|Elesabeth Jane Stanbridge|
Priestess of the Light
Stephen Stanbridge (husband)
Elesabeth Jane Stanbridge is a human ordained priestess of the Church of the Holy Light in the Kingdom of Stormwind. She is 25 years old, married, and recently gave birth to her first child, a daughter, which she named Aelwynn. Her present role within the Stormwind Diocease is that of a clerical advisor to the para-military group, The League of Lordaeron. Her husband, Stephen Stanbridge, has recently left the League to persue other military endeavors.
Family History and Early YearsEdit
Elesabeth is the third child of William and Elaine Stormgarde of Elwynn. She has three siblings; two older brothers, Johnathan and Eric, and a younger brother, Henry. The Stormgarde children grew up on a small farm in Elwynn Forest, about half a days ride to the great city of Stormwind. Like much of the realms peasants, they were poor, and lived off of their own various talents.
From a young age, Elesabeth was taught by her mother to sew a litany of things; dresses, shirts, bags, and the like, and most if not all of the clothing on their backs were made by Elaine and Elesabeth, once she was old enough. The farm they lived on was enough to tend the family's needs; a few chickens for eggs, one or two cows for milk, butter, and cheese, and various vegetables such as corn, tomato's, lettuce, and the like. William, when home from deployment, would often take his two eldest sons with him to hunt, and when the boys were old enough and William was away on military duties, Johnathan and Eric were able to provide various game such as boar and deer to their family. While William was deployed, and that was much of the time, Elaine spent much of her time teaching each of the children how to read, write, and to do basic arithmetic.
Out of all of the children, Elesabeth took the most to reading and writing. Her nose would be in any book that she could get her hands on, and she would happily sit alone under a tree and read the newest fairy tale or an essay on the Light. While Johnathan and Eric couldn't have cared less about their studies, Henry followed his older sisters lead, and Elesabeth eventually began to help teach her little brother to read. This was a great help to Elaine, and enabled her to have extra time to sew a few shirts or to harvest some crops to sell at the market. Along with William's stipend, Elaine was able to continue to make ends meet, and when it came time for Johnathan and Eric to choose a profession, both of them chose the military. Neither boy was married in their young career's, and so they sent at least half their stipend home to help their mother, much of which Elaine saved.
Unfortunately, Beths' life of peace came to an end when she was sixteen. Word was sent from the Stormwind Army that, due to the result of an orc attack on her fathers platoon, William Stormgarde had been killed. Although she hadn't gotten to spend much time with her father, Elesabeth adored him. The anger that over came her was like nothing she'd ever experienced in her life. Daily she traveled to Northshire to weep over her fathers' grave, and her grieving went on for months.
Elaine, for her part, did her best to keep the family together. It was made easier by the fact that two of her sons were training day in and day out for their military career's, but Beth and Henrys' presence and palatable anger on the part of the former made it difficult. Henry, ten years old at the time, withdrew into himself. Elesabeth, who had never been one quick to anger, now lashed out at anything and everything. It wasn't until she traveled to the city with her mother on a routine selling of their wares that Beth visited the Cathedral there. Once again, the anger and sadness overwhelmed her, and she took to a bench to cry in private. It was in that moment that she heard her father calling to her, asking her to stop her crying and end her pain. "Trust in the Light," he said to her. It was something he always said to her when he was living and at home on leave.
For the next few days, Beth pondered over what she'd heard, and she came to the conclusion that it was indeed her father she'd heard calling to her. Trust in the Light... And so, she announced to her mother that she was joining the clergy. At first, Elaine was confused. Where had this come from? Beth had never had a desire to become a priestess before...however, as she realized rather quickly, her daughter's anger had seemed to subside. She was no longer returning from Northshire drained and saddened. The priesthood seemed to be the perfect mold for one such as Beth. Elaine accepted her daughters wishes with an open heart.
