Sovea eir Gravitas, often known as Sophia Grave, is an Imperial frumentarii working chiefly out of Ul’dah. Perhaps her most most defining trait is, ironically, her mutable nature, but make no mistake, she is hardly impulsive or capricious. Sophia Grave is nothing more or less than what she chooses to reveal, and she does so with an exacting, shrewd wit honed over cycles operating in an Empire built and run by the power hungry and the chaotic holdouts still fighting to maintain a fragile independence. She is an actor, a liar, a criminal, a soldier, and when needed, an unrepentant hypocrite; in other words, a spy.
Sophia’s true person beneath the layers and masks is perhaps one of harsh rationality. Instinct does little to drive her, at least not in the manner most commonly felt. Sophia’s mind breaks down interaction to portray what she wants to, like a formula. Word choice, tone, proximity, facial expression, and body language are all functions that, when calculated properly, express the persona she needs for the situation at hand. Sensuality, sexuality, warmth, or danger are all just recipes portrayed, rather than instinctual expressions.
Despite this, as some might call it, dishonest approach, Sophia does very rarely exhibit a conflicting core personality. One on hand, she can display a strong sense of justice and rarely acts for her own personal gain. She admires honesty and virtue in others, especially when such an individual succeeds in making concrete, beneficial changes for those around them. On the other hand, she hardly carries those traits herself and will even take advantage of said benevolence to further her and the Empire's agenda. She doesn't just lie, manipulate, and kill in her job-- she loves doing so. She lives for the moment when an enemy realizes they are beaten, or when she can convince someone to act against their nature. Though hardly promiscuous naturally, she is more than willing to engage in such activity if it gains her control over a mark.
This pushes back against her admiration for the truly good, which creates a sort of cycle of self-loathing and guilty pleasure derived from the same actions. At times, she genuinely wants to be the honest, virtuous person she admires. Other times, she wonders just how far she could take the skills she's learned if she were properly unfettered by name and nation. Her only realistic option, she feels, is to at least apply her nebulous skill set in the name of the Empire.
Much like her personality, Sophia’s appearance is specifically tailored towards the persona she wishes to portray. Utilizing knowledge in design, fashion, psychology, and social engineering, Sophia can just as easily dress the part of Aristocracy as she can an overlooked face in the crowd. Sometimes, her visage exudes strength and other times, she orchestrates a weakness just below the surface that isn’t even truly present.
Obviously, there are a few qualities which she cannot change. Sophia Grave is 5’8” weighing in at 140 ponze. She has a dancer’s body: both slender and athletic. Owing to her race, she has platinum blonde, straight hair, although it is often dyed. Her eyes are large and vibrantly blue, but again she often changes their color with lens. And, of course, Sophia bears the Garlean third Eye on her forehead, which she keeps hidden by means of a combination of glamour charm and Garlean technology.
When able, Sophia tends towards a graceful appearance. As a member of Aristocracy, she’s most practiced at portraying nobility and etiquette compared to her other personas and, not to mention, grace lends itself well to her decidedly 'pretty Midlander' features and build. In addition, Sophia prefers clothing that accentuates her figure, rather than rely on fickle, regional trends. She tries to keep ready for a skirmish whenever possible by means of key reinforcements and concealed weapons and pockets, although this isn’t always feasible with every outfit. She’s most often found wearing tall thighboots, thick leggings, and a vest, jacket, or simple cuirass. Her choice in cosmetics leans towards accents and compliments on her natural beauty rather than artful decoration. She keeps her nails and skin clean when able, and her long hair is often tied in a neat bun. Finally, she often wears glasses, despite not needing them.
