Mage was born in Ofeilia to a couple of thieves named Lisanna Valentine and Bianca Rosa with the name Eferhilda. The couple died in a fire and Eferhilda was subsequently forced into an orphanage, where her name was changed to Jane. She was later adopted into the royal family of Ofeilia due to the queen's obsession with Jane's birth mother, and her name was changed, yet again, to Mage. After traumatizing experiences with the misogyny and bigotry that went on in her country, Mage attempted to lead a revolt against the monarchy of Ofeilia, and was subsequently banished to Eltalor. She then took on the guise of a narcissistic, bothersome gypsy man under the name Vermillion Hellsing so as to hide from her old foes.
The country that the banished gypsy prince - Mage Ofeilia - is from is very small and mostly populated by nomads (often referred to as "gypsies", though some of these nomads find the term offensive as it has been used as a slur towards Ofeilians in the past, while most proudly embrace the title) who earn their income by trading, fortunetelling, acting, hosting music contests, and other forms of entertainment. They often travel the world in caravans, living rather nomadic lives. This country is known as Ofeilia. The government in this country is notably corrupt - the king being an ignorant fool that is easily manipulated by the upperclassmen - and their society is harsh and prejudiced against basically anybody who doesn't completely live up to their standards of "normal" - if you aren't male, white, straight, non-magical, fully human, rich, and don't experience gender dysphoria, you'll have quite a hard time amounting to much.
Mage - whose name was “Jane” at the time - was raised in a very poor, very shabby orphanage in the miserable town of Opal. Even from a very early age, she knew that the way women in her country were treated was not right, and she wanted to do something about it. She wanted to stand up for herself and the other girls who were suffering due to this injustice. However, this proved to be very difficult - due to her delicate, soft, and altogether conventionally pretty appearance, none of the orphanage workers would really take her seriously, and simply objectified her to the point where she was hardly more than their pet; a pretty little doll to dress up and play with. Life in the orphanage was already difficult for Jane, being a rather sickly child that nobody would ever want to go the extra mile to adopt. She hated being coddled, and it didn't help that she was ill quite often. She hated how the caretakers patronized her and treated her like she was helpless and unintelligent. Jane was also quite different from most of the other girls - she had no interest in boys beyond friendship, and found she had developed a crush on another girl (but she could tell right away this was forbidden and began stifling these emotions at an early age).
When she was about 12 and a half years old, Jane was adopted by the royal family of Ofeilia for reasons that were never fully explained to her - as far as she could gather, the queen was in the debt of Jane's deceased birth mother, and so she figured this would be the best way to repay her. She was taken from the orphanage she so hated, and she was absolutely elated by such a sudden, delightful change - she would at last be free of being treated "like a girl", she wouldn't be patronized, she'd be respected as royalty, and she could dress the way she wanted - her adoptive mother and father even insisted she change her name to something far less common and dull: Princess Mage Valentine Ofeilia.
Despite what she expected, she soon found that the misogyny she experienced had grown much, much worse when she became a princess. Young women of her rank were rarely treated with more fairness than those in poverty, and generally even had far less freedom. As the years went on, everyone she knew - her mother in particular - pressured her to find a suitor so she could one day rule Ofeilia with her husband. Even though she was always a tomboy at heart - indeed, if it were her choice, she’d rather be a musician living a simple life, wearing pants and a boys’ tunic - she tried her very hardest to be the graceful, beautiful princess that everybody wanted her to be, in fear of letting her people down - or worse, getting executed for going against customs. However, the whole time, she was able to take solace in music and theater, which thankfully was very much encouraged in Ofeilia, and she did indeed have a few friends that she knew would stick by her until the end. She knew she would never be completely alone.
The objectification she experienced - the way her various suitors (none of them sticking around for long, for Mage was always quick to plan their demise, whether through poison or blackmail) treated her like no more than livestock, the way her parents denied she was becoming physically ill from them starving her to keep her thin and pretty, the way men saw her as their property, the ridiculous standards of beauty she was to adhere to, the terribly tight corsets she was forced to wear - it all took its toll on both her mental and physical health. She had never particularly liked being a girl, but she had always been strong and always resolved to stand up for herself, she had never expected to become so ashamed of her gender; she never expected she would break. When she realized she couldn't rebel anymore, when she realized just how much her freedom was stifled, she had never felt so helpless and ashamed of herself in her life. She became sickly and malnourished on top of all this - her already weak immune system worsened as well as her anemia.
