Winter (born Wintwyda Guolhaemrwyn) knows little about her early childhood. If asked, she'll claim she was born at sea. From a very young age - as soon as she was physically able - she began to take on tasks around her parents' privateering vessel such as deck-swabbing and navigation. When she was very young, her parents - Guolhaemr and Sterrwyda - were highly successful pirates known for their pragmatism. While they could be brutal when they felt it was necessary, they generally didn't go out of their way to rape, pillage, and plunder if it wasn't needed to get their gil.
As young Wintwyda grew older, however, she saw a dramatic change in not only her parents, but their entire crew. First, Guolhaemr had his entire crew get face tattoos. Soon after, the pirates' activities became increasingly brutal and violent - causing destruction and suffering seemingly for its own sake - and they began worshipping the god-like sea serpent Leviathan. Everyone around the teenage Wintwyda seemed taken in and enthusiastic about these changes, and she was left to wonder how everyone around her could be going so insane while she stayed the same. Later, she'd learn that the crew had been tempered by Leviathan, and that she'd been spared by a mysterious and uncommon gift called the Echo.
Confused and terrified, Winter found an opportunity to escape when her parents were selling their stolen goods to a group of merchants. Stealing some of the coin from her parents herself, the teenage Sea Wolf paid one of the merchants to take her "anywhere but here" in his carriage. He agreed, and drove her to his own destination - Ul'dah.
A Sea Wolf stands out like a sore thumb in the Jewel of the Desert, but Wintwyda was able to make it work for her. She was able to secure work as a "fearsome, foreign, exotic" bodyguard to Ul'dah's wealthy. As she became more established, she began to branch out: she trained at the Ul'dahn pugilist's guild, took on different sorts of odd jobs, worked with mercenary companies off and on, and even did some contract-based odd jobs for the Immortal Flames' Free Brigade. No matter who she spoke to, she always refused to give a last name for herself - instead opting to go simply by "Wintwyda".
It was during this time she met her to-be husband, Kincaid Vannekin. He is a Seeker miqo'te, born Q'nkeyhd Tia, but he was adopted into a hyuran family at a young age and chose to change the spelling of his first name to be easier for them as well as adopt their last name. The two were assigned a mercenary job together defending a trade caravan from raiding Amal'jaa. They worked well together, and immediately bonded over being the "oddballs" of their respective races. He was the first one to start calling her "Winter", originally just as a nickname. The two have been inseperable since.
The two spent a few years together before deciding to become full-fledged adventurers. Like the Vannekins had taught him, Kincaid taught Winter to read. Eventually, the two agreed that they wanted to see the big wide crazy world they'd read about in books, and together they decided to sign up for the Adventurer's Guild. The application called for both a first and a last name, so for a variety of reasons - she'd already gotten used to "Winter" as a nickname, she'd had potential clients mangle "Wintwyda", and she liked the Hellsguard naming style - the roegadyn decided to officially change her name to Winter Willow.
Winter and Kincaid lived for a while as wandering adventurers, taking whatever jobs came their way and traveling around the world, until they ran into W'komara Jhida and Renoko'to Molkot in a tavern one day. Overhearing that they needed to hire more adventurers to be part of their company, the couple began to ask questions. It turned out, W'komara and Renoko'to were the leaders of a group of errant knights called the Knights of the Sky. Both Winter and Kincaid liked the sound of being part of such a company, so they signed on immediately.
Winter has continued to serve Sky Knight interests, although she's had a busy life on the side as well. While visiting Ul'dah, she helped an old refugee man deal with Brass Bades who'd been harassing him. He wasn't able to pay her, but in thanks for her kindness he gifted her with a treasured family heirloom - claiming he saw in her a spirit that reminded him of the Monks of Rhalgr.
It turned out that the old man (Worg Bloodmoon) had a hot-headed refugee granddaughter named Lem Bloodmoon. She was jealous and bitter at first, but eventually she and WInter were able to work through their differences and become friends.
While visiting and training with her friend, Winter caught the eye of a highly eccentric Red Mage looking for students to help spread her art. The woman was a Hellsguard roegadyn of a little over fourty summers named Summer Oak. When she happened to see Winter Willow sparring in the Coliseum with her friend Lem and heard her name spoken, Summer decided it was fate that Winter would be her student, and she challenged the younger Sea Wolf to a duel - if Winter lost, she'd have to study under Summer.
Winter, of course, lost the duel. As a result, Summer gave Winter a soulstone, a rapier, and a spell focus and began teaching her art. They trained together for a couple of months before heading into Ala Mhigo to support the rebellion. Unfortunately, Summer was killed in the massacre at Rhalgr's Reach.Nowadays, Winter is mostly alone in her studies of Red Magic, but she carries on fighting in this style and constantly seeks more knowledge of the old Red Mage orders.
Average height for a roegadyn, tall compared to most Eorzeans. Winter is muscular and athletic with light greyish-blue skin and backswept royal blue hair. Her features are soft, and her resting expression is kind - although her golden eyes have a bit of a mischievous sparkle to them.
Aspects That Stand Out:
Cheery, friendly, warm, and outgoing, Winter doesn't see anyone as a stranger - just a friend that hasn't been made yet.