Born a dirty little secret to one of the minor noble families of Brevoy, Aarya was a shame that could not be allowed. Born with both male and female genitals the child was considered a freak, a bad omen. Such a being would call mockery down on the House, suggestions that the lord could not father a true heir…
But blood was too important to shed. There first, and possibly only, child, they couldn’t kill that link. Aarya was sent away to a family near Magnimar, trade allies of the noble parents, and never told the truth of where the noble origins surround the child’s birth.
Aarya’s new parents were more accepting, but assumed that as the child grew a gender would be chosen. Desperate to please, Aarya tried, but being a man or a woman didn’t fit. Aarya was neither, and neither was a comfortable roll to play. As the parental pressure to choose grew Aarya knew one truth – either choice would lead to a life of misery.
So Aarya ran to Magnimar, hoping to find something better. Instead, the child was found by other people, less savoury people who knew people in the market for the exotic and strange. Aarya fit the bill perfectly. Vulnerable, desperate to belong and now fed a mixture of drugs to those on them compliant, Aarya became a slave to the carnal urges of the decadent.
Aarya withered. Watching others, the child saw what fate in store as the drugs and abuse slowly crushed the life from them. But the drugs kept the pain away, and any fear or cares about such a fate. They left Aarya miserable and unable to realize it.
And then, one night, in the haze, a figure came. Wrapped in silks of blue and grey, with beautiful wings upon there back, the figure spoke to Aarya. Of how there was more to be found, in the world. Others who could accept and heal the wounds this place had inflicted, and teach the perfection of all bodies.
Awaking, Aarya simply got up and walked out. No one seeing the vacant stare that had been there before would assume there was any chance that such a thing could happen, and so Aarya simply walked free. The vision showed her a place, and even through the remains of the drugs Aarya’s feet remembered the way shown. Vomiting from withdrawal, Arshea’s newest servant arrived at the Temple…
There Aarya was healed. Taught that sexual pleasure was not what had been inflicted upon the still healing flesh, but a release of the spirit. And Aarya came to accept that her body was not a freakish accident, but the perfect blending of man and woman to Arseha.
In return for the healing and acceptance, Aarya became devoted and dedicated to Arseha’s cause, burning with a desire to help the oppressed and bring freedom to those who needed it. Growing older, Aarya trained, and eventually became a Paladin dedicated in Arshea’s honour. Armed with a huge version of the flail, Aarya was selected from the small band to go the Stolen Lands, and make use of a charter that had come into the leader of the order.
Aarya is unusual in appearance to many people. Taller and more muscular in build than most typical women, but with rounder hips and facial features. Thanks to a shaved head and a strangely neutral voice somewhere between a young man and a deeper woman’s voice it is extremely difficult to associate Aarya with either gender. Which, of course, is the point. It is worth nothing that Aarya often seems cheerful and happy, with laughter lines starting to form around the mouth and eyes.
Aarya has a slightly darker than usual skin tone and pale blue eyes. There are a number of scars, especially on the Paladin’s back, from her unusual past but they are faded with age. Aarya’s torso is longer and more powerful than most would expect, taking up nearly half the length of the body, and the legs are therefore slightly short by comparison, but Aarya’s fingers are longer and almost delicate looking
As a warrior, Aarya’s clothing is practical first and foremost. A padded tunic over which is a suit of armour with dark pants and knee high boots. A heavy leather belt with pouches adds storage, and a long sleeveless duster sown with Arshea’s holy symbol. Aarya’s heavy flail usually hangs at the belt. Typically, Aarya’s clothing will be blues and greys, the colours most typically associated with Arshea. Aarya may also wear jewellery on occasion, preferring silver necklaces and bracelets with blue stones. One piece she always wears is a silver holy symbol of Arshea around her neck.
It is not impossible to see Aarya in more gender specific clothing, although the Paladin prefers a more neutral tone, but given the choice the clothes will almost always involve blue and grey.
"Greetings there traveler, I am known as Aarya. You are a little confused, no? I can see the confusion in your eyes, friend. Don't worry, I'm not offended. Am I a man, or am I a woman? The simple answer is I am neither. I am both. I am what I wish to be that day, or in that moment. Of course, that is not such a simple answer, is it? Do you have a little time for my story?"
The slightly startled young man nodded at the tall, bald figure before him. They smiled pleasantly.
"Then I shall tell you. I was born both but neither man and woman, near the city of Magnimar. My parents were obviously...confused, and concerned, but other than a quirk of fate regarding my sex I was healthy, and I grew to be happy. But others were not so comfortable. Even among the stranger species, the Aasimar or the Tiefling, there is man and woman. It made other uncomfortable. As I grew, I was pushed, to one side then the other. Should I choose to be a man? Should I be a woman?"
Chuckling, the person shrugged. "I tried both. Neither was for me. They each limited an aspect of my soul I had no desire to limit. You see, I believe that it isn't just the flesh that involves your gender, but that it goes much deeper - right into the soul. That's why you find men and woman who feel trapped in the wrong flesh, who wish to change there gender. The soul is trapped in the wrong skin. I was in the right skin. I was Aarya, what I was meant to be, but others were not accepting. When I was given the choice - forced to make a choice - between the men's rights and the women's to adulthood, I had to leave. I will never be a man, or a woman, but I will also be both."
The young man frowned a little. "So you have both a...you know...down there?"
Aarya laughed. "A penis? And a vagina? Yes, I do. Do you find it intriguing? Others did. Alone, the less savory found me. They found my uniqueness...profitable. There are some whose tastes favour people like me. I thought I knew so much...but then, how many young people don't think they know it all? And I had thought the stares and comments had made my life tough. I was trapped for...some time. I honestly don't know how long. Then, when all hope was lost, I achieved a moment of clarity. And a vision came to me. An Angel, A God, glad in veils, and just like me."
An expression of bliss crosses Aarya's face. "She told me I had other tasks. Other duties, other services to perform. My...owners thought me broken. I remember drugs, to keep us calm. I saw pretty blue clouds as people did...as they wished. I remember the squirrels in the garden becoming purple, and then giantic. I don't know if I was broken, truly, and the mended, or if I had just forgotten there were other choices, even other places. Whatever it was, I simply walked out and left. I went to the Spirit of Abandon. They healed me. And taught me of my Sovereign, the Empyreal Arshea."
The young man stirred. "Arshea? She is...like you."
Aarya looked thoughtful. "In some ways. Arshea is a man, or a woman, or both as is wished and needed at the time. But...they are also much more. I entered service as, a Paladin. I dreamed of her as I prayed naked in the dawn light. I knew she had a plan for me, and I went to find it."
"Did you?" The young man looked intrigued.
"Oh, yes," Aarya replied, "And so much more." For a second there was a...flicker around her, another shape, another being.
The young man looked, tried to make out what it was, but it was gone before they could. "So...why did you tell me all this? It is...quite a personal story."
Smiling, Aarya leaned fowards. "Two reasons. Your breasts are too big too bind like that." The young person glanced down at there chest with a frown. "And I can help."