Morgaine (known to most people as Mary Holly) is a woman of slight and somewhat scrawny build which betrays a somewhat conflicted upbringing. She usually dresses with an aged maid suit and is fond of protective headgear to avoid the sun striking her sensitive skin. These clothes also conceal her striking auburn hair and green eyes in order to not draw unwanted attention. Her manner of walk is unassuming and rather silent, and a faint herbal fragance with earthen hints seems to follow her everywhere.
Occupation/Relation: Morgaine has been a maid in the manor for three years. Rumours of bastardry being the reason why she was hired float around. She seems to have a knack for herbalism and foraging, as well a certain special touch when handling beasts, thanks to the tips and tricks her mother passed down unto her.
Morgaine is a grim and cynical individual who has had a harsh upbringing bestowed upon her. Tight knit about her true intentions and demeanour she usually deflects prying questions with scathing sarcasm. She is not very good at socializing and prefers sometimes the company of beasts rather than people. Her dedication to the less... reputed arts attributed to women and her penchant to brew herbal conconctions have given her some sort of infamy among the staff. Being a bastard, she harbours no small amount of envy and resent towards the proper family members of the estate. Nevertheless, Morgaine is methodical, rather even-tempered and she always takes the side of the less favored, consequences be damned.
History: The professions of someone's forebears usually shape one's life for good or bad,and Morgaine was no exception. Borne out of wedlock to one of the strangest retainers of Lord Northam, a wise woman and midwife who lived and performed her trade at the edge of the woods, her mother was seen with a mixture of suspicion and respect. A relic of an era of darkness and superstition, her mother could brew fairly potent concoctions with the herbs and spices she found in the forest. Her herbal tonic was a favorite of the Northams. Her ability to assist childbirth and heal wounds also did not go unnoticed, and more than often people trusted her hands than that of a physician. There were people who called her a witch, but even more people who called her.
It was in such a climate that Morgaine grew up until her eleventh birthday, ever playing with the forest animals and learning the old, ancient knowledge and arts of her own mother rather than meeting other children and learning prayers of faith. Alas, even for a seasoned wise woman, the forest is full of dangers, and one night she did not return. Morgaine was not suspicious at first. She had long get used to days in absence of her mother.
Three days later, only her severed arm was found. The rest of the body had been ravaged and eaten by whatever monstrous creature had crawled out of the depths. Morgaine was orphaned, thus. And the villagers were almost too happy to toss the little witchspawn in a local orphanage to scrub the heathenly air she had upon her and give the poor, half-starved girl a chance at living an honest life. They only succeeded superficially. In the end, her knowledge about herbs and remedies proved all too useful to treat fellow sick children, and the tutors learnt to look the other way as long as she behaved properly in public. She was eventually baptised as Mary Holly.
Everything changed, when a member of the Northam was offered her herbal tea as a result of a sizeable contribution to the orphanage. He recognized the same drink that her mother had offered long ago, and learnt of the wise woman's daughter fate. What was more surprising, he also brought forth the issue of her true parenthood, which could even be bring forth more scandal. In the end, however, they found her skills to be of interest towards the household, so she was offered a spot as servant inside the manor, on the condition she never mentioned her bastard condition.
Quirk: Morgaine has been inducted in Witchcraft by her very mother. She knows some basic protection spells and benefitial charms as well as a wealth of herbalism and folk medicine that could prove useful. She also owns a pet raven which is suspected she uses as familiar.
She has an unnatural obsession with the house. Her eyes dilated.
If anything is out of sorts, she will notice. She becomes hysterical.
Her paintings as of recently have been dark, unusual, and abstract. This is odd for her.
Privately, she stares at herself in the mirror. For a long time.
Simply, quirks. Nothing to question, right?
As custom permits, a widow must wear mourning clothing for two years from when she loses her beloved. Deepest mourning is portrayed in black which is symbolic for spiritual darkness. A widow grieves the longest because part of who she is, is her husband. She suffers far more than anyone else does, at least that is what is socially believed.
If Josephine didn't marry well, she wouldn't be adorned with reflective paramatta silk, but with bombazine. If she didn't marry well, she would be forced to marry again. If she didn't marry well, her son, who has yet to turn six, would have no future. If she didn't marry well...
She is fortunate to have married into the Northam family. If it weren't for the kindness of her father-in-law, she would've been driven to suicide. Even with the land left behind by Morrie, it is barren without him. That underling sadness walks with her where ever she goes and for a year, since his death, Josephine has been a ghost among her family.
