An Oncomming Storm
[Chester] Lady Leonorra Chester
Grandmother and Mother, Matron of Old Elm, "The Ferret of Greenshield"
The Grandmother of Greenshield is not a young maiden anymore, having reached the fairly advanced age of sixty-nine years. Yet few of those who have meet her would call her an old lady, much less a sweet one, for she possesses both a vitality and a force of character befitting of someone in their prime. She is and has always been slight of build, with thin delicate arms, an almost hourglass shaped waist and a frailty of body much at odds with her attitude. Once she was admired for her grace and quickness, yet her strides have now lost something of their girlish gait and when walking she requires a firm walking stick as her left leg never quite healed from a riding accident some twelve years back. But though short of stature and marked by age the venerable lady Chester remains unbent by her years, her head held just as high and her back just as straight as in her days of youth.
She was once considered a beauty amongst the girl of Crakehall and though now withered by many long years upon the windy shores of Greenshield her features are still noble and clear. A high forehead sits above finely drawn and deeply expressionate eyebrows, running down to a tall and slightly broad nose. Indeed, her knotted eyebrows have long been the terror of her children and grandchildren alike. The hair framing the face, once as black as the darkest night, is now a near perfect shade of silvered grey. Though still kept long Leonorra now for the most part keeps it gathered in a knot or bun. Though heavily with wrinkles and marked by age one can easily see the resemblance to her eldest daughter and son in her high cheekbones and fine jaw, as well as their small, round ears. Her eyes however are not theirs, for Lady Leonorra has eyes a distant shade of grey, cloudy perhaps but with a glint and a sharpness to them which makes her face seem very much alive. Indeed, less pleasant tongues has likened her face to that of a ferret, small and seemingly innocent, yet whose eyes are filled with devious humour and a dangerous curiosity. And it is indeed a face easily given to soft yet dangerous smiles and smirks of disdain, though when with her grandchildren it is also a face of much warm and vibrant vitality.
Old and many years a widow Lady Leonorra Chester hardly cares for the fancies and vogues of fashion anymore, preferring instead the practical and the comfortable. She dresses often now in the warm chestnut browns of house Crakehall, though she also seem to favour the green of house Chester, especially on formal occasions. As befitting of a mother and a widow her dresses are sturdy and practical affairs, often single pieces with long, white sleeves worn under various capes and furs as the situation dictates. Except when amongst her children and grandchildren she is never seen without a wimple, oft-times slashed and folded, as well as a black vail which covers her hair and forehead. The only vanity she commonly allows herself is one of several heavy, gilded belts gifted to her by her late husband and carried as a sign of being the matron of the household. With golden clasps, intricately woven patterns and inlaid with red and green stones these belts lights up an otherwise fairly plain wardrobe. Lady Chester also carries a small necklace in silver on which hangs a locket containing a small icon of carved ivory, depicting the Mother. Finally, when outside her quarters she is commonly seen clutching a firm walking stick made from the knotted branch on an elm. It is a sturdy affair something uppity smallfolk of Old Elm has come to learn.
Despite her advanced age and frail physique Lady Leonorra still possess a commanding presence in any gathering she attends, for she is and has always been a personality both vibrant and vital. She is quick of wit and has a way with words which puts many a bard to shame. She has always been sharp, something age has but refined with wisdom and experience. Indeed many have noted that she has run Old Elm almost by herself both during and after her husbands time, and most would agree it has prospered under her supervision. Added to this she has always been an intensely social person, always at home amongst the crowd of the great hall or about the castle to supervise the workers of her little kingdom. Much like her two youngest daughters she has an empathic and gregarious demeanour which makes her feel both warm and sincere to those she favours. But unlike in particular Elana Lady Leonorra has grown content with her own position, interested more in her own little world than the wider glamour of distant courts and places. She has also grown immensely fond of her island home and distain travelling, both at land and at sea, an affliction she suffered from long before she grew old of age. There have rarely been a lack of visitors willing to come to her halls however for Lady Leonorra’s is known as being both a hospitable and an entertaining host.
Yet she can also be a difficult one, for she has always been a perfectionist and a busybody. Quick to point out mistakes and not afraid to be direct if she judges her position superior. Coupled with her sharp tongue and fiery temper many find her intimidating, even at her advanced age, and in particular her daughter-in-law has been much troubled by the older ladies presence. Much like her daughter Elana she is also strict when it comes to morals and she does not hesitate to punish those she perceive as breaking the social code, be they smallfolk or nobility. Age has furthermore narrowed her world considerably, making her nagging and endless complaints all the more pronounced and repetitive. And yet, few can deny that when she does find time to give a piece of advice, be it on conduct at court or diplomacy, it is often sound.
As Lady Leonorra has often answered her grandchildren she is older than anyone care to remember, even herself. Yet once it was not so and she was born the second child to Lord Aubrey Crakehall, grandfather of the current Lord Roland Crakehall, and his wife Amrai formerly of house Frey. Born in 219 AC, in the midst of the Third Blackfyre Rebellion, she saw two more wars caused by Blackfyre ambition and has lived through the reign of six kings, five of them Targaryen. In her youth she was considered something of a beauty and was age fifteen sent as a lady-in-waiting to her cousin, Lady Jeyne Marbrand wife to Tytos Lannister. This was during the days of Lord Gerold “The Golden” under whom house Lannister prospered like never before and Leonorra still remembers her time in Lannisport fondly. As she reached her nineteenth year she was married of to Harrybald Chester, one year her junior, a good match but motivated by a love that was clearly one sided.
Leonorra Chester did however find her new home very much to her liking and though she never grew to love her husband she did love the four children they had together all the more. Upon becoming Lady Chester in 253 A.C. she also took great pleasure in reorganizing and supervising the household of Old Elm, so much so that many claimed she ruled the castle far more aptly than her husband. And so she have remained upon her little island, as the years have gone by and her generation has faltered around her. An riding accident in 276 A.C. saw her badly wounded, yet after nearly two years she fought her way back to her feet, though forever chained to a sturdy walking stick. Widowed in 282 A.C. she did not at all withdraw from the rule of Old Elm, remaining instead to assist her son perhaps far more so than he would have desired.
After a long absence Grandmother Chester returned to the Cocklesvale on the occasion of the Tournament of the Brothers held on the Bywater Greens. She mostly remained in the background during the proceedings of that memorable event, though was at hand to provide what she surely viewed as timely and sensible comments and criticism. In particular, she disapproved of Alain’s less than admirable conduct.
As the young Cockerels escorted her and her company back to the “Shields” however she did provide young Alain with some soothing advice on the hardships of marriage, as well as on the trustworthiness of Lowthers.
Alain, she seems to be quite fond of despite levelling a fair amount of criticism at him.
Braedon, she treats with fondness, though perhaps similar to the way one treats a particularly inept dog.
Thorben, she hardly seem to notice beyond when his skills are required.
Vermillion, she does not deign to communicate with, likely viewing him as a menace and a pest.