Blood in the Water
The Count's Gypsy Serving Girl. Also, daggers.
Level 7 – Human / Slayer (Ussuran Tibesti)
Played by Dani
• Galina is of the people known as the Tibesti. Outsiders know them as Fhideli. The Tibesti are a nomadic people who exist mostly in Ussura, though they have been known to wander outside of her borders. No one knows for sure where the Tibesti come from, though the stories say they come from a mysterious isle in the middle of the Mirror sea. While they once were to be found all over Theus, they have only really thrived in Ussura, close to Mother Matushka who they worship above all others. The Tibesti are a colorful, vibrant people known for their colorful caravans, festive music, and traveling carnivals. They are often called The Travelers.
• The Tibesti can be broken up into groups or clans called Vitzi. Galina is of the Vitzi Ursari, known above all for their affinity with animals and their close connection with nature.
• 1635 – Galina was born to parents Marousia and Vano Volkova. She was the third of four children, the first girl though she would later have a younger sister. When she was but a week old, a sparrow visited her family’s vardo and perched on the edge of the baby Galina’s cradle. The young baby was sleeping alone in the vardo, though her family was all close by. In the silence, Mother Matushka came. She spoke to the sparrow and smiled on the child. By the time Marousia came to wake her daughter, only the sparrow remained. It wasn’t until Marousia saw the color of her daughter’s eyes that she understood what had happened. Galina’s eyes, which had been brown when she had closed them to sleep, were now a brilliant emerald green; a mark of the gift she had been given and the Pyeryem magic she could now weild. The sparrow stayed close by the child for many of her formative years and, when she was old enough to understand, Galina shared her form as her first spirit skin.
• 1635 – 1647 – Galina and her family traveled with their Vitzi through Ussura. Occasionally they traveled southwest into Vodacce, though as many Ussurans do they avoid Eisen as best they can. As she grew, Galina exceeded any in her Vitzi with her connection to the animal kingdom. Between her heritage among the Ursari and her Pyeryem gift, Galina grew with as many friends among the animals as she had among the Tibesti children surrounding her. Pui, her sparrow friend, was always close by, often perched on her shoulder or in her hair.
She was ten and at a Grand Kris that she first saw the men and women entertaining one another with their skills at throwing weapons. Combining finesse with weapons and the acrobatic flare the Tibesti are known for, throwing weapons were popular among her people. Fighters from the young adolescents to the fully grown competed against one another in contests, sparring matches, and even dances. Around them whirled daggers, axes, and swords. One such fighter, a young man a few years her senior called Fyodor, drew her attention. Young as he was, he was already especially skilled. However it was a Tibesti woman, Emanaia, who indulged her interest. During the Grand Kris, Emanaia, taught Galina how to handle and throw small bladed weapons such as daggers and knives.
• 1647 – 1649 – Galina and her family traveled to Montaigne. Her father had been tasked with filling a duty long valued by a member of the Vitzi Ursari, keeper of l’empereur’s menagerie. Though the man holding the position often changed, it was nearly always held by someone from their Vitzi. Living among the gadjo was a new experience for Galina. Until this time she had interacted almost exclusively with other Tibesti. During their two year stay in Montaigne, Galina came in contact with many children of both royal and noble families, though she and her siblings prefered to keep to themselves. The differences in their upbringing were stark and the Volkova children often found they don’t fit in among the young Montaigne nobility.
When she was thirteen, she happened upon a group of boys more or less her age who were entertaining themselves by bullying a stray cat who had the misfortune to wander into their path. Galina chased them off with several well aimed thrown stones, and brought the injured feline home with her. While nursing the cat back to health, Galina befriended the animal and, in return for her kindness, the cat granted her permission to adopt her form as Galina’s second spirit skin.
In 1649, Galina’s father was injured by a new and terrified arrival to the menagerie. Though he survived, his injury never fully healed and he was unable to continue upholding the duties as keeper of the menagerie. He, and thus the rest of his family, returned to Ussura and to their Vitzi while another took Vano’s place in l’empereur’s employ.
