Ava and Victor met when they were only ten arcs and were inseparable after. It was to no ones surprise that they were married the moment they came of age or that their first child came not a arc later. But the happiness was not forever as the birth left Ava weak for arcs after, and so it was surprising when nine arcs laters she was pregnant again. From then on, neighbors and friends would hear the arguments though they tried to mind their own and it was obvious they sided with Victor in believing Ava should not have the child. And it was into that chaos that Valerie Valencia was born and Ava Valencia died.
Having no idea what to do with the daughter he didn’t want but unable to give her up Victor often pawned the infant off on the neighbors who never seemed to mind. It was not until a young Valerie called another man father did he finally step in and realize what he’d nearly lost. The spitting image of her mother Victor denied her nothing, allowing Valerie to run rampant as children do, flitting between houses and playing with the test swords he made.
It was during these arcs that Valerie discovered buskers, much to her father and brothers chagrin. The young girl was enamored with the performers, the pretty woman, the handsome men, the costumes and glitter and laughter. As the trials went by she spent less and less time at the blacksmiths shop and more time in the streets. Stalking the performers every show, a tiny Val would shove herself as close as possible and be mesmerized no matter how many times she watched the same things. And her love would only grow the trial she was invited to dance with them, donning borrowed and mismatched skirts Val began to learn the art of dance.
By the age of twelve Val was a performer, begging her father to buy her the most garish dresses, under the impression that she looked “gorgeous”, as her brother liked to tell her. It was around this time that both men noticed Vals insistence that all her dresses were shades of yellow. Telling the child they were not would result in fits of tears as Val would insist she wasn’t lying and a few trials later she was taken to a physician to be pronounced sick with colorblindness. With no cure but assured that it would affect nothing but her ability to match her clothes the family left lighter hearted but such was not the case, Val couldn’t tell safe foods from not, often eating unripened or bad foods. After several accidents with food poisoning her brother taught her to test with smell, forcing a few bells a trial to make sure it was drilled into her head. This didn’t stop the girl from stealing unripened berries, having developed a taste for the sour fruits.
This was not the end of Valeries bad luck with her illness, though color blindness was not the only culprit in the fatal accident. Working on a large order Victor compelled Val to help in the shop, missing nearly all the dancers shows and leaving the sour tang of childish disappointment. In her haste to leave at the end of the trial and her inability to see the dying embers well she did not put out the pit properly before she fled to the streets. It was not until she ran home for the evening that she found her brother and father covered in burns, having fallen asleep when the house had caught fire. Though both men had made it out fine, not two trials later her brother succumbed to his smoke filled lungs and passed.
From there father and daughter played a game of blame and obligation until neither could stand it. By nineteen the two were hardly seen together unless they were screaming or working. Val was exhausted by it all, she couldn’t forgive herself, she knew her father tried but two deaths had her name on them and the weight of it all overwhelmed her. They never spoke of those they lost, the unspoken agreement to wipe away their names and with it the hurt, so when Victor had Val go to sell the only thing left of her brothers it sparked an argument like no other. In the end, rather than be hated, unable to smith properly with her fear of fire, the teen fled with the sword rather than buy the needed supplies.
Truthfully she had every intention of going back, she just needed to not feel so smothered. But the spray of salt air on the ship, the fading line of Ne’haers pier, the feeling of chains being ripped off her ankles…she couldn’t, wouldn’t go back. And even if she wanted to, she had no coin for passage back, as she would learn the moment her feet touched fresh soil.
Sailing with the Biqaj was new and exciting, trading dances and more for food she found a new source of happiness. But as a passenger her trials were long, leaving her with much too much time on her hands, getting underfoot and being threatened to be thrown off more than once. In an effort to keep her still they gave her odd jobs, which she took to happily enough, her favorite being the tracing of maps. It was precise work, absorbing all her focus even if she was fairly terrible at it and most of her maps were kept only by herself when she wasn’t paying off her paper usage.
It was with excitement and some relief that she stepped off the ship, a little surprised to find no coin left, no way home, nowhere to go, and no sailors to rely on. But she refused to ask for help, instead preforming where she could until she scrounged up enough money for meager lodgings. It would take over an arc for her to gather enough to supplies to pack up and leave again, unable to stay in a city that had lost its “newness” and only to find for all her efforts she was back on a ship. The very same ship she’d arrived in Desnind on.
This time the sailing was much smoother, she had her own animals to care for aboard the ship, she was less excited to be escaping something and more interested in the people she traveled with and the stories they told. In particular they spoke of Immortals, grand tales but two names in particular caught her ear and never left. Cassion and Ashan. Travel and freedom. Two things she could not do with out, two things she was so grateful for she had no doubt she’d do anything to keep them. The names and their meanings to her brought a certain sort of peace and comfort, a forgiveness for her inability to be still. Forgiveness for fleeing the mistakes of her past.
By the time she reached Rharne she never wanted to be on a boat again. She loved the water but seasickness in a horse was not something she wanted to experience again for some time. Which is precisely how she spent a few arcs wandering Rharne before feeling stifled by the tucked away city and heading out again, braving horse vomit and an irate cat she couldn't bare to leave behind.
Andaris she found, would suit her fine for the moment. Dropped off in the spread out lands she was free to roam between the city and forts, which made her heart sing because she was free to be in constant motion, chatting and traveling with those who could not keep there feet still either.