|— Liverpool resident —|
|Personal motto: "Monstra Mihi Pecuniam!"|
|Full title||Baroness of Bury, Viscountess of Crook, Queen of England|
|Place of Residence||(unknown), Liverpool, Westmorland|
|Account created||06 October, 2007|
Aggnes, Baroness of Bury, Viscountess of Crook, Countess of Lonsdale, first came to the attention of the Kingdoms in the summer of 1458 as the mother of Marya and inheritor of her property. (OOC note: same IG-character, new name, very different person)
Most of her early history is unknown to the general public even now, but a certain amount can be made out from hints dropped by herself and her daughter (and also the Witchfinder General) at various times.
Aggnes was born into a poor family in a mining village on the borders of Wales - "Twllbach, it was called, and accurately named" according to Aggnes. Notes on her at age 4. We don't yet know who her father was, or what happened to him, but it seems likely that he had vanished from the scene by then. At around 6 or 7, her mother died of the latest plague to ravage the country. She and her younger siblings survived because she kept them in strict isolation, including from their dying mother.
It was a hard life, and one that she hoped to escape from when a young nobleman fell for her red-haired beauty and wit, and offered to marry her. What she hadn't expected was that rather than her being elevated to his comparative life of luxury, he was disowned by his family, and joined her as a peasant labourer, only without the practical knowledge that the life required. They did stay together, and it seems likely that there was genuine love on both sides, but the whole experience left Aggnes embittered and cynical. They had three sons and one daughter - Marya.
In 1455, one of Aggnes' dodgier trade deals had an unexpected result. She knew that the wood she had bough cheaply and sold to the mine as pit-props had been cheap for a reason - she had not expected the entire male population of the village, including her own husband and sons, to be in there when the mine collapsed. Aggnes and her daughter made their way to the nearby priory, where Aggnes took over the adminstration from the rather ineffectual Prioress (the additional education she had received from her husband had been put to good use). Marya, however, proved to be a problem (too honest, and too much of a tendency to sing, very badly). The problem was solved by sending her off to earn her own living in Liverpool, and Aggnes settled down to raking in the profits from the Priory.
In 1458, word came to the Priory that Marya had been killed, and that Aggnes was the inheritor of her property. Never one to pass up the chance of a freebie, Aggnes took the messenger's horse, and headed to Carlisle, making her way past the encircling armies, and finding only a County wagon, a few pence, and a beheaded body. Oddly enough, her anger if any seems to have been directed not at those who had killed her daughter, but at the Lancashire officials who had made her a general and sent her into combat (*): in Aggnes' opinion, Marya was far too soft to have stood any chance of survival. She spent some time in Carlisle, fishing, manipulating the market, and selling state points to whoever owned the castle that day, then eventually left, wagon and all, as a result of some sort of deal with Anto Capone that got her on the "friends" list of his armies.
(*) It is perhaps worth noting that the county of Lancashire no longer exists, and Aggnes closed its capital and sowed its fields with salt with her own hands. Don't annoy Aggnes.
She headed gradually south, and eventually reached her daughter's former home in the city of Lancaster. Her life there was quiet, trading, teaching and selling state points.
For some odd reason, she was nominated for the title of Baroness by the Duke of Lancashire at one point - something to do with her making every profit she could, and grabbing the highest-paid jobs whenever possible, accidentally being of benefit to the County as well as to herself?
The description of her taking her oath may be worth reading.
Incidentally, the First Baron of Bury once said something vaguely like "Justice should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done, whether it has been or not."
In the last few weeks of the town's existence, she became Mayor just in time to close it down and move with all the inhabitants to Liverpool. She rather enjoyed renaming the town tavern to the "Baroness of Bury's Arms". Since then, she has been operating as a County trader, specialising in fodder and fish.
In June of 1459, she went on a trade trip to Ireland aboard the "Serenity",captained by Malreynolds. She visited Holywell again later that year, though without setting sail herself - instead, she met an incoming trading vessel, and in her capacity as a Westmorland trader, established the county's Luxury Goods Emporium - the initail stocks amounted to around £10K of assorted wines, cheeses, and other goods.
One thing she has not yet done is investigated her new property at Bury in any way, though she has capitalised on the prestige of the title.
In the autumn of 1459, she took a trip, seemingly on impulse, to Worcester, capital of Mercia. She stayed there peacefully for a few weeks, studying at the university and providing state points for the county. All was calm, unti the day when she was spotted raising an army, almost at the same time as Worcester's Mayor cancelled her tolerance of the existing county shell army within the town walls, and the unusually high number of defenders there killed the army commander. Aggnes claims she was acting at the request of the Sheriff (also the Mayor), but whose side, if any, was she really on? Who was paying her? No-one knows, possibly not even Aggnes.
