I have not walked the streets of Petrioch since I was a child, and now it is nothing but a fading memory. But I am forced to wonder if I would be as much a stranger there as I am in Arvum.
Social Rank: 8
Concept: Eurusi Handmaiden
Marital Status: Unmarried
Religion: Eurusi Pantheon
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Brown
Description: Even in the way she carries herself, Zaina seems from a different world altogether. She moves as if prowling, always positioning herself at the edge of a room. Her grace is precise, with sharp, defined gestures, rather than the fluid motions common to most people of Arvum. Her dusky skin and smokey complexion stand out in a crowd, but it is her strikingly vibrant brown eyes, tinted with a hint of red, that truly mark her as exotic. In the right light, they almost seem to blaze with fire, making her expressions of rage something fearsome to behold. Her frame is slender, with subtle, feminine curves, though they are usually hidden by her manner of dress.
(Zaina's hair is collected into a messy, fraying bun beneath a loose black headscarf.)
Personality: Zaina is a woman of utter practicality. She understands the games of court better than she lets on, but rarely participates. She often finds herself the quiet observer, and prefers it that way, keeping her keen observations only for those she trusts. She can find herself frustrated with the lack of straightforward talk, even amongst the commoners of the city, wondering how much energy people expend in the dance of words. She sometimes feels lonely in a city of people so different from herself, but the variety of people and personalities means even she can find those she can relate to. She is fiercely protective of her charges, and those she claims as friends, and only they can see the real, sweet side of the Eurusi woman.
Background: Zaina's memories of Eurus are almost dreamlike to her, in the passage of two decades. She remembers dry, dusty streets full of danger as beggars pleaded for aid in a tongue far more refined and sweet to the ears than the harsh tongue of the Arvani that she now dreams in. She remembers the cruelty of the high born ignoring the weak and powerless, with a scorn more than the equal of the worst excesses she's seen from House Thrax. She dimly remembers turning to thievery in order to survive, and being caught in the Palace of the Waves in the heart of Petrioch, and being saved from execution only by the whim of the young crown prince Asad, who admired her courage and demanded the child-thief be spared to act as his servant. Then she remembers a night of fire and blood, as men in black armor wielding swords dark as night stormed the palace and put most to the sword, and her escaping with Prince Asad and his young wife Marjory on a boat bound for her native Arvum and the Mourning Isles.
She was so young she barely knew Prince Asad, a distant figure that sometimes she remembers in dreams, and she still has trouble remembering Eurus in detail, but she grew up in the Mourning Isles as different from all the others. Her one and only friend was the child of Asad and Marjory she helped raise, the princess Fatima. The younger woman was spoiled relentlessly as a princess, but Zaina wasn't truly jealous of it- she knew from that night of fire so very long ago how quickly the spoiled and mighty could fall, and took to educating the younger woman on just what it takes to survive and be successful with all the ruthlessness and drive to survive of someone that was raised on the streets of Petrioch. For Zaina herself, she knows that her destiny is tied to those of the rich and mighty she serves, and she is privately glad to be the handmaiden to Fatima- better to be a servant to someone ambitious and cunning than the passive and foolish, and as her star rises, so does her own. Through others, Zaina will never hunger again. Not ever.