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Elsbeth Ravenscroft

 My tale would actually begin with my mother, not myself. She was born in Ireland, though she never told me where. She was the acknowledged but illegitimate daughter of some powerful man (whom, she also would not tell me). As she was his only child, and both his wife and her mother were dead, she was raised with all the training of a lady, plus being taught to read and write, since her father doted upon her, and she asked him if she might learn. Her father died when she was fourteen, and she married his heir, a distant cousin, and by the age of sixteen had borne her husband two sons.

          When she was twenty-five, her husband died, and his brother, a complete villain, accused her of poisoning him that she might gain control of his lands by becoming regent to her eldest son, who loved her dearly and would do anything she said. She was chased from her home like a common criminal, and fled to England. There, she met and married my father, who was a minor but wealthy lord with a small estate in Suffolk, just inland from Dunwich.

She was his second wife, and his three sons and daughter (who were all older than she was herself) hated her for intruding and especially for producing another child and introducing another heir to an already small land. I was born in July of 1369, just a year after my parents wed. I was raised almost solely by my mother, as she would not trust me to a nursemaid after catching my first one attempting to smother me in my crib (the nurse was paid by my eldest half-brother, John). Unfortunately, both of my parents and one of my half-brothers died of consumption when I was fifteen. John became my guardian, and I fled, in fear of my life. I went to London, and there found work at a milliner's shop where I stayed until very recently, when the shop closed and I was forced to seek other employment. I was fortunate in that I met and was hired by Richard Alenthor and his wife Gwendolyn to take care of their daughter, and I am now in their service.

Elsbeth Ravenscroft

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Spencer Longfellow
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