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Mother Aryka
NameAryka Actis nee Istems
BirthdayJune 06, 23 A.U.
DeathSeptember 03, 61 A.U.
Cause of DeathAcute pulmonary edema
ResidenceTemple of Soli
ChildrenHelo, Solilde, Layla, Noelle, Karyla, Isayeri, Hypeiad, Farrah, Akamai, Tiomara, Ashani, Ashimar, Senyka
Weight170 lbs
Hair ColorBlack
Eye ColorBlack
Skin ToneTan

A woman with a fantastic rack, Aryka has black eyes, straight black hair and tan skin. Aryka appears to weigh about 170 pounds and stands about 5'2" tall. Some men might call her build wenchy; others would just call her fat. Although she has the obligatory full breasts and wide hips of any woman who aspires to the title of 'wenchy', her waist is not so much narrow as narrower than the rest. She has a comforting aspect at odds with the occasional cool distance of her gaze.

Image:cake.pngThe Beginning

Aryka was born in 23 A.U., a year before the air raids decimated the Old City, to Farik Istems and Wylma Histaru. It was never quite a peaceful childhood, between growing up in the Old City and her parents' rocky marriage, and Aryka became a quiet, withdrawn sort. She remembers the fights, though; her mother went to war a lot, and over her father's wishes. Her mother was even captured by Shamibelians, and was never the same. She abandoned her family to live in the walls.

There was peace for a while; Farik moved them in with Quenia, and they were a happy family for a time. Quenia may not have been a good mother to her own son Furen, but she was a wonderful mother to Aryka. But Wylma wouldn't let that go on too long. She demanded her children back and Farik refused. The real fighting began. Wylma sent in guards to forcibly collect her children, and Farik nearly died to prevent it. After that, Clan Leader Inaya forced the couple to attempt a reconciliation. The family moved into a cabin on Inaya's land.

And once again there was peace for a while! That's when Wyrik and Kalim were born. It was nice and quiet, and things really did seem alright. Aryka doesn't know how it fell apart, but soon enough Farik was back in the Old City, and Wylma was putting Aryka to work in the Gentlemen's Club, trying to make her daughter a 'proper' waller. You know, by working in a whorehouse. As a cook, mind.

That lasted a few years, till the madame of the house, Bliss, was caught keeping a child on the premises (Arpessa!) and the whole thing was shut down and the whores fined or jailed for their indiscretions and offenses to the goddess Eesha. Tinga helped Aryka flee unnoticed, and off she ran to the Old City again, rejoining her father and those she'd known from childhood. She kept her head down, working for the Dagger and Dice.

Image:cake.pngThe Middle

Aryka looking fine.

In 43 A.U., three years after the Gentlemen's Club debacle, Aryka finally found the courage to come out and play. She was nineteen, and it was high time she got started on a family and her cooking business. So she found herself a sponsor - Lady Endeera Shadina - and got to work.

Perhaps it's better said that her sponsor found her, but in either case, it was a blessing. Endeera's mastery of baking was invaluable, and she guided the young cook to her very own levels of mastery. From there, Aryka worked tirelessly to grow yet more, and in time became known throughout the city - and beyond - as the best cook of her time. It was in October of 50 A.U. when she first heard that her name was known far beyond Anarinuell.

Becoming a legendary cook seems easy in comparison to achieving her other important goal: a big family. Aryka, a girl so skittish and hesitant to meet and trust new people, had to find a husband in order to have children. It turns out, you can't actually just pray to Eesha for kids. That, my friends, was a dirty, dirty lie. Somehow, at some point along the way during the fall festival of 44 A.U., Aryka sort of accidentally got married. There wasn't really a wedding, but there were necklaces, and that's the important part. Aryka put her necklace on and set about making the big family she always wanted.

It was while Aryka was pregnant with child number five, in 51 A.U., that she was called by Soli. She spoke to her in a dream, expressing her disappointment with the children of Aerval and their neglect, but offering redemption and a gift. Aryka, still being only an initiate of the temple, was floored by Soli's choice to speak to her. Still, she led the charge to offer gifts and love to Soli, and was one of the few chosen to take a special journey to Soli's Heart, her most holy temple. Along the way, she saw amazing things, and experienced fantastic events. Most special, though, was her elevation to full priestess, performed in Soli's Heart itself.

As part of the drive to offer special gifts to Soli, Aryka burned the midnight oil and experimented endlessly until she had created a masterpiece of a recipe. She called it blueberry krepas, a thin pancake dish filled with blueberry compote and covered in a glaze set aflame. It was offered first to Soli, and to Aryka, it will always remain a Solian dish. Thereafter, it's become her exclusive, signature dish, and all the rage in Anarinuell.

In the spring of 55 A.U., she achieved one of her life-long, up-till-now-thought-to-be-unattainable dreams: Land. She won the Social Pentathlon during the spring festival, and chose land. The pentathlon had been a three-way tie with Ladies Catelyn and Nalene. They stood, hands joined together, to face the tiebreaking challenge, which only Aryka correctly completed. To say she was shocked and awed would be putting it mildly. She chose a plot on the riverbank, mooring her fishing boat there. When she announced her choice for prize, she claimed she was choosing the marriage prize in order to marry land. Ever since, she's referred to it as her land husband.

