Ezra was orphaned at an early age, and spent some time as a street rat, though she was often sheltered by various people around the village who took pity on her. One of these people was a local spirit-talker, from whom she learned that on Earth, "Ezra" would be a boy's name, though her parents either hadn't known this, or else simply thought it sounded better as a girl's name. Ezra also spent a great deal of time wandering in a local botanical garden, where she learned a lot about flowers. When she grew up, she got a job in a flower shop, and hoped to open her own, someday.
In 905, she was hired by Lydia Hornpowder in the newly established gang position of Adult. This was something she did at first to make some extra money, which eventually allowed her to finally open her own shop. Working for a gang was never something she intended to make a career of; it seldom if ever is, for members of a gang's Adult department, even their chiefs. And in fact, by 910, she had become InterGang's chief Adult in Tanq, though she spent most of her time working in her flower shop.
When the surname law was passed in 904, Ezra chose the name "Val," saying she simply liked the sound of it. It's not uncommon for parents on The Land to give their children first names for that very reason, and Ezra saw no reason not to do the same in choosing a last name.
In 912, InterGang's capo, Amelia Mysshroudedtery, fired don Hornpowder, and soon thereafter named Ezra the new don of the Tanq branch. However, a few months later, Larami Illuminatus, don of InterGang's Tonad branch, seceded from InterGang to start her own gang, the Illuminati, taking many of her employees with her. She also recruited Hornpowder, who brought about half of her former employees with her to the Illuminati. Ezra was one of those who remained loyal to Mysshroudedtery, who subsequently decided to give up on InterGang's Tanq and Tonad branches, transferring any loyal employees from those villages to Plist, instead. So, Ezra sold her flower shop, and moved to Plist. Within a week, InterGang's don in that village, Seth Manager, disappeared (presumed dead, possibly at Mysshroudedtery's hands). Ezra was then named the new don of the Plist branch.