I. Rise of an Empire
Sovea was born in the capital city of Garlemald as a member of the Gravitas line. Like the Empire itself, the Gravitas line owes its own rise to that of the then Legatus Solus van Galvus and magiteknology. Before Garlemald’s conversion to an empire, Sovea’s grandfather, Lucius sas Gravitas, was a Tribunis under Galvus in its small standing army. At the time, the Empire was no Empire at all; merely a small, city state built on harsh land. The city’s Senate ruled and held most of the country’s wealth and influence. When Galvus rose, Garlemald’s military rose with him. Further still, magiteknology allowed for more robust trade, via the city’s new airships and its brand new export.
Opportunities in both magitek and military allowed for even common men to become something, and while Lucius was no common man, he took advantage all the same. During Garlemald’s initial expansion efforts, Lucius won several battles for the burgeoning Empire, earning him both fame and fortune. His son, Sebastos, continued to serve after his father’s retirement, working his best to garnish respect for his family. In order to continue the family line Sebastos II was born in 1550, followed later by Sovea in 1552.
II. (1552-1569) Ambition & Youth
Sovea’s childhood was strenuous, yet gratifying. Sebastos II had, by his point, cemented himself as a failure in his father’s eyes, given to indulgence and overall irresponsibility. Thusly, Sebastos I took even greater care in prepping Sovea for success, utilizing the best tutors available and implanting his own experiences in her. Fortunately, Sovea was nothing like her older brother, and was absolutely insatiable for knowledge. She embodied a Garlean ideal; beautiful, noble, clever, and ambitious. At this point, Sovea began to push for enrollment at Garlemald’s military academy against her father’s wishes. They bickered back and forth for years, but Sebastos I finally relented. Sovea was nearly fourteen at this time, an age widely considered too old to catch up in an Academy. Sebastos I figured she wouldn’t be able to catch up to her peers and would eventually be forced to quit, so he relented. Unfortunately for him, she not only caught up, but thrived, reaching top of her class in a few short cycles.
III. (1569-1571) Realpolitik
Before Sovea could truly cement herself in a military future, her father ended her enrollment. A now eighteen cycles old Sovea found herself at odds with her father and completely cut off from her desired future. Thus, she begrudgingly turns toward her father’s plan, and gains mentorship with a Senator’s supporting staff.
Sovea was initially at odds with her mentorship, which consisted mainly of administrative duties. Before long and through specific events, it quickly became clear how gray and mired the world of politics were. A loophole here and an exchange of coin there was all it took to enact laws across the Empire. Sovea took it in stride and, in a few short cycles, her actions became too high profile and infamous to continue working any further. Just when the door closed on her second chance, another opened when she was approached by the Frumentarii.
IV. (1571-1578) Of Her Own Making
V. (1578- )An Empire Shaken & A Realm Reborn
RECENT HISTORY GOES HERE
In addition to her unique social skills, Sophia employs a wide range of skills which chiefly fall under spycraft. With a solid base of cultural norms and typical behaviors of several Imperial regions, she uses accents and cultural quirks to help sell a persona and to clue her in on what to expect from a given region’s criminal world and combative preferences.
Due to her attendance in Garlemald’s military academy and her time on the field, she’s well versed in both direct and indirect warfare, though she tends towards the latter when given the choice. Sophia prefers to probe an enemy or mark for weaknesses and tailor her strategy accordingly. To that end, she often blackmails, interrogates, ties up funding or supplies, or plays a group against its rivals, itself, or the Empire. She’s also practiced at keeping herself concealed, as well as circumventing various contemporary security measures.
Though not a medical professional, experience has taught her how to treat light wounds. Sophia can create little more than novice potions, poisons, and improvised explosives, but will often employ those she calls irregulars to address her shortcomings and provide her specific tools to perform an intricate task.
