Vennessa was a hero of Mondstadt who lived around 1,000 years ago, during the era when the Aristocracy reigned.
A "flame-touched Muratan" enslaved by the tyrannical nobles, she served as a gladiator in the Colosseum and became known as the Lionfang Knight[Note 1] for her undefeated streak. With the help of Barbatos and a Ragnvindr knight, among others, Vennessa brought an end to the Aristocracy, then established the current City of Mondstadt and the Knights of Favonius, becoming its first Dandelion Knight.
Despite her tough exterior, Vennessa was gentle and warm-hearted — traits not unlike her future successor, Jean Gunnhildr. According to Venti, one of her closest allies, she also had a characteristically "Muratan" temper. Later generations admire her as a kind, yet formidable woman. Venti comments that Jean's conscientious, courageous, considerate, and kind personality reminds him of another close friend, likely referring to Vennessa.
She developed a strong bond with her remaining kin, and shouldered the responsibility to protect and care for them; especially her younger sister Linda. Having a strong sense of justice, she was determined to fight for their freedom. She was nonchalant about her imprisonment by the Lawrence Clan, choosing to abide for the sake of her people's safety, despite Venti's pleas to free her. When her kin were sent to fight in the arena alongside her without warning, she feared for their lives. And after having witnessed their merciless murder at the hands of the Lawrence Clan's archers, she was sent into a blind rage; slaughtering any enemies that lay in her path.
It was this harsh treatment of her people that made her resent the aristocracy; a sentiment which motivated her to rebel against them.
Vennessa was a woman of athletic build, with tanned skin and amber eyes. Her sturdy physique was likened to a "brick wall" by Venti, describing her as "hard as stone." As a Muratan, she inherited her people's "fiery-red" vermilion hair, which flowed down to her middle back and was braided behind her head. She sometimes wore grey earrings.
During her time as a slave warrior, she was rather scantily clad. Beige pieces of fabric with a dark gold trim formed the loincloth hanging from her belt and a bra clipped at the front, while her right sleeve had a dark maroon trim. This maroon color was matched by a glove-like garment she wore on her right hand that was trimmed at the knuckles, as well as her thigh-high stocking and various armor straps. She had a pauldron strapped to her left shoulder, over a grey mesh that extended from her collar across the entire length of her left arm; the mesh was also worn on her right leg. She also wore mismatched, grey, low-heel sandals; the right one with an engraved foot cover that looped around her second toe, while the other instead had thin cross-straps extending to crew length. As proof of her enslavement, she had cuffs on her right wrist and left ankle; the latter was shackled to a ball and chain.
Vennessa is a Muratan, and her people spent generations wandering the land. However, their people often went hungry, and most of the knowledge passed down through the generations were combat and survival techniques rather than their history. One of the few stories she did hear would be about Celestia, the abode of the gods. She was told that great heroes would be chosen by the gods to dwell with them in Celestia, becoming immortal and protecting the world with the gods.
Ten years before she met Venti, Ursa the Drake hounded and stalked her clan for four days straight, starving them. After this, her clan ended up in Mondstadt after fleeing from Ursa, only to be enslaved by the rich nobles. Vennessa became a slave warrior, fighting in the Colosseum for the nobles' entertainment in order to help her sister Linda and her people be free again. She became known as the "Lionfang Knight" for her undefeated streak, even slaying the Colosseum's previously-undefeated champion.
On the day of Ludi Harpastum, Vennessa went out to buy herbs for her sickly sister, Linda, when Venti ran into her. Having raised the ire of Barca Lawrence, heir of the Lawrence Clan and son of the city's ruler, Venti fled the scene and hid behind her for protection, forcing Barca to stand down due to her reputation. However, Barca had his father purchase Vennessa and her clan, then had her imprisoned.
Venti paid her a visit in prison the night before her final battle and befriended her. He offered to break her and her people free, but she refused, claiming:
"We must fight and claim our own freedom. We can not beg for it. We must not kneel for it. Freedom given freely is only a guise for another shackle."
Pleased with Vennessa's response, Venti left as he concocted a plan. The next morning, Vennessa is horrified to learn that she is not fighting alone — her entire clan, including children and the elderly, will be pitted against Ursa the Drake itself. Lord Lawrence declared that if she can beat the monster in battle, she will win her people's freedom. He also had his archers slay any of her fellow clan members who attempted to escape the arena. When the commoners began to riot over the unfairness of the situation, Lord Lawrence added the keys to and control of the city to her rewards, fully expecting her to fail.
Despite despairing over the futility of her situation, Vennessa refused to give up, striking down hilichurls under Ursa's command and fighting Ursa itself. Before it can retaliate, Barbatos appeared in angelic form, bolstering Vennessa's combat abilities and helping her drive Ursa away. With Vennessa's end of the bargain fulfilled, Barbatos orders Lord Lawrence to hand over control to the city.
While the manga ends her saga there, based on in-game lore, this triggered a much larger uprising throughout Mondstadt, with Vennessa as its rallying point. She was joined by the Dawn Knight Ragnvindr, who was inspired to fight against the aristocracy after befriending the Wanderer's Troupe's sword dancer, traitor to the Lawrence Clan Kreuzlied, and the Gunnhildr Clan, which had refused to follow the other nobles in their tyrannical ways.
In the midst of the rebellion, a secret treaty was found that claimed the nobles intended to sell them as slaves to Rex Lapis. Fearing for their own freedom, the soldiers serving the aristocracy turned on them and joined Vennessa's cause. It wouldn't be until generations later that historians would realize this treaty was actually fake — and yet unbeknownst to them was that it was forged by none other than Barbatos himself.
After successfully overthrowing the aristocracy, Vennessa led the city's reconstruction and established the Knights of Favonius to fight against any of those who would try to become tyrants. She was its first Grand Master as well as the first Dandelion Knight.
Accounts about her life after her rebellion differ, but they all converge at the end of her life. According to legend, Vennessa was recognized by the gods for her deeds and ascended to Celestia. The spot where she ascended at Windrise is where the massive oak tree now stands, said to have grown after her ascension.
The tree at Windrise appears to have a direct connection to Celestia, which Venti utilizes twice during the Prologue Chapter of the Archon Quests.
After Venti sees that the Traveler's presence is capable of purifying Dvalin's tears, tainted by the power of the Abyss via Durin's poisoned blood, he is inspired to head to the tree at Windrise to heal himself of that same poison.
He returns there after Signora forcibly takes his Gnosis. Because his body is created with an archon's power, it cannot be healed through normal means. However, staying in the presence of the tree is capable of restoring his body.
- The Legend of Vennessa
- Manga Prologue
- Jean, Character Story 4
- Dr. Edith's dialogue
- Master's Day Off
- Venti's voice-overs, "About Jean"
- Gladiator's Finale and Deathmatch descriptions
- Ballads of the Squire
- The Flute description
- The Bell description
- Biography of Gunnhildr
- Venti's Character Story, Where The Wind Doth Not Blow.
- Venti's dialogue in "That Green Fellow"
- Venti's dialogue in "Let the Wind Lead"
- Dialogue in "Ending Note"