Her beautiful, pale skin and cheeks kissed by roses no longer have the vibrancy it did before his death. It has become a rarity for her to smile, which was part of her charm. She, who reminded people of the morning star, is reserved now, and the beauty she had since birth, her dark waves of hair, her full-bodied red lips, and her lithe frame... they carry a different, more bewitching appeal.
Josephine Northam is not the same woman she once was.
Her mother always wanted her to marry well, so that she didn't have to worry about working. Her mother too became a widow and opened a shop, taking up needlework, since she had no family to aid her. At the time, Jo was far too young to do so herself. Observing her mother's struggles gave Jo the drive to find suitors to steal her away from her reality.
Morrie was who she chose, having met him while her mother tailored his first suit for himself and not something that was provided for him from his father. They were young and in love. The rest was history and they were drawn to each other like her mother was drawn to sex. The only work that was ever required of her was being there for their son. She did take up some hobbies to make up for her only attribute being her silver tongue, like painting.
The reason she is staying at Manor North is because Morrie's parents were concerned for her well-being, as well as their grandchild's. Their estate is in the heart of London, in Westminster, but she hasn't visited for eight months. She considers herself a resident at Manor North, even if the property doesn't belong to her.
She has silent resentment for her brother-in-law, who hasn't been with the family for ages. In her eyes, he may be the eldest, but he's the least deserving of the Northam name, and everything that comes with it.
Somewhere, deep within her everlasting grieving self, there is the blissful, youthful flower child. The girl that didn't like wearing tight, barely breathable dresses. The girl who let her hair run wild in the comfort of her mother's shop. The girl who defied status quo and became a trendsetter. That outspoken, fiery spirit, full of laughter, known as Jo hasn't been seen in months. The shell that is who everyone sees is a woman with innate grace, that takes it upon herself to be soft spoken unless stirred, and has a striking stare that hits the heart. A stare carrying far more weight than any human should carry.
As mentioned above, Josephine is the daughter of a seamstress. For reasons only known to her, she cut ties with her only blood family member. Mortimer pursued her when she was fourteen, he was two years older than her. They spent some of their honeymoon phase sightseeing. Once they returned, their biggest obstacle became having a child. Unfortunately, this gave Morrie an appetite for other women's flesh, causing Jo to turn to alcohol and self harm.
Reaching her mid twenties, she was prepared to give up on this pursuit, and permit him to impregnate one of his whores. Surprised he hadn't. That is until one night, something came over her husband, and she had one of the best nights of her life. She was reminded of the days that he only saw her. It was dark, but his scent was intoxicating and his glowing eyes were welcoming. Nine months later Nicholas was born. Her angel from God. Her blessing. He is one of the most charming, lovable boys anyone can ever meet, and he is her's.
For five years, regardless of her husband's habits, she didn't feel alone and had her son to keep her company. She started to believe she didn't need her husband to function. And then he died. Everything became blurry and she couldn't be there for her son anymore. Not like she once was. She didn't think she'd get this sad, but even with his infidelity, he loved her and provided for her. Now, she is in the house that he deserved and is left in the hands of a man that he despised. His older brother.
Age: 5 | Dialogue color: A1A2F1 x
Nicholas has an imaginary friend! No one believes him when he says Tootz called to him.
Now they play!
Tootz is his bestest squid friend, who is in a TOP SECRET room.
There's a lot of secrets here! x
Golden locks, the ocean in his eyes, and innocence in his smile. Nicholas looks nothing like his mother and if it wasn't for the blonde hair, he wouldn't even resemble his father – his father was more of a dirty blonde. His eyes is what makes his appearance an abnormality, but because of how the halls of Manor North light up when he explores, there is no doubt in Jo's heart that Nicholas belongs there.
Josephine's theory has always been that her birth father, who she never met, was a french man, which justified her son's looks and assured her family that she did not sleep out of wedlock. Even if Nicholas was a bastard of some sort, he's not, it wouldn't take long for everyone to fall in love with him. The boy is as wholesome as wholesome comes.
"Grammy and Gramps went to visit daddy for a very long time. Somewhere far, far from here. One day, I'll visit. Tootz said he'll even take me!
Mommy is very sad. But you know what makes me sad? She doesn't read me books anymore. When daddy was here, she did that A LOT.
... I don't remember daddy, but I do remember mommy's smile. And when daddy was here, she smiled A LOT.
I promise I'll bring her smile back. Maybe uncle can help!"
