Ellie has gone through some rough times over her young years, and it shows. Scars of varying sizes and types are torn across her body; gunshot wounds, stab wounds, bite and claw marks, burns, and most peculiarly - more precise cuts. On the inside of her left foot, near her ankle, are nine short lines side by side reminiscent of tally marks. Though she keeps herself mostly covered up, there is a couple of scars she can't hide: the carving up of the right side of her face, her missing left eye (covered by an eyepatch), and sometimes peeking out from her bandana is the start of a cut around her throat as if someone tried to slit it. She also has sun damage dotting with a smattering of freckles, giving her pale skin a lot of texture.
Despite the scars and damage, Ellie still exhibits a rounder face to soften her and give her a youthful appearance. Her large doe eye, the one that remains, is heavy lidded and deep dark circles show her exhaustion. Her button nose has a crooked bridge, due to being broken one too many times. And her lips are usually set in a straight line, or scowling, more than she does any smiling.
Strawberry blonde hair is on the thinner side and usually swept in a braid, loose and messy to be used to hide her face scarring best she can without using a mask all of the time. Her brows are on the unkempt side, but the lighter colored hair makes them look less prominent.
She is small in stature, something that is commented on often. Though what she lacks in height, she makes up for in build. A lot of hard work on the farm growing up, and continued hard work, did that for her. She packs a hell of a punch, and can muster the strength - even with physical damage handicapping her. Due to old injuries, she has a constant tremor to her arms mostly, followed by her legs. This tremor gets worse when under pressure, strain, or exhibiting anxiety.
Ellie grew up sheltered on a farm in Oklahoma Territories with a hardworking but fair father - Tobias Corder - and a rich-blooded but down-to-earth mother - Hannah Friedrich-Corder. She was a miracle child, after their many tries and fails to have children for several years. And even then, the birth was a difficult one that Ellie and her mother barely survived.
Tobias had hoped for a son that he could pass down his knowledge to, but he was just as happy to even have one child to raise with his wife Hannah. Together, they agreed on trying to raise her as a well-rounded girl. Her mother, one of few women fortunate enough to receive a higher education and graduate from college in her younger years, did her best to teach Ellie-Mae a formal education. But, with the child’s lack of focus and wistfulness to be outdoors constantly, it took longer for her to even learn the basics of reading, writing, and counting numbers. Anything else taught to her went in one ear and out the other, not deeming any of it useful. Save for the little bit of medical training when she assisted her mother’s duties as the nearby neighbor’s and shanty town's midwife and doctor.
Where she shined was in her father’s teachings. Tobias made sure that his daughter knew how to survive on the lands, taught her the reward of hard work on the farm, and taught her the importance of a horse as a working partner. Without it, you were handicapped beyond belief out here in the Wild West. She enjoyed waking up at dawn to help her pa with chores until her teeth felt gritty from the dust kicked up and her hands raw from lifting what needed lifting. She grew especially interested in her father's lessons on breaking horses, a side-hustle Tobias did when not selling corn and cattle. If you wanted to find Ellie-Mae, the best place to find her was either near or on the back of one of the many horses on the farm. When she wasn’t busy with education or chores, that is.
Life was good on the farm. Simple, save for the occasional hiccup. They lived on territory that was as wild as one could get for Frontier living, with threats of outlaws, irritated Natives, droughts and other harsh weather, sickness and injury, and so on. But the Corder family was a stubborn lot, standing their ground and rolling with the punches received. That is, until one fateful day...
On The Trail
Her small world was suddenly turned upside down at the age of fifteen, when her parents and her home were taken from her. July 1895, early evening, Ellie-Mae decided to take a ride on a horse she proudly broke by herself, without the aid of her father. It was to go to a neighboring farm the next day, and she wanted to make certain the horse passed for a well-broke horse. Technically, the young Shire would be used mostly as a workhorse on the farm, but it's always good to keep them well rounded just in case. On her way back, a sinking feeling came over her. Smoke rose high in the distance and, as she edged closer to a nearby ridge, she could hear the war-cries of Natives and the firing of guns. Ellie knew nothing could be done as she watched in horror, it would be a suicide mission to try to ride in to help, so she made the difficult decision to turn the horse around and race away. Her father and mother would have encouraged this decision, she knew it.