The Clergy of the Holy LightEdit
Upon entering the priesthood, Elesabeth went through the motions that any novice would go through. She poured over any book she could get her hands on, reading the words of great men such as Uther the Lightbringer, Alonsus Faol, and Gavinrad. She attended mass and liturgy daily, immersing herself in the world of the Church. It fascinated her and brought comfort to her heart which was still scarred by her father's death. Often times, Elesabeth could be found in the quiet confines of Northshire Abbey, listening to the monks chant and sing their prayers and often reciting and prostrating the words of the Light with them.
Soon enough, Elesabeth was taking her exams and reciting the vows to initiate herself fully as a lay priestess within the Church. Enjoying the ministry, she opted for a position within the vocations department within the Clergy of the Holy Light, a sect of the Clergy of Stormwind that often mentored new members of the faith, spread the word of the Light, and assisted other orders in the spiritual nourishment of their own members. For Elesabeth, a simple farm girl that had lived a plain and ordinary existence up to this point, the life of a priestess of the bustling city of Stormwind was fast paced, exciting, and often times over whelming. Shy and demure by nature, Beth found it difficult to approach members of other organizations at first. Many were powerful, stately men and strong, knowledgeable women, all things she did not consider herself to be even in the slightest. Gradually though, she managed to open up and engage other members of the various organizations the Clergy of the Holy Light dealt with on a day to day basis. In doing so, many of those people became some of Elesabeths dearest friends.
When it came time for Elesabeth to consider taking her vows to become an Ordained Priestess, she knew that she was absolutely making the right decision. With guidance from several, including his Grace, the Bishop Moorwhelp, his Grace Abbot Drakewing, Father Agustus Throben, and others, Beth went through the rituals, routines, and classes to become a Mother of the Church. She was ordained in a simple ceremony in Northshire Abbey. Along with her new role came a new position; Vocations Director of the Clergy of the Holy Light. This new found title gave Elesabeth the ability to find new blood for the Clergy, to practice her skills as a diplomat/ambassador between the Clergy and other organizations, and the ability broaden her horizons and knowledge of a world she knew very little about.
During her ordination process, she and the at-the-time current Abbot of Northshire, Aros Drakewing, became very close friends. Aros was, like her, a quiet, kind, and scholarly minded soul. He was gentle and easy going, a listener, and Beth found him very easy to talk to. Knowing that Beth had a genuine love of Northshire, the beauty and tranquility of the Abbey and the education that one could find there, Aros took it upon himself to name Elesabeth the Prioress of Northshire Abbey. Reporting directly to him, it was now Elesabeths duty to look after the Abbey when he was unavailable to do so, to maintain the running and cleanliness of it, and to always ensure that everything that took place within it's walls was Light abiding. At the age of 23, this made Elesabeth one of the youngest Prior's in Northshire's history. Not only was she now in charge of initiating new members into the Clergy, she was also in charge of ensuring Northshire remained as pristine and pure as it had always been. She under took both responsibilities with an eagerness to please both Aros and Moorwhelp.
For a time, Elesabeth enjoyed her duties. Meeting new people, helping novices through the process of becoming a priest or priestess, and being able to return to Northshire Abbey at the end of the day was a true blessing in her life. The only thing that was missing from it was something that Beth had wanted since her child hood; to be a wife and a mother. However, she continued on with her responsibilities. She was young, and she had plenty of time. Or so she thought.
Nearly a year after her appointment, Aros Drakewing went missing. With no other Prior's to tend the Abbey, and with no one else willing to take up the mantle of Abbot, Johannas Moorwhelp met with Elesabeth and asked her to take the highest seat Northshire had to offer. It was a difficult to decision for Beth to make, mainly due to the fact that someone who held that position could not marry and could not produce children. However, with the promise of a dispensation, and not wanting to disappoint either Aros or the Bishop, Elesabeth finally agreed to the annointment. It was an odd move to be sure, to appoint someone so young, but Johannas was confident in his decision to elevate Elesabeth to the position of Abbess. And so, she was raised.
