Under a cut because it got Long.
Updated December Twenty Nine, 2010
Weaponry and Combat
She never goes anywhere without at least six knives on hand, usually eight. One on each ankle/calf (usually closer to her ankles, but calf in kid!canon), one on each thigh, one on each arm, usually the upper arms, one at the small of her back, and one in her hair. (See here for the hair one.) The arm knives are generally her optional knives. She’s been using knives for fighting since their invention on the Emerald Isle and has the calluses to show for it. She’s also fought in every battle she could be present for in Irish history. The only time she’s not wearing them is when she’s asleep. Then one is under her pillow and the rest are by her bedside. As of Christmas 2010 she's received a ninth knife from Jack and Ianto that "is totally not alien in origin, really" and never needs to be sharpened that she wears alongside the one at her back. It is also now the one that gets placed under her pillow.
She keeps her nails long. Three quarters of an inch long at the least long. This is in case of the rare event that she has none of her knives or she’s been completely disarmed that she still has some sort of weapon. Also she’s amazing in a pub brawl.
She’s a strange mix of a combat pragmatist and a solider that puts honor before reason. She still sees things in a “what if” way, making efforts to put her back to walls, keeping all entrances in front of her, or if that’s impossible then she makes sure she knows where all the entrances are. See also her armed to the teeth and then some tendencies and reasons behind her nails. Old habits, they are hard to break.
She hates guns. Will not use them, frankly will not touch them. It's an honor thing for her, along with "it worked well enough then, it'll work now!" sort of thing. She's only used a gun once in her life, and that was during the Easter Rising of 1916. She'd rather gut someone than shoot them from a distance, finding it cowardly to do otherwise.
She has a lot of scars. Really you’d be hard-pressed to find a place on her without scars. Her biggest scar is the one over her heart, which is actually made up of three scars. The oldest and most faded is the one from the Easter Rising in 1916. The next one is the one from the Dublin Bombing back in 1941. The last and largest, clearest part is from the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in 1974.
Age and day determine how much they bother her. The 1916 scar, since it’s both the oldest and not nearly as severe as the others, barely bothers her, even on the week of the 24th of April. On April 30 1916, she was shot in the chest, shortly before the surrender of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. This is the scar that represents the Easter Rising. The 1941 one twinges every now and again, and becomes more noticeable and quite a nuisance on the 31st. The 1974 one aches almost every day, a low but noticeable throb and on the 17th of May aches enough to make her completely useless for the whole of the day. A scar on her left shoulder represents the part of the bombing in Monaghan and doesn’t ache as badly, but still noticeable. On her right shoulder is a scar representing the Wexford Rebellions.
She has various other scars crisscrossing her body, some representing land destruction, but a good deal of them from being in battles or caught up in bombings. One knot work of scars on her back, near her shoulders, is from being in the house of her president when the 1941 bombing took place and the set curving around her right side are from being caught in the 1974 bombing. Her wrists still have the scars she received from being chained in the Tower of London back during the 1800s, though these are fading and take a bit to be noticed now. The bracelets she got from Gilbert on her most recent birthday cover them very well. AND I KEEP FORGETTING THIS ONE. She also has a scar just above her right eye from Douglas when they were children; she gave him the corresponding one above his left.
All of her scars are surprisingly sensitive, though she freezes up a bit when the Tower of London scars are touched by anyone but herself. She's getting better about them, but they remind her too much of those early days of the Act of Union.
She’s got her fair share of mental scarring as well. Three civil wars, two major famines, 100 years married to her not all there younger brother, loosing her then youngest brother to the aforementioned brother do not a wholly sane person make. She’s rather good at holding things together, really, and doesn’t have things like Ivan’s moments of lucidity followed by sheer batshitery.
She smiles a lot, and most of the time they’re real smiles. A good amount of them are forced though, since she never wants to let the others know just how bad things are. She’s not quite a Stepford Smiler, but she comes close on some matters. It’s difficult to tell what’s a real smile versus a faked smile, but one thing is for sure. If she drops the smile or wears a blank expression, shit’s bad, son.
