a duchess, and all the poise of a ballerina she was in essence the crown jewel of Italy. By the time she was five the poets were writing of her great beauty, the little red head an adored study in elegance and sophistication. By age 10 the historians were writing of her intelligence, how easily she was picking up on diplomacy and politics. At 12 she was allowed to accompany her father to the audience of the Queen, observing her family’s place as trusted advisors to the Desgoffe und Taxis line.
Ember herself was a happy child of pleasant disposition and mannerisms. Like any highborn young lady she became proficient in all manner of womanly arts from sewing to keeping house to the arrangement of parties and meetings for the Elite. It was her sole want in life to please her dear father whom she formed a closer bond with than her mother. She loved her mother but there were times when her mother didn’t quite understand her. Ember more enjoyed socializing and the small intricacies of the Elite, taking great pleasure in the intrigues that ensued. She was skilled in debates, carefully maneuvering conversations to her advantage and quickly spearing straight to the root of any issue. Her father marveled at the ease of her silvered tongue and took to taking her with him more and more as she grew older, much to the displeasure of her mother. Rita Rinaldi believed that ladies in their position should be seen and not heard, her one hope to marry Ember off to advantage. Her daughter’s proficiency in business often disconcerted and angered her though there was little she could say as long as Ember was their only child.
Their family was lower on the hierarchy, a wealthy merchant family that contributed great amounts of money and knowledge to the seven families and provided the best counsel. They took their place very seriously and never overreached themselves, simply happy to be contributing to the protection and continuation of their race. Little Ember was a study in humility and quiet confidence, seeming to understand her role from even her tenderest of years. Both of her parents couldn’t have been prouder looking on as their quiet little girl blossomed into an observant young woman. Carlisle, in accordance with their family tradition, took great pains into seeing that Ember was well prepared to take her place as his heir.
When she turned 12 Carlisle secured her a spot at Fridolin’s School for Girls, sending her off to the prestigious finishing school to be taught alongside the other highborn families of Europe. Having never been outside of her birthplace, Ember took to the school immediately cracking free of her quiet chrysalis to spread her vibrant butterfly wings. Within her first week the red head made friends with Agga Ritcher, a lady from one of the seven families and the betrothed of Volker Desgoffe und Taxis himself. The two became fast friends, their social circle both wide and lively as they ignored the usual drama that some of the other girls found pleasure in indulging. Though Ember sometimes had to work to reign in her friend’s growing self-importance, keeping her grounded even as her life seemed the perfect fairy tale.
Alongside her classmates in keeping with the Dhampir customs Ember was giving a weapon claiming ceremony a few weeks following her 18th birthday. The Dojo was situated in the center of the city, the modernized rebuild meant to mask the training facility in plain sight by order of Queen Fieke. Her father had well prepared her for what to expect, though her hands still shook as she approached the table containing a wide array of sharp and wicked looking weaponry. It was a pair of opulent butterfly swords, a pair lined in gold with thick blades that drew her hand, the metal glowing a deep amethyst the moment her delicate hands curled around the hilts. Fascinated by the weapons Ember entered combat training, much to her mother’s displeasure, though Ember reveled in the physical activity.
It was during that same summer that Ember’s world imploded, the entire foundation of her life ripped out from underneath her feet as her baby brother was born. Rita, not wanting to jinx the pregnancy, had kept her condition a secret until the last possible moment, taking great pleasure in the piercing screams of her little boy. Though Carlisle had a mind to keep the succession as it was, his wife insisted that he name their son heir. Rita saw things clearly, her agile and conniving mind twisting through her plans; their son would take over the family legacy leaving their daughter free to be married for advantage. Ember was heartbroken when her beloved father agreed to the plan, shifting the succession of the Rinaldi family to her brother Curtis.
Rita in all her grand schemes already had a match in mind, her close relationship with Helga Heidrich, the mother and matriarch of the German Elite, ensuring a match. Ember watched in desperation as her father withdrew from her, her mother taking over her life as she pushed for the engagement that was all but signed in blood. She met her husband to be during the summer, as she was sent to spend her break from school in Germany to get better acquainted with her betrothed. Gunther at first seemed a gentle giant who rarely said a word, his cool demeanor taken for a thoughtful soul. During their first official date he showed himself as anything but, striking out at Ember the moment she spoke out of turn. That first strike on the cheek opened a flood of abuse both mental and physical, the bruises and marks ignored by everyone that looked upon her.
In desperation Ember reached out to her father time and again, pleading for redemption and deliverance from the monster her mother had sold her to. Not a single letter was ever returned, her hope dwindling to a last-ditch effort during a brief visit from her mother before she was to return to school....
She slipped down the hall as silently as her heels would allow, glancing nervously behind her every few feet to make sure she wasn’t being followed. Her heart pounding she came to the door to the guest room, hands shaking violently as she rapped on the door. She heard movement, a quiet voice drifting through the thick wood and a moment later it opened. Tears filled her eyes as her mother stood framed in the door, her expression astounded as she beheld her daughter.
