Marquessa Halla Stahlben
You keep an oath not for the oath, but for yourself.
Social Rank: 5
Concept: Northern Sentinel
Marital Status: married
Height: average height
Hair Color: chestnut brown
Eye Color: storm gray
Description: The word "pretty" would be far too gentle a word to describe her. Extraordinarily high cheekbones and a stronger jawline than most women can boast dominate her face, which is fortunately softened by subtly arched brows and a pair of full lips naturally stained a dusky shade. Dark hair falls in long waves past her waist, bound back from her face in a loose half-ponytail most often tied by a leather cord. What bits of bronze skin can be seen between the curtain of her hair and the fabric of her clothes often bear terracotta war paint applied in complex and yet surprisingly delicate patterns, lending her a wild beauty - at least in the minds of those with a taste for such things.
Personality: Proud, strong, and fiercely independent - there's no question at all that Halla is a Northerner, down to the marrow in her bones. Though she can be prone to reserve, sometimes even silences, that call to mind the harshness of her homeland, the truth is that's simply a result of how little accustomed she is to interacting with strangers. When her true nature shines through, she laughs loudly, sings boldly, loves freely, and fights with relentless ferocity. Halla is a woman who does nothing by half-measures.
Background: When you're born a Blackfrost, some things are simply inescapable. To bear the name of one of the oldest and proudest Houses to call the Red Mountains home, to bear the name of the first Chief who ever knelt to Valeria Redrain, is to bear the history of the North itself in your veins. It is a name that brings with it a pride born of centuries of dutiful service, steadfast loyalty, and unbreakable resolve.
To be born the fifth child of the ruler of a small Barony at what seems like the edge of the world is also to have very little else.
It should come as no wonder, then, that Halla clung to that tradition from almost the very moment she came into this world. Much of her childhood at Queenspeak was spent slipping quietly into the sanctity of Coronation Hall, until even her mother became so exasperated that she gave the girl a blade at so tender an age that even her Halfshav kin might call it mad. This resulted in a very small Halla joining in the exercises in the practice yard, getting beaten to a pulp by her siblings and the household squires before she was big enough to ride a proper horse instead of a pony. She never once complained about any of it, though she's had a remarkable fondness for their old master-at-arms since the day he quietly handed her a training sword actually sized for a child.
In time she grew strong, and fierce, and loyal, as many Blackfrosts before her. And like her kin, Halla's pride burned hot. She carried it with her when there was precious little warmth to be found - in long, sunless winters in the halls of her House; on the raids and patrols when a campfire would have been a beacon calling every shav in the mountains down on their heads; on the long march home from the ashes of Stormwall, answering Redrain's call as her family always had.
And then duty called again, but in a way she never expected.
Her father called her to his side after dinner one night. They had lost too many of their fighters in the east, far too many, for what was already so small a House. And a letter had come from her mother's brother in Whitehold. A newly sworn chieftain was in need of a bride and given how quickly his lands were growing, had soldiers and silver to spare. And the Blackfrosts in turn had their name, one that would lend legitimacy to their future line. It was a match that made sense for both Houses and unlikely that another Marquis would come to their mountain-top seeking a wife.
What Halla thought of the marrying a Prodigal wasn't of much concern. The Blackfrosts have failed in their duty only once in a thousand years. She would never allow there to be a second time.
Called to Arx for the marriage, she left the farthest edge of the continent for its heart, from the fifth child of a hardscrabble barony to become Marquessa-Consort in the throngs of the capital. On the day of her wedding, she set aside one of the oldest names in Redrain for the newest. But she set aside none of her harsh determination or her fierce pride; to be born a Blackfrost is to bear the history of the North itself in your veins.