Most of her scars manifest as nightmares or run of the mill Post Traumatic Stress. She hates thunderstorms, especially when she’s alone. If the storm’s close enough, the thunder sounds too much like bombs for her taste and she has to bodily resist the urge to hide herself under the nearest sturdy object. If it happens at night she isn’t able to sleep the whole time it’s going on and has a hard time sleeping well for the next few days.
She still has nightmares about the Potato Famine in 1845, especially in the late fall and winter months. She also obsessively checks her potatoes for the slightest hint of blight and lives in terror of smelling the rancid, sulfuric sewer smell that signifies infestation. She grows her own, half because she just always has and half because she believes they’ll serve as a warning system. When it was discovered by Matthew, Alfred, and Francis that their respective governments had looked into potato blight as a potential biological weapon they immediately quashed all programs involved and swore to never tell her.
Snow can also act as a trigger depending on how bad everything is. This is a result of the Winter of 1846-47 when the coldest winter in Irish history came through smack dab in the middle of the Famine. Thankfully snow is incredibly rare in the Republic section of the island, and it takes a blizzard to get a true reaction out of her. So far, the winter of 2010-2011 is being... well, a right difficulty.
She also takes full blame for how Arthur and Connor turned out and has really never quite forgiven herself for it, believing that she messed up raising them somehow. This is why she isn’t as hands on with Peter as she could be or in fact wants to be. She doesn’t want a third failure on her record and ruin the bright eyed little boy.
She drinks. She’s Ireland, it’s expected really. She favors Guinness or Harp when she wants a beer, Jameson’s when she’s after whiskey (Bushmill’s is Northern Irish, she won’t touch it unless it’s the only booze around), champagne is for weddings and state functions, and thinks wine is for lightweights and Francis. Very rarely she’ll try one of Alfred or Ludwig’s beers, sometimes even one of Matthew’s. She can hold her liquor far better than Arthur as well. The only mixed drinks she’ll touch are rum and cokes and whiskey and cokes. Port wine is her only exception to her "no wine" rule, as it has more associations with Luís than Francis.
And this is on top of her four shots of Jameson’s a day habit. Two shots when she wakes up so she can get through the day with a minimal amount of pain from all her scars and two shots before bed for the same purpose. She gave up on things like ibuprofen, Aleve, and other non prescription pain medications decades ago and avoids the opiates like the plague. If the Jameson’s doesn’t work or doesn’t work quickly enough she breaks down and goes for dark rum.
She would probably qualify for borderline alcoholic at the least, really. And the booze doesn’t only help with the physical complaints, but with a few of her less stable mental operations. Like Connor, she keeps a hip flask in a pocket, taking a nip or two from it when her usual treatments need a boost. Unlike Connor, however, she tends to stick with straight whiskey. None of that mixing in one container stuff for her.
Accent, Language, and Names
Her accent as it stands now is actually less than a century old. If she says something like “I seem to recall a wee boy who hated tealeaves, even when he didn’t mind the tea itself,” until 1937 she would have said “Seem t’recall a wee lad who hated tealeaves, I do, e’en when he wasn’t mindin’ th’ tea itself.” Or “’Tis a new lamp I be needin’,” would now be “I’ve a need for a new lamp.” That incredibly thick, very stereotypical Oirish accent you hear sometimes in TV and movies? That was her accent for most of her life and is still the accent she falls back into when she’s incredibly pissed off, sad, or turned on. Really anything that would inspire a person who speaks English as a second language to lapse back into their mother tongue would force her to lapse back into her old accent.
This change occurred in 1937, when the Irish Free State proclaimed itself the Republic of Ireland and declared full independence from the Commonwealth of the United Kingdom. Being its own sovereign state for the first time in centuries, thank you very much England, this meant that she had to take a far more public role than she had up until that point. And with her accent, she didn’t expect to be taken very seriously at all, even with her status as one of the eldest European Nations and the first Nation to have a successful revolution in the 20th century. So she locked herself away for a few days and flattened out her accent as well as she could, though she kept her syntax for the most part. Connor was obviously more successful at it than she was.
