Some stuff I typed up in my free time. It's kind of all over the place, I know; I'll focus in on more things when I have the chance.
It is a well-known fact that the Taldoran nobility produces a large number of bastards. Most take pains to hide the fact, but it’s largely unnecessary, as by now such things are casually overlooked by most of Taldoran society. Bastards are given to guilds or academies to raise (or, in the case of the cruellest of nobles, merely thrown onto the street) never knowing who their true father may have been. But it is less common for a noble to father a child of mixed racial blood...
Aria’s father is a Magister and cousin to the Crown Prince. While he possesses no particular desire for the crown- indeed, he goes to great lengths to safeguard the rule of his cousin and family line- he is a schemer. He is constantly involved in courtly intrigue and espionage, presumably for the good of the realm and his family, but often to secure and promote his own position. After Aria’s birth he quietly paid for her to be fostered in the capitol’s Bardic College- and later, brought to the Shadow Schools. Since her admittance to the secretive Lion Blades, he has frequently called on her specifically for missions. Though his motives in grooming her into his assassin seem, for the most part, mercenary, he does seem to have some amount of affection for his bastard daughter, and has always done whatever he can to provide her with a decent way in life.
(Both know, of course, that they are father and daughter- it would be difficult, given Aria’s line of work, for her to not find out- but both are content to leave that relationship unspoken. If asked, Aria will refer to her father as her ‘Patron.’ She does not know who her mother is.)
Aria grew up a bright, cheerful young girl. At the Bardic College she was taught the general skills of any bard- song, dance, swordplay, and magic- but her true gift was for the Stage. Her teachers marveled at her ability to take on a wide variety of roles, to imitate people from all walks of life, male or female, human or otherwise, so convincingly! Though her career on the stage was cut short by her admittance into the Shadow Schools at the age of 16, it was there her acting skills truly blossomed. The idea of taking on the role of another fascinated Aria. There was power in it, in losing oneself in a role, of taking on another’s life for just a short while, only to discard it for another- and here she could hone that craft not on the stage but on the street, in the real world, interacting with real people, the ultimate test of her talent.
It is difficult to describe Aria’s personality because her behavior is so fluid. Years of impersonation and intrigue have meant she spends so much of her life ‘in character’ that it is almost impossible to tell whether the Aria you know is the actual Aria, or merely another version she’s concocted for your benefit. Indeed, it is likely she does not know herself, as her default reaction to meeting a new person or a new situation is to ‘bend’ herself to fit, whether it be to blend in or stand out. Those who have known her for the longest (which is a very small number of people) would say, at least, that she is generally cheerful and optimistic, happy with her lot in life, a lover of the arts, of fine food and drink.. Indeed, she sees what she does as just another form of art, and herself as an artist- the perfect assassination (she never calls it killing- ‘killing’ is inelegant and brutal, assassination is a delicate, precise art) is like a perfectly scripted play, and she’s merely one of the actors. But then again, they also speak of a barely-restrained intensity behind her usually casual attitude, a drive to perfect herself and her craft that allows her to easily become obsessed with creating the perfect ‘work of art.’