- 8 Chapter Posts
Sun Aug 13th, 2017 @ 8:12pm
Name H.G. Mercer
Second Position Primary Character
|Aliases||Harriet Gene Mercer (full name)
H.G. (business name and preferred first name)
Harriet (tolerated form of address)
Genie (used by her late father)
Harriet loathes the use of nicknames, especially in reference to herself. She has a given name and her business name. For those allowed to be on a first name basis with her, those are her preferences.
|Birthdate||October 7, 1839|
|Residence||- Temporary Residence -
Bell-St. Regis Hotel
H.G. retains the lease on a suite at the Bell-Regis, a hotel recently built to accommodate the increase in travel and sight-seeing to the region while her home is being built.
- Former Residence -
San Francisco, California
H.G. purchased the Haight-Ashbury mansion not long after settling in San Francisco.
- Birthplace -
Grace Manor, Telfair Square, Savannah, Georgia
|Hair Color||Dark Auburn
H.G.'s hair is such a dark shade of auburn that it appears black. There are strands of pure red running through it that pick up the sunlight. Her hair is waist-length, thick and wavy.
H.G.'s eyes are a light gray with flecks of blue and green. The irises have a pronounced black ring around them which makes the color appear lighter.
|Employment||- H.G. Wells & Associates -
Position: Owner, Attorney
There are no associates other than H.G.'s long-term friend and watchdog, Alistair Fang.
|Professional Skills||- Eidectic memory for numbers, figures.
- Math prodigy
- Attorney, CPA
H.G. has an ability to recognize numerical patterns quickly. This skill is often utilized when she is investigating businesses and individuals for fraud.
|Self Defense||- Hand-to-Hand Combat -
H.G.'s friend, mentor, and former guardian, Fang, has taught her the martial arts of his homeland. She is proficient and can, if necessary, defend herself quite ably. As a lone woman in business for herself, Fang insisted she be able to take care of herself.
- Weapons -
While she understands their necessity, H.G. really dislikes guns. She prefers knives and carries several. H.G. is an expert with throwing knives and fighting blades. She owns an exquisite sword given to her by Fang. She, of course, does not carry it often.
H.G. most often wears two small throwing knives tucked into spring-loaded wrist sheathes. She also wears a thin, double-edged push knife tucked into a neck sheath (worn beneath her jacket in the back).
|Hobbies & Interests||- Art
- Fast Carriage Horses
- Harness Racing
- Social Occasions
Personality & Traits
|Character Traits||- Strong
- Extremely intelligent
- Cold, aloof, distant
|General Personality||H.G. speaks in a light, delicate voice with a cultured accent that almost sounds British. She has eradicated all traces of her native southern accent. She moves with a graceful elegance in keeping with her petite build and stature. She tends to fold her hands primly when speaking to keep from using them to talk. H.G. is rather formal in her mode of speech, rarely using contractions, slang or colloquialisms.
Most people view H.G. as cold, distant, and aloof which is reasonably accurate. She has had to develop a tough skin to make her way in her chosen profession. She does not speak in the coy manner of most women of her age and upbringing. H.G. is forthright, direct, and her honesty is often harsh.
Harriet Gene Mercer finds losing her temper distasteful; therefore she makes a determined effort to never do so.
Once she takes on a client, which she rarely does without researching them thoroughly, she will complete the job unless she finds she's been deceived.
- Style -
H.G. is not a fashion maven, but she dresses stylishly and well. She has a strong preference for deep jewel-tone colors (burgundy, dark red, emerald green, deep blue) and, occasionally, black. She has a marked preference for gowns with cleverly tailored split skirts and with long sleeves or with tailored jackets that have long sleeves. H.G. will not wear high heels as she feels they impede movement plus they make her back hurt.
Harriet has a distinct distaste for being unkempt or dirty. If she has traveled to see a client, she insists on having time to bathe or, where pull showers are available, showering. She wears very little makeup as she dislikes its feel on her skin.
H.G.'s prefers to wear her hair styled in an up-do suitable for the occasion.
|Father||Franklin Hartwell Mercer (deceased)
Details included in Personal History.
|Mother||Winnifred Grace Mercer (deceased)
Details included in Personal History.
|Sister(s)||Josephine Mercer (half-sister)
Mother: Evelyn Mercer
Father: Franklin Hartwell Mercer
|Other Family||H.G. can only hope that her father has not left a string of children, legitimate and otherwise, in his wake. Her grandparents on both sides are deceased as are the majority of her relatives.|
Friends & Foes
|Friends||Alistair Fang (1845 to Present): Frank Mercer met Fang while in England. When Frank's wife was killed and he retained sole custody of his daugher, Fang stepped in to raise her. When Fang insisted that Harriet be allowed to attend a regular school, Frank abandoned his daughter entirely and had Fang made her legal guardian. He continues to be her mentor, sometime bodyguard, best friend and the closest thing to a father she has truly known.
|Personal History||- October 7, 1839 -
-- Harriet Gene Mercer was born to Franklin and Winnifred Mercer at their home in Savannah, Georgia.
