Character Information Character Name: Arielle Chiaro Nickname(s): Most friends and associates call her Ari - Arielle is a name reserved mostly for stage and her mother (who refuses to acknowledge such an unladylike monicker as Ari) Gender: Female Age and Birthday: 6/2/1988; 25 years old Guild: Thieves Guild Job Class: Primary class is Bard, with some training in thief class Weapon: Usually a mandolin or some other (larger) form of lute in a pinch. Like any sensible city girl, she's got daggers in her boots, and can use them to defend herself to a point, though if her assailant is well-trained in combat, she stands little chance.
Personality: Ari is an energetic, vivacious, and self-confident person. On the surface, she is cheerful, witty, and easy to get along with; having spent most of her life on or about the stage she is quite good at adjusting her behavior to suit the individual or the situation. Because of this, most people who meet her tend to like her - if she wants them to. If she has no interest in impressing someone, however, she can ignore him or her or even be carelessly cruel without thinking too much about it, and her wit has been used on multiple occasions as an effective weapon against those she does not like. She burns bridges almost as easily as she builds them, and chooses to do so on a whim. Those relationships she considers valuable - mostly with her mentor or her network of contacts as well as her few close friends - she maintains with care, but she could probably count the number of people who truly matter to her on a personal level on the fingers of one hand (and have fingers left over, at that). She takes lovers periodically, though not as often as people think, and has never had a relationship turn serious on her. Her primary motivation is the pursuit of her own amusement, and she will do things on a lark because they seem like a good time even if her actions may wind up hurting others. She has been known to do moderately or even very dangerous things for a rush, though she usually manages to somehow get out of really serious trouble before she gets in too deep. She is fiercely protective of her independence, and if push comes to shove will always protect her own welfare first.
In some ways, she has lived an easy life - she likes what she does and is very good at it, and has never been in a situation of wanting something she can't have. She doesn't spend much time dwelling on past mistakes and generally ignores the potential consequences of her actions. Although intelligent, she is impulsive and does not always think her actions through, preferring to act first and adjust for unforeseen complications later. She firmly believes it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Because of these factors, she comes off as having a very devil-may-care attitude about most things. As an example, she likes money, but does not hoard it. If she comes into a windfall, she's as likely to buy rounds at the pub as she is to buy something impractical for herself - in that way she is capricious, though she will never let a debt (monetary or otherwise) stand and will always find a way to return a favor quickly. She consistently spends a fair amount on maintaining her instruments, which represent one of the few aspects of her life about which she is truly serious - because she likes her work and it amuses her, she works hard and puts in the time to be excellent at it. She likes the attention she receives on stage and finds her occasional admirers amusing to say the least. Because she likes her other, less legal work a great deal as well, she puts in the time there, too. She likes living large to some extent, though due to her periodic bursts of spending cannot be considered wealthy. She rents a fairly small flat, but inside it is filled with bright colors and fine fabrics, as well as certain curios which are often quite pricey - some of which she even acquired through legal means. As a rule, she enjoys things - pretty things, unique things, expensive things - but at the end of the day thinks that they are just things and that money is just money - she can always get more of either if she needs to, which is probably one of the reasons she feels so little compunction about stealing. Her moral code is murky at best, but she has always held a firm line on never causing irreparable physical harm to any other person. She would much rather run and lay low for awhile than fight someone on fair terms. She knows her strengths don't lie there, she likes being alive, and the idea of actually trying to kill someone is, to her, completely ludicrous.
Appearance: Ari is of below-average height (just under 5'4) and delicate build. Her hair is long, wavy, and naturally brown, though she has been known to change it periodically - whether for a role at the opera or occasionally just because she's bored. Her eyes are hazel, tending towards green when she's worked up about something. She might be called pretty or even cute, but knows how to play up her features with cosmetics to appear beautiful if the need arises. As her "bard" persona, she dresses extravagantly, in bright colors, lace and embroidery, like a brightly plumaged bird. She owns several gowns from one of the better seamstresses in town, and can dress up for an event in a manner quite comparable to that of a noble. When she is out adventuring, she tends towards pants of various sorts more often than skirts because they are easy to move in. One section of her wardrobe is dedicated to dark, simple clothing which she wears when she needs to go unnoticed. She knows that she looks sweet, innocent, and not at all like a criminal and exploits said fact ruthlessly.
