Ingrid was born in rural Boldavia. Her parents were peasants, but they owned their own land, which had been awarded to Ingrid’s grandfather for his military service during the War of Wrath. Her mother died a few years after she was born, following a long and severe bout of anaemia (suspiciously common to the lower classes of Boldavia). Her father lived long enough to provide a very basic education (which of course included learning how to use a firearm, to protect the farm from wild animals), and sent her off to the School of Magic when the “illness” struck him.
Ingrid spent most of her youth at the School of Magic in Glantri City. She possessed a natural talent for the working of magic, and a particularly keen interest in the fields of alchemy and necromancy. But despite her fascination with her magical studies, she remained preoccupied by thoughts of the state of her homeland; particularly the corruption of the nobility and the suffering inflicted upon the lower classes. After completing the basic levels of study, she deferred the remainder of her studies (supposedly temporarily) and returned to Boldavia. She stayed with her Aunt Ecaterina in Rymskigrad, whose husband is a barrister employed by the nobility, though most of her waking hours were spent in the city libraries, or running errands for local magi in order to access their research. After a few weeks she prepared an expedition for the wilds near her parents’ farmstead, bringing her grandfather’s old musket with her.
Deep in the forests she sought the ancient fey spirits who dwelled there, for her research indicated they held a connection with the vampires of Boldavia. Capturing some with magical traps, she began to interrogate and later bargain with the spirits; their power was fueled by the curse of vampirism which permeated the land. By striking a magical pact with the fey, she would gain a portion of this power in return for spreading their influence. Knowing that with their power she could end the tyranny of Prince Morphail and his brood, she agreed.
Following this, Ingrid sought to acquire ownership of the farmstead formerly belonging to her parents, which she was able to do with some minor legal wrangling. She then sold the farm, using the capital (as well as her now prodigious magical talent) to buy her way into Boldavian high society (and finally pay off her tuition fees to the School of Magic). Her goal was to establish some kind of foothold, some way to get at the Prince, though she mostly found herself mired in minor politics. She did manage to make some noise, embarrassing a minor Boyar (Baron?) named Gavril Orlov, whom she previously injured by acquiring her ancestral land from him (and subsequently selling it to a merchant). However she was prevented from making any true headway, as she was informed that the time had come for her to complete the compulsory military service required of all residents of Glantri upon a certain age.