Frank Mercer was the eldest son of a wealthy plantation owner but was more inclined toward a life of leisure. To that end, he'd married Winnifred Grace, a slightly older but very wealthy woman whose family's fortunes were based on the import and export business. Winnifred was the last living member of the Grace family. Fortunately, while something of a social butterfly, Winnifred was not a fool. She was also a very intelligent business woman.
Winnifred named her daughter after her parents, Harriet and Gene Grace. Gene was an unusual name for a girl, but Winnifred enjoyed being unconventional.
- 1839 to 1844 (a. 0-5) -
H.G.'s first five years were relatively unremarkable. Neither Frank or Winifred were inclined to hands-on parenting. Harriet was left primarily in the care of nursemaids and nannies. About the only time that she saw her parents were on the occasions where they felt a need to show off their darling daughter, Harriet.
In 1844, Harriet's paternal relatives at Twenty Oaks Plantation were killed by a cholera epidemic. She had never been close to them, so it made little impact on her. Frank only saw it as a means to feather his nest with the sale of the family home.
By the time she turned five, her father was spending more time away than with his wife and daughter. Winnifred suspected her husband was having affairs. She also became suspicious of him for other reasons as well. During one of his absences, Winnifred had a separate will drawn up and filed that would leave all of her assets including Grace Manor, the Telfair Square mansion, to her daughter in a trust to be administered by her attorneys. Frank would receive a stipend from the trust.
- 1845 (a. 6) -
-- July 8: Winnifred Grace Mercer dies.
-- August: Harriet's father takes custody.
On a hot summer's day, while walking home from the park, H.G.'s mother was struck by a runaway freight wagon. Several days later, on July 8, 1845, she died from internal injuries. In early August, Frank Mercer, H.G.'s father swept in from parts unknown to take charge of his young daughter and her trust fund. Frank brought with him a man named Alistair Fang who would be the biggest influence in Harriet's life.
Winnifred Mercer's will was precise and ironclad. Frank was to receive a stipend from the trust, but it would not support him in the style to which he'd become accustomed. Frank found the terms of his late wife's will annoying, but not an impediment to his life. His charm and dashing looks secured his place in the upper echelons of society. The Mercer name was old and well-respected.
On the positive side, Alistair Fang was considerably better at fatherhood than Frank was. He took charge of H.G., seeing to it that she was educated, taught her to defend herself, and made sure she had the proper chaperones in the form of nannies and governesses. This became increasingly important since her father tended to wear out his welcome in a place very quickly.
- 1847 to 1854 (a. 8-15) -
-- 1847 (a. 8): Frank and Harriet moved to Boston.
-- April 1850 (a. 11): Franklin Mercer marries Evelyn Thomas of Boston, MA.
-- November 1850 (a. 11): Josephine Mercer (half-sister) born.
In 1847, Frank relocated to Boston to try his luck in high society there. His apparent wealth and southern charm opened the doors of more than one affluent Bostonian. Frank's money was dwindling, the stipend from Harriet's trust was not enough to offset his monumental gambling debts. He was in need of another heiress, preferably one that he did not have to marry. Frank liked variety.
By age eleven, Harriet's prodigious skills with numbers and figures were being noted by her governess. Her ability to look at several pages of figures and accurately add them in her head made her something of an anomaly. She was also able to look at a group of figures and accurately recall them later as well as to spot when something was slightly off about groups of figures. Harriet took comfort in her skill and in the numbers themselves. Figures could be made to lie by people, but they were not inherently untruthful.
Harriet was not surprised when Frank began keeping company with a young woman of a prominent family. She was gentle, charming and stunningly beautiful. Evelyn Thomas was also kind to Frank's socially awkward and somewhat shy daughter. Frank professed his undying love for Evelyn leading to an affair that would have ruined the young woman's reputation had it become public knowledge. Harriet's father was counting on that and made sure her family learned of their trysts. The Thomas' solution was to arrange a marriage between Evelyn and Frank.
In November, Josephine Mercer, Harriet's half-sister, was born. Coming only seven months after the wedding made the reason for the hasty marriage clear. However, at least on the surface, Boston Society accepted the story that Evelyn was brought to bed in premature labor. Despite the birth of her daughter, Evelyn continued to be kind to Harriet. As Frank's absences increased and were of longer durations, she often cajoled him into leaving Harriet with her.
