Name: Leina Bou (LEY-nah BOH)
Age: 21 (at the start of Goda’s Slave)
Native Tongue: Middlelander (Northern dialect)
Leina Bou first appears, along with her twin sister Noa Bou, in Chapter 17 of Goda’s Slave. She meets Kanna in a tavern and helps Noa convince Kanna to follow them both into a bathhouse.
Along with her sister Noa, Leina is the youngest in her family. She was born in the Northern Middleland, in the rural town of Gam. This town was a casualty of several different economic disasters in a row, including a compromise of its local food supply due to mismanagement by the central government.
Perhaps the slightly more prudent half of the pair, Leina has looked after her twin sister since they were young. Early life was difficult, as Leina and her sisters grew up in severe poverty. As children, they had to steal to supplement the sparse calories their local communal farmland provided.
Because of the remoteness of Gam and limited transit throughout most of its history, the Bou family seldom received any rations from the central government, even though all residents of the Middleland officially have the right to a set supply of yaw. The official stance of The Mother was that rural residents should come to the capital to receive Her gifts. Being one of the most impoverished regions of the Middleland, few in Gam could afford to make such a journey regularly. As a result, a small grey market of suppliers arose, and these people would load up in Suda on behalf of rural residents and transport government goods to Gam, though they would charge astronomical margins.
After the government established a military base near Gam, this squeezed resources ever tighter. Residents were forced to quarter soldiers and sometimes even feed them yaw grown from family plots. Soldiers were not always kind to their benefactors.
Because of these early traumas, all of the Bou sisters have a complicated relationship with authority. Leina is disillusioned with the Middleland government and hates soldiers.
After taking on their first jobs under a shady middleman merchant, helping to cart government goods from Suda to Gam, Leina and Noa had their first taste of travel. At around age 17, they began train-hopping on their own, then decided to leave home permanently.
Though only a few years into this nomadic life by the time of Goda’s Slave, Leina is already growing tired. She entertains fantasies of moving into one of the few unconquered sectors of the Outerland desert full-time, though a part of her knows the danger of straying too far out of The Mother’s watchful eye. Noa also objects to this idea, but more because does not want to be tied down to any specific place. Leina hopes to find a wife one day, but is hesitant to settle down because she knows it would probably mean abandoning her sister.
Now working for themselves as bootleggers, they continue to move between the border towns–not quite on either side of the line.
Leina has brown, wavy hair and hazel eyes. She is around average female Middlelander height (1.8 meters or 5′ 11″).
Leina’s closest relationship is with her twin and business partner, Noa Bou. They work together, live together, and travel together. Their genuine love for each other is intertwined with their co-dependency. Leina is a bit more aware of the unhealthier parts of their dynamic than Noa is–or at least more aware that they tend to amplify the neurotic parts of each other’s personalities. Out of the two, Leina feels more like an individual than Noa does; Noa feels a bit more like she is part of a set. Occasionally, this leads to conflict about where “we” ends and “I” begins.
Leina has a distant relationship with her mothers; she is habituated to lying to them about her whereabouts. She also shares a distant relationship with most of her siblings (most of whom are many years her senior), with the exception of Thuja, who is less than two years older. Thuja regularly meets with the twins and guards many of their secrets.
Because she travels so much, Leina’s friendships are limited. Her romantic and sexual relationships also tend to be fleeting, which she is growing bored of. She desires more depth in her life, but is hesitant to risk putting roots down after her childhood experiences.
Leina is pansexual and panromantic like most Middlelanders, though she is slightly more interested in men than women.