18thCenturyMage/Caprice Backstory

From RPGnet
Jump to: navigation, search

Caprice’s backstory, Awakening and induction into the Guardians of the Veil[edit]


Grow Faster

  • Paris 29.10.1729: Sophie Bernadette is born to the Duke and Duchess De La Vallière, youngest of three surviving daughters.
  • Paris, Versailles, Nîmes, 1729-1745: Father, a high-ranking French diplomat, is usually away. Mother and maternal grandmother, both accomplished and successful salonières, teach Sophie that family reputation is everything and that even as a woman you can be and do mostly anything as long as the wrong people don't find out. Growing up, Sophie is close friends with Andrea. After Andrea's family emigrates to America in 1742, Sophie and Andrea keep writing to each other.
  • Paris, 20.8.1745: Married to an ‘Italian count’ for what seems a financially and politically promising family alliance – a hope that swiftly turns to ashes as the man is revealed to be a skilled conman; not a genuine aristocrat at all but one Roman Papescu, a minor Romanian noble's bastard son. Potentially destructive public ridicule is nipped in the bud as in harmony with family philosophy, the De La Vallière family keeps it all under wraps and sends Sophie off with him. She spends a couple of years touring Europe with her ever inventive husband, learning various skills of his trade.


  • Vienna, Spring 1748: Sophie leaves Roman after finding he has once again set her up as his 'life insurance' so in a worst case it will be her and not him who goes to the gallows. Avoiding Paris, she flees across Europe, covering her tracks as best she can in her first self-sustained con. She is dreaming of creating a new life for herself, from which she will then be able to face her family without damaging their reputation or her own. But aristocratic Europe has become dangerous terrain for her with Roman stalking it.
  • Liverpool, September 1748: Assuming Andrea's name, Sophie marries Walloon Huguenot Daan Le Clercq and embarks with him on a ship bound for the Middle Colonies. Le Clercq turns out be more of a liability than an asset in trying to stay safe aboard the ship, as he drinks hard and hits harder.
  • Beginning to Sleepwalk in mid-voyage, Sophie is noticed by Effervescent, a New York Guardian of the Veil travelling on the same ship, who invites her to come for a 'tea and a chat' (without the husband...) in New York City. Bemused by the woman’s more occult (Labyrinth-ine) hints but intrigued by the welcome excluding Le Clercq, Sophie keeps the woman’s card.
  • New York City, late 1748: Back on dry land, Sophie-'Andrea' manages to extricate herself from Le Clercq's company and makes a dash for the real Andrea's old address, where she is hoping to hide out until Le Clercq stops looking for her. Alas, the house has burnt down and Andrea is said to have died in the fire! Before a devastated Sophie can think further, Le Clercq arrives with several other men and drags her off, away from the town.

Into Nightmare

  • Le Clercq’s farmhouse, Spring 1749: At her wits’ end as relations with her brutal husband spiral ever more into unrelenting nightmare, escape plan after escape plan fails and the world seems to tighten into a noose around her, Sophie-‘Andrea’ settles on more extreme measures. One night she doses Le Clercq’s bottle heavily with sleeping drops and as he proceeds to gets drunk as usual, she manages to sneak his knife away from his belt. Safety precaution purely, but in a few more moments it will save her life. Her plan was that he should fall asleep and sleep deep and long; she would not rue it if he never woke up again either, but she intends to be far from here come morning and never find out. Nightmare, however, proceeds as Le Clercq drinks himself into...
  • ... the blackest rage, ranting he drinks, awake ever more awake... what was in those damned drops... she must pre-empt him, must she not... there was a knife, he doesn’t have it anymore does he... must remember but what... get away... think... wading backwards wading wading... feet tangled so slow, must get out, out... how to remember... so slow too slow the door at her back now but no latch, no, no latch... he will hear, he will hear... his hunched back... a handle, the axe!... his bullish back... there is nothing but his back now, too large, no space to breathe can’t breathe... no door... hated firewood-making... not long now, hurry but too slow, move and move, split your way out... through that back... neck... like the wood... head shifting round as the axe swings to meet him... so much blood... on his feet now weaving drunk howling mute... axe again, blood and gristle and it slips away... his drunk fingers grabbling for the knife that is somewhere... must remember... his fists fly and now she also is bleeding... stumbling... his booted feet now.... more boots than two, multiplying... she remembers where she has his knife but too late, boots growing more ever more as she shrinks in on herself –
  • – there has to be a way. A way, a purpose. A purpose, a way.
  • And with that, finally, the mirror shatters, the way opens. Why was it so hard?
  • Walking through Grandmother’s Versailles garden. Sunlit, lily flowers dripping, crimson blood dripping... the crumbly back wall where Andrea and she once carved their names into the same stone... has she been here before? It is pristine this wall, lichen warm under her fingertips; as she lifts her startlingly red finger tracing her initials, the blood quickens, sinks into the stone, silvering; whose blood, merged bloods? Red lilies, quicksilver lilies. Clear. Beauty, tranquil, this is the way. Where is Andrea? It is clear her friend’s name lives elsewhere, and that is also the way. A moment of clarity and pure contentment; which will not last.
  • Back in the farmhouse, Sophie wakes drenched in blood, buried under the corpse of the man she has just killed. And screams.
  • Deep in the woods, a day or two later: Injured and fevered, fleeing in terror from the chaos of her newly Awakened senses as much as from the scene of the murder, Sophie is lost. Stumbling into a band of Huron up to no good, she is saved by the timely arrival of Jacob, who realises here is a newly Awakened mage who will need some help.

