From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
Lurid Dawn is the name given to Abigail Tanner during her rise to notariety in the late 17th century. Enamored by anything mystical, Dawn's true interest is in Necromancy and Nether magicks.
Dawn, Abigail, was born in a small town north of Holmes Chapel in the Bucklow hundred of Cheshire some time in the mid-14th Century of England. The daughter of a tanner, Abigail was the elder sister to Lilly and had two older brothers, Marcus, the eldest child, and James.
The Early Years (~1350 AD)
The family lead a relatively simple life until Abigail was five years old, at which time a man in a black cloak stopped by their cottage to call on Abigail. He claimed to her parents that Abigail had been born as a blessed child, with a special gift and great power. Glenn, Abigail's father, turned the man away immediately and told him to never return. Undeterred the cloaked man, who claimed to be from a distant monastery far to the north, returned to visit the family several more times over the next two years. Her parents began to worry for the safety of the child and the local villagers began to speak rumors that one of the tanner children was cursed by the devil.
These rumors would come to a head when a shepherd heard the cries of Abigail's parents one evening in early spring. The child, now seven, had gone missing and as he crossed the meadow he saw her emerge from the forest. Rushing to her, he called the parents to him, but found the child wounded, apparently stabbed in the chest, her dress soaked in blood. When the parents reached her, they found no wound, only the blood and a sobbing, terror stricken little girl. The shepherd ran from the scene shouting "demon" and the village rumors began to find a solid voice. Her parents charged the older brothers to keep watch over their sister from that day forward.
Six years later, Abigail would face brutal attack by the village during a simple trip to the market. Abigail had gotten used to the stares and whispers and took no notice of the malice in their eyes on that day when a mob formed around her and dragged her to the outskirts of town, where they tied her down and unanimously declared her a witch. Kicking and screaming, Abigail fought in vain as a fire was lit beneath her and a cheer went up from the crowd. James was the first to her rescue, he pushed his way through the crowd and braved the flames to free his younger sister, Marcus arrived shortly after to push back those in the crowd that would try to stop them. James received severe burns to his arms for his valiant rescue and Abigail locked herself away, never straying further from home than the garden.
The man in the cloak returned the following year, claiming that he could protect the girl. Abigail listened to what the man had to say, then broke down into tears, finally understanding that the village was right and that she was cursed. Lena, Abigail's mother, responded violently and chased the man from their home with a knife. Lilly watched in sadness as her beautiful older sister began to waste away inside of the home, her skin began to pale, her long, black hair was never again done up with flowers as she used to. Lilly took measures to try and bring out the beauty she once admired in Abigail.
One day, when Abigail was sixteen, Lilly proposed that they go for a walk along the brook. Abigail refused at first, but Lilly insisted that the day was more beautiful than she had ever seen and wanted to see her lovely sister once more brought to life. They spent the day laughing and playing as they had done when they were girls, making flowered necklaces and hair pieces; the two sisters forgot all of their troubles. Their joy would be short lived. During their return home they were set upon by a group of men who had heard the rumors that a raven haired witch lived in the area. They beat Abigail, flailing her with whips and stones as her younger sister watched in horror. When they were finished, both girls were murdered and discarded deep in the forest.
Abigail woke from death for the second time in her life, only to find her sister's body lying next to her. It was the final thread to snap. Abigail was driven to the very heart of despair, and her family lashed out violently against the village. Her brothers took matters into their own hands and began a crusade to punish the village, burning barns and killing livestock. The back lash from the village saw the arrest and execution of Marcus and James was murdered during a fight in the tavern. The man in the cloak returned to the family once again, and Abigail willingly left with him to study at the monastery. That night, the villagers, unaware that she had left, burned her house to the ground, killing her mother and father. Abigail cursed the village and never returned. Three months after she left, the Black Death swept through the area and decimated the village.
The Monastery (~1370 AD)
Abigail followed the cloaked man to Byland, in North Yorkshire. He revealed his name to be Geoffrey, part of an order of monks who practiced ancient forms of majick. He claimed the order had been seeking children all over Britannia born with special gifts, namely immortality. The order had come to call them “The Deathless” and Abigail was one such individual. When she arrived at Byland Abbey, she was given a room and left to mostly to herself. Here she would eventually learn to read and write and was encouraged to study tomes with the monks. She was not assigned duties, save one, and was free to roam the halls and study at her own leisure.
The external facade was that of an order of Cistercian monks. They raised sheep and exported wool. Inside the walls, however, they were known as the Followers of Samael. The sheep served the dual purpose of income and supplied many of the sacrifices necessary for their rituals. In recent years, their patron had grown weary of animal sacrifice and demanded human blood be spilled. The followers asked for a way to avoid costly human lives and were told to seek out The Deathless. Abigail was the first of eventually four to arrive in Byland. She took part in weekly ritual sacrifices in which her blood was the offering. At first, she begged to be released from her duty, but Geoffrey assured her that they were seeking others who would lighten her burden. It would be three years before the second Deathless would arrive.
