Christabel was an accomplished scholar; she could speak five languages, possessed advanced mechanical expertise, and was a highly skilled navigator. She was physically inadept, however, and was greatly discouraged by her own inadequacies.
Christabel was the youngest daughter of Ulric Miller and Arabella Miller, born in the town of Darkholm. Born too early, she had been sickly for the first year of her life. She had an older sister named Mirabel; following the birth of Christabel, whom her parents called "Baby Bel," Mirabel became the one who was always getting into trouble, while Baby Bel could seemingly do no wrong. Mirabel left Darkholm when Christabel was entering her teenage years. Christabel grew into a wiry woman of small stature; some speculated she had stopped growing when she was a teenager.
At age 17, Christabel had traveled to Broken Arrow to use their observatory and try to determine why the Moon had disappeared. She repaired their damaged telescope, and while there she had also repaired their water wheel, windmill, and significantly improved their aqueduct system. In her honor, the town was renamed St. Millersburg.
Christabel possessed a heightened direction sense. She often said that she could find anything, that it was a "gift," but she never consciously realized that she possessed a special ability.
The Lost Treasure of TorlynnEdit
In 3887, Anselm Rider was looking for Darkholm residents to accompany him aboard the recently-restored Mermaid's Bliss. Ulric agreed to go, but he got drunk the night before the ship was scheduled to leave. Christabel delivered a bushel of oranges to the ship's crew, and on a whim, asked to join the crew. She intended to use her share of the treasure to fix her father's mill, pay off his debts, and buy a plot of land somewhere.
She was made the ship's navigator, and (using her special power) quickly determined the locations of both the secret butterfly grotto as well as the sunken treasure of the original crew under Captain Peg-Face. Christabel also forged a strong relationship with "Four" Wheeler, the only other person on board the ship who wasn't a gigantic, hairy behemoth. She grew especially fond of Four after she fell off the ship during the first day of their journey, and Four had jumped in without a thought to save her. Christabel took the nickname Chris (the official crew manifest listed her as a male), but some of the others on the ship called her Chip, a reference to her diminutive stature.
When a storm hit and the ship ran aground upon a deserted island, the crew was detected by moths. Four and Christabel fled; Four suggested they split up. Every member of the crew was killed except Four, who ostensibly played dead, and Christabel, who promised to give the moths the location of the butterfly home if they let her live. Instead of keeping their word, however, the moths decided instead to sacrifice Christabel to their gods. They began the ritual sacrifice, but got so drunk on fermented melon milk that they all fell into a stupor. A waiting Four, along with the butterfly princess Mariposa, snuck in at this point and freed Christabel from the moths.
Following Mariposa's departure, Christabel built a raft to enable them to return to the Mermaid's Bliss, which had run aground on the island. She spent over a week on the island with Four, boiling seawater to create purified drinking water and trying to salvage the ship. After a failed plan to wedge logs underneath the ship and roll it to shore, Christabel intended to use barrels of gunpowder to blow the ship back into the water. The resultant explosion damaged the ship instead, however, requiring repairs from a clan of pixies.In their continued quest to determine the reason the butterfly people disappeared, Christabel traveled with Four and Mariposa to Darkholm. While the other two went to the tavern, Christabel remained behind to take stock of the ship's supplies. After she heard some children singing a song about "slaves with wings" in the mountain range, she raised enough money to reconfigure the Mermaid's Bliss into an airship, sewing goat bladders together into an inflatable sail and attaching fuel tanks to provide lift. They traveled to the Swordedge Mountains where they met with Forever the dragon. Secretly, Christabel revealed to Forever the location of the lost treasure of the Mermaid's Bliss, and in exhange, Forever gave Christabel a vial of his blood. Christabel would later profess that she had only tasted it, but its effects were immediate and apparent, granting her considerably greater stamina and physical agility. Christabel was a part of the ensuing raid on Torlynn Castle to free the butterflies. When confronting King Papillon in his throne room, Christabel offered him the vial of dragon's blood, hoping that he would end the hostilities, but instead the King turned on them, ultimately resulting in his death.
After Four ascended to the throne as the new King, Christabel came with him to live in the castle and was appointed Minister of Science. She developed an aqueduct system, a steam-powered mining tool, and built a second airship that she called the Butterfly's Flight. She also discovered the erratic orbit of the Moon, recording her findings in a journal. Her health began to fail her, however, and Christabel was declared dead in April of 3888.
The Quest for the World-BreakerEditChristabel continued to occupy Four's thoughts after her death. After meeting Mirabel, Four was so enamored with her, and her similarity to Christabel, that he allowed himself to be deceived by her in her quest to recover the World-Breaker.