She speaks English, Irish, Scots Gaelic, Canadian Gaelic, Manx Gaelic, any other sub-type of Gaelic, Polish, rudimentary Turkish, passable Portuguese, French, a decent amount of German though her accent is atrocious, a bit of Spanish, enough Russian, Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, and a few other languages to do trade in. Her Gaelic is generally on the older side, containing a few of the more archaic phrasings and words, and her Turkish is more or less limited to touristy things and... things more appropriate for more intimate encounters, putting it kindly. Her Portuguese pronunciation is atrocious, but that's only fair as Luis can't speak Gaelic to save his life. Matthew was the one to teach her French, and she only uses it when speaking to him, though sometimes she'll use it to insult Arthur. Never speaks it around Francis, mostly to piss him off. Gilbert taught her German and she's working on her accent.
She can understand Welsh, but her pronunciation is just about as bad as her Portuguese and fumbles things up more often than she gets them right. She's trying, really, but not doing so well. Her Latin America Spanish is better than her European Spanish, but she really can only understand it better than she can speak it. She's currently working on Greek and a couple of other languages. Polish is currently the second most commonly spoken language in Ireland.
Gaelic has always been her preferred language, and in fact some of her syntax in English is derived from the way Gaelic is constructed. (Example, in Gaelic you don’t just say no, you say “no, I did not do that” when asked if you’ve done something. This is the source of “aye, to be sure,” see the Oireland trope in TV Tropes for more details, I’m not linking it here) She speaks other languages as well, but English and Gaelic are her fall backs. During the 1800s she outright refused to speak anything but Gaelic to Arthur’s bosses and sometimes to Arthur himself, as a sign of her unwillingness to let them take her over fully. Shortly before that she developed her habit of giving everyone she was fond of, and this being Ireland there’s a lot of them, Gaelic names. Generally these were Gaelicized versions of their normal names, such as Maitiú for Matthew or Iohán for Ianto. Others get nicknames, such as Ailill for Alfred or Captaen for Jack Harkness.
What name she uses can generally indicate her mood as well. If she uses Ailill, she’s feeling neutral, happy, affectionate, fond, that sort of thing. If she uses Alfred, she’s exasperated or speaking to someone who doesn’t know the names. If she uses Meiriceá, she’s feeling formal or detached. America generally denotes Bad Things To Come, Cause Auntie is Pissed Off. And of course full names have the same general impact as they normally do. For the 1800s and the first few decades of the 1900s she refused to address Arthur by anything other than Sasana, the Gaelic form of England.
Gilbert of course is the exception to this general rule. She uses his German name, Preußen, as her affectionate name, Prussia for people who don’t know about them, never Prúise, and Gilbert very, very rarely, generally in high emotion situations.
As for her own name, she uses Brigid almost exclusively. When she was “all Gaelic all the Time” she was Brighid. Generally does not use Ireland unless people are more comfortable with that name or it’s Gilbert using it. Erin is generally only used by her brother Douglas, and Aine was Patrick the Saint’s name for her. Patrick Pearse, from the Easter Rising, would call her Cathleen ni Houlihan, the name of the real world personification of Ireland. Call her Bridget though, and she’ll be pissed. The non-Anglicization of her name is Brighid Éireann Aine Ó Domhnaill.
Religion’s an odd thing with her in the end. Up until 400 AD she was staunchly pagan, taking part in all the rituals with her druids, generally as a high priestess. Who better than the embodiment of your country bearing three goddess names, right?
And then the man who would become the patron saint of her island, Patrick, arrived. The girl fell in love, and hard. Out of that love she converted to Christianity, which at that time would be Catholicism. Of course she thought at first “Both religions can coexist, I’ll continue to practice my druidism and worship Patrick’s God,” (These days she would probably be called a Christopagan) and did exactly that.
She ended up practicing Irish Catholicism, which is in a way somewhat different from traditional Catholicism. Given the out of the way location and lack of influence from Rome, they didn’t abide by some of the same rules. Monasteries did not have Papal blessing and the diocese was not common. She did eventually gravitate more towards traditional Catholicism around the 19th Century, but she loosened her grip on it come the late 1900s, around the time of the Second Vatican Council when general Irish populace began to loose favor with the traditional activities of the Church, which was only helped along by the way Vatican’s handling of her annulment from her brother -- which is to say, even though her case met several of the qualifications (Consanguinity, no intention to have children or enter into a lifelong pact, deception to obtain consent, force, and undispensed defect of form, see Annulment (Catholic Church) for more information), Vatican himself drug it out as long as possible. She wasn’t happy, to say the least.
