Overview Cast List A young Knight, a Witch-Princess, travelling together through deeply religious lands. They're gonna have a good time, just ignore the persecution, Inquisitors, wild beasts, monsters hiding in the dark, and oh not to mention, a cult of zealous Pagans who are very convinced their Messiah had returned. Dashing! Map (Move your mouse to the spoiler area to reveal the content) Mains: Etheldreda (Move your mouse to the spoiler area to reveal the content) Lilith's Avatar (Move your mouse to the spoiler area to reveal the content) Name: Etheldreda Northumberland Title: Princess of Wessex Nickname: Ethel, 'demon spawn', 'little witch' Gender: Female Age: 13 years old Home: Kingdom of Wessex, Britannia Isle Info: The first daughter of King Harold Northumberland and Queen Joan Northumberland of Wessex Kingdom. White hair, red eyes, pale skin, the baby girl was quite unusual ever since she came out of the womb, she didn't cry or make a fuss, she was also eerily quiet for an infant. As it turned out, Etheldreda was cursed (or blessed depending on one's perspective) with the rare gift of Arcane powers. In the words of the Divine Church, a Witch, a demonic spawn, and/or the daughter of Satan, much to the despair of her parents. The Church gave no tolerance to practitioners of the 'dark arts', whether the person did it willingly or not, men or women, adult or child. In Ethel's case, it was the latter on all three. Ethel's powers first manifested when she was six years old, the albino girl conjured a floating ball of snow through her will, though the object was harmless, the Divine Bible's views on such feat instantly branded her as a witch, a creature which must be burned at the stake. The King, unwilling to risk civil war or worse, inquisition, but also not heartless enough to kill his own flesh and blood, sent Princess Etheldreda away on a secluded hut up in the mountains where he secretly assigned a trusted witch as her caretaker. It had been seven years since... Her power only grew with each passing year, already bypassing her nanny's grasp on the arcane. Believed to be the reincarnation and/or avatar of Lilith, Goddess-Queen according to the Lennic Pagan Faith or the Mother of All Devils in according to the Church, Etheldreda's held an alternate form which could awaken under severe emotional stress, whether it be anger, fear, or even... lust. Varanense (Move your mouse to the spoiler area to reveal the content) Name: Varanense Malx Title: Vanguard Knight Nickname: Vara, Third Son Gender: Male Age: 17 Home: Mariavono, Kingdom of Wessex, Britannia Isle Info: The third son of General Malx, who commands the entirety of the Kingdom of Wessex’s military, Varanense didn’t have any expectations at all placed on him as a child. He wasn’t the eldest, who would inherit the role of General, nor was in the second eldest, who would serve as the General’s right hand man. While his father was strict with the training and education of his brothers, Varanense had a much looser leash, and he spent most of his time messing around in town or going hunting. It is due to that propensity towards outdoors activities that the boy’s complexion became sun-baked, and that he became a frightfully good shot with the crossbow. Naturally, however, an appreciation for ranged weaponry had not yet been developed amongst the noblemen, so when Varanense became a page, his skill with the sword (or lack of it) became the main focus. He was a squire of Sir Einslotte the Just, and afterwards became a Knight of the King’s Vanguard, racking up a few achievements simply due to being at the front whenever a fight broke out with countryside savages. Varanense hadn’t been content with just sitting on his ass and grinding away, but at the same time, he could hardly disobey his father’s meager expectations and desert the army. An opportunity for freedom, however, presented itself when, as he headed out of the family’s keep, Varanense caught an interesting conversation he had. If he wanted to go be a jackass, he might have reported it to the Church and then used that leverage to become an Inquisitor, but that was the same as being a knight of the army. Instead, he interrupted, flaunted his skill with nature and warfare, before volunteering to drag the King’s daughter around in the countryside. Retrospectively, it was pretty audacious, but then again, he’s only a 17 year old boy, and that bravado was the one thing he had on his brothers. "My daughter, my own flesh and blood, first child born from my wife's womb is cursed. My child looks nothing like us, hair white as snow, eyes red as blood, deathly pale complexion. Oh Lord, what have I done wrong to deserve this ordeal? However, if this is a test of resolve, then I accept Your decision, however hard it may