Pre-Dynastic History, conception and heritage.
Even in the predominately conservative Muslim country of Cairo - the rich live by different rules, and Mukhlis al-Busir, whose name meant, "Faithful and sincere", was beyond rich and anything but faithful. A royal cousin (distant, but aren't they all) to the Prince of Egypt, Mukhlis was among the uber-wealthy of Cairo. Officially a member of the Diplomatic Corps, and an Ambassador to the United Kingdom, he lived a life of privileged and wealth few in the sixth world can dream about. He was married of course. She was beautiful, of course; and she had given him a son, (of course, thanks to discreet genetic tampering). But she was far away in their luxurious estate along the Nile, and he almost never saw her. Shurafa though, one of his many young and gorgeous assistants was here in the U.K. with him, and more than willing to be the object of his attentions. Their dalliance was long, and discreet - though many in his staff knew about it. They even came to care a great deal for each other. Modern medicine failed them however, and despite the precautions taken, she became pregnant. Quietly sent back to Cairo, Shurafa was paid a very generous severance package and discreetly let go. She was given a gorgeous condo in New Cairo and enough of an annual stipend she would never have to work again. Hush money and an apology for having to live the life of an unwed single mother in an ultra conservative world. She didn't mind - in her opinion, being the highly paid mistress to a member of the royal family, and the mother of his illegitimate child gave her wealth and freedom she would have never enjoyed as a secretary. Even after Nadia was born, Mukhlis came to see her (despite the warnings and advice of those closest to him) and to visit with his beautiful daughter.
Childhood, life along the Nile
Nadia may not have seen her father often, but even from an early age she knew her family was not like the other families of the girls who went to the same private primary school she did. Her mother taught her very young not to talk about her father with her friends, and if pressed, to say he "lived abroad". Like her mother, Nadia learned not to mind her father's infrequent presence, nor the strange looks she got from her peers when she refused to talk about him. Her teachers of course, understood - though it was never spoken of. They were instructors at a high priced private school for girls that no unemployed single mother should have been able to afford. Asking questions would only bring uncomfortable answers, and probably lose them the ungodly high tuition they were paid for Nadia to attend.
By the time Nadia was a teenager, she of course knew the truth about her parents relationship. Her mother was a kept mistress, and her father was just another wealthy man with the luxury of being able to live a secret life. She knew that she had several half brothers that she would never be allowed to meet, nor would they ever know about her. She saw their pictures in newsfeeds, read about their problems with paparazzi; and wanted none of it. Nadia was comfortable. Her mother had raised her with full expectation of her place in life. Nadia never wanted for anything really. She went to a progressive private school for girls, so when she wasn't in uniform she was able to wear more western clothing; and her mother bought her all the latest fashions from Paris and London. She and her mother would spend the sweltering Egyptian summers in Europe, and she would interact with her westernized peers and indulge in western trends. She spoke English fluently by twelve - though with the British accent of the well educated, and some french by fourteen - enough to get by in Europe.
Adolescence, Magic and Money.
Two things happened when she was fifteen - one, it became clear that she was a beautiful as her mother, and suffered no shortage of attention for it while jet-setting around Europe. And two, her latent magical abilities awakened. Luckily, she awakened while on vacation in London, and not at home in Cairo where magicians were still treated with superstition and mistrust. Her mother was far more progressively minded than most of her countrymen. She enrolled Nadia in a private school for the magically gifted in London that summer. Nadia spent the remainder of her adolescence living in London during the school year, and vacationing around Europe with her mother during breaks. She did not return to her native country for almost six years. An exceptionally bright student, and a gifted magician, Nadia advanced through secondary school quickly. She applied for and was accepted into Cambridge University when she was seventeen into both the Thamaturgy and Anthropology programs.
University, breaking free.
Life at 'Uni' was a breathtaking experience for Nadia. Here, no one cared about her parents, or what they did (no one she hung out with anyway), just what she herself was capable of; and Nadia was capable of a lot. She not only began to fully realize her talents as a magically active woman, but she discovered a passion for the history of her people that had been buried under her mother's cavalier attitude toward all things Egyptian. By the time she was 22, she had not only completed simultaneous bachelor's degrees in Ancient Theology and Religious Thamaturgy, she was well on her way to a Masters Degree in Egyptian Anthropology.
Another aspect of Uni life that Nadia excelled at was the opposite sex. With her entire formative years being spent alternating between all-girls schools, and vacationing with her mother and following western trends and pop culture, Nadia was eager to take on this new subject as well. She had become a very sexy young woman, and did not mind showing it off. Attending parties, weekend trips to Paris and Rome with other upper class peers, and spring break on nude beaches on the Mediterranean shore; all things Nadia not only participated in, but reveled in. She had never been really denied any indulgence or desire in her life prior to this, why on earth would she start now?
