Concept: Renee Raialagos is the eccentric unmarried daughter and only child of Marie and Stavros Raialagos. As she is half elven, there is a streak of otherness and strangeness in Renee, which isn’t visible at once, and to some people never.She owns a knick-knacks shop in Marn and can easily pass as human. This is also what she has always been said to be. But appearances deceive. Truth is the marriage of Marie and Stavros was happy, except for one thing; they didn’t get the children they had dreamt about and taken for granted. Renee is the product of an illegitimate liaison between her mother and an helpful elf. Officially, she was born to her parents due to a smart purchase of a unique miracle medicine. For a long time, Reene didn’t know anything about her origins, but her mother revealed it all to her later in life.
Renee inherited her human mothers looks, though her face is a bit more angular and not as soft as her mother's face was . Her nose is bit narrower and longer, and her facial traits sharper, the chin somewhat pointed. She has long,thick and somewhat wavy hair of the dark brown color often called black, and her eyes aren't dark as here mother's were, but light amber brown. Her ears, mostly cowered by hair and headgear, are so slightly pointed that they are within the normal variation for humans and never caught any attention.
She is a woman of medium stature, for Marn standards. Her physical constitution isn't sturdy, but due to her liking for being outdoors and work in her garden, Renee is fit and looks healthy. She moves with springy steps and her movements have the agile grace and elegant accurracy and balance of a good dancer. And at the occasions she participates at some kind of festitivity, Renee actually is good dancer, with an inborn feeling for music and rythm.
Her voice is a clear alto, somewhat deep for a woman, distinct, but never loud and clamorous.
- House : Renee owns the house where she has been living her whole life, and still lives, alone now after her parents died of old age. It's a small house, or cottage, with two floors. It's painted in a dark red, nearly brown color, and surrounded by a small garden. The lilac hedges are overflowing with white, fragrant flowers in the springs. A small stone staircase with three steps lead up to the front door,which is also the only door of the house. Right inside is a small vestibule. You find the kitchen to the left, and the door to Renees fairly small living room is straight forward.To the right, a curved and narrow, somewhat steep staircase leads up to the two rooms on the second floor. In the middle of the house, theres a chimney flues that leads the smoke away from the fireplaces in the kitchen and living room, and from the fireplaces in the rooms above. In the kitchen there's windows on two walls, where a big table with chairs and a kitchen bench sits. An the other walls there cupboards with pottery and kitchen utensiles and a workbench. In one cupboard there's a manual cold water pump. In the living room there's a coach, a more elegant set of table and chairs, a beautiful wooden corner cabinet and plants in small pots adorn the windowsills. The rooms upstairs are built in file, and today the first one used as guest room and and work room with an extra bed and a desk, and the inner room is used as Renee's bedroom.
- Shop: Eventually Renee took over the kitsh and pawnbroker shop of her parents. The fairly small shop is located at the Main Street in the Downtown & Business District of Marn. The wares for sale varies greatly from time to time, but you can always find an assortment of flamboyat bijouteries, beautiful band and shawls,lanterns of various sizes and materials, many odd home decorations, card games and dices and other pastimes, some books of better or worse quality and a lot of small things allsorts, suitable to use as gifts. Once in a while there's some valuable things for sale, which have been pawned but never redeemed.
- Horse: A brown riding horse named Barcarole. Renee hires a place for Barcarole in a stable nearby. She also owns general riding equipment; saddle, hater, saddlery, and the things needed to take care of a horse.
- Wagon: For the occasional trade trips when Renee sells things outside Marn and buys new things to restock her shop, she uses a covered wagon which is pulled by her own horse Barcarole and an additional hired horse. She had inherited the wagon from her parents and by now it would have been a really old and rickety wagon, if it hadn't been repaired numerous times over the years. There's hardly a singe original part left of it nowadays, but some parts are definitely old. The total impression is half-shabby and patched.
- Clothes: Renee owns several sets of clothes.
- Her home clothes; dark grey skirt, cream white blouse, knitted brown woolen sweather and a few other comfortable garments of natural colors.
- Her riding and outdoors clohtes; brown breeches and dark brown leather jacket, a short dark green hooded cloak and a long grey one, leather boots and gloves.
- Her work clothes; an assortment of imaginative outfits of the super flamboyant kind, possible to combine in amazing ways.