Spring and early summer 1460 was a quiet period for Aggnes, who spent several months in contemplation in the Church. She then joined a band of strolling (meandering?) players , somehow ending up as their script-writer and manager , and not quite burning down Southampton in the process.
Christmas 1460, and Aggnes became Rector of Westmorland, taking over from Lark. Around Easter 1461, she became Viscountess of Crook , and is trying various means to lessen the impact of the possible alternative meaning of that word - she has never ben prosecuted, much less found guilty, and objects to the implication. The title comes with an estate: Hollin Hall , near Kendal.
She retired as Rector in June of 1461, and retreated to the Church for an extended period.
Autumn 1461, and Aggnes started serving on Council for a few terms. She was Spokesperson, PP (for a few days) and Sheriff (for an hour), finally settling in the Mines Superintendent's office.
In early January of 1462, Westmorland was invaded, and Aggnes woke up one morning to find herself the Captain of a small barge (the Silent Knight) moored in Liverpool harbour, and under attack. With a bit of ingenuity and her naval engineering skills, the barge did quite a lot of damage to the incoming Irish navy before sinking.
A few weeks later, a new wartime Council was elected, with Aggnes as Countess, and a second list led by WoS members. There was immediate outrage as she appointed their leader as her PP, reasoning that he knew criminal law, and she wanted him arresting as many invading CA soldiers as he could lay his hands on. Her reign was cut short by an excessively large numbers of CA armies capturing Kendal, and consisted almost entirely of preparation for this, as she had seen it as being inevitable. The CA arrived to find the entire inventory (apart from just enough stone and iron to maintain the mines) in hiding, and the county in possession of huge numbers of young animals, and a large debt. Most the the records in the Council offices also seemed to have been replaced by a plate of cakes, a barrel of beer, and a welcome note.
The war continued with Aggnes based in Liverpool, but travelling extensively: to Mercia and back, carrying supplies, organising the indepedence of the Westmorland towns, commandeering a battlecog to get cash and inventory out of Liverpool (occupied by ten enemy armies at the time), trying to sneak into Kendal by a back road to retake it, negotiating with Anto, and trying to come to terms with her own increasingly possessive and protective feelings about her county and country.
It was March when the CA left - starved out, by the inhabitants of Kendal, in reaction to the mysterious deposing of Count Anto, or just bored? We may never know. By now Kendal was the only Westmorland town left, and Aggnes and a small group of trusted friends gathered there to form the next Council. Once again, she was elected as Countess, and started the rebuilding of her shattered county, recovering the hidden inventory, appointing a trained expert to oversee the restoration of the ruined mines, and persuading the independent towns to return to the fold.
By May the county was whole again, if still heavily in debt, and a full, true, election was held. Once again, Aggnes is Countess. She has said she will take a break once Westmorland is out of debt - many had said that with ruined mines and zero prestige, this would be impossible. She estimated three terms. She's had one and a half.
Mid-July 1462, and a new Council election sees Aggnes no longer as Countess, but back with her mines.
24th July 1462 - appointed as Vice Chancellor of Foreign Affairs in the Royal Embassy.
Slow-down, restart Edit
In the autumn of 1462, Aggnes took a step back from many of her responsibilities, resigning as Vice-Chancellor in the Embassy (though remaining as Westmorland's representative there), and no longer being on council (though still a trusted advisor). She got involved with a small sect of the Church, "AWESOME", though perhaps mainly so as to boost sales in her tavern, now a "Mission".
In September, she took part in the recovery of the county-owned Geno warship, "Royal Fortune"
She went on an extended trip around Westmorland over Christmas, collecting donations for the Liverpool port, and ending up sailing to Ireland in a borrowed merchant cog so as to carry out trades on behalf of Liverpool (and herself). A repeat trip was made in the Genovese "Painted Lady" - Aggnes definitely prefers lateen sails!
The International Winter Ball, attended in her capacity as part of the Embassy Board, led to her making a new acquaintance.
Became Marchioness of Cheshire, with the deeds to Halton Castle, located next to the natural port south of Liverpool.
Her Majesty, Queen Aggnes Holifard Edit
Cullan succeeded in the challenge Aggnes had set him, and with her support, stood for King. He won the election easily, and in accordance with their agreement, made Aggnes his heir.
On St. George's Day, 23rd April 1463, Aggnes and Cullan were married on the steps of Westminster Abbey, and then crowned within, after a spectacular parade involving a dragon from each county. In the feast thereafter, someone seems to have spiked their drinks, and the results included food fights at the royal table.
An interview with the press may be of interest.
They then embarked on a Royal Tour of the entire kingdom, heading south from Westmorland via the ferry 'cross the Mersey, and stopping over at Halton Castle. In Mercia, Aggnes attended the promotion ceremony for the local armed forces.