As an immortal, she out lived Geoffrey and saw several generations of cultists come and go. By the time it was dissolved in 1538, a total of ten Deathless had been in and out the doors of Byland Abbey. Whilst living there, they took turns participating in the rituals as human sacrifices, but most grew to hate their lives within the monastery walls. As they were not prisoners, many of the Deathless would leave; and some would return, finding no home outside the walls. In the beginning Abigail was like the others, loathing her life within the walls. With no where to turn outside and nothing but pain inside, she turned to reading. She read every manuscript to circulate through the grounds, particularly enjoyable were the tales of Robin Hood and those that would eventually become Morte d'Arthur. She prayed and begged for a knight like those in the tales to come and release her from the torment. Her prayers would eventually be answered.
When a wounded knight stumbled upon Byland, Abigail took it upon herself to nurse the man back to health. On the verge of death, Abigail used the magicks and potions she had learned from ancient tomes to cure his otherwise fatal wounds. During his recovery, the two became close. He would have been her salvaton had he not discovered the truth of the cult's actions. He confronted them and was murdered. Abigail took a vow to avenge his death. Embracing darker arts to combat the cult, she took to studying tomes of magick and necromantic rituals. Through years of study no mortal life would have afforded, Abigail became a powerful dark magician. Her name was little known, and mostly circulated through underground channels by word-of-mouth.
Wandering (~1535 AD)
After Byland Abbey was dissolved in 1538, Abigail went to London for a brief time. A vagabond, she wandered the streets for a while before turning to petty thievery to earn her living. Realizing that there was little to gain in the suburbs, she began targeting high class citizens. With high class, however, came more notoriety and she was forced to flee London. She fled over the channel to France, at the height of the Rennaisance. She once more turned to thievery to pay her way, and would often steal works of art, ransoming them back to the owners or selling them to the highest bidder. Weaving her way south through France over the years, she eventually crossed the Alps into Italy. Enamored by the birth place of the Rennaisance, she settled down in Florence for a few years before her funds once again ran dry.
Abigail once more set out to journey through Europe. When she arrived in Spain, things seemed to go well for her, but she wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition. Accurately accused of being a witch, she was sentenced and burned at the stake. During the execution, she managed to call the spirits of the witches who were burned before her to save her from the flames. She fled Spain, ravaged her way east, through France, and eventually found herself in Germany.
Samurai Legacy (1598 AD)
((After 60 years of roaming and wandering Europe and Asia, Abigail comes to Japan at the rise of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Learning Japanese martial arts from prominent Samurai and even some ninja techniques, Abigail raises an army of fallen warriors, ruling several villages through fear and tyranny.))
The Burning Seas (1683 AD)
((Abigail is forced to flea from Japan. Beginning a westward journey on the open seas, she eventually finds herself in the Caribbean under the service of the East India Company. Once again her power over the dead serves her ends as she raises a crew of dead sailors to take up a life of piracy. Her exploits in the Caribbean earn her the name of The Lurid Dawn.))
Easy Living, Hard Time (1732 AD)
((Having garnered a considerable fortune through her crimes on the Burning Sea, Abigail, now notorious as The Lurid Dawn, settles in the American colonies until tensions rise with England. Dawn returns home to her home, Britannia, in the late 1700's and spends the next century studying arts, literature, and furthering her knowledge of the arcane. The lives lost in the wake of World War I were simply too much of an opportunity for the necromancer to pass up. Raising countless soldiers from their battlefield graves, The Lurid Dawn rampages through Europe, long after fighting ends. Several years later, fearing she would side with the Axis powers in the advent of World War II, Allied forces consult with the Midnight Squad to devise a way to seal Dawn's dark powers. She would eventually be captured and imprisoned.))
Dawn was locked away in prison for seventy years. Transferred from one holding facility to the next, she was powerless as long as the seals binding her powers remained in place. The seals took the form of a series of enchanted, interwoven chains, designed to alter the flow of nether energy. Dawn still possessed the power to summon the dead from the grave; however, her power was severely limited in that she could only maintain control over one entity, and even then only for a few minutes. After a failed attempt to escape from authorities in the late 40's, stricter policies were put into place regarding how Dawn was handled. All transfer routes were to avoid proximity to cemeteries, and all facilities were not permitted to have on-site morgues or burials. All future locations were studied historically and archeologically to ensure that no corpse would be within her limited grasp. Dawn would have little luck trying to exercise her powers over the following years. Her violent demeanor would calm and she would once more return to quiet study of arcane magic.
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