- Travelling clothes for business trips; a patchwork of pretty shabby clothes that are meant to make her look "not rich" in order to support haggling and good business deals
- The "sunday best" clothes; A few beautiful dresses, somewhat flamboyant too, but more elegant than her work clothes.
- An assortment of accessories; belts, shoes, handbags and shawls, and an endless lot of bijouteries.
- Tools: A sewing kit with everything you need for sewing and embroidery. General tools needed for the everyday things in a house. Garden utensiles.
- Musical instruments: A tambourin, a flute of wood and silver and a violin of good quality.
Powers or Strengths
- Titre: Like her partents, Renee was born in Marn and has been living there here whole life. This means that although she isn't of descentant or synevive family, she has the benefit of being a titre, a true citizen, with the rights for her and the trust from other true Marnians it means, socially and legally.
- Shrewd Businesswoman: Renees upbringing in a merchant family in combination with her elven inheritance of high intelligence,sensitivity and intuition gives Renee Raialagos a nigh magical perspicacity for business with frills and kitsh allsorts, and as pawnbroker.
- Good learner: Like so many other people of good intelligence Renee is a good learner. This makes her interested in listening to people, even quite odd people, sometimes even outsiders who aren't from Marn. Like all marnians she is of course not quick to trust people from outside, but as long as they aren't hostile she will listen to them and learn things from them.
- Musicality: Renee has a talent for dance, music and rytm. She plays several muscial instruments; violin, flute and tambourin. The uncomplicate tambourine is mostly just used as a dance instrument. She excels at the violin, but the clear and soft sound of the flute of wood and silver, and the simpler, milder tunes she plays on it has a special place in her heart.
- Sensitive to The Magic of Nature: Renee is only half elf, and in her case the sensitivity of nature's magic isn't about direct use of a lot of magic, but exactly what it says, she is a bit sensitive to it. It's vague and limited and she's not at all as sensitive as an elf. She doesn't cast spells; her sense of magic can better be described as a kind of passive and "automatic" talent for intuitively aligning herself with the natural powers and collaborate with them. This shows in simple effects, rather than Renee doing concrete actions. Renee herself hasn't even thought of this as magic, and nobody else either. Like most Marnians she doesn't know much about magic, so to her it's just normal knowledge and skills she has learnt and shown talent for.
- Green fingers: Renee feels at home in nature and feels energized by being outdoors. Marn is however a city and the nature outside is full of dangers and people mostly avoid it. As a city dweller, the nature in Renee's case is the safe garden at her house, and she likes spending time there. She has the kind of nature magic called "green fingers" and is good at making plants grow and prosper. Albeit the garden at her house isn't big, it's amazingly lush and green. It's rife with insect life, flowers and herbs. The harvest of berries and fruit is impressive, small animals like birds and squirrles make their home there, and in evenings the atmosphere can feel vaguely mysterious, sometimes.
- Latent sensitivity for healing properties: Renee isn't aware of this, but depending on what happens in her life she may eventually discover (or not discover) a feeling for healing properties of speical water, places, plants and other nature things like stone and wind. If it manifests it will be in simple ways, like a sense for where it's good to rest, which water is good to drink, incoming weather changes, where it's good to let the horse graze. Again, she isn't a healer, she isn't directly doing anything, but in an emergency with for example an injured person there 's a possibility she will have a good feeling for how to support natural healing.
Weaknesses and Flaws
- Sometimes involved in obscure business: Once in a while Renee's desire to do a good business deal can tempt her to cross the line between pawnbroker and reciever of stolen goods. She can sometimes get involved in shady business and dangerous secrets behind the scenes; things that must stay secret and may never leak out.
- Inner conflict; not a human nor an elf: A secret feeling of being something of a misfit,has been hidden behind Renees flamboyant eccentricity since her early teens. Today when she knows she is a half-elf, this explains volumes to her. In Marn, people believe that the elves, with their talents for magical arts, are a perversion of the human race. Having grown up with the puradine religion's view on magic as evil, the knowledge of her own elven blood creates a constant inner conflict for Renee. This does nothing to decrease her eccentrictiy. The opposite. It enhances it. The knowledge that she can maybe expect a longer than average life and the benefits of youthful looks for more years than a human, comes with the troublesome question whether she holds an innate evil. She is also worried that with Marn's view on elves she may be in trouble if her true origins are discovered. She strives to keep it secret, but she constantly fears that that there will come a day when she will not be able to conceal the truth anymore.
