Stella is a native Austrian, growing up in Vienna for the first nine years of her life, then moving to Schattenburg until the age of 16 when she married blues guitarist and recording artist James Spencer Daybreak.
For the first nine years, Stellas life was undesirable as that of a street rat in Romania. Her mother began on the alcohol long before she was born. She had an affair with a traveling businessman she would come to know as Robert Donner, at the time knowing him only as "Bob". Bob was in Vienna for only two weeks, in that time, he promised Anna he would return a divorced man and marry her. Of course, he never did. He was devoted to his own wife Desire, and rededicated his life to her.
Stella was born nine months later, and raised by Anna's aunt Kirsten until she was three, and returned to Anna when Kirsten died of a stroke. She lived with her mother in a one bedroom apartment above a pub where her mother waited tables and often danced for tips.
Stella attended school learning three different languages before the age of 8. Spare time was spent upstairs in the evenings reading, and basically being as quiet as possible. On Fridays, Stella would seek out a neighbor "Helen Kapsburg" and spend the weekend, avoiding her mother as much as possible. On occassions this wasn't possible, she would be remanded to the living room coat closet, to spend several hours as quiet as possible in the dark, while her mother entertained men in her apartment, in hopes of finding a husband. Stella developed a fear of rats at this point, having often encountered the rodents while in the darkened closet. They would often come seeking some bit of food her mother would insist on placing on the floor for Stellas dinner meal. If Stellas presence was given away during her mother's Friday evening encounters, she faced punishment with an old worn broom handle. On Mondays, she would hide these marks of her failure to be quiet with turtleneck sweaters, and zip up windbreakers.
Despite Stella's homelife, she made the neighbor's hospitality as useful as possible. Mrs. Kapsburg was more than happy to entertain the child while her husband was often off on road trips as a salesman. She taught Stella to speak Spanish, and introduced her to the works of Shakespeare. She often took Stella to the city museums, and would often buy her clothes to wear on these weekends away from home. Stella availed Mrs. Kapsburg of what her situation was, and was comforted to know her secret was safe, and was given a haven of escape. As she grew older, Stella learned to ride horses, and conduct herself in social situations. During the weekends, Mrs. Kapsburg often addressed Stella as her own daughter, calling her Tella, and even giving her the last name of Kapsburg to keep curious socialites from inquiring on their relationship. To Stella, Mrs. Kapsburg served as a mother, and mentor.
When Stella turned nine, she was at this time, able to conduct herself as well as any child brought up in boarding school, as well as handle herself with the bar patrons, and dregs of society that would crawl their way into the pub. She had a fair knowlege of classical literature, and four international languages. She preferred her own Germanic to that of others, but perhaps she figured it was more melodic considering she spoke it as her first. She had spent more and more time away from home, and more time at Mrs. Kapsburg, however, Mrs. Kapsburg had an anniversary coming up, her husband Roland (*Shrug who knows?*) had scheduled a vacation aboard the "Orient Express" a two week trip across Europe to Asia.
Stella found herself at home, on a Friday evening. Of course remanded to the closet, she fell asleep that evening. Waking up some time later, she realized there were no sounds in the apartment. She listened for a long time, nearly hurting herself in the strain of trying to decide whether she was alone. Finally she reached up for the doorknob, finding it locked. She knocked quietly at first, calling for her mother to please open the door. Nobody was home. By this time she was sure of it. So she knocked louder. Perhaps the barkeep was still downstairs, and could hear her. But after some hours, she realized that nobody was anywhere within the building. Thinking, Stella tried climbing to the top of the closet, and escape into the attic, however, there was no heating duct, or any means of escape from the closet. She gave in to the fact that she would be there until someone came home, or heard her from below. She curled up on the floor, and recited to herself what she could remember of the Shakespearean plays she had read in the parlor of Mrs. Kapsburg's home.
