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Alianne of Pirate's Swoop

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Alianne Crow
Aly
Tortallan character
Biographical information
Nickname Aly
Aliases Aly Homewood
Born 445 HE[1]
Died
Race
Nationality Tortallan (former),
Copper Islander
Title
Physical description
Gender Female
Height 5'6"
Weight
Hair Reddish blond
Eyes Hazel with green
Gift
Magic Sight
Family information
Ancestors Fern, Ilony and Rebakah Cooper, Lionel of Trebond
Grandparents Alan of Trebond (maternal grandfather), Marinie of Tasride (maternal grandmother,) Eleni Cooper (paternal grandmother), Unknown biological grandfather, Myles of Olau (adoptive grandfather)
Parents George Cooper, Alanna of Pirate's Swoop and Olau
Siblings Thom and Alan of Pirate's Swoop
Husband Nawat Crow
Wife
Lover
Children Ochobai
Ulasu
Junim Crow
Descendants
Other Thom of Trebond (uncle, deceased)
Rispah Cooper (second cousin)
Coram Smythesson (second cousin through marriage)
Jonthair
Alinna
Thomsen
Mylec
Daran
Liam
Thayine
Rose
Elenna
Buran of Trebond (third cousins),
Affiliation
Rank Slave (462 HE)
Servant (462 HE)
Spymaster (since 463 HE)
Teacher
Student/s
Position
Occupation Spymaster of the Copper Isles
Affiliation Copper Isles
Dovasary Balitang
Balitang family
Raka conspiracy
Raka rebellion
Trebond
Pirate's Swoop
Tortall
Bibliographical information
First mentioned Wild Magic
First appeared Trickster's Choice
Last appeared '
Latest appearance Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales
Alianne Crow, born Alianne of Pirate's Swoop and nicknamed Aly, was the only daughter of Alanna the Lioness and George Cooper, the Baron of Pirate's Swoop and the unofficial spymaster of Tortall. As such, Aly was born a Tortallan noblewoman to a very powerful family with very powerful connections, with King Jonathan IV and Queen Thayet I as a few of her godsparents. She was kidnapped when she was sixteen and taken as a slave to the Copper Isles, where she became entrenched in the raka conspiracy, a group dedicated to the removal of luarin oppressors. She went by the alias Aly Homewood, so as not to tie her origins back to some of the most important nobility of Tortall. Aly is descended from House Trebond, a family that is listed in the Book of Gold—which means it goes back more than four hundred years. Because one of Prince Baird's daughter's married Lionel of Trebond, a presumed ancestor of Aly, she is also related at least distantly to the Conté family, the ruling House of Tortall.

After succeeding in putting Dovasary Balitang on the throne in 463 HE, Aly became spymaster for the Copper Isles and Queen Dovasary. She married Nawat Crow and had triplets with him.

Biography

Early life

Aly was born in 445 HE as the twin sister of Alan and younger sister of Thom of Pirate's Swoop. Her parents are Alanna of Pirate's Swoop and Olau, the famed King's Champion of Tortall, and George of Pirate's Swoop, the assistant spymaster. Alianne (or Aly as she is called by her family and friends) is named after Lianne of Conté, the wife of King Roald I of Conté and the mother of Jonathan IV. Her godsparents are King Jonathan and his wife, Queen Thayet, as well as Lady Cythera of Naxen. Because Alanna was often called away to fight for the Crown, Aly and her brothers didn't see that much of her. Instead they developed a close relationship to their nurse, Maude Tanner. Aly, in particular, had an aptitude for her father's work and he taught her all he knew. When she was younger, he made it a game and he even gave her a book titled A Workbook for a Young Spy, which he wrote himself, for her sixth birthday. Aly was also quite good at learning foreign languages and George sometimes even took her with him when he went to meet his contacts.

However, this changed when Aly was about twelve years old. She had accompanied her father to meet with a spy when they were attacked. Although Aly "handled herself very well, [...] all [George] could think of was that he had put her in harm's way." After that George started to keep Aly in the background, although Aly herself wasn't happy with this[2].