"Even though I could afford to dress how I wanted, society forbade it; even though I had plenty of food at my table, I was forced to starve to maintain my figure; and even though the men promised to take good care of a pretty little fragile, delicate young lady like me, my cries of agony went unheard; my pleas for help went unacknowledged. And I was well-aware that nearly every other woman in my kingdom suffered the same fate."
As all of this was going on, a troubled, power-hungry young man named Ether Astrum formed a kind of a coup to seize Ofeilia with the help of his comrades. Luckily for him, Princess Mage’s parents agreed to arrange a marriage between the two of them - after all, Ether was very wealthy, and his family had the perfect reputation. Mostly everyone outside of his group was completely oblivious to his real motivations. His plan turned out to be much more simple than he expected, up until Mage inadvertently found out about his scheme by sheer luck.
Mage was met with a choice between marrying a horrible man she knew was only going to use her to become king, and most likely kill her afterwards, thus allowing her country to grow even more corrupt than it already was, or going against tradition and potentially being banished - or worse, executed. It didn’t help that even if she somehow did stop Ether from seizing Ofeilia, her equally power-hungry younger brother, Ash Ofeilia, would most likely become the next king. He had always showed signs of being jealous of his older sister, and it was clear that he would be an extremely incompetent leader.
"What did I ever do to deserve the life I was given?"
Mage and her friends did everything within their power to stop Ether from succeeding without actually confronting them, but there were just too many people involved with Ether’s organization - including Ash Ofeilia, who turned out to have been a spy for the cult. Just when she and her allies started to give up on outsmarting them - the night before what would have been Ether’s coronation - Mage stepped up and proposed a new plan that involved at last facing Ether and his comrades, knowing full well that there was no way out of their dreadful situation unless it was by force.
They put their plan to confront their enemies into action late that night. Mage vowed to become queen by the next dawn’s light, or never show her face in Ofeilia again. She cut off her long, red hair with a sword she had stolen from a royal guard. She also stole the outfit that Ether would have worn at his coronation and wore it, for both practical reasons and symbolism - she was going to become queen, no matter what the cost.
After stealing a few more necessary weapons - in particular, an enchanted gun - Mage made her way back to the palace with her allies, where each of them split up to either ambush or keep watch on a different member of Ether’s cult. Mage went after Ash first, hoping to reason with him - they were family, after all, and they had been kind of friends when they were very young.
Just to be safe, though, she offered to sit down and talk with him over a cup of tea, and tipped a little bit of a certain drug into his drink that would make him drowsy and weak if things ended up getting violent. This was a wise move, for it got very heated, very fast: Ash had apparently guessed she was going to apprehend him, and so they unsheathed their weapons and began to battle over the throne.
Ash had made a fatal mistake, however - he had underestimated his sister’s intelligence and was very confused when he started losing his energy and getting dizzy. Mage had him backed up against the tall window, where she demanded he help her become the next monarch, or die by her hand. But before he could so much as consider it, the window swung open under his weight, and Ash fell through, presumably to his death.
The royal guards had heard the commotion and rushed up to the room see what had happened. Ether had warned them that Mage might try to do something of that ilk, so they proceeded to chase her through the palace, attempting to seize her.
Once Mage had lost them, she knew for certain that she was no more than a wanted criminal for treason - she would no longer be welcome in Ofeilia. It was then that she started her journey to one of the neighboring countries - Eltalor - entirely by foot.
"And now, boys and girls, I know the true meaning of 'to Hell and back again'."
It took her many months, and when Mage finally reached Eltalor, she was absolutely exhausted, defeated, weak, depressed, and also very sick. She used an old, abandoned house right by the little village of Anima Town as shelter when she first arrived. For a few days, she would not leave the house, having no energy to move. Eventually, though, she was starving, and she knew she had to go to the town to get food.
When she went to the market, she was shocked to find that women had equal rights in Eltalor - nobody patronized her, commented on her short hair, or even flirted with her. She was even encouraged by worried civilians to take care of herself and find a doctor - which she eventually did, and began healing at last.