It was October 1463 when Cullan and Aggnes admitted to themselves, though still not to each other, that the marriage had become more than one of convenience and business, and a few days later when she discovered that she was pregnant. A few minutes after the Royal Physician confirmed this, she found Cullan dead of a stroke, before she had had time to tell him the news.
She moved into ruling England as Regent without so much as a pause for breath - Cullan had said that he expected his Heir to be able to step over his body and complete his sentence, and she took this literally.
In November 1463 she was elected as Queen in her own right. Cullan's death, moments before she could tell him that he was going to have the son he had longed for, had been labelled as an "act of Jah", and she saw no reason to disagree with this. To her mind, Jah was therefore a vindictive, spiteful assassin who had killed her husband in a particularly cruel way. This changed her views of religion somewhat, and she refused to have any dealings with this new enemy thereafter. Her coronation was at Stonehenge, on the Winter Solstice, presided over by the Grove (and interrupted by an attempt at assassination).
Notable events in her reign included a Spanish invasion of Derby, where she rushed to the defence of her kingdom, ending up getting slightly injured in the front line of combat while killing one of the ringleaders by hitting them over the head with a large copy of the Westmorland Docking Regulations, and the Wolves of Sherwood taking over large areas of Devon (she was one of those responsible for negotiating peace, as the Wolves trusted her, where they trusted few others).
In April 1464 she became seriously ill, partially as a result of her pregnancy and her refusal to lessen her workload. (In modern terms, pre-eclampsia - high blood pressure and gestational diabetes).
In June her refusal to rest as much as needed, and to take her medicine as instructed had the expected effect. Pre-eclampsia turned into eclampsia, the resulting fitting led the Royal Physician to induce the birth early. Aggnes died in child-birth, though her son, Cullan II, lived.
Aggnes runs a number of small business ventures, most of which are initially profitable, but then run into trouble. Her "headquarters" is the office/warehouse of the Roadside Goods Emporium (located in a field marked "site of proposed mansion")'
As a point of RP, prices charged by the RGE are never in terms that might be mistaken for in-game currency. Shillings, groats, guineas, farthings, and pence marked as "d", not "p".
To quote Fred:
- "The Roadside Goods Emporium, ma'am. We started selling goods to travellers, at the side of the roads they used - food, blankets, replacement wagon wheels, toys to amuse passengers, that sort of thing. Found places they tended to stop, and put a stall up there. Then we expanded - like She says, everywhere's alongside a road, if you think of "alongside" loosely enough."
- He pauses and thinks about that for a moment. "Well, except for the middle of the road, I suppose, but you'd get run down if you set up shop there."
They operate a wagon labelled "Hott Fud and Ale" which sells very dodgy bacon butties and soup whose ingredients are unknown. Road-side sales are their speciality, hence the name - a captive audience is easier to sell to. Should a caravan accidentally break a wheel on an unexpected rock, the "New Knights of the Road" and their trademark green flag will be there to sell and fit a new wheel, sell dodgy food and even dodgier souvenirs, and hide the offending pile of rocks (or possibly sell it as a "DIY Rockery Kit").
The RGE now has a small warehouse on the dockside at Liverpool, acquired as part-payment for Aggnes' services working on the port upgrade.
The names and some catch-phrases are from the Bernard Cribbins song "Right said Fred", and other tendencies are reminiscent of Cut-me-own-throat Dibbler. The accents are uneducated, in an infinitely variable manner.
The Hott Fud Wagon came under the influence of Sneff while in Southampton, and the employees learnt that naming their dishes in French so as to make them "posh" can be a useful marketing ploy. This would have better results if they knew any French. Since Aggnes was made Baroness of Bury, it also sells Black Pudding.
The RGE may be seen in action at the Sabotage at the Grand Trade Fair, and in many other places - they may drop in anywhere where cheap (but over-priced) tat can potentially be sold.
As a general rule, R.G.E. employees refer to Aggnes as "Her", "She", or "Her Ladyship" - her name is never used (possibly on the theory that demons can be summoned by speaking their name?). They regard her with a mixture of fear and respect.
Popcorn for sale: " "Can I press you to a bag of popcorn, me-lords? We got honey flavour, 'an sea-salt, an' bacon." Having the corn in use rescued from the pigs when they'd only slobbered a little bit did count as "bacon-flavour", he was sure, and the sea-salt ones had recovered nicely from being dropped in the Mersey, but there was no need to go into detail for the customers. "Three bags for a shillin', try 'em all!""
A quick note on why eating TWO bacon butties can be risky
Has three legs, as a result of a rather wordy councillor literally talking its hind leg off. It pulls the Hott Fud and Ale wagon, and gets used as a freak show wherever possible. Goods for sale now include commemorative straw donkeys (normally with all four legs, unless the rats got into the storage again).