Slave and servant with the Balitangs

Kidnapped by raiders

When Aly returned from a month-long visit with Corus relatives to her father in spring of 462 HE, she tried to convince him to make her a spy, but was denied—she had already attempted to convince him to let her work as a spy several times before—because it would be too dangerous, and neither of her parents were willing to risk her life in that manner. Aly passed time by helping George with paperwork until he was called away. Aly's mother returned soon after for a break from the Scanran War and decided to make Aly her new "project". She claimed that since her daughter was sixteen, she should know what she wanted to do with her life. Aly said that her occupation was to have fun, as she said someone needed to do it. This did not help with her mother. When Aly broached the subject of espionage, Alanna said no, saying that it was dangerous and not suitable work for a noble girl.

Aly decided to set sail, to "give her parents some alone time" but in reality, did not want to be bothered by her mother. This plan was foiled when she was captured by pirates, however, and made a slave. Aly made herself appear undesirable, notably by breaking her nose in a scuffle for food with fellow slaves, so as not to be sold to somebody who would only want her to warm his bed. As such, nobody purchased her, and in an attempt to get rid of her, the slave seller gave her as a gift to the Balitangs in the city of Rajmuat.

Slave in Rajmuat

Aly began as a door maid, and plotted her escape, using materials she had gathered to create lock picks. Her plan changed after a visit late at night by Prince Bronau Jimajen, who informed her masters, Duke Mequen and Duchess Winnamine, that they had fallen out of favor with King Oron. They had to give him a large gift of gold and escape in exile to Lombyn Island, where they owned Tanair Castle. They informed their slaves and servants that they would not be able to take all of them, and the ones they didn't take would be sent to good homes. When Aly was being looked at by a magical examiner, the god Kyprioth took over his body to speak with Aly. He made a wager with her: keep the children of the Balitang family alive through the end of the summer, and she would be sent home. He also agreed to talk to Aly's father about her becoming a field agent. If Aly lost, then she would have to serve him for an entire year. Kyprioth (the notorious raka trickster god) had stolen his brother's appearance and told Mequen and Winnamine that he had chosen Aly as his messenger, and that they would come to no harm if they listened to her advice. As the duke and duchess now believed Aly to be Mithros's emissary, they listened to all she had to say, and took her to Tanair Castle with them.

Tanair Castle on Lombyn

Aly spent the summer getting to know the family, especially the two oldest girls, Sarai and Dove. She also learned the ground around Tanair and got to know the members of the raka conspiracy in the Balitang household. Aly soon became part of the conspiracy, giving advice to them and getting help from them in return. Thus she was provided with better weapons and Junai Dodeka was appointed her bodyguard. Aly also tried to get a mage for Tanair, because the only mage there was the healer Rihani. However, this proved to be difficult because the mage of Pohon, an all-raka village, disliked any luarin. This mage was Ochobu Dodeka, Ulasim's mother. With the help of Kyprioth, Aly eventually succeeded in convincing Ochobu to come to the castle and help in the plot to bring Sarai to the throne.

Kyprioth brought Aly on a number of dream travels. He brought her to witness the deaths of King Oron and later King Hazarin. She was alerted to Prince Bronau's treacherous plot when she saw him attempt to kidnap the young King Dunevon, an attempt which was unsuccessful. During one of these dream travels, Mithros and the Great Mother Goddess were alerted to Kyprioth's actions. They were angry and questioned him. Aly stood up for him to the great gods and just told them an aspect of the truth, as gods can see lies. The Great Mother, knowing who Aly was, pointed out that Lady Alanna was a devout worshiper of the Great Mother. Other dream visits were more to satisfy Aly's nostalgia. Kyprioth brought her to see her mother on the Scanran warfront during the Scanran War. Later, Kyprioth brought her to see the naming ceremony of Sarralyn Salmalín, among other dream visits.

Towards the end of the summer, Bronau arrived in order to try to force Sarai's hand in marriage. By this time, the Balitangs were aware of the enormous debt that Bronau was in, and also that Bronau had attempted to kidnap the young king, Dunevon Rittevon, in order to gain more power to the throne. Prince Bronau killed Mequen Balitang in a fight to try to force Sarai to agree to a betrothal. Sarai herself killed Bronau by using the fencing lessons that she had taken earlier. Later, Prince Rubinyan, Bronau's brother, who was also regent to the present king, arrived to let the Balitangs know they were pardoned and were able to return to Rajmuat. Winnamine requested they were allowed to stay through the winter, and it was agreed that they would return in the spring.

