Lady Aedin Blackwood
It takes more strength of character to withstand good fortune than bad.
Description: Light and slim, Aedin's petite height tends not to be evident right away. It could be in the long lines of her face, elongating the oval. The swan length of her neck poets have rightly celebrated, though rarely to her smiling, polite face. She is a study in shades of a northern day, her thick, wavy hair the colour of the sunshine dappling through stands of birch and beech. Braided strands form a fat plait wound-off halfway as her typical style, the loose ends curling halfway to her narrow waist. So too is the pristine clarity of her gaze evocative of the day sky, though not infused by particular warmth. Soft rose dawn graces her mouth, and her skin is not much brighter than the pearly glow of breaking daytime. She hasn't much weight or mass to her, and thus wears layers habitually.
Personality: Charming, approachable, amiable. Enter Aedin's presence is akin to stepping into the summer sunshine. She has a knack for welcoming people without so much as a word. Her considerable skill for sounding out the tone of a room or a gathering has led some in the Blackwood family to claim she's blessed by intuition. Her sensitivity is considerable -- for not reading a situation right can be a disaster. Smoothing over difficulties demands a certain special knowledge of personalities, and she has the patience to tease out exactly what she needs. Northlanders may have a reputation for short tempers and not tolerating fools, but she doesn't live up to that standard. Her silken words and exquisite manners can usually disarm southerners or Abandoned alike, and once they are willing to deal, then the real work begins.
But she suffers no fools behind her smile. Withholding contempt for liars and dishonourable behaviour, she'll do what she must to get the work done, leaving an opening for others to exploit. But much, much better to have others in her debt.
And Aedin never forgets one.
Background: Even the wildest tribes have need of gifted souls able to read the wishes stored in the hearts of men. Whether determining if a treaty will hold or trading fox pelts, that talent sometimes spells the difference between a hard winter and a good one. The Blackwoods had their reputation for holding peace between tribes of the mountains and the sea, and Aedin's mother, a comely lass with golden hair and eyes like fire, caught her father's eye. Their marriage supposed peace, but their daughter surpassed them both for grace and wit.
As a child, Aedin enchanted her playmates. Not for her, getting in trouble or torn dresses. She stayed close to her mother's side and honoured the tribe's shamans, often tending to the delicate tasks that earned her approval and favours. Let others barter in coin. She amassed obligations and debts of other kinds, wielding a silent power. Marriage offers spilled in soon as she was old enough, but she denied them all. A greater world waited. Patiently Aedin bided her time, and her exasperated father was none too willing to give up his precious treasure.
She knows the ways of the wilds -- no Abandoned turned noblewoman in the North can avoid that -- but so too she learned the quieter secrets, the way of whispers and trade. But the world grew circumscribed. She hungered for the sea and larger markets. The people in the woods pleased her more than the wild wood itself. When the Blackwoods knelt to the Crovanes, she was one of the first to brave the strange world of beyond. Her exoticism lured in the unexpected, and she started up exactly as she had before, acquiring favours and exchanging debts, building on an intricate web of social graces that made her a merchant princess in the most unexpected ways.
It wasn't long thereafter a party breezed through her adopted city, seeking someone to speak for them, a diplomat with a keen sense of value and a talent for appraisals. A wide-eyed, electric speaker, Aedin charmed them as much as her new crew laid out a fascinating future. Never one to back down from daring, she took them up, and so sails to Arx and points beyond under the leadership of Arthen Dayne. What's life for if not excitement?