The Mark of Hubris
A likeable lass, fair of voice and skin, but look deeper, and you will find much more.
Grand-daughter of Ben Blackthumb, the old smith of Harrenhal, who has served House Lothston and House Whent. She has a fair singing voice.
Jonas Blackthumb simply couldn’t settle into the blacksmithing trade; he discovered as an apprentice to his father, Ben, that a life lived in Harrenhall’s smithy was not for him. The 18-year-old’s adventurous spirit prompted him to begin a journey across the continent, and quite possibly beyond the borders of Westeros if he was lucky. However, Jonas never made it that far. Two years into his travels, he found himself at Storm’s End – and in love with a young woman, Yelissa Storm. Jonas and Yelissa were married a short time after their meeting, and the adventurous young man who couldn’t manage to stay in one place for more than a few weeks resolved to settle down in Storm’s End forever. He took a job as a crewman on a commercial ship, which enabled him to care for his family while also satisfying his need for adventure. A year into their marriage, their first child, a little girl they named Fiona, was born. When Fiona was three, however, tragedy struck the happy little family: Yelissa died giving birth to her second child, and the infant boy survived her by only two days. Jonas, away at sea when tragedy struck, returned home to find only his little Fiona remained. The young husband blamed himself for being absent when his wife needed him most, and fell into a deep depression. He turned away from his job and daughter, relying on alcohol to numb the pain and guilt. Sentient enough to realize he couldn’t care for his little girl alone, he resolved to return to Harrenhall and his father, Ben. There, he believed, Fiona would have a better life than he was able to provide.
Fiona grew up in the legendary corridors of Harrenhall, a mischievous and curious little girl who had inherited her father’s adventurous spirit. The ghostly towers of Harrenhall held more fascination than fear for her. While her father was physically present, he was certainly not able to look after his growing daughter; Fiona’s grandfather, Ben, was the only bright spot in her life. However, he was often busy in the smithy and unable to direct her education properly anyhow. Largely left to her own devices, she grew into a fiercely independent little girl. With no mother to guide her, she became quite the little “tomboy.” Certainly, she received training in etiquette and a “woman’s role” from the ladies and servants of House Whent; however, more often than not, Fiona could be found practicing her fighting skills with the boys who ran around Harrenhall rather than practicing how to drink tea with the other young ladies. She also loved exploring the forbidden areas of Harrenhal, uncovering secrets about the castle that she treasured as her own private knowledge.
While Fiona managed to make her own place at Harrenhall, she also learned the harsh reality of dealing with a father whose drink mattered more to him than she did. She often had to be responsible for cleaning up his messes. After covering for her father for too many years, Fiona angrily confronted him one night – making the mistake of telling him that he didn’t ever really care for her mother, either. Unable to face his daughter any more, Jonas arranged to marry her off to a local tradesman; she was 14, the tradesman, 40. As a part of the betrothal, her father would be given a dowry – something the destitute man also couldn’t refuse. Upon hearing the news, Fiona was horrified. That night, she packed up as much as she could carry, stole a dagger from her grandfather’s smithy, snuck some food from the kitchens, and headed out on foot. She told herself this was a new, grand adventure – King’s Landing would be a wonderful place!
Of course, the journey to King’s Landing was neither as easy nor as fun as she expected it to be. She learned to be quite resourceful along the way; how to observe others and their behaviors, how to beg money for food, how to still obtain food when the money ran out – a whole new set of skills to help her survive. In the end, she made it King’s Landing a bit more streetwise and much more world-wary. Upon arrival in King’s Landing, however, Fiona learned all too quickly that the only job available to girls of her station were in the brothel – a job she absolutely refused to do.
Fiona roamed the streets of King’s Landing for a time, learning to sneak around the city, thieve for sustenance and money, and lie when sneaking and thieving didn’t work. One particularly dark evening a couple of months after arriving in King’s Landing, Fiona overheard a group of travelers in a bar regaling their last tour of Westeros and discussing their plans for their next journey. Figuring such a group would have plenty of money, she followed them out of the bar. When they set up camp just outside the city, she crept into the camp and began taking any valuables or money she could find from the sleeping men. While searching through the pack of her third target, she accidentally dropped a tin cup, which clattered amidst the stones on the ground. The adventurer woke up, caught her by the wrist, and determined he would teach her a lesson about thieving and its consequences. However, the traveler underestimated Fiona’s ability to fight; she kicked and punched, doing her best to get away. While it was apparent that she was giving the man some trouble, she was losing the fight. At this point, the other men had woken and come running toward the commotion, ready to fight off their fellow traveler’s attacker. Upon seeing it was a young girl, however, the travelers began laughing at their friend, teasing him about a little girl showing him up. He was distracted, and Fiona used the opportunity to draw her dagger – which she quickly used to stab him in the thigh. Her assailant withdrew in pain, and she jumped up ready to fight the others if necessary. Her courage and strength impressed the other men; she didn’t quit and didn’t run from a fight. They returned their injured companion to King’s Landing (Fiona had managed to mangle his leg quite thoroughly and he would not be able to travel). Jain, the unspoken leader of the traveling group, asked Fiona if she wanted to see Westeros with them. Since she didn’t have anything holding her in King’s Landing (in fact, she despised her life there), she agreed.
