Once upon a time...
It was a dark but not stormy night when Journeyman Winemaker Rhakal gave birth to her fourteenth child, a tiny girl who was promptly dubbed Iala. Unfortunately, Rhakal and her husband, Journeyman Winemaker Ian, didn't especially want another brat to take care of, and thus decided to send her out for fosterage the very minute she was weened.
Off she went to north Benden Hold, while her parents and the rest of the tribe continued to live on the southern outskirts. Her foster parents - a kindly couple named Mort and Ysabel, already had one daughter of their own, a pratical, down-to-earth girl named Suzan. Suzan and Iala quickly struck it off as best friends - they both had dreams of becoming a Harper, and they were both intent on following through on these dreams. Ysabel and Mort just encouraged them, hoping that their "babies" would grow up to be relatively normal people.
They were wrong.
Suzan and Iala /did/ grow up - vaguely - although Suzan was definitely more mature for her age than anyone could possibly ever permit. She also had a real knack for making everything seem believable. When Rhakal and Ian paid a visit to see how their daughter was doing, they nearly had a heart-attack. Immediately, Iala was taken out of fosterage at the age of fourteen and cruelly forced to return to home, where her dreams were supposed to evaporate.
That didn't suceed, either. Suzan quickly got the blessing to journey to Fort Hold to become a Harper Apprentice, and only a few months later, Iala got the news that her best friend had made it into the Craft. Iala was overjoyed that her friend was able to pursue her dreams - but she was caged at home. Her older sister, Rhia, had already left home for Harper Hall, and was currently going through weyrlinghood with green Ahzraelth at Ista Weyr. Iala became determined to follow her older sister's wayward path, and managed to coerce her parents into letting her test her wings. They complied, thinking that she would begin her journey and never finish it.
They couldn't have been more wrong in their life.
Iala made it through the grueling trip, arrived at the Hall, and promptly got her interview with Master Allegria, who had, coincidentally, interviewed Rhia as well. Soon, she was branded with the badge of a Harper Probationary Appretice, and was thrilled with the way things were going.
Bad things began to happen in the Hall, however. In the switch from Masterharper Charlton's retirement to Master Allegria's promotion, her probaionary piece got lost amongst all of the shufflings. She remained a probationary apprentice for an extremely abnormal amount of time - almost one Turn was spent in Master Thendar's hideous classes. Finally, Master Allegria promoted her, assigning Iala to Master Gaelin's theory classes and Journeyman Valyn's composition classes, much to her utter delight.
On the OOC front, Iala was created on Monday, August 21, 2000, as an excuse to be a Harper. She really did blossom, however - she's not an excuse anymore. She's a character.
I tend to think of Iala as being someone who's laid back, relaxed, and dreamy - almost whimsical at times. But she's got a sense that she ought to be doing something at all times, and she's definitely got a streak in her that clearly says, "No, I'm not going to sing a duet with Mr. Bluebird, but I'm going to take a practical view on the world." In a way, she reminds me a lot of Susan from Terry Pratchett's _Discworld_ books, but she's got a touch of the dreamy Ysabel in her.