These periods of stability tended to be brief with Frank swooping in to stay a few days and then leave taking Harriet with him. Frank saw her ability with numbers as his way to an easy fortune. He believed that if she could calculate numbers so quickly and accurately, she could do the same with cards. Unfortunately, while a math prodigy, her skill did not run to being able to accurately estimate card hands to any great degree. Frank soon lost interest in her altogether beyond being able to use her as a way into some gullible woman's heart who felt sorry for the poor, motherless Harriet.
There were advantages to Frank Mercer's vagabond life for Harriet. She learned a great deal about different places and people. But, it also taught her to not become close to anyone or to get comfortable wherever they were living. Frank had a habit of abandoning his daughter to the care of his friend, Fang which was also a blessing in disguise because Fang loved the child unconditionally. From that, Harriet learned there was only one person she could depend on outside of herself, and that was Fang.
- 1855 to 1858 (a. 16-19) -
-- January 14, 1855 (a. 16): Starts St. Vincent's Academy, Savannah, Georgia.
-- May 1857 (a. 18): Graduates St. Vincent's.
-- September 1857: Begins classes at Wesleyan College, Macon, Georgia.
-- 1858 (a. 19): Franklin Hartwell Mercer dies (duel).
Shortly after Harriet turned sixteen, Fang put his foot down and insisted that Frank allow her to return to Boston or Savannah to attend a regular school. Frank agreed. He even went one step further and had Fang appointed as her legal guardian. Despite how unorthodox it was, the law firm that administered Harriet's trust fund and maintained the Telfair Square mansion was relieved. With Frank out of the picture, Fang took Harriet back to Savannah and enrolled her in the newly formed St. Vincent's Academy.
Under the care and guidance of a lady's companion and the teachers at the school, Harriet lost a great deal of her social awkwardness while her cold demeanor earned her the nickname of Merciless Mercer. She didn't care. Harriet had a goal, and that was to be at the top of her class and to excel at everything.
Harriet succeeded beyond her goals, managing to graduate as Valedictorian and received a full scholarship to Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia.
In 1858, Fang returned from New Orleans with news of Frank Mercer's death. He had been killed in a duel over a woman and money. All Harriet felt was relief in being able to close that chapter of her life.
Freed of the responsibility for her father, she focused on her studies and graduated first in her class with a degree in math and her certification as a CPA. Her professors happily sponsored her to a place at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was accepted into the College of Law.
- 1859 to 1866 (a. 20-23) -
-- 1859 (a. 20): Moves to Cambridge, Mass. to attend Harvard Law.
-- 1860 (a. 21): Evelyn Mercer dies; Harriet becomes Josephine's legal guardian.
-- 1861 (a. 22): Completes law degree; Civil War begins; relocates to San Francisco.
In 1860, Evelyn Mercer died of a wasting sickness leaving Harriet as her ten-year-old sister's legal guardian. Evelyn's brother wanted nothing to do with his niece and, in fact, made a determined effort to deny her the modest inheritance due her from her mother's estate, what was left of it after Frank Mercer went through it. Securing additional remuneration from the estate was Harriet's first legal action.
A year later, in 1861, Harriet graduated from Harvard, again at the top of her class. Unfortunately, she quickly learned that few people were willing to trust a female lawyer. Likewise, it was not feasible to try to open her own practice in Savannah where her name might carry some weight due to the talk of conflict. That left the West.
Harriet sent Fang to San Francisco to secure them a residence there while she handled the sale of the Telfair mansion in Savannah. She also withdrew her money from the various Southern banks. The house sold quickly. Harriet and Josephine then relocated to San Francisco where she hoped to meet less resistance to practicing her trade.
Fang secured them a beautiful Victorian mansion, the result of a miner having invested unwisely and lost everything. It was located in the burgeoning Haight-Ashbury neighborhood which was still mostly rural at the time. However, San Francisco itself was still a rough frontier town, and Harriet did not consider it suitable for Josephine. She also needed to focus on her career. After a search, she found a suitable convent school in Sacramento. It was peaceful and secluded. To Harriet's way of thinking, considering how unstable her own upbringing had been, it was ideal. She enrolled Josephine at the St. Agatha's Sisters of Mercy school feeling that the kind sisters of the renowned nursing order would be ideal teachers and caregivers.
- 1862 to 1867 (a. 23-28 -
-- Forms H.G. Mercer and Associates
Harriet's credentials from Harvard and her brilliance with numbers secured her a few clients. One day, Fang told her that she could not change the fact that she was a woman, so she needed to change people's perceptions of her as a woman. With those few words, H.G. Mercer and Associates was born. Harriet began referring to herself as H.G., the initials of her first and middle names. H.G. Mercer began attracting clients, and as she successfully resolved their cases, her reputation as a brilliant attorney grew.