History: Ari is the only child of a "reformed" pirate and a silk merchant. Growing up, she was fascinated with her father's stories of his exploits, for all her mother was constantly trying to shush him and stop him from "giving her ideas." As a child, she quickly wrapped her father around her finger and got her way in just about anything, which unfortunately left her rather selfish and blissfully unaware of the concept of hardship. Her mother tried her very best to make Ari into a proper lady, and she can, at need, converse about art, dance prettily, and flutter her eyelashes on command, though she always found these pastimes enormously dull. It was clear from a very young age that she would not be taking on the family business - she had no real head for numbers even then, and understood money only as a black and white concept wherein she either had it, or she did not (she usually did). Among the many ladylike pursuits she was encouraged to engage in, only music lessons caught and held her interest, although it did grow tiresome very quickly to sing the same silly folk songs with the same silly four-chord progressions over and over (when she complained about this to her mother, she laughed and patted her head; when she complained to her tutor, she was given increasingly more difficult music to learn).
The first time Ari stole something that wasn't hers, she was ten years old. She had been dragged by her mother (with great protest) to an afternoon tea at the home of a particularly tiresome business associate. Left in the company of other little girls - most of whom she found very, very silly - she got increasingly annoyed with the hostess' daughter, who was just barely thirteen and putting on airs about the new gold and pearl comb given to her by her father upon his return from his latest travels. Ari was quite cross with her and, before being called down to tea, slipped the comb into her pocket. To her surprise, no one ever accused her of anything. In fact, the comb was never mentioned by anyone again, and the thrill of her secret faded; she eventually got tired enough of pulling it out to look at that she gave it to her maid for her next birthday, then promptly forgot about it. She remembered the thrill, though - of taking something that wasn't hers and knowing something no one else knew. From that time on, she pilfered things occasionally, when she thought she could get away with it. Her last - and rather lacking in challenge, she thought - coup before leaving home was a silver and amethyst necklace taken directly from a shop display and immediately sold to obtain the money for the new mandolin her mother had refused to buy her.
Although unaware of her daughter's unorthodox hobbies, Ari's mother realized that something was amiss and at last convinced her father to send her away for an apprenticeship. She felt Ari would have no choice but to be respectable if she were sent to study magecraft; accordingly, despite her protests, she was packed up - new mandolin and all - and shipped off to Emillion to stay with Ancelot Alaire, an acquaintance of her father's, and be taken to the Mages Guild for testing. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately, in the case of Ari's mother), she utterly bombed the entrance requirements. From a practical standpoint, she didn't have much power to draw on, nor did she possess any interest in learning to hone her meager skills. To further cement her rejection, she turned in the written part of her evaluation covered with scribbles and senseless snatches of poetry quite unrelated to the questions presented. She was promptly shown the door, which fact made her very relieved, as to her mind the life of a mage was even more dull and structured than the life of a lady, and she wanted nothing to do with either.
Ancelot, being the easygoing sort, not to mention a corsair like her father, noticed her interest in music and arranged for her to study with a well-respected bard instead, considering his favor to an old friend discharged - he had sent his daughter to be apprenticed, and so she was, if not quite in the manner her parents envisioned (as he explained later, he could hardly take such a wisp of a thing to the Fighters' Guild, and she had already proven herself hopeless as a merchant). By the time her mother arrived in the city to take her home, it was entirely too late - the apprenticeship was contracted and she had already been selected for a very minor, non-speaking role in an upcoming play, wherein a crowd of children was needed for the opening scene of the second act. As it turned out, she loved the stage - the lights, the glitter, the attention, the applause - and applied herself to her studies with gusto, taking on more major roles as she grew.
After she completed her apprenticeship, Ancelot began periodically taking her on smaller missions, much as he had already been doing with his own daughter, Bella - after all, an airship crew can always use a healer. She found her stride in battle eventually, though her fighting skills never improved past barely adequate - she always preferred to stay in the background and provide support. She spent increasingly more time aground, though, as she progressed in her bardic training and took on other work for the guild. Still, she remained close with Ancelot and Bella, as well as several members of their crew, periodically helping them out when needed.
Although her parents sent along a generous living stipend, she periodically wanted or felt she needed more - in these cases, she stole, never from her mentor or the family fostering her, but usually from people of means who she figured would never miss what was taken at all. Already mixed up with bards, actors, and other entertainers, it is perhaps not surprising that the Thieves' Guild brought her into the fold at twelve. Endowed with a healthy instinct of self-preservation, she takes care to follow the unspoken rules and honor promises made to members of the guild, and is prized in turn for her ability to insinuate herself into society when necessary - rich people so often want to be entertained.