While conflict is common in her line of work, Sophia will typically try to circumvent the need for outright combat, or at the very least, create or prepare an advantage. When necessary, however, she approaches it as if it were science, where every action, strategy, weapon, or defensive measure can be quantified and logically weighed against any other. Sophia employs several tools of various complexity to fight her battles as something of a Gadgeteer, but often begins with her bare hands. In this regard, she utilizes a more grounded form of pugilism which focuses on locking her opponent’s range of motion and preventing attacks or retaliation to allow her own. While this is an effective strategy against some, her bare hands can hardly penetrate armor, nor can she expect to overpower a larger, stronger opponent. To address this shortcoming, Sophia uses several tools to throw off her foe and attack in various ways, ranging from simple knives and firearms to more complex gadgets such as a magitek bit, flammable powders, and gauntlets housing a small, automatic winch spooled with carbontwine.
♥● Sebastian Grave: Sophia's older brother; an Imperial airship pilot who smuggles goods on the side. Eternally irresponsible, Sebastian turns up in Eorzea at random, much to Sophia's frustration. Despite this, she can't help but enjoy his visits and values his brief stints in her life. Since Sebastian is typically quick to leave once relationships get tough, Sophia is forced to keep things light, lest she risk losing him for good.
● Dartanon Nobis: A knightly miqo'te whom Sophia loved and greatly admired. She initially rebuffed his advances and attempts to redeem her, knowing full well the likely result of such fraternization. Instead, they each had something to offer each other, and for a time, they worked well together. However, with both wholly dedicated to their clashing philosophies, they were forced to part ways as reluctant enemies.
♥● Zaius Rhal'seer: With knowledge of Sophia's allegiances and a distinct lack of judgement, Zaius manages to set Sophia at ease-- an alarming notion for anyone who knows the man and his insatiable bloodlust and addiction to combat. Perhaps he brings out those qualities in her. Perhaps she hates his self-centered, bestial outlook. She tries not to think about it.
● Graeham Ridgefield: Sophia feels something close to responsible for Graeham. He's one of the few able to feel compassion for both the Empire and its victims, which both inspires Sophia and causes her a great deal of worry. Perhaps more than anyone else, she wants to see Graeham grow to become someone who can make real, beneficial changes and ease tensions between the Empire and its scared, angry, and rapidly growing citizenry. Until hostilities cease, however, she finds those same convictions restrictive and unhelpful towards earning a decisive victory for the Empire, which frustrate her to no end.
● Brynhilde Wulf: Sophia has always been equal parts impressed by and curious of Brynhilde, who plays her cards close to her chest. Through recent and inevitable revelations, they've finally found each other open enemies. Last they met, they parted on neutral ground, hoping they'd never have to meet again.
● Flickering Ember: An endearing Hellsguard wildchild that seems to be no older than an adolescent. Although Sophia tries to keep her at a distance, Ember's unique behavior quite easily circumvents Sophia's emotional barriers. Sophia has nothing but respect for the girl, who manages to live off the land while blind, and yet is well aware of how fragile Ember's life is, thanks in large part to the dangers posed by the rules of society and war her people have imposed on Eorzea's citizens. Without even meaning to, Ember serves to ground Sophia's ambitions and reminds her that the wrong choices can have dire consequences for the people who never did anything to deserve a war. Sophia is both relieved and worried that Ember seems to have vanished from her life.
Some of these rumors are untrue or are greatly exaggerated. Please feel free to add your own rumors under PC!
Your character is an Imperial. Sophia might know anyone who grew up around the time she did in Garlemald to some degree. Sophia's family name is known to anyone with a knowledge of the Empire's history, and most of her exploits are a matter of record available to those holding high enough positions to view such things. She is also known in the frumentari community.
Your character is a criminal. Criminality and spycraft go hand in hand. Sophia regularly employs, clashes with, or otherwise interacts with the criminal underground, especially those in Ul'dah.
Your character is connected in Ul'dah. Sophia works primarily out of Ul'dah and on paper, is employed as an independent agent for hire. She holds a small reputation, but is known to be a professional who solves delicate problems unsuited for brutish mercenaries.
Your character is in the Ala Mhigan Resistance. Sophia is currently tasked with disrupting resistance cells on both sides of the Wall and has done so in the past.