Artwork and visual design elements by CallMePlisskin
UPDATE AND NOTE from KatieD April 2021
This introduction or ‘origin story’ for Evie was originally published in October 2018. There’s a segment in the story that has always bothered me, a hint at a facet of Evie that I later deliberately decided not to explore. It just never fit the intense, yet fun-loving, badass that Evie turned out to be.While rearranging deck chairs in my languishing DA site, I was creating a gallery specific to Evie and realized I didn’t have her introductory image available in a post. Therefore, I couldn’t make it a gallery cover image. (I further realized that this story was buried and difficult to find, as evidenced by the paltry page views).
So I’ve taken the opportunity to make the revisions to the story I always wanted to make, and attach a crop of the original commission by CallMePlisskin that I could use for her gallery.
About damn time.
Evangeline, or Evie, is a Rithian Ranger—the female warriors of the Rithian forces and graduates of the Ranger Academy. While many rangers excel in combat and brave military action, others are known more for their tactical and strategic savvy, their command of information.
Evie is one of the latter, and a member of the Codex Cryptae, a secret classification of ranger selected from within the graduate classes of the Ranger Academy. Officially, Evie reports to senior Ranger leadership as a scribe, a historian, and a cryptographer—while acting on behalf of the Cryptae council and their spymaster.
Evie’s assignments allow her to scout and gather intelligence, document events and conversations, and move about with a minimum of suspicion. Her Ranger title gives her access to the most secret and guarded places and the most sensitive information. But of course, even rangers are not immune to danger, mishaps, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Members of the Cryptae are always on the lookout for youngsters who show potential as future members. Evie was identified in her early teens, and the Cryptae mentors who guided her knew right away she was special. But she required a little more intervention at the beginning than many of her peers.
Evie was born into poverty. She was raised on the streets as much as in her broken home. She survived on her wits, becoming an adept thief and a con artist.
She kept a low profile, and was never in trouble. But when she was 13, her 18-year-old sister found trouble; she was abducted by slave traders and taken out of the city. In less than a day, Evie tracked them down. She infiltrated their hideout—and killed their leader and six of his henchmen with a blade no bigger than her hand.
To this day, the murders of the slave traders remain unsolved. Evie was never arrested, not even questioned. Other than her sister, who won’t speak of her ordeal, she left absolutely no trace behind. If nothing else, a Cryptae recruiter wrote, she would make a damn fine assassin. But certain other members realized she could become so much more.
So after she caught the attention of the Codex Cryptae, they got her out of her home situation and placed her with a stable family, into a good prep school. It’s amazing what food, clothes, a clean home and a loving family can do for one’s academic progress. She earned her way into Ranger Academy without the Cryptae’s help. They just ensured she followed a path of study that would develop her abilities.
Evie quickly demonstrated that she had many intellectual gifts. Recording and interpreting events, and analysis. Tactical and strategic savvy. Debate, persuasive speaking and writing. Cryptography, both code building and breaking.
But Evie also possessed an extreme level of empathy. She was adept at reading people, their motivations, their intents—and manipulating their desires. While her Intellectual Intelligence was high, her Emotional Intelligence was off the charts. Such duality had rarely been seen in even the most highly trained Cryptae members, and to Evie it all seemed to come naturally.
As her mentors helped develop her ‘soft skills,’ she also embraced the esoteric arts, and through that, healing arts. Potions and compounds became part of her tools of trade, not from origins within magic or wizardry, but from a newer field of study known as alchemy.
And…Evie also excelled in some unofficial curriculum that the more uptight faculty of the Ranger Academy disdainfully called the ‘seductive arts.’ Blessed with striking beauty and a most desirable form, Evie wouldn’t have been lacking for suitors regardless of her station in life.
To Evie, though, her appearance was just another asset to be leveraged; seduction was just another skill such as code breaking or running a con. Empathy and her ability to manipulate others helped Evie leverage her beauty into a tool deadly as any sword or potion. During advanced training she developed what she called her ‘persuasive gaze,’ a hypnotic stare with a disorienting effect that would lead the recipient to do whatever she was suggesting at the time.
These conflicting facets of her identity once threatened to consume Evie—or tear her apart. The ruthless assassin, the scholar-spy, the sultry seductress—sometimes she wasn’t sure who or how to be. Some experiences haunted Evie; others emboldened her.
One mentor noted that at times, Evie’s eyes would show the workings of a highly analytical mind—noting, classifying and cataloguing every detail around her at once. But in an instant, her analytical spark could suddenly be replaced by a soft sensual gaze and sweet smile that captured attention–or persuaded others to do anything and everything she wished.
Curious and beguiling, the mentor thought. Were he not aware of her abilities, he himself might be enraptured. Woe be to the man—or woman—who foolishly underestimates this one.
Without the Cryptae, Evie might never have gained control of her own identity. Her mentors helped her harness strength from each facet of her identity, and she learned how and when to employ the best parts of each.
In her own words:
“To see all that I have seen is not a choice I would recommend to anyone. But had I not, I might be a single shadow of who I am today. And I would not hold the power to choose which shadows I want to unleash.”