Nicholas finds every nook and cranny, unexplored territory, and secret within the Manor. He goes where no child has traveled before! This ball of joy is inquisitive, curious, daring, INGENIOUS, and spirited. Extremely spirited. Due to his observant and insightful nature, he notices things that most people wouldn't give a second glance to. Much like his mother use to be, he is compassionate, bright, and full of ambition. He isn't afraid to say what is on his mind and loves when people pay attention to him. Now, if only he could get his mother to forget his father and look at him. That seems like a challenging task, but when there's a will there's a way!
Five years of constant love and adoration from his mother. Nothing beats that! The world was their oyster and they played many games of make-believe. Then people started dying. At first, Nicholas didn't know what death meant. Three months in the Manor, he met Tootz and Tootz explained it to him, without treating him like a child. Now, Nicholas decides to pretend to be charmingly childish to make people assume he doesn't know the fate of his father and grandparents.
Joesphine is well aware of how smart her son is. However, she is a bit distracted with herself to notice where his hunger for knowing things is leading him to. His relationship with his father was estranged because Nicholas didn't like how his father acted and how his mother treated him like a god among men. His father was the only thing wrong with the equation of Nicholas and mommy time.
A year ago, the youngest Northam had dark thoughts when his father took his mother away from him. All she did was rock him to sleep and sing him a lullaby, but his father told her to make the nanny do it. They had more important matters to discuss.
The amount of times his father made everything about him angered the little one. Nicholas wanted mommy to himself. The next morning Mortimer was found dead in his sleep, assumed to have died from heart failure. This should've been the best thing to happen to the child. And yet, the death of his father changed his mother.
This isn't what Nicholas wanted.
Subsequently, grandpa invited them over to stay for good and his mother turned into someone he didn't recognize. From the sheer loneliness, and annoyance of his grandparents' microparenting, Nicholas decided to spend his days exploring. It didn't take too long until he found a hidden guest room, with a spare bathroom. In the bathroom, his friend waits for him.
His friend makes him happy.
Tootz has made everything better since mommy's spirit stopped being her's.
Long darker reddish blonde hair that she tends to wear up in elaborate braids or a loose bun, fair skin and light blue eyes with a scattering of light freckles across her cheeks and nose. She has a petite delicate frame and shorter stature of roughly 5’. Given her rather large preoccupation with cleanliness, she is rarely seen not wearing gloves except for to play her violin. She has a love of finer silks and linens and LOVES to adorn herself with jewelry and anything that could be considered fashionable in public. Although to those closest to her, she's known to sneak out at night in men's clothing to do as she pleases. And her parents may have caught her a time or two sneaking out in her chemise without her corset to go horseback riding on their estate at night. Which that coupled with her other disobedient ways played a huge part in her parents sending her to an all women's finishing school.
Betrothed by her parents to marry Lord Northam
She's a bit temperamental and neurotic. Often viewed as a bit of an obsessive clean freak, she likes things to be just so and very much in order. Dust and dirt bother her and she usually is never seen without gloves on due to this. She was raised to take pride in her house and her appearance so much so to the point she has become rather vain and obsessed over outward appearances. She feels rather constrained by Victorian principles and has a serious rebellious streak toward them because of it. So while outwardly she puts on heirs, inwardly she wrestles with the inner turmoil of never feeling accepted enough in society. Cora values education and independence above all else, but still has the outward need to feel “proper” and please everyone else. She has a strong love of music and fine arts and fancies the violin. She’s a bit impulsive and impetuous as well and can be a bit of a handful when things don’t go her way. She’s been known to throw things when angry in particular. Her wild and rebellious nature and love of alcohol and high society hasn’t garnered her the most ladylike of reputations - neither has her desire to follow her heart instead of societal expectations. In an effort to do "damage control" to her reputation her parents arranged for her to marry Lord Northam to try to salvage what little respect she had left. Temperamental and fiery, it fuels her passion and love toward music...often shutting herself off from the world to play her violin for hours at a time, pouring her soul and pent up emotions into every pluck of its strings. If she had her way, she would marry for love and passion. But she has come to accept that marriage for women of her time rarely comes with real love.
