- "We are all at some point nervous of what may come but to allow it to feed off you would simply be giving yourself to your growing fear. Much be the same for one who drinks too deep on rage to allow it to be false courage; it only breeds recklessness through foolishness whilst sacrificing clarity."
- — Annebella Williams
Born in the Kingdom of Dalkia, Annebella was a guarded child. Even though her family was caring and loving she had always known of her mother to be the drunkard and also how she would act as well. Her mother, as she refers to her, was abusive. The more she drank, the more she struck her brothers and also Annebella as well. Her father, a good man, was away with the Dalkian Army as a Tactician; he plotted points, drew maps, and aided in the triangulation of several ambush points as well as key battles which cost the Republic of Halteese much manpower, ground, and also weaponry. This all changed when her father was killed. Her father, a good man, a great Tactician, was betrayed by members of his own in order to save themselves.
After learning of this truth, Annebella abandoned her family. Her mother cared nothing for her disappearance while her brothers knew all too well that she had plotted her leave. They however, chose to stay and live with their mother. The eldest, Octavius, believed that their mother simply suffered from grief, yet Annebella told him that even when their father still drew breath she was no more than the abusive drunkard and at best, a lowly cur of only skin and bones, scavenging what could be found and only devouring or in their case, abusing the weak and helpless. With effort after effort burned to cinder, her eldest brother embraced her and gave her what gold he could muster from their slumbering mother.
In her possession, her father’s sword, and her brother’s letters were what kept her will strong. As she traveled the land, she eventually came to the Welshdat Bridge. All she knew of this area was that the Grandall Empire and Kingdom of Dalkia were connected by this very bridge and that it was also used for much commerce. Seventeen years young she was and a map was her only guide to whatever land she wanted to reach. Of course, she would never trek towards Halteese; she knew all too well what the men of that Republic were capable of. She had heard numerous stories from her father when he would return from time to time and the details were enough to make her stomach reject her supper. They were vile creatures--the Halteese men.
As the stories replayed in her mind, she knew if she were to be captured by them, she would rather be dead than be a helpless sex object. Such tales of prisoners of war made her want to be a soldier; to defend those who were not able to defend themselves and to add fuel to the fire, her mother's antics were a precise reason as well. Of course, her father forbade it—not until she was old enough. With him gone, she had no restrictions except his wish for her to wait until her twenty-first year before taking pommel in hand for her country. Naturally, she would follow his wishes but at this point, she could not.
Putting Welshdat behind her, Annebella made her way to Grandall. She would start a new life and more importantly, she would learn from a man whom her father spoke highly of.
As she had heard, he was a master of raiding enemy strongholds in the midst of the darkness and knew no equal in his professionalism. He held honor, respect, courage, and he was a humble man — much like her father. It was almost as if she had been searching for him to be in another body but she knew that was not the case. Annebella wanted to better herself so that she would never be like her mother. If she were to bear children, they would know her wrath only if they had done something wrong or know of it if someone had done something to injure them.
She would be a fair mother if that ever happened. A just woman, and an even finer soldier. Dare she even think, a commander one day? Nearly all things were possible in her blue eyes and as the Flags of the Empire came into view, she knew that she had not only what it took to succeed, but the very sword that would aid her in her goals and dreams. She would cleave a life of honor and drink in the success of her choices and even more so — Annebella would thrive on the battlefield. Neither of her three brothers have yet to best her when they played by the sword and if her past strength was not a farce, then her life would be lived long and well.
Seventeen years later, she stood proudly at the chance to show her worth. As a Commander, Annebella had yet to recruit members to her squadron. Of course, it took months before she could assemble the "right" people to mesh with. Arrai was the first she offered a place to. Her situation was rather...unique. Arrai was being harassed by commoners in Westborough at night and these same individuals were trying to drag her to the Red Light district. Annebella knew well-enough that Arrai would have been tricked into prostitution or raped. As she was still in her armor, Annebella approached them and demanded to know what goings on were current, naturally, they scattered, but not before trying to snatch Arrai with them.
