Family, Friends and Foes

Family:

Howard Sommerset
Elenora’s father. 64. A veteran of the Mysterious Off-Screen War. He maintains the Victorian Stiff Upper Lip like a champ; why, it’s a point of honor. The man lives by his honor, and was damn well prepared to die for it. Walks with a limp from some vague war wound and carries a cane, but he is still just as straight-backed and dignified as he was forty years ago. He is also uncommonly understanding and kind, and what pride he has is never directed at himself.
When Elen was first discovered to be fiddling with his guns at the age of eleven, his response was to teach her how to use them. Partly because he didn’t want her sneaking about with them, shooting her own toes off, and partly to prove to her that she could be what she wanted to make herself during at a time when her mother was trying to turn her into something she was not. He felt it was his duty to prepare her for the dangers that he knew she would go looking for later on in life. No matter how much he’d rather she lead a safe, quiet life, he knew he would never be able to push her into something she didn’t want her to do, and was rather proud of her for that.
He’s always willing to share an old war story, but never one revolving around himself. If you asked, he’d tell you that he had nothing important to recount, and would instead glorify his old war companions as the real heroes.
Currently works a quiet little office job for the veteran’s office, to keep busy.
Was always a handy tinkerer, especially when it came to guns, but it was only ever a hobby. The pair of revolvers Elen carries to this day were modified by him.
There is one thing that his open-mindedness and composure does not extend to: Those damn filthy Kreigarian monsters, by the Two!
Tall. Salt-and-pepper hair and beard that is well-trimmed but still seems to occupy most of his face. Generally well-groomed and well dressed. Eyes perpetually narrowed, even when in good spirits, although in recent years he has been quite lonely. He would never admit this, or even let on, but a daughter has her ways of finding out.

Rosalie Sommerset
Elenora’s mother. 100% Caravellan. 58. Age has slowed her but little. She is captain of her own independent merchant ship, The Golden Ivy, and has been for decades. She is just as volatile and untamed as her husband is steadfast. The sea itself can barely contain her sense for adventure. She is often away from home for months at a time on voyages. She is very temperamental, at times subject to fits of pique and selfishness, although she always believes she is doing the right thing. No one else under the two moons could control the crew she has on her ship. She trusts the lot of ruffians for some strange reason, and for even stranger reasons they trust her even more.
She can be downright ruthless if provoked in the right ways.
She practices a combination of religion and intense seafarer’s superstition, which has partially rubbed off on Elen. The goodly captain has dragged Elenora along on many an adventure, mostly in an attempt to convince her daughter that she liked the sea. At least it taught Elen how to shoot men while under pressure, under fire, and on uncertain ground. Her father did not like this one little bit, but Elen had been rather forced to say she wanted to sail the seas, and only prayed he understood. Their mother did sometimes try to see if she could make Elen pick between the two of them. See “Subject to fits of pique” above.
She always thought she was trying to do what was best for Elen, even if Elen herself never saw how it was for her own good. In a way, it was. She always would have picked the path she treads now, but constantly being pushed to be like her mother and brother throughout her childhood has given her stronger convictions about her occupation than she otherwise would have had. It’s due to this constant pushing that Elen feels so strongly about proving, not only to her parents but to herself that she is living a valid, important life and that her occupation is a worthy one. Now, if only she could actually prove she is not a mad chaser of childrens tales.
Rosalie is average height. Hair once bright red, now straight white. Wrinkled and weathered, although one can still tell she was once a beauty. Her whereabouts, as well as the whereabouts of her son (who is her first mate) have been unknown for the past two years, but given her lifelong habit of never being at home for more than a month at a time, one can convince themselves it’s nothing to fret about.
She has an intense fascination with the unknown and unexplored, which had been passed down to her two children in equal measure. Which brings us to…

Everett Sommerset
Elenora’s brother. Older by 5 years, aged 32. First mate on the Golden Ivy. Far more cautious than his mother, but possessing just enough of her wit and fire to keep that ruffian crew of ex-pirates and mercenaries in line (for the most part). His great adventure began when he, at the age of 13, stowed away below decks on one of his mother’s voyages. His mother thought this the epitome of the adventurer’s spirit, and she began to train him up as a proper sailor at once. He tends to handle the business dealings of the ship, as his mother’s wild nature is too unpredictable and impatient to be well suited to such tasks, especially since her age has significantly worn on her capacities for patience. Even more so when she had someone else aboard whom she could trust and was more willing to do it. (She had, in previous memory, gotten away with much in business simply on the virtue of being impossible to argue with.)
Everett and Elen had never been extremely close, although that wasn’t for lack of consideration or effort on either person’s part. Everett had always been, of course, away from home for long stretches of time with their mother, and whenever she was on ship with him, he had his own duties to attend to. When he was at home, Elen was always engaged in her own projects. (At first digging in garden beds that weren’t always their own and being a general pest to the neighbors; later on reading far too much, roaming the city, shooting, digging in more than just garden beds, and trying to see what types of unpleasant moist things would grow what kind of culture if left to their own devices.)
Sandy hair. Strong jaw. Wears spectacles. Possesses a good mind for mathematics. Very quick thinker. Good at reasoning. Just patient enough to temper his mother’s impulses, juuuuust temperamental enough to push a man overboard once. Just once! He deserved it!

