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Anna Hoole is an Amarnan paladin. She is the youngest of three children born to Hester Hoole, preceded by her brother Silas and sister Rhonda.

Initially planning to become a monk, she grew disillusioned with the Temple after witnessing firsthand the depths of their corruption. She became one of the early followers of Dagda Vormund. After the disbanding of the Cult of Vormund and the death of several of its members at the hands of the sorcerer Adrian Vandiir, Anna traveled to Melekess to seek out the last of the paladins, intending to exact revenge on Adrian.

She completed training under Marcus Roland, attaining the rank of knight.

Appearance/Personality

Anna is a little over five feet tall, with a slim, slight build. She has mousy blond hair and green eyes, and is considered "good-looking" but not beautiful.

Anna is an eager - some might say impatient - young woman who hasn't had much luck in life. While she isn't a cynic, she tends to be skeptical and can easily grow doubtful and disenchanted with ideas and people. Always acutely aware of the flaws inherent in humanity, she underestimates herself ruthlessly, often unconsciously undermining her own efforts with her lack of confidence.

She is contemplative rather than reckless, and often hesitates before making a decision. She fears making a mistake, and when she does screw up, she'll try to sweep it under the rug. If she stops to think about it too long, the guilt and regret will leave her totally paralyzed.

At the core of her principles is a deep empathy which is both a boon and a curse. She can't stand to see people being humiliated or treated badly, and she will go out of her way to preserve the dignity of others even before her own. Because of this, she comes across as a very serious person who perhaps cares too much about what others think. It is very telling that she doesn't like to be seen crying in public and will instinctively want to hide from others' sight.

Her strict, legalistic approach to religion has caused her to struggle with faith. Deep down she has a fighting spirit and a strong sense of right and wrong, which would be very well-suited to being a knight. However, she lives in a time after the age of chivalry, when such personas are looked down on with disdain and/or mocked as outdated.

Biography

Anna was born in Bodai the year 143, during the reign of King Letholdus the Third. She was the third child of Milo and Hester Hoole, being preceded by her brother Silas and sister Rhonda. Her father abandoned them when Anna was very young. The family then moved in with Anna's grandfather, a teacher who lived a couple miles south of the city. In addition to the support offered by her grandfather, her mother found work as a local midwife and healer.

As a child, Anna was shy and bookish. She read whenever she could, devouring novels as well as history tomes, which she borrowed from her grandfather's library. Her grandfather declared that she didn't need to go to school, she was so well-read. Because her socializing with other children was limited, Anna was never bullied, and thus never needed to learn how to stand up for herself in a fight.

When she came of age, Anna decided to become a monk in order to continue her scholarly pursuits and promptly enrolled in seminary school as a novice. She was at this time a devout theist with a very simple way of looking at the world, but was not afraid to question the Temple's doctrines.

The Cult of Vormund

Dagda Vormund arrived in Bodai in early fall of 163. Anna first encountered the prophet while he was preaching in the town square. Intrigued, she stopped to listen. Soon she began secretly attending Vormund's sermons and collecting the various reading materials his followers handed out, including a copy of Vormund's new Mandorlin translation.

One day, Anna was called to the school minister's office. The minister revealed her copy of the Mandorlin had been discovered in her quarters. However, the Guardian Julianna Morrow had become involved in the case and took over in place of the minister. Rather than punishing Anna, Julianna offered her a deal. In exchange for spying on Vormund (and deducing whether or not he was legitimate or a charlatan), she would not only drop all charges against Anna, she would reward her with anything she desired. Anna agreed to the deal, becoming a Temple Inquisitor.

The next day, Anna arrived at the town square to hear Vormund preach. Rather than giving a sermon, Vormund abruptly left without explanation. Confused, Anna approached two of the prophet's followers, Clara Montag and Drusus Rolfe, wanting to know what was going on. They explained that he had gone to assist one of his followers at the hospital. Shortly after, the city police arrived and declared Vormund and his followers had been banished from Bodai. Anna witnessed the guards disregarding the doctor's warnings and forcibly removing Melissa Zosimus, who was in labor, along with the rest of Vormund's disciples. Anna sympathized with the cult's plight and offered to take them to Hester.

