The Verden Realms
With an early life of tragedy, the mother of King Luther and Princess Victoria of WrathMourne fiercely guards what she loves.
Tall and strong like her White Hold ancestors, Beatrice also bears their dark brown hair and soft, brown eyes. She is a quite handsome woman, but her constant stern expression tends to unnerve all who meet her.
There are few tales as tragic as that of Beatrice of White Hold.
The only child of King Brenard of White Hold, Beatrice never knew her mother. The Queen died wheh the child was only three. But, Beatrice’s father doted on her, carrying his “darling Bee” with him wherever his duties took him. At age six she was present at a treaty between kings, by eight she could speak orc fluently and by ten she could quote treatises on tactics that elder generals had never heard of. Skilled in sword, spear, bow and shield, she took up arms like the warrior women of White Hold’s history. Under her father’s tutelage, she became such a master tactician that her father would bet diplomats trade rights if they could beat his daughter at chess. It became clear that little Beatrice might well be the first Queen of White Hold, if her father had any power to make such happen.
But, Brenard worried for his daughter. She was serious, studious and had few friends. So at the age of eleven, Brenard decided to spend a few winter months discussing trade with the Queen of Taur’on; a woman that just so happened to have boisterous twin daughters a year younger than his Beatrice. To Brenard’s delight, the girls became fast friends. So much in fact, Beatrice began to spend every winter with her new “sisters.”
Tongues tattle that during these visits, Beatrice found a beau in the twin’s younger brother, Charles. That they were inseparable and rumored to be talking engagement until something broke them apart in the late fall of 814. A furious Beatrice headed home to spend the winter with her father for the first time in years. What unfortunate timing.
That winter, the largest orcish army of the age launched an attack upon the Sentinel Gates days prior to the Dark Week of the Stag. King Brenard was forced to defend the wall, outnumbered eight to one and with reinforcements refusing to ride during this week of darkness. Brenard ordered all civilians, children and his own daughter to leave the Wall for safety. Beatrice soundly refused, telling her father, “No woman of White Hold flees while her men need her.”
The battle was brutal, each day the humans lost ground to the green wave. On the third day, the orc chieftain and King Brenard engaged in one-on-one combat upon the fourth wall. Their fight brought both sides to a still as they watched their leaders bravely struggle for an upper hand. The King made one misstep, the orc swept his legs and took his life. The orc chieftain then removed King Brenard’s left hand, held it high and ordered his troops back so the defeated could bury their King.
It is said that as Beatrice buried her father, she told the few remaining defenders about her that, “This is the last time I shall cry – for I go to my death upon this wall. I meet it gladly, men. We bleed and die to give time to those we protect. Our blood may buy them an hour, a day. Bleed we shall. My last drop given for the safety of my people, my last tear given to my father.”
The men rallied around her, even the generals, as they continued the defense. Three days later, as the horde attempted to fell the final wall, Beatrice put an arrow through the throat of the orc chief and kicked his corpse from the wall screaming, “Keep coming and I will keep killing!”
However, as the final day of darkness drew to a close, only eighty defenders were left alive – and all bore wounds of pain and weariness. All seemed lost, but as dawn broke salvation arrived, the Gypsies appeared. As they came to the aid of the humans, the orcs fled. Only one Gate remained intact.
With the burden of losing her father still fresh, Beatrice now faced a greater problem. Women do not inherit titles among her people. Her uncle, Henry, the very man that had refused to assist her father, was now King. And it was rather clear that the army was not happy with this arrangement. But, Henry dealt with the situation quickly. Before Beatrice’s wounds had even healed, her uncle informed her she was to marry.
This arranged marriage infuriated her father’s most loyal of men. For not only had Beatrice not been involved in this arrangement, it was also to a man most vile – King Raphael Wrathmourn. A man known for his violent temper and cruel attitude. But, as a dutiful woman of White Hold, Beatrice agreed. She told her father’s men, “My uncle gave his word. I will keep it. Let it never be said that Beatrice does not honor the word of her king.”
Before spring’s end, Beatrice of White Hold became Queen of WrathMourn. And the sorrowful Princess became a Queen most pitied. She bore Raphael a son within a year, and a beautiful daughter two years later. However, Beatrice was often seen with bruises upon her arms, so much so the other ladies of the kingdom decided that long sleeves would be the fashion. Rumors spread that the King kept playthings in the castle, that he enjoyed torturing his servants. But, while the Queen never smiled, she never spoke out. She remained a dutiful wife and a loving mother. As Raphael liked to joke, she was his Broken Queen.
Ten years into her marriage, it seems that the king finally took his violence one step to far. At a dinner party, Raphael flew into a rage and struck their son, Luther, across the face with enough force to break the boy’s nose and knock him from the chair he sat in. As he laughed and taunted the crying boy, Beatrice left her spot at the table and bent over her son. She turned a cold gaze upon her husband and said, “I give you my word, if you ever lay hand on either of our children again, I will no longer consider you my husband. Nor my king. And, I will kill you.”
The room became quiet for only a moment before Raphael lashed out with fury at his wife. Those present at that fated dinner say they thought the king had killed Beatrice, he struck her so often. He shattered ribs, broke her arm and left her bleeding on the floor. And through all that, she never raised a hand to defend herself. She never even cried out, nor made a single noise until King Raphael had left the room and the family healer had begun to attend her wounds. And then, all she said was, “See to Luther first, please.”
Weeks later, the promise given was kept. Raphael became angry with his son for failing to strike a servant and he hit the boy. As Luther begged his father to stop, Raphael screamed at the boy, “What do you think will stop me, boy? Your mother? That broken bitch could stop nothing.” With those words barely out of his mouth, the flat side of a sword slammed into the back of his head. Stumbling, dazed, Raphael turned to see his wife had taken a decorative sword from the wall. It was dull, old and heavy – not intended for battle at all. But Beatrice held it with a calm expression on her face. “Defend yourself, dog.”
Raphael pulled his sword, but little good did it do him. Some soldiers say Beatrice toyed with him, like a great cat slapping at a mouse. Others say that it would have been over much sooner had her weapon actually had a sharp edge. But, all agree the outcome was inevitable. As Raphael lay on the ground, bleeding and broken, Beatrice said, “You shall be put down like the rabid dog you are.” She then commenced to hack his head from his shoulders.
It took five swings.
After the death of her husband, Beatrice changed little. While she did put away dresses for armor, her quiet demeanor never altered. For the next eight years, she was at her son’s side, giving him guidance and advice. Through her strength, she had raised a son and a king that all of WrathMourn finds pride in. And, her daughter, protected from the horror of her father, is the delight of the entire kingdom.
If you asked Beatrice would she change the path she has walked, she would stare at you, raise one dark eyebrow and say, “Why would I want to do something so silly as that?”