Lisa Ariadne Fey
At leaving the Companions' Guild at the completion of her training, Lisa was 23 years old. She is petite, with a very narrow frame, and despite a wiriness to her limbs, there is a frailness to her, as one who has performed hard labour with insufficient nourishment. She is loose-limbed, and although her waist is narrow, the slightness of her form gives her a slightly boyish look. Her hair is thick and black, in a short page-boy cut that flicks up at the ends due to its innate waviness, and tendency to be unruly. Her eyes are a cornflower blue, with dark, heavy lashes. Her features are small, with an overbite to her slim cupid's bow mouth, a round little nose, which is slightly upturned, and a dusting of freckles across her strong ruddy cheeks. Some have remarked that she looks slightly pixieish. Her movements are quick, filled with nervous energy and excitement, and there is an intensity and warmth to her body language and expressions, with a high level of body contact (such as touching forearms and hugging). When she talks, she will digress and wander off onto other topics, often keeping track of multiple topic threads and switching between them (it is a longstanding joke in her community that she was called Ariadne because of her labyrinthine speeches, which only she could follow). In conversation, her face and hands will perform a dance of expressions in commentary to her, sometimes rapid, talking.
Lisa, due to her Quaker heritage, will *always* show complete honesty in all her dealings; not only will she not lie, but she will not knowingly attempt deceit or mislead in any form. The nearest she will attempt is an outright, and very polite refusal to answer an incriminating question (e.g. a murderer asking where his next victim is).She is open about herself, probably too much so, and shows great warmth to everyone she meets. She is generous in her assessments of others. Being a Quaker, she will never make 'an oath' i.e. a promise, for if a Quaker says they will do a thing, then their statement is equivalent to an oath, hence oaths imply people are deceitful in normal discourse. Others tend to find her to be easy company, and a natural listener, which is why the Companions' Guild found her to be exceptional in more 'Therapeutic' sessions with clients. However, she is excitable, and some may find her manic barrage of ideas and stories exhausting when she enters full flow. Although she fantasizes being the courtesan in the one of the many political intrigue novels she has read, she may find herself ill-suited to duplicity, although she may do exceptionally well when resolving the disputes and differences of others, as negotiation and the reaching of understandings are part of the Quaker community fabric. In conversation, she is very polite, and can be witty and playful. However, when carried away, her imagination can be a little dark in its creations: small children have been scared. In threatening situations she may seem not only lacking fear, but occasionally even seeming to enjoy it (as one might enjoy a horror film or fairground ride - however scary the story or ride, one knows they are ultimately safe). She would tell you that it comes from her conviction that God guides her on a personal level, and will protect her (and that she does not fear pain, having fallen off during climbing more than once). This may make her reckless in the face of danger. You may catch her daydreaming.
Lisa Fey enjoys reading, usually Gothic and 'weird' fiction and fantasy. She also has a large collection of her own stories which she will happily recite if asked (Don't. The nightmares are not worth it). She is also an accomplished artist, musician (mainly keyboards) and composer. Her other hobbies are mountain climbing, and she has exceptional skill with ropes.
Born and raised in a small farming village (and chocolate factory, about which she will constantly enthuse about), she was raised by her Mother and the Quaker community. She never knew her Father, and those around her have been curiously shy of explaining anything to her. She senses a dark secret, and although her curiosity and imagination have been piqued, she has (at least, for the moment) chosen not to pursue the matter out of respect for her Mother and extended family. Other relevant details are explained in the letter to the Companions' Guild below.
Inspirations and Sources
The character of 'Phedre' and the 'anguissette' concept, from Kushiel's Dart: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kushiel%27s_Dart#Ph.C3.A8dre.27s_Childhood
Quaker society: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quakers
Lisa is a delicate balance of internal contradictions (between her religion and her physical feelings; between her reclusive upbringing and her desire to explore), along with her vulnerabilities and her idealism, which could be easily challenged by the harsher world outside, allowing plenty of scope for struggle both internal and external.
Letter of Application to Companions' Guild
Dear Mistress Inara,
My name is Lisa Ariadne Fey, and I was born and raised in a small Quaker community, which I'm sure you've never heard of, because it seems that no-one has ever heard of us! It's not surprising though, as I think we have very little contact with the outside world, apart from Market Day, when we take our produce to be traded with the other farmers' communities. As a reward for performing well at school, and if I'd been good, and got on with my chores (milked the cows, and the goat, which always tries to bite me, and filled the soil-shelves in the giant communal greenhouses, where we grow the cocoa pods) I would be allowed to attend the Market Day, which is by far the Best Thing In My Life So Far (although I do like to sit and read in the greenhouses, and pretend I'm in some far-off tropical forest, but I digress). there are, of course, the other farmers and their families, and the neighbouring communities, and we have a Ceilidh, and get to buy some of the things I've been saving up for, but most amazing of all, was the occasion when there was an actual Spaceship!