The next year, Aryka unexpectedly joined the Navy and sailed off to Perindra without telling a soul. She followed Aldrin onto a boat... and it was nearly the last decision she ever made, when they encountered an ambush. Cut off from the fort and forced to fight, she used what she had - her frying pan - and did what damage she could. While she's proud to have hit a Shamibelian in the face with her frying pan, she was relieved to be rescued by reinforcements. With that experience under her belt, she transformed from a Navy cook to a combat medic, an idea she would have laughed at earlier in her life. She fought in every assault, took a firebomb to the face, faced death and was hit by lightning from the Tower of Obala. Returning home was bizarrely difficult. Normal life felt foreign and she found herself at loose ends.

It was time to make a change!

In 57 A.U., all that change started to happen, and quickly. Aryka took on a ministry position within the Bear clan and started getting to work trying to raise her clan's morale when Mother Petula abruptly left the city to care for her ailing mother. Suddenly, the temple of Soli was without a high priestess, and Aryka had a choice to make! She would not be allowed to remain in the Old City if she chose to seek the position. Her home and her family... or her goddess?

It was no big surprise to anyone that knew Aryka that she would choose her goddess. In September, she moved into the Temple of Soli to begin a new life. In 58 A.U., after loud, city-wide complaints that she retained the Istems name, Clan Leader Sabiana announced the revival of the Actis family in the form of Aryka and the family she has made.

In 58 A.U., during the siege of Anarinuell, Aryka's children Layla and Isayeri were kidnapped. The first second she heard that the whereabouts of the children were known, she went tearing out of the temple with bow and arrow in hand. She shot those monsters like she's never shot before, fighting to get her children back. They're a bit scarred by the experience, but not a moment goes by that Aryka does not thank the gods she was able to bring them home again.

These days, with twelve children (nine birthed, three adopted), a highly successful catering business, a ministry position, being centurion in the Fifth division and High Priestess of Soli's temple... there's not a minute of the day Aryka isn't busy. And that's exactly how she likes it! In spite of her love of being busy, she seems to already be preparing for the day she won't be around to perform her duties, and is actively seeking apprentices. Perhaps one day soon she'll retire from something or other?

On April 06, 61 A.U., Aryka gave birth to her last child, giving her a baker's dozen. With three very young ones to keep her occupied, she certainly was glad to have her apprentices to fall back on and started to withdraw from all duties not related to the Temple of Soli.

Image:cake.pngThe End

Before she had a chance to make arrangements for her official retirement from other offices, however, Aryka performed one last duty. During the festival of 61 A.U., she found a trio of children in the fast moving river that borders Sarkaran and is a perpetual source of lung trauma for citizens of Anarinuell who come to enjoy the festival. With no one else in shouting distance, she jumped in to fish the two boys and one girl out. It was too much for one person to accomplish without consequence, and she breathed in too much water in the process. She was eventually found and returned to the healers of Soli in hopes she would recover, but on Sunday, September 3, in the year 61 A.U., Aryka breathed her last. She was surrounded by people she held dear and passed peacefully.

Image:cake.pngPersonality & Beliefs


This was written as an exercise in understanding how Aryka's stats actually affect her on a day to day basis:

Aryka is a mentally capable individual. She has an exceptionally good attention span and remembers most details. She is quite perceptive and easily follows through with eerily accurate hunches, even when she has little information. Further, she quietly rolls with the social punches, seeing a situation coming and able to shrewdly redirect or persuade others to get what she wants. That is, if she has the desire to actually do any of these things. Her distaste for spending a great deal of time in social situations lends to her feigning ignorance to withdraw and go home, or to a smaller, more comfortable gathering.

She is a very caring and sensitive woman with a strong fondness for children. She has deep convictions, and being a passionate woman, is easily swept up with emotion. However, she does not linger longer than average on grudges or become stuck in any particular mood for too long.

She feels very strongly about her spiritual beliefs and is passionate about her goddess, Soli. She never misses a day of prayer, and revels in the peace she finds in the presence of the goddess. Though sometimes it's hard to believe, there's real evidence that Soli does love her, and this is a comfort and joy to Aryka.

She's a hardy woman, round and healthy, with a surprising endurance for her size. Those that know her busy schedule may not be so surprised, honesty; it seems the woman never sleeps and is always working. She works hard and plays hard, able to drink just as heartily as she brews.

Her looks are fairly average, trending on the heavier, more curvaceous side. Her tan skin, dark eyes and straight black hair would give her a swarthy look were it not for her plump roundness. As she ages, she seems more and more aware of her appearance, and regularly takes the time to apply makeup and wear perfume and figure-flattering clothes. This often gives her a somewhat more alluring aura, especially as her figure is rather voluptuous, but she is perpetually round and soft no matter what. This tends to make her a mother figure to many. Though, some? All they see is the figure.

She is not a particularly intimidating woman, preferring more to cajole than command. In fact, she seems easily intimidated or convinced, and not confident or self-possessed. She looks to others for affirmation, confirmation and the final word on a subject. She is sometimes self-deprecating and refers jokingly to her own "fat arse."

In social situations, Aryka is difficult to accurately predict. She can be shy, but is quite friendly once the ice has been broken. She tends to be uncomfortable in particularly ritzy environments, but makes a concerted effort to perform to whatever is expected of her. When relaxed and among her family and friends from the Old City, her diction slips and she mirrors the accent of those around her, sometimes so much so that she continues even when she knows she 'ought' to be speaking 'properly' in the walls.

