a.k.a. Beatrix Hildebrand
Spoiler: Pictures before/after hair loss
Career: Apprentice Wizard > Journeyman Wizard > Master Wizard
Description: Elsabeth is a young woman of average height and dark complexion. She used to have a wealth of unruly red hair, but lost it all as a result of a spell gone wrong, and it has only been regrowing slowly. Her most striking features are her amber eyes and the swirling red tattoos adorning her narrow face. The tattoos extend to most of her body, but her face is the only part showing any skin – her clothes consist of a well-worn black leather coat reaching her knees, open at the front; decidedly unladylike horsehide pants; a belt made of interlocking brass links; thick leather gloves of the fire-resistant kind used by blacksmiths; and high boots.
When working as a court wizard in the service of Captain Sforza of Mirino under the name of Beatrix Hildebrand, Elsa makes a better effort at grooming; she could actually look like the noble-born lady she is were it not for her tattoos. She wears an elegant dark red-dress made for warm climates and replaces her boots with sandals.
As one can expect of a Bright wizard, Elsa is fiery, passionate, stubborn and reckless. She walks and acts like she owns the place and never sugar-coats her words; of her noble upbringing, she seems to have retained only the arrogance, not the manners. Overconfident and eager to prove herself, she is the kind of person who would never back down from a challenge, no matter how foolish or pointless.
Background: Born the sixth child of a minor Altdorf noble house that was too impoverished to have any power but too proud to mingle with commoners, Elsa’s marriage prospects were rather few. Being raised with only male siblings had given her a wild, rebellious temperament that did not help matters. She first revealed her magical potential at age fourteen, when she foiled an attempt to marry her off to a suitor three times her age by setting the man’s forked beard aflame. At that point, her parents gave up on her, scratched her off the family tree and sent her off to the Bright College, where wizards from all the Empire and beyond studied the Lore of Fire.
Elsa turned out to be gifted with a strong will and seemingly instinctive control over the red wind of Aqshy, but proved hopeless when it came to anything remotely theoretical, owing to her intellectual laziness and lack of discipline. No amount of chores would keep her from talking back to authority figures, neglecting her studies or sneaking into the boys’ dormitory at night – in fact, punishing her appeared to make her only more aggressively unruly. Things took a turn for the worse when she got into magical duelling; a tradition that is tacitly encouraged among Bright Order students, but in which she would engage with somewhat excessive enthusiasm, causing more property damage and visits to the infirmary than any other Bright College apprentice in living memory.
Disaster struck near the end of Elsa’s junior apprenticeship, when she challenged a fellow student, Theo (with whom she had an escalating feud for reasons long forgotten by both) to a secret duel at midnight on the roof of the college building. She turned up at the duel half-drunk and with only tenuous control over her powers. The short but incredibly violent exchange of spells ended with Theo burned to a crisp and Elsa on the run from her masters. The fugitive apprentice is now looking for a place away from the Imperial law’s long reach, and the Border Princes seem like such a place.
Two months ago
Lurching drunkenly on the rain-slick tiles of the roof, acting more on instinct than skill, Elsabeth dodged the narrow stream of blue fire at the last second and only just managed to keep her footing. With her mind, she reached out to Aqshy – the Red Wind was rather slippery in this kind of weather – to shape it into a hurried counter-attack; she just needed to buy a few heartbeats to regain her bearings. Her retaliation took the form of a blinding yellow light meant to mimic a fireball. It succeeded in making Theo throw himself flat on the roof, his cloak and staff raised defensively in front of his face. Elsa used that precious time to plant her feet more solidly, slam the butt of her staff on the tiles and channel Aqshy into something more powerful.
An alarming smell of burning leather reached her nostrils and a searing pain dawned around her left ear. Her concentration broken, she released the Red Wind from her grasp and took off her wide-brimmed hat. It was, as she half-expected, on fire – her dodge had not quite been fast enough. Swearing like a sailor, she slapped it repeatedly against her leather coat until the fire was put off, leaving a blackened area where the brim and the crown met. So it was not made of real dragon hide after all. She would need to have a little chat with that seller tomorrow.
She felt the tug on the wind of Aqshy before the spell hit, but had no time to prepare for it. Her staff suddenly became hotter, so hot that she could feel it even through her leather gloves. She dropped it with a startled yelp, looked up, and found herself facing Theo without her channelling implement. The young man’s wet, unruly blond hair was plastered to his forehead; only one bright blue eye was visible. His staff pointed straight at her face and crackled with aethyric energy. The combatants paused a dozen yards away from each other, panting from the longest duel between apprentices in recent Bright College history. Both of them were pushed to their physical and mental limits, their clothes torn and singed, sporting a variety of burns that would have brought down anyone not attuned to Aqshy’s fiery touch. The lights of Altdorf spread out in every direction under and around them, but the college grounds were dark and silent, as it was well past curfew.
Both of them knew who had the advantage now. Theo might as well have been aiming a loaded crossbow at an unarmed person. Not that a staff was necessary to cast spells, but after all the wine Elsa had had tonight, fine manipulation of the Aethyr would be difficult and reckless without one.
“Yield already, Elsa,” sighed Theo, exasperated. “You wanted this stupid duel, I gave it to you, and I won. You’re taking this whole argument to a ridiculous–”
Thankfully, Elsa did not need finesse, only brute strength – in magical terms, she was something of a thug. All she did was send a sudden wave of the Red Wind towards Theo, whose staff was still gathering the ambient Aethyr. Theo’s sentence died in his throat when he realized that he was now channelling more magic than his staff could handle.
“Boom,” said Elsa solemnly.
