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Forging a Fated: Charlotte Mae Hawthorne

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A few weeks back my good friend bowchickawowers introduced me to Through the Breach, and I was instantly hooked. She is Fatemastering for the very first time, and I am playing my very first Fated: Miss Charlotte Mae Hawthrone.


This thread will chronicle Charlotte's experience, primarily in the form of select correspondence sent back and forth through the breach. Since such things can easily be intercepted by Guild officials and others with prying eyes, many of the letters include secret messages written in arcane script which I will transcribe (in italics) at the end of each letter. Still, many details from our sessions will be left out--some events may simply unimportant to Charlotte, and some activities would be unwise to commit to paper! Thus, I encourage you to read the campaign notes we're keeping as well.



And now, a proper introduction:


Miss Charlotte Mae Hawthorne was born March 6, 1878, in Belfolk, North Carolina, to the respected Mister Elliot James Hawthorne and his wife Catherine Edith Hawthorn (formerly Trimble). She was instructed from an early age by her aunt and governess, Lady Margaret Alene [bowden] Trimble. Her uncle, Doctor Samuel Rudolph Trimble, arranged for a proper education in literature (and Necromancy) under the esteemed Professor Percival Bernhard Grant. When she came of age Doctor Trimble tutored her in the artful science of medicine to provide a legitimate cover for her inevitable pursuit of Necromancy.


Charlotte descends from the Eustolia Dynasty, a Resurrectionist lineage which came into being as an effort to distill necromantic potential within a pure bloodline, and which claims relation to one of the few magicians to survive the original rending of the Breach. This magician was not the only prodigy of the dynasty’s effort, but is, to date, the only Eustolian to have mastered all eight necromantic magias.


The dynasty actually takes its name from the ancient Eustolia Tradition of Magia, which is passed down in the form of an epic poem each member learns by rote from an early age. In this Tradition, one may only learn a new magia by developing a masterful understanding of the verse. The lesser magias typically spans dozens of stanzas each, and it can take a lifetime of diligent pursuit to learn three or four of the eight necromantic magias contained in the Tradition.


There is a ninth magia rumored to be hidden among the others, spanning the entirety of the poem. Those who whisper of this ninth magia believe that it contains the key to unlife.


Charlotte is the product of generations of arranged marriages and careful genealogy, and her mother and uncle have conspired from the start to put Charlotte on the path to the ninth magia. Under the Trimbles’ tutelage, she mastered two magias as a young woman—years in advance of any recent Eustolian. With guidance, she has developed a theory of ambimortality, with which she believes it possible to achieve a lasting paradoxical state of unlife and undeath for oneself by securing the soul apart from the body.


The Trimbles gifted a Eustolian heirloom to Charlotte to mark her coming of age. The simple necklace contains a sliver of inert soulstone encased in a drop of silver, which forms a single bead on a thin silver chain. Lady Margaret also taught Charlotte how to harness soulstones, should she ever require their use. She wears the heirloom abidingly beneath her collar, hoping one day to replace it with an active stone.


Charlotte is well suited to social situations, and has learned the fine art of charming others. Though she is accustomed to certain courtesies afforded young ladies of circumstance, she has been adequately prepared for less cultured company in anticipation of her venture through the Breach.

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The following are several select letters and documents that illustrate the circumstances surrounding Charlotte's birth, upbringing, and eventual journey to Malifaux. Remember that any secret messages are shown in italics at the end of the letter.




March 8, 1878


To Mister Elliot James Hawthorne:


Dear Elliot,


Accept our warmest congratulations upon the birth of your daughter. May her years be long, and may she honor her excellent heritage. Margaret anticipates holding the young lady in her arms, and we shall be over to see you in a few days.


Faithfully Your Friend,


Sam Trimble


Catherine, dear sister, my sincerest congratulations to you. You, more than anyone, know the great power of our blood, and of our Tradition--and now your first duty is accomplished! We must speak privately on the matter of the young lady's education. There is much to design before I put forward my proposal to Elliot.