Annebella was too far to react and Arrai was so much swifter. Her blade ran cleanly through the mans torso and with a sway and a step, she then brought her blade in a rising arc, cleaving another man's arm clean off. A feint and a hop led to her swaying low and slashing a man tendon at his ankle - preventing him from running or ever walking again on that leg. The final man was caught by Annebella after a short pursuit. With the blood spilled and guards questioning, Annebella created the lie and invitation all at once:
"These men assaulted my second, thus, we defended ourselves, however, when they made for her nethers, she...did not restrain her blade. Surely you can see why." A torch was brought near so that she could be seen and as such, the guards stumbled backward.
"Commander Annebella? Here?" A smile but mostly disbelief was presented.
"They tried to drag her from Westborough after knocking her to the ground. Luckily, I draw my routines of march to always interlace, when I did not see her, I searched her out and found her near unconscious and near too close to The Red Rose." Annebella took a step towards Arrai who eyed her. They did not know each other and as Annebella continued to speak, she could see that Arrai understood. "There's blood freshly here from her head if you'd have a look." All the while, Annebella smeared a portion of a foes blood upon Arrai's face as she brushed her snow-white hair from her face.
"That is not needed, but we'll detain them a-and, is there a report to be filed?" One of the guards now asked. To this Annebella laughed.
"Look, if you're ploughin' some, keep going, just don't let others know about it and who...or rather, Mirabelle, we clear Ramsey?" Two of the guards turned to the one known as Ramsey. One of them laughed while the other was clearly irritated. "Everyone's got a need to vent their spleens, but keep the venting to a low else another or my peers or of cadre might screw you over. Understoof?"
"U-Understoof Commander!" It was at this point that Arrai had placed her left palm to her face which made a small audible noise, while Annebella and the other guards eyed Ramsey, who in turn realized all too late what he had done.
"Seriously...pay attention to what you're going to repeat next time..."
It was a few days later that, Annebella had returned home only to find Arrai resting by the fireplace. Her alarm was calmed but for Arrai to get passed armed guards undetected was frightening and both useful.
"They believe I am of your sect," She began as she coolly wiped sweat from her toned legs. "...tell me, are your people, en masse, truly that foolish?" Annebella lowered her arm and sheathed her blade. "No, your guard is unaware that I am here, but they at least hold sexual conversations about your bosom."
"The fu-..." Annebella stopped herself. "Thanks for that...I didn't need or want to know that." She now placed a hand to her forehead to show her exasperation. The sun-kissed woman watched as she continued to warm herself by the fire.
"By what do you call this sect, cell, or squadron of yours?" The questions was one that Annebella had yet to decide and she voice such an answer. "Ah, then it should be something of meaning. Truth. One such which has defined a portion of your life or to represent something which is important to you."
"Heh, you think it be that simple?" She asked as she sat herself down in a chair before the fire. This chair was positioned a few feet from where Arrai was sitting upon the floor.
"It is." Extending her arm, she continued. "Amun Ra, be that of blade and sheath, while Ra is only the blade itself." Annebella looked at the woman. Her features were not of this land whatsoever. Her musculature was also uncommon for women of Parousia, of course with the exception of Surina, Priya and a few others including herself.
"What is...Amun Ra?" She asked. "A God or religion or of text?"
Arrai initially did not answer, but then chose to speak up. "...The Egyptian god of the Sun. To be put bluntly." Her face showed a sign of distrust, else likely assumed mockery.
"So...you're Egyptian?" Annebella looked her over. "You're the first I've ever seen to be honest." The Egyptian blinked but said nothing else. "But like you've said..." Annebella looked to her blade as she spoke. "...something with meaning and something that is defining..."
A stretch of silence persisted for a time before anything was said. Nothing but the crackling of the fire kept the home from falling silent.
"Relic." Arrai eyed the blonde. Her eyes told Annebella that she sought an explination but she did not verbally ask. "My father's sword is a Relic which he left behind, not by his will either." Arrai kept her eyes upon Annebella as she spoke. Un-moving and seemingly emotionless, but her attention was clearly focused on Annebella. "He... died in battle, betrayed by his own allies."
