Ayeesha is a young Shoanti lass. Born and raised to a barbarian tribe, her mother died in childbirth, and her father was unknown, but given the way no one ever talked about him, there was something sinister involved there. She was adopted and raised by her mother's brother who raised her but resented her for taking his sister. He was a single man, a warrior and not a particularly good parent.

She grew up almost freakishly powerful and strong perhaps because she had to be to survive his tough love, perhaps because of her father's heritage, whatever that was. Her uncle found no joy raising her, and despite her size, strength and ferocity, managed to find a husband for her. It was as much to take her off his hands as anything else, and she certainly felt no love for the older man he'd found for her. She was expected to marry and settle down and couldn't stand the idea. She was young, she wanted her freedom! So she turned her back on her people. She ran to Korvosa to get away from her duty, and has been trying to sustain herself anyway she can since then. She doesn't regret fleeing to keep her freedom, but does regret the loneliness and separation from old friends and family.