Children of the Night
Governess to the Low Nobility
Natalie looks to be in her mid to late forties, though her white hair gives her age away, as actually 50. Despite this, she carries most of her previous grace well. She’s still energetic and healthy, and still keeps up in the wittiest conversations. She understands noble etiquette better than most nobles. That is, after all, what she’s tasked to teach those in her charge. Generally, she holds a pleasant disposition, but life in Ustalav has its stresses and more than one person gains gray hair by the age of forty by seeing things unintended for mortal eyes.
While attending noble events in Lamashan of 4707 Vali struck up conversation with Natalie, who seemed to be hiding some anxiety. She had been charged with the care of a Stephen Borowitz, one of the city’s low noble families associated with old Ustalav roots in woodwork. Apparently Stephen Borowitz had been complaining of a Smiley Man in his dreams, and had a terrible time sleeping for the weeks preceding his disappearance. Vali promised to look for the boy. Looking into it further, Vali discovered this was a common problem that was developing among the city’s children, and he began visiting the Steel Steward Orphanage to learn more about this problem.
Vali tracked down this Smiley Man at the Gernikov Estate, while doing work for Diaudin, but unfortunately there was no sign of Stephen. Two months later Randalph told Vali of the Smiley Man’s re-appearance in Versex and Vali conferred with the group before leaving to track down the Smiley Man. Stephen’s disappearance damaged Natalie’s reputation as a governess, which until then, had been in good standing. Although Vali never did find Stephen, he did succeed in finally killing the oni known as the Smiley Man. He shared this information with Natalie when he returned.
Since then, Natalie occasionally attends noble events with Vali. She frequently uses the event to make connections or attends while caring for a noble’s baby, so she doesn’t always have the opportunity to enjoy the event like the true nobility, but she enjoys the occasional dance and drink, and does sometimes attend for her own amusement. Vali has helped her feel just a little younger, despite the dark circumstances they met. She, in turn, appreciates her new-found youth. She also knows a little of Vali’s work, so she keeps an ear out for strange disappearances among Caliphas’ children and nobility.
- artwork by Charlie Bowater