Claire Appleton"I'm afraid I don't think much of anything, Master. If it doesn't concern my child, it doesn't concern me."
19 Years Old
175 lbs. | 5'8
Woman. Heiress. Bastard. Mother.
These are the four words that sum up the life of Claire Appleton, the daughter of a small but prominent offshoot of the Appletons. Her parents went out to the mountains to start up a new orchard and meadery along the slopes after some rather extensive testing on their famed apple cultivars, and for a short, brief moment, Claire was raised in a nunnery to further her education and keep her away from "the village boys".
Granted, more than half of said boys were rowdy men that didn't know a thing beyond their parents' trades and the occasional odd-job as low-class adventurers, so her parents were reasonably justified. As the orchard grew alongside the meadery, many of the villagers filled in positions as secretaries, field hands, and guards. It didn't take long for the village to become a small town, and though the Appletons were offered the position as the first mayors; they declined to better manage their business.
So the township of Bounty Heights was established, and in quick time Claire moved out of the nunnery to return to her family. A governess was hired not to teach her the ways of etiquette and education (the girl's celibate life had ensured that), but rather how to manage and eventually inherit the company. That governess was from the main branch of the Appletons, a jealous woman that had relatively little success compared to her cousins. This governess eventually began to run the household when Mrs. Appleton went off on business trips with Mr. Appleton, and in time began to envy the very girl she taught.
At the same time, Claire began to meet some of these "village boys", and at the ripe young year of 14 had something of a relationship with one of the most experienced of labor hands, a charismatic charmer 8 years ahead of her age. At such an inquisitive and curious time, it was practically inevitable that she began to experiment with herself and her dear friend. Her aunt/governess made sure to record these sorts of incidences, and went so far as to actively encourage the young lady to progress further into her lust. 2 years passed in relative peace and happiness, before a string of tragedies occurred.
The governess, with some of the money she saved and pilfered from the Appleton estate, hired some of the labor hands to join the Appleton bosses on their next business trip with the intent to make them disappear. They did their job well, seeing how their complaints could not be satisfied so easily with their masters absent so often and so long.
In addition, the governess rallied a group of favored workers to stage a few assaults on the estate. The house fell into disarray as windows were smashed and the property was vandalized, and little Claire was terrorized on almost a weekly basis.
This escalated when the governess finally won the favor of most of the labor hands. Claire's lover only escalated the relationship, and while the Appleton heiress planned to announce to her parents of her lover, her and her lover were tied up and forced upon each other. She would then be taken by dozens of others in the following rape, and with the leverage of the majority of the town against her, Claire would be branded a harlot by the very town her family had built.
Ashamed, her lover left the town, never to return.
Claire tried to stay, to at least provide for her child the wealth that the estate brought her, but her tarnished reputation would prevent her from properly managing the orchard. She left Bounty Heights penniless and pregnant, at only 16 years of age.
She eventually moved into the city, very unlike the place she used to live in during her years in the convent. In addition to the inhospitality of the inhabitants, worked seem to be lacking, and her pregnancy made her ability to work rather dubious. For a short time, she was to be a ghostwriter for the postal office, but as soon as she mentioned the notion of a maternity leave to her boss, she was given a resounding "no". The autumn months demanded that she would be available to sort, send, and receive all kinds of mail and parcels.
So in her leisure time, she tried to find another job that would sustain her and her child up to and beyond birthing. She couldn't get into a a solid relationship with another man; they reminded her too much of that fateful night. But her place at the postal office was temporary, and she needed the money to ensure she could enroll her child into some form of education just as she had been in.
To that effect, she tried sleazy cartels and other unsavory organizations. Her pregnancy, 8 months in by then, was too much of a liability to get her hired anywhere on short notice, and so she desperately begged one of the brothels to let her in. While they couldn't let her work for fear of the child, she was allowed lodgings until she could find a job.
Her search became frantic, and so she began to go door-to-door for a job. This is where she would meet the eccentric necromancer. Upon being pressed, she stated that she was literate and practiced in the arcane, pointing to her life in the convent as proof of her proficiency. From that point on, she was allowed to become the attendant of the queer character, and was paid enough coin to get her child (she found to be a boy) the care of a wet-nurse, and tutoring soon after. As the months passed by, Claire became increasingly more immersed in her Master's work, and eventually took it upon herself to study the material in secret.
It didn't take much to realize her Master was a necromancer, but given the fair treatment given to her, she didn't report it to the Church or any other authority. In fact, the studying was relaxing for her, as it had reminded her of her more peaceful days back in the village. She was caught raising a few rats for fun, and was rewarded handsomely by becoming part of the Master's experiments. She was, after all, at the mercy of this man, and she still had her child to worry about. As she learned from her master, and her master learned from the experiments concerning her body, Claire became a necromancer in her own right. Granted, neither were nowhere near the prowess of the terrifying Death Lords of antiquity, but she knew she had a knack for magic.
The authorities, at this time, eventually got around to sniffing for the whereabouts of profane magic, and so she and the Master left quietly to the mountainside to hide. She didn't anticipate on returning to Bounty Heights, but considering that she would live in a cave overlooking her hometown, she found herself to be incognito. Bounty Heights, by then, had become a flourishing town under the Mistress Appleton, and sported everything from an adventurer's guild to a well-established inn. She would join the adventurer's guild in between experiments with her Master, and picked up fencing as a guard. She would always wear heavy armour to hide her identity, claiming her scars as the reason she would hide her face all the time.
Her child, at 3 years of age, was just starting to get tutoring as well. The convent had become something of a cathedral, and as the Church became more militant, so too did the opportunity to raise young boys into paladins arise. As the Paladins were known to be equivalent to nobles in status, Claire thought it best to commit her child to the Church, and life seemed to sort itself out.
But the Master demanded that she do one last experiment. So begins our tale.