Princess Sophie Valardin
When we care, we strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.
Description: Rarely lives a person whose very being makes one feel better, lighter, like the world can be a decent place. Princess Sophie Valardin's fresh face is a balm to the soul of many of those in her care, her kind smile an elixir of gentle reprieve from the ills of the world. Her golden blonde hair, often kept in an elegant, yet no-nonsense braid, shimmers gently in sunlight or candlelight. Her warm blue eyes, perfectly matching a summer sky, hold a wealth of compassion in them, allowing one to be lost in the peace of their depths. She is beautiful, as so many are, but she is the beauty of a whole, rather than the sum of attractive pieces. When she moves, it is with the surest confidence, each motion a prayer, a comfort to those around her. Hers is not a striking beauty, but one of purity, of the spirit of hope itself.
Personality: Many mistake compassion and mercy as weakness, a sign that someone can be readily taken advantage of. Many have not met Princess Sophie Valardin, Mercy of Lagoma. She feels drawn to being a light in the darkness, a beacon of hope in a cruelly indifferent world. She cares deeply about people, regardless of station, fealty, or title, dedicating her life to the well-being of strangers. Her high station is no barrier to her willingness to get her hands dirty to help others, viewing her high birth as a useful tool to aid those who need it, and feeling a bone-deep obligation to those beneath her. Her station makes her entirely too accustomed to being obeyed and taken seriously, which is a pronounced advantage when dealing with those who might take advantage of anyone in her care, but can leave the young woman overstepping her bounds or failing to show the proper respect to the entrenched dignitaries of Arx when it comes to matters about which she feels most passionate. A flaw which she knows can cost her much needed support in the service of Lagoma. Those who know her best are aware that she has a slightly cheeky sense of humor and a propensity for ribald innuendo. Whenever this aspect of her personality surprises others, it conjures in her a good-natured amusement. Not all Oathlanders are stuffy, after all.
Background: House Valardin of all the great houses has the greatest representation among clergy in the Faith of the Pantheon, so it comes as no surprise when a prince or princess of the Oathlands feels drawn towards the Faith. However Princess Sophie surprised her parents and siblings not just by being devout, but by the much rarer choice of feeling called to serve as a disciple of a specific goddess, announcing even as a teenager that she intended to become a Mercy of Lagoma. Her decision was driven by the first time she saw the aftermath of a battle, as a young niece of Prince Radley accompanying the high lord to inspect a skirmish against shavs, and she witnessed white robed members of the Faith giving care to not only the soldiers of House Valardin who were wounded, but even to the dying shav enemies who had been left lying upon the field. The agony of the dying tore at her soul, and she'll never forget the humanizing compassion in each of the Mercies of Lagoma's actions. She remembers a pair of Mercies struggling fiercely to save the life of a desperately wounded shav, and she remembers so very keenly that courageous members of the Faith refused to allow stricken enemies to be massacred by vengeful Valardin knights and faced their swords until Prince Radley told the knights to stand down. Sophie saw a sort of courage in those unarmed healers that resonated with her, and her mind was made up from that moment on.
As a very young adult, after extensive training as a Mercy in Blancbier, she traveled to Arx to study with the Faith. She might one day become godsworn, and give up her family and potential titles and become sworn only to the gods and the crown, but not yet. She knows how powerful the Valardin name is, and she knows she is in a unique position to be the one to speak for the defenseless, the sick and the injured. She knows full well that she could be the one woman in white whose voice can be heard by the truly powerful, and she feels she owes it to Lagoma and to the defenseless to be the one to speak it. Princess Sophie is a Mercy of Lagoma, and she intends to leave the world in a better place than she found it.
As of the summer of 1006 AR, following the still unsolved murder of her predecessor, she ascended to the position of Mother Mercy of Arx. So far, her tenure has seen to the development and implementation of the Harrowed Heart initiative, which treats post-traumatic stress. Improving the lives and the care of the denizens of the Lower Boroughs and the refugees in Arx continues to very much be a keystone of her service to Our Lady of Change.