The woman whose current legal name is Anneliese Vancil was born in Rouen, Normandie - then the Kingdom of France - in 1390. At the age of 27 or 28, in 1418, she was possessed by a demon that remains within her to this day, making her effectively immortal. She is an accomplished Thaumaturge (user of Magic) and investigator, as well as extremely skilled in a variety of combat techniques - both armed and un-armed. Presently, she works as a Private Investigator in Elysium City, the largest city of the Federation of North America.
Anneliese's birth name is a closely-guarded secret known only to her, although she has been going by her current name since at least 1913. In 1418, she was possessed by a demon, which she calls A'os [pronounced Ah-oss, not Ay-ose]. As a daughter of noble birth, every effort was made to exorcise it - to no avail. The creature has remained dormant inside her, forever suspending her in the state she was at the moment it entered her body. This has made her immortal: she no longer ages, and is capable of surviving essentially any conceivable injury. In fact, she has "died" dozens of times in her life and completely recovered within a matter of days or hours, although injuries inflicted upon her by Magic sometimes leave lasting wounds which heal at a more "human" rate.Although she presently lives in North America, most of her life has been spent in northern France. She graduated from the Grande École de Rouen, one of - if not the most - prestigious schools in the United Kingdom, in 1871 with a doctorate of law. Like many others, she fled France during the Great War of 1912-1917, following its invasion by forces from the Confederation of the Rhine (Germany). While most refugees went to Spain or other parts of the United Kingdom, however, she went to North America. The ship was torpedoed by a Confederate U-boat en route, and she washed up on the shore of Florida several months later.
In America, she began a new life, taking her current name and F.N.A. citizenship. In 1923, she re-earned her doctorate from the École Superieure Henri Louis II de Plantagenet-Bourgogne, in Cambridge, Massachusetts - the oldest university in the New World. At present, she operates as as Private Investigator, general consultant & police informant out of Elsyium City.
Skills & AbilitiesEdit
The presence of a dormant demon inside her gives Anneliese a natural affinity for Thaumaturgy [Magic] and, as mentioned above, keeps her body perpetually suspended as it was when she was first possessed. Despite her significant magical abilities, however, she does not consider herself a magician and rejects the use of a Thaumaturgical staff, the traditional mark of Magic-users (although she will later have one made in the guise of a walking cane).
In addition to these skills, Anneliese is an accomplished fencer and martial artist. She is also a good shot with her handguns, although not first class. Furthermore, she is extremely intelligent and quick-witted, with a preternaturally sharp photographic memory - things which have gotten her out of more bad situations than anything else. Her greatest weakness is perhaps her physical size, being only 5'5" / 165 cm tall. She is also rather near-sighted, making it difficult for her to see without her glasses, and cannot get corrective surgery because her eyes would simply revert back to their original condition. Furthermore, she refuses to wear contact lenses, which occasionally causes her problems.
Anneliese is an extremely good musician, playing the piano, the violin and the guitar. She is a polyglot, with the ability to fluently speak English, German and Swedish along with her native French, as well as some Spanish. She is also a voracious reader and is extremely good at solving puzzles, particularly cracking sophisticated ciphers.
Characteristics / AppearanceEditAnneliese, despite being more than 600 years old, has the appearance of a young woman in her mid-to-late twenties. She is of average height for a woman in the Federation of North America, but slightly taller than for her native United Kingdom (making her rather tall by the standards of the time she was born in). She has dark red hair, pale unblemished skin and grey eyes. She is often regarded as being quite beautiful - perhaps in a rather striking and sultry, sophisticated way; with her wire-frame glasses, cultivated mannerisms and immaculate attire.
Like any other person, her attire varies by the situation or day. Normally (and always for work), however, she wears a distinctive, old-fashioned (as well as very pricey) ensemble tailor-made especially for her, hand-crafted from some of the finest fabrics in the world by a very skilled tailor whom she has known personally for many years (long enough that he is at least partially aware of her immortality). It consists of a white button-up dress blouse and black tie, with a waistcoat / vest and dress slacks, both also black. Rather than the traditional semi-formal "dinner jacket", she has a double-breasted frock coat of almost identical style to a modern suit coat but closer-fitted (minimal 'drape' to the cut) and much longer, with a single-vented skirt reaching the tops of her knees. Almost the entire outfit is cut from satin-weave fabrics, giving it a glossy and somewhat wavy (not to mention elegant and expensive) appearance. The vest and pants are woven from pure cashmere; for the blouse and tie (as well as the braids on the slacks' outer seams), the satin is lustrous Mulberry Silk - the most expensive silk in the world. The frock coat is likewise pure cashmere for the most part, with facings (lapels) and inside lining of the latter. She has multiple exact copies of the ensemble - three coats, six of everything else - and she replaces one immediately if it is damaged or lost. Each full suit (including the coat) has a price tag that is five - if not six - digits in length.