It was huge; sitting there on the outskirts of the market, and yet still dominating the proceedings, like some friendly ancient pagan god watching over us, or a mountain - for it was certainly as big as one: I had to crane my head all the way back to see the top of it, as it stood there, tall and proud and so shiny in the sunlight that I had to cast my hand over my eyes. I remember so vividly how seeing it made me feel, the promise of adventure, the testament to the vastness and excitement of a universe so much more vast than our insignificant little village. I knew, down to the very core of my soul, that *this* was what I was meant for - to travel, and explore and see so many wondrous things. I can't explain it, other than I know this is meant to be, and that I know this is God's Will for me.
If this was all the amazement I witnessed that day, then it would be enough, but there was to be so much more! Let me tell it to you:
You see, the way our communities work, is that each community has a nominated leader (sometimes two or three for more complicated matters), and they form a Corum, who in turn, nominate a leader who represents all the communities in our area, for there are wider politics, or so I am told, that just our small village. Anyway, at the time, the Corum leader, was an Elder from the neighbouring village, who we all called Father Jackson, although he's not a Father in the vicar-like sense, you understand, for we Quakers don't believe in priests or monks or preachers, or even titles, except as kind of nicknames of a sort, for we are all equal in God's eyes and we don't need anyone to represent us to the the Lord (or 'The Light' as we would call Him, but I digress, and I'm sure someone as worldly as yourself would know about our religion, so I do not wish to appear patronising, far from it, but alas I am also aware of our obscurity). Excuse my wandering thoughts!
So, Father Jackson, for he was a highly regarded, and worldly man, who although I had only met him a handful of times in my life, still managed to remember my name (as he does all of us), and seemed most pleased, when in my wanderings through the market (for I was skirting my way around the stalls to get as close to the Spaceship as possible), he saw me. He was taking charge of the loading of cargo to the Spaceship, and sat on a tractor, loaded with a chain of cargo trailers, attempting to decipher the scribbles on his inventory that one of our farm-boys and made. I do not wish to be ungenerous, but I would be bearing false witness were I to say that some of the farm-boys do not lack somewhat educationally: I'm sure we all have our strengths, and our weaknesses. However, I re-assessed the inventory for Father Jackson, a simple matter really, and one I'm sure he could do, but perhaps, I fancy, he was tired, and quite willing to have a 'sprightly young gal' run around the trucks, taking their weight and content readings again and correcting the admittedly poor arithmetic of who-ever did the original assessment. Forgive my unwholesome pride, dear Inara, but if I may say so, I do consider myself - at the behest of those around me, it must be said - quite bright.
Of course, I also ramble in a most labyrinthine manner, it must be confessed, and sometimes my Mother (for I have no Father, as a point of incidence) teases me that it's why my middle name is Ariadne, although I really think she just thought it was pretty. But to return to my story!
So, Father Jackson drives me into what he called the 'Cargo Bay' but it was bigger than any hanger I have ever seen; why, you could fill the space with a hundred barns! It was vast, with ramp-ways and tiers and strange spidery machines doing machine-like things in the ceiling and walls. I helped him with the allocation of the cargo to it's rightful place, and afterwards (oh how I managed to still my quivering heart, I was just so excited, yet desperate to appear mature and sensible - but I rather suspect he was not fooled) he allowed me to join him for tea in the Spaceship's canteen. The living quarter's we smaller than I expected, a little cramped even, with narrow passages and walkways, but I suspect that this must be a trading vessel, and in the interests of commerce, the cargo must take precedence.
In the canteen, we were met by a lady, of such graceful manner and politeness, that I felt quite humbled, but she made me feel most welcome, and made me as relaxed as I could be under the circumstances. She may have been of similar age to Father Jackson, perhaps in her fifties, perhaps older even, but there was something in her demeanour that was more youthful, an inner sparkle and warmth that shone through her. Father Jackson had to attend to something whilst we ate, and excused himself, and puckering up my bravery, nurtured no doubt by her warmth and relaxed nature, and delicate curiosity about my life and tiny world, I began to ask her questions about herself, assuming perhaps she was a trader or maybe even a pilot.
After a pause, which in reflection, I fancy was a moment's consideration of the wisdom of speaking of such things to one as young as I was then, she began to tell me that she was a Companion, and that she had a ship of her own, but that it had been damaged and unable to take off, and that Father Jackson was kind enough to offer her passage and even allowed her to conduct her business, if she so wished, whist he traded our cargoes between the worlds, until she could source the expertise and equipment she needed to fix her vessel. I was most impressed by this, and filled with admiration for her freedom and ability to go where she pleased, and wanted to know more of what a Companion did - I fancied that she was company for people who felt lonely on the long journeys between worlds, but I didn't understand where having a ship would fit into that. She seemed a little cautious in the telling of it, and I would say that I am perhaps a little more worldly than she gave me credit for (Me? Worldly?) for I have grown up on a farm, and there are such things of the natural cycles of life that are inescapable. When I pried more into the details of her delicate phrases, and pointed out that I was aware of such matters, she became more explicit, and explained that her vocation was to give pleasure to others in ways both cultural and physical. That she was like the courtesans in ancient history (and in some of the books I've read, full of intrigue, and quite racey at times, which I confess, I find very exciting). It was a wondrous thought to me, that one could make a living and see the universe - all by doing good and giving pleasure and joy to others!
