i think vivienne changed her name once she set her sights on the orlesian court, because chido is one loved by fellow brown-skinned outsiders, but vivienne is one awed and feared. it’s not the same as acceptance - no matter how she acts or what she does there are still slights against her skin - but she refuses to allow the frail memory of her mother calling be killed by the jibes in court.
i think vivienne treasures the gifts of her parents, but she keeps them tucked away and close to her heart to save them from being tarnished by the opinions of small-minded people. i think she loves her dark skin, despite the taunts of the nobility in the orlesian court. it was the first gift her parents ever gave her, even before the name given with such care and focus. it’s the first thing anyone sees. it was once the only thing to make her stand out amongst a crowd of pale faces. it is her pride.
i think she keeps her first name close to her heart, where she keeps everything else she’s proud of, like the necklace passed down from woman to woman in her family - a thing she’s retired since coming to court, a thing she’s been in awe of since she was young and was put to sleep with bedtime stories featuring her great grandmother, a woman whose tongue befriended spirits and whose eyes glowed with fire. i think over the years her amazement turned to fear, raised in the ghost of a great culture damned by the chantry. i don’t think she’s met any of the extended family her parents left behind in rivain. i don’t think she’s ever been close with another rivani child who heard the same bedtime stories as she did.
i think vivienne dreams of the nation where women held power, were revered, and were strong. i think it clashes with her circle teachings and everything she’s seen to be the contrary. i think she wants power for herself, and for the frightened little girl, and for every other frightened girl she’s seen.