I thought it about time to properly introduce Vannie Cumberland to the world.
Vannie Cumberland is the star of Espionage: A Companion to Time Captives, coming this May, if all goes well. She's also one of my favorite characters to write.
Just the Facts
Vannie's full name is Savanna Grace Cumberland. She is the eldest daughter of a Briznomian vassal lord. She has two younger sisters, Kate (6) and Mandie (3), and is about to turn nine at the beginning of Espionage. As per the customs of Briznomian nobility, Vannie was betrothed as an infant to her second cousin Kermit.
Side note: Briznom, a neighboring country of Calhortz, has a king, but is primarily ruled by the vassal lords. The vassal lords receive their position by inheritance, but they rule as a committee. Daughters do not rule themselves, but their husbands inherit the title. The eldest daughters of vassal lords are betrothed in infancy, while the sons are betrothed between the ages of three and five.
Vannie's father is rather unlike other vassal lords, i.e. he's more of a family man. He often takes Vannie with him to Court, where she learns much about the inner workings of the government. And she also is privy to the actions of his political enemies as he is. Thus she knows that his arch enemy at Court is neighboring vassal lord Sir Roland.
Vannie's Personality and Interests
Vannie is an interesting girl. She's not a girly girl, but she's not an all out tomboy either. She loves the outdoors, and she loves horses. She likes to hunt and is more than decent for her age with a bow. Probably a large part of why she loves to hunt is that she does it with her father. She's rather a daddy's girl. Her taste in clothes reflects her outdoorsy spirit. She's not the sort of girl who wishes she could dress like a boy, not by a long shot, she actually likes her dresses, but she doesn't like fancy dress. She likes practical wear, stuff she can get mud on and it doesn't really matter. A dress she can get down on the floor in and not worry about messing it up. Her taste in hairstyles is similar. When she has her way, it's always two braids.
She likes to read, both fiction and nonfiction. She gets just as excited over a book on the history of Briznomian politics as she does over an adventure novel. She's kind of a nerd too. When telling Mandie to chew with her mouth closed, she tells her that no one wants to see her bolus.
She's not very good at embroidery, but she does like to knit. Not quite sure how artistic she is in other areas, though.
Vannie's rather outspoken, which is to say, quite tactless. She doesn't really think before she speaks, so a lot of things come out that shouldn't. One of her good points is her honesty. She has her faults for sure, but she'll never lie to you. She's really bad at hiding her thoughts and feelings. She also tends to process things out loud. It's quite opposite from the main boy in the story, Kyle, who is a very quiet, internal person. Vannie has to talk things through. That's really the only way she can figure things out. She's impulsive and gets into things without thinking through a plan first. Her emotions can be a bit of a roller coaster ride at times. When she gets stressed or scared, she tends to break down, but give her a bit of inspiration, and it's all sunshine and lollipops again. Kermit is never a happy topic, though. She despises him, and with good reason.
I could say much more about her, particularly about inspiration for her character, but I'll save that for another day.