They were unable to reach Hester in time, and Anna was forced to facilitate the birth of Melissa's daughter Laura on the side of the road. They then rushed both mother and child to Hester, but Melissa hemorrhaged and died later that night. Melissa's husband, Gavin, blamed Anna for her death.

Anna was infuriated by the tragedy. Disregarding her family's protests, she set out with Vormund and his followers for Arza Kell, their sanctuary and main base of operations. Along the way, she diverted suspicion from the cult by making conversation with the locals, who were more inclined to believe her, with her familiar accent and affectations, than the foreign cultists.

The Caverns of Arza Kell

Anna swiftly became friends with Drusus, Sophie, and Clara. Through them, she learned more about the origins of the cult. In particular, she kept hearing about "the prince", or Kemet, a mysterious Exekian who had helped Vormund translate the Mandorlin. Determined to meet Kemet, she searched the caverns for him but was unable to locate any trace of the Exekian.

Sent on a supply trip with Gavin, Anna attempted to reconcile with him. In the process, she saw a newspaper report detailing the grave illness of Gavin's mother. This prompted Gavin to travel to Tyr in order to be with his mother in her last days, leaving Laura in the care of Kemet.

Anna finally met Kemet, who told her the story of his life and showed her the original copy of the Mandorlin. Anna became more sympathetic toward him and to Vormund's cause. She vowed to herself not to reveal the location of the cult's hideout in order to protect Kemet, even if this meant the manuscript never found its way into the Temple's hands.

Trip to Hiberia

In the summer of 164, Anna traveled with Vormund, Drusus, Sophie, and Ethan to the city of Hiberia, following instructions delivered to the prophet in a vision. There they found many of their friends had either been eliminated, driven underground, or had betrayed them. The horrors they witnessed began to wear on Anna.

After Ethan was attacked and drugged by Cezar Montag and Jade Athanasi pleaded with them to leave, the group suffered from fear that they were being watched by the forces of the corrupt Guardian Balthasar Krezt. Hoping to use her role as Inquisitor to help them, Anna paid Balthasar a visit, but was unable to convince him to stop harassing them.

Disheartened, Anna returned to the pawnshop, where she encountered Drusus. She confessed to him not only where she had been, but that she had been an Inquisitor all along. Drusus seemed sympathetic and agreed to keep her secret - on the grounds that they not tell anyone else Anna's secret. She agreed, as she felt she now had a responsibility toward Vormund and his followers and wanted to protect them from harm. Anna and Drusus then shared a kiss before bed.

Shortly before they were due to arrive in Tyr, Sophie was found dead under mysterious circumstances. Anna was convinced Ethan had murdered her, but Vormund insisted that he had been driven mad. Vormund's refusal to go immediately to the police crushed Anna's trust in him. She decided to report them to the police on her own, behind his back. Before she left, Vormund prophesied Anna's fate: that she would become a great knight, that she would never be able to turn away from her beloved country even as her homeland turned its back on her, that she would be betrayed by the love of her life, and while she would give birth to no sons, she would be a mother to many.

Betrayal

Accompanied by Drusus, Anna managed to get to the Rhinehart police and led them back to the cult's camp. To her horror, the police opened fire on those who tried to escape, killing Kirk Callow as he was running away with Vincent in his arms and beating Vormund. In exchange for her role in their arrest, Anna was allowed to take Vincent and leave unharmed.

Anna raced to Tyr, where she met with Gavin Zosimus. To her disappointment, Gavin revealed that while he had inherited his mother's fortune, the king had blocked him from becoming the new Lord of Tyr due to his connection to Vormund, giving the position to his cousin Lucan instead. Gavin spent a large portion of his inheritance in order to track down the others, learning that Ethan had been killed, Drusus was imprisoned, and Vormund was being tried by the Temple. Anna and Gavin attended the heresy trial, where they learned the true identity of Adrian Vandiir, the Temple's other Inquisitor.

After Vormund was pronounced dead of a heart attack, Anna followed Gavin back to Arza Kell. They found the caverns deserted, indicating that either the others had been taken captive or had fled. They decided it was best to remove the original manuscript of the Mandorlin, which was hidden in Kemet's quarters. However, they were followed to the caves by a disguised Adrian, who forced them to hand over the manuscript and destroyed it. Anna attacked Adrian, but was badly burned by witchfire. Gavin gave up the Mandorlin in order to save Anna's life.