Aryka is an ISFJ personality, as well-described here and here. She is, however, not as concerned about propriety as these descriptions posit. Being born and raised in the Old City, she has a healthy love for liquor (mainly whiskey) and watching a good brawl. She still believes in many traditional things such as marriage and family, but she respects the decisions of those who eschew that kind of tradition to "shack up" and create their own kind of family. Part of the reason Aryka loves living in the Old City so much is she feels she has the freedom to pick and choose which traditions she wants to hold dear, and what parts of "proper" society she wants to reject. She often has a foul mouth and slips into the rough accent of the Old City, despite being perfectly able to speak "properly" should the situation warrant it.

Image:cake.pngRanks & Offices

Aryka has collected a few ranks and titles, most of which she is is generally quiet about in everyday conversation. She's a centurion in the Fifth Division, Minister of Culture in the Bear clan and High Priestess of the temple of Soli. She usually just likes to be called Aryka, though.

She cooks for a tremendous number of houses throughout Anarinuell, too: the Garkansen, Sennet, Zutivik, Rissik, Ista Aldrik, Teranzik, Shadina, Junik, Manosik N'Gato and Istabannos families all hire her to be their food teffie, among others.

Image:cake.pngFamily Life


She turned her back on the old city, moving into the city and leaving behind everything -- even her children. For years, Aryka looked to Quenia, not Wylma, as her mother. But Wylma reclaimed them a few years ago, and since then, mother and daughter have worked to establish an understanding between them. The bitterness of resentment, first for betrayal and then for uprooting, remains between them.

Aryka idolizes her father. When her mother left the children to go into the walls and become all respectable healer and such, he took care of them, bringing them to Quenia. He never laughs at her, and always ate her food, even the really burnt bits. If he has any flaws, she is blind to them. She wants to take care of him now that she is back in the old city -- to take care of him as he took care of her. First step: cakes. Lots of them.


Perdina was Aryka's oldest sister, and by far the angriest. Aryka was scared to show her sister how much she loved her, for fear of stirring her ire; Perdina hated it when Aryka was too cheerful and loving, and the last thing Aryka wanted to do was annoy her. But now that she's gone, it's a big ball of regret that eats at Aryka constantly: why didn't she just say 'feck it' and love on her anyway? Maybe she never knew how much Aryka really loved her. All that space she gave her, what did it get her in the end? Perdina is gone, having died in childbirth, and never even thought to call her sister to come help her. Maybe Aryka could have done something, but now it'll forever be an unanswered question and source of heartache and regret.

Aryka tries to love Faryla. She's her sister, so she should be loving. But Faryla's pretty and vivacious, everything she isn't, and graceful and energetic and blah, blah, blah. Aryka just wants to shove a cake in her face. She's the only sister that actually stayed in the walls and was all respectable and stuff. But then she went and became a priestess of Drik. At first, Aryka was aghast, but...maybe the priestess angle is a way to connect? She's still keeping a face-smashing cake at the ready, though.

Aryka always thought that Lianorin really was her brother until her father mentioned something bitter about the way the boy preferred Wylma. He's adopted, it turns out, son of neither parent. Well, huh. Still, family is about more than blood. She'd be a lot more accepting of him, if he hadn't settled in the walls and been all loyal to Wylma. He's some Firanosian priest now, and likes to preach at her. She just rolls her eyes and takes it; it's not like she needs to hear his sermons. Firanos is Soli's favorite child, after all, so of course she worships him, too. But if he would just shut up for a while, maybe he would figure out they're not that much different and they could do something more fun, like go fishing or something.

Wyrik is so much younger than Aryka that she just couldn't help but baby him when he was little, smothering him with hugs and cakes. She may have been trying to bribe his affection away from Wylma while he lived with her, and maybe it worked a bit; he seems to have a soft spot for her now. But it didn't work enough that he stayed with her in the Old City like she wanted. And worse, he became a guard. She has no idea how that happened. She just hopes that he'll remember how much she spoiled him when the time comes she needs a favor. He totally owes her for that week he insisted they go camping in the snow and she nearly froze her butt off. She'll lord that over him forever.

Kalim is the youngest of her siblings, but oh how he's grown! He's like a weed! A strangely singed weed. As he got older, he'd come over more often to stay in the Old City with her and get up to trouble. He's always trying to get at that damn ballista! Aryka's going to sprout gray hairs worrying about that kid. When he can focus on any one thing for long enough, Aryka sends him out on a million odd jobs to try to keep him busy doing anything other than burning stuff down or blowing stuff up. Kalim, go floss the chickens, a'right?


Litaros: There was a time that Litaros seemed to be everywhere Aryka went. He was there for her in some odd but important times in her life and they had found themselves somewhat grudgingly attracted to one another. Mostly, they fought. But one of those fights somehow morphed into them abruptly (and a little drunkenly) deciding they were married. Just like that. No wedding. No maze. No nothing. They put on wedding necklaces and that was that. She doesn't live with him, and he's busy doing manly things that men do - she has no idea what those things are, honestly - so she doesn't see him much. Really, their marriage is simple - he does what he's always done, and she does what she's always done, and maybe their paths cross sometimes. Not very often, but that's two very busy people for you.


