Élodie Desmarais was born in 1446 at the court of Henry VI and his wife, Margaret of Anjou, ostensibly to one of the Queen’s guards, Jacques Montcroix, and the woman he would soon take as his wife –– Adèle Lamont. Adèle truly had no desire to marry Jacques, but the toils of being an unmarried woman at such an age were beginning to stack up. So, to make a long story short, she minded little about Jacques’ little dabblings in the extra-marital. ‘God does,’ she’d told him, but didn’t know what else she could say about that. However, the terms of her acceptance were limited. Under no circumstances would she accept his bastard as her own. In truth, this left Jacques with bound hands, and thus he gave his child to the wife of one of the commanders of Henry’s army. He could do without the distraction of a child, and the chief and his wife had desired to have a child for some years, so it was really two rocks with one stone. And in this decision, and many others, was the making of a Musketeer.
How did the young babe come to be in the arms of Jacques in the first place? Jacques was a French official who accompanied Margaret of Anjou when she married Henry VI of England, and was sworn to defend her, although he noticeably had some bitterness about marrying the young girl off to the English king, not least due to his own distaste for the English themselves. However, a young woman named Joanna, whom he met on a rare excursion outside the grounds of the castle offered him hope for the young queen in her new marriage, and hope for his own future; she filled him with happiness, and confidence, and he craved her presence around him. When so many others felt what she instilled, she was quickly given a position as lady-in-waiting in the court, hoping it would bolster the marriage, and this gave the pair the opening they needed to spend further time together. The result of this illicit courtship was the conception of Élodie.
However, shortly after the conception, Joanna disappeared from the court, and it was believed stories of her bolstering aura had gotten out to enemies of the state. Some time later, under cover of night, she re-appeared, much to Jacques’ (very temporary) delight, and she carried a bundle in her arms. A little baby girl, his own, the likes of which he thought he mightn’t ever see, he was thrilled. Unfortunately, it was short-lived, as the woman revealed she’d have to leave once again, and what had been happiness turned into something detested. Thus, together, the two made a plan, for Jacques to give up the child to the couple –– the man she knew as her father, Lord Louis Desmarais, and his wife Estelle. Joanna, revealed now to Jacques to be the goddess Elpis, visited Lord Desmarais and his wife to leave behind a gift, saying merely that they would know when it was time for it to be used.
So Élodie grew up at the court, witnessing as the king’s grip upon sanity became more and more tenuous and his bouts of insanity stretched out longer, and longer. Growing up in the vicinity of a woman such as Margaret of Anjou, who wielded the force of a kingdom and angered powerful men in the process, it was difficult not to become a woman with...what some would call radical visions for the world. Lord Desmarais, having seen the gift Elpis left and having heard her explanation, knew the sort of woman his child was destined to become. So he entertained young Élodie’s hopes of learning to fight, and permitted her to see the queen as much as the monarch would entertain her. Jacques was never much of a problem, considering he died of a short illness just after Élodie’s second birthday. She never knew him, and she doesn’t regret that fact all too much. Part of the reason Élodie was kept so close to the court was the fact she was reminiscent to many of the way Joanna had been, and they weren’t going to allow such a prize to slip away twice.
In 1456, when Élodie was ten years of age, she was attacked by a hellhound. She attempted to use what she had learned from her father, but was simply not competent enough to fight it off. Finding that his own sword had no effect upon the monster, Lord Desmarais – who turned out to have clear sight – took his daughter’s rapier in both his hands and felled the hellhound with one mighty stab. They did not understand why this worked, but it was, of course, the fact that the rapier and main gauche Elpis had gifted her daughter was forged not of regular metal, but of celestial bronze. Incidents like these would continue to be smattered throughout Élodie’s childhood and later life, roughly one per year. She would be cautious and keep an eye out for monsters, and still does to this day.
By far the most eventful year in Élodie’s early life was 1461, the year she turned fifteen. Henry had been less and less stable for some years, and though the ambitious Margaret aimed to retain hold of her husband’s kingdom, she had angered some very powerful people – the most notable of those being Richard of York (not to be confused with Richard III). He disliked how much control she had over her husband, and she resented how much power was given him (and the fact he aimed to take away her power by being declared king), and this led to considerable enmity between them. Margaret personally pushed against him, and was a considerable political power, but at last in 1461 Henry was overthrown and replaced by the Duke’s son Edward, and after recovering her husband from Yorkist capture after a battle at which she herself was present, she later (and thus Lord Desmarais, and thus Élodie herself) sought help in France.
