- "Call a jack a jack. Call a spade a spade. But always call a whore a lady. Their lives are hard enough..."
Arliden is an extremely talented musician, actor and composer.
He teaches Kvothe to play the lute. He is also responsible for Kvothe's extensive knowledge of music, plays and tricks of the stage. Kvothe remembers Arliden's hands on his shoulders showing him how to stand to display different emotions. The father and son would practice scenes and monologues together as a part of Kvothe's troupe education.
Arliden is described simply as dark haired and beautiful and most of all Edema Ruh to the bone. Kvothe shares his father's dislike of poetry.
He is deeply in love with Kvothe's mother, Laurian. He courted Laurian away from life as a noble woman, and gave her a place in the Family.
He has 'wandering blood' and would shift the troop at the drop of a hat. Sometimes he gave reasons; the troop was attracting too much of the wrong attention, but Kvothe recalls that sometimes he had no reason at all.
In The Chronicle
Arliden is Kvothe's father and leader of his troupe. He is responsible for ensuring they are allowed to play within the reaches of Baron Greyfallow's control as well as furthering the Baron's reputation.
It is revealed during the narrative that Arliden is privately composing a song about The Chandrian, more specifically involving the transformation of Lanre. He makes some inquiry about the True Names of The Chandrian to Abenthy. However, Abenthy is too superstitious to divulge the information. It is suggested that Laurian also participates in the research and writing of Arliden's song.
Though Laurian is the only character to have ever heard Arliden's song in its entirety, Arliden does agree to play an excerpt at Abenthy's farewell party. Shortly after Abenthy's departure, the troupe is attacked and subsequently murdered by The Chandrian while Kvothe is gathering herbs and exploring the nearby woods.
He was working on a song about Lanre prior to his death, part of which was revealed:
“Sit and listen all, for I will sing
A story, wrought and forgotten in a time
Old and gone. A story of a man.
Proud Lanre, strong as the spring
Steel of the sword he had at ready hand.
Hear how he fought, fell, and rose again,
To fall again. Under shadow falling then.
Love felled him, love for native land,
And love of his wife Lyra, at whose calling
Some say he rose, through doors of death
To speak her name as his first reborn breath.”