Catherine Harcourt

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Character Profile

Name: Catherine Harcourt
Date of Birth: c.1785
Service: Aerial Corps
Rank: Captain
Nationality: British
Billets: Loch Laggan covert, captain to Lily


Harcourt was a tall young woman with long red hair, which she usually wore in a braid. She was one of the few females in the Aerial Corps; their presence was due to the fact that Longwings preferred women captains. Her father was a member of the corps and served as a lieutenant aboard Fluitare, but died in 1802. Her mother had died of a fever years earlier.

Initially, she was too young and inexperienced to be leader of Lily's formation even though her dragon was in the lead. She proved to be an excellent aviator; Lily was one of the few dragons that remain in the air throughout the Battle of Dover. Shortly after the Battle of Dover, she earned her place as formation leader.

Harcourt believed that there was nothing special about what she did as an aviator, as it was no more than the men did, which was a shockingly progressive attitude for her time, though she was conscious of the impropriety of her position in the eyes of society. Jeremy Rankin, in particular, constantly reminded her of this. When she had occassion to meet people outside of the Corps, she hid her uniform with a long, hooded coat.

The one mistake that reflected her youth and inexperience was allowing herself to become involved with Jean-Paul Choiseul, who attempted to kidnap her and Lily.

Harcourt is technically the senior aviator aboard the HMS Allegiance when Lily's formation is sent by Jane Roland to Africa to find a cure for the dragon plague. She finds herself in the middle of a squabble between Laurence and Tom Riley who clash ideologically over the issue of the slave trade. Laurence is so absorbed in the search for the cure, he does not notice the budding relationship between Riley and Harcourt. He is completely shocked when she announces she is pregnant with his child.

Catherine hastily marries Riley on a shipboard ceremony. As an aviator and as such distanced from society Harcourt doesn't see the need for the marriage, though as a naval Captain and therefore more concious of social etiquette Riley is insistent. Lily protests the union, and promises to hurt Riley if he mistreats her. Harcourt vows to take the child to the corps if it is a girl and give it the surname "Harcourt".