In general, the people and government of Eltalor were godly in comparison to that of Ofeilia. Everyone seemed so much happier - everyone was free to be themselves. After observing the citizens for awhile, Mage had an idea: she would take on the guise of a man so as to push away the pain of the past - if she couldn't be respected and treated the way she wanted to be as a female, she'd just have to present herself as male.
A disguise was also practical since her family (and probably half the country, considering she was basically a criminal for treason at that point) would be searching for her. Partially unintentionally, she developed a persona for this disguise as not only a strategy to make herself even more unrecognizable, but also a kind of an outlet to forget about all of the traumatizing events that went on when she was the princess. She gave "him" a very narcissistic, amusing, dramatic kind of personality (sort of for her own entertainment, really - she's always had dramatic flair and a snarky sense of humor, but this side of her was often stifled) that's an exaggerated version of her natural personality. He would be fiery and charismatic, with a very flamboyant sense of humor, but even rather obnoxious (he enjoys bursting out in dramatic song when he's bored) and more or less a constant drudge to the civilians. He would also really like messing with people and incessantly flirting with others (especially when he knows it'll irritate them). To make this persona more convincing, Mage spread false rumors about all of his alleged wrongdoings and heinous crimes, and they quickly caught on. He would be exactly the sort of man that good mothers would keep their children away from.
Some people, however, can see through his persona - not everyone is gullible enough to believe all of the rumors, of course, so some just disregard him as some homeless lunatic. Others more or less catch on and figure that he at least can't be as bad as he's made out to be, and some even think that his "voodoo-creepy-scary-good-for-nothing-gypsy-man-that-the-children-should-stay-away-from" persona is just some kind of inside joke to him. Some of them even find him really entertaining and pay him to sing for them. Even despite this, though, nobody has come close to guessing correctly what "his" past is.
Mage hopes to someday reclaim Ofeilia and once again face his enemies, but for the time being, he is perfectly content with his current occupation...except when he gets recruited by gangs and guilds of thugs due to his "voodoo-creepy-scary-good-for-nothing-gypsy-man" reputation...that can get rather messy.
"Why change the past when you can own this day?"
Personality and Traits
Mage is a bold, lively, extremely charismatic idealist with flair for drama and theater. Even though he has little hope for his future, even when he's ill, he is able to find humor in almost everything (even though it tends to be bitter and sardonic sometimes).
Despite his heavy sarcasm and tendency to enjoy getting on peoples' nerves, Mage views the world as a stage - he can't simply walk down the stairs, he has to put dramatic flair into each and every step he takes, and spread that flamboyance and good energy to everyone around him (when he can). His personality is naturally charming, and he would make a good leader. He enjoys singing and acting, was classically trained in opera, and is obsessed with musicals (especially really vague ones that nobody seems to know about but him).
Mage finds it very entertaining to spread false rumors about himself and enjoys making them as over-the-top and improbable as possible just to see how gullible others really are. He takes pride in having such a bad reputation and finds the entire concept absolutely hilarious. He has a weak immune system and thus gets sick very often, and even though he actually very much hates being coddled, for the sake of humor, he enjoys acting like a needy, whiny, petulant five-year-old around others when he's ill. He has a habit of calling literally everybody things such as "luv", "sweetcakes", "darling", and "dear", and tends to flirt (poorly) with every woman he meets. His persona seems to be somewhat misogynistic, which is likely the result of Mage's bitterness toward Ofeilian men (or simply an amusing way of making fun of Ofeilian men).
Mage is constantly fearful that someone will see right through his facade, or perhaps his old foes will find him. He also often finds himself thinking about his old life and the people of his old country, some of which he misses and regrets not explaining why he left. This persistent worry seems to disappear when he is performing, or otherwise entertaining himself with his persona. His guise was partially made as an outlet to push away all of those doubts and fears, so, indeed, it has been effective. His brain is significantly less clouded when he’s strutting around town like he owns the place, belting out his favorite song from his favorite musical - his mind is clear as day.
