Valaena was born to her father Voggaro and his sister-wife Trianna in the year 478AC, the eldest of his several children. As a young noblewoman of the Old Blood she lived in the opulent splendor of the valyrian houses behind the Black Wall of Old Volantis. There she was raised in a traditional ladylike upbringing, being educated in the history of Volantis, Old Valyria, the and the other Free Cities. In addition she was taught sums and figures, horseback riding, courtly behavior, and the tumultuous nature of Volantene politics. She proved to have great aptitude for all her education set her about, but even so all was not. Valaena's father Voggaro was a man far too kin for his station as the Vhassar family heir, and took many sympathies with the city's slaves. He became a public supporter of increasing slave rights, going so far as to teach his children of R'hllor and the Red Faith, trying to turn them away from the old gods of the Freehold.
The mighty Vhalaso Vhassar, Triarch of the Tigers, was Valaena's grandfather, and family patriarch. A famed Volantene general in his younger days, the man was as feared as he was respected. But the public embarrassment of a son sympathetic to slavery and grandchildren who carried the faith of the Red God was too much to his political career. Vhalaso lost the support of the aristocratic Old Blood, losing his Triarchy seat. Outraged at his loss and furious at his son, Vhalaso sought to punish his heir for this heresy, to undo some of the damage to his own reputation. Voggaro was stricken from his father's will, and his children were sold into slavery to the Red Temple of the Lord of Light. Valaena would become a Red Priestess, and her brothers would serve the Fiery Hand, the sacred soldiers of R'hllor.
Vhalaso would return to his Triarchy seat several years later, after great work and costly expenses. But his support would never be as firm as it had been, his son now a black mark on his political legacy. In truth it mattered little, for a great slave revolt and the interference of Danae Targaryen would nearly end his dynasty a decade later.
Valaena has a very traditional Valyrian beauty, with almond shaped eyes a rich deep violet in color. Her hair is a long platinum-silver, running down the length of her back. It is worn loose, or tied into a thick braid. For years after the slave revolt she died it bright red to conceal her ancestry. She treasures her valyrian looks, one of the few remaining possessions she has from her life before the priesthood. She stands of only average height for a woman, at roughly five and a half foot in height. In addition Valaena has a lithe frame with a large bust and wide hips. She keeps her curvaceous form hidden well beneath the flowing red robes of a Red Priestess.
Brewing discontent among the hundreds of thousands of Volantene slaves came to a boiling point early into the first era. The Elephants had long worked the slaves to the bone, content to simply squeeze as much profit out of them as they could in their greed. The Tigers were not better, using harsh punishments and brutality to keep the slaves in line. A spark finally ignited the kindling, and revolt broke out. Tiger Cloak city watch were dispatched, but they were overwhelmed or threw down their arms and joined the revolt. The Tigers advocated simply crushing the revolt with the Volantene military, but the Elephants opposed the idea simply out of principle. Soon the Elephant and Tiger were in open war on the city streets, fighting each other even while slaves burned and looted scores of city streets, overrunning all sense of law and order in Western Volantis.
Valaena was in the midst of the chaos, one of the red priest among the High Priests' retinue. The High Priest sought to whip the slaves into a frenzy on his behalf, but he underestimated their sheer destitution, and the crowds turned on him and his guards. Valaena was able to flee in the melee that followed, one of the few to escape as the thralls descended on the High Priest and his guards, tearing them limb from limb and stealing anything of value from their person. From the safety of a rooftop Valaena watched as the Volantene navy united under the Targaryen banners, rallying as the dragon Persion took to the skies, sending hundreds to their doom with his fire.
Order was restored after much bloodshed, and as punishment for their careless rule Danae Targaryen had the three ruling Triarchs publicly executed, and the ruling houses of both parties stripped of lands and titles and sold into slavery. Valaena watched from the crowds as her grandfather was executed, though she did not mourn him. It was watching her father, mother, and the rest of her family loaded onto a slave ship bound for Matarys that tore at her heart. The young priestess swore revenge on all who had wronged her house and her city, vowing to restore Volantis' greatness.
Valaena was among the Red Priests that helped restore order in the city in the wake of destruction following Khal Joro's brutal sack. She used her growing power and influence during this time to elevate herself higher within the Red Temple's ruling council.