be, I will love her with all my heart." ~ King Harold Northumberland of Wessex Kingdom -- The Land of Europa, the 2nd smallest continent on the planet, where Divinity was the major religion across most of the land. Led by the Divine Church, all Lords of Europa, from Emperors to Barons, were committed to the One True Faith. The Divine Bible was law, God was the sole deity worthy of praises, those who worshipped any other false gods were deemed heathens, those who corrupted His teachings were deemed heretics, and civilizations outside the continent which didn't accept God were deemed infidels. All of them shall bow to the lord or risk divine persecution, holy wars for the third, inquisitions for the first two. Of course, even under the ever-watchful eye of the Church, worshippers of other faiths still existed within Europa... Located on the North-Western side of Europa, lay two major islands, Angland and Irland, combined together they formed the realm of Britannia. Occupied by multiple kingdoms and independent duchies, Britannia was small compared to mainland Europa, but no less interesting. Wessex was one of the many sovereign powers ruling in Britannia. A major kingdom ruling the about a third of Angland starting from the bottom, Wessex was a powerful nation since they controlled the aquatic channel between Angland Isle and the mainland, boosting trade and commerce. This in addition with fertile plains and lush forests, Wessex was a major contender in the struggle to unite all of Britannia under a single rule. Harold Northumberland was the reigning King of Wessex, ruling hand-in-hand with his beloved wife, Queen Joan Northumberland. The Northumberlands were once travelling tribes, settling on Southern Angland centuries ago. Over the years, they managed to unite the region of Wessex under the rule of single feudal kingdom. About three years into his reign, Harold was blessed with a child, a daughter to be exact, a female baby with hair white as snow, two crimson irises, and skin tone so pale, she didn't look far from a corpse. The baby was quiet, not crying like all infants should do the moment they left the womb, but she was no stillborn, evident by her chest constantly rising up and down as she breathed. The midwife couldn't explain this phenomenon, nor did the King's personal doctor. The Court Bishop however, told the king in private that the newborn may be 'cursed' and that he should quietly 'purge' the baby. Now Harold was a pious man, but even he found it disturbing to kill his first child, even if the Bishop told him otherwise. With Queen Joan agreeing with him, they both decided to keep her, naming her Etheldreda, after the Saint. On the night of her birth, a huge comet passed on the sky as the solar system was perfectly aligned, a very rare coincidence happening once in millenias. An omen observed by both the Divine Church and... Pagan Witches everywhere in Europa -- Despite her quirks, Ethel grew up to be an admirable little princess. Her tutors was overwhelmed by her intellect, she mastered subjects such as languages, theology, and rhetorics far ahead compared to her peers, one could safely say the girl possessed towering intellect, a genius. She never spoke much, preferring to keep herself in the library or gazing at the stars at night. She was quite awkward during social interactions, but kind and gentle, she willingly offered a helping hand to those who needed it. The palace residents grew to love her despite her unusual appearance, all seemed to go well for the little princess... until that one particular night. She was playing around in the gardens, holding out her cupped hands to her caretaker, offering her a snowball. The woman promptly screamed then ran away from her as if she was a phantom. The royal child didn't understand of course, her young mind couldn't comprehend that her nanny found it horrifying that she held a snowball in the middle of Summer, and oh, it was also floating above her hands, pulsating with an icy bluish glow. Whispers and rumors about the King's eldest daughter being a witch, a demon spawn, an abomination. Those reached the King and Queen's ears, they weren't surprised, they'd have to accept her daughter was no normal girl, she never was one, could never be one. Keeping her here would provoke civil wars or worse, Inquisition by the Divine Church, the option of murdering his own daughter was obviously out of the question. Confiding with his most trusted councilors, one of them General Malx, the King decided it was best to send Ethel away on a remote region where she could live in peace. At the age of six, Princess Etheldreda was princess no more, but an ordinary girl without a last name. Of course, as a child, her parents didn't leave her alone, they assigned a nanny for