That night, Gavin advised Anna, who had vowed to kill Adrian, to seek out the last of the paladins.

Anna returned to Julianna, who congratulated her for accomplishing her task. As a reward, Anna asked only for her copy of the Mandorlin. Julianna reluctantly complied, warning Anna that she was now in possession of illegal contraband. With the help of Gavin, Anna left the country, sailing to Nykara.

Paladin Training

Arriving in the city of Melekess, Anna sought out the paladins. She eventually encountered Watchman Dimiter Yen, a paladin-turned-priest who managed a chapel in the city. Dimiter directed her to his friend Marcus, a Zantine refugee who had spent ten years as a galley slave for killing a witch within the city walls.

Anna went into the desert in search of Marcus, eventually finding him working among the settlers. She convinced Marcus to train her. The two made regular trips to the city to visit Dimiter, who also contributed to Anna's training.

During their first real mission, Marcus was badly wounded in the fight. Anna rescued him from death and nursed him back to health, praying for his recovery daily. Shortly after Marcus was healed, however, he was arrested for having escaped the galleys.

When the time came for Anna to forge her sword, she was shocked to learn the process involved killing an Exekian in order to harvest their blood. She stopped the ritual before it could occur, saving the life of the Exekian they had purchased from slavers. In a fit of anger, Marcus renounced Anna.

Anna accompanied the Exekian on a trek across the desert to find the other slaves that had been captured. They found and killed the slavers, freeing the slaves. In gratitude, the slaves each freely gave Anna some of their blood.

Anna returned to Marcus with the blood, and the two were reconciled. They forged a sword made of Exekian steel. As the blood was freely given, it possesses special properties, the nature of which Anna has only scratched the surface.

Adventures in Melekess

Anna, now officially a paladin, began her pursuit of Adrian Vandiir. After a year of searching, she heard news that the sorcerer had resurfaced in Melekess.

Returning to the city, she arrived in the middle of a catastrophe as Ardath Dastagir was sentenced to death for the murder of King Luther six years earlier. Adrian was able to impersonate Ardath and took his place on the scaffold. It was obvious to everyone involved that Adrian had faked his death. Anna gained some respect for him as he risked his life to save another, but she had not forgotten her vow of revenge.

At the masquerade ball, Anna was tasked with guarding the chamber in which Watchman Dimiter Yen was performing an exorcism. Adrian used a secret passage to bypass Anna, and he killed Dimiter as revenge for his having removed all Adrian's magic powers. Guilt-stricken and enraged, Anna disobeyed Marcus' orders to guard them as they astral-projected into the Arcane Realm and instead went after Adrian on her own, determined to avenge Dimiter and Vormund. But Adrian had already fled out of cowardice.

Anna learned from Marena and Ardath that Marcus had sacrificed himself to save them. She decided to return to Amarna.

True Knighthood

Anna returned to her homeland, settling in the city of Kataru. It was there that she met and had a love affair with Arcturus Thesh, whom she promised to marry.

During the Fifth Exekian War, Anna left Arcturus behind to provide aid to the Exekians. They did not trust her at first, but her friendship with Kemet provided her with a route into their ranks. She commanded a small human detachment, which consisted of mostly hired mercenaries along with a few devout Vormundists. While stationed at the fortress of Heliobas, she was reunited with Laura and met Laura's brother Balian, who joined Anna's forces.

After the war, she was declared an enemy of the state and banished from Amarna. Unable to return to Arcturus, her attempts to communicate with him were ignored, and when she managed to sneak into the city in a desperate effort to reach him, he refused to see her. A despondent Anna once again fled her homeland, this time accompanied by her apprentice Balian.

Changeling Crisis

Years later, she would return to Amarna under a new identity, that of Sir Gorrister, a knight who never removed her helmet. She became the bodyguard of John Stirling, helping him and Princess Kai escape during the chaos that ensued after Richard's death. They fled to Kataru, where Anna finally came into contact with her old flame Arcturus. Before they could rekindle their relationship, Arcturus betrayed them to Logan Brynner.

The group became separated after they were captured by selkie pirates, only reuniting after they washed ashore in Exekia. Discovering that Eleanor had been captured by the Clan while trying to find Kemet, they rushed to rescue her, unaware that she had become dangerously unhinged...

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