Abbess was a difficult office for Beth. Her life as a Prioress had been one of service, prayer, and maintenance, catering to the Churches flock. The life of an Abbess seemed to be meetings, politicking, and concern for how the public would perceive the Church in matters of all kinds, rather than simply being truthful, as Beth believed it always best to be.
There was also the matter that the Abbess had begun to see a young soldier, a man by the name of Stephen Stanbridge. Even though she had a dispensation that cleared her to marry and procreate, Elesabeth was quickly finding that the role of Abbess was taking up most, if not all, of her time. What little freedom she had was spent with Stephen and in quiet moments of solitude. Most importantly though, she didn't feel as though she was serving the Church, but more of an agenda. The politics disturbed her. Such machinations were not for Beth.
And so, after much prayer, discussions with Stephen, who was quickly becoming a dominating presence in her life, Beth went to Moorwhelp and told him of her decision; she was leaving the Abbess ship to step back into the role of a Mother. Of course, the Bishop was disappointed, distraught...he had no one to fill the position. However, his disappointment was nothing compared to the ire of the Council of Bishops. They had gone out on a limb and listened to Johannas, and now only a few short months later, the girl was stepping down from her post. Believing that Elesabeth needed to be taught a lesson, the Council did indeed place her back in the Habit of a Mother, but instead of allowing her to return to the Church of Stormwind, they ordered her to a much more...harrowed position; that of military chaplain to the League of Lordaeron, commanded by Kerdic Lothinil.
The League of LordaeronEdit
Entering the world of the military was no small feat for Elesabeth. A life long pacifist, her beliefs and skills resided in diplomacy and ambassadorial pursuits. She was never one to use force, and wasn't one to yell or lose her temper. She was blessed in the fact that she wouldn't be going into the League alone; Kerdic Lothinil had become a close friend and mentor to her, and his future wife, Demitria Lothinil was also someone she spoke with on a day to day basis. Hozak Smokeyday frequented the cathedral often, as did Cartres Portiave. Father Agustus Throben too, was a great support system to her as well, for he was also from the Stormwind Diocese and had helped Elesabeth with her path to the priesthood from her days as a Novice. Each of them, along with many others, helped to ease Elesabeths nerves as she made the difficult transition from a homely Church life to an existence of constant fighting and em-battlement.
Her first few months were not easy. Adapting to the strict and regimented life style of the military was not something Beth had ever desired to do, though she greatly admired those who did. It was odd to her, that at many points, the League seemed easy going and fun. There was quite often a lot of silliness, pranks, and jokes being played, but it amazed her quickly the League could cease their fun and come to full attention, any hint of jolliness completely gone. When the League was in Stormwind, she spent as much time as she could in the security of Northshires walls. When in the North, Beth kept to herself most of the time, often reading, writing letters to friends she had still in Stormwind, or walking and discussing various matters with Stephen Stanbridge.
At the time of her induction, the League was stationed in Hearthglen, something for which Beth was grateful. Hearthglen was considered a fortified and tranquil area, relatively safe from Forsaken and the undeath that plagued the neighboring territory of Eastern Plaguelands. It was a peaceful, small encampment that was very quickly turning into a bustling town. Most of all, Elesabeth was happy for the diversity that was there. Never one to believe that a person was a monster simply because he or she was an orc or had pointed ears, it gave Beth hope to see orcs and humans working together, patrolling the area around Hearthglen in cooperation and comradeship.
Gradually, Beth began to find her place within the League. Often times people would come to her looking for advice with their personal problems, and every so often, asking her for the rites of a Confession. She found many more opportunities to display her skills as a healer, and thus, became stronger regarding that particular use. On her own, she began to practice using the Light as a shield. Stephen would often help her in her exercises, where in she would summon a barrier of Light and he would toss random objects her way, seeing if she could deflect them. When it became clear that she could, he started using his own abilities as a paladin. Eventually, Elesabeth built up a rather impressive shielding ability. While her use of the Light in an offensive manner is slim to none, unless she is an emotionally pressured position to protect herself, she can quite ably defend herself with all manners of prayerful barriers.