I asked her a great many questions, thrilled as I was, and she spoke of her training (which was from such a young age! And so intense! But when one has a vocation, there are no chores, I believe) and of her accomplishments in so many things, which was quite humbling to me (I, in my naive way, had considered myself quite the intellectual and storyteller, and thought myself good with a piano, even making my own compositions). We sat for hours, listening to each others stories of our lives, and I'm sure she was just being polite, for my life is dull and bland and small, but she truly gave no indication of boredom, and was so sweet to me.
Towards the end of our conversation, I had become so at ease with her, that I felt as if I had known her all my life! I truly say that I have never met such a wonderful woman (excepting my own Mother, of course, who I love most dearly) and feeling that she was a person of the world (or *worlds*), I dared to breach a very personal matter, and as a Companion yourself, I'm sure that this will seem a silliness to you, but please excuse my awkwardness when I discuss this part, for although my upbringing was liberal (please do not consider us Quakers to be the stern bible-bashers that some may assume), there are in our community a little prudishness on matters of a sexual nature, if I may say, even though we see the pigs and cows and horses and all manner of beasts performing before our very eyes! To say, in short, that not only did the Companion I met that day leave me with the fervent believe that *this* is my calling, and that despite impressing upon you that a Companion is So Much More than an assignation for 'the act' as it would be called here, that it's about bringing pleasure to people, in whatever form, but just to say, on the matter of such things, that I believe, secretly, that I have shall we say, certain 'proclivities' that would make me particularly suited to clients with very particular tastes.. Since I had my first stirrings, I have noted in myself a certain submissiveness, a willingness to be, shall we say, *used* for other's pleasure, which I find, a thought exciting to myself. For example (and I confess, for we Quakers neither lie nor withhold the whole truth, for that is not our way, that I am blushing somewhat when I write this) there was a boy on our community - a bully, it must be said - and partly to protect others, in an almost martyristic way, I encouraged him to turn his aggression towards me: partly I liked the sense of self-sacrifice, partly, I think, I enjoyed the frisson of fear I felt when I saw him - the way my heart would leap into my throat when I set eyes upon him, and partly all the things I imagined he would do to me; the things he would force me to do for his dark pleasures! Alas, I discovered in him a softness he hid from others, for really he was very unhappy in his life, and his parents were harsh with him, which it seemed from what I could discern, made him feel impotent, weak and powerless: the bullying was his way of gaining a sense of empowerment in his life. We become more friends that anything else (although I still think about him sometimes, and what he would do to me if things were different, when I am in bed, and no-one can hear me) and I played some small part in helping him cope with his situation, encouraging him to start his own business which gave him a sense of power and autonomy. He has done well for himself, and is a kindly employer to his workers, but I digress. My point, in all my ramblings, is that I believe that I would be supremely suited to a certain type of client, that I could understand their needs in ways that others could not, for I am their mirror, in a way, and although my experiences are minimal (the boy felt very uncomfortable, once we were friends, with the things I begged him to do to me) my very nature and imagination has explored the thoughts within those mirror'd minds.
I have rambled on long enough, and although I have thought of editing and cutting out the weeds amongst my thoughts here, as I would do with any story I wrote, I feel that it is better to leave as is; for this is perhaps a better reflection of who I am, and how I think and feel and hope and dream. As a Quaker, we are against saying anything other than the whole, unabridged truth, which I assure you, is a difficult burden at times, but we never practice deceit, I can assure you.
To my point: I wish to apply to become a Companion. I know that my age stands against me (I am 14 at present) but in my defence I wish to say that I was unaware of your kind until somewhat late in life, and even then, due to my family's consternation with my plans, I would not be allowed to leave here, until now, when I have been offered passage after much negotiation, planning, and the use of all my savings. I know this is what I am destined to be, and it is my ardent hope that you would help me in any manner that you can - I would be eternally grateful for your help, Inara. Even if the rules are such that I could not be a full Companion, is there perhaps some other similar way I could serve? I have not heard of apprenticeships, it has to be said, but if there was such a thing... I do not mean to burden you with my heart, and I am sure that if you are unable to help, God will guide me by other means to what is to be. It is not my wish to apply any kind of guilt, nor responsibility, nor sense of obligation to you - it is merely an open hearted, and frank request for guidance.
With kindest regards, and peace,
Lisa Ariadne Fey