No experience of the supernatural, still very young and naive. She has heard wives' tales and rumors about the family she is marrying into, but she doesn't believe in ghosts or witches or the supernatural as she's never seen anything in her young life to lead her to believe otherwise. So she blindly thinks that it's all just rumors about her new home
She had fallen in love young and had been woo'ed by the ways of a very rich, very defiant socialite who cared very little for her reputation, but more for adding her to his collection of mistresses. But she didn't know much better and let his lavish gifts and trinkets dazzle her and lure her into his lavish lifestyle. Upon realizing he had no intentions of actually marrying her and feeling shamed and disgraced by her family she was sent off to finishing school.
Soon after completing Finishing School, her parents were quick to find someone to marry her off to. Her family had made a fortune off of the gas lighting industry, but they were considered “new money” so what they had in riches they lacked in formal titles or holdings. Seeking to further their family name and position in society, they arranged to marry her off to Lord Northam in order to make her formally a “lady” and to try to salvage what they could of her reputation and have a further leg into what they thought would be high society. Her parents had been all too eager to unload their more difficult untraditional child though, and didn’t really pay much mind to where they were sending her to as long as they could call her a “Lady”. Although, clearly upon arriving it wasn’t the lavish well kept estate she had grown accustomed to living in or what she had expected and it rather unnerved her the state of disarray and disrepair it had fallen into. All the dust and darkness crept under her skin, and she was often afraid to touch anything.
She had been brought up through her parents transition to wealth having gone from a normal life living an average existence as an average business man's daughter to a life of privilege and she became accustomed to her rather new lavish lifestyle. She liked everything to be well kept and tidy and wanted the more finer things. Marriage to her was nothing more than a business arrangement to further her status and holdings. For all intents and purposes she had become rather spoiled and used to getting her way. Although she often rejected her upbringing and wealth feeling it rather confined her being a woman of the time. She was much more interested in pursuing her own goals and ambitions of furthering her education and higher learning than being a wife or mother yet. But her family and the circumstances of the time had given her little choice in the matter, and she wasn’t about to say no to marrying above her “station” in life, leaving her to live begrudgingly with Lord Northam.
A rather obsessive compulsive neat freak. Resentful of her family for them leaving her in such a dismal place, and a bit aloof and reserved toward Lord Northam and the rest of the residents . She also annoys everyone with her constant playing of her violin.
Appearance: Rhoslyn is about 5' tall and typically wears red plaid outfits but sometimes will change for a darker schematic. Her silver hair sits about shoulder length contrasting her crimson eyes. Noticeably relevant are the black cat ears atop her head that stick out promanantly due to their functioning nature, which she constantly tries to find was to cover typically with a hat or bonnet
Occupation/Relation: skullery maid
Personality: Rhoslyn is short and lovable which gives her a naturally charismatic side allowing her to become close friends with people but this is also a downfall because it is used mostly for manipulation. Her cat ears give her amazing hearing allowing her to eavesdrop from a room over. But if you chose to be close and truly learn about her she is kind and lovable and a little shy.
History: Rhoslyn was born into a family of Cultists. At a young age she was inducted as an Acolyte spending most of her time doing mostly alter preparations such as drawing circles and lighting the candles. She indured many dangerous ritual incantations, one such incantations left her posessed. After the entity was expelled there were residual effects left behind causing her to grow cat ears. Her family and all people around her demonized her and cast her out at the age of 16 to walk the streets alone.
One day in a dark ally she heard hushed speaking of a castle owned by a "northam family" called manor north. The men spoke of a curse of the supernatural. Due to her curious nature she knew she had to look into it. Using her skills in persuasion she found her way into the manor via becoming a skullery maid
Quirk: upon seeing the manor something snapped inside of Rhoslyn enticing her to go closer. No matter the cost.
Upon first glance, and perhaps the next few glances after, one will see that August is not an imposing figure. He stands just shy of 5’9”—an unremarkable height, in this day and age—with an equally average build that tends to lean towards the wiry side. August’s physique, however, belies the strength in his limbs. Long days spent tromping through and chipping away at archaeological sites have bestowed upon him a kind of vigour, one that comes in handy when dealing with large, unwieldy objects or drunken ruffians.
Born to an English father and an Egyptian mother, August has a naturally dusky complexion that’s rendered slightly wan by his lack of sleep. While his wealth and general reputation is enough to silence the worst of it, the color of his skin can sometimes elicit unwanted comments regarding his character. August, on the other hand, likes to think that his eyes are his most notable feature. Large, piercing, with irises as black as tar, they’re the first thing most people notice when meeting him. His gaze has been said to be unnaturally intense and penetrating, almost as if he’s able to see right through you.
