Song of Ice and Fire
An asset of House Vara
Background: Involved in a villainous scandal in Braavos
A noble once described Agrippa as an upjumped Braavosi cutthroat. Agrippa agreed and politely asked the noble to remember that the next time he went to sleep. The response was delivered in such carefully obsequious tones that it took a moment or two for the noble to realize he was outraged. He just didn’t have the balance after that to inflect the requisite threats that came pouring out of his throat with the correct amount of vitriol.
Now in his middle years, prefers not to have to put his opponents off-balance, he would rather they never know who he is and that they never see him. Actually, he has always preferred this way of fighting as soon as he discovered it was a viable path to victory. In his youth, he was an outstanding bravo in the city of Braavos, of impeccable reputation built by braggadocio. Though no one recalls having actually seen him fight and no one recalls seeing him after dark by the Moon Pool. Having realized early on that there isn’t much future in a career as a professional bravo, Agrippa sought out gainful, but not often honest, employment opportunities that were more suitable to his disposition.
The asset of House Vara has been an exceptional second story man, a less gifted merchant house guard, a cutpurse, a fence, a con man, a smuggler, a legitimate trader for a merchant house, a translator, a black marketeer, a seller of information, a loanshark (with the blessing of the Iron Bank), and of course, a cutthroat. Agrippa serves House Vara in a peculiar role, its full functions never explained to outsiders, but one that would be impossible for him to fulfill if he had never learned to read. Agrippa has a curiosity that never extended to the finer points of dueling, but irrepressibly moved him towards learning the means that men with power communicated: when an escaped slave-scribe became indebted to him, he saw his chance and he did not break the legs of old Gianni from Pentos. Agrippa learned to write from the interest he charged on Gianni’s loans. The old ex-slave still owes Agrippa iron coin, but the asset of House Vara cannot return to Braavos to collect.
Agrippa reads and writes rudimentarily, although he is fluent in several languages. He prefers to get the gist of a tongue before moving on to another. He believes that messages should be succinct and that all long, flowery prose and mellifluous adjectives can be reduced to basic, simple sentences that all men can understand. He has created several ciphers for House Vara communication using this reductive approach; they are not advanced, but they change frequently and convey a surprising amount of information with just a few symbols (though they lack in detail).
Although they seem to be ineluctably tied together, the Lady Vara and Agrippa do not seem to care for each other’s company much. Agrippa is fully the Lady Rychelle’s man over the Lord Vara, but nothing can break his composure like hearing her commands or being called to her presence. The Lady will tell anyone that Dunis is not Agrippa’s family name, it is merely a small support town near Braavos that he adopted to seem more important than other smallfolk, but for the most part she seems not to want to speak about the asset most of the time. Agrippa will complain bitterly of the dragons he personally spent hiring sellswords and informants after Lady Vara’s kidnapping, though he was never commanded to use his own money.
Agrippa Dunis arrived in Dorne with Lady Rychelle’s entourage and at some point made himself indispensable to the household. After all, there are some things that noble knights and honorable warriors cannot, or will not, do, as he is wont to say.