An Oncomming Storm
[Bywater] Lady Leonette (Chester) Bywater
Lady Bywater of Waterdeep, Elder Sister, Mother and Aunt
Lady-mother Leonette Bywater is in many ways an ideal match for her husband though in most regards they are as the night is to the day. Where he is strong, with the lean and wiry build of a wolf, she is slim to the point of being a little too thin, soft and almost a little frail to behold. Her arms are long, a little too long as her mother always told her, and she is taller than most women, standing well over one seventy-four and as her mother endlessly repeated, far too tall. Now a woman in her thirty-eight year, and having been through four pregnancies, Leonette is not a young girl anymore, yet still she retains some of the beauty which in their youth won the Chester sisters renown as the “Jewels in the Shields”. Her long black hair that garnered her fame is still as lustrous and silken as in her youth, glittering with an almost silvery sheen on moonlit nights. Her eyes too, framed by the falling cascades of black, are still the same biting blue as in her youth, oft likened the sea around her home. Indeed, Aemon often said that he can see the weather of the “Shields” in her eyes, blue and tranquil at one instance, dark and stormy the next. And yet the slightly deep set eyes are wiser now then in her youth, calmer too, and though their anger is still a fierce thing when provoked there is a warm and friendliness in them which lends her features a gentle quality. The face in which the eyes sit is sharp and fairly long, marked by high cheeks, a fine jawline and a smallish mouth over which sits a high, somewhat pointed nose. In the bygone days of girlhood she was oft teased for being too sharp and thin when compared with her younger sisters, almost a little boyish, yet most would agree age has matured her features into something both ladylike and noble. Yet more than anything else Leonette’s is a face given to easy smiles, laugher and a beaming expression of mild amusement, something far greater than simple beauty.
Leonette, though far from an accomplished seamstress, has always been fond of clothing with a knack for finding attires which complement the wearer. Though far more interested in dressing up others than herself, something her children has experienced first-hand, she still keeps a large and varied wardrobe. Leonette favours slim, flowing dresses without much of the embellishment and finery so in the vague, mainly in tones of yellow and sometimes reds. In particular she is fond of shades of yellow contrasted with black and white embroideries, though many of her dresses also have gilded embellishment as befitting her status as lady of the house. She is often also seen wearing jewellery, in particular a neckless set with a large ruby which was the wedding gift from her father in law. When at home she dresses in simple yellow or green dresses with embroidery in simple floral patterns.
Lady Leonette is at heart a bright and curious personality, with a laugh as clean and quick as the ocean breeze and a smile both easy and warm. She is fond of witty remarks, quips both kind and cruel, and is not above delivering them herself, though always with a soft disarming smile. Much unlike her brooding husband her disposition is fundamentally positive and she trusting that there is something good in every event the gods throw at men. Certainly, though few knows of it is her that has kept her husband from despairing during the families darkest hours, for which she has earned his deep love and silent admiration. And though Leonette might be an easy and friendly personality she is by no means naïve, possessing a sharp with and an equally sharp tongue with which to exercise it. As she is also fond of books she has always had a good relationship with the houses Maesters, valuing especially Maester Thorben both for his professionalism and his intelligence.
Yet despite her bright demeanour and undeniable wits Lady Leonette is no player of the social game, nor has she ever been. While she can’t quite be labelled as shy she is certainly somewhat reserved and uninterested, preferring to spend long days surrounded by her children or seeing to the household rather than in the busy hall of a grand court. She has little interest in politics, beyond what directly affects her and the children, and seems content to leave the centre stage to her sister and husband if possible. She is simply content with the situation as is, and has no ambitions beyond seeing her children find their place in life. Furthermore, though Leonette is certainly ladylike when she so desires she can also be surprisingly direct, almost blunt, regardless of the circumstances. And as the Maester has noted on occasion, her wrath, once stirred, is every bit as fiery as her sisters. More than anything however, Leonette is a fiercely positive and energetic person, always with a witty remark at the ready.
Leonette Bywater, mother to Alain, was born on Greenshield at the mouth of the Mander in 249 AC on a cold day of spring, the first of four Chester siblings to reach adulthood. Her birth was a difficult one as she came nearly a moon early and new-born she was so small that the Maester feared for her life. And yet she survived, by the grace of the gods, to the great relief of her parents whose first had been stillborn. Thus Leonette grew up amongst small rolling hillocks surrounded by the endless mumbling of the great sea, proving at an early age both a curious and gregarious child. She was the first daughter in a group of four siblings and as such was quickly forgotten, as is often the case, in favour of her younger sisters and brother, learning at an early age both to care for herself and others. Leonette became a quiet young woman, more interested in the maester’s books than her father’s guests, and though considered one of the three “Jewels in the Shields” she could never match her sisters in beauty or fame. Aged fourteen she spent a little over a year on the Arbor with her cousins there, a place she still remembers with fondness, yet for the most part her early years were quietly spent reading, exploring and riding, an activity she still loves to this day.
Scantly had she returned before a marriage was arranged for her, being as the oldest daughter of the late lord Chester seen a good match for many a young lordling. Aged seventeen she married Daeron Bywater of Waterdeep in a grand ceremony during which also her sister Elana wed, though to Leonette it was a marriage more out of duty to her father than of love, for at first Daeron seemed a cold and distant man to her. Their relationship quickly grew passionate however and she came to both love and respect her husband, feelings which age has but deepened. Quite what she found in the cool and impassionate Daeron her mother will never fathom, yet she has managed to become his close and perhaps only confidant. Though few perhaps realize it Leonette has tremendous power over her husband, far more then perhaps even she understands, and though she mostly remains on the side-line like a good wife should she does every so often consult, or is indeed consulted by, her husband, especially on matters of marriage. In their years together she has granted him four children to be his pride and joy, first two twins and later both another boy and a girl. Leonette is however regularly observed before one specific urn in the family crypt, and there was one boy whom is now never spoken off. As an administrator of the Bywater household she has also proven apt and whether a festival or a visit by important guests the Lady Bywater usually personally supervises the preparations, often working together with the Maester Thorben which has proven a fruitful cooperation.
Always one content with staying at home and with little interest in controlling others Leonette has watched with both pride and joy as all her children has found their place in the world. She has however always lent a helping hand, playing a big part in her daughter Rhaena’s marriage to Garth Hightower. She travelled with her children both to Highgarden and Market Town, aiding them as best she could in all the attending calamities, though Market Town left her noticeably shaken for some time. The danger to her children was something which manage to stir her wroth, something the Maester unluckily felt the brunt off. She was also present during the Tournament of the Bywater Greens, and seemed in the end satisfied with the resulting betrothals of her two youngest children.
Though she has done little to intervene, she also seems to have been troubled by the reappearance of Maelys’ bastard and her sister’s reaction to him. She has said little on the subject, seemingly undecided as to the best course of action.
Alain, she loves with all the warmth only a mother can give.
Braedon, she treats almost as if he was her own son.
Duncan, she treats with surprising kindness and an almost friendly manner, though interaction is limited.
Thorben, she has developed a professional yet friendly relationship with, seemingly appreciating his sense of wit and at times sharp tongue.
Vermillion, she seems undecided about, mostly remaining silent so far.