Full Name: Rowan Mai McLaughlin
Birthdate: October 6, 1854
Current Age: 27
Occupation: Hedge Witch and Shop Owner
Hogwarts House: Hufflepuff drop-out
Wand: Willow with Unicorn core, 10 ¾ inches, slightly yielding
Blood Status: Pure
Social Class: Lower
Family: All dead except for Auntie Betty
Appearance: Standing at approximately five feet, five inches and weighing one hundred and eighteen pounds on a good day, there’s not much of Rowan Mai to describe. She’s got a slight figure without too much going on in the bust or hip area, much to her dismay, and she’s pretty sure that this is why she hasn’t attracted a husband yet. Clearly it's their aversion is to her lack of curves, because her dark red curls and her deep blue eyes are constantly referred to as admirable qualities. Her face might not be the prettiest in her home village, but she’s always considered herself fair enough with high cheekbones, large eyes, and a wide mouth. She has very pale skin that burns easily, so she’s normally seen wearing a large, unfashionable hat—otherwise she would be a crispy critter.
Being a woman of very little fortune, our Mai dresses in simple clothes that do well enough to cover her up properly, even if they aren’t the best quality. She is, however, very fond of her boots, which, although not pretty, are the sturdiest boots in the world, as far as she’s concerned, and she wears them absolutely everywhere. She favours the colour blue because she feels that it brings out her eyes, but she's most likely to be seen in brown, black, or a similar somber colour. Her status as a spinster means that she shouldn't attract too much attention to herself with the bright colours suitable for young maids. It's also a fair shot that any onlooker will also see Mai carrying a large wicker basket filled with little bits and bobs of varying importance.
History: Rowan Mai was born and raised about four miles outside of a very tiny village in the Highlands of Scotland. Both her mother and her father were magic folk, although not at all what you’d call the impressive sort, and they were well respected among their fellows for their good, hard-working natures and their kind hearts. Since the village that they lived in was of the muggle sort, the McLaughlin family kept their magic under wraps. This wasn’t a hard feat considering that neither master nor missus were remarkably gifted in the ways of magic. Rowan Mai possessed an older brother, Liam, who, like father and mother, was not particularly gifted, despite attending the prestigious school of Witchcraft and Wizardry that lie hidden in the wild ‘scapes of Scotland.
Upon receiving her own letter to Hogwarts, young Mai was determined to become something more than the rest of her family. She appreciated the life that they led among the muggles because it gave her a good understanding of muggle life and a strong sympathy for non-magical folk, but that life, she thought, simply wasn’t for her. She held her head high when she was sorted into Hufflepuff and for three years she applied herself to her studies and struggled to gain proficiency. Mai soon discovered that she had a natural talent for potions and that, given practice, she had some skill with charms. Her wand work was a bit sloppy as those things went, but she worked hard to overcome any deficiency that was pointed out to her.
Three months into Mai’s fourth year at school, Liam towed up to Hogwarts in the middle of the night and quietly made arrangements with the Headmaster to have his sister returned home. Their mother had contracted a strange, terminal illness and Mai was needed at home. Liam and the headmaster assured her that she would be able to continue her studies through private tutoring, however as the weeks stretched on, it soon became impossible for the girl to study anything that didn’t already come naturally. Her mother passed on before the year was out, and Mai was left to run the household in the usual manner of a young woman. Shortly after her mother’s passing, it was clear that her father had contracted whatever illness her mother had succumbed to. Concerned for his younger sister’s wellbeing, Liam sent his sister to live in town. Not long after, both Liam and Mister McLaughlin died, leaving Mai in the charge of the family friend, the town grocer, with whom she was to stay until her father recovered.
Mai had one aunt—her mother’s sister—who was slightly estranged from the family (or rather, it should be said that Mai’s mother was the estranged one and Aunt Betty was not), but despite Aunt Betty’s frequent letters encouraging Mai to join her in her townhouse in London, Mai was too afraid to leave the small village that she grew up in. Understanding how difficult it would be for her niece to remove herself from the far reaches of Scotland and relocate to bustling London, Aunt Betty joined Mai for several weeks and made arrangements for her niece to stay with the grocer and his wife. She convinced Mai to sell her parents property (which Mai believes was a very good idea in the long run) and used that money to start two savings accounts for Mai: one at Gringotts bank, and one in a muggle bank. She then returned to London, making Mai promise that she would write often and visit her if she needed anything.
Mai promised, and is proud to note that it was a promise that she has kept all these long years.
Comparatively, life was a walk in the park for Mai. Even though she was only fifteen and technically on her own, she had a stable environment to grow up in. For ten years, she kept shop for the grocer and his wife, and earned her keep by sweeping and cataloging items. When the old grocer discovered that his charge had a special knack for developing remedies of common ailments, he encouraged her to sell her simples for a shared profit. The years drifted passed and Mai slowly took over the shop as the grocer and his wife continued to age. By the time that she was twenty, she efficiently ran the shop and kept the house for the elderly couple; she had also made a name for herself as the resident hedge witch of her village—an old term that people were still leery of even in their increasingly industrialized world. For that reason, although Mai was considered a prettyish girl that many people would admit to liking, she never received any proper suitors or received any offers of marriage.
The grocer died. His wife died. Mai continued to keep the shop and continued to act as the resident hedge witch of her home village, enjoying that her little bit of power got her a little bit of respect. A year passed, then six months, and then much to Mai’s surprise, she received a letter from Aunt Betty explaining that she’d moved to a tiny town called Hogsmead where she planned to live out the rest of her days—however few those days might be. Betty requested that her niece come visit her often, saying that she was lonely for family and that Mai was the only family that she had left. Moved by the letter, Mai agreed to visit her aunt, and so every Saturday, she closes her shop early and leaves for Hogsmead where she spends Saturday Evening and the majority of Sunday with her Aunt Betty.
Sample Roleplay Post:
“A dinnae care what ye think yer doing, A’ll not let ye goo’n ta town by yesel’. Ye’ll get hauf wey thare ‘n’ fell doun deid!”
Mai took the basket from her auntie despite the older woman’s protests. “Darling,” said Auntie Betty in her London lilt, “It’s barely a mile walk from here to Hogsmead and back. I know I’m getting older, but I’m certainly not incapable of walking into town for a few couple flower arrangements and a dozen sweet rolls. Come now, darling, give us the basket and we’ll go together.”
Mai simply wasn’t convinced. “An’ a’m moor than able ta wauk thare an’ back bee masel. Ye ware coughin’ ‘gayn thus morn, dinnae think A didna’hear ye!”
“A’ll not let ye go, auntie. Ye’ll catch yer daith.” Perhaps it was an irrational fear—after all, Aunt Betty was only just forty-eight and in fine health—but Mai’s concern for her aunt’s wellbeing was compulsive at best. After all, her mother had been in fine health before she’d fallen ill to that strange disease. And her father and brother too! Imagine her brother, a strapping man on the cusp of coming into his own and just beginning to entertain the idea of settling down right and proper only to have his life swept away by Death’s unkind hand. It was a miracle, a God given miracle, that Mai hadn’t fallen ill herself after having tended her mother so carefully. She supposed that, having been exposed to more during her schooling, she possessed certain immunity to those strange diseases that could so easily whisk away magic and non-magic folk alike. So perhaps the quine was a wee paranoid about the health of her surviving relative.
“A’ll no’ let ye goo,” she repeated, jaw set, lips pursed, eyes fierce with conviction.
Auntie Betty studied her niece with all the thoughtful scrutiny of a Ravenclaw and then nodded in accord. “All right,” she relented. “All right, I’ll stay.”
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