Mage has a tendency to lie unnecessarily, even when it isn’t convenient for his persona. He has depression and anxiety, as well as a nasty habit of subconsciously self-harming - both physically and emotionally. He has a weak immune system and possibly anemia (which is ironic, because his flamboyant persona pretends to have both, yet makes it obvious he’s faking it to gain pity). He can be violent at times, especially under great amounts of stress, though it does take a lot to push him to that point as he tries to be a pacifist. As his entire persona was built around lies, tall tales, and general deceit, he is the most vulnerable when he is in a situation where he has to tell the truth.
Mage he doubts Ofeilia can ever be changed and deeply regrets leaving behind such a disaster. Even when he's blind drunk, the guilt and worry still finds him. He still has some hope that someday there may be some miracle that gets rid of the corruption. He also holds onto the idea that he'll someday make up for his mistake and help reclaim Ofeilia, even though at the same time he knows it's unrealistic.
He holds onto friendship as well, making sure that even though he's got that "voodoo-creepy-scary-good-for-nothing-gypsy-man-that-the-children-should-stay-away-from" persona, most of his old friendships stay intact. There are three people Mage really considers to be his best friends - Axel Castagnier, Circe DonRosen, and Lucius Sage. He tends to argue with Axel a lot as their contrasting personalities tend to clash, but they do care deeply about one another, as they've known each other since they were young teenagers.
Mage tends to be a bit like an older sibling to Circe - when Circe was 9 and Mage was 15, Mage stumbled upon the forest that Circe and her abusive, violent mother lived in, and befriended the fragile girl. Mage helped Circe out of that situation (mostly by helping her run away from home), and they have remained the best of friends ever since - mutually worrying and caring for each other. They were split up for awhile, particularly during when Mage started the rebellion, but they met up again when she came to Eltalor.
Mage and Lucius Sage have a very interesting relationship. Lucius is a very kind, sensible, empathetic doctor, and back in Ofeilia, he pretended to be a member of the Angel Project so he could sabotage and spy on them. Mage believed that he was affiliated with the cult, and so even though when he interacted with him, he was very kind, Mage saw him as an enemy and generally refused to be polite to him. He sometimes did business with the Ofeilian royal family as a physician, so he knows a great deal about Mage's poor health. After Mage came to Eltalor, though, he met up with him again, and it was then that Lucius explained that he was a rebel as well. Mage was very conflicted and didn't know whether to believe him or not, and was also rather upset that he didn't tell him sooner. They remained in contact, however, mostly because there was no other doctor willing to help the "voodoo-creepy-scary-good-for-nothing-gypsy-man". Mage has since made it his duty to be as obnoxious as possible towards Lucius and make his job as hard as it possibly could be (for example, a particular incident in which it was extremely hard to tell whether Mage was faking or not - he kept on complaining about how bad he felt, but the moment anyone else would enter the room, he would act completely fine). Eventually, both of them inadvertently learned secrets about each other, and as a result were forced to keep said secrets in fear of the other spilling it out of spite. Even though they seem to hate each other on the surface, they really do care for each other and worry for each other. They can actually relate to each other a lot, even if they don't properly show it. Mage truly does have a lot of guilt for treating Lucius the way he does, and Lucius is constantly concerned about Mage's mental and physical well-being.
When Mage was young, she didn't really have any older siblings or parents to look up to, being an orphan throughout a lot of her childhood, and later getting adopted by a family she hated. However, after she was adopted, her parents agreed to give her private music lessons. Her teacher was a motherly young woman who right away recognized that Mage was going to be a female tenor - which is generally a male singing range - and actually praised her for it. In Ofeilia, they like their women to have high-pitched voices, and alto singers in the country are already somewhat rare and often times they are shunned when they do occur, let alone female tenors. Mage's teacher, whose name was Viola, helped her to embrace her low, operatic voice, as well as to defy her parents, who had been hoping their beautiful daughter would be a coloratura soprano to match her delicate, graceful appearance. She also helped care for Mage in ways her parents had never even tried to. For example, whenever Mage's parents denied she was ill and forced her to go to her lesson regardless, Viola would notice right away that something was wrong and allow the frail girl to rest on her sofa for the entire lesson while she made her tea. In general, Viola greatly boosted Mage's self-esteem, well-being, and confidence. Mage would easily trust Viola with her life.