Character's Full Name: Izzy Crowe
Created By: DC
Character Type: Immortal
Apparent Age: 16
Actual Age: 420
Occupation: At the time of the flu, she was working at a seaside diner
Skills: Excellent with her small sword, made especially for her
Personality: Stubborn, can be hotheaded and speak before thinking; this comes from frustration at being forever stuck in her body and never being taken seriously in the world which knew her only as a child
Born in 1582 to British aristocracy, Isabel Antigone Howard was the daughter of Sir Thomas Howard, an advisor along with his brother William first to Henry VIII and then to Henry’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth I. Isabel spent much of her childhood in the halls of her father’s estate, reluctantly preparing for the life of a young aristocrat. She would much rather play in the woods with her older brothers, who trained her (secretly) in the fine art of swordplay. They did this for her own good; it was the only way they could bribe her to pay attention when she was tutored on how to look dainty while working on her needlepoint and how to walk in a more ladylike manner and of course, prepared for marriage.
She had been promised as a very young child to marry young Lord Henry Butler, who was just two years her senior. At the time, it was common for noblewomen to be married quite young, 12 considered the common marriageable age. Isabel talked her father in setting the date for when she was 14; she’d always enjoyed playing with Henry as a small child, but the two had grown apart as they grew older. Henry enjoyed the more traditional beauties of Westminster to Isabel’s own tomboyish “country” behavior and unique good looks. And Isabel honestly didn’t like the idea of never really being the star of her future husband’s heart. Still, she knew it was expected of her and never argued, even though her father sympathized with her position as a young woman.
It was almost a relief to Isabel when the whole thing fell through around her 14th birthday. She hadn’t understood the political machinations behind it all, but later discovered that her father was rumored to have fallen out with the Queen over his role in her mother’s beheading. It was an unfortunate time to be either a Butler or a Howard in England, and not fall on the right side of the crown. The more powerful that Elizabeth became, the more she wanted to restore the good name of her late mother, Anne Boleyn.
Rumors spread like wildfire that Sir Thomas, as a key player in the hearings finding Anne Boleyn a traitor (at Henry VIII’s behest), was bound for the Tower of London. And shortly after Isabel’s wedding to the better-positioned Butler was called off, Sir Thomas was found guilty of treason and eventually beheaded. Isabel, along with her mother and older brothers, was forced to watch before being sent into exile.
They were taken in by her mother’s cousin, who had married a French Viscount. Isabel’s brothers, however, went off to Ireland to serve Queen Elizabeth and try to earn her good favor once more. Isabel stayed in Calais with her mother Margaret, who was promised in marriage to her cousin’s husband’s brother, Luc duBois, Third Duke of Avignon. It was a lucky arrangement for Margaret, but less so for Isabel. In exchange for Margaret’s hand in marriage, she promised her daughter to Luc’s “bachelor” (gay) brother, Barnabus. Isabel knew this arrangement had absolutely no success in love in store for her, but she made the best of it. At least he would leave her alone, she thought.
Things fell completely to pieces yet again, as war between France and England reached her homestead just one week prior to her arranged marriage, and her family had to flee in the dead of night in an attempt to gain refuge with the King of France. However, it was not to be.
Their party never made it out of the estate, and they were all hanged on site. When Isabel, barely 15, awoke in a mass grave yet unburied, she scurried out in the night and sought help from one of her mother’s faithful servants. They assumed that she had survived and smuggled her out of the countryside and into Paris. To survive the journey, they cut her hair and dressed her as a young man, sending “him” – now calling herself Lucas – to work on a farm just outside the city.
It was many years before Isabel came to understand exactly why she’d “survived” and why she neither appeared to age nor become ill or seriously injured. The mentor she had met became her teacher, and they escorted her back to England, where they felt Isabel had a better chance at survival.
It was all very arguable, she came to realize. True, she was more easily accepted as a young British man in England than in France, but she was slow to catch on to how a poor English boy should act – basically, not like an aristocratic young woman. She had to fall back on her sword to get herself out of scrapes, and to mete out whatever small victories and justices she could that way.
An immortal, as she learned her kind was called, had to roll with the punches and be able to move as often as needed. As such, she took up being a cabin boy on several ships. She was quite adept at avoiding those who might take advantage of her small frame, and even better at repelling advances. Young Lucas proved quite handy with a sword, and soon made the rounds of pirate vessels. Isabel never pledged allegiance to any nation, only to her brethren of the sea.
In the early 1800s, though, she developed a crush on the First Mate of a ship she was sailing on, and revealed her true identity as a female to him on a voyage to Haiti. She would live to regret this. While the First Mate had been very friendly with her when he thought she was Lucas, he treated her like a freak when she was revealed to be Isabel. He betrayed her by telling the other sailors what she truly was, and they raped her before tossing her overboard.
Izzy was fished out of the water by a passing French fisherman and fellow immortal named Noah, who coaxed the horror story out of her. Taking pity on her, Noah gave her hope by suggesting she take on the identity of a drowning victim from a vessel he’d recently heard went down on its way to America. He did some checking once they’d landed at port and found a suitable identity: a young woman named Isabel Crowe. The first name being the same as hers was what sold it; she’d have to pretend to be a few years older than she was used to passing for – 17 – but otherwise it was a match. She’d been travelling to a job as a governess in Philadelphia. The couple who’d hired her were thrilled that their governess was still alive, and arranged for Isabel to come to Philadelphia on the next ship. Izzy and Noah parted ways, wishing each other well. From this moment onwards, Izzy never again pretended to be a boy, even if it meant she was at greater risk. She would face all consequences head on.
She found working as a governess rewarding, yet also stifling. There were so fewer opportunities for young women than there were for young men. At least, ones that were legal and didn’t involve sex or dancing naked, neither of which appealed in the least to Isabel. She’d watched in amusement as her “peers” at age 15 had less and less responsibilities than she did at age 10, as the modern world allowed for a prolonged childhood. Sometimes she felt like an old lady trapped in the body of what most people treated like a barely functioning idiot. It was frustrating and often resulted in her losing her patience – and often her jobs in retail or cafes.
When she wanted a break from working, she’d worm her way into some elderly woman’s heart, pretending to be a child abandoned by her family. In older days, she would sometimes be taken in and given a caring home by a lonely old widow in exchange for helping with the chores and doing some mending. People found her accent charming and her big eyes hard to resist. Often, they’d insist she go to school, although this was more and more difficult after Child Protective Services was established and records started being kept.
Perhaps more than anything else, Izzy survived by being a chameleon. She could blend with the circumstances surrounding her and thought on her feet, able to pull a convincing cover story seemingly out of thin air. She avoided immortal culture when she needed to, yet accepted friendships when she knew it was wise to, and when she wanted to.
She had been living in Oregon when Captain Tripps hit, posing as an 18 year old (which was really pushing the limits of what she had) and working at a seaside diner. Her friends and co-workers gone, Izzy hit the road. She’d had dreams of both Boulder and the old woman, and of Vegas and the Shadow Man. She knew she didn’t want Vegas, but she also didn’t necessarily want to go to Boulder, either. Perhaps there was an Option C out there. So she travelled around, trying to find that Option C, when she stumbled upon some survivors on an isolated ranch in Nebraska. They were a sick family whose isolation had helped to slow the flu’s spread for a time…until it came.
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