In 1864, one of H.G.'s clients was a man who suspected illegal activities in his business but had been unable to prove it. This proved H.G.'s first venture into sorting out a client's legal business entanglements. She found it challenging and fascinating. It also made her a great deal of money in the form of fees and bonuses, putting her on the path to a successful career. It also taught her that people rated a person's abilities largely based on how much they charged.
In 1865, the Civil War ended, and H.G. found Mercer & Associates had more clients than they could handle. Her solution was to narrow the firm's focus. The firm began to discreetly handle an exclusive segment of clientele that needed someone who was an expert on finance from a legal perspective. These people needed a legal troubleshooter more than a simple attorney.
- 1867 to 1874 (a. 28-35) -
-- 1868: Hired by Chance and Regina Harper.
In 1868, H.G. received a letter from a man named Chance Harper who resided in the Territory of Montana. He was a well-to-do rancher who had recently inherited the family businesses and their ranch. He and his wife had been studying the accounts and also trying to figure out why they were losing money on some of the businesses and livestock contracts from the ranch's business.
Harriet traveled to Montana and, as much as she was capable of, fell in love with the region and its people. Travel to Kalispell, however, was arduous as there was no train beyond Missoula. She put thoughts of relocating to Montana aside, settling for maintaining a suite at the Bell-St. Regis Hotel in Kalispell.
H.G. was able to resolve all of the Harpers' financial mysteries. In the process, she revealed that many of their woes could be attributed to a man, another attorney, named Carson Tyndall. He had been working for the powerful and wealthy Steelgrave family whose agenda involved the total destruction of the Harpers. Chance and Regina fired the man and retained Harriet as their attorney.
- 1875 (a. 36) -
-- Chance, Regina, Grant and Beth Harper are killed.
-- Josephine and Jeremy Fitzpatrick attempt to elope.
-- Meets Quentin Cantrell and Jess Harper
-- Relocates to Kalispell, Montana.
By 1875, H.G.'s reputation as a corporate assassin was well known in business circles. If a business owner needed their affairs of any kind put in order without a scandal, they contacted H.G. Mercer and Associates. As Fang was the only associate, discretion was guaranteed.
In 1875, Josephine attempted to elope with a young fortune hunter named Jeremy Fitzpatrick. Harriet thwarted the elopement but felt it would be unwise to leave her sister in the path of temptation. Since she had to journey to Kalispell to deal with the legal crisis engendered by the deaths of Chance and Regina Harper, H.G. forced Josephine to accompany her. Her sister was less than pleased and, still grieving the loss of her friends, Harriet was less than sympathetic.
The initial legal crisis was soon resolved as was the issue with her sister. The Judge mandated that Chance and Regina's five-year-old twins be remanded to the custody of their uncles, Quentin Cantrell and Jess Harper, Chance's younger brother. He further stipulated that the two men hire a suitable woman to help care for them and manage the household. H.G. recommended her sister who was young enough to keep up with the twins. The ranch also suited Harriet's plans to keep Josephine away from temptation - Jeremy Fitzpatrick.
Harper and Cantrell also realized their limitations when it came to looking after the financial interests of the children. Reluctantly, as neither of them had really gotten along well with H.G., they offered her an exclusive retainer which she accepted.
|General Notes||Completed high school and law school.
- Languages -
- English (Native)
- French (Fluent)
- Italian (Fluent)
H.G. was sent to boarding school and learned most of the accepted skills for a lady of the period (art, music, dance, embroider), all of which she loathes, except for painting.
|Animals & Pets||H.G. is a good horsewoman, but her true passion is for harness horses. She keeps a stable of Hackney horses for drawing her lighter personal conveyances. She also has several pacers and trotters as she is an expert whip and loves harness racing. Harriet also keeps a team of four heavier coach horses.
Gypsy Horses (Heavy Coach)
- Names: Manny (star), Traveler (star, snip), Dancer (blaze, wheeler), Flint (snip, wheeler).
- Color: Black
- Ages: two six year olds, two eight year olds
- Hands: 16
Harriet's four coach horses are Gypsy Vanners. They are black with limited white markings (snips, stars, stripes, blazes). The two lead horses are slightly lighter weight than the two wheelers, but all four stand at sixteen hands. Since they are light draft horses, they have also been trained to go under saddle, but that is not their specialty.
|Character Concept||H.G. is an original concept. She is an independent and quite wealthy businesswoman.|
|Avatar||Molly Parker (Alma Garret in Deadwood).|