Brought up in one of the major cloth merchant houses of Glaeron, Gisella led a pristine life.
She had all of life’s desires, wealth, social acumen, and happiness. She spent most of her youth under a sweet governess where she learned to do all the maidenly arts (needlework, embroidery, the running of a household, dancing, playing instruments, development of a pleasant singing voice) all in an effort to make a good match.
The work all came to fruition just after her sixteenth birthday when her father made a perfect match with the eldest son of a major wine merchant house, the Lausiers. James was the oldest, handsome, wealthy, and well mannered, he was every match making mama's dream.
On the evening before the announcement of their betrothal, Ella came to a realization that the life she was leading had no meaning. It would be filled with more balls, parties, and all sorts of events, and be rounded out with the assumption of authority over servants and a new household. Her soon to be husband was a vapid political vulture, seeking to extend his families power.
James fell madly in love with her on site. She was everything he wanted and needed in a bride, resplendent in her peach silk ball gown, her swarthy skin set off by the candle light. Politically well connected, bright, and accomplished in all the ways he would need. Perhaps, he thought to himself after their introduction, she was a little bit free spirited and strong willed. But that was nothing that couldn't be overcome with a few beatings and liberal dosing of laudanum.
She called on her father, and made her concerns known. He reassured her, soothingly, explained that it would be to her best benefit to make this marriage happen. She tried to explain to him her concerns about the depth of her betrothed.
“But sweetheart, I don't understand. You've always wanted to get married. I thought you this is what you've been looking forward to? Every girl wants to marry a handsome man.” He grinned at her, sharing a moment.
“I understand that you are nervous, but it will be ok. Why don't you go see your mother and have some cakes and tea, we can discuss this later.”
She realized then that speaking to her father would do nothing. With a swift hug for the dear man she went to see her mother.
Her mother, who was already deep in her cups.
“Gisella! I'm so thrilled to see you.” She held her daughter close with a rustle of the velvet dress she wore.
“Mother, I'm having reservations about marriage.”
“No dear, we've already made the reservations, don't you recall?” With a sweet smile, her eyes slightly glassy.
“I mean that I'm not sure that I want to do it.”
“Of course not dear, that's why we have servants. ” She sipped from her wine glass and sat on a nearby chaise.
“No mother, I'm not talking about the reservations.”
“No sweetie, you don't have to worry about invitations.”
“I mean that I'm not sure that I want to get married to James.”
“Honey, eloping is terribly tacky.”
“You don't understand. I don't want to get married.”
“Lie back and try to enjoy yourself dear, It's nothing to be afraid of,” her mother finished the wine at the bottom of her glass. She stared into it and frowned, then threw the glass feebly across the room at a servant, the glass shattering on the tile floor.
“You there! Get me a glass of wine. This one is broken!” she smiles dreamily and looks back at Ella. “Good help is so hard to find these days.”
And Gisella realized that not only did she have deep reservations, but that she absolutely would not end up like her mother. That night, Gisella left herself behind in that city, snuck onto a boat without a single good bye, to find herself, and a new life.
The intervening years include much travel and learning. She started on the boat, and sang her way across the see to Maeron city. There, she picked up all she could, through good and bad. Times were not always easy, but she made do as best as she could.
She traveled to Rustland and Thornwall. And when she learned all she could of civilization, she started visiting the wild people in the flats. She's been with the Ihmiset Valas for the last year or so, learning their ways and of their civilization. She sticks out like a sore thumb, wearing the robes of their skalds and priestesses, but standing almost a head shorter than even the shortest of the whale people. Her hair is riotous black curls, eyes dark, skin swarthy. In the city of fair skinned warriors, she is petite, and far more generous with her smiles than is their way.
She viewed her previous life in Glaeron like a distant memory, as it has been more than 8 years since she left her family and everything that she knew. But she still has much to learn. She was ready to leave the Ihmiset Valas, but hasn't quite come across the opportunity yet.