Princess Emma Valardin
Life has taught me that above all other truths a Valardin's duty is to be like the dragon, not like the lamb. Our mercy is another's suffering.
Description: Emma always possessed a beauty best described as immaculate, something ethereal that almost defies definition. While Damiana was always considered gorgeous, to Emma were ascribed qualities such as regal and elegant, every line in her face perfectly placed, her eyes blue like the sky and high cheekbones painting the perfect picture of a commanding scion of Valardin who demands attention by virtue of simply standing in place. Her one blemish is that her perfect looks might distract from the intense energy within her eyes, the piercing things sharp at best, and baleful and furious at worst, but always burning.
Personality: Emma feels guilty over not having been there for her parents and sisters when the Tragedy happened. She rather have died with them, but she did not, and now this black stain will forever live in her chest. This is also what fuels Emma: her mercy was repaid in betrayal and violence, the Valardin slaughtered like pigs a a butcher's shop, and the fool she was died with them. In her exterior, Emma has finally arrived at the place she was always meant to be, where her parents were concerned: no longer the humble Mercy-to-be, she dresses appropriately to a Princess of Sanctum. Her countenance is impeccable and her presence in the field of battle is nothing short of inspiring. Her knights often say that having her lead them is like having Valar at their backs, and given the trail of fire Emma leaves at times, it is hard to argue the position. Although humorless when it comes to most things, Emma does have a more vulnerable side that she seldom displays, afraid of the weakness it might reveal.
Background: Emma was born in a line of heroes who seldom married outside the Valardin or Wyrmguard families, at least until Prince Sherrod Redrain and Prince Radley Valardin decided to marry her parents in an effort to ease the tensions between the Oathlands and the North. A full year of courtship later and Princess Larra Redrain married Prince Lyonis Valardin. Their story of duty and, some say, even love, saw the birth of three children and ended in the Sanctum decades later with the Tragedy.
During her formative years Emma was touted as a bright star and hero-to-be within her household, and even though she excelled with a sword it was the people of the Oathlands who held her attention. Spending time among them she was close to their plight and while many wished she took her swordsmanship more seriously, it was in helping the downtrodden that Emma put much of her efforts, silently mustering the courage to declare to her parents a future among the Mercies of Lagoma. Her lofty moral standards and effortless grace had Emma clashing with her sisters often, all falling way too short of what Emma saw the Valardin should aspire to be. And then, the Tragedy hit. Unlike Gwenys and Damiana, she was not in Sanctum when it happened. Emma was far away delivering food and supplies to villages near Blancbier, and the guilt of not being with the Valardin in that moment completely changed Emma.
Even though she immediately returned to Sanctum she did so to find Gwenys still missing and Damiana blinded, her parents dead and almost all the Valardin slain. At first she tried to stay true to herself, offer succor to the survivors, but searching deep in her heart Emma found nothing. She found herself empty of anything good, not a single word of wisdom to placate the despair of those around her. Everywhere she looked the Valardin were in pieces, and at the time, she felt completely hopeless they would ever return to former glory. Leaving Gwenys and Damiana she left Sanctum and rode to her family's home, unable to be around their suffering, unable to add anything but grief. Instead of hurting with them Emma had other plans.
Those who knew Emma then and see her now are completely in shock. The woman who was once one of the most gifted singers of Sanctum, one of the most kind and warm Princesses of the Oathlands, and she has turned her gentle embrace into a furnace of righteous fire. Having abandoned the drapings of a healer, she rapidly ascended as a commander over the following years, her former training as a leader of war not forgotten, but left unused as she flirted with the life as a Mercy for so many years. All those who see the banner of her knights on the horizon know to hide their sins and failings for Dame Emma Valardin has sworn to be the cure to the disease the Mercies try to placate.