Ellie had nothing but the horse that was promised to someone else - Stormy as she lovingly called him, the clothes on her back, a rolled up canvas, what was in her saddlebags, and her gun to protect her from predators - her father's old rifle. She was always taught to prepare, just in case you're forced to be out in the lands for longer. Even if you're only out for a ride around. Doesn't mean she had everything, nor was she ready to take on life on the trail by herself. The journey was a long and treacherous one through lawless lands and native territory to make it to the closest town with lawmen. Ellie-Mae struggled, not only with the heavy heartache in her chest knowing fully well that her parents probably did not survive, but with the fact that she's not taken journeys like this alone before. She knew how to survive thanks to lessons from her father, but knowing and doing on your own are two different things. Not to mention, she had the paranoia of encountering outlaws and Natives while out there.
It took her five days to get to town, thanks to a few setbacks along the way. Getting lost, having to take different paths to sneak by Natives and shady looking travelers, and bad weather keeping her sheltered for longer. Another eight days waiting for the lawmen to return from investigating her family's farm, those days spent recovering and working odd jobs around the town to keep herself preoccupied. Something her father always taught her. Idle hands and idle thoughts? Keep yourself busy. Hard work pays off in the end.
She wasn't comfortable living in town like this, not something Ellie-Mae was used to after growing up on the farm for 15 years. Visiting, sure. But living and working in one, no. Most of the time she spent it camping just outside of town and riding in, despite the insistence of several kind people. And, once her assumptions were confirmed by the lawmen - her farm razed to the ground and her parents dead - she made the decision to ride out. They would have stuck her in an orphanage anyways, and she didn't want that. She appreciated their kindness, but looked at with constant pity and having rumors murmured around you wears on you quickly. Nor did she fully trust these strangers and their niceties. Stubbornness had her deciding she was better off roughing it on her own.
The next 4 years was spent on the trail, only coming into towns when absolutely necessary - like when hunting was sparse and she needed to earn a buck or earn the right to eat paid-for food. Lessons were learned in those years, either harshly through brutal trial and error on her own or by the occasional friendly stranger that offered a helping hand. She picked up skills along the way, or strengthened the skills taught to her by her parents. Tracking and hunting, foraging, fishing, cooking, learning the lay of the land, whittling/woodcarving, shelter making, and other survival skills. Not all strangers were very helpful, however...
"Stubbornness is the Corder way."
"Yes, I know I'm a hypocrite. I don't need you to call me out like that!"
- Becomes aggressive, if not out-right violent, to the word 'Sweetheart'.
- Has ten tally marks she personally scarred into her left inner ankle to mark the nine innocent lives she's taken.
- Reality is, she's only really killed three of the ten innocent lives, but takes responsibility for the others.
- Sustained permanent damage from old injuries that gives her physical tremors. The damage to her nervous system also either makes her numb to feeling, or keeps her in constant pain - sometimes agonizing pain that debilitates her.
- Refuses to take anything 'heavy' for pain and chooses to keep herself in a constant 'buzzed' state through alcohol or chew on willow bark.
- Keeps herself covered up to block most of her scars and tends to dodge pointed questions about them.
- Has constant nightmares, usually about past events, that triggers her night terrors or sleepwalking often.
- Carves wooden sculptures to pass the time, and sometimes holds scavenger hunts for people to keep them.
- Apples are her favorite snack that she shares with horses she feels like spoiling.
- Goes fishing or sits near water when she needs a moment to breath, and needs to calm down.
- Despite her affinity towards water, she doesn't know how to swim.
- Prefers the company of animals, horses especially, and is often seen talking to them and spoiling them.
- Owns eight horses: Stormy, Soul, Rend, Old Joe, Warrior, Swift, Ginger, and Cinnamon. Also a blue Coonhound named Blue.