When it comes to matters of apparel, August is rather understated in his approach. He prefers dark colours—mostly earth tones—though he sometimes eschews the stifling three-piece suits that are considered “in vogue” in favour clothing that’s easier to move around in. This usually translates to a loose dress shirt, trousers held up by braces, and his trusty pair of fell boots. One item you will almost never see him without is his cigarette case. It’s decorated with silver filigree, carved on either side with an icon of the sun and moon. Indeed, it must be said that August is quite the heavy smoker, and wherever he goes, the scent of tobacco and jasmine follows.
ᴏᴄᴄᴜᴘᴀᴛɪᴏɴ / ʀᴇʟᴀᴛɪᴏɴ
An antiquarian by trade, August is known by many to be one of the foremost experts in his field, especially with artifacts of a more… arcane nature. He has been summoned by Lord Northam in order to appraise a number of artifacts and antiques present in Manor North and the area surrounding it. He is most intrigued by the rumours that’ve spread—of statues moving by themselves, paintings that inexplicably change from one setting to another, and a mysterious, jewel-encrusted goblet said to be the key instrument of numerous theurgic rituals.
August has always been the academic sort. He takes pride in what he does, in learning, and often finds himself consumed by his work to the detriment of everything else. Still, he can be a people-person when the situation calls for it; he wasn’t raised a savage, after all. While he can frequently come off as lukewarm in his attempts at socialisation, there is no denying the eloquence of his words. He has a knack for turning people around to his way of thinking, even if it means he has to sprinkle in a few half-truths here and there. Above all else, August considers himself a scholar, but he can also be selfish with his knowledge. Unless it stands to benefit him in some way, he would rather keep his learnings to himself.
August du Maurier was born in Naples, Italy on a sweltering summer’s day. His parents were Edgar du Maurier, a globetrotting archaeologist, and Dr. Khadija Haytham Basir, a distant scion of Egyptian royalty. They met at an excavation site in Pompeii, and found that they both shared a deep passion for history. Following a whirlwind ceremony presided by a local priest, the two were married a mere fortnight later.
From an early age, August began tagging along on his parents’ expeditions. He proved to be an exceedingly swift learner, devouring whatever knowledge he could, and became something of a prodigy in his field of study. By the age of fifteen, he had already been down the subterranean mines of Paris, explored the pyramids of Giza, and trekked through the rainforests of the Amazon. In those years abroad, August learnt much about the mortal plane, though it would be some time before he realised what truly laid beyond it.
August was asked to return to England a few years later, to acquire what his father described as a “proper education”. He didn’t see the point of it when he had everything he needed at his fingertips, but the man was insistent; and so, he soon found himself on a steamship back to England. There, he enrolled in the prestigious Oxford University, a process that went fairly smoothly, thanks to his father’s alumni status.
While August initially dreaded the idea of being stuck in a stuffy, old building for days on end, he soon found that there was much to read in the school library. In time, he grew to enjoy the company of books more than people. Coincidentally, it was also there in the city that he first made Lord Northam’s acquaintance. Much of his time at Oxford was spent studying the countless texts available in the library, though he always seemed to long for something better, something more… exciting.
After finishing his studies, August chose to embark on his own journey. He spent a number of years travelling across Europe, specialising in art history and archaeology. While his parents had their beliefs firmly rooted in science, August was a little more flexible, and held a burgeoning interest in matters of the occult. In his travels, he has seen strange, otherworldly things that could never be explained by logic alone.
In Reykjavík, for example, he came across a collection of paintings from the mid-16th century, seemingly haunted by the restless spirit of an artist that had committed ritual suicide. Every night, the contents of the painting would shift, revealing a twisted depiction of events to come. It was said that those who came into possession of the paintings would find themselves beset with ill fortune, lest they suffuse the canvas with blood from their own veins.
Over the years, August has gathered a collection of such items, turning his own home into a menagerie of sorts. Professional curiosity prevents him from simply destroying the artifacts, despite their inherent dangers. Rather, he seeks to one day understand the true nature and purpose of these objects.
In addition to his background in art history and archaeology, August has always had an affinity towards cursed or eldritch artifacts. While he did not actively seek out such objects in the beginning, he has come to regard the study of them as his true calling.
The tall stout built man stands at a towering height of nearly two meters (Six feet two inches). Graced with dark hair, hazel eyes, and sharply defined features he is every inch the prodigal son of the Northam family returned to right the families fortunes. From his time abroad he has developed a slightly darker than in fashion tan and his body sports muscles from moderate labor that the vast majority of English gentleman would never be caught doing. Despite his position at the head of the family now the young man rarely smiles. In fact, his face sports a particularly dour look that borders on a perpetual scowl most of the time. Despite the less than fashionable tan and glaring expression, he is considered handsome by most standards and more than a few of London’s ladies were rather put out when he accepted the marriage arrangement that he took.