Anneliese is often noted by others for her shy and lop-sided (in her own words, "awkward") smile. Only the left side of her mouth rises; she almost never shows her teeth. Her voice is moderately deep, her speech is eloquent and deliberate, well articulated. The antique French accent she still carries in the 'back of her voice' is heightened when her emotions are running or when she speaks rapidly (also when she is drunk). This is exacerbated by the fact that she often talks to herself in a fast-paced manner, as she tends to think out loud to keep her thoughts in check - especially when stressed or under pressure. Other peculiar habits of hers include frequently pushing her glasses up onto her nose with her left index finger, playing with her hair and crossing her legs when sitting by resting her left ankle atop her right knee (often drumming the fingers of her left hand on her calf). She also tends to chew her lip or tug at her nails, and thus regularly has to file them all back into uniformity - something Cassie regularly scolds her for.
Physically, she is not an imposing person at all. Her height is unimpressive (as mentioned above) and she is neither especially muscular (as is her close friend Cassie) nor particularly stout. Her frame is slender; her limbs are long and her torso short, despite her height - giving her a frame that seems taller than it is. She has small but prominent bones that show in her cheeks and in the cut of her jaw, in the set of her shoulders and the slimness of her long pianist's fingers.
The shape of her body and the relative prominence of certain physical aspects, of course, have varied considerably over time, changing according to improvements in her diet due to developments in the quantity and nutrition of food over the course of her 600-year life. She remembers being rather thin and boney until fairly recently. Having lived through six centuries of shifting societal standards regarding beauty, she remains generally self-conscious and is not particularly cognizant of how attractive others find her. She is, however, objectively aware of the fact and is not above using her appearance to her advantage when it is a significant tool, as distasteful and debasing as she finds it.
Gadgets & ItemsEdit
Over her many many years, Anneliese has acquired an ecletic collection of items to aid her in various situations. Many of these objects are Thaumaturgically enchanted to provide various benefits, while others are more mundane.
- Collar pins - the pins on the collar of her shirt are ruby studs set in silver. They are enchanted to amplify the sound of her voice, and can also infuse her words with a magical current that compels the listener(s) - either a single person, everyone within ear-shot or multiple specified targets - to do her bidding. This only really works on human beings, minor Magical creatures and lesser demons, however.
- Earrings - Anneliese's earrings - ruby studs of silver, matching her pins - can amplify her hearing, even allowing her to hear outside the normal human spectrum.
- Glasses - Her glasses have no special properties of their own other than being plated with silver, which burns the skin of demons and Magical creatures upon contact.
- Sword - A 16th-century broadsword with an intricate basket hilt. Both the blade and hilt are plated in silver, making it an effective weapon against supernatural beings. The words "Aut Cæsar, aut nihil - et nihil fuit" (Either Caesar, or nothing - and nothing came of it) are inscribed on both sides of the blade.
- Handguns - Colt M1911 .45-calibre handgun. One of the spare magazines is usually loaded with silver hollowpoint rounds. Anneliese also has a matched pair of FN Five-Seven handguns featuring extended barrels with recoil compensators and laser sights. She has numerous other firearms as well, but these are the ones she most often uses.
- Harpoon - a device of Anneliese's own devising that attaches to the underside of her forearm. Uses a CO² canister to propel a silver-plated titanium chain that is wound about her arm. Can either shoot the chain over a considerable distance or simply eject it out of her sleeve and into her palm, depending on how the trigger is pressed. The tip of the chain is a large spike, from which four bladed hooks will spring if the chain is pulled taut. The chain can be used as a garrot, a whip or a grappling hook, among other things.
- Sceptre - a Thaumaturgical sceptre designed to focus and store raw magical energy that can then be projected at an attacker, rather like the Magical equivalent of a handcannon. Anneliese's sceptre is a cylindrical baton made of obsidian and inlaid with intricate silver inscriptions.
- Staff - a Thaumaturge's staff disguised as a cane, designed to store, conduct and amplify Magical energies. Anneliese originally rejected the use of a staff because of its traditional association with Magicians, but commissioned it following a severe injury to her leg which took several months to heal and inhibited her combat abilities. Will later be converted into a sword-cane with a silver-plated blade.
- Lighter - an old IMCO windproof torch lighter, similar in operation to a Zippo lighter (in fact, the Zippo design is based off of IMCO's). Used to light her cigarettes, and also as a readily-available source of fire for Thaumaturgical purposes.
- Rings - eight ancient, enchanted rings - one for each finger. These rings store and release Magical energies in localized, chaotic bursts. They are essentially Magical brass knuckles.
- Boot knife - silver-plated boot knife
- Flask - Stainless steel flask taken off of a Soviet agent bearing the shield and sword emblem of the KGB. Normally filled with harmless liquor, but also sometimes used to hold potions and other such things.
