secundus_cast: (William & Nell Van Dort)
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William Gregory Van Dort
Original Canon: Corpse Bride

Age: 56

Birthday: May 17th

Status: Regular

Brief History: William’s family had been in the fish business for years by the time he came along. Growing up in middle-class comfort, William developed a fairly amiable and laid-back, if slightly snobbish, personality. As he came of age, it was expected that he would join his father in running the fish shop – William, however, had grander plans. He wanted one day to be extremely rich, and to mix with the social elite as an equal. He convinced his father to open the first fish cannery in the area, hoping to strike it big in the preserved foods market. The idea was successful, and William began his search for a wife that would help him socially. He met Nell Butler when she approached him in the market and declared that he seemed a decent enough chap to marry. A startled William warmed to her as he realized she shared many of his own goals, and after a month of talking and visiting he agreed to be her groom. After marrying, he continued to work on expanding his canning business, while Nell looked after the household and did her best to break into the social elite.

This time also led to them trying desperately to have a child. Although having initially agreed on having two (a boy and a girl, if possible), after ten years they ended up with only one – a son they named Victor. William was happy enough to have a proper heir for his business, but rather lacked in fatherly instinct. More at home making business deals than playing pretend, he left his son to the governesses and continued on his path to riches and fame.

The cannery eventually provided them with all the money they could ask for, but the family was still seen as nouveau riche interlopers in the better circles. As Victor came of age, William and Nell had the idea of marrying him off to an aristocrat’s daughter – and as luck would have it, the only aristocratic family in the area had a daughter available. Victor was subsequently engaged to Victoria Everglot, and the two elder Van Dorts prepared themselves to be accepted by the social elite.

Until, that is, Victor vanished a couple of weeks before the wedding. A baffled William and Nell searched everywhere they could think of, but there was no trace of their missing son. William was starting to seriously worry that Victor had died when a letter arrived from their child, saying he was happily staying in Secundus. Thrown completely for a loop by this, William agreed with Nell that they had to bring their son home immediately and made the appropriate plans. He even got the Everglots to agree to come along (in exchange for a loan up-front, of course). Nervous about visiting the city the Touched claimed as their own, he maintained that all of this would be cleared up quickly, and of course Victor would jump at the chance to come home. . . .

Relationship To Victor: Father

Introduced In: Chapter Six



Eleanor “Nell” Susan Butler Van Dort

Original Canon: Corpse Bride

Age: 54

Birthday: December 30th

Status: Regular

Brief History: Born to a common family with parents that both worked, Nell decided early in her childhood that she would rise above her humble origins by any means possible. Snooty, proud, and hard to get along with at the best of times, she disdained the company of her peers and spent most of her time aping the habits of the rich and noble. As she hit her mid-twenties, she realized that a well-to-do husband was obviously not going to come looking for her, and so instead she went looking for him. She eventually settled on fishmonger William Van Dort as her groom one day at the market. William shared her dreams of social advancement, was already building up quite a bank account, and had a hard-to ruffle nature, making him her perfect match. After a month of dating and negotiation, they married and set about becoming rich and popular.

There was also the matter of the heir to consider. William and Nell tried and tried, but after ten years, only one child both made it to term and survived the childbirth – a son, Victor. Nell, who’d wanted a girl, turned most of his care over to governesses as she worked to further her own goals. She grew up rather distant from her child as a result, with most of her interaction with him being to scold him or complain about his shy, quiet nature.

William’s cannery soon gave the family the riches they desired, but not the respectability. In fact, the upper classes seemed to snub them all the more for being nouveau riche. When Victor came of age, Nell and William decided marrying him off into the aristocracy was a good way to gain the status they so craved. In a stroke of luck, the local aristocrats of Burtonsville had a daughter and had fallen on hard times, meaning they were desperate for money. And so it was arranged that Victor would marry Victoria Everglot.

Until he suddenly disappeared one day a few weeks before the wedding. Nell and William searched all over the village and surrounding countryside, worried about their chance at a respectable life slipping through their fingers (and if Victor was dead – Nell may not have cared for him much, but she wasn’t completely heartless). And then, out of nowhere, letters started arriving, written in Victor’s hand and claiming he was living in Secundus of all places – and furthermore, that he was happy and didn’t want to come back! Nell, refusing to believe this, promptly began arranging a trip to the Mad Science Capital of the World, intending to bring her son back home.

Whether he wanted to come or not.

Relationship To Victor: Mother

Introduced In: Chapter Six
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May 2012

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