May 3, 1902


To Mister Elliot James Hawthorne:


Dear Elliot,


It is my distinct pleasure to relate to you that Charlotte has, through diligent application under Margaret's guidance, accomplished the course of study prescribed by Professor Grant. Knowing how deeply interested you and Catherine have been in her progress, it is particularly gratifying to inform you that she has already demonstrated masterful understanding of the Invoco and Animpero. Accept my sincere congratulations, my friend.


Yours Truly,


Sam Trimble


Dear sister, at this juncture, I humbly propose to instruct Charlotte myself in the artful science of medicine, which I believe will provide a sensible profession congruent with and complimentary to her advanced studies. Though her aptitude certainly lies in deciphering arcane verse, she is possessed of a certain need for legitimacy if she is to develop her abilities further. Catherine, have you considered the continuation of her studies Breachside?



July 14, 1902


To the Distinguished Doctor Douglass McMourning:


I take the liberty of an old friend to ask of you a consideration of my most esteemed student, Miss Charlotte Mae Hawthorne. She has been most dedicated in her studies, and will, I believe, with proper guidance, assume prominent rank ere long in our field. Believing that your acquaintance would be mutually beneficial, I humbly propose that she be permitted to visit Malifaux.


Yours, Very Respectfully,


Doctor Samuel R. Trimble

Sanctioned Practitioner of Medicine


As one deeply invested in our common pursuit, I present to you my most promising pupil to date. She decends from the original Eustolia line and has been instructed in our Tradition since birth, which has cultivated certain gifts that I believe will be enhanced inestimably by Malifaux's enigmatic power. She has narrowed her studies to focus on ambimortality--a novel approach to undeath and the problem of perpetuity. I am convinced that the theory she is now developing will prove quite useful in your grand endeavor, regardless of her own personal success...or failure.




August 25, 1902


To Doctor Samuel R. Trimble:


Respected Colleague,


The Distinguished Doctor McMourning finds your proposal mutually agreeable. I therefore extend the security of my sponsorship to Miss Hawthorne on your behalf. I have arranged for her passage through the Breach this coming spring, with allowance for a guardian. As you requested, she shall be afforded my limited approval to study the effects of the plague here in Malifaux, provided that she furnishes me with a complete account of her conclusions.




Doctor Thomas W. Hazard

Guild Physician and Sanctioned Practitioner of Medicine


Samuel, in consideration of your claim, I have shared your petition with Doctor Hazard, one of my many naive adjuncts. You must instruct Miss Hawthorne on the way of things here in Malifaux--she must, of course, practice the utmost prudence and discretion in her pursuits. It is best that she not rely on the assistance of any of my peers, including Doctor Hazard, and she ought to conduct herself under the cover I've provided her, at least for a time. Let us hope your dilettante is as gifted as you would have me believe. ~ McMourning



March 6, 1903




To Whom It May Concern:


The bearer, Miss Charlotte Mae Hawthorne, visits Malifaux under Guild sponsorship for the purpose of studying the recently quelled plague as a student of medicine. As a young lady of circumstance, she requires the services of one Mister Benjamin Gavin Wright, who shall serve as her guardian protector for the duration of her travels (as arranged for by her family).




Doctor Thomas W. Hazard

Guild Physician and Sanctioned Practitioner of Medicine

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Tuesday, March 17, 1903


To Doctor Samuel Trimble:


Beloved Uncle,


Yesterday I embarked on my journey through the Breach, an experience both awesome and unsettling. I had the strangest vision at the moment of passage, which is now ever seared into my memory, though I cannot quite describe it. Something similar seemed to have happened to some of the passengers nearby as well, and I cannot help but feel somehow bonded with them by the common experience, as if our destinies are now intertwined.