The senior of the RGE operatives, Fred is probably the brightest of the group, but that isn't saying much. He's inherently dishonest, but let down by a soft heart that won't let him actually harm anyone. As a result of events in the past, he's developed a passion for selling teddy bears, dressed in various commemorative costumes, and now dislikes hurting the bears.
Fred thinks of himself as stupid compared to Aggnes, and knows his limits in comparison to hers. "He'd stick to haggling for feathers on sticks, though. Not county capitals."
We know from Worcester that Fred: "... looked the typical market salesman - needed a wash, eyes a little close together, and an eye for a purse."
We have recently learned that the Cribbins family is originally from Devon, but that the young Fred, seeking adventure, stowed away on a ship which he thought was bound for Exotic Foreign Parts, and was tossed off in Liverpool. He stayed there, doing various odd jobs, and eventually met Martha Ramsbottom, daughter of Albert, who took him under her wing, as it were. She was a little older, and a very forceful personality. They got married when she was 18, Fred 16, and started producing daughters - five in all, at the last count, aged 13 to nearly-19. They are pressed into service for high-speed sewing projects. In marital discussions, Fred always has the last word, and it is always "yes, dear".
Many years later, Fred's travels took him through Devon, and he tried to find his family, but they'd moved on, and no-one knew where to.
His rather strange variable accent is probably a mix of Devon and Lancastrian.
His eldest daughter is called Lily, and has been training in herbalism/quackery. She likes pink.
"You wants the R.G.E.'s special Medicinal Compound, you does. My Lily, she's bin studying herbs an' suchlike, since She's so keen on 'em, and she's made this stuff...." He pulls out a small dark bottle from a box of other small dark bottles. "You mixes one part of this to three parts brandy, or that there turnip whisky in a pinch, an' you'll soon be feelin' lots happier. Three shillin' the bottle, or special offer, six for a guinea! Lots cheaper than them there doctors!"
The youngest is called Ellen, and was 12 in 1464.
The middle three (17, 16 and 15) are Sarra, Eve, and Tiffany.
"his second daughter had shown a talent for what was either impressionistic painting or spilling the waterpot over her work" - so that's Sarra
At the army camp outside Worcester, Charlie met and was smitten with Oriames, the recently-deceased TM of Mercia, feeding her the soup from the Hott Fud wagon - "chicken soup was only so-called because it was intended to be fed to chickens, not because it contained any" - it did in fact contain assorted bits of pig offal, including brains. Oria had been acting very strangely since her death, and her complexion was not so much pale (as Charlie thought) as green. Charlie stayed in Mercia to act as the R.G.E.'s agent there and supervise the county-licenced franchises being set up.
There are very strong hints, never made explicit, that Ronald's surname may be "McDonald". He was employed as a cook on the Hott Fud wagon after the departure of Charlie, his more competent brother, and specialises in buRgers (which he tends to mis-spell, replacing the initial R with an extra G). Every now and then he comes up with what might be a brilliant idea in the way of fast food, always let down by some fatal flaw. His ambition is to be a clown, but so far has only managed to be the back end of a pantomime horse, and had one go at juggling. Since then, it has been recommended to him that he should boil the eggs before juggling them, and his last plan was to make sure of this by boiling the chickens before they laid them.
He turned out to be the saboteur at the Grand Trade Fair, targetting those people (and dogs) who upset him by disrupting his juggling or insulting his cookery.
Aggnes' latest idea, possibly in use on Liverpool market and involving Bill getting the local child thieves organised, is probably the first to be definitely illegal. Bill's surname may or may not be "Sykes".
As seen on the dockside at Holywell, observing the Harbingers. They have also now attended Mass in Liverpool (as a punishment for having caused Lockout the previous day)
Mathias (the senior of this group) - dishonest, fears audits and has nightmares about those conducted by Aggnes.
Blessed-be-thy-name Higgins - ex-Church, has beautiful hand-writing and bony knees
Jones the Pen - Welsh, "little and dark, more like monkey than man" and thus can't reach the top shelves (where Mathias claims any laws he's just invented are stored). Likes facts and is good at analysis, but has an unfortunate tendency to honesty. Tends to use Latin when getting formal. Jones was born in Holywell, and is something of a Welsh Nationalist
Ted the ferryman Edit
Operates the Runcorn ferry 'cross the Mersey, at a cost of "per tuppence, per person, per trip"
Maids and other servants to Royalty Edit
Fleta is the only maid of note so far. She is apparently "capable of keeping up with her".
Leonard is her regular Avis Guard. He's young, handsome, totally devoted to duty, and prone to seasickness. Given that the Avis Guard are the equivalent of the Yeomen of the Guard, it seems likely that he's also a fine tenor.