Jaquelyn de Vere

Jaquelyn de Vere

Leader of the Shadow Court
Female Vampire, born 607 CE
Known as: Lady Oxford, my lady, your ladyship, Lady Jaquelyn (close friends), Jaquelyn (very close friends, only in private)
Faction: The Shadow Court
Occupation: Leader of the Shadow Court
Location: Shadow Court headquarters
Playby:
Appeared age: Mid-twenties
Height: 5'10"
Build: Hourglass
Hair: Longish, wavy, and dark brown
Eyes: Green
Clothing preference: Recognizing the direct relationship between clothing and others' perception of her, Jaquelyn generally wears whatever is at the current height of fashion, unless she is trying to project a different image. Sometimes she may wear outdated clothing to make herself seem older or she may adapt to the fashions of other places she travels to. Almost universally, she prefers fabrics richly-dyed in dark colors.
Miscellaneous: Vampire pale, sharp-featured
Personality: Ambitious, self-assured, manipulative, proud
Motivator(s): Order, power, nobility/honor
Fears: Isolation
Habits:
Religion: She knows that deities of all sorts are real, but doesn't worship any herself, viewing them mostly as fickle, unreliable, and outside her control
Abilities: Vampire strength and speed, powerful and well-trained psionic powers (ability to break into the minds of others, read thoughts and memories, plant suggestions, even control others), ability to withstand sunlight for a limited time
Skills: Swordplay (sword and parrying dagger), some experience with various other weapons, as well as horseback riding, music, dance, etiquette, reading and writing, and everything else one would expect of a noblewoman. The most important of her skills, though, is seeing how people would be of the most use to her and utilizing them effectively through manipulation
Weaknesses: Sunlight, some types of divine power, silver
Equipment: Varies, but she’s seldom without a blade of some kind
Family: Her mother was nearly as ambitious as Jaquelyn, and although they never got along, Jaquelyn learned much from her in the ways of manipulation. Her father was weak and of little influence in her life. Her parents, naturally, being human, are long dead. She had no siblings or children, so no close surviving family.
Relationships: Aletta Silverbreeze (best friend), Lunette Kara (goddaughter), Eva Misthaven (close friend and lady in waiting)
Education: Formal education extended only to feminine courtly pastimes, including singing, whatever instruments were in vogue at the time, embroidery, archery, etiquette, and dance, and skills that would be important for a noblewoman running a household, including reading, writing, and basic arithmetic. Learned to manipulate others mostly from her mother and experience. Learned to fight from various sources, continuing to train throughout her life.
History: Jaquelyn was born in the year 607 CE, under the name Aethelthryth, a member of the Mercian royal line. She learned much from the scheming of her mother, who easily dominated the family. Shortly before her intended marriage, she was taken by a vampire to be his bride and turned, and presumed dead by the rest of the world. She did eventually get her chance at the Mercian throne, but not until several generations later. The vampire who turned her treated her well enough, but completely lacked any ambition, and eventually she left him to return to the political games of her early life.

Her efforts were initially focused primarily on the human world until she was able to gain a stable footing in a position that afforded her land, wealth, and relative autonomy. From this position as Countess of Oxford, she turned her attention to the supernatural world.

In these early days, her only allies were vampires and a few human magic users, and her small territory, like all the land surrounding it, was plagued by demons. Without access to blessed weapons or any other holy power that wouldn't also work against vampires, the best she could do was systematically track them down and kill their bodies, but she couldn't banish them or destroy them. They regenerated and came back, angrier than ever, within a year. With this challenge, the area she was able to protect was forced to remain small, smaller even than the county she technically governed in the human world.

It was at this time that she met Alvor, a Valkyrie also working against the demons. Together, they eradicated the demonic presence in Jaquelyn's territory and beyond, increasing the reach of her protection. With this increased reach, Jaquelyn initiated contact with the isolated supernatural communities that surrounded her territory, and soon her scheming developed a new sense of purpose: she would unite these disparate groups to bring order and stability to her growing territory. This meant everything from hunting down and civilizing out-of-control vampires and shapeshifters to saving gifted humans from being burned at the stake to stopping wars between supernatural races before they happened.

Today she has strong relationships with elven, dwarven, and shapeshifter groups in a wide territory easily dwarfing the size of the land she owns. The Shadow Court, as some are beginning to call her network, has a strange place in the world, at once serving many functions of a government, yet governing no land and claiming direct sovereignty over no group of people. Some view her an ally, while others bend the knee to her; to Jaquelyn, it makes little difference which: at this point she is mostly interested in gaining trust, whatever that looks like.
RP sample: ((This takes place between Jaquelyn and Lunette immediately after the death of Lunette's mother and Jaquelyn's friend, the Valkyrie Alvor.))

The usual words of comfort she might give were too formal, too impersonal. With a close friend such as Aletta or Alvor, she could silently share her emotions and memories and be understood. Expecting a child just learning to grieve to process such a flood of raw emotion would surpass irrationality to border on cruelty. She would have to think quickly and choose her words carefully. Her little time had already passed, as Lunette returned dutifully to her side from replacing the dying candles.

Lunette. Jaquelyn worked to contain the emotion in her mental presence to protect the girl, maintaining only the minimum connection to communicate using words, which had the unfortunate side effect of limiting her perception of Lunette's emotional responses; only intentional words would be exchanged.

