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Arianna is one of the signature characters of Exalted, a Twilight Caste Solar Exalted.

Biography Edit

Arianna was never a nice little girl. A life of quiet marital servitude to some piggish oaf and his snotty, demanding brats was not for her. At age 14, when her parents announced that they’d chosen her a husband, she ran away, haring north out of the Hundred Kingdoms in search of a more enlightened society. She thought she’d found it in the Northern city of Rylea, which claimed to have the grandest library of ancient lore in the entire region. Arianna made her way there and did her best to insinuate herself into the society of the scholars in residence. In trying to do so, she found that Rylea was a chauvinist kingdom no more enlightened than her own home despite the treasure trove of knowledge its library offered. The scholars were too proud to accept her as one of their own but plenty willing to let her stay on as a serving girl. One even tried to make a biddable mistress of her. She told the scholar’s wife, who—it turned out—had a notorious temper and a father connected to Rylea’s criminal underground. That scholar was never seen again, and none of the others approached Arianna with similar intentions thereafter.

That settled, Arianna proved herself a quick study with as sharp a mind as any man at the library had. She read and studied in the hours not devoted to cooking and cleaning, always assuming that her intellect would eventually win the scholars over and earn her a place among them. In all the years she spent there, that never happened. Fortunately, before she snapped and made something regrettable happen to another of Rylea’s most respected men, a higher authority elevated Arianna to the station she’d worked so hard to achieve. It came over her not in a bonfire of Essence or in the heat of battle, but in a subtle moment as she puzzled out the subtext in an innocuous-seeming book that none of the other Rylean scholars had deemed important. She knew from earlier readings exactly what she had become and that the Immaculate Order’s “Anathema” label was a self-aggrandizing sham.

Despite her awful experiences thus far, Arianna intended to stay at the library for a while. Dozens of “untranslatable” volumes were gathering dust in storage there, and if she could keep her new nature a secret, she could glean a wealth of secrets from them. Her charade seemed to be going smoothly at first, but that calm was just a lull before a storm. In a few short months—before she’d had time to learn more than the rudiments of Exalted sorcery—the Wyld Hunt tracked herdown in spite of all of her caution and discretion. The shikari attacked in the night, one of them marring Arianna with a slash from forehead to cheek that would leave a fine-but-indelible scar. She overcame two of her Dragon-Blooded attackers, nearly destroying the library in the process, but the last ones survived and flushed her out into the countryside. She might have died by the roadside that night if not for the timely arrival of a Coral Archipelago junior diplomat named Swan who, it turned out, was also a Solar Exalt. He protected her and took care of her after the fact.

Her wounds were quick to heal, and as they did, Arianna’s resolve strengthened. She’d been thinking small at Rylea’s library, she realized. There were bigger cities, older libraries and more magnificent wonders out there. In them, she could find the knowledge to unlock the power she knew to be rightly hers. That day, she determined to visit them all and do just that. Swan traveled with her for a while, which was alternately comfortable and taxing. She also traveled alone, crossing paths with the likes of Yurgen Kaneko, Grendis Lam, the Shoat of the Mire and a host of luminaries, criminals, kings and gods. She eventually found her way back to Swan, who brought her into the circle of Solars with which he had fallen in himself. Since then, they’ve been able to accomplish great things, with even greater achievements just around every corner.

Arianna is a self-absorbed woman, driven to retake every right and advantage to which she feels her Exaltation entitles her. In her pursuit of that goal, she will stop at nothing short of betraying those of her associates who can best help her achieve it. Those associates currently include her circlemates—Dace, Panther, Harmonious Jade and Swan. Of them, she most appreciates the Eclipse Caste, Swan, who saved her life, has proven himself a competent sidekick and seems the least inclined to argue with her when she’s trying to get things done. Her feelings for her circlemates are based more on respect than honest affection, however.

References Edit

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