The Council of Bishops intent was to punish Elesabeth for what they saw and believed was her inability to commit to a responsibility she undertook willingly, as well as what they felt was flightiness on her part. Being within the League has indeed shown Beth that the cushy duties she had within the city were nothing compared to the realities of being in a war zone. Within the confines of Northshire and Stormwind, she was secluded, safe from most if not all manner of atrocities. The League, on the other hand, went willingly into the heart of any and all atrocities. Beth very quickly began to understand that, when someone committed to something, they were expected to commit to it with their very lives. Stepping down and resigning was not an option.
It was a harsh lesson, but one that she needed to learn, and because of that, Elesabeth holds no ill will towards the Council of Bishops. Rather, she believes they have aided her in seeing what her true purpose is; to not only be a wife and mother, but to also be an able and capable military chaplain, seeing to the needs of those who consistently lay down their lives for the betterment of men, women and children, and for a land that many say doesn't exist anymore.
To this day, Elesabeth continues to serve as the sole military chaplain appointed by the Church to the League of Lordaeron. Though she shared this position with Augustus Throben, recently she learned of her beloved mentor's passing. She wasn't born in the realm of Lordaeron, but Beth takes very seriously the duty she was left by Throben's death, and she hopes every day to do honor to his memory by handling her responsibilities to the League as well as she is able.
Over the years, Elesabeth has garnered many friendships through her service to the Church and her ambassadorial efforts to a number of organizations. Listed below are some of the closest relationships she has had in the past and in the present.
Bishop Johannas Moorwhelp- The Bishop of the Diocese of Stormwind, Elesabeth Stanbridge was one of his favored pupils when she was a Novice. The old and kind dwarf is very much like a grand father of sorts to Beth, assisting her in her ordainment trials and giving her private, quiet lessons in the halls of Northshire to prepare for her vows and exams. To Beth, Moorwhelp represents the tenacity and purity of the Light, one who always tries to bridge the divide between the various organizations that the Church serves and tends, and the politics and machinations of the men and women of those orders who first thoughts may not be the Church. Though their relationship was strained in the months following Elesabeths abdication of the throne of Northshire and subsequent placement within the League of Lordaeron, the relationship endured; the Bishop was present at Elesabeths wedding and was also the first to bless her daughter in the Cathedral in Stormwind. To this day, Elesabeth continues to look at Moorwhelp as a great mentor and leader of the Church.
Aros Drakewing- Another great friend and spiritual mentor, Aros Drakewing has opened up a great many new doors for Elesabeth, most of them educational and exciting, and one or two of them incredibly dangerous and trying. In many ways, Aros has guided Elesabeth to the place in life that she has now. With the Clergy, Stephen, and her role in the League, Aros has been there almost every step of the way, gently herding and nudging her when Beth's self consciousness and insecurity would get the better of her. Aros is a trusted confident of Beth's, one whom she knows she can spill her darkest secrets to and they would go with him to his grave. Though they are unable currently to see each other often, this is a friendship that picks up immediately from where it was left off. Aros is like a brother to Elesabeth, and she looks at both him, and his brother, Balverine, as family.
Balverine Drakewing- Having first met through Aros, Elesabeth and Balverine have a very light-hearted relationship. Serving in the Clergy brought them closer together, and they have forged a lasting familial relationship ever since. Beth has a deep affection for Balverine's young son, Jaece, and often watches the child and visits when ever she can. She enjoyed the boy's company so much before her own daughter came along that Jaece has taken to calling her 'Aunty Beth'. While Blaverine and Elesabeth have a trusted friendship, their views on the Church differ enough to occasionally cause some friction between the two. However, such hiccups never last long, and both return to a place of acceptance for the other. The two are very protective of one another in any situation that may spell trouble, and can behave like stubborn children when in an argument with the other. At the end of the day, Balverine and his son have a special place in Beth's heart which is not likely to change.