“Ember? What on Earth are you doing out at this late hour.” Her mother glanced behind her though made no move to let her daughter pass as her eyes took in the haggard girl before her. Her hand raised to the slightly black smudges beneath her daughter’s eyes, tsking as her head shook. “A lady shouldn’t stay up so late my dear. These black circles make you look 10 years older.” The red head’s mouth lay agape for a moment, both astounded and confused, surely her mother could see the angry red mark across her cheek? The dark bruises along her pale arms standing out like the ghosts of handprints from an angry spirit.
Gathering her wits Ember pushed inside the room earning her a very unhappy sigh from her mother who shut the door, turning to place her hands on her hips. “Ember what is the meaning of this? I didn’t invite you in and you should be in bed.” Whirling around the redhead had tears tracking down her face, hurt and betrayal written all over her. “What’s the meaning of this?! Mother I have sent dozens of letters to father pleading with him to come and save me!”
“Save you?” Her mother laughed over the words, her expression incredulous, “Dear child save you from what?” “From Gunther?! From this place! Mother he strikes me, beats me whenever he feels like it and has a mean temper! Has father gotten none of my letters?” Her voice was high and yet hoarse from the emotion that rose in her throat, spilling a deluge of hot tears down her face. Rita sighed deeply shaking her head as she crossed to the trunk that sat at the end of the bed, reaching in to pull out a stack of letters, letters that had been written in her hand. Her mother held them out, a stern and disapproving expression on her face. “You mean these letters? Darling this is rubbish. If you would simply follow the edicts of your fiancée there would be no need for punishment. It’s time you learn to reign in that wayward attitude that your father loved so much. There is no room for it in the disposition of a good wife.”
“But...why have you done this?” Struck dumb at the betrayal of her mother Ember could only stand in utter disbelief, her tear-filled eyes staring at the large stack of letters in her mother’s hands. Sighing in frustration her mother moved to the other side of the room opening the door to the study that was attached to her chambers, wringing a gasp of fear from her wayward daughter. Gunther himself stalked in, his expression thunderous as he looked at his bride to be, taking the stack of letters that were offered to him. “I came to inform your Groom of the issues he needs to resolve before the wedding. It has taken quite a bit of effort on my part to keep these from reaching your father who is far too busy with Curtis’s instruction to be bothered with such trivial things.”
Fear and dread filled her heart as Gunther viciously hurled the stack of pleas into the fire, stepping toward her aggressively. His burly arms raised; muscles bunched as he reared back to once again strike her across the cheek. This time was different, this time she had no hope of being saved from any other sector, no father that was coming to save her. Impulsively her brain shifted into the small but effective training she had received the previous year, her body ducking to block and dodge his strikes. With ease she kicked out hitting him square in the chest and despite her small stature the move sent him reeling backward straight into the fireplace.
Fire leapt up, his scream punctuating the air as he batted at the hungry flames that licked at his flesh and clothing. Rita frantically moved to help though Ember saw none of it, her flight instincts kicking in to propel her down the hallway to her room. With all haste she dressed for travel, slinging on her butterfly swords on her back, packing a light bag, and with the help of a few maids she flees into the night.
Ember had never been outside of the Dhampir compounds, to a young woman as sheltered as she was the big wide world was a terrifying place. She couldn’t go near any of her people, if they recognized her at all her parents and possibly her betrothed would be informed which was far scarier than being on her own. So she kept to herself, constantly on the move as she tried to put as much distance between herself and Germany as she could. Her father was constantly in her thoughts, wondering what lie her mother would have concocted to cover up her disappearance and if he was worried about her at all. A cool anger began to fester in the depths of her heart at Rita - no longer did she consider the woman a mother, for no right mother would have knowingly sold her daughter into a hell such as that.
For the next two years the red head drifted across Europe, slowly dwindling down the stash of cash she had managed to take with her. Even spending as sparingly as she could the money eventually ran out, leaving her alone, lost, and destitute. Her spirits dropped as she was forced onto the streets, struggling to survive with what wits and determination she had left. The redhead managed to talk her way onto a boat that was headed for Sweden, the Captain seeming a nice enough gentleman who was more than happy to help a maiden in distress. Ember was beginning to think her luck was turning around until they docked. A swarm of German Dhampir’s surged over the ship intent on bringing her back, though the young woman managed to give them the slip once more, diving into the cool waters of the Baltic Sea. She had no idea how long she was out in the water, her mind drifting in and out as her body began to shut down. “I’m dying,” She thought just as her head sunk below the water, darkness leaping in to take over.
The smell of food tickled her nose, finally rousing her from the fuzzy cloud of unconsciousness. Slowly she sat up, her limbs weak as she glanced around the small apartment, her eyes taking in the IV that was sticking from her arm and the bowl of stir fry that sat on the table next to her. Like a ravenous wolf she grabbed at the bowl stuffing as much of the hot meal into her mouth as she could, “Easy there, slow down or you’ll make yourself sick.” Much to her astounded eyes Ember beheld a beautiful woman walk towards her, perching gracefully on the edge of the bed. Her piercing green eyes were luminous in her heart shaped face with a crown of luscious auburn hair that seemed to glow with an inner fire all its own.
