Alianne of Pirate's Swoop

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Alianne Crow
Tortallan character
Biographical information
Nickname Aly
Aliases Aly Homewood
Born 445 HE[1]
Nationality Tortallan (former),
Copper Islander
Physical description
Gender Female
Height 5'6"
Hair Reddish blond
Eyes Hazel with green
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
Children Ochobai, Ulasu and Junim Crow
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 and Buran of Trebond (third cousins),
Rank Slave (462 HE)
Servant (462 HE)
Spymaster (since 463 HE)
Occupation Spymaster of the Copper Isles
Affiliation Copper Isles
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 "Aly" of Pirate's Swoop, was the only daughter of Alanna the Lioness and George of Pirate's Swoop. In her youth she often quarrelled with her mother because Aly seemed to Alanna too unambitious. After one such disagreement she sailed alone and was caught by pirates, who sold her into slavery in the Copper Isles. There the god Kyprioth enlisted her help and Aly became the head of the spies in the plot to put Saraiyu Balitang on the throne of the Copper Isles. In that time she went under the name of Aly Homewood as to avoid people realizing who her parents were and trying to use her against Tortall. After Sarai eloped with Zaimid Hetnim Aly convinced the conspirators that Dovasary Balitang would be just as fit to be a queen as her older sister. After Dove became Queen of the Copper Isles Aly was made the spymistress of the isles. She eventually married Nawat Crow and had triplets with him.


Early life

She is female. Aly was born in 445 HE as the twin sister of Alan and younger sister of Thom of Pirate's Swoop. Her parents were 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 Roald of Conté, the mother of Jonathan IV and the sister of Duke Gareth 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 also 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

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. 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". 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.

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 seeming 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.

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.

Towards the end of the summer, Bronau arrived to kill Mequen to get closer to the throne. He succeeded, but was stopped by Sarai and killed by Dove. Bronau's brother, Rubinyan, 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.

Head of the raka conspiracy

In the winter Aly trained the raka in spywork. 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 Tobabaw's network of spys 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.

Skills and abilities

Aly is one of the few people in the Eastern Lands that has the Sight. She has more than her father did because she got the quantity from her mother's magic. The Sight allow Aly to be able to see longer distances and clearer than normal humans.

Aly also knows many codes and can make use of them very well. She was taught this by either her father or grandfather. She also knows how to pick locks, use knives, and has a knack for being able to put things back exactly where they came form.



                                                           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

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.

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 much around when 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 husband and daughter in such a dangerous profession.

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 quarelled 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. For that, she was sure that the Balitangs would have her killed. Instead, they just brushed it off, as the 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.

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)

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