A very pregnant Aryka

(b. Feb 06, 45 A.U.) Helo was a tiny baby boy born to Arpessa and she wasted no time in handing the child right over to Aryka to raise. He is aging into a sullen, angry little boy and as much as Aryka is committed to loving and caring for him, he's quite trying and drains her energy. This was definitely a trial by fire introduction to parenting for her. She reminds herself that his sour, stubborn disposition will just make him a good fighter someday, and that's valuable...but it's little consolation when she's enduring his screaming and constant discontent. For all this, he better be loyal to his mother and take care of her in her old age!

(b. Jul 17, 45 A.U.) Aryka's first natural born child with Litaros was born noisy and so far hasn't grown out of it. She's got Aryka's big pouty lips, Yeralon's green eyes, and a pack of dying monkeys' singing voice. She makes a racket singing to everything and everyone at all times, much to the dismay of anyone in hearing range. She collects bugs as pets and gets angry when they die - or get stolen by a sibling. She's not afraid to chase any offenders down and whack them in the knees with a stick if they hurt her bugs. She's otherwise very cheerful and pleasant and loves to make mud pies. As a result, she's always muddy. Always. It seems no amount of washing will ever take her patina of dirt away.

(b. Jan 1, 46 A.U.) Layla is Gilin's daughter and is such a beauty, just like her mama! She's inherited Gilin's flirtatious dimples and big blue eyes. She also knows she's pretty, and is catching on quickly to the fine art of wrapping other people around her little finger. Aryka is so relieved to be caring for a wholly cheerful, happy child that she doesn't even notice Layla's subtle manipulations. Layla is a joy to be around - unless she's not getting her way. She won't throw a tantrum or anything so awful as that. But isn't it curious how so many dead bugs crop up in unsupervised footwear, or any number of other harmless but inconvenient things occur after Layla has been told 'no'? Aryka is certain it's just coincidence. Layla loves to dance, and Aryka encourages her good behavior with whatever shiny things she can find.

(b. Jan 23, 47 A.U.) Noelle is the second child Gilin has blessed Aryka with, and she's just as cheerful as her sister Layla. She's also intensely curious and observant. She loves to investigate things, poke in nooks and crannies and discover secrets. She particularly likes to peer into a person's mouth, nose, ears and eyes as if she were a healer. She's a jealous little girl, though. Everything everybody else has, she wants. Especially whatever Layla has. And since Noelle is so observant, if she doesn't get what she wants? She tattles. Aryka finds this trait a bit exhausting, but she loves Noelle all the same, and so long as she's good, she usually gets what she wants.

(b. Sep 14, 47 A.U.) Karyla is Aryka's second natural born child, a tiny, sad little thing. During the last several months of the pregnancy, Karyla was constantly hiccuping in the womb, and she still does that now, only... she often cries herself into the hiccups. Aryka was hoping for a boy, and wonders if somehow Karyla sensed that. Aryka adores this child with a fierce intensity, but wonders if she did something wrong somehow, to get a hiccupy, crying baby. She's otherwise healthy and beautiful...but...hiccups!

(b. Nov 04, 48 A.U.)Isayeri kicked Aryka so much, she was just /sure/ (for the second time) that this one was a boy. No. No, it was a grumpy little girl. Caught off guard by this, it took Aryka a while to name her, but it seemed fitting to name the feisty thing after Jazayeri. She's become a bit of a loner, but it's a point of pride for Aryka that this alone-time usually ends up producing some small but perfect trinket or weapon. It's considerably /less/ a point of pride that another of Isayeri's favorite habits is 'rescuing' dead festival goldfish and hiding them all over the place. Pew fif.

(b. Sep 29, 50 A.U.) Aryka should learn by now that if she thinks she's carrying a boy, it's a girl, and if she thinks she's carrying a girl, it's a boy. Hypeiad, unlike Isayeri, was a breeze of a pregnancy (so of course she thought he was a girl! Ha!). Her cousin Hypeius lived with his injuries from war long enough to give this one a name, but not to see him born. Too bad, because he was born a strong little man, with bright, intelligent teal eyes. Of course, Hypeius would not appreciate what a little conman Hypeiad has become. He speaks so infrequently, but when he does, it's almost always a big bunch of really unnervingly clever lies. It's hard to be angry at such a friendly, happy child with such a sweet and innocent face, but good gods! Is the boy even capable of telling the truth?! He would be perfect, if he would just stop telling all these tall tales.

(b. Jan 11, 52 A.U.) If Hypeiad's was a dream pregnancy and birth, Farrah's was a nightmare. Almost everything about carrying her was pure misery, and it was the longest nine months of Aryka's life. Even the birth was harder than all the rest, and Aryka was worried - Farrah sounded so angry. But in the few moments it took for Gazel, the Sarojin midwife, to clean her and place her in Aryka's arms, she calmed. Not only is she a bundle of smiles and joy, she's strong beyond belief (this must explain why she was so difficult in the womb!), and she looks just like her mother. Finally! She doesn't want to admit it, but Aryka might actually favor Farrah a little bit.