A young lady named Hannah felt compelled by her own moment in the Breach to extend to us the hospitality of her brother’s inn, the Bubbling Turtle. It’s quite comfortable (certainly much nicer I had expected to find on my current budget), yet already we've had a taste of the corruption that runs rampant in Malifaux—we awoke to find that someone had attempted to break into our rooms during the night!


But allow me to assure you, dear Uncle, that I am as safe as is possible in such a place. Indeed, I thank you most gratefully for the arrangements you made for my protection. Benjamin has already proved a most trustworthy and loyal guardian, and I am confident that he will earn a lasting place in my endeavor. Please give my love to mother and father, and of course, Lady Margaret.


Miss Charlotte Mae Hawthorne


I have contacted the Guild Enclave to find a suitable tutor in my superficial plague studies, and am looking forward to learning some practical stitching skills in the process. In the meantime have already encountered another Resurrectionist and her husband, and although they eluded capture I was able to glean that she has made some improvements on a ritual for harnessing a soulstone. I held the stone in question in my very hand! However, my companions were insistent on its destruction to reverse the ritual, and I could not risk exposure even to obtain such a rare and precious commodity.

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Thank you for the compliments, guys! I'll try to keep up with my posting as we play each week.


It occurs to me to include a breakdown of my character sheet, which will help explain some of the tendencies Charlotte is likely to develop (such as relying tirelessly on charm rather than wit to resolve dialogue). I shall start at the beginning...



Crossroads Tarot: 13 :crow  10 :ram   3 :mask   3 :tome   12 :crow



As you strain to see through the high noon veil,

you will refuse the call

as the living wither from your grasp.

Watch them as they fall one by one to the ground

and you stumble upon the line of life and death.


Station: Resurrectionist (Harness Soulstone)


Starting Physical Aspects:

 -1 Might

+2 Grace

  0 Speed

 -1 Resilience


Starting Mental Aspects:

 -1 Intellect

+2 Charm

  0 Cunning

+1 Tenacity


Root Skills:

House rules allowed us to assign our Station Skill as one of our Root Skills and immediately raise its rank by 1 if we forfeit the XP offset. In this way, we can choose to build characters who have honed the skill that comes most naturally to them.

3 Necromancy (Charm/Tenacity)

2 Harness Soulstone (Charm)

2 Centering (Tenacity)

1 Evade (Speed)

1 Notice (Cunning)

1 Scrutiny (Cunning)


Endeavor Skills:

3 Doctor (Intellect)

3 Bewitch (Charm)

1 Deceive (Intellect)

1 Literacy (Cunning)

Derived Aspects:
3 Defense
5 Willpower
4 Walk
4 Charge
4 Wounds
1 Initiative
Starting Pursuit: Graverobber
General Talent: Specialized Skill (Necromancy  :mask)
Because I tend to write story-driven characters, I took some liberties with Charlotte's grimoire and tied it into her magia theory. I wanted it to be something that wouldn't be easily lost, damaged, or taken from her, so her grimoire is actually the memorized epic poem which the Eustolia Tradition is based upon. This could complicate the mechanics of the game a bit, so to simplify things we've agreed that Charlotte has relegated herself entirely to Necromancy. She will never learn any other type of magia, and she will only ever study from this grimoire. With this arrangement, Charlotte started the game with two Necromancy magia (instead of the standard Graverobber starting setup).
Beckon (Necromancy)
Mind Control (Necromancy)
Focus (Alteration)
Alter Range (Augmentation)
Reduce AP (Augmentation)
Where a character would normally access new magia by studying a new grimoire, Charlotte must meditate regularly on the epic poem she knows by heart to gain deeper understanding of its verses. After a significant amount of time meditating on a specific book within the epic, she may unlock a new magia. This happens only at the behest of the FM, and things like plot, character development, and narrative encounters may play a part in this discovery process. (This also gives the FM another alternative reward to choose from at the end of a session, to be used sparingly, of course!)
I imagine Charlotte as a turn-of-the-century Southern Belle, a young lady of moderate circumstance whose family is respected. She takes pride in her appearance and manner, and has learned to use both to great effect in a variety of social situations.
Functional Items:
Brigandine (functional and fashionable!)
Personal Effects:
Wardrobe (clothes and accessories for various occasions)
Heirloom Necklace (very small and simple necklace which she seems to fidget with often)
At the start, Charlotte is content not to carry any weapons. She has no skill with such things, and instead travels with the protection of a guardian who is essentially indentured to her family. In fact, this lack of equipment has already lead to one of my favorite roleplay dialogues...her guardian would really prefer that she carry a pistol for show, at the very least!
After the first session, Charlotte advanced into Graverobber Rank 1 and earned Morbid Thoughts. She also gained the Convince skill for attempting to do so several times during the session. I'm hanging onto the 2 XP until I figure out where it will see the most use.
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Oh, yes, that dialogue I mentioned? My guardian protector (played by one of my all-time favorite RP buddies!) seems to have a problem with his charge wandering about without so much as a dagger. In fact, he's become quite insistent on the matter. We rather comically exchanged Benjamin's bayonet back and forth before our eminent first combat, until Charlotte let it slip that she had something else in mind...


