The Family (NPC)
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Discord Handle: Pardalis#8859
100% Dog (25% Curly Coated Retreiver, 25% Greyhound, 25% English Setter, 25% Pointer)
Date of Birth:
21st May 2019
Luperci Ortus
[Image: Iseult-Lupus.png][Image: Iseult-Secui.png][Image: Iseult-Optime.png]

A tall, slender female, Iseult's willowy frame and delicate features often cause others to underestimate her. Short but wavy all over her body, her fur is as soft as velvet to the touch. Her black coat turns to tight curls along the top of her head and the back of her neck. Various white markings cover her body. Her right ear and two fingers, and a thumb on her right hand are entirely white. A splotch of white wraps around her left hock and covers her left leg up to the knee.

She has the well-defined stop and floppy ears of her pointer ancestors, but her greyhound blood gives her a longer, more narrow snout. Her almond eyes are an incredibly pale icy blue, appearing almost colorless in some lights and slant slightly up and towards her ears. In Optime form, thick, curly black hair hangs down to her elbows, occasionally throwing it up into a messy bun. Her tattoos, though easily hidden by the proper clothing, stand out sharply against her black fur. Carefully shaved patches of fur reveal black ink on her right shoulder and left forearm. A waxing crescent moon is artfully etched into her shoulder. At the same time, her left arm is decorated by a more complex, larger image. Just below the inside of her elbow and a few inches above her wrist are identical lines of ink. Resting between them is a trio of concentric circles, each with a stripe of red in the center of the thick bands.

Her clothing is simple but well cared for. Her entire wardrobe comprises a few dresses of bold dark colors, paler cotton tunics with laces at the throat, and a pair of old buckskin trousers. She nearly always wears her grandmother's necklace, a length of alternating chunks of white opal and obsidian, with the skull of a jackdaw in the center. Three silver bracelets, each stamped with a line of triangles, rest on her left wrist.
Iseult was once an innocent and trusting young woman. The horrific death of her grandmother and her lover's betrayal has changed her outlook on the world. She is naturally suspicious and even somewhat paranoid, still confident that her pack leader sent warriors after her, searching for revenge. She carefully disguises her natural scent with the heavy perfume of chamomile and lavender, often giving out a fake name. Iseult has also developed a cheerful, friendly mask to show strangers, hiding away her true thoughts and emotions. It takes quite a bit of time and effort to earn her trust enough for her to drop that mask. Once she trusts and cares for someone, she will do whatever is necessary to help and protect them. Because she knows exactly what a truly desperate person can do, she may become overprotective, to the point of obsession.

The mutt tends to avoid children to ignore the guilt she refuses to acknowledge after murdering a young pup. Still, she has always wanted to be a mother and is gentle and kind when forced to interact with them. Iseult treats most animals with the same care, constantly showering Bran, her crow, with food and affection.

Though she can defend herself and has already proven able to kill, Iseult prefers the quick, easily hidden death by poison to blatant violence. However, she can be particularly vengeful when suitably provoked and has the knowledge to leave someone wreathing in agony for days without laying a single finger on them.
Bran, a ten-year-old American Crow. His feathers are carefully groomed and gleam a dull purple in bright sunlight.

Arwen, a twelve-year-old gelding. Though his large, powerful frame point to draft blood, he is surprisingly agile and fast on his feet. Nearly all white, patches of grey and pink skin decorate his nose.
The daughter of Mairwen, a curly coated retriever and greyhound mix, and the granddaughter of Ceridwen, who came to Wales in 2011 after persecution destroyed her family, the Gwydir coven. Iseult has never met her father, though she does know that he was a passing trader. Her mother was constantly busy with her work as the main healer of their small village, so she spent the first three months of her life running about with the other young pups. Her life changed forever when her mother was killed in a rival pack's raid on the village, stealing crops, livestock and killing a few members of the pack, including Mairwen. She was killed after refusing to break her vow as a healer and fight back against the raiders.

Ceridwen took over raising her granddaughter after Mairwen's death. Devastated and enraged, she was sure that Rodrick, the pack leader, caused her death by forcing all healers to swear a vow to never harm another. She decides that Iseult must always be able and willing to defend herself, using any means necessary. Part of that was insisting she was taught as much as possible about hunting and shifting before Iseult could shift. She also passes on her own coven's teachings on magic and the Triple Goddess.

