“Most people thought of burlesque as the art of striptease, and Kallisti embraced that whole-heartedly, but it found its earliest roots in parody. Travesty. Sly and subversive mockery. When Ori surveyed this decadent kingdom, that was what she saw. “From Kings of the Castle
Oriena is the owner of Kallisti, House of Burlesque — the “not-a-strip-club” on the edge of Moscow’s red light district. Despite wealth, she still lives in a modest house on the outskirts of Zamoskvoreche; what she does with the majority of her income is unknown.
Oriena’s record is littered with minor infractions. Digging deeper into her past throws up wiped records — particularly in relation to her association with name omitted. Someone particularly stubborn might even trace the trail of the money originally used to open the club.
Ori is not precious about her business. She pays Carmen to take care of the day-to-day running, and glances from time to time at the paperwork and accounts that come her way. Most would not even know she was the proprietor, unless they were privy to the name on the lease.
However of late her interest has changed, and someone with the right abilities might discover a number of new employees, all of them gifted with the power of the gods.
Oriena’s block was broken when she was possessed by an ijiraq queen during the Ascendancy’s fundraiser. A bond was left between her and the creature, forged on a promise Ori made to avenge the ijiraq by destroying the tablet that binds and controls them to a channeler’s whim. The ijiraq have bestowed her with old knowledge in an attempt to forge their new weapon.
During New Allies, Oriena used this new knowledge to Compel Ryker into attacking her. The duel ended when three male ijiraq descended to protect their interests by ensuring Oriena did not die. As a result of the fighting, Oriena has extensive burns that run the full length of her left leg. They were inexpertly healed by Ilya’s Almaz girls, and twist like white webbing against her pale skin.
She has dark hair, naturally straight to her shoulder-blades, and storm-dark eyes. There’s usually something quite sardonic to her expression; she has a class A bitch attitude that either finds you beneath contempt or a toy to play with. Ori manipulates her femininity with ease, especially if it makes someone else uncomfortable, but she rails against the idea of being eye-candy. She takes what she wants and grows disinterested when others don’t do the same. Challenge fires her blood; she revels in it, though whether it makes her hot under the collar or insatiably violent can land on the toss of a coin (and flip at a moment’s notice). She prefers sleeping with men but finds more romantic interest in women, though she doesn’t date either. Dressed for an evening, she’s sly and provocative. During the day it’s not unusual to find her without make-up at all, and often in motorcycle leathers.
She owed nothing to this family; the loyalty of her blood ran weak.Ori, Promises
Nadezhda (mother); she’s unwell, afraid of the outside world, and sees spirits and demons everywhere she looks. Ori is protective of her, but also tucks her away from her life. “Her mother prayed to angels and feared the demons that stalked the shadows outside their house. As a child she remembered Dezhda worrying at her rosary beads until her fingers cracked and bled.”
She loved her mother, would protect her at grievous cost against the palest of slights. But those bonds were like fortress walls. Ori knew she scared her sometimes too.Oriena, Amends
Luka (half-brother); they share a father, and met through the gym Oriena boxes at when she was a teenager and he was fresh from prison. He’s a cage fighter. Though he tried to include her in his life, Ori resisted. When their sister Sofiya passed away from the Sickness, Ori did not go to the funeral though Luka begged. Afterwards she goaded him into losing control during a spar, and he punched her in the face. She hasn’t seen him since.
She should mean nothing to him, a rejected byproduct of their father’s sordid history, but he’d cut his hands all over trying to wreathe her in the title sister. Right from the start Ori had regarded Luka’s sibling affections with measures of curiosity and disgust, like he were a half-choked mutt on a leash, desperate for the warmth and impervious to the kicks. She considered herself her mother’s daughter; considered the blood they shared incidental and unfortunate, not the unbreakable links of familial tie, as he appeared to. And for a long time she’d treated him as an enemy, incarnate of the man who’d broken her mother’s heart. But she’d stuck around anyway. She’d called the club home first. She tolerated him. It’s what she told herself anyway.Oriena, Amends
Goading Luka hadn’t provided as much absolution as she’d hoped. She deserved the mottle of bruises, deserved the pain, but he didn’t understand why. It had negated her intentions when he’d comprehended the punch that had laid her out flat and remorse had flushed his expression. She’d only loaded guilt onto his grief. That shouldn’t have mattered an iota to Oriena, but when it came to the brother she refused to name so, her head was a tangle of snarled emotion.Oriena, Promises
Sofiya (half-sister, deceased); it was Sofiya’s birth that drew Oriena’s father to another family. She blames Sofiya for this, yet also feels great guilt at wondering if she could have saved her. Though she did not go to the funeral, she has visited the grave. This was the catalyst that steeled Ori with the intention of welcoming channelers to the club
Another man with no bite; who expected the world to kneel but who would not force it to its knees.Oriena, New Allies
- Carmen – manager at Kallisti, and one of the few people Ori places actual trust in.
- Jaxen – met at Kallisti the day of her half-sister’s funeral, which she had skipped out on attending. She slept with him that night (and the next morning). Later she accompanied him while he infiltrated the Atharim’s headquarters (and burned it to the ground before she escaped), and to the Ascendancy’s fundraiser ball. She often claims to find him irritating, yet there is something in the hook of his grin that always leads her onwards.
- Ryker – she was originally attracted to his violent temper, but quickly grew bored with the masks he employs to manipulate those around him. She finds his dreariness frustrating; enough that she compelled him into attacking her with the power, intending to force him to show his true face. The diversion was short lived. He was shielded as a result, and once she faced no retaliation or punishment for her behaviour, she lost interest.
- Claire – met at The Hole, where they conned some guys at pool. Ori liked her enough to offer her a job at the club.
- Mikhail – he witnessed her mother’s illness first-hand when he helped with her shopping, which in Ori’s eyes makes him dangerous. In the bar they ended up in he tried a little too hard for her attention, but in the end she left because she got the call that Kasun had attacked Rafael at the club. She’s aware he associates with Ryker, but also that he distracted the other man from killing her after she shielded him.
- Kasun – wolfkin that attacked Raffe, and whom Ori subsequently uses at the Almaz fight club.
- Ezekiel – an old acquaintance, currently supplying Ori with various drugs to take the edge off the ijiraq’s influence. He bought the debt she owed to Ilya for healing Raffe, and later healing her. What he wants in return is yet unclear.
- Nox – though they had met before, he only made a lasting impression when he protected her from the ZARS guns trained on her at the fundraiser. He has since begun working for Kallisti.
- Nikolai Brandon – she does not know him personally, though turned down the offer of his company the night she met Jaxen. At the ball, after she was possessed by the ijiraq, she remembers him walking away indifferent to her fate. It has burned in her a terrible hatred.