Several hours later, she had dozed off, waking only by the sounds of scratching outside the closet. She banged on the door hoping for escape, but the noises stopped, and again she found herself alone. Later still the scratching noise returned, accompanied by the squeaks of rats, more than two or three, somehow she realized that the apartment held several rat families, and several managed to squeeze their way under the door to find her. Having not found food in days, the rats were hungry, and being in this part of the city, they were unusually large, and rather bold of humans, they would tolerate some kicking and hitting to reach their desired course. She fended them off by hitting them across the neck, and stunning them with a wire coat hanger, but that too became only an annoyance to them after an amount of time.
Time was a matter that escaped Stella at this point. It had been quite some time since she had awakened to find herself alone. Now she had grown weary of beating and killing the vicious little beasts, that seemed to grow, and mutate before her tired eyes. She was hungry and thirsty, and had shouted herself hoarse.
By the time three days had passed. Stella was in and out of a hallucinatory state, not having allowed herself to sleep except for that first night, she clung to a coat hangar until it dug and drew blood from her hand, beckoning the rats even further. Out of curiosity, and salvation for the girl, the barkeep inspected the empty apartment, wondering on the whereabouts of the tenant. He heard the murmurings of the girl in the closet, and notified authorities, who unlocked the closet, and rescued the child. Her mother was not found. Not for two weeks. By this time, Stella was staying with Mr. and Mrs. Kapsburg, as a ward of the state, until her father could bear the paperwork to prove his fatherhood to the child, and the proof he had paid her mother a heavy salary to raise the child since birth.
Tella moved to Schattenburg two months after this incident, not being able to leave Vienna or travel due to her being in and out of the hospital for malnutrition, and various infections that seemed to plague her afterwards. She didnt recover for the first two years of living with her new family, staying mostly in her new bedroom, in a rather large corner of the Schattenhaus. Her bedroom had a fireplace that was lit year round despite the tempreture outside. She seemed unable to warm herself, her body tempreture always too low to fight off most infections. She learned of her family slowly, four sisters and six brothers other than herself. Some younger than herself. They would come and entertain her with games and such, but mostly left her to her books, and two town children who visited while thier mother worked as maid to the home. Heinrich and his sister Elena spent many days in Tella's room, telling her stories, and helping her with studies, provided by the school in the tiny town. She grew closer to her new friends than her own family. She felt shamed by them, as her own illegitimacy tended to make her father uneasy to speak about with his wife. But her step-mother didnt seem to be bothered by the issue as others.
Desire was widely known as a gentle, quiet woman, who walked with an aire of dignity and commanded respect in her presence. She had royal bloodlines that ran far back, even to the early French crusades. She seemed to find a fondness for Stella, and had her name legally changed from Vasman to Donner, charging that she was her own daughter, and nobody should ever know differently. To Stella, it was a chance for a life untold of, save for the books on Mrs. Kapsburg's shelves. She found wonder in the simple enjoyment of the vastness and freedom the estate brought her. She spent days on end, once she was healthy, exploring the mountain on which Schattenhaus stood. Reading on the history of the Donner family, and learning of her heritage, it gave her an anchor, a place in the world where before she simply existed. Now she found a place where she felt she could grow from.
From this point, Stella had outgrown homeschooling, and searched for something to occupy her time. Never attending public school because of her odd health problems, she was many times at home, alone with no projects at hand. She began to involve herself with what parts of her fathers business she could. Since the early 1900's Robert's family had involved themselves in the entertainment business. However, it was not the usual, agent representation, it ran more along the lines of protection, and booking. Managerial duties. Donner often hired his employees from a "Network" source in Europe and North America. Whispers of mercenaries reached Stella's ears often, but she disregarded this term for the people she met. Many times they were quiet men, large build and mostly uncomfortable in a family surrounding. Small even for her age, Stella found the curiosity of these men almost irresistable, she had been used to the slobbering drunks of her mothers bar, or the distinguished starched attitudes of Mrs. Kapsburgs social friends. These men were not like either of those. They held a dignity and honor of their own, and spoke of a creedo of doing what it takes to get the job done.
In the summer, Schattenhaus would open up as a sort of escape house, for some of the artists who employed Donner's company. He would sometimes house three different artists at once, who would collaborate and spend quiet days in the east wing of the house, away from the living quarters of the family.