Once she shifted for the first time, Iseult was led through a simple ceremony and given her first tattoo, marking her as a full pack member. Next, she was taken as an apprentice by her grandmother and learned about healing, midwifery, and various religious ceremonies and rituals, including the art of tattooing. By the time she was a year old, she was a well-liked pack member, even being courted by the leader's son, Balor. However, as she got older, she became more and more uncomfortable in her own skin, like she was living a lie.

Iseult began to take longer and longer trips away from the village with her grandmother's encouragement. She wanted her to know how to navigate the world away from the shelter and protection of the pack. Ceridwen even made excuses for her, telling their packmates that she would gather herbs and medicines she needed. On one of those trips, she first met Dakota, a young coyote who lives on a small farm, perhaps two days travel from the village. They quickly become close friends, trading jokes and roughhousing like children. Eventually, the pair begin to develop romantic feelings for each other. Unfortunately, same-sex relationships were totally taboo to Iseult's pack. The chief often went on rants about how disgusting and perverse they are. Her grandmother often expressed her disagreement with him, speaking fondly about her own grandparents, a pair of males who raised an abandoned pup together. However, she was still scared of her reaction. Iseult never confided in Dakota about the internal conflict and outright shame their relationship caused her. Though she was desperately in love with the young female, she didn't tell anyone about her or even mention meeting outsiders when she returned to her village. She was stuck in a strange limbo, torn between her love for Dakota and the only home and family she had ever known.

In that state of turmoil, she reached two years old, and her grandmother decided she was ready to pass the test to become a full-fledged healer in her own right. So the pack was gathered together to watch another of Ceridwen's former protegees quiz her. They went over different plants, their uses, the treatments of various injuries, and how to deal with complications during birth. Once she passed the test, the pack had a small feast to celebrate her accomplishment, and she was given the final part of the tattoo on her left forearm. That night, her grandmother decided she was ready for the Esgyniad ritual of her coven. The ceremony involved fasting for three days and nights, then drinking a mixture of mushrooms and herbs to induce visions, allowing her to create a connection with the goddess and the spirits of the world. After the images had passed, Ceridwen recognized her as a full member of the Gwydir coven of witches and passed on her mother's familiar, a crow called Bran. Oddly reserved for a crow, he listened more than he spoke but lavished affection on Iseult.

The first few weeks in her new role as a healer passed quickly as she treated various cuts, bruises, spring colds and tended to expectant mothers. She was just beginning to hope that she may be able to be open and honest about her relationship with Dakota if she could prove herself a vital member of the pack when everything changed. Iseult helped Becca, the leader's daughter, give birth in the middle of a rainstorm that caused the nearby river to flood, taking three lives. She and her grandmother were sure that the goddess sent the flood to punish the pack because Rodrick, the pack leader, sired his daughter's pup. The witches debated killing the child to appease the goddess, but we're Rodrick's son overheard before they could come to a decision. Iseult was spared because she argued against killing the newborn, but Ceridwen was burnt to death only hours later in Rodrick's attempt to cover up his incestuous relationship with his daughter.

Now certain that the goddess wanted the boy dead and consumed by rage and the desire for revenge, Iseult bid her time, waiting for her chance. It took months of careful planning and preparation, only interrupted by periods of intense mourning and grief. Still, eventually, she was able to gather enough deadly nightshade berries to kill a horse, let alone a tiny pup. She hid them poorly, in full view of the pup, and watched as he gorged himself on the sweet, juicy berries until he trudged off for a nap. By evening, the boy was dead, and Iseult was nowhere to be found. Instead, she had stolen away with the supplies she managed to squirrel away, headed to Dakota's farm.

She arrived in the late evening, intent on running away with her secret lover. Her plans were dashed within minutes of her arrival. Iseult found Dakota in the throes of passion with another, hidden away in the barn. The same barn where they had spent romantic moments, talked about their lives, and made plans for their future together. Devastated all over again, she fled, heading north along the coast. Desperate to get as far away as possible, she stole a white gelding from the camp of a passing hunter. She pushed him hard, constantly sending Bran into the air to search for anyone on her trail. As the summer winds to a close, she arrives in the 'Souls area, ragged and thin from her travels but determined to honor her grandmother by rebuilding her life.
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