(b. Nov 15, 52 A.U.) Aryka was pissed when she figured out she was pregnant with Akamai. It seems she got knocked up only a month or so after she'd given birth to Farrah. Too soon! She was so tired of being pregnant, and so fearful that she wouldn't survive another birth, but Akamai came out big and beautiful, extremely healthy and noisy just like Solilde was at her age. She'd like to say that's when she just plain forgot about how unhappy she was to have another child so soon (and her first 'oops!'), but it's been a constant struggle to repress the resentment. She does love her, but Akamai is a little living reminder of a number of Aryka's mistakes, and that realization alone is enough to spark guilt and self-recrimination.

(b. Jan 11, 54 A.U.) Holy crap, another girl. Strangely, even though she was thirty when Tiomara was born, and Aryka had been so upset about having Akamai, she was thrilled with Tiomara. It was the most difficult labor and delivery she'd experienced, feeding more into her newfound near-paranoia about childbirth, but she did pull through. Just, now she's swearing up and down that Tiomara is absolutely her last. And this strong, grumpy daughter seems more than enough for her. She's immensely proud of everything this little girl does, lavishing praise on her second only to Farrah.

(b. May 15, 58 A.U.) So much for Tiomara being absolutely her last. After a few years of carefully avoiding the ritual, well. Oops. Infertility potions just laugh at her, she's sure of it. In spite of the arrival being accidental, Aryka is just as smitten with the grumpy little girl as she is the rest of her brood. It was an easy pregnancy and even an easy delivery, so for that, Aryka is grateful.

(b. Apr 24, 59 A.U.) Aaaand here we go again. And so soon after Ashani! She's back to having two under two. It's exhausting, but thankfully, her eldest children are already having their ceremonies and are a help to her. AND? It's a BOY! A happy boy! Happy babies make for happy Arykas, and Ashimar has proven to be a spark of joy in her life. She's not going to make any predictions about future children anymore, though. She knows better. She'll stop having babies when the gods say so, it seems.

(b. Apr 06, 61 A.U.) Aryka's very last child (for real this time), born into a chaotic but love-filled environment - she never let other people be present for her births, but this time her mother Wylma midwifed and Moyanet, Neriana and Sapphira, uh... assisted. Senyka is maybe the prettiest of all of Aryka's babies, with sky-blue eyes like people say Soli has. She's incredibly strong, healthy... and will have no memory of Aryka whatsoever. It's hard to swallow, but Aryka hopes that the other women who were present for Senyka's birth will step in and ensure she never has a lack of maternal love and care.

Image:cake.pngAccomplishments & Successes

  • She's been granted the Actis name, her sponsor Lady Endeera Shadina's former family name. That's a true honor!
  • She shot the everloving crap out of the goats that tried to take her babies away from her during the siege of Anarinuell! It was some pretty epic shooting!
  • She has been Refreshment Coordinator for the festivals for several years running now, and her food and brew is featured prominently in the pavilions.
  • She's won several cooking contests - the highlight of these was one of Lady Rasha's contests in which she made the most beautiful blueberry pie she (or maybe anyone else) has ever seen.
  • Her cooking skills are known throughout the land - she is a legend in the world of cooking.
  • Solely supplied all food for the Fifth Division during the third tour in Ellish. And continues to cook for the Army, Navy and Air Force. Yes, when Aryka says she's cooked enough food for an army, she means it.
  • She's cooked for so many high profile events it would be silly to list them all here, but she's been around the block there, and even if she loses track of who and when she's cooked and served for people, it brings her joy to do it and reflect upon it.
  • During Princess Teonia's tenure as Acting Queen, Aryka served as her private chef, even accompanying her to Ellish to ensure her highness's food safety.
  • She's mentored and sponsored by Lady Endeera Shadina, legendary Lady of Etiquette.
  • Soli has spoken to her in dreams, and has given her gifts. This sends Aryka right over the moon with joy.
  • She and Gilin, Cuven and Kamar fished Kefir and Tiortio out of the canal when they were murdered and dumped there, and thus she was able to perform their funerals and send their souls to Unot.
  • During Spring Festival of 55 A.U., she won the Social Pentathlon and is now happily married to a plot of land on the riverbank.
  • She hit a Shamibelian in the face with her frying pan.
  • Invented the legendary blueberry krepas dish that's all the rage in Anarinuell!
  • She was part of a mission in Perindra that brought back a divine and invaluable artifact. She also came home with a mysterious crystal ball. And naked. That probably goes in 'Uh-oh Moments.'

Image:cake.pngUh-oh Moments

  • She tried to keep the Istems name after she became High Priestess of Soli. Unfortunately, that drew the ire of the people, and Aryka had to give it up. It was one of the hardest things she's ever had to do, and to this day she has a difficult time internalizing her new name. Only a couple of the Istems even talk to her now.
  • She kinda sorta snuck off to war in 56 A.U. Most people didn't know she was leaving until she was already gone. Woops?
  • She got hit by lightning from the Tower of Obala. Ouch.
  • She came back buck naked from a mission in Perindra. Hardly an explanation as to how this happened, and with no backup clothes, she was naked for a while. She also lost a couple of sentimental items she thoughtlessly brought with her, like Perdina's ring.
  • Accidentally let Kyria drag her into the Eagle district during the second Democratic revolution. Lockdowns. Riots. Why are we here, again?
  • Not letting Kyria win a staring contest is a bad idea. Just let her win them, for Soli's sake. Stabbings hurt.
  • Smashing cake in Furen's face. It was worth the KO, but man her head hurt for a while after that.
  • Maybe visiting the Black Water Inn in the Gold Dragon district wasn't a very good idea, in hindsight.
  • Apparently, wallers get cranky when one says they won't marry a waller. And apparently, sponsors get cranky when one 'marries' suddenly one night without mentioning it till later. Additionally, she gets weird looks when she mentions she and her husband do not live together.
  • Oh yeah, there was that tiny detail of her fleeing the Old City after Alexa threatened to burn it down and spending four weeks in Unot's temple praying for Kelarik's soul and for his family. And then asking her Old City acquaintances to remember Kelarik by speaking well of him. That didn't go over very well at all.
  • Every time she pissed off her sister Perdina, it's an 'uh-oh moment.' Most of her attempts to protect and care for her older sister were misunderstood. It totally had nothing to do with her little-sister methodology. No.
  • The Gentlemen's Club. Period.


