- "Sacrifice is at the heart of repentance."
- —Ileana Annwyn, in Pulling the Strings
Ileana Annwyn is a major character in the series.
Undeniably, there is a certain air of enthusiastic cheer about Ile at all times; it's rare to not see her infectious smile lighting up a room as she attempts to find the silver lining on every cloud that passes by. She cares for most everyone, often trying to see the best of all and make them happy, attempting to spread her cheer in her own way, and is a willing shoulder to cry on when she can't. This desire to make everyone else around her happy also extends to typically being one of the first to try and offer a helping hand, and so long as the person in question is willing to accept it, she will do as much as she can no matter the potential personal cost to herself.
Perhaps fortunately for Ile's sake, her pleasantness is tempered by a certain spark to her, a sort of dangerous stubbornness and confidence some might call bravery. There are things she fears, certainly, but she has never been one to flinch from defending others or herself if she has to, facing down most people without batting an eyelash. In her eyes, there is only so much patience you can give to someone else before simply turning the other cheek is more foolish than at least trying to stand up for others and themselves.
It's these traits that often make the next biggest thing about Ile stick out like a sore thumb. Her soft-spoken words are typically rare, to the point she's almost known as being silent. She keeps many of her thoughts to herself unless she feels those thoughts are relevant, and when she does offer them, it is kept very concise, divulging only enough for those she is speaking to onto her idea. It's joked that if she says more than five words to someone in a sentence, she must really like them.
So, you wanna hear a fun story I heard from some blabbery folks? I mean, not like it's about anyone really interesting, just some girl living over in Inochikage. Doesn't even talk a lot she does, goes to school, goes to her little after school job, and goes home. Maybe she hangs out with friends sometimes. Her name's Ileana Annwyn, though most folks call her Ile. Story's fun though, I promise, so listen up!
So obviously with a name like Ileana Annwyn, she isn't from around these parts. Some other big city in some other big place. Her dad, Ciaran, had already been married once with a couple of kids from that, then her mom, Eri, came into the picture a few years later and they had another three kids and the luck of not having any distinctive divide between them. They were a pretty happy white-picket fence family from the sounds of it, with a big old tree in the backyard and enough money to have a maid. The oldest girl from Ciaran's first marriage usually was the one stuck dealing with Ile clinging to her legs, though she didn't seem to mind and they grew a big old garden-- "magic" they called it, learning pretty much everything they could about the anything they could get to grow.
About ten years back, her parents opened up this cute little bistro and bar. Unfortunately, it was apparently in the wrong part of town. About two weeks in to the business kicking off, some unsavory folks showed up, started asking for money as protection. That kind of fun stuff. Since Ciaran didn't want to pick a fight or sell, they started paying. Even more unfortunate was when those folks decided they liked the place and having all their meetings there. It was only a matter of time before the oldest two kids from Ciaran's first marriage got mixed up in their business directly. So long as they didn't get hurt or caught, though, there wasn't really a lot Ciaran or Eri could do to stop them.
Of course, when they finally did get hurt in the intervening years, it was bad. Deadly bad. It was just a blink of an eye and boom, the eldest two kids were dead because of some mishap those folks had gotten them into. Ciaran and Eri were broken and furious; the other two kids and Ile were a mess. Since those folks liked to use the bistro as a place for their meetings, Ciaran and Eri overheard a lot of their plans easy enough, and started recording them. Soon enough, they got themselves in contact with the local law enforcement with a mountain of information for them. It was plenty to lock up a good few for a while, and with that the Annwyn family got themselves some serious protection until Ciaran and Eri could testify in court and put away some of those bad people. Then it was time for them to leave town, head somewhere no one thought they'd be found.
Bad folks like the ones that they'd been associated with don't take betrayal like that lightly, though, and inevitably the ones still loose found them. It's said around the neighborhood that pretty much the entire Annwyn family had marks for death on their head by this group. Cops wouldn't listen to the fact they were terrified for their lives as there wasn't any direct proof anything was happening. Rumor has it Ile, only about fourteen at the time, apparently snuck out her window one night, stomped across town, and talked to the people who had tracked them down. Whatever that girl said seemed to stop them for a while; they lurked around the new town, but didn't make a single move for the family themselves. It was like they were waiting for something, and in the following month, something did end up happening. Ciaran and Eri got sick, very sick. The little old family maid who'd been with them since Ciaran's first two were born called one morning to report that Ciaran and Eri weren't breathing. When the ambulance arrived, they were pronounced dead, and they apparently had been for a while, and everyone in the household was taken into custody.
By the next morning, the maid had confessed to poisoning Ciaran and Eri for some petty trifle, and a court conviction wasn't far behind. As for the remaining three Annwyn kids, they were sent to live elsewhere. None of them were followed by anyone associated with the people who had caused their family so much harm already. One went to live with an aunt, the second with some cousins, and Ile came here, to Inochikage, with some old family friends of Eri. When the time came, they got her enrolled over at that nice Gakushoku Academy. She's a second year now, and found herself some work at a café in District Three, and despite the lack of talking very much, has made friends... apparently some of the right kind too, to have gotten an invitation to "Kage no shō".
Though I must note, there are some awful people out there. Ile's grown herself a little garden in the planters near her dorm. Someone apparently got their hands on some belladonna and planted it in them-- belladonna being what was used to poison her parents, actually. Must have brought up some terrible memories for her; I've never seen a person go so pale before at the sight of a plant.