Character's full name: Pandora Marguerite Renard
Aliases: Pandora Lambert, Duchess of Ghent, Marguerite duPont (through the 18th c. only), Pamela Hilgert (1920-end of WWII); Pandora Shapiro
Played By: Diane
Character Type: Immortal
Hair Color: Blond
Eye Color: Blue
True age: 348
Apparent age: 26
Height: 5'11'' '
Nationality: Belgian; in America for 60 years; speaks with slight Dutch accent
Any other languages: Native language is Dutch; also fluent in German, French, can speak Danish, Luxembourgish, Swiss French, and small bit of Italian, but it’s been a long time.
Distinguishing characteristics: None; appears to be a very average, though tall
Personality: Quick-witted, she’s always been something of a chameleon. She can be charming when she feels like it. She’s witty, intelligent, well-read, and has long-striven to blend in with mortal society, but also will not hesitate to fight if she must.
Any special skills: Excellent at swordplay; her teacher was an ancient and schooled her both in swordsmanship and Budo karatedo, so these are her strongest points by far. Can use daggers proficiently. She is very light on her feet and extremely fast with her hands. Clumsy with guns and won’t touch them unless she has to. She thinks they are bad luck.
History: Born Pandora Renard in1654 to Belgian aristocracy in Antwerp, Pandora’s family was favored among the Catholic gentry. She was schooled as a proper young lady in letters and music, favoring the harp and harpsichord in particular, and married off at age 17 to Philip, the Duke of Ghent. Unfortunately, no children came her way—quite a distressing development for the young Duke and Duchess. The Duke grew more and more distant, upset that he could not find a wife who could bear him a child and whom he could not divorce. But in 1680, their carriage lost a wheel while on holiday in the Switzerland, and the entire buggy went down the mountainside. She awoke late in the night, terrified, to find her husband, the coachman and footman all dead. Gagging, she realized her throat and mouth were still packed with snow, and she staggered to her feet, slowly gathering her wits about her.
Although Pandora returned home as the “lone survivor” of that crash, some part of her knew that she had died that night. There were changes in her body and even times when she sensed others like her in the area – quickenings - and she would feel alone and exposed, forced to hide. She prayed for guidance, but felt no answer. Too frightened to confess her fears to the Archbishop, Pandora knew the wisest course of action would simply be to prepare to run if she needed. Over the course of the next few years, she embezzled funds from her estate and placed them in a separate account under her an assumed name in Holland.
Her teacher, a gentleman aged over 1210 years calling himself Rene Leclerq finally came across her. Leclerq had studied under a master in Japan, and subjected Pandora to the same harsh schooling he had gone through, from dusk to dawn. When her grueling training was finally over, he gifted her a fine Japanese sword, one that he had made himself when he had learned the art of Budo. He also warned her to sell her estate and disappear as soon as possible. She asked Rene to follow her to Holland after selling her estate, but he refused. While Pandora felt very isolated in this new life, years later she realized that this too was just part of her training; Rene had always been distant, but it was to make her a better fighter.
Though she had funds secreted away, she knew they would not last forever, and unsteady political climes often caused certain accounts to “disappear”. She learned to ration, always tuck funds away in a multitude of places, and kept a good business head, though it seemed bad luck politically would follow her around. By the time the nineteenth century rolled around, she found herself hiring out sometimes as a music teacher and getting used to getting her hands dirty when she needed to fight, facing the occasional Game that came her way with all that Rene had taught her. She kept on the move over the years, working for musicians or music shops. She enjoyed coming back to her native Belgium as politics and her aliases allowed, but she often drifted to Holland, Luxembourg or Denmark.
The First World War almost destroyed her financially. She had re-settled in Holland after a highly disruptive move from Germany in 1910, and the German occupation temporarily shut down the small music shop she’d managed to set up. In the days immediately following the end of the war, her life was chaos, and she was desperate until she could get her hands on her overseas assets. Criminals demanded “protection” money, and the rule of the street was the law of the day. She wished to stay, but a woman beating the pants off the local toughs would draw far too much attention. That was when she saw her opportunity, in the form of Benjamin Charles Cole.
She could tell the young American soldier was newly immortal and uncertain how to handle himself. The two quickly struck a bargain: he would aid her by handing over some of the cash he had from his last pay, which would tide them over until she accessed some of her funds, and he would also help her keep the wolves at bay. In exchange, she would teach him the finer points of the Game. Ben was a fast learner, and very strong. He had a good eye, but he also had a temper, which she repeatedly warned him against. As Rene had been with her, she was very formal with Ben during this period and kept him at a distance; it was much easier to reprimand if one was a teacher, not a friend or a lover. And again like Rene, when this learning period was over, she sent Ben on his way, knowing he would be the better for it in the long run.
If she had thought the Great War was hard, WWII crushed her soul. She lost everything – friends she had were never heard from again, and she was forced to abandon her business, fleeing to Switzerland when she heard the Nazis were coming. Once in Switzerland, she made it to England, but the trip cleaned her out. She found a job teaching music and French at a girl’s academy in London and lived at the school, saving her money for passage to America after the War. She was exhausted by what felt like constant warring in Europe, and wished to remove herself from the destruction and heartache, even if it meant leaving her home.
On her voyage to America in 1942, Pandora met and fell in love with a young pilot, Lt. Jay Shapiro, on his way home to New York from the war. It was not the first time she’d fallen for someone in her lifetime, but it was the first time she decided to simply try to live her life as if she were normal. Jay, a motorcycle mechanic by trade and an artist by hobby, died of a heart attack at age 73 in 1986. Pandora, who’d always stuck by him in their quiet home, felt once again alone and isolated. In 1992, she sold Jay’s small motorcycle shop in town; she knew enough about fixing bikes herself now and running the business, but it was time to move on. Pandora Shapiro changed her name back to Pandora Renard, set up a motorcycle repair shop in Vermont, and was just getting the hang of living again when Captain Tripps broke out, and with it, dreams.
A cold feeling of dread urging her forward, Pandora packed up what gear she could on her bike, suited up, and never without her teacher’s Budo sword, hoping to reach Hemingford Home. Unfortunately, she headed into some trouble along the way, and never reached her destination. She found herself picked up first by some scientists who took her to their lab for research in Georgia, and then when she managed to get away from them, she wiped out on her motorcycle in Oklahoma in a crash that might have killed an ordinary person. In reality, it did kill her once, and was about to kill her again.
Her bones slowly healing, Pandora was parched and nearly dead once more from dehydration this time when she a truckload of people spotted and rescued her. They gave her water and food, bringing her back to a state of full consciousness but only partial mobility. She was grateful at first, until she figured out where they were headed…
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