- Natural born complicator: Although Renee's analytical mind serves her well in business, outside business she has an unfortunate tendency to complicate simple things,by analyzing too much and in a badly timed manner. Among other things, this has sabotaged her tries at relationships. If not stopped, she can analyze her own and other people's words, actions and feelings to pieces. Her tendency to complicate has also made her somewhat feared as dinner partner at social gatherings, where people have sometimes found themselves drawn into long and meandering, never ending and verbally domineering, analytical lectures.
- Susceptible to flattery : Renee is too susceptible to flattery, a deplorable personality trait. She likes to be admired and praised, even if she denies this and dismisses compliments as nonsense. But truth is, if buttered up enough, Renee can fall for it and be persuaded to do things against her better judgement. This can be anything; give discounts when she is selling things or pay a bit more than she had planned for things she buys, buy things she doesn't need or really want, go to places or events she hadn't planned to go to. It's not always easy though, not guaranteed to succeed, but it can happen.
- Mixed brew of knowledge: This the backside of being a good learner but quite the autodidact. Reading whatever she have been able to find to read during the years, Renee have learnt really much, but not all it is right, and some of it is nonsense. Her knowledge is like an overgrown garden, full of rare plants and weeds alike. This abundande of knowledge of variable quality can make her feel overly confident and jump to conclusions based on pure rubbish and in worst case she can come off as arrogant.
Birth : pure miracle!
Marie and Stavros Raialagos had married. The years passed by. Their small business named prospered, and they could afford to buy a nice house with a small garden for children to play in. But house stayed silent and although the garden with it’s flowers and berry bushes grew lusher and nicer for every summer that passed by, nobody bar cats were playing there.
The silent desperation of the childless couple grew. They were now over forty, and easy prey when a seller of what was said to be miracle medicines arrived to Marn. Soon enough, they were unable to resist and went to speak with the man. After a somewhat awkward and embarrassed start the situation was explained and a beautifyl bottle of dark green glass changed hands, for a reassuringly high prize. Or, as the seller told them, they could hardly expect an elixir of fertility to be cheap. In fact, they paid a small fortune for the drug.
They were to take one drop each a day of the elixir in a glass of water. The couple followed this instruction meticulously. Nothing happened. It would be a lie to say they didn’t start to suspect it was a scam. However, none of them wanted to say this aloud. Several months had passed, when the last drops were consumed and there finally was nothing left bar the empty, beautiful bottle and the last remains of hope. Now they would see, in a couple of weeks, if this last hope would be crushed or if the miracle they had paid for would happen.
Who can know what got into Marie Raialagos one evening during these days of last hope. She was not getting younger, it wasn’t like they were enthusiastic about trying in vain any more, and she had a feeling then miracle medicine could turn out to be the end of their love. There had been a few less pleasant moments lately, with discussions about who had believed the most in the elixir and who had been driving for the purchase. No hard words had been said yet, but it was in the air that they were on the brink on turning on each other and enter a new unhappy phase of their marriage. Marie felt it was now or never. It was the last chance they had. There was all to win and nothing to lose, she though. Inspired by a group of elven travelers who were passing by at the time, she threw faith overboard and decided to up the chances for a child with added methods. In short, Marie decided to cheat on her husband and see if this would help.
Truth to be told, this method had been in her thoughts more than once during the years, but Marie had never dared to act on it. It had slowly matured though, probably fuelled by the elixir, or so she wanted to believe. She still didn’t dare to do it openly. A relationship with a citizen of Marn who could later on start to make trouble and tell on her was out of question. Instead, she found a lover among the elven visitors, and a few weeks later it actually seemed like the elixir was working, finally. Despair turned into happiness, it was firmly agreed that the exlixir had been an excellent buy and after the normal nine months Renee arrived.
Childhood : home sweet home
As the eagerly awaited only child of her parents, Renee had a childhood which can only be described as idyllic and pampered. No effort was spared by the doting parents of the girl. Little Renee played in the small green garden, picked the flowers and brought her parents random bouquets with far too short stems. She ate some of the berries from the bush and the rest of them were used to make the sweet jams and juices the child consumed in winter. Cookies and buns were made in the kitchen, her toys were on the floor, and in the evenings her parents told her stories.
Eventually she explored the area nearby and as she grew older her range increased and she found her way around the parts of Marn where children were allow to roam. She was given small tasks in the shop in the family’s shop, and by time she was given more tasks, mostly as a way to pass her time and keep her occupied when she was there. There were so many tantalizing things of all kinds in this entertaining little shop of tat, frills, knick-knacks, kitsch. Because entertainment was what it was about. People didn’t go there to find meaningful, reasonable and useful things. They went there to find the absurd and surreal; items beyond their imagination, unexpected and hardly believable, yet crafted and for sale, reality surpassing itself.