• 1652 – 1656 – Galina was promised in marriage to Nicu Albescu, grandson of the Sanat and a prominent member of the Vitzi. He was perceived as a good man and a good match. It is only after they were married that Galina learned otherwise. Nicu was controlling, neither as kind nor as caring as her own father or brothers. He was a man of two faces, well respected and loved by the Vitzi but feared by his wife. His hold on his temper was tenuous at best and they were not married long before clashes between an irate Nicu and an outspoken Galina ended in violence.
For four years she suffered without intervention. Her father did not hear her when she tries to tell him what was happening. Few who interacted with Nicu in the Vitzi would. Even when her voice eventually reached the Sanat, Nicu’s grandmother, it was her words against his more respected one. When she finally accepted that her voice would never truly be heard, she took the only option left open to her. Escape.
She was far and away when the Vitzi officially declared her Memlo but she knew it would come. In the years immediately following her desertion, she adopted gadjo customs almost exclusively.
• 1656 – 1662 – Galina’s new life began in Vodacce. From there she moved about Theus, visiting everywhere save Eisen. She made her living primarily as a thief, though like most among the Tibesti she called what she borrowing. Being able to take the form of her precious, and now only friend, Pui and the Montaigne cat made her job easier. She took only from those who would not miss what little she borrows, never making another’s life more difficult in order to ease her own.
The more she stole, the more she learned her ‘type.’ Well known men and women, usually disliked or even cruel, richer than any man has any need to be. Pilfered coins and gems pay for lodging in whatever city or town she found herself in, though she discovered she became restless if she were to stay in one place too long. Her successes, and notable targets, began to earn her a reputation. In Vodacce and Castille she became known as l’ombra or la sombra, the shadow. In Montaigne, they called her le fantôme. The ghost.
In addition to her skills as a thief, Galina improved her skills as a fighter. Without the protection of her Vitzi, Galina practiced the skills she once viewed merely as a means of entertainment. In addition to gems and coins, she stole every now and again small bladed weapons. With these she practiced throwing, slashing, and concealing until the weapons were as easy to handle as her own two hands. Every so often she used her skills to entertain in port towns where such displays were appreciated. Less often she used those skills to protect herself when the lure of a woman alone after dark drew the attention of less than savory characters.
Only once did those skills prove more a hinderance than a help. Caught one night in the act of thieving, the prominent man of the house seemed to prefer taking justice into his own hands in place of calling the proper authorities. The next day when said young man was discovered with her dagger betwixt his ribs, her performance the previous day by the docks was remembered and she was quickly arrested.
During the short time between arrest, trial, and sentencing, Galina caused great trouble wherever they tried to keep her. As a Fhideli, she was looked on as less than even a woman. Negative attention from fellow prisoners and guards alike followed her, often ending in violent disturbances of peace prompting the guards to find alternate means of holding her. The solution: a small storage space aboard a guard ship. For a Tibesti, someone who was used to constant movement and freedom, it was like hell.
Her sentence finally came and she was to be sent to the isle of La Bucca. Upon arriving at the island, though, she was not released from her hellish confines right away. Were she asked she would have no idea for how long she was kept there. Days later, or perhaps hours, the sounds that reached her ears changed to those of fighting and revolt. It was during that mayham that a man by the name of Cero found and released her. Grateful for his rescue and without anything calling her back to her former life, Galina chose to follow Cero, to repay him for saving her life by protecting his.
Galina and Cero joined the Pirate Nation, serving on a number of ships. The life of a pirate, however, is one she never truly knew if she enjoyed. The constant movement and the freedom of calling a ship home appealed to her. It reminded her of her life among the Tibesti. She found herself reclaiming some of her former flare the longer she spent with them. Where before she had dressed almost exclusively as the gadjo did, she now accented her clothing wth colorful scarves and jewelry, the likes of which she hadn’t worn since she left Ussura. But the life of a pirate also went against the beliefs she’d learned in that lost life. While she had been a thief before her arrest, she had never stolen for the sake of doing so. The behavior went against her very nature and after several years the strain became exhausting. She left the ship she was serving on when it docked in Vodacce and left the life of a pirate behind her.