Your mother wasn't always given the respect she deserved. She travelled out of necessity as much as calling. A lone female warrior outside of a territory where her religion is welcomed and understood faces much prejudice and fear. People fear that which they don't understand, as you know. For every person she helped, there was a village somewhere else that turned on her.

When she became pregnant with you, things became even more difficult. She moved more than ever trying to find a place to settle down. That was when she came to this country. Her welcome here was no better than anywhere else, but she managed to find a safe place to carry you to term. It wasn't long after you were born, though, that she began to feel her calling again.

It was, to be honest, irresponsible to do what she tried to do. She realized that too late. She didn't have the money or the friends or family to take care of you, but trying to return to her crusade with a baby in tow was hopeless. It caught up with her quickly, and luckily not far from here.

Jaquelyn paused. I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start again, from my side of things. Telling stories sequentially with words was not her strong suit.

In those days, I hadn't yet established a territory. I was still new to politics in the modern world, and the titles I had were not my own. Every bit of authority I have earned I have fought for dearly, largely during the fifty years both before and after that time. When I met your mother, I, Isabel in that time, had only just married back into the de Vere family, after two years of planning while the world thought me, or Agnes, at least, to be dead.

It was a chaotic time in many ways. My husband was thankfully busy and away for most of that time, what with the signing of the Magna Carta and the power struggle that followed, which gave me leeway to deal with the issues at home. This land was different in those days, full of anger and fear, with demons a constant plague. I didn't have the resources I do now, and it was the best I could do to hunt them and destroy their shells, but they always came back more enraged than ever. I was able to protect a few towns, at most. What I needed was a demon slayer I could trust: a demon slayer that wasn't also after vampires, and most were.

It was at this time that I met your mother and you. I met you first, actually. Alvor had left you in the nearby village with a tavern owner's wife for the day while chasing down the rumors of a demon among the townspeople. The demon learned of her plans and took the baby--you--as leverage. I was hunting the same demon that evening, and I found him first. We had barely begun to fight for you when Alvor found the source of the commotion.

Jaquelyn let down the barrier she had created between their minds. I know you've never seen your mother in combat. Look. She pulled to the front of her mind a memory of that day, through Isabel's eyes.

Isabel dueled with a monster who looked increasingly less human, covered in molten tendrils licking with hellfire. A basket to her left contained the bundle of blankets that held Lunette. Beyond that, the forest burned with unnatural fire, which the demon continued to spread and attempt to catch Isabel with. Hoofbeats approached, but Isabel didn't turn to look, needing instead to dodge the whips of hellfire, looking for her next opening.

The rider didn't stop on seeing the fight or the fire. Isabel, assuming it was another demon coming to aid the first, prepared to flee with the baby to return to the hunt unburdened. She saw a chance when the demon turned and scooped up the basket, turning towards the rider to flee the nearly surrounding hellfire.

The figure dismounting the horse was not a demon, but no less a creature of nightmares; a warrior blazing with divine fury. Divine power seemed to light the sky behind her, dimming her form to almost a silhouette, with only the sickly light of hellfire to light her to Isabel's eyes. The top half of her face was completely hidden under a winged helm, but the hard expression still conveyed the right message: there would be no quarter asked for nor given. Her mare was no more fazed by the hellfire at hand then she was as she advanced on the demon. Lightning flicked down her naked sword from the hilt as she gestured with it for Isabel to get behind her shield.

Jaquelyn cut off the memory for Lunette abruptly; her emotions threatened to spill over, and maybe a child shouldn't see her mother ruthlessly gutting a screaming demon anyway.

Suffice to say, your mother killed the demon. Truly killed--sent back to hell--as only the divine can accomplish. We spoke afterwards, once you were reunited with her. She knew what I was immediately, but didn't seem to care--unusual, for a holy warrior, though I admit to knowing too little of her religion even today to understand.

Alvor was ready to move on to the next hunt, despite the wounds she had sustained, which I bluntly told her was idiotic and irresponsible to you and the people the next demon would torment after killing her. It was a gamble, but she must have known it to be true; she relented quickly and agreed to return to Hedingham to rest a short while.

That short while grew longer when she realized I was compiling reports and tracking the movements of demons, but struggling to actually solve the problem, as I could only banish them for a year or two before they regained their strength. Your mother could kill them permanently, but had no way of locating them but mere chance. We worked together on a plan to systematically destroy the demonic presence, first in my--or my husband's, at the time, I suppose--territory, then spreading out to the surrounding counties.

I was, to Alvor, a way she could have everything; she didn't have to give up her mission to be a mother. To me, Alvor was my first ally to also be a friend, and still an inspiration to protect the weak both in and out of my territory.

Jaquelyn contemplated that privately for a moment while trying to gauge Lunette's reactions and choose her next words. Alvor really was the reason she expanded her territory at all: the Valkyrie had never cared for borders to begin with, and while Jaquelyn had more respect for them, Alvor had always encouraged her to protect those outside her borders and eventually bring them into the fold. The lands she protected from supernatural threats were now four times the size of the lands she officially governed, and without Alvor's influence, she would likely have never looked past those borders.
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Posted by Jaquelyn de Vere

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