Lady Rhiannon Ashford
I am a woman of action. But think, first, and think fast! Never act without.
Description: Fine blond hair gilding her head like a golden aureole, Rhiannon keeps her hair practically short and occasionally decorated by colored scarves when not in the field. Her bone structure is built of high, clean angles and planes, well-shaped to the point where she might be able to pull off femininity even were she to yield to the temptation to shave her head entirely. Her eyes are a greeney hazel, like the murky shade of the deep woods, beneath thin, sparse brows several shades darker than her pale hair. Tall and strong, built with a gymnastic athleticism, there is a whisper of command about Rhiannon's stride and posture that never seem to entirely vanish, even in moments of quiet.
Personality: Feet on the ground and eyes in the sky, Rhiannon Ashford is a pragmatic, vital woman with a dreamer's desire to learn and grow. Inclined to be introspective and introverted, she is not without a warm and quiet charm of her own, but it rarely shines in moments of public spectacle. When you take the time to listen to Rhiannon, you discover that few words are wasted, and that she has an understated humor and a clear sense of the ridiculous that will help temper the dire in any situation. She is fiercely protective of her scouts and of her family, and prefers to spend as much time as possible in the trees and surrounded by nature. Rather than party by night, she'd run free through the treetops by starlight, and call that the finest time she's ever had.
Background: House Ashford has few traditions its children embrace with more vigor than the tradition of the tree scouts, and Rhiannon's first soaring heights began when she was very young. Born of a cadet branch of the family that should never have expected the responsibility of rule, Rhiannon was raised to the spirit of adventure that is an Ashford's birthright, tempered by duty and strength, and the focused attention of parents and instructors that knew that a noblewoman must have a grounding in many topics in order to be successful. Many nobles are reared with the certainty that their primary duty to the house will be as marriage bait, but Rhiannon's parents especially knew that the military tradition of a ducal house would be where they would aim their daughter, especially when she saw how quickly and delightedly she took to climbing trees as a tiny child. Hide and seek in the woods was the best game that they played as father and daughter, and they would play it for hours, on camping trips that her father insisted on taking the time for despite the demands of house and Compact that should have required him to spend more time elsewhere. Rhiannon's father made the time, no matter what. And this, too, was a lesson that Rhiannon learned well. If something's important, you will find the time ... and there is nothing more important than your family.
As a teenager, Rhiannon awkwardly skipped past adolescent rebellion. At a time when girls and boys her age were lashing out at their parents and flaring out at their instructors, Rhiannon was buckling down and learning all the harder, weighted down by duty and trust and finding her outlet in nights spent running through the trees, swinging through the canopy, and learning the ways of the woods. The first time she visited Arx as a teenager, she fled a dance party to climb the trees of Ashford Park and hide there, and honestly, there are times that now, adult Rhiannon, a woman nearing 30 and commanding troops, might be tempted to do the same.
But she earned her command, her mettle tested by several years of hard service among the scouts of the woods with the rest of the Ashford tree scouts, and she earned the respect of the men and women who follow her, and with that respect, their love and affection. It's a lesson she has tried to apply to other social areas. If they respect your competence, they are more likely to recognize your worth in other ways, too.