Kerdic Lothinil- The admiration and respect that Elesabeth holds for Kerdic matches that which she has for Johannas Moorwhelp. When she first met Kerdic, she was a Novice within the Clergy who, with the death of Lady Larc Portiave, had been placed as a temporary ambassador of sorts to the League of Lordaeron. She was not so used to speaking to people, and certainly not accustomed to addressing accomplished and respected men such as the Lion of Lordaeron. But Kerdic was kind, and in his firm guidance, he assisted her with gaining the confidence she possesses now when speaking to members of other orders. Perhaps the thing that Beth admires most about Kerdic is that, even though he leads a great army, his first inclination is diplomacy and negotiation, and not war mongering. Knowing that she serves under someone who would much prefer words to war is a great comfort to Beth. When the League goes to battle, she knows that it is because all other options were exhausted. It is much the way she remembered her father to be, and it was because of that likeness that she asked for Kerdic to give her away to Stephen Stanbridge at her wedding. Beth looks at Kerdic as a father figure, and loves him thus.
Demitria Lothinil- A close friend and confidant, Demitria makes a very unlikely friend for the priestess, for Demitria, instead of calling upon the Light for her power, calls the darkness to aid her. While Elesabeth does not condone in any way the magic that Demitria chooses to use, and indeed worries for the woman whenever it's utilized, Beth see's a good person within the warlock. She therefore chooses to accept Demitria for who and what she is, though she has in the past tried to get her to turn from the Fel. In truth, it is Demitria's no nonsense attitude within the League that assisted Beth in 'bucking up' so to speak. While she was a great support to the priestess, Demitria had lived a life of harshness since the ravage and fall of Gilneas while Beth had been relatively secluded from any such situations. As a result, when Elesabeth needed a swift kick in habit, Demitria was the one who delivered it to her, never harsh or cruel, but firm and resolved. Perhaps the most difficult part of these two women's relationship has been Beth's husband. A Lordaeronian by birth, Stephen had two reasons to dislike Demitria, a Gilnean and a Fel user; (the second of which Elesabeth confessed to Stephen, something that did not go over at all well with Demitria when Beth told her) a woman from a nation that had built an isolationist wall and in turn, had allowed Lordaeron to suffer, and a woman who conjured the very demons that had assisted in the ravaging of his beloved home land. While Stephen and Demitria's relationship remains civil when Beth is present, it is not known, nor is it expected, that these two will wind up the best of friends. However, the one thing Demitria and Stephen have in common is Elesabeth, and because of that, the two remain at least amicable towards one another.
Gruph and Salley Stonebinder-
The Dominion of the Sun - Elesabeth's first brush with the horrors and difficulties of the world came when she was still a lay priestess within the Clergy of the Holy Light. At the time, the Clergy had taken a pilgrimage to the Arathi Highlands, desiring to pay homage to the chapel within the now old and dilapitated Stromguard Keep. During their stay, a skirmish between Horde and Alliance forces had occured to the North, and Bishop Johannas Moorwhelp had ordered what few temple knights he had at his beck and call to assist the Alliance forces.
A few days afterwards, one of the temple knights, Cerebis O'Shaunessy had realized he'd lost something of great value to him. Elesabeth refused to allow him to travel so far alone and insisted on accompanying him. The two made their way to the now charred and scarred grounds that had seen battle, only to find members of the blood elf organization known as The Dominion of the Sun there as well. After a unsuccessful parlay to win their freedom, both Elesabeth and Cerebis were taken hostage by the Knight Lord Volanaro Ael'aran and two of his soldiers, Nelany Faersong and Zeein Drakewing.
The next three days were some of the most terrifying in Beth's life. As a simple farm girl from Elwynn who had never been further than the northern limits of Redridge before this, the priestess had no idea as to how to handle her perdicament. Cerebis, a hardened war vetern, refused to give any quarter, going so far as to spit on the Knight Lord at one point. It earned him a gauntleted back hand to the face. Elesabeth was not spared physical abuse either; even though it was merely a slap, never before had Beth been struck, and it served to remind her that she was in a very precarious position.
