A mutant apothecary struggling to hold on to what little family she has left.
Olive has six functional fingers on each hand, which is generally the first and only thing that people notice about her. A confirmed spinster at 19, Olive could have been attractive except for her mutation and a certain reserved demeanor deeply ingrained by years spent dealing with the social implications of that. She is a short, slight, delicate-looking woman, lightly tanned from time spent outdoors gathering supplies for her family’s shop. Her hair is brown and straight, and she wears it in the same long, loose way that any unmarried girl might.
Olive is nimble and flexible, and has quick reflexes. She wears plain, serviceable clothing, and takes great care to make sure that her appearance is always scrupulously tidy and neat. Although she doesn’t exactly hide the fact that she is a mutant, she is embarrassed by her hands and hates it when people stare at them, and usually keeps them hidden in her pockets, behind her back, strategically folded under her arms, underneath objects, etc., in order to avoid uncomfortable scrutiny, especially from strangers. She always wears her rosette around her neck in case she needs it, but usually the actual object itself is tucked discretely under her clothing.
Gaius and Sibbe Mollin ran the apothecary shop in the little village of Jonbri, and had two children who lived, and many more who were stillborn. The first living child was their son, Bennett, a normal, cheerful boy; the second, three years later, was a daughter: Olive. Olive was a mutant, born with twelve functional fingers, but her parents could not imagine giving up one of their precious few living children if there was any chance that she might be eligible for a dispensation, and tearfully petitioned the local preacher, Valon Sarqhardt, to sanction her. The dispensation was granted, and the next few years of Olive’s life were the closest her life ever came to being normal.
However, when Olive was three, her parish was overrun by orks, and Jonbri lay directly in the path of the oncoming hordes. The local knight sent no military aid, but Preacher Valon rallied the villagers and attempted to organize an orderly retreat. Olive has little recollection of the panicked exodus – just snatches of memories of running and running and running, falling down in exhaustion and being carried by her mother, and losing her shoes but being told she could not go back to pick them up. She also has the faint memories of her father telling her mother that he was going to try to hold the rear, and that she should take care of the children. He then kissed Olive and Bennett and told them he loved them, and then he turned away and Olive never saw him again.
Sibbe and her two children were amongst the few survivors of the village, and they made their way to Fairbanks, where Sibbe set up her shop again. She was never quite the same after Gaius’ death, although she poured herself into taking care of her children, especially Olive, whom she knew could never live on her own. She taught them everything she knew about the apothecarial trade, which was considerable, and tried to educate Olive everything she would need to know to be a wife, although Sibbe rightly doubted that her daughter would ever be courted. Olive and Bennett grew very close; Bennett was always there to look out for his sister, and she, in turn, became intensely loyal to him for protecting her as he could from the harsh realities of the world. Nonetheless, despite his best efforts, the harsh realities of the world crept through, and in consequence Olive became wary, suspicious, generally pessimistic, and rather reserved around those not in her immediate family circle.
When Olive was fourteen, her mother gradually fell gravely ill, and despite the considerable combined medical knowledge of the family, nothing seemed to help her. After a few rending months, Sibbe Mollin died, leaving her children alone in the world. Bennett took over the shop, and Olive provided as much assistance as she could. Due to Olive’s mutation and general lack of social skills, she usually occupied herself with gathering ingredients in the nearby wilderness and preparing potions and poultices behind the scenes. However, lacking their mother’s business acumen, the shop struggled, and slowly the family fortunes slipped away.
Some two years ago, Bennett got married, to a woman named Reyna Tyrel, the daughter of Pippen Tyrel, one of the town’s tailors. Olive and Reyna don’t get along; they are both jealous of the other’s relationship with Bennett, and there has been a fair amount of passive-aggressive strife between them. Reyna is distrustful of Olive’s mutant nature, dispensation or no, and in truth Olive, upset at Reyna’s invasion of her small and comfortable domestic life, has not really gone out of her way to be particularly agreeable with her sister-in-law. Reyna is now pregnant, which is only exacerbating the issues.
Sibbe’s death, the floundering shop, and trying to deal with Reyna have all led Olive to begin to question whether or not the Emperor actually is looking out for her. She tries not to think about it too much, but it’s a topic that she keeps coming back to again and again, despite the fact that she’s terrified of what the implications might be if her fears turn out to be correct.