She’s still very much a witch, however. That never really quite went away and she still does a few spells here and there, really out of habit more than anything. Nothing wrong with a bit of protection for the family or laying a curse at Slovakia’s feet, right? Like Arthur she sometimes feels the need to summon something quite evil… for her, this evil turns out to be Francis. Needless to say, she tries not to summon him very often, especially after the times she’s summoned him and he showed up completely nude.
Sex and Relationships
She’s a sexual being. From the moment she was physically old enough she participated in The Great Rite and all that entailed. She never bought into that whole “Sex should be in a married relationship for the express purpose of having children” spiel. Mostly because she has no interest in marriage (The Act of Union was quite enough, thank you) and Nations, excluding “mother” Nations and the existence of kid!canon, do not have children. And she likes sex, so she’s not going to be some chaste little thing, although I’m sure her brothers prefer to pretend that she is.
That being said, she’s only had four lovers that actually mattered to her. First was Saint Patrick, who was outside of ritual context, her first lover and the first person she fell well and truly in love with. She’s still in love with him really, spending every Saint Patrick’s Day at his grave in County Down, Northern Ireland. When he died he asked her to not leave him, and to her mind she never did. Even wars and the Troubles didn’t stop her from keeping vigil.
The second was Theobald Wolfe Tone, the father of Irish Nationalism. They were involved with each other until Wolfe Tone married, though they remained highly fond of each other. Even when he was in exile in America and the rest of Europe he managed to write to her, until he was captured by the English when he talked the French into helping with the 1798 rebellions. I personally call this whole situation The Great Backfire, since it was because of the rebellion that they decided to enact the Act of Union. This is just another reason that Brigid isn’t too fond of Francis. Wolfe Tone was tried and sentenced to be hung, but instead he cut his own throat, intending to die before they could kill him. He botched it and the doctor that tended to him said that if he spoke, he would reopen his wound and die. Wolfe Tone then said “I can yet find word to thank you, sir. It is the most welcome news you could give me. I find I am but a bad anatomist.” He died. It was Brigid who snuck him the penknife used in his attempt and she stood by as he died. Like Patrick, she visits his grave every November 19th.
The third is our very own Gilbert. They met back in 1487 and they’ve been friends since then. Their relationship has long been of the teasing, flirty but no real meaning behind it sort, at least until around the time of the American Revolution. If she didn’t fall for him then, she’d fallen for him long before and that was only when she realized she had. Not that this really changed much as their relationship at the time went. The teasing flirtation was still there and they were still friends. It didn’t turn physical, I don’t think, until sometime after the fall of the Berlin Wall. And by physical I mean actively sexual, I’m sure there were a few snogs here and there when they could steal them. It would have happened much sooner if Act of Union and their religion (Marriage being a sacrament) hadn’t gotten in the way. She’s incredibly in love with him, almost as far as she is with Patrick, and truly, honestly doesn’t expect him to fall for her in return. And she’s alright with that. If he did she’d be thrilled as hell, aye, but she knows better. Lylith, please feel free to disagree or expand on this. ^^
Last is Jack Harkness. Now, this one is so new that I’m honestly not really sure how to describe it. She’s amazingly fond of him, nearly as fond as she is of Gilbert. It’s not love though, not yet, though it easily could end up that way. It’s Jack, it’d be hard not to fall for him. So far it’s just a crush. She does however feel that she can be a little less guarded with him, let her hair down as it were, and not have to be always in control Ireland, like she feels like she should with Gilbert. She is, however, afraid of coming between Jack and Ianto, and she’s well aware of how silly that thought is. Doesn’t stop her from being scared, of course. Tere, same as I said to Lylith. Input is always valued. ^^
Somewhere in all that mess falls Sadiq, Turkey. She's not in love with him in the slightest, not like she is with the four already mentioned. He's a friend that she occasionally has sex with. Nothing more, nothing less. Besides, she knows that he's after Kiku... and possibly Greece, she's not sure. Still, she's perfectly happy to have a tumble or two with him any time he's up for one while she's visiting his lands or after an EU meeting. There was also the case of one night in the Sixties where she, Sadiq, and Luis had a drunken one night stand threesome incident. All three swore never to tell Arthur and more or less put it behind them. Except for the occasional text messages during boring meetings to the effect of "Hey. Guess what? I tapped that."
