|Sexual Orientation||Married only to her Faith.|
|Hometown||Starkhaven, the Free Marches|
|Residence||A small home in Hightown, near the Chantry.|
|Specialization||Waggling her finger at misbehaving children, sending Snuffles after the rabbits in her garden, and hitting misguided Templars with her 'hobble stick.'|
|Behind the Mask|
|Face Claim||Audrie Hepburn|
Although Florence is an elderly woman, she has, what some may call, aged gracefully. Her hair still retains it's ebon color, although slips and streaks of silver and grey have wound their way into the gentle bun atop her head. Her skin is only lightly wrinkled, moreso around her cool blue eyes than any where else. More often than not she is smiling -- her dimples always peeking out by the corvers of her aged lips. Her body, as a result of many years of walking to stay fit and healthy, has finally, to her dismay, become more suiting to a woman her age. Her back is starting to hunch, though she combats this by making an effort to stand straight as much as she can. Pain in her knee threatened to keep her within the walls of her home, but with herbal treatments and even healing with magic permitted and chaperoned by the Knight-Captain, she hasn't missed a day to walk with her affectionate pet, Snuffles. Since that time, she's carried her hobble stick, and it's clatter as she wanders down the Chantry halls has become iconic to her arrival.
On the rare occasions that Mother Florence is not within the Chantry -- if, perhaps, she is not the one speaking sermons or overseeing confessions, Florence can easily be found in her quaint home. There, she is most relaxed. Her garden has taken over the front and back of small building -- fruits and vegetables alike, barely contained by her wrought iron fence. Although her robes at home are more relaxed than that of her Chantry garb, she still wears a silver pendant about her neck -- the symbol of the Chantry, encircled in a circle, and rarely ever removes it. A part of the back yard has been cleared by the romps of her Snuffles, a small sacrifice, but one that leaves a smile on old Mother Florence's face.
Florence, like all Chantry Sisters and Mothers, is almost always clad in Chantry garb. However due to her age, she has what even she herself refers to as a hobble stick; a small, gnarled branch of wood that she relies on mainly for pain in her knee while walking. It is knobbed at the top so as to have a better grasp for her aging hands. This end also serves as a suitable club, with which she can deliver swift retribution to disrespectful Templars -- or at least, those she herself deems as disrespectful. And, of course, there's Snuffles.
Although all sugar and sweet on the outside, Mother Florence has a tendency to be more fiesty than expected. Although outwardly affectionate and friendly, Mother Florence has a sharp wit and a sly temperment. She enjoys putting smiles on the faces of others -- man, woman, or child. However, she takes her faith seriously, deathly so, as her life has never been devoted to anything else but keeping her own faith strong. That does not mean, however, that when speaking of matters unrelated to the Chantry, she will shove her beliefs harshly down the throat of whomever she sees fit. Mother Florence loves making human connections with people, and does her best to do so. If she senses that faith in the Maker is a sensitive subject, or an abhorrent one, she will make gentle comments, but will never become angry with a person's lack of or waning faith.
One aspect of Mother Florence's beliefs may surprise any who catch wind of it. In light of recent evens in the Gallows, the aging mother has become, for lack of a better word, enraged. Her outlook on the majority of Templars has been soured because they had the gall, the audacity, to break Chantry law and put Harrowed Mages under the Rite of Tranquility. This turn of events has made Mother Florence inspect her own views on mages, and as she hears stories of weeping mothers and fathers within the Chantry halls, begging the Maker to turn His gaze on their stolen child, to show them mercy -- Well.. no one's too old for a tweak of beliefs. Although she remains as vehemontly loyal to the Chantry, her opinion on mages -- more specifically their treatment in the Gallows -- has shifted for the better. She feels that mages deserve to be more well protected, and should see the Circle not as a prison but a refuge from the prejudice of the world -- a place to hide from the negative stigma of magic.
Hm.. You want to know about old Mother Florence..?
Take a seat, child. I've seen many years -- this may take a while.
I suppose I should start where all lives begin, though, the start of my life resulted in the end of my mother's. Although my father grieved, he was never the type to blame others. He called it the Maker's will, and from what my brothers told me after our father passed.. He grinned and bore it. He was left a widower with four young children -- my three brothers and myself. He took on as many jobs as he possibly could, the poor soul... He sacrificed a lot to put food on the table for us. Our father used prayer to discipline us. For as long as I can remember, he spouted the Maker's words at us, and shaped us well. We were rasied on the words of the Maker and His Bride, and it kept us in line. Rather, enough so that my father could manage a house filled with children. Maker knows I can barely keep all the children here in Kirkwall in line.
The older woman chuckled, but something in her eyes dimmed for a moment. She wrung her wrinkled hands and cleared her throat, before she managed to speak again.
My brothers -- Damian, Seamus, and Cormac, once they were old enough they worked as well. It allowed my father a.. reprieve. The man had worked hard for all of us and they could return the favor. Damian found a steady job as a shoemaker's apprentice in town. Seamus and Cormac stayed home, tended to what animals we had. I did my part by whittling. Small wooden figures made from scraps of wood left from firewood excursions. I was still fairly young and it wasn't hard work, but Cormac would always slip them into his parcel when he went to sell our goods in town. He'd even come home and tell me how much they'd sold for, when I could see them stuffed in the pockets of his trousers. Cormac was.. the youngest of the boys.. But he was still reasonably older than I was. Maybe four years? I remember Damian was nine years older than I -- Seamus was seven. Regardless, I always felt closer to Cormac. He was.. a gentle boy.