Theo’s staff exploded in a blinding yellow light, sending splinters of wood in every direction. The young man was blown off his feet with a shout of alarm. When the burst of hot air reached Elsa a split second later, it felt more like a physical blow than a wind. She only barely remained standing, for which she was glad because she thought she must look pretty damn impressive, right now on the roof, with her leather coat billowing in the rain and her red hair flying free. Her only regret was that there was no one to see her. She put her still-smoking hat back on, retrieved her staff from the nearest edge of the roof from which it had nearly fallen and immediately began to channel Aqshy into a fireball. She had never once lost a magical duel against a fellow junior apprentice, and she was sure not starting now.
“Alright, either get up or give up, you wimp,” she snarled at Theo. Casting a spell at a downed target was against the rules, as was casting while you were down. Elsa was usually no stickler for rules, but duelling was serious business.
Theo made a gurgling sound and, still lying down, drew the Red Wind to himself. Cheater, was Elsa’s immediate, furious thought. She released the fireball. It raced towards its target and, though it must have taken only a heartbeat to cover the distance, it was long enough for Elsa to realize what a mistake she had made.
As the fireball illuminated Theo, Elsa had a glimpse of his bloodied face and ravaged hands. The explosion of his staff had taken several of his fingers, at least one of his eyes and much of his nose and jaw. His last spell, Elsa just had time to figure out when she saw burns forming on his hands, was a standard cauterization spell to stop blood loss. His mouth broken and full of blood, Theo was unable to conjure up a shield against the fireball. He was too wounded to even roll out of the way. His remaining eye widened in horror.
The fireball hit him full-on and lifted him off the surface of the roof. He flew, on fire from head to toe, and ended his course against a chimney in a sickening crack of bones. He came to rest in a sitting position, presumably – hopefully – dead before he hit the ground.
Elsa just stood there in the rain, stunned, as she stared at her handiwork. Then, without checking on her fallen classmate, she turned and ran.
WS BS S T Ag Int WP Fel 36 36 30 41 44 65 73 44 A W SB TB M Mag IP FP 1 15 / 15 3 4 5 3 7 0 / 0
Skills % Academic Knowledge (Daemonology) 65 Academic Knowledge (Magic) 65 Academic Knowledge (Strategy/Tactics) 65 Channelling 83 Charm 44 Charm Animal 44 Command 44 Common Knowledge (Border Princes) 65 Common Knowledge (the Empire) 65 Gossip 44 Intimidate 30 / 44 Magical Sense 83 Perception 65 Read/Write 65 Ride 44 Search 65 Speak Arcane Language (Daemonic) 65 Speak Arcane Language (Magick) 65 Speak Language (Classical) 65 Speak Language (Reikspiel) 65 Speak Language (Tilean) 65
Talents Aethyric Attunement Arcane Lore (Fire) Dark Magic Extra Spell (Curtain of Flames) Fleet Footed Lesser Magic: Aethyric Armour Lesser Magic: Dispel Lesser Magic: Magic Alarm Luck Mighty Missile Petty Magic (Arcane) Savvy Strong-Minded Very Resilient
Gear: Dagger, Best Craftsmanship staff, main gauche, common all-weather clothing (quilted shirt, riding pants, black leather coat and boots), good summer clothing (red dress and sandals), noble's garb (military-style clothes in tones of black and gold), ivory bracelet (thanks Sieghard!), dwarf-made copper torc, earrings, fur scarf, and backpack
Miscellanea: Tent, rations for 5 days, two waterskins, pair of dice, 35 yards of rope, brown hair dye, printed copy of The Practical Pyromancer, Third Edition, grimoire of pyromancy, mysterious hairy book, bunch of scrolls from the Lost Library, map of Mirino and the area, parchment, ink, 2 matches, small mirror, 15 scraps of tapestry singed by fire, magical mirror found in Harmugstahl, venomous snake in a cage
Mount: Bastard, vile-tempered black stallion
Gold: 413 gc and 213 p (rarely carries more than 20 gc at a time; keeps 150 gc hidden in 3 separate caves in the Black Karst, near Manann's Keep.)
Elsa has left some letters to be opened by her friends in the event of her death. They are currently located in a small wooden chest, in her room in the Savonne keep.
XP: 0 / 5800
Advances: +5 WS, +10 BS, +10 T, +15 Ag, +30 Int, +35 WP, +15 Fel, +4 W, +3 Mag, Academic Knowledge (Daemonology), Academic Knowledge (Strategy/Tactics), Arcane Lore (Fire), Command, Common Knowledge (Border Princes), Dark Magic, Extra Spell (Curtain of Flame), Intimidate, Lesser Magic (Aethyric Armour), Lesser Magic (Magic Alarm), Luck, Mighty Missile, Ride, Speak Arcane Language (Daemonic), Speak Language (Tilean), Strong-Minded
Morrslieb the raven - deceased
SpoilerA clever bird that Elsa found in the swamps and claimed as her familiar. Morrslieb is rather vain, believing himself not only smarter than other birds but also smarter than his mistress. He tends to overvalue the services he offers, and will demand payment for every little thing he does. For all his intelligence and insight, he remains a raven, and is consequently afflicted with a short attention span, an obsession with food, and a tendency to be distracted by shiny things.
WS BS S T Ag Int WP Fel 38 0 10 10 38 25 24 0 A W SB TB M Mag IP FP 2 0/ 6 1 1 2 / 8 0 0 0 / 0
Skills % Perception +20% 75
Talents Excellent Vision Flyer Keen Senses
Familiar Abilities: Link of Psyche, Lucky Charm, Magic Focus, Master's Touch, Voice of Reason.
XP: 25 / 1150
Advances: +10 Int, Lucky Charm, Magic Focus, Master's Touch, Voice of Reason.