However, there were two saviors that materialized from a most unexpected place. Nelany Faersong and Zeein Drakewing were unlike Volanaro in his brutality. Seeing that they could 'get more bee's with honey' so to speak, instead of frightening Elesabeth and threatening her with torture or her own death, Nelany secured Volanaro's absolute promise that he would not harm either the priestess of Cerebis. Zeein offered more than bread and dirty water for rations and allowed Beth to walk about freely from her bonds, always retraining her before Volanaro would return. Beth never forgot the kindness that those two showed her, and when they were in need of repayment for it, she provided it.
After three days of praying and hoping that she would be able to see Stormwind, her friends, and her family again, rescue came in the form of a wayward soldier who happened upon the small camp. Elesabeth and Cerebis were to be transfered into the main base's custody, and the soldier provided the distraction needed for the two to make their escape. To this day, Beth remains convinced that Nelany and Zeein aided in her and the temple knights escape.
Wolfkrone - A deathknight and a soldier under the direct command of Terick Baulvet, Wolfkrone, to this day, is the only person alive (in a sense) that Elesabeth fears. When Baulvet's regiment, The Hand of Lo'Gosh, instituted their weeks of terror upon Stormwind and the Church, Wolfkrone was right by the man's side, carrying out his orders without a second thought.
By all accounts, Terick was an extremist in his measures. His loyalty to the Alliance and inability to allow for any diversity of thought or opinion on political, domestic, foriegn, and war matters made him an exceedingly difficult person to negotiate with by any means. In fact, any difference of opinion regarding the correctness of Stormwind's and the Alliance's methods was immediately met with a charge of treason and sedition, as Elesabeth found out when she directly attacked Baulvet's methods, blaming him and his men for the supposed death of Stephen Stanbridge, who was at the time a dear friend to her.
In the weeks leading up to her incarceration, Beth attempted to befriend and understand the death knight that served with Terick, seeing that such a feat had been accomplished with other death knights in the past. However, his crass and rude behavior towards her made her weary of such a possibility, as well as his often over the top and bloody methods. His blind loyalty to Terick's will and joy at taking life in the most dispicable of ways was enough to halt Elesabeth. When she was taken to prison by Terick's order, charged with sedition, Wolfkrone was a constant visitor of hers.
The unforgivable occured when Wolfkrone ordered her racking, a method of torture where the victim is placed on a table, arms and legs spread and strapped with leathers that are attached to cranks. Turning the cranks away from the table induces forced stretching, which often leads to torn ligaments, muscles, and a great deal of pain. Though it didn't happen, he threatened something much worse to her. Filling a priestess with runic energy would subsequently cut off any connection she had with the Light, not to mention cause an incredible amount of aghony for someone such as Beth, a woman untrained to deal with pain, and who had a kind and gentle heart.
Intervention and salvation finally came in the form of a draenic woman that Beth had never met and Demitria Lothinil. For days, members of the Clergy and of the League had been working tirelessly to see those who had been incarcerated by Terick unjustly freed from their prison. The women had arrived to inform Beth that she was to be released. Just thankful to be rid of the Stocks and within the arms of the Church again, Beth remained in seclusion for the next few days, recovering under Stephen's watchful gaze.
William Stormgarde - Father, deceased.
Elaine Stormgarde - Mother, alive. Currently living in Elwynn Forest maintaining the family farm.
Johnathan Stormgarde - Oldest brother, alive. Currently stationed in Pandaria.
Eric Stormgarde - Second oldest brother, believed alive, but was actually killed and raised as a Forsaken. He currently occupies the Under City, the Light having left him, now a simple warrior.
Henry Stormgarde - The youngest of the siblings, alive. Henry lives in Elwynn, helping his mother run the family farm while also investing in a small vineyard.
Stephen Stanbridge - Husband, alive. The father of her first born, Aelwynn. For the moment, he is serving in Redridge with the local brigade while looking into other military pursuits.
Aelwynn Stanbridge - Daughter, alive.