    "You don't have ANY weapons?" Benjamin asked, mildly annoyed.

      Charlotte narrowed her eyes as a dark smile crept across her face. "I am a weapon."


The action picked up rather quickly after that, so the two agreed to discuss the matter at length later. In the ensuing combats, Charlotte used her magia to position enemies and force them to attack each other. Her companions were too embroiled in the physicality of it all to really notice her fidgeting with her necklace a few paces away.


During the second combat it occurred to Charlotte that it might be advantageous to manipulate her companions as well. She refrained from doing so for the time being for fear of discovery, but decided to bring it up with Benjamin that evening...


      Charlotte took the seat across from him and considered how to start the conversation. "I trust you will uphold your contract regardless of what you've learned today, and any information I may append to your observations?"

    "You would be correct." A flat reply. Benjamin was being careful.

    "Very good. You may ask me whatever you like."

    "Let's start at the beginning, then. What exactly did you mean when you called yourself a weapon?"

      Choosing her words carefully, she explained, "In short, I have mastered certain magia which require no weapon. I am able to influence the acts and wills of others to an extent, and thus can make use of their own weapons and strengths. In that regard, my mind is a weapon."

   "So the construct that killed its ally...that was you attacking." Another flat reply. 

   "Good eye." Let him steer the conversation and he'll be more receptive later.

   "Fine then. Specifically what effects can you...manifest?"

     Charlotte briefly explained the effects of her magia and their limitations, leading him into one question after another. "It's really quite subtle to those who don't possess these abilities themselves." Finally his guard was down. "I doubt even you would realize it if I were to turn my efforts in your direction...but of course, I wouldn't do so without an understanding..."

   "Why would you need to use it on me at all?" he asked, both wary and curious to hear what she had in mind.

     Capitalizing on the curiosity in his voice, she described several situations in which her magia could benefit him. He didn't seem convinced, though.

   "And what about the reverse of those situations, where you cause me to perform an action that puts me at a tactical disadvantage--or worse, directly into harm's way?"

   "Perhaps if we were to develop a shorthand--a safeword or some such to alert you to my intent. Then you could allow or deny my efforts simply by relaxing or exerting your own will." It all came down to trust.

     Benjamin sighed, remembering the gravity of his commitment. "Before I agree completely, would you be willing to perform it on me now?"

     He didn't resist. He didn't think. Only after the fact was he aware that he'd stood up, turned around, and sat back down. It was like seeing something out of the corner of his eye and turning to look at it, or pulling his hand away from something hot...like instinct, only somehow not his.

    "There, now. Do we have an arrangement?" The sound of her voice broke the spell of confusion and after a brief recovery he conceded. "Very well, in the past I've used the word sino. That can be our safeword."