- Lockpick set - a set of lockpicks for opening doors. Nothing remarkable.
- Pocket Watches - two pocket watches worn in her right vest pocket. One is simply for telling time; the other is much older and no longer functions, but is Thaumaturgically enchanted to react to Magical power. Functions like a Geiger counter for Thaumaturgic energies in the surrounding space.
- Flashlight - compact, high-power LED flashlight. Useful against certain magical creatures & demons.
- Necklaces - two silver pendants. One, a Catholic Crucifix and the other an eight-spoked wheel, symbol of the Celtic god Taranis. Worn on silver chains around her neck.
Personality & BeliefsEdit
Anneliese is a very reserved and introverted person. She is quite intelligent and capable, and is well aware of the fact - sometimes overly so. On the whole, however, she doesn't take herself - or her work - too seriously, except when Magical forces or the wellbeing of others, particularly her friends (and especially Cassie), are involved. She has a well-developed, if sometimes biting, sense of humor, a deep personal code of honor, strong loyalty to those she cares about and a clear but flexible sense of right & wrong. She is also generally relaxed and even-tempered, if somewhat melancholy; although her anger - if aroused - is generally quite intense and, because of her powers, can be quite lethal. Because of the demon inside her, she is unable to forget anything - once she learns or experiences something, the memory remains with her forever, but can fade from her consciousness over time. Due to this, she has a deep self-imposed burden or sense of guilt, and can be rather prone to fits of brooding or depression.
Unlike most modern Magic-users, Anneliese ascribes to the "Classical" or "Greco-Roman" School of Thaumaturgy, rejecting the notions of inherently "White" & "Black", or "Good" & "Bad", Magic. For her, the responsibilities that come with her supernatural powers boil down to a simple set of rules:
- Thaumaturgy should be used for the benefit or assistance of those in need whenever possible
- Thaumaturgy should never be used to kill unless absolutely necessary [applies particularly to humans]
- Thaumaturgy should never be used to bind other beings to one's will
- Thaumaturgy should never be used to alter the past
- Thaumaturgy should never be taught to the unprepared
From these rules, she extrapolates her world-view (at least in relation to Magic) and frames / regulates her actions. However, she has violated the 3rd and 5th rules on at least one occasion each.
The motivations behind her actions, however, are not entirely clear, and she often laments how boring and meaningless her more than 600 years of life have generally been. She attributes much of her continued motivation and resolve to Cassie - who, she says, "keeps her sane". Prior to meeting Casandra, her depression seems to have been much worse. It is known that she has attempted suicide more than 100 times, although not since having met Cassie.
Officially, she is a practicing member of the Roman Catholic Church, as are most citizens within the Commonwealth nations. Privately, she has a strong aversion to the Christian portrayal of an omnipotent, omnipresent, perpetually-good God. She does not, however, seem to doubt the existence of God in and of itself, at least in some form. She often ponders whether the Abrahamic portrayal of demons is accurate or merely tradition and fiction which the demons themselves have come to reflect with time.
Associates, Allies & EnemiesEdit
Casandra (Cassie) della Rovere - Anneliese's oldest living friend & business partner, also a fellow immortal. Cassie cannot recall the circumstances that led to her immortality, nor does she have any memory of her life prior to being made immortal. Cassie & Anneliese share an apartment and have a steadily, if inconsistently, intimate relationship.
Michelle Conway - an FBI Special Agent who operates out of the FBI Field Office for the Sussex Borough of Elysium City. Frequently calls upon Anneliese's help in dealing with unusual cases. The two of them have a rather antagonistic relationship, with Michelle respecting Anneliese for her intelligence and investigative skills and Anneliese finding her to be rather "ill-refined" in return (but also relying on her as a source of employment). Michelle is not aware of Cassie and Anneliese's immortality and is skeptical of their magical abilities, although she later learns the truth after seeing Anneliese recover from a point-blank bomb detonation. Their relationship begins to improve somewhat following this incident.
Bernard Cardinal Schwery - A Cardinal of the Holy See and Archbishop of Elsyium City. An old friend of Anneliese and something of a (grand)fatherly figure to her.
Henri Louis VI de Plantagenet-Bourgogne - reigning monarch of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations. King Henri Louis is one of the few people who is aware of Anneliese's immortality, although they have only met - briefly - once.
Alexander Warren - a self-declared "Witch Hunter" with a particular hatred of Anneliese who has attempted to permanently kill her or banish her from the mortal world on several occasions
Guillaume Martinique - a deceased Magician and Anneliese's mentor in the ways of Thaumaturgy. A Magically-created "copy" of his consciousness (a sort of ghost) is kept by Anneliese within a specially-enchanted mirror in her apartment, which she consults for advice.
