Year 1845: Kezia was born while the Roma Carnival was still in full operation. Her father was one of the rare breed of Roma with a good head for finances and organization, instead of thievery and beguilement, so he helped with keeping their books and events straight. Meanwhile, his wife was one of the more alluring fire dancers.
Kezia was preceded by an elder sister, Theodosia, who was everything she could have hoped to ask for in an elder sibling. She was fiercely protective, a good fighter and was extremely headstrong. While she was talented at cutting purses, her elder sister's greatest talent was often playing security for the carnival grounds against outside threats like the Mafia.
Year 1854: Kezia's world is turned upside down the day she and her sister run a simple errand into the city for vegetables. It was nothing remarkable, or at least it shouldn't have been. But they came home to the Carnival in corrupted ruins, everyone they knew and loved was either melting before their eyes or warping into demons who were devouring anyone near them.
At the age of nine, she was left with nothing but her sister to cling to. They had no idea if any of the others had survived and no concept of how to figure it out. Instead, they needed to figure out how to put a roof over their heads, food in their bellies and do all of it fast! Naturally, her big sister quickly took to doing what she could for them both but she was a thief and that wasn't a well looked upon skill by many. As a result, her sister starts doing assassin work for the Mafia despite both of their misgivings at the time - it pays well enough for them to afford a small place in the burgeoning Shanty Town outside of Shade's Run.
Year 1857: Theodosia doesn't come home for almost a week. The food runs out and Kezia is at her wits end. Finally a stranger comes calling, one of the agents from Xanthus' Mafia, and they bring bad news: Her sister has been killed on a job. They offer to let her train up with them, take up her sister's mantle, but she refuses. She calls them on what they have done, they have used her sister up, spat her out and now they want to do the same to her! She'll have none of it!
But even as she sends them packing, she has no way to survive. Dancing as her mother did proves to only bring in a meager amount of coins and pick pocketing is still not nearly enough to afford a living wage. After a six months of barely scraping by, up all night due to hunger pains, she finally caves and signs on with a small time pimp to become a whore.
The first night still haunts her nightmares, the ones after it weren't much better. The men came in, used her up and threw her out. She was never sure if it was any different then becoming an assassin when it was all said and done. She does know that between watching the men use up her sister as a killer, then seeing how men used her body nightly for coin - she came to find their whole gender vile and base. They wanted nothing more then to take from women, take and take again. Women were commodities who provided men services. It made her sad and it made her sick.
Some of them were particularly violent too, something she got no say in. Whatever their kink was, she had to cater to it or she'd get a beating from her pimp AND no pay for the job. Such incidents have graced her body with a few cuts and scars - the most notable of which is the one on her underarm up to her clavicle.
Year 1859: A particularly nasty customer came asking specifically for her - apparently he had a Roma fetish and no other girl would do. She could tell immediately he was a creep but, again, it wasn't her call. When his fetishes also included tying her up, she had the feeling this wasn't going to be a good night but she had no idea how BAD it was until he started talking about how he'd torture her. He was going on about how he didn't often get "one of her kind" to strip and present itself like this for a good flaying. He planned to skin her bit by bit. Horrified, she could smell he was drunk so she bided her time, asking questions and playing up to his power fantasies just long enough...
When he paused to vomit in the bathroom, due to too much drinking, she pulled her shiv from her hair and cut herself free. She ran for her life, naked through the streets without a care. She dare not go to the knights, she had done that before and gotten trouble instead of help. One had even molested her for it, since he knew she couldn't complain about it and who would take her word over his as a knight? No, she had no one to turn to. She ran home for clothing and sanctuary.
Except that it seemed her pimp must have ratted her out. Not long after she was stalked by the man and it scared her to death. With no choice, she ran into the first place she could find - Larisa's Art Gallery.