Name: Annabel Elizabeth Blackwood
Play by: Mia Wasikowska
Nickname: Annie (God help anyone other than Edward who uses it.)
On the tall end of average for a woman, Annabel is a respectable 5’7” in height, and has a build that’s not quite slender, but thinner than the usual woman of her stature. She has rounded hips and a bosom proportionate to her body, which gives her pleasant curves, albeit usually only hinted at thanks to practical clothing. Her hair is a shade of golden blonde, and long, falling to her hips when unhindered, although usually kept pinned up and out of her way. Her eyes are a rich hazel color that tend to variate in their exact hue, often in conjunction with her emotions and mood. Her skin is pale and soft, the result of a life spent mostly indoors with intellectual pursuits, and her features are delicate and finely-formed, a sign of aristocratic breeding. Her lips are somewhat thin and usually unsmiling, giving her a somewhat stern appearance, an impression only enhanced when she wears her spectacles. Her one true distinguishing feature is a small beauty mark just above the left corner of her lips.
A direct result of her father’s influence in her youth, Annabel is a highly intellectual woman. She prefers to spend her time reading and learning new things, and will often sketch ideas for inventions of varying sorts. A teacher by profession, her secret ambition is to become a published writer. She is also a staunch advocate of equal rights - for women, slaves, and anyone else who suffers under the pall of oppression. Of course, this sort of mindset is dangerous for a woman, which seems not to bother Annabel one bit. She makes no attempt to censor her opinions and doesn’t hesitate to engage in debates on all sorts of subjects, whether it be with other women of like mind, or with men. For all this, she is soft-spoken and usually quiet, which can be quite unsettling when faced with her passionately flashing gaze and the firm conviction behind her words.
To invent (and build) something worthwhile. To write something that actually gets published. To nurture young minds and urge them on to become the best possible future for the world. To be a driving force behind equality for the oppressed of the world.
Most recently led by the illustrious William Blackwood and his wife Annmarie, the Blackwoods were once a family of old money and holdings in England. William was first-generation born in America in the family home in Boston, and was often considered eccentric, being a philanthropist and well-known tinkerer who fancied himself an inventor. The couple were older than most when they had their first child, a son named they named Edward, and several years later, they surprised everyone by having another child, a daughter. Sadly, Annmarie’s advanced age meant she didn’t survive the stress of birth, leaving young Annabel motherless. William raised his children as best he was able with the assistance of a spinster aunt and his staff, but grief and a bad heart meant he passed on a mere dozen years later, leaving his children to carry on the Blackwood name without him.
Before their father’s death, Annabel was a precocious child, very quiet and studious and interested in learning. She often sat in on her father’s meetings and conversations with other intellectuals, and this fostered within her a desire to create and learn, a desire that William absolutely encouraged. Annabel was always made to earn whatever she asked for, except for when it came to items of intellectual pursuit - those she was given freely and in great abundance. So rather than playing with dolls and wearing fancy clothes, she chose to read, and draw, and help her father with his tinkering and inventing. She wasn’t terribly close to her brother, mostly due to him being nine years her senior, but it was quite common to find the family seated around the fire at night, immersed deep in their respective books or projects.
When William died several years later, this left twenty-one year old Edward the guardian of his sister. This was somewhat problematic, as two years before their father’s death, he had left to study in Europe. Edward didn’t return to Boston for the funeral, nor did she hear from him for months after the fact. Annabel despised him for this, until he abruptly showed up on the doorstep with an explanation, that being he hadn’t read the letter sent to him informing him of their father’s death, until months after the fact. He also made an offer that Annabel couldn’t refuse - to go to Europe with him, and let Edward himself be her tutor. Unable to pass up this opportunity, Annabel packed her bags and went to Europe with her brother, where they spent their time studying and learning, exploring history and art and science side-by-side. The two siblings, who had always been somewhat distant, formed a strong bond of kinship - and more than that, one of friendship. While they were in Europe, Annabel blossomed from a gangly young girl into a confident woman, but she was never interested in romance, even when Edward met a woman and fell in love, and married her. Annabel was happy for her brother, and came to like her sister-in-law very much, but love never seemed to even be a possibility in her world.
Once the siblings had finished their respective educations, they packed up their lives - including Edward’s pregnant wife - and returned to Boston, where Annabel returned to the family house and became the mistress of the Blackwood ancestral home. Knowing that few options were open to her, in terms of career, Annabel decided that her intelligence would best be spent teaching young minds. She started as a private tutor, and was soon teaching within a prestigious girl’s school in Boston, while working tirelessly for the rights of women and slaves in her free time. When she wasn’t tinkering or inventing, of course.
However, she’d been teaching only for a few years when tragedy struck the family again. Edward, as brilliant as he was, was just as much of a tinkerer as William himself had been, and Annabel herself was. His research with an experimental explosive resulted in the explosion of his private lab, which then ignited his home, killing his wife and young son. Annabel was stunned and horrified by this event, as she’d liked her sister-in-law very much, and adored her nephew. More than that, she saw her brother shrink into himself and begin to deteriorate, and knew that she had to do something immediately to save him from himself.
Being presented with an opportunity to open a school for underprivileged children in Venice if her family invested in the project, Annabel convinced her brother that their future lay in Italy. The school was invested in, and they packed up their lives and sold the family home, then set sail for Europe. Here, Annabel hoped to find the recognition she felt she so deserved, and to draw her brother back from the darkness which had begun to suck the life from him.