At one time an acquaintance at the theater begged her to get back some letters he had stupidly sent to a young lady he was seeing in secret (before her father could find them and raise a horrible fuss). That was the first time she stole something for someone else - for a fee. Finding the experience of wandering around people's homes and places of business unseen thoroughly exciting, she set about making a name for herself. She now has a loose network through which she receives a steady trickle of business from bored nobles and people of means needing something acquired which they cannot get via legal avenues. For a fee, she acquires these things. Because people do not know who they are hiring and because she, by appearances, at least, seems to be a more or less respectable member of her more legal profession (as far as "respectability" goes for an opera actress, anyway), she has never had a serious brush with the law. As far as she is concerned, laws are guidelines as opposed to firm rules, and she honestly believes she isn't hurting anyone in particular, living the way she does.
Her mother still has hysterics over her regularly, but her father remains indulgent, certain that she is only "sowing her wild oats," much as he did in his youth. Having married late (at 40), he is certain that it's only a matter of time before Ari, too, settles down; for her part, Ari is determined that she will settle down on the flip side of never. She knows her parents still harbor hope that some suitable and wealthy patron of the arts will set his sights on her and win her over, and based on that hope alone, Ari is careful never to become romantically entangled with anyone who has even a whiff of respectability about him (or her - she's not picky on that front). She is very fond of her parents but does not see the appeal in their lifestyle herself. She goes back home every once in awhile, showers them with expensive gifts (which she takes care to buy, not steal), and then bustles out like a whirlwind the moment her mother begins making noises about inviting Lady So-and-So and her very nice son for dinner.
Weaknesses: - Physically neither strong nor tough - she couldn't hold her own in a fight without resorting to tricks - Knows a grand total of two magic spells, which she can cast only if she concentrates and at very weak potency - Selfish - Impulsive and often does not think things through - Careless with the emotions, needs, and especially things of others, unless they are people she cares about - A bit of a daredevil - will do things if they seem like a good time, which often ends in trouble - Flighty when it comes to most things - she will quickly lose interest in anything that seems too easy, and doesn't care enough to apply herself to almost anything - Has lived in a city and had access to the resources she wants all her life - would not know the first thing about taking care of herself in the wilderness or on the run
Strengths: - A very good bard - skilled both in the stage applications of her craft (primarily at the opera theater) as well as the less orthodox applications (for use in battle) - A decent thief made better by using bardic talents (particularly Hide) to escape detection - Clever and witty - can use the cleverness to plan and execute fairly complex things (such as building up a network and reputation for her less legal work), though she rarely takes the time to do so - Good at gaining people's trust - Street smart
Plot ideas: - Get into a serious scrape which she cannot wheedle, beg, or sneak her way out of - She should at one point in time come face to face with the consequences of her actions, and have them be serious enough to give her pause - Develop a strong relationship with another person (friendship or romance, doesn't really matter) which causes her to finally care about someone's feelings/general well-being more than her own - Get her (an avowed urbanite) out of the city and make her rough it for awhile - Get involved in some massive world-saving plot on complete accident (since she'd never bother to help saving it if she knew what she was signing up for)
Writing Samples: After a night's work well done, Ari stretched her hands over her head, loosening the tensed muscles of her shoulders and rolling her head a few times to relax her neck. Tomorrow, she thought she would draw the curtains and refuse to leave her flat altogether - the show had closed to critical acclaim, and even if she did think The Warrior Queen, like all historical dramas, was incredibly contrived and silly (though not quite as silly as the bright pink scrap of cloth, roughly the size of a tea towel, which had been fashioned into a skirt for her to wear - personally she was sure history had embellished that outfit; it was completely impractical for anything, most especially war), she had to admit that the music was really quite lovely, and the (again, hilariously contrived and surely historically inaccurate) love duet with the pirate - of all people - in act three had come off particularly well. She was certain Syrin was even now preening at the pub, surrounded by admirers, and knew that if she had gone, he would surely be making grand gestures, buying her drinks, and looking soulfully at her - and every other female in the room under the age of fifty. Some closing nights, the routine amused her, but she had had a number of late nights and was developing a headache, which made her considerably less likely to be social. She had put in the necessary time after curtain, of course, smiling and flirting with patrons, accepting gifts and one drunken confession of undying love (though she was fairly sure the man in question wouldn't even recall her face once he was sober), making small talk about the weather and the music and the historical implications of the work she had just performed, charming contacts who would, hopefully, remember her the next time they had need of a bard. The aforementioned drunken would-be lover had been particularly persistent, and she had barely slipped away from him by attaching herself like a barnacle to Syrin and dragging him along until they reached the women's dressing room and she could shut the door in his face.
