Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Character Background: Corrie Glendower

Born Lady Cordelia Juno Mountjoy Glendower to the Viscount Deerhurst, Phillip Andrew Cordwain Bosworth Glendower and Lady Margaret Juno Mountjoy Glendower two score and five years ago in their family seat, Glendower Hall, in the County of Deerhurst.

The county of Deerhurst was acquired by Roland Bosworth (Roland the Bold), Duke of Bosworth 180 years before (after Liberation) and given to his vassal Phillip Glendower as a reward for good council and years of service in his company. This connection, though distant, allowed the Glendowers to enjoy a cordial relationship with the Bosworths.

The last Viscount Deerhurst was a quiet and pious man who enjoyed the serenity of their remote holding on the rocky, windswept northern coast. He valued learning and spent a great deal of his leisure hours in their extensive library or endlessly improving their family chapel. The young Lady Cordelia and her two sisters, Olivia and Livinia; were educated as well as possible with lessons in music, embroidery, painting, deportment, modern languages, history, dancing and poetry. She often accompanied her nature-loving mother on long walks in the highlands along the coast.

Though the county was infelicitous for commerce the bracing sea air produced a fine local breed of sheep, noted for their warm, resilient coats. Glendower wool is a prized commodity, allowing the family holding to be comfortably maintained. Lady Margaret assumed matters of property, relying on their trusted shire reeve John Barker to help manage. The family insisted it was their duty to improve the lot of the common people of their land and treat them fairly, holding to an old sense of noblesse oblige. The family maintained loyalty of the peasants by shunning ostentation and fripperies. Her parents would often return from market trips to Tribute with refugees who needed work. A share of the wool price was kept aside to keep up commoners’ cottages, support a village fair and feast, as well as a travelling chirurgeon who saw to the shepherds and weavers.

Treachery on the part of John Barker, in collusion with unknown persons, brought the family into deep debt, simultaneously ruining the reputation of the Viscount and his wife with unspeakable scandal. Since Corrie was quite young at the time and their family obscure, she was never fully certain of how this came about and has since then been unable to get a full picture of their ruin – how it was done, why it happened and who benefitted. Nevertheless, her mother and father took their lives to salvage their honor by leaping from the cliff face. Corrie was sent away to distant relatives, where she’d be adopted and her honor (though not her name) maintained. On the way, highwaymen killed her entire company of retainers. Corrie played dead and escaped to nearby Restport with nothing but her clothes and treasured recorder.

Corrie quickly learned that she could stay alive by singing and playing folk tunes and begging for coins on the street. She did this for many years, eventually learning tumbling and bawdy jokes. As she grew up, she became a valuable asset to the local resistance group (a faction who also engaged in some very radical local politics), relaying to them secrets she’d overheard, breaking into places of interest and running errands. Eventually, the local constabulary found her out and she escaped to sea rather than betray her confidantes.

After five years at sea, Corrie became an experienced and able sailor. Hearing word at port that the local officers who identified her had passed away, she returned to the mainland to re-join the resistance and contribute to society. If her intrigues allow her to suss out the true nature of her family’s fall and restore their good name, so much the better.

Corrie’s colorful story raises a number of questions. Who was behind the scheme to ruin her family? Did John Barker act alone? Is he still alive? Did the Bosworths just take back their fief when things went awry, or were they involved? If so, what made the Bosworths turn on the Glendowers? Were those really highwaymen, or Barker’s assassins? If Corrie’s background were revealed, would the last Glendower be in danger? Can Corrie restore her family’s place in society, or their lands? Should she?

Glendower Coat of Arms
Motto "Bold and True"

Deerhurst County

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