The Hollow Crown
Eleanor Van Den Berg
Escaped from Boston socialite hell, into a very different type of political snake pit.
Aged 36 at the time of her recent Embrace, Eleanor is tall with long blonde hair which she sometimes wears tied back although these days more usually wears loose. She has a trim figure which she had worked hard to maintain before her Embrace. Her features are striking rather than beautiful; the resemblance to her sire Johannes Van Den Berg is fairly obvious to those that see both of them together or know both.
Since her Embrace she has gravitated to wearing darker colours and most of her wardrobe now consists of black and grey with the odd splash of dark red or purple. She almost always wears either a leather or a velvet jacket. She has become somewhat fixated on her appearance as a result of no longer being able to see herself in the mirror and always dresses carefully.
Father – Willem Van den Berg III, age 65
Mother – Marijke Van den Berg – age 62
Other family – brother Conrad (age 32) his wife Emily, their two small children Pieter and Markus
Eleanor Van den Berg is a scion of a wealthy Boston family. Originally of Dutch extraction, the family established themselves in the New World early on, building up their wealth from a variety of different sources – the majority of them legitimate, but some of them arguably less so. The family is – and generally has been in the past – quite insular, with a focus on maintaining an appearance of outward respectability that the outside world would not have any reason to challenge. Appearance has to a large extent reflected reality with the present day family being amongst other things patrons of the arts, putting in an appearance on the Boston social scene (although never excessively) and supporting local charities and causes, for instance programmes to improve conditions for the local Native Americans.
At the time of her Embrace, Eleanor was 36 and lecturing at Harvard in early colonial history, together with philosophy. She has actively researched Native American history and legends although her specialism was the interaction of the Native Americans with the colonisers during the early Colonial period; she has published books on the subject, both academic and in one case popular history. However, a diversion of some of her research into a family legend was ultimately to lead her down a path that she could never have imagined.
Among the highly respectable members of her family there was one obvious ‘black sheep’ Johannes Van den Berg, who some 250 years ago had been a younger son of the family and something of a rake. He disappeared in mysterious circumstances in the early 1800s – but equally mysteriously was rumoured to have reappeared some fifty years later having ‘not aged a bit’ although by all accounts given his age and lifestyle he should have been dead years before. He then disappeared again and although his portrait remains in the family home, it was always made clear to the curious Eleanor that it was not a subject to be talked about.. or for that matter to be looked into.
She decided to look into the family legend anyway – regardless of the consequences – following the break-up of a relationship. Eleanor and Johannes – the beginning Her waking hours had always been filled with her work in any event but her hours out of work had been filled with dinner parties, tennis tournaments and so forth all of which no longer seemed so appealing. Moreover her parents’ obvious disappointment at her being ‘on the shelf at her age’ – and the lecture on family duty that followed – meant that she was less inclined than previously to obey a stricture that seemed to her pointless, in respect of a family legend that most likely had nothing in it. As she was to find out, the family legend was not a legend but a reality, and Johannes not only hadn’t aged (or died) in 50 years 200 years ago, but hadn’t aged in the intervening centuries either. The last that Eleanor remembered of her former life was something – she knew not what – breaking in to her library, where she was busy researching in the early hours of the morning. The first thing she remembered of her new life was waking up to see a face that was unmistakably that of the portrait of Johannes that had hung up in the family mansion in Boston. The second was that she could no longer see her reflection….
Since then, Eleanor has spent most of her time in research and in writing – and in trying to figure out how her new ‘unlife’ actually works. For Johannes was no ordinary Lasombra. For reasons never yet quite explained, he had managed to evade the Sabbat and take a neutral position – although by his own admission closer to the Camarilla. Highly intelligent, Eleanor has tried to analyse the reasons for his stance, and from what she knows of the Sabbat can see why a principled man would not want to be part of it. But is Johannes really a principled man? Not if his reputation when alive was to be believed. And he is certainly always watchful, as though something, or someone, was trying to hunt him down. Was it whoever broke in to the library? And if so, are they still out there looking for him… and for her?