(a snake, a shark; a predator with teeth)
Technically, Jesena is a Sand Snake–one of Oberyn Martell’s acknowledged bastard daughters–in practice, she’s never fully belonged. After all, while the other Sand Snakes are loyal to their father and Dorne, Jesena was raised to be loyal to one thing above all else: the Iron Bank of Braavos.
Although, that is not to say that Jesena did not also enjoy the Water Gardens as a child, or learn how to ride on a Dornish Sand Steed, or train in weaponry and poisons and subterfuge alongside her half-sisters. Because she did. And she is both grateful and fond of those times.
But while Oberyn made it clear to the mothers of his other daughters that they were first and foremost his, with Jesena’s mother he was willing to compromise. After all, the Iron Bank is not a force you want to antagonize when you can ally with it instead.
And so Jesena is to follow after her mother’s footsteps–as an Iron Banker of Braavos.
Supposedly, Jesena’s mother was the daughter of the Merling Queen–the previous one, that is–and while she was just as beautiful, there was something about her. She wanted blood, not wine, she wanted to take money not have it given to her. She left her inheritance as a courtesan in order to follow the path of a banker.
It’s likely there are some hints of truth in the story. Perhaps Jesena’s mother was once a Mermaid, a lovely but poor girl elevated above her station, and yet still wanting more. Regardless of what the truth may be, the story still lingers.
Jesena’s mother is known as Rina Squalo–the Shark of the Iron Bank.
The Iron Bank of Braavos is unlike banks that Jesena remembers from that place and time that she keeps secret. Or rather, it is something more. It is independent of the Braavos government and yet it has the personnel and organization of an agency that would be in her former world.
When Jesena is twelve, the age Westerosi highborn boys become squires and girls get betrothed, she becomes an Iron Bank cadet. At first, she is one in a class of twenty other Braavosi adolescents, trying to learn enough to make the cut.
After a year of learning maths and culture and language and water dancing and, actually, many things she already learned at her father’s side, Jesena graduates alongside five of her classmates. Under the guidance of an experience banker, she is put on an apprentice team with two others and all three of them are given new names: Noho Dimittis, Tycho Nestoris, and Sena Martello.
“It seems… rather on the nose, don’t you think?” The newly renamed Noho Dimittis asks his teammates, “Isn’t the whole point of these new identities to be to protect our families?”
Tycho, whose new last name literally just means ‘scion’ and who is the grandson of one of the council members running the Iron Bank, just shrugs.
Jesena, in contrast, considers it fully, “Sometimes your family name can be a weapon instead of a shield,” she says.
“Oh yeah, Hammer?” Tycho responds pointedly of Jesena’s new last name.
“I was thinking more of a spear,” she says, “A sun and spear.”
Noho, Tycho, and Jesena learn, and soon enough are sent off on collections of their own.
Noho is known for somehow surviving the most hostile situations, Tycho for weaving and entrapping new clients, and Jesena? Well, she is the daughter of a viper and a shark–there aren’t many things deadlier than she.
When the time comes, Noho is sent to deal with Mad Queen Cersei, Tycho with the stony, self-styled King Stannis Baratheon, and when it comes time for Jesena’s assignment the council gives her a choice:
Daenerys Targaryen or Aegon Targaryen.
Which dragon would she rather take on?
While Jesena will always be loyal to the Iron Bank of Braavos above all else, that does not mean she is at cross-purposes with Dorne’s agenda. She will always be proud and thankful for the other half of her heritage.
The other half of Aegon’s.
In the end, it’s not really a choice at all.
A/N: So… you can probably tell that I was writing some DoS recursive fic simultaneously. But… uh. JESENA SAND aka Sena Martello, the badass banker from Braavos.
I basically picture the Iron Bank training super elite bankers kind of like Interpol agents or at least the secret agents you see in movies.
So Dimittis means “release” in Latin, Nesto(ris) means “scion” in Italian, and Martello means “hammer” in Italian. And originally, I was going for the hammerhead shark kind of thing… but then Martello sounded too much like Martell for that not to be a thing…