Nietzsche - Anneliese & Cassie's large grey tomcat
For a list of many of her spells and an explanation of their effects, see: 
Note that this list is not a full list. Anneliese has created and memorized hundreds of spells, enough to fill half of an entire grimoire, over her many years of life. However, she only uses some of these with any regularity.
Birth Name: N/A
Legal Name: Anneliese Vancil
- Anne (mostly used by Cassie)
- Bellua [Latin for monster, beast or brute] (used by Alexander Warren)
Born: September 22nd, 1390
- Current: Lawyer, Private Investigator, Police Consultant
- Former: Professional Thaumaturge, Professor of History, Professor of Law
Alma Mater: Grande École de Rouen, École Superieur Louis Henri II de Plantagenet-Bourgogne
Degree(s): Doctor of Law (J.D.), Doctorate in Ancient Roman History (Ph.D.), Masters in Ancient Roman History
Political Party: Socialist Unity Party of North America [SUP]
- Native: French
- Fluent: English, German, Swedish
- Other: Latin [fluent, but a dead language], Spanish [not fluent]
Nationality: French (original), North American (Under her current name)
Race: Caucasian (Norman, descendant from Scandinavian Vikings (Primarily); also Ashkenazi Jewish
Eye Color: Grey
Hair Color: Dark Red [later dyed black]
Height: 169cm / 66.5" (or 5'5"/6" ... slightly under halfway between 5'5" & 5'6")
Weight: 58 kg / 127~ pounds
The fact that Anneliese Vancil and the actress on whom her physical appearance is based, Anneliese van der Pol, share the same given name is coincidental; I simply felt like van der Pol's appearance fit my mental image of the characte
Anneliese's native language would actually be Middle French, an older form of the language, as modern French did not come about until the 1500s (more than a century after she was born). However, this would be extremely difficult to represent in writing, so modern French is used instead. No doubt, she would have learned modern French orthography, spelling, etc. Although the diary she keeps (of which the novel itself "in-universe" is a representation) is written in old-fashioned French.
The diary Anneliese keeps is extremely detailed and coherent (being directly represented by the text of the novel), due to her perfect recall memory - a side-effect of her unnatural state of existence. She spends great amounts of time writing it; it is a full and accurate chronicle of her entire life from the point of her possession onward (her memory prior to that time, when she was mortal, is considerably more spotty, as would befit the memory of a normal human being).
The character of Anneliese Vancil was inspired by Rin Asogi from the anime series Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne, and they share many similarities (immortality, style of dress, personality)
Many other features of her character - particularly the magic - are inspired by Harry Dresden, the titular character of the "Dresden Files" novel series by Jim Butcher. Other inspirations include the Anime Witch Hunter Robin and various spy / mystery novels such as Gorky Park and books by John le Carre.
No, Anneliese under her current legal identity doesn't have a middle name (although she was probably born with at least one, given the French propensity for rather long names - especially among their nobility)
Anneliese's first name is a variant form of the Germanic "Annaliese", using the French "Anne" rather than the more Germanic "Anna", and means "Graced with God's Bounty" - a rather fitting name for the character given her plethora of talents and unique skills, but also an ironic one considering she's prone to depression and possessed by a demon (she would certainly regard her immortality as a curse).
Her surname, Vancil, is a Latinized form of the Czech name "Vacek", itself a form of the Old Slavic name "Vęceslav" (modern Czech: Václav), and means "Greater Glory". The name would be extremely rare, if not non-existent, among families of Western European ancestry - but I chose it anyway for the sound of it, and because the character's name is artificial anyway. Anneliese's actual birth name likely sounds considerably more traditional and French.
Anneliese has met many famous historical figures throughout her long life, including several kings of the United Kingdom, various famous musicians and General Napoléon Bonaparte
She is ambidextrous, but favors her right hand
It was decided that Anneliese would be of French ancestry because I wanted to have her speak multiple languages to showcase her intelligence. Considering she lives in North America, the most obvious choice would have been Spanish - however, I don't speak Spanish! (I can, however, make a reasonable hash of Swedish)
In addition to playing multiple musical instruments, Anneliese can sing Mezzo-Soprano, is an accomplished Tennis player, an avid Soccer / Football fan (although not an especially good player) and a very talented dancer, both traditional and contemporary. Despite being many centuries old, she greatly enjoys many forms of modern music.
Her cooking is excellent, although she hates doing it - finding it far too time-consuming - and prefers the convenience of the modern microwave.
She once had a classic car collection, but sold most of it off when she moved to the city. She is also a registered pilot and once owned a small plane, but this - along with several of her cars and her former residence - was destroyed many years prior to the current date. *She remains an accomplished mechanic and a generally good tinker – her hobbies, when not reading or otherwise out-and-about, include painting, watch-making, model building and, of course, music.