Background: Connie Vogel

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Background: Connie Vogel

Postby vogelsong » Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:01 pm

Connie’s surname isn’t originally Vogel; in truth she no longer remembers her full name. The War of the Cross did not spare her family’s homestead in Sieger in southern Eisen, scattering her family and leaving the Eisen girl homeless and alone at the age of seven. She was found first by a group of mercenaries, who sold her to a mining camp operating illicitly in the mountains. There she began a new life of indentured servitude, filling minecarts and running water and supplies to the other fortunates forced to toil underground.

Spending her days in the hole and her nights in chains, Connie did her best to keep her spirits buoyed, and as a result brought a little ray of sunlight into the lives of her comrades in iron. Among those who appreciated her efforts was an older, hard-worked gentleman named Linus, who began to call the ragged girl with dirty-blonde hair his little “Kanarienvogel”, or canary. The nickname quickly gained usage amongst her fellow captives. From her compatriots, Connie began to form a new, adopted family. Ekaterina was an young Ussuran woman with poise she admired. Bernhard and Fritz were a pair of scamps only a few years older than her who found ways to entertain themselves and those they worked near whenever they weren’t being watched. Philipp claimed to once be a sailor, and found Connie to be an attentive listener to his tall tales of the sea. They and others became her new adopted family, with Linus foremost as a surrogate father.

Weeks turned to months and months turned to years. Miners were injured or killed regularly from accidents, overwork, and abuse from the overseers. None holding the whip were outstanding members of society, though most of the prisoners agreed that a quiet man named Roger at least acknowledged their effort and spoke to them as fellow humans. He was a far cry from a monster like Matthias, whom Connie was certain tripped Bernhard moments before the kid’s leg was run over by a minecart. Bernhard and his belongings were gone the following day. The litany of suffering and injustice she witnessed her family subjected to bored down on Connie’s cheerful soul, and by the time she was thirteen her radiant smile was not nearly as bright and heartfelt as before. Fortunately for her, fortune decided to radically alter the course of her life once more.

Far below on the bottom floor of the mine, a laborer opened a breach into a much larger chamber. Instantaneously the entire structure began to shake violently and the supporting beams running throughout began to strain and creak under the pressure. Connie was pushing a cart down to the lower levels when the quake began, and froze like a spooked deer. Moments later she saw Heiner, a young but stout overseer fond of leering at Ekaterina, running towards her, wide-eyed, pale as a ghost, intent on saving his own life. One look at his terrorized face snapped her back to reality. She immediately realized that the captives chained and shackled below were experiencing the same fear, but without the keys currently dangling from the panicked man’s belt, their fates were sealed.

Connie patiently waited as the overweight brute came closer, and just as he passed she stuck out her leg. In his haste Heiner could not control his fall, and he brained himself on an outcropping of the mine walls. Nimbly, the Eisen girl relieved the unconscious man of his keys and ran down into the depths as dust and small rocks began falling all around her. She swiftly freed every prisoner she passed before reaching the bottom of the mine, where a chill wind blew in from the strange opening. As she struggled to unlock the remaining captives, the beams supporting the tunnels finally gave way, and the entire mine collapsed into rubble.

Seven days later, Connie staggered into the Eisen village of Wiesenhügel, filthy, exhausted, and partly delirious from starvation. She remembers little about the lost week; only what seemed like an eternity of groping around blindly in complete darkness. Still, from sound alone the girl could tell that the caverns were far more vast than the tunnels she had toiled in. In places, the smooth rock felt worked or almost polished to her rough hands. Only by fortune alone did she eventually find a opening to the outside world, well hidden high in the mountains.

After a brief recovery, Connie left Wiesenhügel in order to put distance between herself and the mining camp that, for all she knew, was still in operation. Her wandering lead her, like many others, south to the Castillian city of Altamira. She has since spent several years fending for herself in the bustling city; earning coin as a courier or porter when she could find the work, or as a pickpocket when she struggled to make ends meet. She tried not to take more than she needs, but was not above stealing for her newest family (her fellow street urchins) when their needs were desperate. Her time in the mines instilled her with a strong sense of right and wrong, and at times this led her to regularly fall in with a group of youths known as “Los Amigos de Nacio.”

As she makes the transition from gamin to hero, Connie is a young Eisen woman with a bright, sometimes mischievous smile. Due to years of malnutrition, she is somewhat shorter than average, but is also wiry and deceptively strong thanks to the hard labor in her upbringing. Her bare hands and feet are not only rough, but are stained a slightly darker hue that will likely never wash away. She prefers to wear cloaks, not to hide her identity, but rather for the shade the hoods provide for her emerald-green eyes. Because of this, she gets easily fascinated by hats of any type, and usually has enough self-discipline to restrain herself from asking to try them on. Usually. Although there is nothing wrong with her eyesight, if caught in the sunlight without any cover, Connie will spend most of her time squinting and turning away from the brightness.

She still misses the two families she has lost, and while it would likely take sorcery or an accomplished researcher to reunite her with any surviving blood relatives (due to her young age when separated), she still keeps an ear to the ground to be among the first to learn any news from Eisen, hoping to find out what happened to her fellow prisoners like Linus and Fritz. That hasn’t kept her from adopting new ‘family’ whom she would fight tooth and nail to keep. An older Castillian girl who called herself ‘Sancha’ went out of her way to help Connie when she first arrived to the city, and though she knows almost nothing about her, she still reveres her as the closest she’s likely to ever have to a sister. Her history with the Amigos has led her to regard any member as a distant relative at least, with those she’s shared escapades with promoted to full cousins. Her sunny disposition has returned since her days in the camp, and any that mock her cheerfulness with sarcasm or annoyance get an extra helping of positivity in response.

Several months after arriving, Connie learned through overheard news from her home country that a girl matching her description is being sought after. She assumes that the mining camp is responsible for the interest in returning her to Eisen, but has no idea why. Her interaction with those in charge of the camp was limited, mostly to the overseers like Heiner, Matthias, and Roger. She remembers a proud man with a carefully trimmed mustache and an ebony cane as being in charge of the operation, who was never addressed as anything beyond “Sir” by his subordinates. Philipp once told her the man reminded him of a statue he once saw on the streets of Carleon, and so ‘Carleon’ became the name she and the rest of the captives used to describe their shady, mustachioed warden.
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