Ingrid Gewerschmidt was/is a Polish-German scientist, member of the Black Cell Lab during the Great German War, and later a member of the Knights Mercantile and leader of the Cult of Ingrid and the Black Cell Revivalists. She participated in the expansion of the KM's influence to Russia and the reconquest of Dalcia before rumors concerning her research into immortality (and the Shambler plague) led her to vanish from Russia and all Knights Mercantile records.
In mortal life, Ingrid was a consummate scientist, driven by a fascination with the various ways in which flesh could be unmade and reformed and, ultimately, with biological immortality. Since achieving immortality with her Uber-strain of the Shambler virus, Ingrid has turned her attention to vengeance, gathering old friends and settling scores from her Black Cell Lab days. Naturally, rebuilding the Black Cell Lab has meant brushing against other powers of the cosmos and acquiring a passel of new vendettas to punctuate her ever more depraved experimental forays. As the good doctor herself puts it, "I know I have all the time in the cosmos, I just need something to keep eternity interesting."
Early Life and War Crimes Edit
Knights Mercantile Career Edit
Records indicate that Ingrid was seconded to the Russian Knights Mercantile Chapter as a governess for "Nat," the son (though his gender was disputed by observers) of an influential member of the KM. Though Ingrid's official role was to keep the young dilettante in line, she was in fact deployed as part of a deep cover operation by the backers of the Russian Charter to eliminate Nat and his family as part of an intra-organizational power struggle. Ingrid was to keep tabs on Nat and ensure his survival as a bargaining chip until confirmation of his parent's assassination.
When Nat met an entirely unplanned end at the hands of the Dalcian Communist Front, Ingrid was free to reveal herself to the Charter as a Knight Mercantile operative. Her former Black Cell Lab colleague, Dr. Hans Schulz had already been made aware of the operation and participated in helping Ingrid to maintain her cover until Nat's death (although rumors surrounding Schulz's possible parentage of Nat led later organizational historians to question whether he would have allowed Ingrid to actually kill him).
She aided Schulz and the KM in restoring the power of the Russian monarchy and gaining the lucrative contracts thereof by concocting a new batch of the Shambler virus and releasing it in the city of Dalcia, killing thousands and driving the Aeldrum Trade Company from the planet.
After the end of the Russian operation, Ingrid disappeared from KM records entirely, probably facilitated by the efforts of Dr. Schulz. Her shares in the expedition were liquidated and laundered through Schulz's new companies.
New Black Cell Labs Edit
Ingrid stayed out of the limelight that other members of the Russian excursion enjoyed. This does not mean that she was inactive, however. With her money from Russia and continued funding from Schulz, she continued her work on the Shambler virus, perfecting a strain which did not significantly deteriorate the body (especially the brain), which she used on herself in order to achieve functional immortality. Other resulting strains increased physical prowess and acuity, which she began using to create soldiers for a new Black Cell army.
Schulz for his part did not mind the idea of recreating the old lab, but for his own reasons refused the virus treatment - he was old and frail, thus felt the treatment was too much of a risk to take while his soul was still in compact to Aztlan. Happily for Ingrid, Schulz died shortly before Aztlan's defeat - which left her in possession of his assets. Though Schulz had bequeathed official control to one of his adopted sons, he carefully created paths for Ingrid to take overall control of the organization, perhaps in the hope that she would use it to restore the Labs and a Prussian monarchy in Germany.
Functionally immortal and in command in one of the largest commercial enterprises in the KM, Ingrid found herself able to fund and carry out expeditions seeking further secrets and power, such as the that of the Black Pyramids on New South Saldan. In doing so, she came into conflict with the Aeldman empire pursued by Mimir, and her organization has been fighting his since.
Her current whereabouts are unknown.
It is unclear what the relationship between Ingrid and Schulz actually was. It is known that they were co-workers in the Black Cell Labs during the war; that Schulz would go to great lengths to protect her identity and work indicates that they were at the least very good friends. Those who knew the pair doubted that either were particularly interested in being close to anyone - Ingrid was too secretive for anyone to guess, and Schulz was somewhat notorious the lack of care that he showed towards his blood relatives and especially his wife.
Still, there are some rumors that their relationship was at times romantic - some wildly speculating even that she had a child by him - though it is now impossible for anyone to truly say.