Stella had a curiosity that drew her closer to these artists, despite her father's warnings to leave them alone. Often they would seek out Schattenhaus as a last refuge when life as a public figure would become too much to deal with. Its one of these curious episodes that led her to meet James Daybreak. He was spending the summer at Scattenhaus while writing his second album. The first is always hard, but the second is notoriously difficult for almost every artist. Daybreak had not broken onto the scene with as much gust as some artists do, so he felt he had the time to write what he wanted to put on the second album instead of using older material. Stella found the young man rather attractive. As a 13 year old young lady, she was curious about men and boys, and spent hours with her friend Elena daydreaming about the men they would someday marry.
Stella had become much stronger than her nine year old self that found the bedroom almost a prison chamber. She made daily treks to the peak of the mountain, a mile higher than the house, and back down to the village two miles back down the mountain. She climbed trees to get a view of the peaks above Schattenburg, and spent many hours playing and hiding with her friends in the deep woods. In winters, she would ski, and snowshoe to gain her strength back. She was aware that she had been very weak, and needed to be stronger, to avoid recurring infections, and illnesses. So by now, she had grown into a very healthy young woman, agile and strong enough to look older than her own years.
She gained the attention of Jack Daybreak, and began to court him in a formal manner. Her family's approval came quickly, for it was the first time Stella had shown signs of opening herself up to someone. Although she was young, she had been made to mature quicker than those of her own age, therefore, she never felt comfortable around most. She spent the next two summers learning to know Jack, spending any time he was present near him, learning music as well, and the art of managing a career. Her father showed her the intricasies of entertainment management, and found her highly adept at it. She was allowed to move in more quickly than usual into the family business, taking on the smaller tasks of assigning various protectors to their respective charges. Booking flights, and working with studio's to gain time in studio for the various artists. By the time she was sixteen, Stella had fully concentrated her time and effort into the family business. She spent some time in Berlin, where one branch of the company was located, working to move national music entertainers into the European and International markets.
At this time, Stella felt rather alienated by her new family. Still new to her, because she didnt feel a connection with them. She felt seperated by different cultures, values and morals. She had grown to value life in all its intenseness, and understand the fragility of the moral soul of a person. She had also discovered she had a strange ability to change her own body heat. She had also discovered inadvertantly that she could raise it to extreme levels or lower it to extremes and affect the things around her. She kept this information to herself, unsure of what her family's reaction would be to such a strange ability. For some time, she disregarded it as a trick much like being able to wiggle your ears, or cross your toes.
It was shortly after her 16th birthday, that Jack Daybreak asked Stella to become his wife. He told her he had found her as unique and rare a person anyone could find, and didnt want to be forced to wait much longer without her. Together, they went to her family about this request, and were granted permission to marry in the early spring.
On March 4, 1988 Stella Donner, became Stella Daybreak, wife of James. It was then, she was told the two of them would live in New York City, New York. The United States was not a place Stella ever thought about as a travel destination, mostly for the fact that as many languages she had learned over the years, she always found English extremely difficult, and intimidating. To her, it was a harsh language that made very little sense. Therefore, her honeymoon trip with her new husband began very difficultly, and only got worse.
Jack had planned thier honeymoon in his native Atlanta, Georgia. Assuring Stella that he would quickly get her used to the speech and language of Americans. She accepted this reasoning on the word of her husband, and they arrived in Atlanta a day later. Her first impression of American life was that of a rushing, impatient people, living too fast, and dying too young. It seemed to her, that they were unable to cope with anything different than what they expected from others. Unable to be patient with her for her slow understanding of their language, body and spoken. She quickly felt isolated, even before the car pulled up to the Daybreak home. Unlike her first American experience, meeting Jack's family was something Stella enjoyed, and considered a moment in her life she wont easily forget. They were warm and accepting of her, and even attempted communication with her in her own language, which led to some misunderstanding and laughter. She found his parents to be perfect mirrors to the young man she had grown to love. They had a gift for happiness that she could only compare to that of the now dead Mrs. Kapsburg of her early youth.