her... but unlike her previous one, this one was a Witch, a genuine one, the closest person who could understand and guide Etheldreda in controlling her powers. She was Madame Lenore, a Francian witch who came into Angland after escaping an Inquisition attempt in her homeland. The King offered her refuge in his realm, on the condition that she took care of Ethel. That night, in a simple inconspicuous wagon, Etheldreda and Lenore set off into the countryside, never to be seen again... the Queen wept, but it was for the best. -- Seven years passed since then, life went on for the Wessians, only this time, one particular child of the King was missing, but Harold's Spymaster took care of the rumors, spreading false news that Etheldreda died of sickness during a trip to a neighboring kingdom. Of course, they didn't completely cut off communication with their daughter. The Queen occasionally sent discreet letters to Lenore, asking how her daughter was doing, whereupon the witch would send back through a special messenger assigned by the Queen. It seemed Ethel was indeed a gifted child, her arcane powers grew on her own, her mastery of the forbidden art came naturally to her, it was in her blood. Lenore suspected Ethel had grown powerful enough to surpass even her. One day, whether it was due to a whistleblower or some other manner, Harold didn't know, but one thing for sure, the Divine Church sent him a letter, informing him they had sent Inquisitors to do some investigations in his realm. Not a full-blown crackdown, merely some sweeping to root out suspected heretic groups in Wessex. Something the King found extremely discomforting due to obvious reasons. These inquisitors were specifically trained to hunt down witches and as far as they were concerned, Etheldreda was another witch. Harold would not see his daughter burned at the stake. Desperate times required desperate measures, as such, he held a secret meeting with his General and Spymaster in the former's family keep on how to best handle the situation. They came to a conclusion that Etheldreda shouldn't stay in one location, she had to move from place to place like a nomad, avoiding the Inquisitors, but not with Lenore, one witch was enough, two would spell certain doom. They needed someone else to accompany her... That was when one Varanense Malx, an Ex-Vanguard Knight and General Malx's third son, eavesdropped on them. To make matters worse, the teen heard everything, Malx had prepared himself for the worst case scenario. The King ordering Varanense's silence through execution, but the boy's odd proposal may have saved his life. Vara insisted to be this 'companion' for Etheldreda. After much deliberation, they agreed, but not before Vara's father made him swore he'd protect the princess with his life. The teen was given a horse, crossbow bolts, dagger, and all necessary supplies for travel, also most importantly, an official edict scroll signed by Harold, containing the order for Lenore to leave Etheldreda with him then go into hiding. With no time to waste, Vara was sent off on the journey. -- It'd take him about two days to reach the valley where the witch-princess lived. It was a lush forest surrounded by hills, no beaten path was in sight, no village, the only direction Vara had was the map the Spymaster gave him. It was in the very late at night, perhaps it would be best for him to rest then continue his journey later at first morn. He heard splashing sounds of water, a small river was near, just the perfect spot to set up camp. Once there, he'd come to a clearing... already occupied by a girl about four years younger than him. She had red eyes, extremely pale complexion, and twintailed white hair that seemed to glimmer under the moonlight. She was wearing a white dress, but what struck out the most was not her physical traits, the girl was standing on the surface of the water, her whole form glowing with soft light blue shine, her back was turned towards him. "...Ehn?" Noticing someone behind her, the girl turned around to look over her shoulder, coming face-to-face with Varanense. There was no mistaking it now, Vara saw her before, back when he was around 10 years old, this girl was none other than Etheldreda. She turned around, still standing on the water, "A... boy, y-yes, I remember. You're a boy, aren't you?" She tilted her head, looking curious as she examined his form up and down, "Nice horse you have there." she smiled softly, it seemed Vara's mount agree with her, the horse neighed as if understanding the princess' words. "So... tell me your name." She stepped off the river surface, onto the ground where her glow dissipated, "I am Etheldreda, you can call me Ethel. I think I've never seen a boy before since... uhm... since I was really small."