Baroness Scylla Blackshore
Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?
Description: A cascade of umber tresses frame Scylla’s striking visage, dark hues throwing alabaster skin into sharp relief. When not plaited or tied back, that waist-length mane might be nigh impossible to tame without the assistance of strategically placed hairpins. Her eyebrows are voluminous and expressive, complimenting vivid, storm-gray eyes flecked with emerald fragments as brilliant as the gemstone itself. Freckles ornament every inch of skin that has ever been exposed to direct sunlight, a result of living and working aboard a ship most of her adult life. She possesses a litheness of motion that signifies a physical strength and agility as befits a combatant’s physique, though it does not detract from latent feminine elegance.
Burn scarring the consistency of melted wax disfigures the left side of her neck, shoulder and the outside of her adjoining arm; at least, that accounts for what may be visible to others while clothed. A scar of a different nature blemishes her forehead, just above her left eyebrow. It is narrow and with a clean edge, indicating skin-splitting, blunt force trauma.
Personality: The memories and experiences of two distinctly different women coalesce to form a single, oftentimes tempestuous mind. It is as a result of living the majority of a half-remembered life as Luciana Carideo, the ruthless heiress to an abandoned house, and more recently as Scylla, the unassuming seafarer-turned-Prodigal. Most will know her to possess a friendly, candid disposition, though edged by silver-hued, penetrating eyes. Very little escapes her notice, but because she has cultivated an aptitude for strategy on and off the battlefield, she also understands better than most how and when to apply aggregate knowledge to advantageous use. The loyalty she feels and expresses to friends and allies knows no bounds, and it can be assumed that there are very few things she is unwilling to do to bolster them. Likewise, any who have earned her wrath can expect to experience an impassioned will to break them.
Background: It took nearly an hour for the crew of the Black Tide, a Blackshore merchant vessel, to fish up a tangled mass of debris, hoist it onto the deck and discover the lifeless body of a salt-stained body buried within. She was not dressed as most other shipwrecked persons usually are; this woman wore the remains of a black linen dress, tattered, distressed and covered in holes featuring scorch marks where flames had burned through. Sections of skin on her neck, arms, and legs were the consistency of melted wax, and her forehead had been split wide open, rivers of blood staining fair features.
She was immediately declared dead, evidenced by the absence of a pulse. The ship's captain ordered his crew to wrap her in sailcloth and tie her ankles to an iron weight. Too far from the nearest port, she was to receive a respectable burial at sea. At the very moment her body was rolled to rest atop the flax fabric, the woman sat upright and regurgitated an unhealthy amount of seawater upon the deck. Gasps and murmurs resounded from the crew, not a one among them unfazed by her unprovoked revival. When asked her name, the anonymous woman could not remember. When asked from whence she hailed, the homeless woman could not remember. When asked how she came to be shipwrecked, the shivering woman, again, could not remember.
The captain considered the situation carefully, then made the determination that she posed very little threat to him or his crew. By his orders, the woman was to be fed, clothed, and assigned a cot to sleep on until they made for port where she would then be required to make a choice: stay on the ship and learn to sail, or disembark and find her own way. It did not take long for her to choose the path of least resistance, and so the captain gave her all the tools and training to earn an honest living. Having forgotten her true given name, she elected to rename herself Scylla. And yet many of her new crewmates adopted for her a more fitting epithet to gossip surreptitiously among themselves: Omen. What purpose did this anomalous amnesiac serve to receive the favor of the gods, or perhaps some other mysterious force? Was she a boon or a curse? To the superstitious lot, the miracle of her rebirth could not be reconciled by practical means alone. Therefore, it must have otherworldly implications, ones that spurred a few sailors to worry endlessly over her presence aboard the ship. Despite such fears and conjured anecdotes, Scylla put her head down and worked to surpass the expectations of the captain. He promoted her from swabbie to first mate after only three years of dedicated service. In winter of 1012 AR, the captain made for the port of New Hope. After a brief interlude, he returned to inform the crew that House Blackshore intended to repurpose the merchant ship for the coming war with Eurus. Those who chose to remain aboard would join the house navy or be forced to find work elsewhere. Scylla opted to swear fealty to the family and help them achieve their goals and win the war. In return for her loyalty and dedication, she was promptly rewarded with a promotion to captain of the Black Tide.
Returning to port for a stretch of time began to chafe at Scylla’s previous contentment to forget that she had once lived another life. It had been so easy to achieve surrounded by people who accepted that she was and would remain a mystery. It was not the same with strangers in Arx, all of them eager to poke, prod and pry into the new and unfamiliar. And so, with the spare time she contrived between preparations for war and honing new social skills, Scylla began to explore who she is and who she used to be.