Fiona traveled with the Westerosi adventurers for a number of years after, adding tracking, hunting, and rural survival to her list of skills. During these years, she grew into a strong young woman, capable of handling herself in a number of different situations. She learned to be tough, to stand up and keep going when things were difficult. She also developed a distinct disgust for others who couldn’t keep moving when life threw up obstacles – she figured if she could make it through what life had thrown her, anyone else could, too. She had little sympathy for people who gave up – just as her father had years ago. She came to respect her fellow travelers and appreciate their skills, and she developed a strong admiration for and camaraderie with Jain, who became an older brother for her.
Of course, when the War of the Usurper began, traveling through Westeros became quite risky. She and her companions disbanded, and Fiona was left with a choice: return to the uncertainty of a life at King’s Landing or return to Harrenhall. While she had no desire to see her father again, she did miss her grandfather – and she was wise enough to know that King’s Landing would be inordinately dangerous. She opted to go home to Harrenhall. She cleaned herself up nicely and presented herself at Harrenhall, where she learned that her father had left to fight in Robert’s Rebellion. The Whents, out of respect for her grandfather and sympathy for her family circumstances, offered her a place as a lady-in-waiting. Fiona was certainly a little rough around the edges, but she knew how to play her part. She stayed at Harrenhal in her role as a lady-in-waiting for the duration of the war and for some years after. She received word that her father had died fighting in the Seige of Storm’s End, and though she wanted to feel the loss, she simply couldn’t – but she could respect that he picked himself up and finally accomplished something with his life, however ill-fated that action was.
As a part of her responsibilities as a lady-in-waiting, Fiona traveled periodically to King’s Landing. On one of these excursions, Fiona ran into her old traveling companion, Jain. It was a happy reunion, and Fiona learned that Jain had settled in King’s Landing, trained with a local blacksmith, and now ran a smithy of his own. It was hard but honest work, and he was content. Fiona, while glad for her friend, was acutely aware of how melancholy her life at Harrenhall made her. Still, she continued her cheerful conversation with her old friend, mentioning how she had grown up with her grandfather in the smithy at Harrenhall and knew a bit of the trade (by sight rather than practice, of course). Jain, knowing Fiona was a bright woman who understood the essentials of his trade, invited her to help out at the shop, managing orders and the “business” of the place. She saw the opportunity to escape her restrictive life as a lady-in-waiting, made her excuses at Harrenhall, departed on good terms, and began life anew in King’s Landing.
After establishing herself in King’s Landing, Fiona found herself at ease with life for the first time in many years. She happily went about her job with Jain and built a place for herself in the community. Her life was certainly unconventional – working and unmarried and in her 30’s – not what most people expected of a Westerosi woman. She traveled to see her grandfather at Harrenhall periodically, always playing the proper lady when she visited, often reassuming her duties as a lady-in-waiting for the duration of any visit. After a few years in King’s Landing, Fiona’s life took an interesting – if brief – turn; she met an intriguing and attractive man her age, Jerick Teamus. Romance had never been something Fiona sought after; she still didn’t seek it. Yet, she found herself drawn to Jerick. The two spent plenty of time together, although Jain warned her to be cautious – he didn’t trust Jerick’s sudden appearance in King’s Landing or his claim to nobility, as he didn’t act the part. Sure enough, almost as soon as the relationship began, it ended (at least practically); Jerick left for Edgeguard, his family’s home to the north and a place where she couldn’t follow. Jerick would stop to see her when he visited King’s Landing, but the relationship was certainly strained over the distance. She had no pretensions that she was his only love interest; things were too complicated for that, and she was emotionally unattached enough from the situation that the thought of other women didn’t bother her. But she did wonder about his life at Edgeguard, and Jain’s assumptions fueled her curiosity. She decided to make the journey to visit him and find out what he was truly about, stopping to see her grandfather along the way. Oddly, she encountered him as she was traveling north on her trip to Edgeguard; he was on his way to a wedding. Unwilling to admit that she was on her way to check him out a bit more, she acted as if it was merely a coincidence. She joined up with Jerick and his companions…and the rest is history.