Scottish noble with mystical animal talents
Corrine Elisabeth Erskine was born in Scotland on August 13, 1874 to Malcolm James Erskine, Earl of Kildrummie and Elisabeth Murray, youngest daughter of Ian Fionnlagh Murray, Earl of Dunbar. She has an older brother, James Murray Erskine, b. Jan 6, 1870, and a younger sister Cara Jane Erskine, b. Oct 31, 1877.
In February 1880, James (brother) departed Scotland for the United States to travel and start an Erskine horse farm in New York. He traveled with a small number of servants and his best friend and cousin Finn Murray. Elisabeth Murray Erskine (mother) died in childbirth in December of 1880, the male child died with her. Malcolm )father) packed up his family in 1882, 2 years after the death of his wife and son, left the family lands under the care of his cousin Duncan Erskine, Duke of Mar, and headed to the United States to invest in railroads and start another Erskine horse farm outside of Boston. The farm was successful, and combined with his railroad investments, Malcolm had multiplied his fortunes, and stepped easily into Boston society. In 1886, Cara Jane disappeared from her bed in the room the two girls shared. 12 year old Cora believed she saw SOMETHING take her sister. Malcolm believed her (he had some history with ‘creatures’ in Scotland) and they set out on a personal crusade to find Cara. Two years later in spring of 1888, they were following a lead west of the Mississippi when they were raided by Indians seeking to steal horses. Malcolm was severely wounded in a fall from his horse, and was unable to prevent the Indians from stealing Cora as well. The following spring, after Malcolm healed, he went with an Indian scout and bargained several prime horses for the return of his daughter.
During her time with the Indians, their shaman recognized Cora as an animal spiritualist. He used herbs and trance to open her mind to these abilities. She learned she could talk to the animals, call up a familiar of sorts, and that ‘supernatural creatures’ really existed. She befriended a young Indian boy who taught her many Indian survival skills, including basic archery and tracking skills. An Indian woman felt these skills were made for men, and tried to teach Cora the basics of their herb lore and cooking.
After her ‘rescue,’ when she told her father of her animal abilities, he told her the skills were inherited and would have manifest as one of the last stages of puberty. The ‘family secret’ was always kept secret until the skills manifested, and was never spoken of outside of the immediate family. Malcolm’s farm outside of Boston had been run by James in his father’s absence and was still thriving when Malcolm and Cora returned there. Malcolm was ready to give up his crusade in favor of keeping his one remaining daughter alive. Cora was still determined to find out what happened to her sister, and began sneaking out of the house in the nights to find out what she could of the creatures she now knew lived just outside of human society.
When Cora turned 17,her father sent her to spend several months with her brother James and cousin Finn. She learned more than a lady should about gambling when they spent time traveling the riverboats to various parts of the country. By then, James had a very successful horse farm outside of New York, and was a major railroad investor in his own right. He introduced her into New York Society where she was readily accepted. She told James of her nighttime escapades. Recognizing her determination, James chose to introduce her to the secret society he was a member of – the Rippers.