Virginia Dare (vur-JIN-ya/DĀR) is the founder of House Croatan and one of the founders of New World Magischola. Said to be the first British child born in the New World, and an accomplished Cryptozoologist. She also founded Virginia Isle.
Here is how the mundane version goes: Virginia Dare is widely known as the first child of European descent born in the New World. Born in 1587 in the Roanoke Colony of present-day North Carolina, Dare was the granddaughter of the colony Governor John White, and daughter of Eleanor White Dare and Ananias Dare, both of London and part of the expedition to found the colony. Shortly after her birth, Governor White returned to England to obtain additional supplies but was unable to return until 3 years later due to the war with Spain. When he returned in 1590, there was no trace of Dare, her parents, or any of the other 80 members of the “lost colony” and no sign of a conflict. Before he had left for England, White had instructed them to carve a Maltese Cross on a nearby tree to indicate a forced disappearance. There was no cross, only the word “Croatoan” carved into a tree. Since all the houses and fortifications had been dismantled, it did not appear that the colonists’ departure had been hurried, and White took this to mean they had moved to Croatoan Island. However, the colonists were never located. The Croatan Tribe itself disappeared shortly thereafter, and a new tribe, the Lumbee, appeared. The Lumbee members spoke English as well as Algonquian and had European features as well as surnames.
Here is what the Wizarding world knows to be true: Unbeknownst to Governor White, the preponderance of the 117 volunteers on his mission to establish the “citie of Raleigh in Chesapeake” were sorcerers, some handpicked by Mage Sir Walter Raleigh. They convinced White to divert the ships from their intended location of the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, and to land at Roanoke Island instead, where a previous colony had failed after militant soldiers ambushed and executed the native werowance (chief). Within weeks of their arrival and only 10 days after the birth of his grandchild, the Dares and other members of the expedition “convinced” Governor White that he alone should return to England to tell Sir Walter Raleigh of the change in location and to obtain supplies. As soon as he left, the sorcerers met with the Native American shamans from the Croatoan and Roanoke tribes, and established their hidden Wizarding society as a means to escape the encroachment of further militant and exploitative colonization. While some mundane English settlers did merge with the Croatan Tribes and became the Lumbee, the pure Wizarding families of England and those of the Croatan, Pamlico, and Tuscarora tribes (who also are said to have disappeared or been eradicated by smallpox) banded together and ceased contact with the mundane world, operating in it only through their animal familiars and astral projections.
Ananias and Eleanor were powerful mages, but their daughter, Virginia surpassed them both, even from an early age. Gifted with animal communication, Virginia seemed to be surrounded by all manners of forest creatures, reptiles, and amphibians. Often, she would convene meetings of astral familiars, calling together the totems of sorcerers near and far. Magical creatures, such as sasquatch, mannegeshi and even The Jersey Devil would also appear.. At age 11, she transformed herself into a doe, demonstrating the physical form of her deer magic. Though many see the doe as passive, Dare declared that she was a Warrior of Compassion, a champion for gentleness, beauty, balance, and survival, of living in harmony with the earth, and in upholding the traditions. She was a gifted archer and forged her own arrowheads, which she enchanted so that they would find their mark and kill a creature with one compassionate shot. At age 15, she forged four arrowheads in the colors of the four directions: yellow, red, black, and white. Marking out a circle on the forest floor, she put the arrowheads together with their points at the center and the V-shaped notches on the outside, thus creating a Maltese Cross. Speaking an incantation, the cross turned counter-clockwise, and a portal into the earth opened. Dare—like Hercules, Orpheus, Virgil, and Dante before her—journeyed to the center of the earth. There, she met Terra, the giant terrapin who holds the earth upon her back and who supports the ecosystem and structure of the planet. Terra had eight children to support the eight directions, and a ninth child, with a colorful painted shell in orange and brown, red and yellow. A fun fact: young magi being groomed for House Croatan play schoolyard games with rhymes, that in actuality repeat the house history. More grown up students are known to chant Counter the Clock Turns, or do the Dance of the Eight. In fact, many mundane children do too, not knowing the real meaning of course.
As a renowned cryptozoologist, Dare’s vast knowledge of hidden magical creatures of the air, earth, sea, and underworld helped her to create and defend Virginia Isle. She could summon creatures to her aid, and communicate in their own languages. Dare had such affinity for all living things that even the most hostile magical creatures would submit in her presence, and poisonous plants would not affect her. She delighted in demonstrating these powers by defiantly chewing arum berries, drinking nightshade draught from a goblet, or running barefoot across thorns and nettles without the slightest scratch.
Allegedly, Virginia Isle was raised by none other than Virginia Dare, herself. It was here that she was found by Étienne Brûlé, who employed the help of a magic compass to divine her, and the island's, location.
When Virginia Dare's daughter, Ophelia Samson, was not admitted into Imperial Magischola on account of her gender, Virginia Dare set out to create educational opportunities for those who had none. This venture is what eventually became New World Magischola. She recruited Étienne Brûlé, Tituba, and Calisaylá, recognizing the shared frustrations that were had with Magimundi society. Étienne Brûlé’s spellcrafting using non-Latin-derived linguistics was shunned. Calisaylá’s Karankawa tribe was wiped out after contact with Spanish explorers, and their magical traditions were in danger of loss. Tituba’s powerful magic was disdained, due its African origin. Though their reasons for creating a new institution of higher magical education differed, the four founders banded together to provide an alternative to the stagnant ideas perpetuated by Imperial Magischola. The founders wanted to create a new world of magic, one that drew from a variety of traditions, heritages and cultures, not privileging one over another.
At New World Magischola, she founded House Croatan. She worked to create a house that values bold action, tradition, unity, and use of one's resources for the betterment of all. In the house's motto, "To Dare is to Do", it lays out a guideline for house members to take firm strides forward. Virginia Dare was not afraid of danger and sought to foster a house that would similarly push forward to new adventure and opportunity.
Today, students sorted into House Croatan continue to value tradition, honor, and bold action to uphold and protect the Magimundi and their secrets. To be a Croatan means to be among the best, and they will not hesitate to demonstrate their prowess when necessary. They are Wizards to be respected, and usually have big plans that can change the world.
Virginia Isle continues to stand as a testament, home to many descendants of Virginia Dare, perhaps most notably the Samson family. It remains separate from the Magimundi and is not beholden to it's laws or edicts despite numerous attempts by the Magimundi to bring it under its control- notably by an attempted coup in 1961 lead by Bocephus Brayboy and Red Chavis. Virginia Isle is regarded as a place where many exclusive and powerful goods may be bought and sold on The Penumbra, and where strong (and oftentimes eccentric) traditions flourish.