Swallowing with a wince Ember took a moment to find her voice finally squeaking out a response, “Where am I?” The woman’s lips turned up in a smirk, her sharp eyes seeming to bore into her very soul, “Japan.” Her response was short as she leaned over, tapping the bag of fluids that was steadily dripping into her arm. Ember’s mind flew off the rails, wondering how on Earth she had managed to get there and who this woman was. As if reading her thoughts she felt the woman’s hand on her forearm, her skin unusually hot though firm as the two women stared at one another. “Relax. Eat. You are safe. I’ll explain everything when you are stronger.” Ember nodded, unable to do anything except obey the woman’s instructions.
Miraculously Ember’s luck had indeed changed, for as the Dhampir contingent was pulling her from the waters a Phoenix happened to fly in from overhead. Having seen everything, she swooped down and snatched the runaway from the clutches of her German betrothed, flying with her across the continent to a relatively secluded place in Japan. Roxanne proved to be an invaluable mentor and friend, teaching the now 20-year-old how to fight and defend herself as well as a few tricks of the trade. Ember was enchanted by the worldly Fire Lord; her street smarts and sleight of hand could get her anything while her confidence and sex appeal got her everywhere else. On top of that the ancient woman was as deadly as she was beautiful, her skills in combat unlike anything she had ever experienced.
The young Dhampir stayed with the Phoenix for 2 years, growing a friendship that she valued above anything she had experienced before. Slowly Ember opened up about her past, explaining what had prompted her flight from Germany and the betrayal that had been committed against her. During their time together Roxy taught her how to fight, how to value herself as a person, and in turn taught the fiery female to trust. The pair were traveling through Russia when the unthinkable occurred, a large group of Initia attacked bent on destroying the Phoenix abomination that had dared encroach upon their territory.
Their numbers were large as they swarmed over the pair splitting them apart, though oddly enough they made sure not to touch Ember. Too late she realized she was being herded away from her friend, separated in a combined effort of sheer numbers. The last she saw of Roxanne she was knocked over in a rush of water as a group with wicked looking golden weapons hemmed her in, a sharp knock to the back of her head had her crumpling to the ground.
Ember awoke tied to a chair with her head pounding painfully her hands tied behind her back with tight knots of rope. Gunther stalked into the room, crossed the space between them, and slapped her across the face, his own complexion bouncing from varying shades of red. His skin bore the marks of the fire that Ember had kicked him into, the scarred skin only further confirming that he was a monster. Gunther had made a deal with any group that he could in order to track her down, working ceaselessly to get back the woman that had made a fool of him. Her betrothed informed her that her Phoenix friend was dead, her parents no longer cared what happened to her, and she was returning to Germany with him.
Heartsick and full of rage all her own Ember waited for the right opportunity, as Gunther was loosening her bonds, before she struck. Breaking free of his grip she attacked, the two fighting swiftly until she reached the table that held her weapons. It was clear on his face he hadn’t been expecting her ferocity and skill, drawing his own mace in order to defend himself. It was over in a matter of a minute, her breath heaving out of her lungs in large puffs as she stood over his dead body. It surprised her how easy it had been, his own skills as a fighter having grown within her head to far surpass what he actually boasted. Her eyes touched the ball that had flopped into the corner, his head severed from his useless body by her butterfly swords.
Ember left the house of Heidrich in the dust and swore that she would never look upon Germany again. She traveled around a bit, hitting her 25th year of life in some dive bar in Scotland with only her thoughts to keep her company. She had been considering returning home when a rumor reached her, a rumor of a city in the States that boasted a population of Supernatural. By all accounts the aristocracy didn’t exist in the United States as it did in Europe, leaving people like her to make a name for themselves and live life as they wanted.
Intrigued and with nothing to lose Ember made her way across oceans to the States and over to Evermore. There she began to carve out a life for herself. To her amazement, she managed to find Roxanne – not dead as Gunther had claimed but alive and well, and slowly she began to embrace the community in Evermore that she found herself a part of.
Unfortunately it was not to last. One day, Ember discovered she was being followed. When she and a friend found and confronted this person she learned that her mother had been helping Gunther’s family track her down and they had finally managed to find her in Evermore. She knew she couldn’t just stay and allow the people there to get caught up in all of her troubles, so she once again packed her things and said goodbye, leaving the city behind her in the hopes that their grudge would follow her instead of staying in the city. She travelled far and wide, never staying in one place long, and learning whatever she could from anyone who would teach her. This time away honed and sharpened her skills even further, making her a truly deadly force to anyone who may dare to cross her.
Now, two years and a lot of experience later, Ember has decided to return to Evermore. Her discoveries upon returning - the true loss of some of her friends - was heartbreaking, but she’s determined to keep going. She’s a fighter now and if she must fight for peace and stability in her life, then so be it.