Stella had enjoyed Jack's family enough that she talked him into moving closeby less than two months later. She maintained a clean home while he traveled in promotion of his fourth album, which set his fame in the united states and in Europe. By this time, Stella had learned enough of the English language to be able to at least communicate her needs to others. She found that it wasnt much easier a language to learn even after months of living in the country. She had found a block of logic on the cultures part. They used language in slang, and misspoke words too often for her understanding. Late in the summer, the Daybreak family held a reunion, bringing in several families from across the country, she and Jack attended. Jack entertained while she helped in the kitchen. Known to only herself and Jack, she was four months pregnant at this time.
Late in the second evening, Stella and Jack sat with the family in the expansive back gardens, listening to others telling stories of their lives, and exploits. Seventeen children played together not far away in a large sand field Jacks father had made for his sons years ago. By this time, Stella had a grip on the language, and was able to follow along with most conversations without much trouble. She leaned onto her husband while the sun set in the sky, when she felt something tickling her neck, looking over, she watched one of the children place a pet rat on her shoulder, either as a prank, or as an introduction. Stellas fear was fire in her stomach, and she rose from her chair with a screech, the rat fell from her shoulders burned to death, she noticed the smell of burning flesh shortly before she passed out from the fear of the rodent.
She spent the next two days in bed, an infection had taken to her lungs, and being pregnant, the doctor ordered her to be still. She never offered, nor was asked to explain the death of the rodent. In fact, she spoke very little for several days after, a bit shamed over the entire incident, she stayed away from the family, and her husband. But things did manage to settle themselves down, as they always do, given time. Two more months went by without much incident, but during her sixth month of pregnancy, her body began to reject the child growing within, and she had a miscarriage.
This took quite a bit of time to recover. Having lost a child, Stella felt she was the cause, and became afraid to speak of her suspicions to Jack, having overheard him once speak of Mutants, and his distaste for them. Eventually, he would have to learn about her own genetics, but directly after a miscarriage, she neither had the nerve or strength to tell him. Stella fought a depression state back by spending time in the countryside, riding, and walking. She avoided contact with anyone save for nights with her husband. Much of her time, she was learning about the mutant condition, realizing she was part of this "race" of people. She learned of those scientists who studied genetics and mutagenetics and got in contact with them, she allowed doctors to test her, without her husbands knowlege, for the cause of the miscarriage, learning her body tempreture had been kept too low for the child to survive nine months in the womb, she was even more afraid to tell her husband of this fact.
In this area of the world, a mutant by the name of Magneto was making his name known to all for his powerful speeches on mutant rights, stirring the human population to anger on occassion, she watched as the same hatred people held for each other began to take focus on her own group of people, mutants. She began to fear being around people even more. When he noticed Stella was not recovering from her "depression" , Jack offered to allow her to spend a few weeks back home in Austria. So she did. She spent the entire time of her vacation out in the forests of Schattenburg, learning to use various weapons. Afraid of humans, she was becoming adept at learning self defense. She had hired one of the protectors from the "Network" to teach her to defend herself, confiding in him her condition. He taught her to use a staff, and fire a rifle with fair accuracy, he trained her for three months in acrobatics, shooting, and learning to become more stealth in her approach to situations. After her vacation, she returned home again, more confident and less afraid. Knowing she could defend herself in a situation, she was more bold around strangers, and even began to take classes in flight school, wanting to share her life more fully with Jack, she asked to be able to fly him to his destinations. Air travel had always facinated Stella, and she knew she would be adept at it, having a natural knack for mechanics, and more easy around engines than people.
Stella's marriage to Jack was rather uneventful for the most part. He asked that she didnt speak of her being a mutant once finding out about it over a late evening dinner in Liepzig. She agreed, but felt more muted by this request. She had begun to learn she could project her tempreture change, by the feel of the flow which came to her from somewhere underneath her. The scientists she had seen quietly years earlier, had said she most likely utilized energy from the earth, or from the air around her, and converted it.