Occasionally she'll look at Luis and go "Hm, wouldn't mind havin' a bit of him again. Ah well, he's with Arthur, now where's Preußen?" There was a small childhood crush, which was actually somewhat mutual given their similarities, but in the end it was decided that 1) They were too similar and would crash and burn (albeit gloriously) and 2) Brigid knew from the start that he wasn't meant for her; rather that he was for Arthur.
Jewelry and Clothes
She’s not one for jewelry. Simple as that. However, there’s a few pieces that she keeps on her at all times.
First is her silver Celtic Cross necklace. It was given to her by Patrick when she converted and she’s never taken it off except to change the leather/strap/cord/chain as needed. She tends to keep it under her shirt, very rarely wearing it out. After that are the silver bracelets Gilbert gave her, and another piece that she doesn’t take off. As said above, they do a wonderful job of hiding her old Tower of London scars, plus they remind her of him. Last there’s her rosary. She doesn’t wear it as much as she used to, that happened around the 1960s, but she does keep it within reach. It’s reached the level of a security blanket for her. As of Christmas 2010 she now has a Claddagh ring on her left hand, a gift from her Saint Patrick after the Doctor took her and Connor back to see him.
She sticks to clothes that cover her for the most part, favoring skirts as she considers them easier to deal with than pants as far as accessing her knives goes. She especially avoids low necked tops that dip lower than two inches below her collar bone. If she doesn’t the top of her chest scar is revealed and she doesn’t like showing that set off at all. She tends towards blues and greens, blue the color of Saint Patrick and green the color of the Republic. She makes an effort to include orange on important days in Ulster, especially on Connor’s birthday. Generally this happens to be in the ribbon for her hair. When she first received her Tower scars she tended to cover them up with longer than usual sleeves, making certain that they were covered when in Arthur's presence. If he knows about them, she doesn't know that he does. She thinks Matthew doesn't know, but he does.
The only time she preferred pants over skirts were her pirating days, when pants were simply more practical. During said pirating days she was more prone to jewelry, sporting several earrings, quite a few of them made up of gold or jewels stolen from Spanish ships and the occasional Danish ones. If it was shiny, she nicked it, and usually wore it if she could. She doesn't have very many of those pieces anymore, sold for drink or to fund all the rebellions (And she'd quite like to know where the Irish Crown Jewels disappeared to, thank you), though she's kept one or two pairs of earrings around, occasionally wearing them to meetings to annoy Antonio. She was also fond of the frillier things, essentially delighting in the whole pirating experience. She even has a tattoo on the left side of the small of her back, an anchor (to represent the Atlantic Ocean) with a shamrock resting in the left side hook and a harp in the right side. She had the colors filled in when she could.
She still has her wedding band from the Act of Union, keeping it as a reminder to never let herself fall under someone else's control unless she wished it, to never give up fighting, and sometimes as a reminder of happier days with Arthur before everything came tumbling down.
Houses, Health, and Hobbies
Like the other Nations, she keeps a few houses around the country. Her preferred houses are the ones in Wexford and Waterford, and has others in Cork, Galway, Donegal, Monaghan, and Mayo. She once had houses in Belfast, Downpatrick, and Derry, but when Connor left her in 1922 she lost possession of those. She has, however, explicitly told him he’s welcome to use the Downpatrick house for his own uses. She doesn’t have a house exactly in Dublin, as she used to live full time in Dublin Castle, near her offices. That changed in 1921, when the Irish Free State was born.
