Bard, healer, merchant and dilettante extraordinaire, Aedina Kensen is one of Elysian City's most noteworthy citizens. The head of House Kensen, among the most humble of the noble houses of Elysia, she is known by many as a lucrative businesswoman and philanthropist besides, to a few the Lady of the chivalric Order of the White Rose.
Aedina Kensen was born to Merikano and Damara Kensen shortly after the couple and their nomadic gypsy clan arrived in Ireland. Aedina's father was a blacksmith by trade, and the waxing and waning of that trade's popularity necessitated migration all over Europe. Though primarily based on Ireland at the time of Aedina's birth, their clan wandered far and wide in search of coin for songs and lore.
Aedina's childhood consisted of a great deal of education, as her parents taught her the ways of her nomadic people and of their adopted nation. The young wolfess took well to Ireland's idyllic landscape, ancient traditions and respect for the bard's craft, however, and it was the more traditional beliefs of her parents she had more trouble accepting. Though caring and considerate, Merikano and Damara could not shield her from the world's ills forever, especially considering what the Kensens had to hide.
In secret, her mother ran the other Kensen family business - black-market healing magicke. They would administer their skills to the poor and infirm, who could not afford the services of proper surgeons and mage-clerics. However many governments of Europe do not allow commoners or foreign aliens to perform sorcery, and compounded with the natural fear for nomadic people, the Kensen family's life was a constant struggle to keep the eyes of the law away, and those of the excitable villagers nearby.
Aedina had learned well both of the trades of her parents, but in secret from even her mother trained in a third craft entirely in the tutelage of her camp's many Bards. Though she vicariously lived a life of adventure in the lyrics of the bards' songs, it seemed her life would follow along the predictable lines of her parents, with so many young clansmen to make a wife of her. In the fall of 1556, however, something most unusual happened - Aedina fell in love.
She found him wounded in an empty field, but whether felled in a battle of some skirmishing Nobles or perhaps by the xenophobic townsfolk nearby she could not tell. Unconcerned, she nursed him back to health in secret, and it was then that the strangeness of him became fully apparent.
He was beautiful and roguish, as though mirrored from her own girlish expectations. He spoke her own tongue, and that of the nearby Irish, and a great many others, for such a young man. He sang beautifully, and told stories of sublime grace and breathless adventure, awakening in her that old love of the Bards' Tales. And in him, all the stories of her romantic fantasies were fulfilled, creating an infatuation in Aedina that she not could quiet.
Tempted to abandon her duty to her family, Aedina found herself in a pitched battle betwixt heart and mind. They met again, each time growing closer yet more uncertain of their fate together, until one night they fell on each other's bodies, overcome by lust and the dream to be together.
Full Name: Aedina Kensen
Affiliation: House Kensen
Height: 5' 6"
Magicke: Trained and practiced in the use of healing water-magicke, with a strong affinity also for elementary ward-magicke. Can create empathic barriers, sensing and soothing others. Good magicke defense.
Abilities: Extensive knowledge of bardic traditions, folklore, music and storytelling. Trained singer and performer. Multi-lingual, speaking Irish, Common, Elvish and others. Advanced knowledge of etiquette and social graces, excellent mediator and counsellor. Exceptional business sense and mercantile experience.
Weaknesses: Allergic to feathers [to the smell of them], and to caffeine. Low resistance to alcohol, and usually will not drink. Non-combatant. Any threat to her son, Lithius - doing so is not advised.
A fortnight of yearning and passion later, however, fate deigned something else entirely for the two. As he bathed in an earthen pool and the moonlight fell upon him, she discovered that most forbidden truth. His body was all over painted by luminescent markings and a magicke aura right from the folklore she had come to know. Against all the ancient warnings of her parents' stories, Aedina had fallen for a faerie.
As he discovered her watching him, his eyes filled with a sadness she had never known them to display, and a moment later was simply gone. All that remained of him were his doffed clothes, and a single white rose at the shore of the water where his feet had last touched the earth.
In sadness, Aedina persevered, her life having resumed its banal course once more. She had kept their affair secret from everyone, but fate once again intervened. Months after her lover had vanished from thin air, it appeared that he had unwittingly left her a most unusual gift - an unusual swell in her belly that the other clansfolk instantly recognized.
