Name: Lerta. if she has a broader familial affiliation, she does not admit to it.
Rank: A Zonie attracted by the incursion ruckus.
Bio: Lerta was more fortunate than a lot of pretty girls in the slums. She belonged to a gang from a quite young age, acting as runner, spy, gofer. Pretty much a matter of keeping her eyes and ears open and not being noticed. She excelled at carrying messages and blending in. Then the roof fell in. A gang war, a nasty one and hers lost badly.
So she became a small time operator. Carrying messages, picking up information and delivering word to interested parties, running shell games and the like in local taverns. Posed as a prostitute to scam drunken horny johns out of the money, she was very good at coming up with ways to avoid closing the deal. Sometimes she used an ally to bust things up, sometimes she fast-talked her way out of actually putting out, sometimes the guy was just too drunk (with her subtle help) to rise to the occasion. But she had to seal the deal often enough to know she did not want to do that for a living. She grew up on the streets, she has seen what becomes of old whores. She is an attractive young woman in her own right. Cleaned up, dressed up, made up she becomes truly beautiful. This was a problem: Very dangerous people were noticing her looks, some of them reputed to be slavers. And she noticed them. Then somebody threw her a lifeline.
Well connected, possessed of considerable material esources, ruthless... her new sponsor was exactly what she needed.
But in time of civil strife, the existing social bonds can fray and tear.
And this is a time of great strife, the Powers That Be are bitterly divided over how to deal with the counterinvasion, and have been thrown badly off balance by the military reverses and the political infighting at the top to assign blame, dodge blame, and generally improve one's own Position. The fact that the enemy is not just at the gates, but pouring through the outer ring of defenses does not seem to have mitigated the near-civil war among the Ruling castes.
In the absence of direction from above, what does a common-born woman do?
Observe, assess, make up her mind about the new players in the political game that is life in the Empire.
And try to stay alive.