By now, George had found Aly and wanted to take her home. She stayed with the family, however, since she had gotten attached to them. George made sure to help Aly in her endeavor, and sent the conspiracy a very large monetary gift. It worried the conspirators, as they thought that if Tortall knew about the rebellion, then the Rittevons would as well. Aly assured them that this was not the case.

Head of the raka conspiracy

Return to the capital

In the winter, Aly helped train the raka in spy work. When they sailed to Rajmuat in the spring, they noticed that it was far more somber and than two luarin nobles had been executed. Aly met Nuritin Balitang, the girls' great-aunt, and thought she was impressive.

Upon their return to Rajmuat, she and her fellow conspirators worked hard to put a half-raka queen on the throne of the Isles. For this she infiltrated Topabaw's network of spies and finally even managed to get him killed by the regents. After Sarai eloped with Zaimid Hetnim, Aly convinced Kyprioth and her fellow conspirators that Dove would be just as good as their queen as Sarai. The conspiracy eventually managed to overthrow the luarin regents and put Dove on the throne. Afterwards Dove made Aly her spymistress. Aly and Nawat eventually married and had triplets: Ochobai, Junim and Ulasu Crow, all three named after after the deceased members of the Dodeka family, who had died during the final attack on the Grey Palace. However, because it brought bad luck according to Copper Isle custom to name a child after a dead person, the names were slightly changed. Aly didn't know what to expect and was even terrified that she might produce eggs. Thus she demanded that Nawat was there when her time came, to "have an expert on hand".[3]

Physical appearance

Her hazel eyes were said to resemble George's, though with more green than his. Like Alanna, she had a small and delicate nose, with reddish blond hair[4]. During her time at Tanair Castle, her hair was short, described to fit her head like a helmet, and she grew leaner. From her time in the slave market she got a scar over her eyebrow and her nose showed signs of a break due to not being healed properly. Aly wasn't tall with only five feet six inches of height[5].

Personality and traits

Aly took after her father in his trickster-like ways. She was very clever and enjoyed using her mind. George said in spring of 462 HE that Aly "...had an aptitude for codes and translations since she was small, regarding them as games she wanted to win."Aly's father taught her codes, lockpicking, investigating, how to pick pockets, lipread, track and wield a knife among other skills necessary for a spy.

Even though she understood that she needed to be detached in order to see the mission through—as it was the kind that would take a lot of deaths from either side—Aly was also very compassionate and empathetic, even when she didn't want to be. She would see this as a mistake as it was happening, as spies cannot afford to like the people they work with and especially not potential threats and enemies, but was unable to end that part of her humanity.

She also had a very wry, sarcastic wit that she used often and was very theatrical.

Skills and abilities

Aly is one of the few people in the Eastern Lands with the Sight, a type of magic that can sense lies, and can even further the normal sight of the user. It is stronger than her father, George's Sight, as it was enhanced by her mother's very strong Gift. With it, she can see sickness, godhood and divinity, pregnancy, lies, and more. She can also see close and exacting details from very far away.

Because her grandfather and father are Tortall's spymasters, Aly has learned how to code and decode documents, the political situations and many different countries, and the learning of many languages, including Kyprish. She also knows how to pick locks and use daggers, as well as the ability to make it look like a place she searched earlier is untouched. She can also fight unarmed, but prefers the use of daggers, just like her father. She is also an exceptional liar, and understands that the best lies are those that are made up of mostly the truth and have severe omissions.

She is incredibly smart and underhanded, and understands plenty of things going on around her. She is very knowledgeable politically.

Relationships

Family

Alianne actually has very few blood relations, those being her mother, Alanna, her father, George, her brothers, Thom of Pirate's Swoop and Alan, and her grandmother, Eleni Cooper; though some may count Halef Seif as one too, because he performed the blood-sharing ritual with Alanna. Her cousin Rispah Cooper has several children that are also blood relations, who are the new Trebond family.

Baron George of Pirate's Swoop

George, born as a commoner and only later in life made a baron by the King, was Aly's father. Because her mother was not much around in her childhood Aly was closer to her father, learning the work of a spy from him. They were also close in character, because both enjoyed playing games and tricks of the mind.