Lord Northam, the new head of the household
While he has been gone for many years Alexander quickly assumed his place as the Lord of Manor North with little delay or ceremony upon his return from London with his new bride in tow. For the vast majority of the manor’s residents, it was an abrupt and less than preferred change. After several tense days of waiting to see how the new Lord would change things, the staff finally relaxed and the manor fell back into a strange silent status quo.
Few if any can accuse Alexander of being given over to fits of pique or bouts of melancholy. For many, the shocking lack of emotional response to his parents’ death was enough to seal their opinions of him as only having returned home to claim his inheritance. In conversation, he is engaging and philosophical though he is often given over to lengthy stories. Publically he is every bit the traveled, storied, implacable, son of Henry Northam.
In private Alexander Northam is a man caught in amber suffering a slow death by asphyxiation within the walls of Manor North. In his youth, he left the manor hoping to force his parent's hand into disowning him so that his late brother might inherit the house. He is a driven academic and expresses his feelings plainly though none of the members of the household have experienced such a thing to date as Alexander left all of his close confidants when he came home to the manor. Now his personal demons are his alone to face and with them, he has taken it upon himself to unravel the mysteries of his ancestral home.
Until his return to the manor, Alexander was a world traveler, having partnered with a variety of trade companies that had started up over the last decade to fill the vacuum left by the end of the East India Company the young man continued to support his families business interests as well as fulfilling his own need for adventure. Much to his shock, he discovered that despite his flight from the haunting manor where he had grown up he still could not shake the strange prickling feeling he occasionally got. Once upon a time, it had correlated to a strange happening or other unusual phenomena in the manor. In the open world, however, it was much harder to tell.
After years of doing business in the middle east and the Orient Alexander would come face to face with a truly frightening experience. In Istanbul six years before his parent died, he was kidnapped. To this day he still lacks part of his memories in regards to the experience but what he does remember chilled him to the bone. It was his first initiation into a realm of strange cults and frightening revelations. Following an escape from the kidnapping, Alexander went on to search maddeningly for the next six years for answers but none ever came. In the end, he had assembled a small collection of occult objects and knowledge. There were no answers only a maddening collection of questions.
After receiving news of his parent’s death while tagging along with an expedition in Egypt he was forced to cut short the trip and return to England for the first time in almost a decade. On his way home he received word that the estate would pass into the hands of another family member unless he was married. Much to his surprise was a letter from the family’s solicitor. By the time Alexander stepped off the boat in London, he had made up his mind about the list of families and young ladies. Included with the copy of the Will was a discreet list of families willing to marry off their daughters either for a tie to a political family, to legitimize their own family, or because they believed that the Northam family was the best match they could make for their daughter.
With the new Lady Cora Northam on his arm, he finally made his fateful return to Manor North and from the look on his new wife’s face and his own feelings about the place. His return could not have been more timely. As if like clockwork the feeling returned and somewhere deep in his soul he knew. The old Manor had called him home. He wasn’t sure how but it had. And he had answered.
Alexander is an avid collector. In his travels, he brought home a variety of occult objects. Many of which have questionable origins and it would appear that Alexander knows more than he lets on about the strange collection.
Miss Lena has a rather imposing presence in a room. Be it her somewhat aloof, stoic gaze or her tall, dutch stature — it feels like she is always looking over your shoulder. That said, it is more like the watchful eye of a diligent schoolmarm rather than anything malicious. Probably… Having just recently passed her fifth decade, Miss Lena is a woman showing the signs of aging, although she is trying very hard to combat them. The rising number of younger women present in the manor, paired with the fact that Lena has never taken a husband, has caused Lena to become increasingly preoccupied with her appearance.
While on the job, Lena’s face is always powdered and rouged, with a pleasant burgundy shade painted on her lips. Her hair, whose grays have been masked with black dye, is always perfectly pinned up in a braided bun, chignon, french twist, or various other updos convenient to keep her hair out of her face while cooking. If you were to see her after she has retired for the night, her mane falls in thick natural waves just past her shoulder blades. As for fashion, Miss Lena wears long, simple dresses in darker colors, which are very often topped with an apron that is covered with flour and various other ingredients. While she does usually wear a soft floral fragrance, Lena’s work often leads to her smelling like fresh baked bread or the spices of whatever meal she has recently been preparing.
