Born Elliara Deschain, she is the daughter of a noblewoman descended from House Dzemael; her mother, Reinette, was a very prolific alchemist and skilled in the arcane arts. To avoid the scandal that would come from having a child out of wedlock, Reinette fabricated a story of assault that led to her pregnancy, earning her sympathy rather than scorn; however, despite the story being intended to preserve her eligibility, Reinette never married, something she blamed her daughter for until her death.
Partly due to the story of her origins, Elle was always very distant from her family, her mother in particular treating her coldly. No matter what she did or how she applied herself, she was never good enough to earn Reinette’s affection, despite excelling in alchemy and having a natural affinity for the arcane.
Realising any attempt to earn her mother’s love was hopeless Elle begged and pestered her uncle until he finally gave in and allowed her to become a squire for a House Dzemael knight, Leodaire Marinnoux. A low-born raised to knighthood after saving a Dzemael son on the battlefield, Leodaire was a patient yet firm teacher, recognising the aptitude Elle had for fighting and wanting to hone it into something worthy of knighthood.
She flourished under his tutelage and, after his marriage to a Highlander woman named Adala, began to learn the basics of botany and carpentry from her when she wasn’t busy with her duties as squire. It was Adala who first broached the subject of Elle’s paternity with Leodaire, having noticed the similarities between the two; having had his own suspicions, but unwilling to look further into them due to the story Reinette had concocted, he eventually admitted that, yes, she was likely his daughter--and that his brief relationship with Reinette had been consensual.
Vowing to keep it a secret Adala treated Elle as her own daughter, and when her mother died shortly after her eleventh nameday, offered to care for her; she officially became a ward of House Dzemael, living with Leodaire and Adala to continue her training. For six years she stayed with them in blissful ignorance, before a conversation overheard in the night raised her own suspicions. Cornering Leodaire one day after training, Elle demanded the truth; she was unsure what to think once her suspicions were confirmed, but eventually came to accept the truth, the two growing closer without the secret looming between them.
Their happiness as a family was not meant to last, however; barely a year after learning the truth a fellow knight, having discovered the truth, turned Leodaire in. As the woman who had levelled the accusation against him was dead, there was no trial; despite the pleas of his wife and child, and years of exceptional service to the people of Ishgard, he was executed for crimes committed against a noble house.
Shortly after his death Adala disappeared, leaving no word of where she was going or what had happened to her; left with no one, angry and betrayed, Elle followed suit, changing her name and fleeing Ishgard in the dead of night. She took up the life of a mercenary, taking whatever odd jobs came her way and travelling as far from her homeland as possible. She keeps an ear out for any word of her stepmother, hoping to run into her again one day.
Having spent her formative years being looked down upon for the circumstances of her birth, Giselle has a deeply-rooted inferiority complex; she is willing and ready to do whatever it takes to earn the respect and care she was never given as a child, and holds power in very high esteem. What others have to say about her affects Giselle deeply, though she attempts to hide behind dry wit and an aloof exterior.
Despite being quick to anger she doesn't act on it immediately, preferring the slow and methodical approach to dealing with her problems, particularly when the problems are other people. She is a fierce protector of those she considers family, and holds them close, guarding their affection almost jealously; she has never been gifted with an abundance of charisma, and as such often finds it difficult to make friends. Once a person manages to get past her somewhat icy exterior Giselle proves to be a funny, passionate woman, and loyal to a fault.
Standing at 83 ilms Giselle is of average height for an elezen, long-limbed and graceful as most of her race are. Her skin is fair with a very slight ashy hue, a mixture of her Ishgardian and Duskwight heritage; a light dusting of freckles covers her cheeks and the bridge of her nose, and she sports a birthmark below her right eye and at the left corner of her lips. A long scar starting at the bridge of her nose cuts just below her right eye, still fairly fresh at only a few years old.
She wears her long, golden-tinged brown hair in a ponytail with thick bangs cut straight across her forehead; when it's not pulled back it's left in loose waves that fall nearly to her waist. Her eyes are a striking bright silver-grey, and perhaps her most notable feature, outlined in kohl to make them stand out. When not in armour she can be found in comfortable clothing of a dark hue, typically black but occasionally deep wine red or a dark blue. She favours high boots and tight-fitting pants, with flowing tops that accentuate her curves.
Affiliations & Relationships
- Reinette Deschain - mother, the only daughter of a minor noble house; a shrewd and intelligent arcanist, Reinette was always cold to her daughter, looking upon her with distaste. She blamed Giselle for her own fall in Ishgardian society, and preferred not to acknowledge that she had a child whenever possible. Despite all of Giselle's attempts to grow close to her mother the older woman resisted; the two never reconciled upon her death.
- Leodaire Marinnoux - father, a Duskwight elezen acting as a knight for House Dzemael; unaware that he was her father, Leodaire was in charge of her training as a child, and the two bonded over their many similarities. A year after discovering that he was, in fact, her father, he was executed for the falsified assault of Reinette Deschain.
- Adala Marinnoux - stepmother, a Highlander woman from Coerthas who was the first to voice her suspicions about Giselle's paternity. Skilled in botany and woodworking, she taught the young Giselle the finer points of both whenever she had free time from her squiring duties. After Reinette died, Adala took her in and treated her as the daughter she never had. Her whereabouts are currently unknown.
- Giselle is exceedingly gifted at Doman mahjong
- In her spare time she can be found sewing, reading, or occasionally singing