During the 1800s (Keeps popping up, doesn’t it?) she spent a good deal of time in Arthur’s house, along with Connor. After a few decades she managed to convince the bosses (Through Arthur, since… yeah, no speaking English) that it would be easier if she went back to Ireland to deal with things in person. This was after her visit to Australia in 1812 and subsequent ten year imprisonment in the Tower, and before the Famine of 1845. She wasn’t officially moved out, however, until she packed up her belongings, left Connor in the care of Llewellyn, and took up publicly with the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1916.
Generally when she invites people over it’s to the Waterford house. It’s her favorite of the houses and it shows. Sprawling, lot of land around it, and if she wanted enough room for a few horses. It’s also the largest, meaning it’s got plenty of rooms for when the family has to stay the night.
Her health used to be good when she was young. Economy, such as it was, was strong, her people were many and prosperous, and all was well. And then Arthur’s bosses started nosing around during the 1100s and started her roller coaster of sick/healthy. The 1300s were particularly bad, as were the mid to late 1500s to 1600s. The 1700s were more or less the healthiest she was pre-AoU, and her people doubled in number during that century.
Then came the 1800s. It was pretty much a miracle that she wasn’t bedridden most of that century, given the Tithe War and the Great Famine happening rather close together. After that were the 1900s, which up until the start of the Celtic Tiger in the 90s, was a great deal of one step forward, two steps back in terms of her health. And then the CT failed at the start of the Global Recession, Ireland was the first country in the EU to declare a recession, and things are just generally fucked until at least 2011.
...Oh goodness me, this section needed an update. As of November 2010, Ireland has either requested or was forced into a bailout by the EU and the International Monetary Fund, a bailout which has been called into question as far as the legality goes, the current Collation government (Fiannia Fáil and the Green Party) has been reviled by the Irish people, and the current Taoiseach has been repeatedly asked to resign. To say that the Irish people (and several people in the Dáil) are not pleased with the whole situation is a candidate for Understatement of the Decade and possibly the century. Depending on how the vote on the budget goes, things could indeed be generally fucked until at least 2014, and probably for a hell of a lot longer than that.
As a result of all this backsliding/improving/backsliding wreaking havoc on her lungs, she's developed chronic bronchitis and tends to be bothered by general economic shifts sooner than the rest of Europe, as well as one of the last to improve from them.
Given that until the partition of North and South, Connor's lands were also Brigid's, and as a result she also suffered the effects of any upheaval or disaster in the Six Counties. After the partition she doesn't feel them the same way Connor does, that fully falling on him now, but she feels an echo of it. It tends to manifest as pulled muscles and bruising. The Troubles... were interesting, to say the least.
She’s a concert level harpist and she’s developed the appropriate calluses over the years, though she usually plays with her nails instead of her fingertips. She taught both Connor and Matthew how to play, and attempted to teach Arthur. The harp usually stays in Dublin Castle in her old rooms near her office, but occasionally she’ll drag it out to one of her houses when she’s been having a rough emotional spell. Which really means it's taken up permanent residence at the Waterford house.
She knits near-obsessively, making sweaters, scarves, and the like for birthdays and Christmas, as well as the occasional flag and laces. She taught Matthew how to knit years ago. Most of the time when she’s too ill to work or in the rare event she’s spending a night alone she’ll be hard at work with the needles. She also crochets, but she’s not so good at it.
She spins her own yarn, made from wool taken off of Llewellyn's sheep, and she dyes it herself. She spends a great deal of time on her yarn, insisting on perfection. This tends to mean that she reserves this yarn for special projects, using store bought wools and cottons and less close people. She refuses to touch acrylics for the most part, unless she's working on something for a newborn (Less chance of triggering allergies). Generally if she claims 100% hand made when she gifts it to someone, that means she used the handspun over the store bought, and it should be treated as a great honor if the recipient is someone outside the main family (Luís, Francis, Jack, Gilbert, Ianto, ect).
She won't dye many things gray outside of requests, as she associates gray far too much with the Confederate States of America, the nephew long since dead.
Questions and comments are acceptable and since I get this a lot, I give my permission for this format to be nicked and reused/altered as anyone sees fit.