Despite his bastardy, Damara stubbornly insisted the baby was just another Kensen for the pack, as good as any other, and tradition be damned - but one look proved the newborn pup most untraditional. Down in the towns, word spread of the Changeling, a frightening monster in the county, sired by a demon and birthed from the womb of a mortal witch.
And in the camps where her clan dwelt, Aedina cared for the suckling monster. As the rumours of her son's deformities grew, Merikano feared the ire of the townsfolk would come down upon the clan in violence. Some in the clan suggested it were best if they awoke one morning and the baby had simply disappeared.
Intractable, the clan took their plan to Merikano, who in a rage lashed out at the atrocity of their scheme. It was at that moment that Merikano revived an old tradition and proclaimed the child's name - Lyssion, in the old Elven-tongue. Led by Merikano's stubbornness, the small family threw their lot in with the infant, and decided to leave the following morning. When the shouting started in the distance, they knew they were too late. The long night's discussion had taken away what little time the clan had. The townsfolk came with their scythes and axes, demanding the gypsies produce the Changeling and its witch mother.
Nearby soldiers, indifferent to the nomads' plight, turned a blind eye. With no time to summon some nobler authority, Damara, desperate, took her daughter and grandson to the rear of the camp under the cover of night and angry shouting in the camp square. Returning with an empty look in her eyes, Damara parted the crowd and told the townsfolk's elder grimmer news than even he wanted to hear - she had murdered her daughter, and set the baby adrift in the river for the water's demons to reclaim. The townsfolk returned to their villages, terrified at what they had seen that night. Whispers of what the gypsies were truly capable of spread far and wide.
Thousands of excuses for Lyssion's large ears, glowing eyes and missing toes were made, yet when the excuses fell short, Aedina was on the run again. She had desperately fled through every village and hamlet in the country, and stopped only when she met the wide and ominous sea. The gold and provisions secreted to her by her mother were gone by now. That night so very long ago when the townsfolk had come, wielding their axes and torches in the name of Goodness, she had had no time to pack her own belongings to sell.
Fearing the end of her ill-fated journey, and in mourning for a childhood lost, Aedina despaired. She could not summon the skills of survival her parents had taken such pains to teach her. Derelict on the streets of windswept maritime cities, she begged or stole what she needed to keep the boy breathing; Lyssion, for whom she had suffered, for whom she had given up her life and her love and her beloved mother and father. Lyssion. Elvish for "Sweet Son".
The World Her Stage
Lyssion spent his 12th birthday masquerading as Aedina's brother, D'mitrius. The apparent siblings had come to a wealthy merchant, politely asking to cash an exchequer's note in "D'mitrius"'s name. This would prove to be a common occurrence. Lyssion had grown strong and quickly in the interspersing years, and as Aedina refined her craft for magicke, bard's lore and the many performances of an itinerant life, so too did her son. He was a natural false-facer and con-man, keeping his and Aedina's bellies full, but her mind full of worry.
Some months later, the "birthday" scam reared its (rather handsome) head when Aedina encountered her elder brother, and the real D'mitrius Kensen. Surprised to find the pair, thought lost or dead, D'mitrius forgave the debt (all the while wondering how a 12 year old boy with gigantic ears had managed to impersonate him). After a brief pause to meet his nephew and reunite with his long-lost sister, "Mitri" set the trio out to return to the Kensen clan. But when they arrived, only the remnants of ancient cookfires remained - the clan had gone.
Though Aedina had sacrificed all for her son and doted upon her kind brother, always was she in unrequited love for her lost faerie. She recalled his disappearance from her life, and the sadness of his eyes that told her it was not his will to leave. And so it was that when Lyssion came of age, she knew what she must do to quiet the longing of her heart. Lyssion had, as expected, taken up the wanderlust that was surely his Sire's, and packed a bag to seek his fortune, masquerading as a mortal teenager with the world his oyster. Though sad for his leaving, she knew he was as helpess to resist the call of his heart as she was to hers.
Her journey took her to the place where her lover had bathed that night, in the secret glade beside the earthen pool. There the traditions of her people taught her well, for the lore of the gypsy clans contained instructions for the use of faerie monuments. Within a heartbeat she was spirited to an eerie wood, as old as time, and stretching out farther than any other she had seen. When Lyssion returned to the spot some months later, she was not to be found.