As the Northam’s personal chef, Lena has lived in the manor for longer than Lord Northam himself has graced this earth. The Lord’s late parents hired her as an all around housekeeper when she was nineteen and she has loyally stuck with the family ever since. When the Northam’s hired the two younger girls to take over the cleaning duties, Lena was able to focus on the aspects of her position that she is most passionate about, which is cooking and baking. And looking after the younger children of the manor, of course.
Lena van der Meer is nothing if not an extremely dedicated woman. She has spent her life in service to the Northam family and not only does her job well, but does it with a smile. Having never started a family of her own, she delighted in being present to help raise the Northam children. Miss Lena has grown wise in her years and, in a maternal way, she has been known to give advice to the family, houseguests, and other staff members. Her words can either be like those of a kindly grandmother, or a person serving up a dish of tough love. Lena isn’t afraid to tell it like she sees it, especially now that she has so permanently grown into her position in the house. Lena is focused on propriety and order, in both the household and particularly among the female members of the manor. If anything is seen as improper or going against her traditional values, Lena will call it out and perhaps even scold it. This is all done in good heart and faith, of course, as Miss Lena only wants what is best for the family that took her in and has become her own.
All of these things being true, Lena has a paranormal secret that can influence her personality. While she does not know the word for it, nor would she refer to herself as such, Miss Lena is a medium. Even further than that, she is an empath. The ghosts that roam the halls of Manor North at night speak to her and, in moments of weakness, they can speak through her. For years, Lena tried to close herself off to them, to feign normalcy. But time and aging have taken a toll on Miss Lena’s spiritual fortitude and her mind has become more open to letting them in. When this happens, Lena is prone to bouts of uncharacteristic attitudes and emotions. Jealousy, bitterness, anger, and deep sorrow, to name a few. With the recent changes regarding the appointment of Alexander as Lord of Manor North, the feelings of jealousy and bitterness intensified. Whether this has something to do with the displeasure of Northams long passed, or Lena’s own feelings of entitlement, has yet to be determined. Perhaps both?
Ghost aren’t real. There is no afterlife on earth, only that which is beyond the gates of heaven, or the fiery pits of hell. These are things that every good christian is raised to believe. These were beliefs that every good christian family had. So when Miss Lena began openly talking about her “imaginary” friends as a child, the van der Meer’s grew concerned. When Miss Lena began talking about their names — the names of family members long passed that she had never even known — the van der Meer’s took action. Lena was sent away for religious correction. Clearly, she was possessed. This was the devil’s work! In order to “save” their little girl, the van der Meer’s shipped her off to the church, where she remained until she turned eighteen — reciting scripture and pretending to be normal whilst being the furthest thing from it. The religious surroundings did not stifle her abilities, more ghosts roamed the halls of that church than any Lena had ever known. Sad ghosts. Lost… broken souls, longing for the redemption that they were promised.
When Lena turned eighteen, she was as free as a woman could be at the time. Free to return to her family. To find a husband and start a family of her own. With her reputation as a woman tainted by evil, finding a good christian husband like her parent’s wanted proved difficult. Instead, Lena found work, and she found it at Manor North. The Northams were a wealthy, respectable family. Lena’s parents, of course, were thrilled that she had found a station with such a family, even if she was not to be wed. That could come with time and associating with the family, of course! But… it didn’t. Miss Lena worked as a housekeeper for the Northams all throughout her youth. She cooked, cleaned, shopped for household goods, and cared for the children. Lord Alexander was born just a few months after she had been hired, so Miss Lena has been present for the entire journey into the man that he is today.
In all this time, Lena has remained “Miss” Lena. She never wed, never even courted a man. That is not to say there weren’t opportunities. Plenty of handsome, single family members and guests passed through the halls of Manor North. But Lena was already married to her responsibilities. Married to the house. So she paid them little mind. Now that she is a woman passed her prime, she feels conflicted. She sees the way Alexander dotes on his young bride, and wonders about what she’s missed out on. She also looks at widowed Josephine, and feels like she should be thankful that she has missed out on love. But, despite the spirits in her head, Miss Lena is most definitely, woefully lonely.
Miss Lena believes that she was drawn to Manor North because of the great opportunity to work for and stay with a wealthy family, despite her tainted reputation. The true reason, however, is because the house and it’s otherworldly inhabitants wanted her here. As a medium and an empath, Lena could be their vessel. All things dark and dead could have a voice... through her.
