|Mistress of Whispers|
|Culture||Crownlander by birth, Essosi upbringing|
|Aliases||The Veiled Lady|
|Date of Birth||342|
|Date of Death|
|Skills||Espionage, Covert, Sabotage|
|Liege||King Lyonel Baratheon|
|Alternate Characters||Cassana Tully|
Belѐn Aia [pronounced bel-en eye-ya] is a courtesan of growing renown within Queen's Landing, also known as The Veiled Lady.
She serves as the Mistress of Whisperers on King Lyonel Baratheon's Small Council.
The courtesan is never seen in public that she does not have a veil covering her features. The only people who may claim to have seen her face have paid dearly for that privilege.
They would boast that she has eyes that rival the colour of the deepest oceans, and hair darker than a starless night. They say her skin is smooth and pale as fresh cream, kissed by a rose-petal blush upon high cheekbones. But no man would pay such a price and then make himself out to be a fool by claiming otherwise, even if she were plain.
Anyone, however, may observe that she dresses in exotic fashions, in layers of vibrant silks dyed any number of jewel-toned hues, coupled with golden jewelry and strand upon strand of pearls.
Belѐn Aia, to her knowledge, was born in the year 342, a bastard of questionable origin. Her mother must have scarcely been old enough to bleed when she became pregnant. Unmarried and frightened, the girl left the babe to the care of an orphanage so that she did not lose her place in service in the castle's kitchens.
She was called by another name when the mistress of the commorancy sold her into the service of a tawny-skinned woman who smelled of otherworldly spices and dressed in layers of silk coloured to rival the hues of a sunset. Berengaria was an Essosi courtesan who claimed ties to the famed Otherys line of Black Pearls of Braavos. She was known simply as the Pearl of Queen’s Landing.
‘Belѐn,’ she would come to call the little girl who helped her to bathe and dress, the little girl who had such a care with her work, the girl who she’d begin to groom ultimately to follow in her footsteps, much in the same way that she had once been groomed. ‘Belѐn’ was a nod to the Braavosi pearls who’d gone before: Bellegere, Bellonara; ‘Aia’ followed because she was one of many little birds within Berengaria’s flock, but prized above all others and raised with the creature comforts rarely availed to bastard children.
Belѐn Aia studied dance, history, and poetry, learning to read the latter that it might be as pleasing to her companion as her songs. She learned the arts of massage practised across the Narrow Sea, that her kneading hands might bring about a vastly different release than that wrought by a common whore’s lusty machinations. Belѐn Aia learned that intrigue was as much a commodity as her companionship, and that an air of mystery drove the price of her time ever higher--the mystique afforded her by simply veiling her features. Men paid for her company, her conversation, her time spent on their arm in public as little more than a symbol of their status: sexual satisfaction was never promised nor an implied part of the bargain.
As Berengaria grew older, her place as the prominent courtesan within Queen’s Landing gave way to the rise of the career of her protege, Belѐn Aia, as it was meant to be, at a time when it made sense, and not a moment before. And as any heiress might inherit their fortunes, so too, was a legacy left in the wake of Berengaria’s passing in 366.
The Blackwater Pearl, a pleasure barge docked in the bay of the same name, became Belѐn Aia’s primary residence as well as where she often entertained guests. Sāndhya Tārā, known locally as The Evening Star, a tea house as well known for its brews and blends [local favorites as well as exotic] as the beauty of the girls who set the service, came under her management as well as The Śāntipriya Baths, a sizable establishment for relaxation that offered only three services: hammam, oil and hot stone massage, as well as bathing pools of varying degrees of water, sizes, and privacy.
Employed within each were faithful little birds rescued from the condemnation their birth might have afforded them otherwise. Girls, bastards, abandoned or orphaned, without any real expectations that they were deserving of anything better than a life spent in service. But they all knew that one day, much as the Pearl of Queen’s Landing had taken one of them under her wing to shape and mold as her successor, so too would the Veiled Lady. That hope, coupled with better pay than they’d see as a scullion or the like, and a well-stuffed mattress free of fleas, kept them only too willing please their mistress.
Recent Events Edit
[Placeholder for impending hype.]
- 342 - Belѐn Aia is born.
- 349 - Belѐn Aia is sold into the service of The Pearl.
- 354 - Berengaria begins to truly focus on grooming the child to become a courtesan.
- 360 - Belѐn Aia becomes known as The Veiled Lady.
- 366 - Berengaria dies.
Belѐn Aia has no family to speak of. While most assume that The Veiled Lady of Queen's Landing is Essosi, likely Braavosi given her benefactor's origins, she was actually born in the Crownlands, a bastard child of a servant girl. The orphanage where she lived briefly during her childhood has since burned, been rebuilt, and is currently under different management, making it all but impossible to trace her lineage.