Unable to find any trace of his mother, it was Lyssion's turn to despair. He traveled across the continent, as far as distant Persia in the absence of her guidance. Aedina finally tracked her son down in Venice, Italy - and in the nick of time. Another moment and she would have been too late to save her son from a hangman's noose (the boy, you see, had become something of a delinquent in the years since her disappearance).
After a brief reunion, they set sail for the West, desperate to quite literally put their troubles behind them. On the journey, she beheld her grown son, so like his father, and so too did he behold her; possessed of an unusual aura only he could perceive, and with her long dark hair having gone shock-white, despite her appearing not to have aged a day. Aedina regaled him with the story of her journey to Fae, the ancient homeland of his sire, and shared many secrets that had not left that place in an Age.
The Kensens arrived in Elysia as mother and son again, though the years of her son's delinquency worried her. How had he gone so far astray in what seemed such little time? Aedina, not without new skills of her own, decide it was best she try her paw and more lucrative pursuits than their itinerant, dangerous past.
Aedina found the merchants of Elysian City eager for goods of exotic quality, and the authorities generally confused. When the Kensens arrived in the city, the registrar had in fact mistakenly recorded her son's name as Lithius, which he, eccentric as ever, began going by socially. Aedina may have thought this a good omen, or simply a good idea - his old name had been associated with an impressive array of crimes in Europe, and even a bogus Knighthood. Begrudgingly, she began only referring to her son by his true name in the privacy of their estate.
Aedina quickly formed her Kensen Trading Company, which grew as quickly as did the city's trade. The very same ship that bore the Kensen family to Elysia, now known as the Gossamer Pride, became a source of some excitement for the people of Elysian City, who know its golden sails and white-rose emblem to be the sign of rare and wonderful goods.
War, and the Kensens Separated Again
Aedina remained in Elysian City despite the Arrym sack of the city during the War of 1579. She despaired her decision, however, when Lithius was taken captive by the Novari, and charged with treason in the early months of the Occupation. She made every imaginable sacrifice to secure his release from an unknown prison somewhere in the Kingdom.
Aedina opened several poorhouses in Elysian City to assuage the suffering of the poor and infirm, but kept them open after the city was returned to Elysian control after the signing of the Treaty. She is also rumoured to have aided The Resistance, but this was by no means confirmed by the time the Novari relinquished control of the Kingdom and could no longer act upon the reports. The only strong evidence of covert activities on her part, truly, is the widespread affection of the citizens of Elysian City, who have on several occasions strongly encouraged her to run for Mayor.
Aedina remains one of the most lucrative and philanthropic merchants in the nation. She has close but professional ties to many business interests, all of them allegedly 100% legitimate. Aedina seems friendly with the Nawab of Elysian City's Cartels, Xander Pride.
She is also said to have caught the attention of even Queen Gia herself, though their relationship is uncertain. Now Dame Aedina Kensen, her house has been raised to the status of a Lesser noble house. House Kensen is among the most talked about of Lesser Houses, especially for its extremely small size.
Lithius, having appeared to finally been rehabilitated from his life of crime, has been granted a knighthood on her behalf and is now Ser Lithius. Nonetheless, Aedina still worries for a potential relapse in her son, and his general well-being in a world so intolerant of someone so different.
Aedina sent for her family once resources allowed, and is now reunited with her brother, D'mitrius Kensen, who resides in Elysian City as an Elysian citizen. "Mitri" tends to the importing and exporting of Aedina's trading company, which suits his tendency for wanderlust just fine. Mitri and Lithius have shared something of a bond, and are known to spend a great deal of time in each other's company when the elder Kensen is in town. The whereabouts of her parents, much to her dismay, are as yet unknown.
Aedina administers the Order of the White Rose, a secret, informal organization of persons chosen by she alone for their virtue, chivalry and charity. For Aedina the white rose is a symbol of virtue itself in the face of adversity, something she herself has known all too well, and is now the most prominent icon in the heraldry of House Kensen.
Though Aedina has no shortage of potential suitors in Elysian City, Aedina's recently found a sense of love and romance with the good Doctor Ren Fei. She now shares her home and heart with him, and his foster son, Kit, for whom Aedina cares greatly.