Friends Old and New

  • Jacob’s native village, Spring to early Summer 1749: Sophie, now calling herself Marie, is adopted into Jacob’s family Iroquois-style (not asking her permission), defining her position in the village and providing startling insights in how women can be respected in a matrilineal world. On the Awakened side of things, she receives healing and initial Awakened teachings from Thyrsus Arrow Sooleawa, Jacob’s relative and lifelong mentor.
  • As Sophie-‘Marie’ recovers and begins to wonder how she can ever find her way back to civilisation as she knows it, Sooleawa calls in Raven, a Seneca Acanthus, who pronounces cryptically that Sophie-‘Marie’ once had a Destiny but someone or something scoured it from her; he also tells her to expect her association with Sooleawa to end sooner rather than later.
  • Shortly afterwards Sooleawa is murdered by what seems to have been a mage-controlled spirit. At the insistence of Mohawk Acanthus Thunderhawk, who does not want white people in her domain, Sophie-‘Marie’ is sent away to the white men’s world, with her Iroquois-adopted brother Jacob to accompany her.
  • By a campfire not far from New York City, one night in early Summer 1749: The real Andrea catches up with the woman who’d been so impertinently travelling under Andrea’s name – Sophie! A tearful reunion occurs between two old friends who have much news to share; various names are untangled; and Jacob and Andrea are introduced.
  • New York City, Summer 1749: Sophie, now Caprice, arrives in New York City together with Andrea and Jacob. She contacts Effervescent and is swiftly taken under the wing of the Guardians of the Veil, embarking on her training with the order. A way, a purpose; a purpose, a way...

Veils and Emergence

  • New York City, late Summer 1749: Grey Veil. Caprice is given samples of a person’s handwriting to practice. She’s not told whose. Once she can reliably reproduce it, she’s called upon several times at a moment’s notice to copy letters written in this hand, using materials provided by her Guardian contact. It seems clear these letters contain encoded messages of some sort. There’s time pressure in each case and this happens at varying times of day/night, which seems to imply the letters are being intercepted in transit to be swapped out in a hurry for the forgeries. Oddly enough, no change of wording is being required.
  • New York City (?), Autumn 1749: Crimson Veil. The death of an errant Sleepwalker who had been warned...
  • Caprice is told this is part of a larger-scale effort in several locations. On the night, she is given a mundane disguise making her look like an older, worn-out serving woman. She is introduced to two male Guardians she has never seen before (nor after); all three are using Shadow Names that are not their usual ones. They go to the target’s house together, where Caprice puts on the housekeeper’s apron, then uses her Imposter rote to impersonate the man’s housekeeper; she poisons his wine and stands over him watching him drink it and die. Meanwhile in the man’s kitchen, the two men (besides presumably observing Caprice to make sure she’s doing her part) arrange matters to that the actual housekeeper looks to have hanged herself after poisoning her master.
  • Dismissing the Imposter spell and leaving behind the apron as instructed, Caprice goes to a pre-arranged location, a Guardian safe-house, where she is debriefed, de-disguised (the disguise burnt), cleansed of sympathetic links and watched over for a couple of days until news gets out and it is clear that all has gone as planned (both with the murder and with her reaction in the aftermath of it).
  • New York City, Winter 1749-50: Black Veil. The tutor in charge of ‘leading Caprice astray’ is Minotaur. On being given the ‘wrong’ instruction, Caprice smiles and goes right around Minotaur’s back to Ysengrim... where Minotaur steps out of the woodwork with a pleased smile.
  • New York City, early 1750: Guardian of the Veil, Caprice joins her new Cabal and sets out for Albany to embark on yet another new life with this newly emerging ‘family’...

Back to main page | To character sheet