Stella spent her years at Jack's side. Although they never played out the normal husband and wife roles in that settling down, and becoming strong members of the community, they were devoted to one another. Stella depended on Jack for many things, she allowed him to control most aspects of their life, while she worked in managing his career. His band members served for friends, and she piloted the aircraft when necessary. She felt as though these things made her feel needed and wanted. She was integral in his career, producing his last two albums, and learned to play various instruments which she used on stage in his band. She never considered herself a musician, and allowed him to lead her through the various needs he had.
During off times, when Jack wasnt working on an album, which became more open after the kickstart of his career, Jack and Stella became involved in several charity functions, performing, and working for homeless shelters, childrens' hospitals, and cancer centers. Stella had encouraged this as more for herself, and his relaxation, which he finally admitted did do him good. Jack obliged her wishes without complaint, so their holidays were always filled. They didnt return to Austria very often. Stella felt alienated from her family, for the same reason she didn't really feel she fit in with them in the first place. Instead of dwelling upon it, she placed her energy into something to make others happy. It was a value that Jack seemed to tout about her, he was always complimentary of her, and never allowed anyone to speak ill of her. She was very hard to take a compliment from anyone other than him, and had problems with her own self-esteem, so Jack took it upon himself to quietly boost it.
Seven years after their wedding, Stella and Jack were known in their social circles as a very tight couple. They managed to laugh, and be happy even when times were rough, and finances were low. They always managed to bounce back. Holidays were never spent at home. There was always a social engagement, or charity job to be done. So it was no wonder they weren't home the evening of December 29, instead they were at a pre-New Year's post-Christmas party at one of Jack's friend's home. They came home near midnight as usual, to find the front door still locked. Opening the door, both were still mildly inebriated, and talking about plans for the next night. The foyer was dark, which was unusual, and Stella took notice, accusing Jack of forgetting to turn the light on for their homecoming.
diregarded the accusation. Warning her to stay in the foyer, he wanted
to check the house. Stella waited. Ten minutes passed and Jack finally
reappeared in the foyer, shrugging. Nobody had been found. Nothing had
been disturbed. He admitted that perhaps he did forget the light. A flicker
out of the corner of Stella's eyes told her someone was in the house. She
had just enough time to turn her head completely towards the movement when
she saw a man with a gun exiting from the coat closet. His arm moved up,
and fired a shot. Stella had no time to react before three more shots were
fired. She felt a small thump in her stomach area, but didnt think about
it much as she dived for her husband who lay on the floor, with one bullet
wound to the head.
Recovering from her own injuries for two months, she found herself back into the hands of her father. Stella had been overcome in a deep depression. She spoke to noone, didnt accept visitors, and never left the room at the rented house her father had gotten when he heard of the murder. Her needs were taken care of by her father, and his wife. But eventually Stella felt restless. She needed something to do, take her time to find a new way to live her life. She knew she could never go back to the way things were while married to Jack, despite the rather large bankroll he left her. The music company he had built with his best friend. She owned several stocks. Interests in companies. Stella placed all of it in her fathers hand, asked him to set up a foundation in Jack's memory, and left New York City. Stella traveled for a while, ending up in Dallas, Texas, working for a small courier company, shipping back and forth cargo to Houston.
In the few months Stella worked on this shipping route, she got used to being called by a new name "Tella". It suited her that she had put her old life away, and was working again, to rebuild. She realised thatno matter what she was going to go through in her life, she would survive it. It wasnt something that she necessarily wanted. It was merely a fact. She had learned to live. And she had learned to rejoin the world even through the worst problems. Nothing was quite so terrible as to rip her completely away. Facing this thought, Tella knew there was more for her. She looked into government work. She felt her talents were going to waste, as well as a good opportunity to begin again. However, because of her foreign status until marriage, she was unable to join the service.
went to work doing some contract skills for NASA, everything from engine
design, to test flights, to arial clearance. It was a thrill for her to
obtain a position of that level, and a validation of her skills. She only
worked a few weeks before being approached to work with a paragovernmental
organization. Utilizing her mutant abilities to help bring to an end mutant
terrorist acitivity. Although she still heeded Jack's word, she always
felt he was wrong in accusing her of having Satan's gift, and set out to
prove it to herself. She accepted the invitation to be a part of Overpower
and served it in the best capacity she could. As pilot and mechanic for
their vehicles, she could easily avoid having to socialize with most other
members, and still apply herself. She was still slightly living in a shock.