"A loose tongue should have met the same fate." Annebella chuckled at that.
"They, the traitors really, were never found, but Girardot brought his blade back and his body was placed upon the pyre..." Looking at the fire, Annebella continued. "Customary in Dalkia, those who are great, kings, people, soldiers, are treated to an honorary pyre set adrift and set ablaze by arrow fire." The commander adjusted herself in her seat. "A choir is present to sing if requested and in other cases, there's no choice if the King declares it so." Another weak chuckle escaped her. "Hopefully if I fall on battle, I'll receive the same treatment...just under Grandallian terms."
Their conversation continued on for hours and with each smile, each laugh, and each story shared, the two grew on one an other. In the coming months, the two ran drills. Arrai had learned the basics and also had excelled in ranged and close combat. The duo had rehearsed much, including why Arrai's hair was so pale white. Naturally this lie was Annebella's doing, but in the end, it paid off.
Beyond this, it took a bit of time, but Annebella was able to secure housing for Arrai, who repeatedly refused such generosity. However, Arrai came to like the lakeside view and eventually thanked Annebella.With much time invested into her second, it was no surprise that Arrai was the first to arrive on the field when Dalkia attacked and at her side, was none other than her commander.
Arrai's combat prowess first hand against would-be rapists. The Commander couldn't ask for a better second in command.
Delecroix aided her and saw that she suffered neither infection, nor death. However, Noémi joined her squadron for her own reasons. Beyond such a religious background, Annebella could not think of a solid reason as to why this child of the cloth wanted to stand on the front lines.
However, it was brought to her attention that this child had issues with maintaining a home. Annebella put two to five together and drew the reasons why this child had enlisted and has chosen not to question the child at present.
Eurydice not only kept pace, she also halted the advance of several Dalkian units by detonating explosives and burying most of the enemy forces alive.
Priya is a fine woman with a kind heart. Annebella herself has taken her under her wing since she had graduated her training. Or rather that heap deemed an "academy". Annebella and Girardot taught her more than what base instructors have.
In terms of versatility and wit, that belongs to Annebella; combat and strategy comes from Girardot as well as Surina. Rage and anger also come from Surina as well. Yet, with all the absorption that she is about, Priya fails to see that Annebella cherishes and protects her as if she were her own daughter.
Surina's choices as she sees Surina as one whom should know better of the situation; else, so that she can learn and grow from any mistakes that she makes.
That does not mean Annebella does not step in to correct her "sister" from time to time; however, she is the eldest child of Sergio Salgado, thus speaking, her choices--at least, most of them--are made with a level head and if not, then her sibling simply needs to be corrected...in whatever fashion need be.
Gallagher has placed his very life on the line in order to stand up for and defend women. He is a good friend and one whom she wanted within her own Squadron, yet, Surina beat her to the punch. As a soldier, Gallagher stands for those whom he deems allies and will crush those whom pose themselves as a threat to those same allies.
Oft a man of the pint, he drinks every now and then with Annebella and it is with him that he trusts most his confidence--secrets by another name. For instance, Annebella knows that Gallagher has his blue eyes fixated one a certain woman; yet, every child who wanders the woods in search of treasure if oft killed by the beast. This is why Gallagher trusts most his words to Annebella for if he chose to brave those woods, he most like would never emerge whole...if at all.
Annebella knows of his past and of the horrors he has faced. Whenever a time arises that he needs to speak his mind of such matters, she gladly lends an ear to him as no one should have to tolerate such nightmarish beasts alone.
Pfieffer's aggressioin is valued, however, he anger needs a positive outlet as well as careful guidance if Pfieffer is to ever advance beyond that of a mere soldier.
Dawn Larrieux is a woman whom has come practically from thin air. Annebella knew very little of her arrival and when she found out, she faced her in combat. This was one of the few times which Annebella was bested. Not in any minor fashion either; but it was one well learned from. Annebella respects the woman and even has befriended her, yet, as she traced her history, everything she found was in more than one place. More disconcerting is that most of what Annebella has found has led to various periods that defy Dawn's age.