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Though Laria was born into slavery (as Larisha Talltallow), her masters were a far cry from the kindly patrons she describes to curious customers. In her youth, Larisha watched the illegitimate son of her master flog her only brother to death, and later her mother. When the bastard’s cruelty was directed at her father, Larisha intervened. She beat her father’s tormentor to death with her fists, but was too late to save her father’s life. The other slaves ushered her into the city’s underworld, where she fell in with the Bellflower Network. Eventually, she settled in Kintargo with a new name and forged paperwork to found her unassuming little cafe. Few of Kintargo’s elite suspect that the head of their halfling darling carries a hefty bounty across Cheliax, and Laria takes great pains to conceal her past and the scars it left across her scalp and back. Despite her rough childhood and violent adolescence, Laria remains friendly. She loves nothing more than trading gossip and flirting shamelessly, but she invariably pushes others to talk about themselves. Though she is a practical woman and weathers insults with grace and patience, her mood swings from flirtatious and lighthearted to cold and fearless at the first hint of violence. If she spends too long on her own, her memories threaten to pull her down into a sticky abyss of regret and self-loathing. For her own good—and the good of those she frees from Chelish shackles—Laria pushes herself to fill every waking moment with interaction. Not surprisingly, the Long Roads Coffeehouse serves up more than invigorating elixirs and stuffed pastries. Unable and unwilling to forget her roots, Laria still works with the Bellflower Network, bribing officials, ferrying slaves and fugitives out of Cheliax and Nidal and into distant Varisia, and forging paperwork. While she worked as a tiller many years ago—leading escapees through the darkness and protecting them from predators and bounty hunters alike—her new life keeps her away from dark fields and slavering beasts. The charming baker coordinates with dozens of other figures in Kintargo’s underworld—from smugglers and cutthroats to selfappointed freedom fighters—and makes sure anyone working to undermine imperial influence in Kintargo can find the necessary resources.
With her warm, charming laugh and ample body, Laria presents the image of a woman who wants for little and enjoys life’s simple pleasures. A powerful, athletic build ripples below her curves, and she’s capable of tirelessly hefting massive loads around the shop and tossing unruly visitors out on their ears. She abstains from life’s worst vices, but makes no secret of her fondness for great cooking (especially her own) and great companionship in her bed. Never a woman to stick to one dish when she could try them all, Laria keeps an impressive number of lovers on rotation.