Lori Fontaine
Full name: Marie Maude Lorildée Amelia Fontaine
Also known as Lori
also known as Lory
also known as Waheela
Age: 23
Birth Date: June 12, 1850
Place of Birth: Montreal, Quebec
Nationality: Scots-Quebecois
Allegiance: The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare
Rank: Forger
Occupation: Spy, writer of satirical penny dreadfuls

Physical Description Edit

Fontaine is 5 foot 2, with brown hair, blue eyes, and a round, innocent-looking face that has gotten her through many a delicate con.

Hobbies and Personality Edit

Having experienced a great deal of downtime throughout her life, Fontaine has a wide array of hobbies. She plays guitar and is teaching herself the banjo––much to the consternation of anyone who shares a living space with her. She is passionate about sing-alongs. Once, when Kunig asked her to generate a large amount of original text for use in ciphers, Fontaine responded by churning out several hundred pages of a swashbuckling adventure story in which each protagonist was obviously based on one of her fellow spies. The series (she wound up writing many installments) functions both as a satirical critique and deconstruction of the swashbuckling adventure novel, and a fairly decent example of the genre. (As a point of trivia, literally every main character is kidnapped by pirates/evil princesses/sheiks/warrior queens/etc at least once.) She also enjoys sketching, reading, going to plays, throwing parties, and flying kites indoors. She likes to collect pictures of cats accompanied by humorous captions.

Fontaine is warm and friendly, but can be dismissive and often downright amoral to people who don't impress her. The quickest three ways to win her respect are: be funny, best her at something she’s good at, and/or be competent at something she’s bad at. When conning someone, she’s very charming. In the context of her own life, she has a much greater tendency to blurt out her thoughts in ways that get her in trouble. Fontaine frequently makes jokes, both as a means of conversation and as a balm in tense situations. She tends to channel her irritation into sarcasm. Fontaine sometimes goes too far in her goodnatured ribbing of her fellow spies, especially considering how many of them could kill her with one pinky. She is slow to anger, but also slow to forgive, and can be stunningly stubborn. She is a loyal friend and a good listener, although by her own admission, pretty bad at giving advice. She is capable of a single-minded focus in projects that catch her interest, and is dangerous when bored.

Family and Relationships Edit

In 1832, young Abigail and Herbert Williams Jr. came to Quebec from British Columbia with their father, Herbert Sr., a self-taught Universalist circuit minister. After being chased out of the backcountry by an angry mob of Calvinists, they decided to settle in Montreal for a while. Abigail grew up assisting her father in preparing sermons. He became increasingly involved with a pacifist arm of Quebec separatists, and Abigail gradually took on more and more of the ministering duties. Abigail met Laurent Fontaine, a talented Quebecois furniture maker and taxidermist, when he happened to stop in for a sermon in 1846. They married a year later.

In 1849, Herbert Williams Sr. remarried, to another prominent Quebec separatist, a Métis woman named Marie Uapau-Nipi Bain (half-French, half Montagnais Cree; her middle name means “white water”). Fontaine grew up fascinated by her grandparents’ stories of political intrigue and Montagnais folklore.

Meanwhile, Herbert Williams Jr. grew up to become kind of a prat. He and his wife had a daughter named Elizabeth, who later changed her name to Esmé Guillume and ran off to Manhattan to become an actress. Guillume wound up becoming rather famous, partly for her expert delivery and partly for her scandalous personal life. (She’s Lori’s favorite cousin.)

Fontaine makes friends as easily as some people make sandwiches. She doesn't eat her friends, though; that would be rude. Many of her closest friends are her fellow spies.

The first time they met, Sigrid Kunig successfully conned her, which again is a really great way to gain Lory’s full admiration. They get along very well, given their shared casualness towards eccentricity. Lory always inquires after the pet newts, and during long missions they are often pen pals. Sometimes Sigrid tells her stories of past adventures, which Lory uses as inspiration for writing further penny dreadfuls. (Luckily, Sigrid mostly finds this hilarious.)

She thinks Sorin Dragomir is funny. He probably thinks she’s kind of annoying. He’ll be perched on the castle roof, playing a soulful violin piece, when suddenly...plinkety-plinkety-plink! It’s Lory, attempting to jam with him on her banjo! They practice very different kinds of Catholicism, and he’s always a little confused when she tries to help him by advising him to pray to Vlad, Patron Saint of Moody Romanian Snipers and Theodora, Patron Saint of Espionage and Deception.

She’s completely in awe of what Svetlana does. Lory tries not to worry about the whole drinking thing. Given that Svetlana’s younger than she is, Lory feels a weird protective streak towards her that may, when coupled with her glibness, come off as kind of condescending. But it’s not meant that way at all!

