Alise has auburn hair and very freckly skin, and she is considered plain or even unattractive by most in Bingtown.
Alise considers herself a scholar, and educates herself in dragonlore. She prides herself in copying, translating, reading or purchasing every scroll related to dragons and Elderlings she can get her hands on.
Alise was presented to Bingtown society at age eighteen, but was still unmarried at twenty-one. Without any marriage prospects, Alise fully engaged herself in the study of Elderlings.
To her surprise, however, the Trader Hest Finbok begins to court her. Alise is overwhelmed by his attention, and the two are quickly married. However, the marriage immediately sours. Hest is unkind and inattentive, frequently away from home, and only occasionally interested in sex with Alise as a means to conceive an heir.
Alise immerses herself further in her studies to distract herself from her unhappiness, using Hest's sizable funds to expand her scroll collection.
Growing ever more unhappy, Alise finally exercises a clause in her marriage contract which allows her to travel to the Rain Wilds to visit the young dragons and living Elderlings, against her husband's wishes. Hest reluctantly concedes her right to do so, but insists that his secretary Sedric accompany her.
During her visit to Cassarick she discovers the dragons are to be sent up the Rain Wild River in which some hope they will die, some hope they will be resettled and all hope they won't return. Upset with the situation, Alise signs aboard the Tarman expedition in hopes of safeguarding the dragons as she researches them.
Alise builds a rapport with several of the dragons and keepers, particularly Sintara and Thymara. Throughout the journey her dragonlore and open nature helps ensure the group pushes forward. She also begins a relationship with Captain Leftrin.
When the expedition finally reaches Kelsingra Alise spends her time taking notes upon every detail of the city and is upset by any disturbances of the ruins. Mercor eventually informs her that the ruins will be more than disturbed but will not be pillaged, the dragons instead intend to restore Kelsingra as the City of Dragons.
Her husband Hest is first furious when she signs aboard but later turns to greed, Alise's part in the discovery of Kelsingra would grant her a 1/24th share of the profits. He also hopes to push a successful claim that Sedric was representing his interests as his employee to provide him with a full 1/12th.