Alanna of Pirate's Swoop and Olau

Alanna was Aly's mother. She was a famed personality in Tortall, being the King's Champion and known throughout the Eastern and Southern Lands. As such she was not around much while her children grew up. Whenever she was at home Alanna tried to keep her hands busy with a "project". Even when Alanna was at home she and her daughter didn't get along that well. Aly didn't want to become a knight like her mother and Alanna wanted that Aly made some use out of her life. However, when Aly tried to talk to her about becoming a spy like her father, Alanna refused to give her consent, saying that she wouldn't have her daughter being a spy. It was hinted at in the conversation, that Alanna didn't think field work in espionage was not suitable for a girl descended from a very noble line.

When Aly ran away and was stuck in Tanair, Kyprioth repeatedly sent her dreams showing her the situation at home. From these dreams Aly learnt that her mother was really worried for her when she disappeared and was even angry with George, with whom she had never quareled before as far as Aly knew, because he had kept that information from her. Their relationship improved slightly after they met again in the isles, where Alanna was part of the Tortallan delegation to honor the new Queen of the Copper Isles, Dove.

Nawat Crow

Nawat was a crow who had turned himself into a man to get to know Aly better. At first he was only curious and helped Aly in his task to look after the Balitangs, teaching her along with the other crows their language, keeping lookout for her and communicating with the other crows for Aly. Aly got him the post of a fletcher while at Tanair and Nawat made her some special arrows with the feathers of immortals, both stormwings and griffins. The stormwing-fletched arrows would go through any magical barrier and kill mages, while the griffin-fledged arrows wouldn't miss a target.

The former crow soon began to show his affection for Aly. At the beginning his attempts to woo her were clumsy as he only knew of the mating behavior of crows, who, amongst others, fed their mates bugs. However, he eventually succeeded in getting Aly's attention. After Dove became Queen of the Copper Isles they married and had triplets.

When a crow, Nawat has a splash of white on his wing that was given to him by Ochobu Dodeka due to the fact that he dragged her clean sheets through mud.

The Balitangs

Aly was at first a slave to the Balitang family, but then proved her worth multiple times. She developed a friendly relationship with Saraiyu and Dovasary Balitang, the half-raka sisters. She earned the Duke and Duchess's respect in matters of espionage, and helped the Duchess greatly when the Balitang family returned to Rajmuat and the Rittevon Court. Although she and Sarai did have a friendship, Aly knew that Sarai lived in her own very headstrong world. When Sarai escaped, Aly blamed herself, but then turned the raka sights on Dove, someone she thought would be a better fit to a throne. Although the Balitangs knew she was a top tier spy, they did not know her most grave deception: that she was the granddaughter of the Tortallan spymaster, and the daughter of his second in command, as well as the godsdaughter of both the King and Queen of Tortall. For that, she was sure that the Balitangs would have her killed. Instead, they just brushed it off, as they knew that there was more to the girl all along, and also that she had already proved herself to them, many times. Aly then accepted the offer of a spymaster position under Queen Dovasary.

Family Tree

                                                           Lionel of Trebond
                                                                  │
                                                                  ?
                                                                  │
                                     Marinie of TasrideAlan of TrebondCooper                  ┌——————————————————┴————————————————┐
                │                    │                                   │
              George CooperAlanna of Trebond                   Thom of Trebond
                            │
        ┌———————————————————┴——————————┬——————————————————————————————————————————┐
        │                              │                                          │
 Thom of Pirate's Swoop    Alianne of Pirate's SwoopNawat Crow     Alan of Pirate's Swoop
                                                     │
                                 ┌———————————————————┴┬———————————————————————┐
                                 │                    │                       │
                             Ochobai Crow       Ulasu Crow               Junim Crow


Notes and references

  1. Tortallan timeline
  2. Readergirlz; "December: In the shadow of fame"; December 5, 2009
  3. Random Buzz; "Yuki and 'labor and delivery' in Tortall."; April 20, 2009
  4. Trickster's Choice, Cp. 1 (p. 4/5; Random House paperback)
  5. Trickster's Choice, Cp. 16 (p. 395; Random House paperback)

See also

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