Eskil was born to a chirurgeon in the royal burgh of Eilginn, a coastal town in the northern reaches of the Loch Leglean Tribunal. Even when she was three or four, her speech was often characterized as being more like that of an adult than of a child. While her father enjoyed her precociousness, her mother felt constant unease in Eskil's presence, an attitude unfortunately shared by many of their neighbors. After a few more years had passed, it was not uncommon for maladies and accidents in the community to be blamed on her in whispers.
When Eskil was eight years old, her father hosted a visit by Cailleach-Dhubh Cumhachd, a nun from the abbey in nearby Farrais. The nun was amused by Eskil's expansive vocabulary as they supped; as the meal concluded, Cumhachd leaned over the girl with a quiet prayer, after which her face took on an expression of deep seriousness. By the end of the evening, Cumhachd had negotiated a steep price from the chirurgeon for the privilege of having Eskil enrolled in the abbey school.
For four years Eskil did little but study Latin and learn to read. Her conversations with the nuns were pleasant, but she had no real friends. One day, at the age of twelve, she accompanied Cumhachd on a routine shopping trip; this day, however, they returned not to the abbey but to a small group of towers out on the moors. Eskil was told that her instruction would continue at this isolated location, and she soon came to the conclusion that Cumhachd was no true nun. Gradually she learned the truth: she was now the apprentice of Cumhachd ex Tytalus, and her innate Gift was awakened two months later with the opening of the Arts.
At first, Eskil's keen eye and quick understanding of Hermetic magic pleased her mater, although the maga seldom allowed praise to interfere with a traditionally brutal Tytalus apprenticeship. Nevertheless, progress was steady for the first seven years, as Eskil was slowly broken down and prepared for reforging with an iron will. But the winter of 1185 held tragedy for Eskil: an experiment gone severely awry sent vis streaming into every corner of the laboratory. Only the Parma-clad Cumhachd was spared; the accident begat considerable changes to Eskil's life - supernatural, physical, and psychological.
She found herself innately attuned to magic: her lessons in Hermetic theory seemed almost obvious to her, and her spells were more durable than usual. She even found herself able to perceive magical places and effects with little more difficulty than checking the weather. However, she grew extremely apprehensive about vis, disinclined to use or even touch any item containing it. She also became physically frail and easily susceptible to bruises and maladies, which prodded her to start focussing her studies on Corpus.
Furious with Eskil's increasing reluctance to participate in enchanting and other laboratory work, and knowing it would eventually make the apprentice even stronger, Cumhachd refocused her training so that vis was everywhere she turned. But Eskil grew adept at wriggling out of such duties, her deceptions becoming more and more tenuous; as Cumhachd would never relent until her filia succeeded, the apprenticeship devolved into an impasse for two long years. Eventually, the Redcap rumor network made the situation an open secret within the local Tribunals. Tria Trianomae, seeing an opportunity for leverage, stepped in to claim Eskil as her apprentice by right of her lineage in House Bonisagus. At the age of 21, the apprentice moved south from her first covenant to her second.
As part of the negotiated transaction, Tria forbade Cumhachd from having any contact with Eskil until her Gauntlet had passed; the Tytalus, demonstrating excellent Hippian ethics, solemnly agreed to the restriction and then proceeded to ignore it. Letters found their way into Eskil's chamber, this one praising her (faintly), that one goading her into facing her fears in the laboratory, the next one chiding her for lack of loyalty or gratitude to her ex-mater. Eskil struggled with the new path set for her: on the one hand, she was genuinely interested in the Trianomae path, with its social aspects and its analytical study of the politics of the Order; on the other hand, she was constantly reminded of her failures under her first mater, and kept drifting into side projects irrelevant to Tria's exacting plan for her development.
It is conceivable that Eskil might have eventually found her balance and matured into a worthy filia for Tria; however, the elder maga had no time to waste in suboptimal situations. A deal was struck between sodales, and Eskil was informed that she had been sold to yet another magus, Maximianus of the Bonisagi path. In 1189, the young woman relocated once again to her fifth home and began her fourth plan of study.
Happily, the new environment was a better fit for the fate-buffeted apprentice. She was permitted to speak with the other Hermetic inhabitants, some of whom were in the Spring or Summer of their lives; and Maximianus, while emotionally detached, tolerated her mood swings and vacillating interests as long as she steadily progressed towards her Gauntlet. Cumhachd's interference (however well-intentioned) continued, perhaps with a bit less vigor, but it was not enough to derail Eskil this time. After four years working and studying, Eskil was taken for her Theoretical Interview, which she passed with flying colors.
On the last day of her apprenticeship, the keys to the Parma Magica ritual still spinning in her proud head, she dined with her pater and received two gifts from him. First, he bestowed upon her a Hermetic name: Tranquillina, a venerable name of imperial Roman origin just like Maximianus itself, and one which he hoped would signify a more peaceful soul for her as a mage. Second, he handed her a single silver coin, almost a millenium old, that depicted Augusta Tranquillina herself. The obverse, he told her, represented the intellectual pursuits of the Bonisagi; the reverse signified the value in harmony among magi of the Order.
Unfortunately, Cumhachd remained convinced that Eskil (as she still called her) never earned the right to take the Hermetic oath, but rather had contrived to sidestep a true Gauntlet through House connections. With dogmatic certainty, the Tytalus maga knew that Eskil's character would never be wholly formed until she addressed her unwillingness to defeat her visiphobia; she resolved not to relent on manipulating Eskil into facing her fears.
The newly proclaimed Tranquillina Bonisagi continued to pursue both her own spell-invention projects and active participation in the politics of the Order of Hermes. Many are the nights she finds herself working late in her laboratory, sustained more by magical stimulant than by nourishment and rest, driven by Cumhachd's goads (and ultimately her own self-doubt, still fueled by her failure to complete the rigorous Tytalus training) that she has not yet demonstrated her worth as a maga.