Josephine Ackerly is her best friend. They first connected over a shared love of Native American folklore, an interest they both continue to pursue and discuss on the side. She loves any mission that involves teaming up with Josephine; they work extremely well together. Lory lets her imagination run wild, and Josephine handles the logistics and the ass-kicking. Josephine’s more level-headed influence tends to curb Lory’s worst tendencies. They respect the hell out of each other, and they’ve got years of bizarre inside jokes.

She’s a little afraid of Zofia Zarczynska, mostly due to Zofia’s unpredictable, aether-enhanced nature. They share an interest in taxidermy, but Lory suspects they like it for different reasons? Since they both spend a lot of time at the castle, they have to interact sometimes, but generally Lory tries to avoid her.

She still hasn’t forgiven Francois Boumier for once threatening to rig Louie up with explosives. They generally get along and she has a lot of respect for him, but she’s keeping one eye out all the same. Sometimes they have prank wars, but because Lory’s idea of a prank is “Replace all his socks...with other socks!” these are often a bit lopsided.

Initially she and Cateryn Christle had no idea what to make of each other, but these days they get along quite well. Lory can give considerable advice re: disguises & accents, and is 100% wowed by any display of circus skills. Sometimes when she has nothing else to do, she collects odd assortments of items and challenges Cateryn to juggle them. Life is never dull when Cateryn is around, something Lory appreciates the hell out of. Although Lory doesn’t drink much, her personality is such that she sometimes tags along (or at least attempts to) during Francois and Cateryn’s drunken music sprees

She and Simone Laurent are each, in their own way, conwomen, and they recognize this about each other. They may not trust each other, but it’s a very genial mistrust. They like to trade stories of the various stunts they’ve pulled, although Lory is often cheerfully scandalized by Simone’s methods.

Job and Weapons Edit

Job: Forgery specialist, spy, self-employed banjo player

Weapon Preference: n/a; Fontaine considers herself something of a pacifist. She doesn't seem to feel any conflict about hanging out with a bunch of assassins, however.

Backstory Edit

Fontaine's talent for inventing characters was honed by a childhood spent bedridden in a remote Quebec town, where her imagination was her chief playmate and her parents were willing to tolerate a high degree of eccentricity. From her mother, she gained a love of storytelling, and from her father, a devotion to detail and craftsmanship (and a taxidermied owl named Louie.)

When her rheumatic fever cleared up, she followed beloved cousin Esmé to New York in 1869 and enrolled in a prestigious university. The school had only recently decided to admit women, and in the interest of not taxing “delicate minds”, the curriculum she encountered was greatly sanitized and simplified. She maintained excellent grades, but ran into trouble with the administration, due to repeated violations of the curfew policy. Ultimately, she was able to produce medical documents explaining that she suffered from a severe case of somnambulism. These are now suspected to be fakes, although they have never been officially proven as such.

Fontaine’s forgery career began in earnest shortly thereafter, when she joined forces with roommate and scholarship student Josephine Ackerly. Ackerly approached her own rule-breaking from a very principled, goal-oriented perspective. Whether clearing a family member's reputation or attempting to gain access to banned books, she was a woman on a mission. Fontaine was along for the ride, motivated by a combination of loyalty for her friend, and sheer love of the game.

Together, the two invented a professor (Ulrich Kessler––classics), along with a series of independent study classes used to justify any number of academic and non-academic pursuits.

Over the next three years, they managed to sneak into and explore every building on campus, along with much of nearby Columbia University, nearly every major New York museum, and a number of private art collections. Nothing was ever stolen, although the pair are believed to be responsible for an incident in 1871 in which an unknown party broke into the Natural History Museum and tied a large Easter bonnet to the skull of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

In 1872, Fontaine and Ackerly began impersonating minor European nobility in order to attend formal gatherings, including weddings, opera premieres, and dinner parties. The following year, they infiltrated a masked ball at the home of diplomat Algernon Weiss, hoping to see the Choctaw artifacts he was rumored to have stolen––and return them to someone more trustworthy. Fontaine was disguised as the Duchess of York disguised as a peacock, Ackerly as her bodyguard disguised as Artemis. When Fontaine crossed paths with Sigrid Kunig, Kunig saw through the charade, having met the actual duchess several months ago. Initially believing Fontaine to be a counterspy, an Ministry agent detained and questioned her for several hours. When Ackerly rushed to Fontaine’s aid, she was detained and questioned as well. Impressed with the pair’s talents, Kunig made the recommendation that Fontaine and Ackerly be considered for induction.

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