|This Week’s Theme: Create a character in a genre you would normally avoid. I took a look at wikipedia to see what genres exist. I thought about selecting Autobiography for this prompt, but I didn't think I could create a believable character. Erotic Fiction was another one I thought about long and hard, but I have settled on Erotic Lesbian Historical Western Romance.|
Setting: 1844, all along the Santa Fe Trail
Name: Elizabeth "Ben Walker" Davenport
Profession: Pioneer Guide
Born in Baltimore in 1820, Libby Davenport became an orphan at 14 when her parents were killed in a tragic, late-night accident involving two horse-drawn carts, an exploding gas streetlamp, thick fog, and too much alcohol. Essentially a drunk driving accident, but Libby's parents were not at fault.
Even before the accident, Libby felt trapped in her normal, urban existence. Her father was a lawyer with political connections, and her mother was well respected in the Baltimore social circles. But Libby found herself enamored of stories from the western frontier and often imagined herself astride a horse on a hillside overlooking a vast prairie, a sixgun on her hip and no one telling her to sit up straight, to hold her teacup just so, to put those silly ribbons in her hair.
Before she could even be put into an orphanage, Libby took what money she could find in her parents' house and purchased travel to Missouri on the pretense of going to care for her ailing aunt. Once in Missouri, she signed up with a wagon train heading west along the Santa Fe Trail, linking herself to a family who wanted an older girl to help with their two small daughters.
Along the way, Libby hovered around the guides and learned to handle horses, to shoot, to hunt, and to live in the outdoors. One day, one of the men offered to take her out hunting, but when they got out of sight of the wagon train, he tried to rape her. She fought him and accidentally shot him in the head with his own gun. She thought she could not return to the wagon train, that no one would believe her, so she took all his things and the two horses and rode off into the hills. She cut her hair short and disguised herself as a boy. Through the next few years she drifted from town to town, finding odd jobs but mostly living alone or acting as a temporary guide along the trail for wagon trains... all the time disguised as a man, calling herself Ben Walker.
Now it's 1844, and Libby has signed up to guide a wagon train from Dodge City to Santa Fe. The caravan consists of ten families. As they make their way along the trail, Libby falls in love with Ellen Whidby, the young, quiet wife of Charles Whidby.
Description: Libby has dark brown hair and, despite her English heritage, tends to have darker complexion. She's got deep, brown eyes that have a serious. thoughtful look about them. She rarely smiles, preferring to keep her emotions internal and not show anything about herself to others. Well educated as a girl, she enjoys reading but enjoys being outdoors and living with nature more. She always wanted to be a tomboy growing up and envied the boys their rough games and horseplay, but she was never allowed to participate. Instead, she patiently accepted her lot in life and fully expected to live as her mother had lived--well married, socially respected, demure and polite and well dressed and conversant on the themes of the day. In her mind, the death of her parents was not so much a defining moment as a liberating one, a cutting of the bonds of society and permission to become who she always felt she should. She loved her parents deeply and would have done anything to please them, but when they died she came to believe that from Heaven they could see into her heart, and she felt they were telling her to be happy in her life now that they were gone.
Libby is the type of person who serves others. She is highly intuitive about others' needs and often sacrifices her own convenience or comfort to provide for others. She's also keenly intelligent and observant and has an intuitive understanding of how nature works and the cycle of life. Thus, while she's more comfortable alone in nature than she would ever be in a big city, she also gets lonely because she has a need to be helping others and feeling useful.
At 5'7", she's tall for a young woman but looks like a teenage boy to others. She's lean but quite strong, with a mental fortitude that helps her withstand pain and discomfort that would be difficult even for many hardy pioneer men.
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