Kirei is a member of the Rowan family, in Rynmere. But she has no knowledge of her heritage, save for a simple pendant of her family's crest. When she was three, she was kidnapped by an enemy of her birth family. Her parents believed she was dead, and refused to pay the ransom. So the man who had kidnapped her sold her to a client who was looking for a child since he and his wife couldn't have their own. The man, a Sev'ryn by the name of Ker'irak, wanted a son who would become his heir, and take over his business. When he got Kirei instead, he was stuck with her.
Ker'irak felt cheated, and he took his resentment at the situation out on her. As a result, in his gentle "care," Kirei was subjected to alternating neglect, and abuse. She was always constantly reminded that she was supposed to be a boy, and berated severely for the slightest transgression. Nothing she did ever pleased her adopted father. Kirei was often locked out of the house and left to fend for herself for long periods of time. Ker'irak also refused to take the language barrier into consideration. Although he knew Common perfectly well, he always insisted on speaking Xanthea around Kirei, pretending not to understand anything else. This forced her to learn a language she had never been exposed to before quickly. When she made a mistake because she had misunderstood what her adopted father was demanding of her, the punishments were severe. As a result, she quickly became fluent in Xanthea, but in the process, she forgot most of the Common she had learned before she had been kidnapped.
As a child, Kirei was more than half feral. More often than not, she was out on the streets of Rynmere, and she usually had more to fear from her adopted father than she did from the streets she was raised in. While on the streets, she picked up a smidgen of Rakahi, and Common Sign simply by being exposed to it as much as she was. When she was five, she met a young boy who lived on the streets much the same way that she did. At first, they worked together out of a need for survival. But as trust and shared experience grew between them over the arcs, wary acceptance turned into a powerful friendship. By the time they were seven, they were best friends, and that friendship only grew deeper as they got older.
Kirei and her friend were painfully aware of the dangers of the streets of Lowtown. And they were obsessed with getting strong enough to survive them. Whenever they had the chance, they would sneak into the barracks, and watch the squires train with their blades. They couldn't afford the nels to pay to take lessons themselves, but they learned what they could be watching. Later, back in Lowtown, they would find sticks and such to practice what they had learned. Although they picked up bad habits and fighting techniques more than anything else, the "training" did help to build up their strength and endurance, which in and of itself was enough to help them survive.
When they were twelve, they were attacked by street thugs. Kirei's friend managed to escape, but she herself, was sold to an Athart slave ship. For the next three arcs, she was educated as a slave. Though not as well conditioned as those who were born slaves, she learned the wisdom of obedience. While she secretly longed for freedom, she learned to not fight back, or try to escape. She also learned a number of skills that would help her to please her master, such as cooking, baking, and sewing, among others.
While in training, she became close friends with a girl her age. Like her, she had been captured rather than born into slavery. Their friendship was born out of a need for something of their own, something their teachers couldn't taint, or take away from them. They kept their growing friendship a secret as much as possible, but all they truly managed was to keep their trainers from knowing how deep it had grown. Over the course of three arcs, they became as close as sisters, vowing to help each other as much as they could.
At the age of fifteen, she was sold to a man from Rharne who came to Athart for the specific purpose of buying a slave for his family. Due to his family's feelings about slaves, as well as Rharne's laws regarding them, he requested that her brand be small, hidden, and easily mistaken for a birthmark. And since she was being taken out of Athart, his request was granted. Kirei was presented as a gift to the man's grandmother, an elderly woman who lived in the Stormlands, along with some of her grandchildren. Her duties consisted of taking care of the older woman, and her adolescent granddaughter, who was physically frail, and prone to illness. She also cleaned the house, cooked for the family, and tended their farm, and herb garden, as well as minded a young toddler, the only child of her master's grandson. Kirei was treated more like a member of the family, than the slave she was. And since she had no knowledge of the family she was born into, they gave her their family name; Qe'Azour. Kirei came to love them deeply, and was proud to share their name. Over the course of several arcs, she honed many of the skills she had been taught while in slave training, such as cooking, baking, gardening, animal husbandry, and agriculture. She learned new skills, as well, such as medicine, in the form of herb lore, and simple first aid, caretaking, singing, storytelling, and how to play the fiddle.
When she was eighteen, her master's grandson took an interest in her. His wife had died while birthing their daughter, the toddler that Kirei looked after. For several arcs, he was grieving the loss of his wife too much to even look at another woman. But as Kirei matured into a beautiful young woman, he began to notice her, and realize just how lonely he was.
At first, Kirei hated it. She didn't like the man in that way, seeing him more as a brother, or a close friend. And as a result, she tried to refuse his advances. Her attempts at refusal were futile. She was punished for her defiance, and reminded that for all that she was treated like family for the most part, she was still a slave. In Kirei's eyes, the man was raping her whenever he felt like doing so. Part of her feared him for that. But arcs of friendship, and sisterly love could not be forgotten so easily. When not using her, the man was the same man Kirei had come to love like a brother, and trusted friend. It helped that the man took pains not to hurt her more than necessary.
Gradually, the love Kirei had for her master's grandson won out. She ceased to see it as an act of rape, and more as her duty as a slave; pleasing her master, and her family. When this happened, he began to show her that it could be more than just a duty. Although she never fell in love with him, their relationship regained the closeness it had once had.
During Zi'da of 716, age caught up to her master at last, and she passed away peacefully in her sleep. Ownership of Kirei passed to her grandson. When it came to Kirei's duties, little had changed. But she took on an additional duty as well. Instead of helping her elderly master make the simple herbal remedies that made up a good part of their income, she made them all by herself.
Her former master's granddaughter died the following Ashan (717) when she was struck by a fever that she couldn't recover from. Her master died the following season, in a hunting accident. Rather than see Kirei sold to a stranger, though, he had made certain to specify in his will that she be freed upon his death. So while his final affairs were being settled, Kirei was given her freedom. Her slave papers became her second most cherished item, second only to a pendant she had been given by her first master. Everyone in the family had one, so in giving her one, they were telling her that she was art of their family, too. Her slave papers are kept carefully in case she ever needs to prove that she is no longer a slave.
At first, she chose to stay in her former master's home. She wanted to give the child that was now solely in her care some stability after losing her father. But the farm proved to be too much for her to manage on her own. And the Stormlands weren't safe for a single woman and a toddler living alone. So she sold the farm, and used the profits to move back to Rynmere, and buy a small house on a farm near Andaris.