Still, academics were very important to her, and her social life never interfered with her class load, and she continued to excel in her programs. When she was twenty, she caught the eyes, both academically and otherwise of Professor Robert Almasi, a London born Egyptian Anthropologist who taught at Cambridge when he wasn't digging through tombs in the hot Egyptian sands. Handsome, brilliant, successful, and interested - Nadia fell for him almost overnight, despite his being nearly fifteen years her senior. When he hand picked her to be his assistant on his next dig on the West Bank, Nadia was convinced it was destiny. The fact that he was married was trivial to her. After all, her mother had been the kept mistress of a married man for Nadia's entire life and been very content and happy, why should Nadia desire any different? It wasn't long before she had seduced him into a passionate affair that consumed them both.
Early Adulthood, harsh lessons.
Perhaps it was the consummation of desire with a man she loved, or the meddling of magic and fate on the sands of her homeland, but within a month of beginning their affair, Nadia was pregnant. Nadia was thrilled. She envisioned the same life for herself and her daughter that she herself had enjoyed. A tad scandalous perhaps, but still loving, pampered, and privileged - sheltered. So it is probably no surprise to the outside viewer that Robert's reaction was violently opposed to Nadia's vision for their future; but perhaps a much more normal response to an affair resulting in pregnancy. He wanted her to have an abortion and to end the affair. Nadia was stunned and heartbroken.
She fled from the dig site, taking with her several valuable antiquities she had helped unearth. It was a childish impulse, a desire to hurt the man who'd broken her heart. The Egyptian authorities didn't see it that way. She fled Egypt to near-by Israel. With no extradition treaties existing between the Jewish Nation and predominately Islamic Egypt, she was safe from the law, if not from bounty hunters and treasure hunters.She quickly sold her stolen artifacts and hid out with a friend from University during her pregnancy. It was a harsh time for Nadia. She'd never, ever, in her life had to live with the idea of limited (though still generous, she made a fortune from her black market sales) funds. She was still heartbroken by the rejection of her first love, and scared out of her mind by her incoming maternity. After much soul searching, she snuck back across the border just weeks before giving birth so that her daughter would be born on Egyptian soil.
Motherhood, Finding center.
Under the light of a full moon, bathed in the waters of the river that had defined her nation for 5000 years, Nadia gave birth to her daughter Safa. For the next few months, Nadia and Safa lived in a small village along the upper Nile. The village was tiny, with no access to the Matrix, or even electricity beyond a small generator for lights. They fished, grew crops, and lived much the way their ancestors did for thousands of years. They offered to let Nadia and Safa stay. Nadia was a fully trained magician, and schooled in the Old Faith. They offered to let her live as their priestess, offering what luxuries they could in exchange for her magical services to the village as a healer and spiritual protector. As tempted as Nadia was to hide from the world in this tiny fishing village, she wanted more; for herself and Safa. She wanted her daughter to have the life she had had. Western schools, wealth, privilege, and freedom. They couldn't have that, even as the closest thing to royalty the small village could provide. Just before Safa's first birthday, Nadia said her farewells and slipped quietly into Cairo as a nameless villager from a nameless fishing village.
Once back in Cairo, she quietly contacted Safa's father. She discreetly offered him the chance to meet his daughter; no strings attached. Nadia had grown up knowing her father, and knowing he lived another life apart from her and her mother. She wanted Safa to at least have a chance at that. He refused. He forbade Nadia from contacting him again and threatened to turn her in to the authorities if she entered his life again. Nadia had not expected anything else, despite hoping to the contrary. She did however, learn that Safa's father had a sister, and met her briefly during the quiet rendezvous. She did not approve of her brother's affair with a student, but she also sympathized with Nadia's plight and fell in love with baby Safa. The two of them became uneasy friends, united by their love for Safa. With Sashi, Safa's aunt, Nadia rebuilt a life in Cairo slowly. She cleared her name of the stolen antiquities with a few well placed words and bribes, at least enough to reclaim her academic credentials. She finished her Master's degree in Egyptology at the University of Cairo, and began seeking employment with any of the numerous anthropological and archaeological sites that are ongoing in Egypt at any given time.
Adulthood, stuck in silt.
The problem was, however, that she was a woman. And not a Muslim. And her name was questionable, even after the bribes to clear it up. Work was hard to come by, and the next few years Nadia struggled to keep her and Safa's heads above the silty waters of the Nile. Cairo is an unforgiving place for magicians, doubly so for female ones, and triply so for ones that ignore the teachings of Muhammad and the pillars of Islam. They got by, but only just. And even that would have been impossible without the assistance of Sashi. Free baby-sitting for weeks on end as Nadia went on "treasure-hunting" digs deep into the desert, guiding "gray marketeers" looking for Egypt's hidden antiquities in shifting sands. It was dangerous, and it didn't pay well. Nadia needed a way out.
It was when Safa was seven years old that Nadia gave up trying to eek a living in the sand dunes seeking lost cities, buried ruins, and chasing legends. Nadia was going corporate. She answered a cattle call for a corporate security position with Ares. Figuring that her magical training and education would elevate her to the relatively cushy job of Magical security, Nadia figured it couldn't be any more dangerous than following black marketeers and grave robbers into the desert, at least this way she would have retirement and benefits. Instead of the cushy astral over-watch job she'd anticipated, she was moved to Blackjack's squad, and came in contact with her current team and associates.