Laurian is Kvothe's mother.
Laurian is a member of the Edema Ruh, described as having dark hair, easy laughter, and a way with words. Not much is known of Laurian other than her noble birth and that she may have relatives still receptive to her in Three Crossings.
In The Chronicle
Among the Ruh she assists Arliden in researching and writing songs. She is a masterful wordsmith in her own right and has a beautiful voice.
In raising their son Laurian taught Kvothe courtly manners and about the rankings of the gentry, despite his reluctance.
Many fans speculate that Laurian was a member of House Lackless of Vintas; specifically the missing sister of Meluan Lackless, whom Kvothe helps the Maer Alveron woo in The Wise Man's Fear. Some minor support is lent to this theory by a rumor that Kvothe hears in the vintic court about a young Netalia Lackless running away with a troupe of traveling performers. This may account for Meluan's especially bitter hatred for the Ruh.
The narrative also suggests that Meluan appears extremely familiar to Kvothe, though he can't quite place why.
Additional evidence supporting this idea can be found in a song Kvothe remembers his father making up to tease his mother:
- "Dark Laurian, Arliden's wife
Has a face like a blade of a knife
Has a voice like a prickledown burr
But can tally a sum like a moneylender.
My sweet Tally cannot cook.
But she keeps a tidy ledger-book
For all her faults I do confess
It's worth my life
To make my wife
Not tally a lot less"
"Tally" is believed to be a possible nickname for "Netalia," when Arliden refers to Kvothe's mother, and many fans also speculate that the final line of the tune is actually a cleverly worded heterograph, a play on "Netalia Lackless." Laurian forces Arliden to sleep under the wagon following his performance of this song.
It is of note that Netalia Lackless's family was very perturbed by her running off, and if Laurian is Netalia then the line "It's worth my life" takes on a more sinister note and provides an explanation for why Laurian changed her name.
Additionally, upon hearing a young Kvothe sing the insulting song about "Lady Lackless" in The Name of the Wind, his mother grew angry and reprimanded him, explaining that "Lady Lackless" was a real person and should not be spoken about in such a rude manner.
If Laurian was indeed Netalia Lackless, it would have heavy implications for the rest of the story. A riddle-rhyme Kvothe hears while traveling lists several things which stand before the Lackless door, a mythical door on the far reaches of the Lackless estates. One is "a son who brings the blood". If Kvothe were the son of Netalia Lackless he would be the only known male to carry Lackless blood.