Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tea - Character Design

Tea de Valmont, or Teacakes as her Granny used to say, was born to a wealthy family of nobles in 1725; she's currently 19 years of age. Her parents perished when she was young, but luckily her grandmother, a duchess, was more than willing to take her in. She raised little Tea well, teaching her all about how a proper young lady with more than enough income to go around had ought to conduct herself. After her grandmother passed, little Tea was left the duchess' grand fortune, which was more than enough to last her a lifetime. However, in accordance with Granny's will, the money was to be managed by her accountants, and Tea would be allotted a certain allowance each month to take care of herself with. Not only that, she was designated a guardian who was to keep her out of trouble until she was able to find a suitable match, at which point she would be granted full access to her fortune.

Tea is extremely naive. She is gullible, incredibly sheltered, and easily swayed, and she has a very strong weakness for handsome gentlemen. She fancies confident personalities, and she has a tendency to follow after the ones she finds the most attractive, not unlike a lost puppy. She is eager to please, girly, and mildly vain. Tea is addicted to all things sweet; cakes, tea, sugar, candy, the works. She loves all things feminine, including dresses, ribbons, secrets, picnics, private notes, and affection. The heiress always smells of honeysuckle and gardenia, and suffers from a weak immune system, and little to no muscle mass. At all costs, the girl will avoid loud noises, insects, thunderstorms, spiders and worms. She only eats her vegetables when she has to, and she disdains vulgarity, being cold, and being sick.

Tea is currently on permanent vacation, moving about from place to place when the opportunity arises, or when it pleases her to do so. She visits her uncle now and then when it is socially wise to do so, but for the most part he doesn't like to have her around due to some deep seeded jealousy concerning his mother's inheritance. Tea's life is a never ending dance of tea time, parties, and heated discussions with her guardian about the importance of a well balanced diet. As of right now, Tea and a small group of her associates are taking up residence in a port city, investigating and analyzing the profitability of building a storage facility and dock there to use for the advantage of Valmont & Co., the large shipping company that Tea came into possession of and is only vaguely aware of. She is accompanying her investors as a formality; she really could not care in the slightest about business, shipping, or profits, but only whether or not she has enough allowance in order to send for the seamstress and have something made for her in either cream, powdery pink, or blue because those are the colors of the season and she must be fashionable at all times.

Tea's love for sweets and beauty is only rivaled by her ability to fall in love at the drop of a hat. She judges men not by character but by their handsomeness, and therefore has a tendency to attract less than reputable suitors. Currently, Teacakes is in what she would call "love" with a wealthy merchant who deals in flesh and tobacco, a fact which Tea is hardly aware of. Though he could not care less for the heiress, outside of her generous donations to his liquor cabinet and the other various expensive gifts she lavishes upon him, Tea on the other hands most certainly adores him and constantly seeks to justify his cruelty towards her with excuses. Beyond that, she has been known to meet a writer now and then, a man of an equally wealthy background as Tea herself, who is putting together a body of research in preparation for his next novel, another murder mystery not unlike his last work. Tea's guardian approves of nothing, and he himself only justifies working for the girl, at least outwardly, because he is aware of the fact that at any moment it would not be difficult for him to steal her fortune and disappear altogether. Surprisingly, he has not done so yet, and though his charge tests his patience on a moment to moment basis, he has managed to develop a soft spot for Miss de Valmont, which only fuels his steadfast position on her interactions with both writer, and more importantly the scoundrel merchant, which is, "Don't even dare."

As far as her future is concerned, Teacakes is indifferent. She is aware of the fact that at some point she will be married and inherit her wealth and all of the things associated with that, however she is presently content with her life. In the time she has to herself she enjoys playing cards, though she's terrible at everything outside of crazy 8's, and playing her harp which is one of the few talents she actually possesses. For the most part, Tea lacks common sense and likes to see the good in everything, placing her in a sort of whimsical, imaginary socialite world that only continues to exist because of her inheritance.

Teacakes' grandmother, the Duchess, adopted Tea when her parents (the son of the Duchess and his wife) died from illness. Tea's uncle, the Duchess' second son, assumed the title of Duke when the Duchess passed because a title cannot pass directly from the Duchess (who married the Duke) to a female heir. This gives Tea the title of "lesser princess," without any actual control over the dukedom. Although her uncle assumed control of the duchy and claimed the dukedom, the Duchess left Tea her fortune (which accumulated through the taxing of the residents in the area the family owned, as well as the resources that were marketed during her reign), as well as the shipping organization the dukedom came into control of. In other words, Tea was given the majority of the fortune as well as the shipping company, Valmont & Co., and her Uncle received the dukedom and duchy. In order to protect Tea, the Duchess not only left her the fortune but also a staff of "caretakers" for that fortune. Their duty is to invest the money in order to increase Tea's holdings, as well as distribute her monthly allowance. This allowance is for Tea to pay for her lodgings, food, entertainment, etc. All of her investments are handled through her financial staff who will remain the executors of her grandmother's will until she is either married, or becomes twenty-one years of age (the latter is something Tea is not currently aware of.) As of right now, Tea is not particularly interested in becoming involved in the transactions and money dealings her financial advisors are arranging. Thus, she only has the most basic information to give to the people who question her.


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