But.. The Maker works in mysterious ways, doesn't He? He always seems to have something up His sleeve that you aren't expecting.
I myself was seven when it happened. It was around Midsummer, when the carnivals had just set up outside of the cities. It was late in the afternoon, and Cormac dropped something.. heavy on his foot in view of my father. Sparks lit his fingers like the firecrackers we had heard from the fair the previous night. My father was.. devastated. Maybe outraged? I can't.. clearly remember it. Cormac begged and pleaded with my father, I recall him saying he had tried to hide it, that he didn't want to hurt any of us. But sure as the sunrise, Templars were at our door the next afternoon. I remember passing my brother one of my whittles. It was a bird.. A crude one, if recognizable at all. He smiled and told me he'd treasure it, and for some reason I asked if he would be back to take me to the fair the next day, like he had promised.
The Reverend Mother paused for a moment, to dab gently at her eye with a kerchief.
I never got my answer. The last I saw of him was a glimpse of his red hair past the arm of a Templar..
Not long after, my father's teachings became more rigorous, as if determined to weed out any more mageblood children from his family. Prayer lasted longer, the Chant reverborated off the walls, even when we weren't speaking it. Damian had to give up his apprenticeship to help Seamus with the horses, and that seemed to only draw us into ourselves. Without Cormac I really didn't know how to interact with my brothers. I occupied my time by studying more of the Chant, really trying to comprehend the words our father spouted at us before meals, and in the morning, and at night before he tucked us in. Whittling had.. lost it's appeal, for me. Neither Damian nor Seamus would be interested in making up lies to appease a little girl.
Years went by.. When I was about seventeen, Damian married a well-rounded city girl. He stayed in Starkhaven, but not for long. The two moved themselves and their growing family out of the Free Marches and over the Waking Sea. I couldn't fathom why at the time, but I believe I understand it better, now. After Cormac was taken from us.. we all felt a bit fractured. He had always been the funny one, trying to stand out and show the rest of us how quirky he was. Without him, it felt like the whole house had gone dark. I suppose Damian had initially felt that living in Starkhaven could remove him from that darkness, but found it followed him, so he fled to Ferelden.. I believe at the time.. that was 8:88 Blessed, so, yes, at the time, Ferelden was still an Orlesian territory.
A few years later, my father passed away and Seamus found himself a woman that could tie him down. Though I was happy for him, my father's loss had left me.. a bit stranded. Seamus' bride moved into our quaint home and settled in, and when she came in, it was as if they had shoved my father's ashes aside. I was.. frustrated. Twenty at the time, I had essentially lost everyone. I went to the Chantry, and asked the Maker for answers.. The Revered Mother came to me during my prayers, and I told her.. everything. She just smiled, and told me there would always be room for me there. I had become more vehement in faith, and I needed the guidance of the Chant. So, the next afternoon, I was inducted as a Lay Sister.
Since then, many things have changed. When I took my vows as a Mother in the Maker's Light, and swore my life to His teachings, the Chantry here was in need of new blood. It was the year the Ages turned -- Ferelden and Orlais were locked in war. I was concerned for my brother, I prayed for him and his family daily. The change of station was merely.. taken in stride. There were better things to worry about than familiarity, and I was more than willing to spread the Maker's word. Part of me was excited at the idea of leaving Starkhaven. I had always been in one place.. I was finally getting a change of scenery. That.. was thirty-one years ago, wasn't it?
The aged woman smiled to herself, and shook her head, her dimples having surfaced in the candlelight of the Chantry, and cast an odd shadow on her face -- it's wrinkles telling of just how much time had passed. She reached with a gentle hand, to scratch the great dog beside her behind the ear.
I.. I was happy to find that Damian and his family had survived the ravages of the war.. He and I were both getting older, and, with me being alone.. My brother decided I needed something -- someone -- to protect me. A lone woman in Chanry robes wanering the streets alone. I figured so long as I was careful I would be fine, but there's somethin about brothers.. They just need to protect their siblings, hm? Damian tried for years to get me to take one of his dogs. Once he had moved to Ferelden Damian changed from breeding horses to Mabari. An intelligent breed, as I've come to understand them. At the time I discounted the idea. He relented until he passed the business onto his son, Mattheus, about seven years ago. For years I did my best to deny them, but it seems my nephew has inherited his father's stubborn nature. Never one to be defeated, three years ago he brought a small litter of the loveable mongrels to Kirkwall.
What was I going to do, send him back on the ship..?
Needless to say, Snuffles was and still is a handful. A bundle of energy. Because of the new addition I had to move out of my quarters within the Chantry here, and into a small home nearby. I didn't want my new pup to have an addicent on Andraste's foot, as it were. I walk with him rather often, to keep him from getting too restless. Though, sometimes, I let him run about what small open area I have.
The corners of her mouth once more curled into an ageless smile, as she pats Snuffles gently atop the head.
He traipsed a path through my garden just the other day, you know. But.. it just makes it easier for him to root out pesky rabbits that nibble at my petunias and tomatoes. I have love for all of the Maker's creations, but I work my hardest to keep that garden in good condition.
Other than my boy running about, things have been.. quiet, for the most part. One hears whispers about the goings-on in the Gallows, but as a Chantry Mother it truly isn't my place to stick my hobbler in. I'm not even permitted to have an official opinion. I only know what the Chant -- and Chantry Law -- says about Templars, Mages, and their treatment. I can only.. waggle my finger disapprovingly at certain events. Elthina seems to be much more comfortable sitting on her hands than I am.
A chuckle escaped the older woman, and she put a hand to her chest while she drew a long, slow breath.
But don't tell anyone I said that.