Daughter of Princess Mirelle of Amber and Emperor Zane of Chaos, abandoned as an infant in Shadow due to her mother's madness, she is a direct descendant of both the Unicorn and the Serpent but possesses a faerie soul. Neither Shadow nor substance, Amberite or Chaosite, human or faerie in her mind, she strives to find her identity in any realm.
Ariana appears to be in her late twenties, although in reality she is 77 years old. She is only 5'4" tall and curvy, with a tanned complexion, piercing green eyes and long brown hair that tends to get red highlights when it's been exposed to the sun for a while. She wears her hair in various styles, depending on the occasion, elaborately piled on top of her head for formal affairs, pulled back in a braid when fighting. When worn loose, the way she wears it on most other occasions, it reaches almost to her knees. She is of average weight for her height, slender but well rounded in the appropriate areas, and her musculature is toned, not bulky.
Ariana favors light, airy clothing, that tends to conceal very little. Her favorite style is a sleeveless dress, attached at one shoulder with the other shoulder bare, that reaches only halfway to her knees. She will change her style when she's in Shadow, wearing halter-tops and cut-off shorts or sundresses in places like Shadow Earth. As far as colors go, she likes white, black, royal blue, purple, pink and green (especially the same shade as her eyes), but she has no particular favorite, as long as she looks good in it. In more dangerous situations, her clothing is still flowing, but it covers much more of her body. More places to conceal weapons that way.... She usually carries a leather pouch at her side, either attached to her belt or slung over her shoulder from a strap, and she is rarely seen without her sword.
Ariana can be a woman of intense emotions. She loves her family very much and will risk everything to ensure their safety. She values her friends as well, and will go to similar lengths to help them. She is usually straightforward and honest, although not as much as she was when she first came to Amber. Warm and friendly by nature, her psyche tends to make her almost empathic, causing her to empathize with and care for people almost too much for her own well-being. It is this that led her to study to be a doctor, and later to learn how to heal people through shapeshifting. A romantic at heart, she has an adventurous spirit, a rather mischievous sense of humor, and a trusting nature, all of which gets her in trouble from time to time. She also has a bit of a temper, which she usually manages to keep under control, but if she loses it, look out. She grew up in a democracy, so she doesn't have much faith in monarchies, nor much use for titles. She will follow the orders of those she respects, but don't expect her to do so solely because of some title. She enjoys doing just about anything outdoors, although she prefers warmer weather. She has received training from her husband in many of the skills used by assassins, but it goes against her general nature, and she much prefers an open fight.
Her original symbol was a modified caduceus, with the snakes twining around a sword instead of a staff. She chose this symbol as a representation of her dual nature, both warrior and healer.
Blue, white and green.
Duchess of Amber.
Duchess Vetch, Lady of House Vetch
Ari: Affectionate nickname used by Lucien, it was also her soul name in her previous incarnation as Loryn.
Mercedes: Name given to Ariana by Mirelle when she was born, Mirelle claims she took the name from the circumstances under which Ariana was conceived: in the back seat of a Mercedes.
Ariana was born on Shadow Earth, but was then abandoned at the age of six months in a Shadow where the technology and culture were much like that of ancient Greece, except that the creatures and gods of myth were real. The nation where she grew up was known as Hellena, which is Ariana's name for the Shadow, as well.
Amber: Ariana maintains quarters in Amber Castle, as well as a townhouse in the city and a beach house down on the coast.
Bedlam: Shadow of Driscoll's where Ariana lived for six years, along with the families of Random, Felix and Laughter.
Vetchways: The Ways of House Vetch in the Courts of Chaos.
Maui: Shadow where Ariana finished her medical training, she named the Shadow after the island where she first met Lucien and conceived Jalana and Morgan. It remains a favorite vacation spot of hers, although she hasn't been back there in some time.
