Caelia of Star Tower
13th Duchess of Llanford Caelia Eulidd Triatha
Caelia has been imprisoned in Star Tower since she was seven years old. She was sent to serve as eyes for her aged and blind grandmother, the 12th Duchess of Llanford, Ulit Edraun. Together, they found ways of sharing laughter and love, despite the hardships of being locked away with, generally, only each other for companionship.
Now, at age 16, her grandmother has died and Caelia no longer has a reason to remain at the tower. She cannot stay, but neither does she have anywhere else to go.
An Unhappy Memory, Fresh in Caelia's Mind
Caelia sat on an ancient stone bench inside the mews, cradling a finely turned brass urn in her lap. It was heavy with her grandmother's ashes. Almost as heavy as her grieving heart. A fresh wash of tears cascaded down her cheeks as Warden Sechna's words continued their endless circle in her memory.
"We will, of course, allow you some time to cope with these changes. But, as difficult as it is for me to deliver this news...well, Caelia, there is no longer a reason for you to live your life in a prison. It is time for you to make other arrangements."
When Caelia's grandmother rose up against the invasion of her lands, it cost Ulit not only her freedom, but also her sight. Too important to execute (for the Duchess was beloved by her people), the invaders used a horrible device that burned the Duchess' retinas and left her permanently blind. Sent away to Star Tower, the Duchess was allowed to bring her seven year-old granddaughter -- and heir -- Caelia to serve as her eyes and general helper.
For nine long and lonely years, Caelia sat by her grandmother's side, marvelling at how the blind woman could still knit yards of beautiful lace just by feeling the fiber and the needles in her hands. For nine long and lonely years, Caelia read to her grandmother, keeping her informed with all of the latest news from among the counties and the Precious North, as well as entertaining her with every piece of novel fiction that the bookbinders sold. For nine years, Caelia watched her grandmother grow weary and ill.
As age and illness drove Ulit to seek more and more rest, Caelia found herself with more and more free time. When knitting or embroidery became too tedious, she kept busy by finding ways to be useful around the uppermost levels of the tower. Occupation was the only coping skill she had, and so she employed it.
Image: The Pinnacle of Star Tower (includes the mews and Royal balcony)
One day, while delivering messages for Warden Sechna, Caelia ventured into the mews and met Master Falconer Naimay Jutai. Recognizing a suffering child in need of a hobby, Jutai took Caelia on as an Apprentice Falconer. By the time she was 14, she had completed her apprenticeship, and was fully capable of training even small, delicate birds such as kestrel, to hunt.
In working with the tower's hunting raptors, she found the escape she needed from grim reality: her grandmother was dying. And so, It was to the mews that Caelia retreated whenever her grandmother needed a nap. It was to the mews that Caelia retreated after her grandmother's last breath. It was to the mews that Caelia retreated after her grandmother's memorial.
And it was in the mews that Warden Sechna delivered the horrible news that Caelia was soon to be unhoused.
Caelia, there is only so much I can do to prepare you for a world you've never really been a part of. And I have done all I can. But now...now it is up to you. Only you can carry on the family's name and title. Only you can find the justice so long denied to your poor parents.
Even in prison, a Duchess and her heir have certain basic entitlements, including well-prepared food, ample heat and fresh air, and access to education and entertainment. Especially if one of them is a child and not guilty of any crime. And so it was that some portion of Caelia's day was dedicated to being tutored in maths, reasoning, language, writing, history, science, and etiquette.
In addition, her grandmother took great pains to instruct her in the arts including knitting, crochet, embroidery, drawing, painting, music (Caelia can both sing and play the tin whistle). And while she enjoyed learning some more than others, she always put her best effort into anything that her grandmother thought was important.
The whole situation was a literal shit-show....
There were parts of assisting her grandmother that had not been discussed, and for which seven year-old Caelia was simply not prepared. It wasn't changing the bedding during her illness, or even caring for the infection that gave the greatest challenges. She had help for much of that in the form of the tower's doctor. (Old, blind, and imprisoned though she might be, Ulit Edruan was still the 12th Duchess of Llanford and entitled to medical care, even if the injury was sustained as a part of her 'punishment.')