  • Probably most of the Old City and the Istems, ever since she left the Old City and gave up the Istems name.
  • Lillian Parnassis - Apparently, anyway. Aryka honestly has no idea how it happened. It seemed like one day, Lillian was a sweet young Istems darling who Aryka mothered... and then, perhaps she fell and hit her head? But she became a traitor to the family who blamed all of her problems on Aryka. Half the things she accused her of, she didn't even have the power to do. Maybe she drank too much water? Who knows. She ended up a Parnassis when she married Stellos.
  • Archon Kiriakos (?) - Finally! Everyone knows now what Aryka suspected all along - crazy! Crazy brute. They were on cordial terms before he... what happened to him, anyway?
  • Yathel (d) - Gaunt, rejected her food, hit her Pa and never up to any good. Aryka shed no tears when he died. Jerk!


  • Kyria Parnassis - Pretty little bitch. Wanna go get rip roaring drunk? Sure. Wanna get stuck in the Eagle district together just before a riot? NO. What?! We already are? FECK. Wanna go get rip roaring drunk? Pretty little bitch.
  • Furen Istems - Furen and Aryka grew up together, and he is as big of a jerk as she is a softy. He likes to trick her into being nice and close to him so he can hurt her. When he behaves nicely towards her, she falls for it nearly every time. Will she ever learn?


Aryka has so many people she loves, the list gets pretty ridiculously long. Here's just a small fraction of them:

  • Solina Cyrani - Aryka's temple second and confidante. Aryka finds herself leaning on this young woman with increasing frequency.
  • Shade Valerian - When they were young, Aryka really couldn't stand Shade. Now that they're older, somehow they've come together like two peas in a pod.
  • Kamar Parnassis - Aryka's bodyguard for the last decade. Apart from Aryka getting into trouble ("Hey Kamar? I'm stuck in the Eagle district during lockdown before a riot." "This? Oh, I fell onto a knife. Twice. While Kyria was holding it." "My leg? I fell down a flight of stairsnamedFuren.") while he's off-duty, they get on well. Very well. Usually. There was some rumor that they got sort of married, but how could that be, when she's still married to Litaros?
  • Sapphira Nastasi - A sassy woman unafraid to speak her mind. She named her baby girl after Aryka!
  • Arpessa - The girl knows how to party, and she had Aryka's baby! What could be more fantastic?
  • Asishon Sennet - He's often wacky in public and people tend to write him off as crazy, but over the course of the last decade, Aryka has discovered it's a stupid act he puts on. When there's no one to clown around for, he's thoughtful, kind and generous.
  • Niko Kiriakos - The bartender for the Barnacle Inn. He and Aryka would hold a lot of events, and they spent untold hours shucking oysters. She's so addicted to shucking oysters. Boy, did they shuck. Sigh.
  • Tinga - This whore has her back, and took her under her wing during a delicate time in Aryka's life.
  • Gazel Avanindra - A Sarojin princess, midwife and fellow Solian priestess. She's delivered Aryka's last three children, and they love to call one another Sister.
  • Petula Cylisti - The former high priestess of Soli is a woman Aryka reveres, and an unexpected source of girly good times. Now that she's left the city, Aryka misses her constantly.
  • Kelarik Cylisti (d) - She considered Kelarik, Yashila's son, to be family and was quite upset by his death.
  • Kadia Firona (d) - Geloe put it like so - Kadia was the best of the Firona girls. Out of place in the Old City in many of the same ways Aryka sometimes is, with such a big heart.
  • Tiortio Istems (d) - Originally an Eesani, this boy became a loyal Istems rather quickly. He was fiercely devoted to Aryka, and she adored him beyond words. He was truly a brother to her. He was murdered by the Parnassis family.
  • Perdina Histaru (d) - Her sister, her friend. She loves her more than she can say, even and/or especially when she's rowdy. She's gone now, and Aryka's life has never been the same. It feels as if it's divided into before Perdina's death, and after. And everything after Perdina's death is markedly less awesome. Aryka misses Perdina every second of every day.
  • Geloe Firona (d) - Holder of some of her deepest secrets and a helper and protector. She died when she went nuts and roared in with a bunch of thugs in a wagon and opened fire on a group of old people and wallers during the Old City Raid. Aryka and Jazayeri had gathered up the old and infirm, and with the assistance of priestesses and other volunteers from the walls, slapped together a little refugee camp to protect these folks from unruly guards. It gobsmacked Aryka that Geloe would attack it. But she was swarmed by defenders and killed. Aryka still loves her anyway.
  • Tiasha Ista Zayes (d) - A young Solian Aryka had come to rely on and confide in, Tiasha had a deep and abiding love for Soli and a selflessness that earned Aryka's trust right away. Together with Solina, they formed what they liked to call the Soli Girls. Tiasha delivered Aryka's youngest, Ashimar.

