Sidhe Knight of the Kingdom of Apples
The daughter of a third-generation Irish-American police officer and a delicate, retiring Japanese mother, Valerie McSkeane grew up in Buffalo, NY, a curious mixture of athletic and intellectual. She excelled both on the playing field and in the classroom, but she always felt somehow like something was missing.
On Valerieís twelfth birthday, an old friend of her fatherís named Jenner Rainwater gave her a copy of The Tree of Swords and Jewels by C.J. Cherryh. The girl eagerly devoured the book, and found that the tale of the lonely elf-queen Arafel struck a chord deep within her soul. From then on, she sought out all the materials she could on the subject of Faeries and elves, and by the time she reached high school, she was an authority on the subject. Somehow, the tales reminded her of a half-remembered past where she had been a great warrior, leading her troops to victory in a land beautiful beyond any she had ever known.
In her senior year of high school, other, less pleasant dreams began. She was fighting against impossible odds, when suddenly a stab of pain lanced through her, and everything went dark and silent...at which point she generally woke up in a cold sweat, unable to remember anything more about it.
Val did well enough in her studies to go to Georgetown University on scholarship, where she joined the SCA. It was like coming home. She eagerly embraced the medieval trappings of the organization, learning how to fence and fight with rattan blades. She seemed to have a natural aptitude for such things, and was well on her way to distinguishing herself as a fighter. Noticing this, Jenner and one of his friends, a woman named Janet OíShay, took her under their tutelage and taught her much more of the fighterís arts. Val learned quickly, and a year later she was one of the best fighters in the local barony.
While at an SCA event one day, Val suddenly felt as though the world were changing crazily about her. Looking at some of the attendees, she saw pointed ears and long, lean limbs, their faces possessed of an unearthly beauty and majesty. The sight somehow unlocked a previously closed part of her mind, and she found herself remembering who she truly was: Valeriana ni Scathach, a princess of House Scathach of the noblest of the Kithain, the Sidhe. The realization so dumbfounded her that she almost lost the match; only her reflexes gave her victory.
After the match, she went outside to clear her head, and was approached by Jenner, who revealed himself as a Troll and her protector from the time the two had lived in Arcadia. He helped her accept her Changeling existence, and returned with her to the hall, where he presented her to a much-relieved Janet, who revealed herself as the young womanís Fae aunt, Baroness Janna ni Scathach. Janna took her niece to her Freehold, where Valeria learned the ways of the Dreaming under her and Jennerís watchful eyes. Val passed her Fior-Righ with flying colors, and was knighted shortly thereafter. After her knighting, Val, inspired in part by Jennerís impressing upon her the need for honor and to do what is right, determined to become a modern-day knight-errant, an agent of justice in a world that sorely needed it. In order to protect her human family from possible repercussions from her Kithain existence, she has adopted the alias "Val Grey" for use among the mortals (inspired in part by the nickname bestowed upon those of House Scathach, "Gray Walkers").
A few years after Valeria was knighted, Jenner felt the weight of his years beginning to encroach upon him and, determined not to lose his memories of his Fae self to the ravages of time, undertook a quest to find a way to Arcadia, the legendary homeland of the fae. Bidding a much-distressed Valeria good-bye, he comforted her by promising to keep in touch as he undertook his quest.
For a while, Val received a number of letters from Jenner as he sought a way back to Arcadia in various parts of Concordia. Then, suddenly, the letters stopped. As months passed with no word from her mentor, Val became worried and decided to go on a quest to find what had become of him.
Her first stop was at a nearby freehold, where she met and befriended Sir Raphael of House Fiona, another Sidhe Wilder. The two soon found their relationship becoming deeper, especially after a number of incidents involving the Bedlam-ridden Count Weyland of House Dougal, the ruler of the freehold.
When Weyland began acting even more aberrantly, styling himself "Prince Weyland," and a number of particulary vicious Chimerical beasts created by his delusions began cropping up in the county, Val and Raphael decided that something had to be done. They set out on a quest for the Cup of Dreams, the legendary Treasure that is said to be able to cure the ravages of Bedlam. Recently, the trail of the Cup has led them to Buffalo, Valís childhood home...
Image: In her human Seeming, Valeria appears to be a young woman of mixed Asian and European descent, with black hair tied in a braid and dark eyes, clad in black jeans, a gray shirt, and a black leather motorcycle jacket that fits her like a shell. She carries her twin throwing daggers (which are Faerie Treasures) with her at all times.
In her Fae mien, she manifests the pointed ears and angular features typical of her Kith. Her eyes are mysterious dark pools, and her hair glimmers with blue highlights. She most often wears a loose white shirt with full sleeves over tight black trousers and knee-high boots, with a Chimerical katana sheathed at her waist. For Court, she sometimes dresses in full medieval garb (chemise, bodice and skirt) in her House colors. In both her Fae and mortal forms, she wears a silver pendant in the form of a unicornís head (the blazon of her House) at all times.
This web page copyright © 1998 by Midori Hirtzel-Church.
First posted to Black Unicorn Wood October 12, 2002.