Teens: a nearly elf-like rebellion!
But every childhood has an end and things and people change. The uncomplicated child turned into a teenager with an amazing and unstoppable taste for debate. Her unknown elven inheritance started to show, in looks as well as in behavior. With increasing nervosity, Marie Raialagos watched her daughters face start to take on a somewhat elven look, accompanied by matching, amazingly imaginative outfits.
In order to get to chalk it all up to typical teenager issues, she indulged Renee and encouraged her daughter’s most eccentric tendencies, whilst she spoke exasperatedly about it with her friends. In short, the story she gave people was that her daughter had read too many of the imaginative books they had sold in the shop during the years and become so fascinated by the illuminations that she now wanted to adopt the style and look alien. But what could a poor mother do.
This was a quite successful strategy, and served to make Renees development as teenager come off as completely normal. Eventually the parents came to the conclusion it was also good for business. Renees looks and style matched the shop and it’s content and became part of the entertainment the customers were looking for. Marie Raialagos started to pass it off as a deliberate business decision and people in Marn got used to it and didn’t question it.
As her parents were merchants and took it for granted that Renee would take over the shop in the future, she was given a good, solid education in the things considered important for trade and shopkeeping. She learnt things like mathematics and bookkeeing, negotiation tactics and selling tricks. And at home she learnt practical things like sewing, baking and other domestic tasks. But this was it. Higher education of other kinds wasn't found necessary as it wasn't directly related to basic needs or business profit. Renee who was an avid knowledge seeker filled in the empty spaces with whatever she could find to read. The kind of books that passed by in the knick-knacks shop provided her with a colorful mix of practical tips, facts allsorts and a lot of amazing stories.
Adulthood: the queen of kitsh
Renee was meant to take over the family’s business and shop of course. And so she did. After the development during her teens, she was already established as the eccentric and artsy specialist in kitsh and oddities. It was easy case to work on in this capacity and eventually take over the shop as the parents aged. They finally retired after a period of time when they had downplayed their jobs to just helping out sometimes.
Renee unconcernedly continued to live with Marie and Stavros in the house with the small garden. Unlike other young women she had no feeling it was time to look around for a partner. She wasn’t uninterested in meeting a life partner; she just didn’t have that feeling of running out of time her female friends seemed to suffer from. To Renee it felt like life was a long, long journey and not the short walk others seemed to think it. Albeit she could see with her own eyes how time touched everything around her and made it age a little bit by every day, she didn’t feel like it would touch her. Renee's feeling was that she would stay forever young.
And so she seemed to do. She was in her mid-thirties, but it didn’t show. She looked twentyfive. And this made old Marie Raialagos start to worry again, as she could see brand new and unexpected troubles on the horizon. But not until Stavros Raialagos died of old age did she say anything to Renee. During the time of sorrow that ensued, mother and daugther finally came to speak about things Marie felt necessary to speak about, before it was too late. She had not intended to ever reveal the truth, but as she realized that Renee didn't age at the same rate as humans normally did, she might find herself in serious trouble in the future. She didn't want her daughter to be unprepared. Shocked, Renee listened to the story about her true origins and realized she wasn’t fully human. What shook her most though, was that Stavros Raialagos wasn’t her biological father and her mother had lied to them both during Renee’s whole life. However, she reconciled herself with it, because she had to. Her mother was old and Renee didn’t want their last years to be shadowed by grudges and bitterness. It would be a lie to say she didn’t have her moments of anger and sadness and doubt. She had. But Renee kept this to herself. Her childhood memories were still true, albeit not everything had been totally true. She held on to all the good memories, and life continued.
A couple of years later old Marie died too in the small garden, right when she was picking berries to make this summer’s jam. The parents were gone and the eccentric Renee Raialagos was alone. She lived through the sorrow, the missing and the longing like all other people do when loved ones pass on, and she continued life as usual. She kept the shop and the business up and running, rode out on Barcarolle, stayed up late in the evenings reading books. Only cats played in the small garden at her house and in the summers she picked the berries and made jam after her mother’s recipe. She was in her late thirties. People were saying she looked amazingly well preserved and young for her age ... nearly weird, really...