Really, Aryka loves nearly everyone. Nearly.


  • Ellisha Eesani - Tiortio's little sister Ellisha is becoming an accomplished young woman, and though they're both often busy, Aryka tries to pass on the knowledge that she can. She's also a healer in training, and serves on the same ship as Aryka in the Navy.
  • Solina Cyrani - This young Solian is a sailor and a combat healer in training. Aryka spent the war season of 56 A.U. with her and Ellisha at her side, the both of them assisting her on the battlefield. Aryka plans to shepherd this little Solian sister through her clergyhood, if she can.
  • Moyanet Garkansen - A former Gold Dragon monotheist turned Chimeran Kamnestran, Moyanet seems to be aiming to be as busy as Aryka, who's showing her the ropes when it comes to managing a kitchen.


Theme Song

Everybody Eats When They Come to My House by Cab Calloway
Wedding Day by Rosie Thomas
Soli Girl - A re-working of Barbie Girl by Aqua, by Marsalos for Aryka


  • Cooking - When Aryka is happy, she cooks. When she's sad, she cooks. When she doesn't know what to do, she cooks. It's a solitary and soothing activity.
  • Feeding people - Whether they like it or not. EAT.
  • Whiskey - The quicker-picker-upper!
  • Filling "Magic Pantries" - Aryka has agreements with several households to simply check their pantries and fill them when they get low. The routine of going from house to house is also a soothing solitary activity, and Aryka loves feeling like the Food Teffie.
  • Whores - They perform a valuable service to everyone, and really know how to party!
  • Soli - Her patron deity, the mother of everything there is. She loves to spend time in the temple and pray.
  • Spinach pie - This is the most perfect food in the whole world.
  • Perfume and makeup - So, turns out Aryka is a girly girl. She's hardly ever in public without makeup and perfume these-a-days.
  • Blueberry krepas - Her gift to Soli, her own unique contribution to the culinary world.
  • Shucking oysters - More like, she's addicted to this. She's almost never met an oyster she wouldn't shuck. It's hard for her to pass up an oyster shucking opportunity. It's a thrill, like gambling!
  • Boats - She has a little fishing boat, the Istems Rose, and she likes to sit and fish when she needs some quiet time. She daydreams about her retirement; she'll spend all day on her boat, hire burly men in loincloths to move amphorae around for no reason, and drink gallons and gallons of wine.
  • Her land - It's her lifelong dream to have land, and now that she has it, there are not enough hours in the day for her to spend with it. She quite literally hugs it. And if you could marry land, she would.
  • Her tent - She made a scandalous but instructional tent one festival, and it's become the catalyst for many important - or humorous - conversations.
  • Dancing - When she's dancing, she can be anything or anyone she wants to be, for those few moments in time. It always puts a smile on her face.
  • Politeness - Her new family motto is a policy of politeness. She's working on it, honest!


  • Brewing - But she does it anyway! She seems to feel some need to provide brews along with her food, but it's an exhausting and very low-paying occupation. She has enough busy work to do without the mind numbing task of hauling countless gallons of water into her kitchen.
  • Sewing - Well, this is more like, Aryka sort of likes sewing, but it really doesn't like her. She has tiny pin-prick scars on her hands from her efforts.
  • Business stuff - Math is bleah. It's not that Aryka can't do it, it's just tedious. And boring. She will sometimes go ages without billing someone just because she hates writing invoices. She also dislikes it when customers say they want food, but they won't say how much, what kind or how many stenis they're willing to pay. Because inevitably, they'll complain that it's too much food, the wrong kind and too expensive. She likes it when someone says, "I have 50,000 stenis to spend, give me a spread for a party. And no fowl." Is that so hard?
  • Handsy men - Hands. To. Your. Self. That is not your ass for grabbing.
  • Blueberry pies - These are Drik's doing. Blueberries taste like dirt. Someday, Aryka is going to make them not taste like dirt. Well, whaddaya know. She did. Blueberry krepas taste so much better than blueberry pie!
  • Lamb stew - She can butcher chickens, sure, sheep? And that's a lot of seasoning. Ugh.
  • Lies - Why bother? Just man up and tell the damn truth already, and stop wasting her time. And don't insult her intelligence, thinking she doesn't see through your lies. She's a mother and she has excellent intuition and bs detection, so if you tell her you were 'just discussing business' with that slutty woman in that apartment all alone for eight hours, you best be picking up your feet to let her eyes roll by.
  • Men cheating on their women - Just stop, already. Either go home to your woman and love her, or go home and leave her. But if she loves you and thinks you two are exclusive, stop lying to her. And please don't try to involve Aryka in it. Not fair.
  • Feeling irrelevant - Something weird has happened as she's aged. Everyone else is younger! How odd! And now she feels like the creepy older woman that just doesn't belong and it's awkward.
  • Nobility who openly hate commoners - Has it really been that long since Kinslayer? Seems so.
  • Rudeness - See: her new family motto. There's a huge difference between being impulsive, even brash, having fun, being wild... and being rude. Be polite to your fellow Firan. It's good for the soul.