No, it was her grandmother's slow recovery that taught her so much of what life would be like while she remained in the tower.
For instance, the first time that her grandmother was well enough to leave bed to toilet in the water closet. Newly blind, in an unfamiliar location, it was all she could do to make it, even with Caelia's help. Weeks of liquids and soft foods had left her stomach bereft of any fiber from which to form actual turds, and so both the old woman and the little girl were assaulted with the airs, aromas, and aural accompaniment to the hot, liquid results that naturally occur from such a diet.
In the dimness of that toileting closet, Caelia was trying not to cry as the miasma permeated the air around them both, the stench overpowered only by the partridge-rustling fart that released for several heartbeats straight out of the old woman's already angry ass.
In the sudden, smelly silence that followed, it was truly sinking into Caelia that she was going to have to help clean her grandmother of the mess that was being made.
It was made clear that Ulit's own thoughts were mirroring Caelia's, because suddenly, the old woman spoke in a dry, still-weakened voice, "Sometimes, Caelia, in life...we all have to deal with a seriously shitty situation." First Caelia laughed, and then Ulit's dry, wheezing chuckle joined in. Caelia had never heard her grandmother swear before, and the entire situation was just so awful and so ridiculous, that her grandmother's pronouncement -- blatantly calling a pile of shit a pile of shit, as it were -- was just so funny!
In the end, it would be her grandmother's laughter that she missed the most.
Being forcibly blinded was a part of the punishment meted out to her grandmother, though Caelia still doesn't undestand why. The first few weeks were spent in desperate fear. Not of the tower or the people in it, they were housed in the tower's highest levels, and while their accomodations were by no means royal, they were certainly not uncomfortable.
No, the fear was for her grandmother, for the burning of her retinas had allowed an infection and a raging fever that threatened her grandmother's sanity. She spent more than a fortnight sitting by her grandmother's bed, listening to the woman mutter and scream in her fevered delusions, crying out for her mother, her husband, her son to save her.
Once her grandmother's fever broke, and she began recovering, it was up to Caelia to help this strong, proud, old woman learn how to adapt to life in the darkness. For the first year, Ulit leaned on Caelia for everything; from simply learning their new surroundings to dressing and bathing and toileting.
Caelia's relationship with her grandmother has been the driving force of her life. So engulfed in her companionship to the old woman, she suddenly feels underdeveloped. Like a butterfly, emerging from the chrysalis with wings still crumpled and wet. She is seeking the sun in which she can slowly unfurl her wings and stretch, and hoping not to be eaten by a predator.
Contacts & Relations
This is an area that leaves Caelia on unsure footing. While her title as Duchess of Llanford will afford her a small amount of social credit, most of that will be preyed upon and exploited simply to have an opportunity to gawk at "the Duchess of Star Tower." The United Duchies of the Precious North are a notoriously cliquish hive of gossips, rumor mongors, and mud slingers of the lowest type, despite their claims upon 'class' and 'etiquette.'
Caelia inherited her title from her grandmother, the 12th Duchess of Llanford. The title is matrilineal and can only be passed from one female relative to another direct descendent. Ulit bore only one child, a son. When he married and had a daughter -- Caelia Eulidd Triatha -- the title passed to her.
Wealth & Financial state
As a Duchess, Caelia's wealth is precarious. She has no lands or properties and no social prospects, but maintains a steady income through investments in several profitable mining operations. This has also granted her a small fortune in heirloom jewelry, kept safely in a bank lockbox. In addition, her name and title as Duchess of Llanford grant her both financial and social credit...to a point. That is, each will open doors for her, but neither will speak for her behavior on the other side.
Desperately seeking a home since her grandmother's death has left her without lands or a home.
Honorary & Occupational Titles
Thirteenth Duchess of Llanford
Currently Held Titles
Soon to be unhoused.
Clear, deep blue
A rich golden red that turns almost yellow in the sun.
Pale ivory with pinkish undertones