• 1666 – Present – Loathe to return to the behavior that had landed her in trouble in the first place, Galina sought honest employ for the first time in her life. She found such work when she was employed by the eccentric Count Dante della Montagna. The foppish man seemed intrigued by her, where most avoided her because of her obvious heritage. He saw her first as she entertained a crowd in a nearby town with her skills and juggling and throwing knives. She was hired as his personal servent, taking up the duties of both valet and – when the situation called for it – bodyguard.
Vano Volkova – father, 62
Marousia Volkova – mother, 55
Kennick Volkova – brother, 35
Lasho Volkova – brother, 33
Alamina Volkova – sister, 30
Nicu Albescu – ex husband, 39
Education: Galina’s formal education is – less than formal. She learned to read and write from her mother who was in charge of educating her young children. The history of her people was taught to her in story form, sitting around fires and listening to the elder’s of her Vitzi. She learned about animals from the animals themselves. She was initially taught to fight with daggers and knives by a fellow Tibesti called Emanaia, thought her expertise came mostly from practice and observation as she lived among the gadjo.
Employment: Currently she is employed as the personal servant and body guard of Count Dante della Montagna. Formerly she has made her living as a pirate and a thief.
Religion: Galina does not acknowledge a formal religion. She is a woman of faith. In her youth she followed the Tibesti traditions honoring Matushka and Theus. She prayed often and performed all the ancient rituals. Since leaving her people, though, she has done little of this. She still speaks to Matushka in times of need, respects and loves her as she always has, but she can’t bring herself to adhere to the old ways. She feels as if she does not deserve them.
Interests: Galina has longed loved and played the fiddle, something she learned growing up. She has a halfway decent voice as well, though she rarely uses it for more than humming when on her own.
Worst Moment: Making the decision to leave the Tibesti to escaper her abusive husband.
Alignment: Galina would most likely identify as chaotic good. She has little regard for things as arbitrary as laws and regulations but she has a good heart. She dislikes harming those who have not wronged her or those she has pledged to protect and does what she can for the betterment of those around her.
Disposition: Galina is a woman of sarcastic humor. When comfortable she is warm and open and she dearly loves to laugh. Her temper is often directed inward, the more displeased she becomes, the quieter she may seem. It is rare to see her explode outwardly with emotion.
Outlook: She is an optimist though she would hesitate to call herself one. If asked, she would say she is a realist. She is aware that life is not fair and things do not work out simply because you hope they will. Nonetheless, she has a naturally hopeful demeanor and often finds herself having to remind herself that things may not always go her way.
Integrity: Galina, while not the kind to keep many secrets of her own, is a wonderful guard of the secrets of others. Her own past is something she does not speak much of but does not actively hide unless someone gives her cause to do so. The secrets of others, however, she would die before revealing.
Impulsiveness: People often confuse Galina’s wanderlust for impulsiveness but they would be mistaken. While she is not the kind to enjoy staying in one place long, little else about her changes as easily. She thinks deeply about the things she does before she does them, having learned the hard way that her actions have consequences.
Boldness: Galina is usually exactly as bold as the circumstances require her to be. She tends to keep her opinions to herself but she is not timid nor easily made nervous.
Flexibility: She excels at being able to adapt to the situations she finds herself in and has a unique ability to do so thanks mostly in part to her upbringing. She does not often get caught up in how she wishes things were and is able to quickly accept and move forward with the way things are.
Affinity: Galina is warm with those she cares about, something that is easily seen in her interaction with the Count’s adopted daughter. When comfortable with someone, she is much more open and smiles easily. She does not trust new people easily, though. She dislikes not understanding the people who surround her and until she does she is stand offish and suspicious.
Comportment: Galina can often be seen standing quietly to the side of the Count. She has a talent for blending in, consciously doing nothing that would draw attention to herself unless it is attention she wants.