Having completely changed her life, she was a bit awkward among others.
Those who grew up in a different culture, and almost what seemed to her
another world all together. She had been so devoted to her life before,
and so closed in, she had become completely oblivious to the world around
After joining, Tella worked to try becoming more open, more accepting of a different way of living. She met Del Perez, a Puerto Rican man freshly out of the Marines. She would grill him about his military, and his views of the world. Easily becoming intrigued. He was very much like those men of "The Network." Tella and Del grew close. Sharing their waking moments together. But naivity and a general crushing fear of losing him led her to leave him alone about questions haunting her. Why he would become completely silent on certain subjects of mercenary work. Why he would have nightmares so violent he often found himself flinging pillows and blankets across the room in a fit. But soon his nightmares died down, and asked Tella to move the relationship to a new stage. Agreeing, more out of fear of losing another person in her life, than any sense or need for marriage, Tella moved into a larger suite with Del. They fought together in this new team for almost six months as a couple. Tella became more accustomed to American ways, and improved her speech with the use of her friends and co-workers. She helped to form the "Coalition for Mutant Rights" under the Overpower label. It was a governmental lobby group, which she quickly abandoned at the behest of her family. Shortly after the start of fall. Tella woke up and found Del gone. He never returned to Overpower, sent a letter, called or in any way sent information on his whereabouts, or safety.
Tella again found herself crushed under the weight of dispair. Overpower disbanded due to lack of funds, and she retreated again for nearly a month before being approached by a man, Richard Arcadia. He asked her to lead a project he was working on. A school and training program for his corporation. He asked her to form the staff and lead the school into being one of the nations top training facilities in science, and other matters. Students would graduate with degrees, and allowed to work their way into higher spots within Arcadia Enterprises in their chosen fields. The difference being that Arcadia would not only accept mutant enrollment it would encourage such.
Tella loved the idea, she would have something to pour her concentration into, and put her talents to good use. She formed her staff from those she had previously worked with, and big names in fields of genetics, and scientists, eager for the opportunity to pass their knowledge along to the next generation of great scientists, and world leaders. The problem came with the idea that there were mutants enrolled. Tella really hadnt noticed how fervent the hate for mutants was until the first riots on campus, taking her by surprised, she watched two of her own students perish from her lack of preperation. She remedied this by building security up from what she had learned from Overpower "When you cant do something yourself. Ask someone who can." She invited "Fuz Kewlblade" to lead up her security forces and called upon the resources of "The Network."
Responding to her call, Sam "Bolt" Otto took the position of Student Affairs co-ordinator. His primary mission: To help train the students to defend themselves against a new threat "Overkill" A monstrous re-incarnation of her former lover, Del Perez. Perez had been found near death by Richard Arcadia himself, and was repaired with cybernetics. Perez had gone mad from the changes made in him, and focused his anger, and hatred on Tella and her students. A semblance of his former self.
Again, Tella found herself admiring this new "protector" he was quiet, assertive, and in no need of approval, or lead. She valued his presence. She knew if she failed the students, someone would be able to keep them safe. Facing Overkill was not only a test of her strength, and bond, but a test of her resolution to change.
She was reminded constantly of her personal weaknesses, and faced complete humiliation when her fear of rats brought out a panic in her in front of Otto. Surprised to find he neither held it against her (at the time), nor placed too much emphasis on this weakness. Once again, she found herself leaving her living quarters for that of her interests, but not for the sake of a bond, which apparently was growing, but for the sake of interests shared. In time, feelings would grow from her. She found herself relying on this new partner for his steady hand, keeping her steady.
Together, Sam and Tella formed a force within Arcadia, driving in the feeling of family, and strengthening their numbers with a bond unlike anyone had seen outside their own families. They took the school into new directions focusing on personal empowerment, instead of power itself. That is where they are now. That is where she is now. Working for a better tomorrow.