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Persona Profile: Nohria

Writer: Leigh M-F.

Name: Nohria
Age: 30
Birthday: m1 d2
Rank: Hold Resident
Location: Amber Hills Hold
Job: Drudge

Awards
Crayon Awards: Favorite Villain(ess) (July 2016)

Physical Description of Persona:
Nohria is five feet tall, with strong legs, elegant hands, light tan skin, black eyes, and a waist-length mass of black hair thick with ripples and waves. She has to keep it tamed with prim hairstyles. She tends to dress in brown, nondescript dresses, and is very stealthy thanks to a light step and amazing low-light vision. She is also possessed of a lovely face, but what several people most often notice first is her figure. Nohria is large-breasted, much to her dismay. The size of her bust guarantees her dresses are almost always a little too snug across her chest, and finding a comfortable, supportive brassiere is a chore and a half. Her contralto voice is pleasant to hear when she’s in a good mood, and unbelievably bitter and harsh when she’s angry.

Emotional Description of Persona:
For much of her life, Nohria was told women have to be wicked in order to get by. It’s a philosophy she has kept close to her heart, and it has fostered a fiercely independent attitude. If she doesn’t need help, she will not ask for it, as she prides herself on her ability to take care of herself and get things done. Her years among bandits made her tough and very choosy as to who gets her loyalty, and it fostered a sharp tongue and quick retorts, as well as a honed sense of sarcasm. Her time as a bandit also bent her sense of justice; while she doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty, she’s reluctant to go an indirect route to get a darker job done, and refuses to involve who she believes are true innocents unless there’s no other option.

She fosters a lot of resentment against traditional holders, particularly those who oppress women. In her words, she had more freedom as an outlaw than she does as a lawful holder. Nohria hates being idle and prefers to work, in fact needing work in order to feel good and as though she’s contributing in some meaningful way to getting things done. But she would truly love to officially join the healers, where she feels she could do the most good for her fellow women.

While she does believe Zathris can be brought down, Nohria is beginning to wonder just how much further the bandits will go, and if she can go that far with them. And the more she gets to know the decent people of Amber Hills Hold, the more she wonders if a change of leadership would hurt more people than it helps. Because of this, sometimes Nohria questions her own ability to make things change.

History of Persona:
Nohria grew up in Amethyst Cliffs Hold with her parents and paternal grandmother, Malinnka. Nohria was closest to Malinnka because she was a devoted grandparent, and there was also something fascinating and even a little dangerous about her. At ten, Nohria discovered what: In her own youth, before the craftban, Malinnka was a skilled herbalist and midwife who helped women before, during, and after pregnancies. She also knew how to mix herbal contraceptives and abortifacients, and -secret of secrets- poisons.

It was the poisons that made Malinnka dangerous. She had married later in life to a man she thought she could learn to love, but he turned out to be a terror. In fear for her life and the safety of her unborn child, and with little family left to rely on, she killed her husband with a mix that induced a heart attack. No one had known Malinnka resorted to murder. “It was a wicked deed, but women have to be wicked if they want to be free,” Malinnka said. Awed, Nohria asked her grandmother to teach her everything she knew, and despite the risk, the old woman did.

Nohria was twenty when she too rebelled: She said she was going to marry her best friend Ardihan, but her father told her that he was going to accept an offer from another man because he thought said man would be a better provider. Malinnka was horrified. While she could not directly undermine the head of their little household, she begged Nohria not to accept the offer. There were unsavory rumors surrounding the potential suitor, and she feared history would repeat. “Be wicked, my dear girl,” Malinnka insisted. “Be wicked if that means you can be happy.”

Nohria packed a leather carry-case with as many herbs and potions as she could find, make, or buy, kissed her grandmother goodbye, and ran away with Ardihan on a stolen runnerbeast, both hoping they could find a Hold that would marry them and accept women crafters. But four days into the journey, they met a pack of bandits who demanded their runner and supplies. When they tried to escape, one shot Ardihan in the arm and made them both fall, leaving the runnerbeast to be caught. Enraged and terrified, Nohria recklessly said if there were women among their numbers, she would be their healer if they let Ardihan go. Intrigued, the bandits took a vote and decided they would take Nohria, but only if Ardihan joined as well.

It wasn’t what they wanted, but it was what they got, and they adapted admirably. For eight years, they lived with the bandits, Nohria taking care of their women and Ardihan becoming one of their archers. They were taught about stealth, subterfuge, and wilderness survival, and Nohria learned about self-defense and knives. Eventually, the group became too big, and a third splintered off to head back to the Amethyst Cliffs area. They intended to pose as traders in order to buy supplies and get information. Nohria went with them, hoping for news of her family, and parted on good terms with Ardihan, who stayed with a woman he had fallen for.

It turned out Amethyst Cliffs wasn’t there anymore. At a loss, the splinter group went to Amber Hills Hold, and made contact with a bunch of other thieves and holdless at the Hold border. The more they heard about how Zathris was running the place, and how unappreciated the Amethyst Cliffs survivors were, the less they liked, and while some just wanted to cause trouble, others were more politically minded. When Nohria heard that Amber Hills was exploding at the seams with people, but women still weren’t allowed to craft, she became incensed and offered herself as an inside woman. She got a job as a drudge by posing as a widow, and started weakening locks, stealing small objects the bandits needed, carrying news, reporting on vulnerabilities in Hold defenses, and even using her herb lore to temporarily lay people up.

To be honest, Nohria isn’t certain how effective these tactics will be in the end, but she also doubts the leadership of Amber Hills would take any legal petitions seriously, especially if they came from women.

Approved:
Last updated: May 13th 2016


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All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are © Anne McCaffrey 1967, 2013, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author. The Dragonriders of Pern© is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with permission. Use or reproduction without a license is strictly prohibited.