Both Élodie’s father and adoptive father were French, but she had thus far never seen the country. Several moves were made to cement political alliances, but the true crunch time did not come until ten years later. Élodie had fought in the army alongside her father since she turned eighteen in 1464, so by the time the Battle of Tewkesbury came to pass, she was a well-trained combatant. She had spent a considerable amount of time assisting the queen in leading her rebellion against the Yorkists alongside her father Lord Desmarais, and being in the presence of someone with such ambition and strength inspired Élodie’s own. However, unfortunately, the battle of Tewkesbury was a crushing loss for the Lancastrian forces, and a battle at which Élodie Desmarais very nearly met her end.
It was not a lack of prowess so much as an attempted rescue. Margaret’s seventeen year old son, Edward of Westminster, was present at the battle, and her death was due to quite literally throwing herself in between the young boy and his attacker. Elpis took up on what Élodie would later learn was one of two identical favours from Apollo and Hebe, to heal her daughter, and render her immortal at the age of twenty-five. The other favour was used upon her half-sister and fellow Musketeer Hyacinthe Chevalier, and in years gone by they have come to observe that the scars from their mortal wounds are on opposite sides –– Hyacinthe’s on the left, and Élodie’s stretching down her right side, from about the same level as her sternum to the end of her thigh. However, along with Margaret and others, she was captured and held by Sir William Stanley, and imprisoned with the former rather than being executed due to the rumours of her abilities.
The English clearly thought they could exploit them, though this never came to fruition, and she spent four years as a prisoner of war. They are still the most harrowing years of her life, having seen the woman she had hailed as a role model and paragon of ambition so completely broken by the loss of her son. In 1475, the prisoners were exchanged for money from Margaret’s cousin, Louis XI of France, but the king did not like the thought of having someone still with such fire and ambition as Élodie around but would not have a reason to expel her due to her heroism. Until those closest to him came up with a plan, and told the nation that Élodie’s miraculous survival could only mean her ‘attempted rescue’ and death was staged, and that she was a spy for the English. This was, of course, not true, and her maltreatment in captivity would have proved it, but nobody was inclined to listen, so she fled.
Over the next centuries, she would lend her rapier to French causes undercover, often against the English. She would often wear a helmet to conceal her identity from her fellow fighters. And though she still spoke French with an English accent, she was able to mask it well enough to fight countless wars. Up until 1778, when another one of many Anglo-French wars started up, she had lost her helmet in battle and was sighted. Many drawings of her existed in the royal archives, which the Musketeers (who were sworn to defend the royals) had access to, and everyone had long since been warned of how deep on the inside those who did not have the kingdom’s interests at heart could linger. Anyone else would have pegged her to be a doppelganger. There was no way someone accused in 1475 could be fighting on a battlefield in 1778. However, Hyacinthe Chevalier, first female Musketeer, was not just anyone. She was the recipient of the second favour Apollo and Hebe granted Elpis, and thus she knew –– that could very well be Élodie Desmarais.
Had she not been fighting for the French cause, Élodie doesn’t doubt she would have been killed on the spot. As it were, she was taken in and interrogated by the Musketeers with the assistance of a daughter of Aletheia, goddess of truth, who was visiting the court. And thus the truth of it came out, of how she was no English spy, of how she had been framed and had to make the best of her situation to serve the French crown in any way she could. Also revealed was her godly parent, Elpis, and the fact that her circumstances matched Hyacinthe’s own. From that day, the half-sisters accepted that they were part of a pair, and in apology for her framing (and appreciation of her three-hundred-fourteen-year service) Élodie was offered a position in the Musketeers, the elite guard. She accepted –– she was certainly good enough.
From that day until the Musketeers were disbanded in 1816, she stayed at their side. Unlike some of them, she remained in France for some time. It reached a point where she felt all she knew how to do was fight, and that she would be completely downtrodden were it not for the fact her mother was who she was, but nevertheless she joined some of them in continuing to fight in the World Wars, and other wars the French might require their military service. Élodie tempered this with striving to learn more about times as they passed her by, becoming a bit of a chameleon, focusing on the beautiful, becoming brighter. She would eventually take up a job of escorting young demigods to camp, using her skills to ensure the safety of children in order to repay what Hebe had given her (she’s working on a way to thank Apollo.)
This turned out to be how she would cross paths with fellow Musketeer Hyacinthe, who was escorting a group herself. Her sister and friend recommended that if she needed a break then Élodie, who had spent more years on the battlefield than total years Hyacinthe had lived even with her own long life, certainly did. So Élodie, who had previously stopped short of the gates of Camp largely due to her mother not having a cabin, accompanied her sister into Elpis’ cabin under this proviso. However, the woman who had fought most days of her life since she was eighteen years old would soon be taking up her rapier and gauche once again in defense of the Camp. With the Champions lingering on the horizon, the Musketeers (some old, some new) were reformed, with Hyacinthe at their head. And as the other half of a pair, she will stand at her side as long as is necessary.