Nafia was born in the Middle East prior to the Total War, which broke out when she was about ten years old. Although Nafia survived, she lost her family in either the war or its aftermath. The aftermath of the war, in particular, proved disastrous for Nafia's home region, which joined the other "Dark Lands" in impoverished anarchy. Nafia found a means of survival in Obaid, a young man who, like Nafia, was without family or a steady job. Obaid, with Nafia's help, began running a begging ring of children in the city of al-Balat. The children called Obaid "Khal" ("uncle" in Arabic), referring to Nafia as "Khala," or "aunt." Boys and girls had separate sleeping quarters in the abandoned building that was there refuge. Nafia slept with the girls, caring for their needs during the night, and Obaid slept with the boys.
Despite these seemingly familial arrangements, Obaid insisted that the children meet strict begging quotas. When Obaid began using brutal means of forcing the boys to meet their quotas, even maiming some of them so that they would elicit sympathy from passersby, Nafia found that she could not stop him. Nafia's only way to protect at least some of the children was to insist that Obaid abide by the strict separation between the boys and girls. He could deal with boys who failed to meet their quotas, but Nafia insisted that Obaid stay out of the girls' quarters, leaving enforcement to her. Obaid agreed to follow those rules so long as Nafia did, indeed, ensure that the girls filled their quotas. Yet both Obaid and Nafia knew that Obaid was the one in control. Older and stronger, he could easily overpower Nafia, and, without any law enforcement in al-Balat, she would have nowhere to turn for help.
"Who missed? You are short more than a day's quota, Nafia—who did not deliver?" —Obaid
When Ali loses her quota, Nafia vainly attempts to cover for her. Obaid, furious, breaks the rules that they set, entering the girls' and threatening to whip Nafia herself if she continues to protect the culprit. Nafia stands her ground, refusing to turn Ali over to him. Ali, however, confesses her guilt to prevent Nafia from being hurt.
After Obaid removes Ali for punishment, the lights in the building unexpectedly come on. No electricity in the Dark Lands has worked since the Total War, and both Obaid and Nafia fear that they may be in danger. Nafia herds the children out of the building and helps them hide in an alleyway until the power goes out again. They then return to the building, hoping that nothing will come of the strange power surge.Nafia did not realize, however, that Ali slipped away during the commotion and found her way into al-Balat's abandoned hospital. Once a battleground, the Global Union continues watch it via security camera, fearing that the robots used in the battle might, like the lights in the building, resume function. When Ali enters the hospital, her presence causes the robotic "tinchers" to come on, and the watching IMPS notice. Several days later, they launch a raid to capture Ali, arresting Nafia, Obaid, and all of the children in the process. Nafia remains in prison for three years, until Ali manages to free everyone through the Ultranet. Nafia and the children join Third Rome's Markless community, living happily in the ruins of the Colosseum.
Nafia is a kind-hearted person whom poverty forced into extremely difficult situations. Although she turned a blind eye to Obaid's abuse of the boys in their begging ring, knowing she was not strong enough to intervene, she was willing to suffer Obaid's punishment herself in order to protect Ali. After Ali freed Obaid, Nafia, and the children from prison in Third Rome, Nafia left Obaid permanently. She chose a Markless life without a source of steady income rather than submit to the rule of Chancellor Cylis. By continuing to care for the children after her freedom, including those who were handicapped, Nafia proved that she had always loved them, even when she could not protect them.
Family and RelationshipsEdit
Nafia and Obaid's relationship was strictly a matter of business. They were "Aunt" and "Uncle" to the children, not "Mother" and "Father." Yet Nafia's relationship with the begging ring "family," other than Obaid, was real, and she continued being a mother to them in their new life in Third Rome.