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Saturday, March 20, 1903


To Professor Percy Grant:


Good Friend and Mentor,


How I miss your gentle tutelage! Uncle would be gratified at the progress I've made as a physician--these past two days have seen a dozen men under my care--yet I long for the company of my books and the sanctuary of your study.


Already I've formed a coterie of travelling companions as you suggested. In need of funds, we enlisted to escort a caravan from Malifaux to a pioneer settlement two days away, and on the second morning we were set upon by Nephilim. They are not at all the creatures portrayed in official pamphlets. To begin with, they are much faster than depicted and are able to devour their prey and transform nearly instantaneously. The small ones more closely resemble infant satyrs than mischievous cherubs and possess the temperament of a rabid weasel; the large ones can be accurately described as winged demons!


I know how fascinated you are by Breach lore, so I shall write to you periodically to tell you of the fantastical things we'll surely witness. I'd be glad of some reading material myself, and would be deeply grateful if you should see fit to send me a few of the Elder Poets. Tell Lady Margaret I am well, and put her mind at ease that Benjamin cares for me very well.


Miss Charlotte Mae Hawthorne


You were right to instruct my passage through the Breach: I have had great success performing both the Invoco and the Animpero! I have found that I am even able to influence the mind of another Resser, though only with some difficulty. Benjamin and I have reached an understanding on the matter.


It would be remiss of me not to tell you of the runes I encountered recently. They may constitute an alteration of the Trahitur Animum, though to what end I am yet uncertain. The last two days afforded me some time to meditate on them, and I have managed to decipher the following:


…of beings that have been, which my spirit hath not seen…

Let none of earth inherit that vision on my spirit; those thoughts I would control, as a spell upon his soul…

...worldly rest hath gone with a sigh as it passed…though it perish with a thought…


The style of verse seems familiar to me, though I cannot recall from whence. I've learnt so much in your expert care, might I entreat you once more for your valued insights?

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Monday, March 22, 1903


To Catherine Edith Hawthorne:


Beloved Mother,


I feel as if I've been in continual motion since setting foot on the train a week ago, though the locals assure me that sleep comes more easily as one acclimates to this strange place. Everyone here seems to keep themselves overly busy, and I can't help but form the impression that their constant activity is a necessary distraction: sleep comes more easily as one wearies oneself! And so I've resolved to busy myself as much as possible. Though my studies have not begun in earnest, my time is well spent gathering the tools required to begin my research, inquiring after suitable mentors, and improving my budget significantly. 


Uncle will have told you of my bizarre experience on the train, and I'm certain you are curious about my companions. First, however, you'll be pleased to hear that Benjamin has already proven himself a capable and trustworthy protector. He is prudently watchful, possessed of a keen mind, and counsels me well. Though he cares for me out of obligation, I am glad of his company.


My other companions have yet to offer their full names, and I doubt they ever shall. The first is Liam: a pragmatic man of low social standing, charmless, but well-intended. He's obviously accustomed to hard living, yet remains considerate of others and tenderhearted; I am certain that he is pained by an intimate loss. The second is Itzal: a quiet, brooding fellow. He's uncommonly tolerant and exceedingly patient. There’s a fierceness about him that tells me he searches for something.


I must rest now, having wearied myself sufficiently for one day. You are all very dear to me, and I miss our evening socials. Give Father my love and please tell Uncle to expect a report on the progress of my studies shortly.


Charlotte Mae Hawthorne


I have had great success performing both the Invoco and the Animpero! Benjamin and I have reached an understanding on the matter so that we might compliment each others' efforts, and he has counselled discretion and consideration of context. It is thrilling to reach into the mind of another, and intimate: for a brief moment there are only two minds in all of existence...and only a single will. In my excitement I had not considered how unnatural the actions I provoke may appear to those around me. I shall make more calculated decisions in the future.

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Hey, guys. I'm just popping over to let you know that we're putting this campaign on hold for a while. In the meantime, I've got a new character I'd like you to meet: Trinity Jacobson (but please don't call her by her full name...she hates that).


Thanks for checking in on Charlotte though!

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