Countess Ilinca Corvini
The truth of a man can be found in his questions, rather than in his answers.
Description: Like many of the Corvini, Ilinca posseses the raven-black hair of the bird for which their family was named. In her case, it falls in long waves around a proud, angular face dominated by smokey green eyes that seem perpetually half-lidded. Strikingly high cheekbones are paired with a long nose and high, sharply-arched brows. Full lips turn down at the corner, and though undoubtedly lovely when curved into a smile, they more often rest on the verge of a moue. When she speaks, it's in a low alto tone thickened by her heavy accent -- Lycene, clearly, but of some obscure variation that's difficult to place, bordering even on the exotic
Personality: It would be quite easy for those who first meet Ilinca to believe her aloof, what with her airy affect that would seem haughty, perhaps even cold, if it weren't for the fierce, somewhat unsettling intensity of the unblinking stare that focuses on the subject of her attentions. The truth of the matter lies there in her watchful eyes. As a stranger in a strange land, in many ways isolated and unfamiliar with all of that around her, she often prefers to observe the steps of the proverbial dance rather than engage in it and trod clumsily on someone's toes. Once her curiosity has been captured, however, she proves to have a formidable wit and a quick, piercing - if occasionally somewhat macabre - sense of humor.
Background: Ilinca was born to the ruling family of a noble House. The eldest daughter, it was intended from the very moment that she came into the world that she would one day wear the mantle of leadership, overseeing all that belonged to the Corvini. For most born into such a position, this would mean a life of duty and expectation, yes, but also a life of wealth and of privilege. Not so for her.
On the contrary, the life that the Corvini carved out for themselves after fleeing their lands three centuries ago was not an easy one. The new lands that they claimed on the far western shores of Arvum were neither lush nor welcoming, and for each year of living memory, they had only grown harsher and less hospitable. The time they had left was limited, their strength waning, and they knew it. And so her family had one expectation of her and it was always quite clear. Ilinca's duty was to ensure that her people survived -- by whatever means necessary.
The question was how?
Asking it - over and over and over again - soon became the center point of her life. It resulted in an insatiable appetite for answers and an education that could be called "unusual" at the very best - and even then, only if the speaker was feeling particularly kind. The problem was one to be examined from every possible again, with every possible solution considered and every bit of Corvini's past learned at the knees of the family matriarchs that came before her.
What she had not expected was the solution that they found - or, rather, the solution that sailed into their port one still spring morning, bearing what seemed to her to be half the flags of the Houses of the Lyceum. Marriage. The Corvini would return to the Compact, and in order to seal the bargain between them and their would-be liege-lords, their heir apparent would wed Giulio Mazetti, a Lycene lord she'd never so much as seen, let alone spoken to. Her feelings on the subject were her own - and entirely irrelevant. This was the solution that they needed, the solution that would guarantee her House's survival. So when her mother but the question to her, she agreed with nothing more than a long, sober moment of reflection and a silent nod.
Now she finds herself in Arx - a city she knows almost nothing about, save for what scholars could scrape together from their small library, with its books that are a few centuries out of date. She is surrounded by that seem not so very different from her own one moment and entirely foreign to her the next. And she has no idea precisely what her place is here, save that she is supposed to be securing safety and prosperity for Iasu. Thank the gods for sending so many of her kin along with her; her brothers and her cousins may well be the only allies she'll have.