Friends

Doctor Avery Rothwell
Born Vernian. 47. Medical doctor, once employed as ship’s surgeon aboard the Golden Ivy when he needed to pay off some looming debts and didn’t mind risking his hide getting shot full of holes to do it. Currently working comfortably out of a little lab in Verne, studying pathogens, because that’s a perfectly tame thing to study. He had always been willing to share conversation with Elen below decks during the long voyages her mother had dragged her on. Elen had always been curious in more ways than one, and he was the first to nudge her interests in the direction of glorious Science. He quit service under Captain Sommerset after five years of working for her, having gotten a bullet in his shoulder during a skirmish with pirates. They had insisted he hand over the medical supplies. He refused to hand over the key, telling outlandish tales of dangerous experiments he had in the works, and that they would all be horrifically mamed and murdered by experimental pathogens, and potentially carry something nasty and contagious back to a seafarer’s town! The real truth was that one of the men were deathly ill and would perish without attention. Also, what kind of rubbish Vernian madman would just do what someone pointing a gun at him says? They’re my blasted experiments, get your own.
Naturally, being pirates, they got impatient. He was shot, although not fatally. Elen saved his life after sorting out the pirates. He never wanted to set foot on another accursed ship again, even if it meant getting lynched by debtors. Luckily, he avoided that. Elen never found out how, but to this day her mother is foaming-at-the-mouth certain that he must have stolen something off the ship.
He carefully avoids towns with ports in them.
It was his influence that made Elen leave home to attend a Vernian university. To this day he is the only friend she believes has ever fully believed in her.
He’s a small man. Dark hair in a constant state of disarray, although cut rather short. Grey at the temples. Thinning at the back. Curates a marvelous mustache and goatee. Has a tendency to become completely incoherent when excited, which is often. He will occasionally work himself into such states of mad joy over some project that even people who know the meanings of all of the words he’s using will still be unable to figure out what he’s talking about.
He is a consummate bachelor. Because of his odd combination of mania and the desire to keep out of trouble after all of his encounters with pirates and angry debtors, Victorian women find him too mad, Vernian women find him too tame, and he finds himself too laden with work.
He and Elenora still keep in contact, although it’s been infrequently as of late. They are both busy people.

Lucas Fitzhughs, PhD
It’s a bit of a stretch to say this man was a school friend (He was nobody’s friend, really. He was terrible friend material), but he is the closest thing Elenora has ever had. He is not a doctor of medicine, but of mathematics. He is an abrasive, sarcastic sort of fellow with very little patience. They were only ever close because he happened to despise the people that despised Elen. They shared only one class, and that for a brief period of time, but she remembered him because he was the only person that ever stood up for her.
He did not quite do it out of a sense of altruism. He held grudges against Elen’s tormentors chiefly because of his own personal altercations with them. How they treated anyone else contributed to his ire only in secondary capacities.
The so-called friendship she had with the man was a very odd one. They were always angry at each other for some reason or other; on his end it was annoyance at what he deemed her childish, naive ways, and she in turn did not appreciate his inability to look at anything without being flippant and snide. Sarcasm is his chief personality trait. He never pretended that made him noble in any way. He was, at times, a completely unsympathetic ass, and unparalleled in his moodiness. He was, however, more annoying and stubborn than actually mean-spirited.
Despite his being older than her by two years, Elen viewed him like a peevish younger brother. While he looked out for her in a rather roundabout, vindictive way, she tried to help the miserable bloke make some real friends out of a sense of altruism. She could tell he wasn’t all bad, but his reckless, self destructive, devil-may-care attitude made it very hard to see sometimes.
He played his cards close to his chest. All she ever found out about his own life was that he was born in Victoria and moved to Verne in his late teens after some event made him decide a life submerged in the scientific arts was a better life to live.
They parted ways at graduation, and she hasn’t spoken to him since. He was, overall, quite ungrateful of Elen’s efforts at friendship, and they didn’t part on particularly good terms.
Current age is 29. Got his doctorate within the last year. He is a short, angry individual, with light hair.