Unbeknownst to Four, Christabel's ingestion of the dragon's blood had not killed her. Instead, following her burial, she underwent a transformation and emerged as a terragon. She reportedly went on a confused rampage through Darkholm, looking for Four. In the end, she was found by Mirabel and brought aboard the stolen Butterfly's Flight. Mirabel called the young dragon Baby, keeping her chained up below decks and using the creature's unfocused mental powers to her advantage. Baby was unable to speak, but when she was struck or surprised, she projected a mental blast that disoriented targets. Using Baby's abilities in a controlled manner allowed Mirabel to search for the World-Breaker components unimpeded.
After Four joined the crew of the Butterfly's Flight, he freed the dragon in an attempt to stop the goblins who had declared mutiny. Baby remembered this act of kindness and returned to assist Four after he was incarcerated in the dungeons of Torlynn castle. After the goblins attacked the castle, Baby was struck by a goblin weapon and inadvertantly projected a psychic blast towards Four and Mariposa during a llenleth state, creating a temporary psychic link in which they revealed their deepest fantasies to each other.
In the aftermath, Forever agreed to take Baby with him back to his keep, adding that he would not force her to continue her existence as a dragon if she did not wish it.
Alternate Reality (Various)Edit
After gaining possession of the fate-shifter, Four was determined to rewrite reality and save Christabel from her original fate. He returned to the period during which they had served together on board the Mermaid's Bliss, in 3886, hoping to plant the seed of an idea in her head to deter her from consuming the dragon's blood. The younger Christabel didn't believe in dragons, though, and scoffed at Four's suggestion that they were real. When that failed, he told her the truth about the fate-shifter, but she balked at the idea and insisted that he stop telling her about decisions she hadn't even made yet.
Four made several more attempts, each with a slightly different approach, but none were successful. At one point, he even tried kidnapping her, absconding with her to the year 3891. She had panicked, and the world he had inadvertently created was nearly unrecognizable, so he was compelled to undo this change. He realized that Christabel's role in events was absolutely necessary and that no changes could be made to the events in her life.
Embarrassment of RichesEdit
Four continued to keep tabs on Christabel, desiring an audience with her. When he heard rumors of dragon encounters somewhere near the town of Stockwood, he and Mariposa went to investigate. They discovered Forever and Christabel locked in aerial combat, which culminated in Christabel grasping a chunk of bloodrock in her talon and thrusting it through Forever's chest. Four and Mariposa were compelled to flee in the aftermath of the battle, fearing their next encounter with the deadly Christabel.
The Veil of SoulsEdit
In 3894, Brian Devonhyre and Mirabel Miller entered the dragon's lair within the Swordedge Mountains. They sought help from a powerful creature like Christabel to help them destroy Deorwynn, who had become a deadly sorceress. Christabel, who by this point had mastered the ability to once again speak in the Common tongue, demonstrated little interest in the affairs of mortals. When Mirabel made an off-handed reference to Four and Mariposa, Christabel revealed to them that the two still existed on the ethereal plane and might be recovered. It was Christabel's hints that eventually led to the discovery of Four and Mariposa in deep hibernation within an ancient medical facility.
Christabel also gave Brian a piece of foreign metal that she wished to be removed from her lair. It turned out to be the piece of armor that Brian had lost during his time spent in the Old Age. The armor had evidently survived the centuries, endured the Cataclysm, and come into the dragon's possession. This, too, was a clue that Four and Mariposa might have survived the transition from the Old Age to the New Age.
Christabel had worn an amulet with a daguerrotype print of her mother inside of it. Four once found an identical locket at the Torlynn Fair, thinking it to be Christabel's, only to find out that it was a completely different one.
Behind the ScenesEdit
Christabel's age is not established in A Butterfly's Tale—only that she was over 18, but younger than Mirabel. One timeline written by the author provides her birth date as unctual year 3865, making her 22 in her first appearance. Her name was an authentic one used during medieval times and means "beautiful Christian." Christabel's name is thus one of the hints that the story does not take place in medieval times, but rather a futuristic neo-medieval setting.
Mirabel's height is given at 5' 2", so Christabel's height was likely very close to this.
A Butterfly's Tale also references a passage from the 1816 poem entitled Christabel by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, though Four ironically seems not to know the name of the poem.
In The Quest for the World-Breaker, Mirabel implies that she learned of the existence of the World-Breaker—including where to find its components and how to activate it—from Christabel.
Christabel's nickname, Chip, was omitted from the junior novel adaptation of A Butterfly's Tale for simplicity's sake.