One by one, she picked the pins out of her hair, where it had been caught tightly against her skull to make room for her wig (the most unflattering and unqueenly ash blonde mop she had ever had the misfortune of wearing), breathing a sigh of relief as the pressure on her temples eased. The air of the dressing room was heavy with the chalky scent of make-up and the sweet, spicy, and fresh scents of flowers. Mostly roses (unoriginal - as though that "Desert Rose" aria needed any more referencing), though a few fans - likely not opera first-timers - had sent arrangements of strange and exotic plants and blossoms, artfully arranged. These were more effective, on women who went for such things. which Ari usually didn't (Fellina, all six feet of her, was a sap for fancy flowers, and her fans - who had multiplied ever since she had been cast to play a very scantily clad viera in this revival - knew it). Ignoring the familiar scents, reveling in the quiet, Ari slowly pulled a brush through her hair until the tangles were all worked out, exchanged her dressing gown for a well-worn tunic and trews, swung her instrument case over her shoulder, wrapped her cloak around her, and selected the smallest of the tasteful floral arrangements to take home - no sense letting them go to waste.
Before she could extinguish the lights and slip away into the night, a quiet knock sounded. With a sigh of regret for the quiet evening she might have had had she been just a little quicker, Ari called out, "Come in."
The boy who opened the door was scrawny and missing a few of his teeth, but his eyes were shrewd and, she had cause to know, his tongue didn't flap needlessly, which made him valuable. Still, she couldn't help a small huff of breath in exasperation. "What, again?" she asked with some disbelief. "I just love being popular."
"'Fraid so," the boy told her with a cheerful, gap-toothed grin. "Three of 'em this evening."
"And all from the same person, I'd wager," she said, sticking out a hand for the correspondence he was referencing as his eyes slid away from hers.
"Wouldn't know nothin' about that," he said noncommittally. "Can't read, can I?"
"You've eyes, and they serve you well enough," Ari pointed out.
Looking sheepish, the boy pulled the three envelopes from behind his thick cloth belt. "Same seal on all three," he admitted. "So could be you're right."
She recognized the seal instantly, and didn't bother opening the letters. They would, she thought, all be variations on the same theme - I've paid you, where is my statue? - and it wasn't as though she could go to Lady Demiel in person and bash her head against her very nice rosewood desk to remind her that doing something well often meant taking one's time. If possible, the lady was even less patient than Ari herself, and that, she had previously thought, was hardly possible. "How many is that now?"
"Two yesterday, one this morning, and these three," the boy told her with another gap-toothed grin. "Impatient, I guess. What's the fire?"
"The less you know, the longer you live," she told the boy, and tucked the letters into her vest. "Run along now. And Sparrow, I'm warning you, if I hear so much as a peep from you tomorrow, you won't like the result."
He laughed. "And what do you want me to do with the rest of these? She'll send ten tomorrow, like as not."
"There won't be any tomorrow," Ari told him. Lord Wylen, as she recalled, was one of Fellina's recent conquests; most likely, his house would be empty most of the night. A shame to put off her well-earned rest, but then, if Lady Demiel kept sending her servants down into the dangerous parts of town with letters sealed with a glaringly obvious red wax bee, sooner or later someone was going to notice. It might as well be tonight - then she could wash her hands of this whole business and make a note never to deal with the Demiel woman again, no matter how good the advance. "Pick it up from the dead drop on the corner northeast of the fountain - the one with the three fish. It will be there by dawn. You can give it to her girl when she comes to shove more paper at you, and tell her all business between you is permanently discharged." With sharp, jerky motions,she began braiding her hair, pulling it away from her face. "In those exact words, Sparrow. Memorize them."
"She'll be pissed," the boy prophesied.
"Not my problem," Ari told him. "Don't you have somewhere to be?"
Less than ten minutes later, she left the theater via the back door, hair pulled tightly back, dark cloak wrapped around her. Instead of turning left for the quick walk across the alley to her flat, she turned right and began the much longer trek with would eventually bring her to the wide, well-lit streets of the noble quarter. There was work yet to be done tonight.
Are you comfortable with the possibility of this character being killed? If I choose to leave the game, yes, absolutely. Otherwise, no ^_^.
Trivia: - She has a really lovely lyric soprano and has recently started being cast in leading roles, which has made her increasingly popular with people who patronize the theater - Being from a fairly distant part of Ordalia, she speaks with a slight but distinct French accent (think Marion Cotillard in Inception) - She is completely and irrationally terrified of spiders - She is NOT a morning person and tends to be grumpy and surly anytime before noon - however, she can easily stay up all night - One of the reasons that she could never be a pirate is that she gets seasick (though she doesn't ever tell anyone about this)
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