Ariana's father supposedly was a Shadow Earth sculptor, who Mirelle met and married while wandering through Shadow. Kurt had a bit of a drinking problem, and Mirelle was rather unstable herself, never having recovered from discovering her mother's body after she killed herself, and the abuse Brand put her through as a child. When Mirelle was about eight months pregnant, Kurt got really drunk and began to hit her. Mirelle responded by blowing his head off with a shotgun, killing him, or so she thought. She abandoned the daughter she had named Mercedes in a Shadow of ancient Greece when the baby was six months old, recognizing that she was too unstable to safely care for such a small child. The baby was found by Thereon and Aleta, a childless couple, who named her Ariana and raised her as their own. Because of the unusual strength and stamina that Ariana began to demonstrate when she was around twelve, she was believed to be the child of one of the gods. This caused her to be both worshipped and somewhat feared, and outside of her parents, the only real friend she had was Jalana, who had been her best friend since they were children. Ariana spent many years exploring her world in various expeditions, always hoping to find her birth parents. She never did. Eventually, she gave up and returned home to be with her adoptive parents, although she continued to research her origins. She was mostly content, although she was upset that she seemed to be as barren as Aleta. Thereon died when she was 44, Aleta when she was 49. With their deaths, and Jalana's involvement in her own family, Ariana had little to hold her, and a year later she left in search of her origins again.
Not long after Ariana turned 50, she was found by Driscoll and brought to Amber to walk the Pattern. She fought in Patternfall soon after, and was one of the two people who shot Brand at the edge of the Abyss, although he survived in the end. Over the next five years, she got an education in Shadow, and met and married her husband, Duke Lucien Vetch. Lucien is over 3,000 years old, and is the Head of House Vetch, a house of shapeshifting assassins that serves as the discreet sword arm of the King of Chaos. Lucien had been married several times before, but all of his previous wives were murdered, the first, Loryn, by his father, and the rest by House Hendrake, due to a vendetta they had going with Lucien for several centuries. Lucien's two oldest sons were killed during the vendetta as well, to leave him without an heir, although his eight daughters survived. Given that the Hendrakes nearly killed Ariana's son Morgan when he was only four days old, Ariana isn't exceedingly fond of them, and she killed many of them during the civil war. The end of the civil war brought about an end to the vendetta as well, at least officially.
Several years after her marriage to Lucien, Ariana learned that she possessed the soul of Lucien's first wife, Loryn, the only woman he ever really loved. Obsessed with learning more about the woman she had been in her previous life, Ariana arranged to retrieve some of Loryn's memories, with the help of a faerie sorcerer named Drumm. Unfortunately, these memories included knowledge of Avalon, the true location of the Primal Pattern, whose existence Faerie had sworn to Oberon to keep secret from all humans. For his role in revealing the secret, Drumm was eventually beheaded. The possession of a faerie soul by a human has caused quite a stir in Faerie, especially among the ultra-religious. Ariana is apparently the first evidence that faerie souls can be reborn in human bodies.
Shortly after Zane killed King Gramble, Lucien left Chaos and retired, rather than support Zane and be separated from his family. At about the same time, Ariana lived through the death of the Serpent, the Unicorn, and her best friend, and then suffered the rape of both her mind and her body by Brand. The rape of her mind caused the existence of Avalon to be revealed to Chaos, who then attacked it. The rape of her body caused the conception of a son. After much agonizing, Ariana decided to keep the baby, only to lose him before he was born thanks to a spell cast by the Avatar of Faerie that switched her mind into Loryn's body. Jack then took her real body and gave the unborn child to Chaos, who wanted the power a child of two Amberites would posses. By the time this was discovered, so much time had passed in Chaos that Ariana's son had grown to adulthood. The pain of losing her child has marked her strongly, and she is still struggling to come to terms with it.Recently, Ariana discovered that Lucien's fourth wife, Angelique, was not dead after all. Angelique arrived in Amber after the mending of the Chasm, declaring her intention to reclaim Lucien as her husband, and to persuade him to resume his duties as Head of House Vetch. She succeeded in the latter when Emperor Nicholas declared war on the Unseelie Court, forcing all those with connections to Faerie to leave Amber. As for the former, Lucien shows little interest in resuming his relationship with Angelique, especially since he's the one who arranged to have her killed in the first place. Ariana has noticed some changes in Lucien since Angelique's return, however, and she fears that Angelique's presence may be having a detrimental effect on him.
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The excellent images of Ariana and Lucien Vetch are the work of Wendi Strang-Frost, and are © by her. Please contact her before reproducing them in any fashion. For more examples of her work, check out her web page, her online comic "Johnny Public" or the "Wavedancers" story in Elfquest.
All text on this page is © 1997-2003 by Kris Fazzari, with the exception of the attributed quotes.
Last modified on April 4, 2003 by Kris Fazzari.