Image:cake.pngLogs, Speeches and Emits



Aryka waits to see which way the wind will blow.

On Firan time: 01:08:25 PM on Fri Sep 21, in the year 51 A.U., Aryka used the 'oratory' skill successfully and received a very favorable response. The text of the message reads as follows:

Aryka looks terribly nervous as she heads to the front of the temple, and there's a small 'is this thing on?' moment as she glances around at those assembled. She starts out slowly, all the while looking at the Acting High Priestess Petula like she's a lifeline. "I had a dream, and in it Lady Mama Soli...expressed something that makes me both sad and hopeful."

She looks over at Petula, as if asking for her line, but gets it together to continue: "She told us that she hears us, her children, calling out to her...but only in our worst moments. When we're dying, or our children are dying. But the rest of the time, we ignore her, like a careless farmer might ignore the land and then be surprised and angry when it fell into disarray and didn't give him a harvest."

"We've earned a reprimand from our mother; we leave her temple barren and we demand things we haven't earned from her, things we don't deserve. She would turn her face to us, to ease our struggles and our pain, but she can't do that if we discount her like so much dirt in our estates."

Deep breaths! Aryka holds out her hands, now enthusiastic. "But still, even for all that, Mama Soli would give us a gift! This gift, though, would have a price. She'll choose two people for a strange and wonderful journey, she says, so they can understand the earth, understand her, share in the earth and in her. So that we will remember and cherish her, and pray to her."

"Of the two she'll choose, one will have prayed the most to their mother, more than any other, in a month's time. The other will have offered up to her on her altar a thing of great beauty and workmanship, something they made with their own two hands while thinking of her, to honor her. It doesn't have to be expensive, made of platinum or showy. But she gives from herself everything to us - the rocks, gems, flax, flowers and wheat. She gives it to us so that we can use it to make a treasure for her that she can hold close, to remember that we remember her."

Aryka finishes, gesturing to the temple, "So come and worship. Children, remember your mother. Set aside your busy lives and come to honor and cherish her, pray to her and offer the work of your hands." Aryka adds,"This speech was given with the permission of Priestess Proxy Petula."

There was a crowd of 245 people in Anarinuell: Palace District -- Temple of Soli, including the players: Cataryna Tyrin Teni Corrina Talon Attis Oliana Petula Aryka The crowd cheered the news of Aryka's words and Aryka's social points were adjusted upwards by 1169.

Gamewide Emits:

Becoming legendary:
Firans aren't often the most adventurous of people when it comes to the palate. Their diet, especially those of the lower classes, sometimes borders on monotonous. But there has always been something different, something undeniably delicious about the food cooked by Aryka Istems -- even the most plain of culinary fare made by her has a special kind of pizzazz. Over the years, Aryka has served many people from all walks of life, stocking the portable pantries of vagabonds to lining the extravagant tables of clan leaders. When people see that familiar burgundy basket painted with roses, their mouths start to water unbidden; Mes Aryka Istems has truly become a legend in the world of cooking.

Ambushed by Shamibelians!
Suddenly, a strangled cry goes out from the forward posted sentries that watch the hills close to the docks. "Raaaii...". He does not get to finish his call. Suddenly a large group of Shamibelians comes pouring down the hills towards the docks. They engage the troops there and soon have Aldrin, Aryka and Judante surrounded. There is fighting going on everywhere, but our small group of soldiers is especially hard pressed, backed up between the pier and enemy with little space to move.

Meanwhile, by the pier, Aryka the chef seems to have made use of the first weapon she could find - she lunges forward and smacks a Shambelian right across the breastplate with her cast iron frying pan. And then again, in the face!

Lord Aldrin and his two companions - Aryka and Judante - make a good stand down on the docks. They manage to fend of their assailants for long enough for reinforcements to pour in from Fort Defiance. The battle rages fiercely, but slowly and steadily the scale tips in favor of the Firans.

Struck by lightning in Perindra!
Another bolt of lightning reaches out to strike Aryka, the legendary cook from the Old City. She's awfully far from home, bustling around the back lines to heal fallen soldiers. The lightning takes her by surprise, and she cries out with pain - but manages to keep right on moving.

At the moment of her death:
Surrounded by those who love her, High Priestess Aryka’s eyes close for the very last time. Moments later, those in the room with her begin to notice a curious thing. The scent of wildflowers begins to fill the air surrounding Aryka’s body. At the crest of her forehead beautiful flowers begin to sprout and grow. They twist and braid themselves in to a gorgeous circlet that rests eternally across her brow.

At her funeral:
Rumor as it that the funeral for Aryka Actis is starting to get out of hand. Graciana is probably rolling over in the sky as people start talking about her breasts. People are puking from drinking too much. The city has never ever seen a funeral like this for a High Priestess, someone who sat on the Religious Council. Citizens are quickly becoming aghast. They've all had too much to drink at home later. Everyone has heard about wakes, like that which followed Taleo's funeral, but they start to think this is going too far.


A progression of pictures: My first drawing of Aryka, the Sim version of Aryka and at long last, a real-world model!

Aryka as a very young woman
Aryka partial body shot
Oh my! A photo of Aryka!
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