Character Building: Arella Dorchester
Fourth in a series of character descriptions for the rewrite of Black Mask & Pale Rider. This fourth installment: Madam Arella Dorchester.
As the name suggests, Arella Dorchester is the owner of a frontier bordello. When she first meets Pania Alow, she has a brothel and boarding house that she owns over a tavern on the outskirts of Chicago. It is here that Pania learns a great deal about this red headed southern belle.
Arella runs a clean establishment, and the money she brings in is used to ensure her girls get any and all medical attention that they need. Doctors will often take note of the fact that Arella has a number of African American girls in her employ. Often, she’ll make up one excuse or another, but as Pania finds out, Arella is playing a dangerous game. Her boarding house and brothel is a way station in the Underground Railroad.
As mentioned before, Arella has all the mannerisms of a true southern belle. She comes by it honestly, born into a southern family, she was destined to be a fine lady, and had caught the attention and the eye of many a many in her home of Atlanta. Arella was much more firm in her own opinion, however, an aspect that got her into many an argument with her mother. Eventually, Arella left Atlanta, but she didn’t leave alone. She had met a Yankee when the Confederacy separated from the Union, and together, they made a plan to join up with the Railroad. They learned everything they could. They even had a short relationship that ended when he was killed by a band of bounty hunters looking for escaped slaves.
Eventually, Arella settled in Chicago and opened her boarding house. Which is what it is officially known as. It is here where Pania meets Arella, and the two have a whirlwind of an affair. At the outset, Arella, and her girls, know of Pania as a stage show performer. Until one night that the figure of Pale Rider needs assistance.
The bordello and Arella help Pania, but eventually, thanks to the law tightening regarding brothels, Arella and her girls have to leave. As does Pania.
Arella is an older woman, in her forties, but has all the charm and beauty of someone years younger. Her charm is backed up by wisdom and experience. Arella knows how to handle a gun quite well, having needed to do so while traveling under cover of darkness, guiding escaped slaves to new found freedom. She is extremely protective of the girls in her care, and will not tolerate any mistreatment at all.
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