Esmé Eaton

Esmé Eaton, Master Wizard

Esmé Eaton spent most of her life in Golddale. She was born and raised there, trained there, and worked there supporting the miners for around 20 years. While not traditionally beautiful, Esmé is a striking woman with incredible force of personality. She is lean and wiry even in her middle years and maintains her physical fitness via daily exercises.

Esmé is a skilled magician who worked for years crafting strong and practical devices to assist the miners. Her specialty as an enchantress made her reasonably wealthy, but true to her Golddale heritage, she was always far too stubborn to retire. Her devices, while sturdy and practical, always had a bit of art to them; as such, many of her machines and enchanted devices are still in use in the mines nearly a decade after her forced retirement.

The day after her fortieth birthday, she was helping with an emergency fix to an enchanted cart-mover when the enchantments somehow… snapped. Her left arm was caught under the cart and mangled. Though she was quickly brought to the healers, her arm was shredded and nearly torn off at the elbow. The healers treated her, restoring most of her left arm's function, but she still complains that it's just not the same as before the accident. Her arm still bears the deep, angry scars from that accident, but she refuses to show any embarrassment or cover them up.

After the accident, Esmé tried to return to mining duties, but her next few forays into the mines met with additional minor accidents. The minors, calling these incidents bad omens, forced her out of service. Irritated and restless, Esmé decided to move away from her home city and see more of the Island. She travelled for the better part of a year and finally settled in Violetford. Maleos is only the second student she has accepted.

At the start of the campaign, Esmé is 49 years old.

A key point of friendly contention between Esmé and Maleos centers around their different approaches to crafting. While Maleos is all about practicality above all else, Esmé firmly believes that creations should reflect a certain art and beauty in addition to their practicality.

Personality Notes

  • Prefers to teach via Socratic method, asking questions and requiring her apprentices to figure things out for themselves.
  • Kind-hearted, but hides this under an outer crust of crotchetiness.
  • Stand-offish and introverted for the most part, but has the force of personality to take charge of situations when she absolutely has to.
  • Stubborn to an incredible degree.

Inspirations

  • The Lancre witches of Discworld, and in particular, Granny Aching
  • Crotchety Socrates

Esme's Accident

In her younger days, Esme was a miners-mage, a journeyman or higher wizard assigned to help with mining tasks that the apprentices couldn't handle and weren't safe for even experienced non-magical miners. She, like all half-dozen or so of them, was issued with safety gear (part of it being things she had to help craft herself) and was sent down to do things like assist miners inspecting new or unstable sites, check on or stop bad air, and help search for new deposits of ore. She also had to know some all-around magic like basic healing spells in case someone was injured on the job and needed to be stabilized before they could be taken to a priest.

Being a miners-mage is tough work, and most of the apprentices try to move away from it after they've satisfied their contracts. Esme was one of the rare wizards who didn't. She enjoyed the hard work and being in the mines, and she had good ideas for mine improvements. If she were honest with herself, she had another purpose for it, too; she'd struck up a relationship with a man a few years older than she was, a man named Richard Darcy. He was an experienced miner who'd apprenticed at a smithy for a time as well and had all the makings of a masterminer, and he and Esme had nearly come to a sort of informal understanding. Richard's younger brother, Jerred, was easily as skilled a miner and smith as Richard but was overshadowed by Richard's more personable nature. He was jealous of Richard and Esme's relationship and of the attention Richard garnered, but this led to nothing more than family spats from time to time.

The Usurper, however, took advantage of this situation. It called out to Jerred, planting thoughts in his head of revenge and of domination. Eventually, it managed to entice Jerred into a section of mine where it had hidden a shard of itself. The shard took over Jerred and twisted his mind further against his brother and Esme. With the help (and under the influence) of this Usurper-shard, Jerred hatched a plan.

Jerred used the power offered by the Usurper to confuse some miners into damaging a section of mine, rendering it unstable and unsafe. He then reported this in such a way as to guarantee that Richard, Esme, and another miner (Tobias Dees) would be sent in to inspect the tunnel and build initial bracings. Before sending them down, Jerred assisted the Usurper in slipping another two shards to Tobias: one to dominate him and one for Esme.

Once in the isolated section of the mine, Tobias attacked. He waylaid Richard, but both the Usurper and Jerred had underestimated Esme's grit. She managed to wound Tobias grievously before the second shard attacked and partially paralyzed her. After it had crawled into her mouth and was trying to dominate her, she wrenched her body around until her component pouch tore from her hip and tore it open with her teeth. She consumed the acids and poisons she had stored in there (horrendously toxic chemicals used for analyzing new veins), reasoning that if she couldn't walk away, she was going to take this evil worm thing down with her. Because of the influence of the Usurper-shard, though, she managed to survive, though both she and the shard were ravaged by the toxins she had consumed. She vomited up the shard just as the other crawled from Tobin's corpse. The two together could have saved and dominated her, but she refused to give up. She shoved herself to her feet, leaning against the wall, and slammed her pick into the poisoned shard again and again until it was dead, ignoring the damage it was doing to her. She was fully blinded and had ribbons of skin torn off her legs by the time she killed the first shard, and the second was still maneuvering to spring onto her and paralyze her for domination. Rather than succumb to that, she unleashed everything she had at the shard on the cavern ceiling, bringing the cavern down on top of her, Richard, the living shard, the dead shard, and Tobias's corpse.

The cave-in destroyed all evidence of her attack on Tobias and of the two shards. Unfortunately, it also killed Richard, who had barely been hanging on to life after Tobias's attack. Esme herself was trapped under debris for more than a day before regaining consciousness; she tore at the debris for hours, uncovering part of her mangled left arm and leg, before the other miners were able to reach her. The combination of toxic chemicals and blows to the head left Esme without memory of the events; she remembered vaguely heading into the mines with Tobias and Richard for inspection, but nothing after.

It took Esme a few weeks to fully recover, but she was determined to return to the mines (and never to show how broken up she was about Richard). In that time, the now-twisted Jerred had considered killing her many times. Without the means to dominate her, and with her now-mangled arm and leg, he'd completely lost interest in her. Instead of killing her directly, though, and potentially drawing suspicion, he and the Usurper hatched a series of plans to either kill or discredit her, thus getting her out of their way and clearing the way for Jerred to become masterminer in the future.

After the incident, Jerred or another stooge of the Usurper set things up so that something would go wrong for Esme every time she set foot in the mines. With each incident, more and more people grew convinced that perhaps she wasn't so innocent in the collapse that killed two miners and shut down an arm for more than a month; perhaps Esme was reckless and untrustworthy. After a couple of months, she was pulled in front of a tribunal of masterminers and masterminer-candidates, including Jerred. Jerred's campaign to discredit her and his uncharacteristically impassioned speech before the tribunal put the nails in her coffin; the only saving grace of the whole situation is that the tribunal agreed to downplay the matter in the future and not stand in the way of Esme making her own way so long as she did so elsewhere and stayed far clear of the mines. This is what drove Esme to leave Golddale for Violetford and to become an enchantress and instructor, as no one could fault her spellcrafting abilities.


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