The Rose of London
Pale and beautifull
Miss Catherine Rose has risen a long way since her early days as a servant girl in a noble house. Her exotic beauty, criminal contacts, and memory for detail have made her a commodity among the upper classes as an adventuress, information broker, and procurer of black market goods. Just don’t ask her to get her petticoats dirty.
As a young girl from a poor family, Catherine grew up being taunted for her albinism. The translucent skin and pale eyes that make her fascinating to the upper classes were looked upon by the superstitious low classes as a mark of the undead. Add to this her dislike of dirt and muck of all descriptions and the result is a girl supremely unsuited to life in the East End. In order to survive the cruelty of those around her, she began collecting secrets and becoming skilled in the art of blackmail. She soon gained a reputation and was sought out by those denizens of the street who were looking to discredit their enemies or protect their friends. In return she was was given money, goods and – in one case- lockpicking lessons.
As she progressed through her adolescence and her beauty became increasingly pronounced she began to be approached for different reasons. Some, seeing her in the company of her acquaintances from Thornfield, assumed that she shared their profession. One of her most regular and least savory contacts was particularly unwilling to take no for an answer. Her mother feared for her safety and reputation, and sent her off in her best clothes to train as a low-level servant in the Lennox townhouse.
There she began to learn cultured speech and subtlety, and the ways of the aristocrats. She also learned quite a lot about envy, and how much she hates cleaning up other people’s messes. A year and a half after her employment began, Catherine heard someone sobbing and crying in a usually empty guest wing. The young Lady Jacqueline, heir apparent of the estate, had hidden herself there after the death of her mother in childbirth. The baby, a boy, also did not survive. Jacqueline was desperate for someone to talk to, and Catherine was intrigued by the young noblewoman. Their friendship grew quickly and when the remaining Lennox family left the townhouse for their family estate Catherine went with them.
She began to fill the role of lady’s maid, learning etiquette and deportment side by side with her lady. As time passed, she also began to fill the role of lover. As she was taught how to henna her hair and which clothes flattered her pale skin, she was also learning about pleasure, love, and what it means to have a secret.
Upon reaching the age of majority, Lady Jacqueline left the country estate to return to the excitement of the city. Catherine entered Society at Jacqueline’s side, not as a servant but a friend. Her mysterious past and unusual pallor were considered highly romantic and she very quickly became an ornament at every fashionable ball and drawing room party. Her career as an adventuress was suggested by Lady Jacqueline, a way to ensure her place among the elite when the novelty of her appearance wore off.
It wasn’t long before she discovered that many of her old east end acquaintances still remembered her, and that some of them had taken their own careers in very interesting directions. Many of them owe her for one thing or another, and most others are willing to do business provided the price is right. Unfortunately, not all of them remember her fondly.