Lady Zorianna Blackshore
Like a magnolia tree, she bends with the wind. Trials and tribulation may weather her, yet after the storm, her beauty blooms.
Description: Petite, attractive widow who has weathered many storms, Zorianna survives with grace and fortitude of a steel magnolia. Mahogany locks tumble down her shoulders, oftentimes pulled back as not to interfere with her gardening. Her amber eyes spark with intelligence and inner strength, looking directly at those she speaks to. Her proud nose speaks to her noble heritage. Her warm ivory skin only shows a few faint lines of age that has been held back with good skincare. Her lush lips are tinged with a bit of artifice, a soft pink gloss. Her lean curves are often showcased by the fashion that she wears.
(The ends of all four fingers (as well as the very tip of her thumb) on her left hand have been stained a striking, unsettling, shade of bluish-grey.)
Personality: Zorianna is a steel magnolia that always gives the bearing of a lady while firmly seeing to the interests of her family. She does not raise her voice in anger, but gives a clear direction on what is needed. Her mind is one of her finest qualities, causing her to gravitate to scholarly matters. Her quiet reserve sometimes keeps people at arm's length but perhaps that's because of her recent tragedies.
With so many storms in her life, it is only through gardening does Zorianna feel grounded and productive. The earth has never abandoned her, neglected her or left her barren. When things grow under her watch, she feels a measure of happiness to know that what she brings forth will nourish and care for those under her watch.
Background: Zorianna Argento was born to a pair of skilled courtiers, Lord Bryan (formerly of Steelhart) and Lady Nadine Argento, who's political mechanisms first brought them together. For them, children were an obligation, a trophy to be brought out at parties to entertain the guests. Because her birth was such a difficulty, her mother suffered severe depression after the birth. For the rest of her life, Zorianna was never allowed to forget it. It would be another seven years her mother attempted another pregnancy, a whim on her mother's side to try to rekindle something between her and her husband. Because during her pregnancies, her husband's attention would be more focused on her. As a bonus, her younger sister, Analeigh's pregnancy and birth went better. So did her younger brothers, Herbert and Jeoffrey. Her mother didn't suffer the same health issues and was able to properly bond with her other children. Sadly, Zorianna didn't benefit for the more family focus. The age gaps and mother's coldness caused her siblings to gravitate away from Zorianna's company. Her father left child rearing to his wife so his actions followed suit of Nadine. Over the years, this all snowballed into the simple fact that Zorianna just never fit in her family.
She did not grow up without love. Lady Saraphae Blackshore, formerly from House Argento and married to Argus Blackshore, was named First Liar to Zorianna Argento when she was born. She held the child when her mother rejected her. She fostered Zorianna at Blackshore Isle when her parents were in Arx in the Spring and Summer months to attend parties and navigate political waters. These moments when she would visit with Saraphae were the moments she lived for. Saraphae gave her a home, love and feeling of family. Both her and Saraphae shared a love for gardening, and as she grew older, her mentor taught her everything she knew about winemaking. The two of them could be seen in the gardens, covered in dirt, laughing as they worked side by side. As she grew older, she became a gifted alchemist and agriculturist, spending much of her energies trying to improve the strain of wine that grew on the isle.
Out of all the Blackshore siblings, she was closest to Elisabe Blackshore who was her same age. They were inseparable as children, playing together in perfect sync and finishing each other's sentences. Elisabe was more of a sister to her than Analeigh who was her mother's parrot. They had slightly different interests, Elisabe being more interested in medicinal uses of plants rather than winemaking, but their friendship weathered the test of time. When they both debuted in Arx at their majority, Zorianna married quickly into a Lyceum family at the tender age of eighteen. It was not a love match, rather a political one that refilled her family's coffers and created a strong alliance. Saraphae argued strongly against it but for once her mother was paying attention to her. The young girl got swept up in her mother's wedding plans. She found herself a new wife before she realized what that even meant. Like a toy that had outdone it's use, once she was married, her mother again lost interest in her. To make matters worse, her new husband, Lord Barnabus Daveiga, was not that interested in building a happy home with his new wife. He was weak willed and sought his mother's counsel over his own wife. Her suggestions to make improvements to the crops were ignored. Her contributions were regaled to being everything she disliked her own mother for, a fancy show piece to be taken out at parties. There would be no happy ever after for this steel magnolia.
To further her own depression, Elisabe was lost at sea, leaving her without a critical lifeline to keep her balanced. Saraphae caught a chill and passed quietly in her sleep. Her parents were caught up in their political games. The nannies were busy raising her siblings. Everyone had their own lives. She tried her best to be a good wife. She was always the outsider looking in. Never quite fitting in, no matter where she went. The only interest her husband had for her was hosting parties and bearing children that her stubborn womb would not accommodate. Her mother-in-law grew more openly scornful her son's new wife. There was no complaining about it. She just regally took the barbs from her inlaws.
Being married out of the house, she was not aware of what was happening with House Argento until the shocking destruction at the hand of Duchess Belladonna Pravus and her allies. Her heart ached at those she once knew as family were now nothing. Her mother and father were dead, side notes in history for their part in the scandal. Even the house was erased and broken into pieces by the victors. Her siblings divided up among those still living. Barnabus refused her ask to take them in, because his mother didn't want any more filthy traitors running around. Their commentary did not stop at her siblings, her inlaws could not help but revel in the deaths of all in House Argento. The strain between Zorianna and her husband's family only grew with their insensitive comments.
All things change, and finally Barnabus passed away from a winter chill, a condition that he long had since childhood. Her husband's family wanted nothing to do with her. With Argento being in ruins these last few years, the only options she could choose were Steelhart, Blackshore or Malesparo. She chose Blackshore because it was only on that isle had she ever been truly happy. She had no desire to take her chances on Malesparo or Steelhart where she might once again be the unwanted burden. She sought out the new baroness, offering her fealty. Skye Blackshore took her in, recognizing the connection between Blackshore and Argento, and needing her expertise in agriculture and alchemy. Zorianna gave up her married name to take up the Blackshore name to put some distance between her and her infamous family. Because of her expertise in agriculture, she took up the ministry position to assist the baroness. She started reaching out to her siblings to see if they could reconnect. After all, they were her only blood left. While the stain of scandal still sits on her ancestry, she is finally starting to live her life on her terms.