Enemies

Edward Burke, PhD
When Elen first went to University, she was naive. She was overly optimistic. She chased fairy tales and legends in the search for some Great Good.
One student was of the impression that she was stupid, and childish, and that she would run home at the first sign of real danger or work; that she was merely a rich little girl come to be entertained.
This student was Edward Burke. His major was biochemical engineering. One of his minors was petty bullying. He seemed to be of the impression that his attempts to drive Elen from the school were noble; that he was enacting some kind of purge of those Unworthy to Science. This crusade mainly consisted of making sure no one in his large circle of friends were nice to her, and then becoming even worse when she started to retaliate. Her parents were many things, but they did not raise a woman who took injustice wordlessly.
She may have forgotten about him entirely, had he not stepped up his game when she left school.
His circle of influence was a very large one at school. The professors were not terribly fond of him as a person, but he was uncommonly bright, and had a habit of finding out little secrets about the people he did not like and letting them know about it. After graduation, it wasn’t that hard for him to make his way up the ladder of an esteemed Victorian University, and settling himself in a prestigious career. The word blackmail is, possibly, too strong a word to use.
Possibly.
Fast forward a year past Elen’s graduation. Fast forward to a funded expedition gone terribly wrong. Fast forward to a powerful man who always kept tabs on old acquaintances suddenly discovering that the one woman who stood up to him most had made a fool of herself with university money. Fast forward to this man realizing that this woman, who had nearly fallen off his radar, knew things about his schoolday escapades.
It’s no secret to the scientific community that mad, unaccountable Dr. Elenora Sommerset chases leadless legends. It’s no secret why she funds her own expeditions.
The last time she heard from Doctor Burke directly was right after he made a public fool of her. Directly after that one and only funded expedition. She had not been graced with his presence for a handful of years when she received a calling card one afternoon, handed off by one of his servants at her door and leaving without anything other than a quick, “Dr. Burke sends his regards.”
The card was elaborately decorated, pristine in her grubby, gunpowder-and-plant-matter-stained hands, and read, “I am ever so pleased to see you are wasting your life. If you would like to come and work for a real scientist, feel free to contact me at the address below.”
She did not send a response and has not made any effort to contact him, but she did keep the card, if only to remember what his address was.

Jamison
Elen, if pressed, would not be able to confirm if this was either the man’s first or last name. She only ever heard the word barked in his direction aboard the deck of the Golden Ivy.
Jamison was once connected with pirates in some way, although it seems to be he never actually was one himself. A big fellow, fond of drink, his face generally hidden by copious amounts of hair and beard. Despite his thick build he was not thick in the head; he had a great deal of animal cunning and could sniff out an opportunity or deal from a mile away. Elen’s mother has always been good at making use of people’s unique skills, and she made the man first mate. However, he was demoted when Everett joined up as a permanent member of the crew at his mothers side, and essentially stole his job.
Jamison was quite pissed off about this. No one was surprised.
A few months ensued in which he questioned the new First Mate’s authority at every opportunity and did his best to get into actual fist fights with him, before the generally patient and very shrewd Everett finally had enough and pushed him overboard. While docked, mind; he didn’t want to kill the man.
Elen wasn’t sure why, but after that he began to behave. He didn’t suddenly become docile; that would have been terribly suspicious. He continued being a competitive ass, but he seemed to have some sense of shame, and it was rather thought that he simply couldn’t help himself.
There did, indeed, seem to be a sensitive side to the man, as he took a bit of an interest in the personal work of Doctor Avery Rothwell. He didn’t quite understand much, but he liked to listen. Elenora had gotten to know him. Neither she nor Everett really blamed him for his previous behavior. When he wasn’t hollering in that thick Celden accent, he was actually quite soft spoken and thoughtful.
Then, when Elen was seventeen, there was a pirate attack. Attacks happened quite often, but this one seemed uncommonly coordinated. It all made sense when Jamison started helping them board, and they called him warmly by name.
The pirates stole a large number of things, only to be stopped short on their way to the medical supplies by a thoroughly terrified and angry little Vernian nerd. Things got weird. Always prone to telling tall tales, he spouted a lot of impressive sounding nonsense about plague and destruction. Elen, hopelessly outgunned, watched from the shadows as Jamison personally shot Doctor Rothwell for his troubles. Not fatally, but the fact that he volunteered to do it…
Elen did not take kindly to that, and blew up their ship.
Well technically she snuck onto their ship, set their rum on fire, hid out until their captain showed himself to find out what happened, and then shot him dead, but. You know. Explosions sound better in the retelling.
Jamison escaped.
Never trust a pirate.

Family, Friends and Foes

World of Gears Elenora