Name: Victor Gardner Age: Forty Six Gender: Male Profession: Gardener
P H Y S I C A L A P P E A R A N C E
A calm demeanor. A figure that imposed wealth and successful while boasting the man’s maturity and readiness to carry responsibilities. Broad shoulders stayed hidden behind an expensive jacket with pens in its chest pocket, ready to snatch a deal at every chance given. A pair of eyes seems to foretell everything in the future. A clean shave and well-trimmed hair paired with the perplexed look the man have as he started to the camera, giving a strong impression of a revolutionary in the making.
He is a gardener. A man with a strong back. Hands that always smell of manure and scars imprinted themselves on the oversized palms and fingers. The looks that he portrayed is not a look of a calm person, but of a man who is trying to save up some meager cash for his retirement. The cleanly-shave beard and well-trimmed hair, his unwillingness to mess up his job. Often seen with a dirty brown lamp on hand and dressed as what you would expect for a gardener to dress, there is no need to go in great details for his clothes. Just imagine him in some brown trousers, some dark shirts with some holes on it, and a pair of leather gauntlets and you are good to go.
O C C U P A T I O N / R E L A T I O N
A gardener. That is what Victor’s job is, that is what Victor paid for. He keeps the plants watered, importing the flowers from distant lands, recommending flowers for Madame and Master of the house,... There are quite a lot of things to be done in a large estate like this. But in this house, there are so many works that one man could not hope to complete by himself in a day. So, working alongside him is Uncle John and Timothy. The first would ensure the hedge maze to be in a constant change of shapes and sizes every two months, and doing various other jobs while the other is still an apprentice.
But keeping plants grows and stays healthy alone is not enough. Sometimes, there are things that aren't included in the job’s description. Hunting vermin and keeping thieves from entering the grounds are one of those. But during these days, he found himself a new task, ensuring the main gate stays shut and every lamp lit.
P E R S O N A L I T Y
An optimistic person who doesn’t live in a very optimistic time, that is what Victor likes to believe when seeing a homeless man or prostitute in an alleyway. He believes that he is good, but it is the environment’s fault for preventing him from giving his pity. He looks forward to the future, yet troubled by the daily needs. Victor always thinks himself as a generous man, yet getting a penny from him is harder than opening a clam. But, he was someone else when he was younger. A generous man. A courageous man. An honorable man. He was young back then. Now, he is too old, too burdened by daily needs, too calculated for the minuscule gain to see the bigger picture. His spine has bowed so much he forgot of rising up. He is old, and his temper has lost in time. But somewhere, deep inside of him, his youthful nature still lives on. All it needs is a cause. Something to fight for, something that worth sacrificing for. A call, perhaps?
H I S T O R Y
Born and raised under the fervent heat of imperialism, Victor was taught to believe in the idea of serving his nation. And like every child at this age and time, he yearned to taste the glory and fame, something that seems so far off for a child coming from a gardener family.
So he trained hard to reach his goal. He exceeded himself, cracked every bone inside of him until they grew stronger. He enlisted in the military and came out as a soldier. And, as a soldier, he had done his part. He was there when the Indians rose during their Indian mutiny, slain the Empire enemies for good before transferred to fight the second half of the Second Opium War. Again, teaching those yellow monkeys that they can’t fight guns with swords. After that are years of encampments and explorations of Africa. For a soldier, this is an impressive profile. For a man, it is enough for babbling with his friend. But it is just not enough for Victor, he is old.
Years of training had broken him down earlier than his peers. His mind dull, unfit to adapt to the change of warfare. Moreover, he usually found himself to be more … afraid of letting his troop died. Although fear is good, too much fear would only lead to nothing being done. So, at the age of thirty-two, he was released from the military. No jobs. No experience. Soon, Victor found himself lonely as his saving money slowly decreasing as the day gone by. If it wasn’t because of Uncle John, a friend of his father, who introduced him to work at the Northam Manor, maybe Victor is still jobless?
Anyhow, thirteen years had passed and Victor is no longer a newcomer at this job. He now tends the kitchen garden, ensuring the vines to never grow higher than the wall, keeping vermin away that prays on the blossoms, caring for the greenhouses, ... He knew something is off in this manner. The people. The child. Even the manor itself is strange. But as long as the pay is good, Victor would still see himself returning to here. Three years. Just three more years and to hell with this place.