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In Arent


Margrave
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There is more to the Marchar than meets the eye; the wandering race, displaced from their most recent nation in New Zealand, have settled amongst the people of the Hansa. There, first under the Lady Protector Sarah Tintagyl and now under Queen Hannah, they have flourished, the servants of all, a people of war and pride. But far from the eyes of the Queen and the world, the ever-distant people live quiet, independent lives; forgotten in the strands of isles, atolls, and island lands. Seperated from the world by wind and waves, the Marchar go on; ever desperate for a home, ever searching for their lost past...ever seeking the meaning to the conflicts they have fought since they began.

Now, in the distand lands of the Eastern Waters, an island brews with news, trouble, suspicion and wonder. On the island of Arent, our tale begins.

*Arent, the village of Lesa, by the shore*

The village was a homely place; the breeding ground of kings and conquerors, men of renown and women of wisdom. Each family had its heroes and villains, ancestors whose reputations one strived to live up to; Gods who were owed absolute faithfulness and oaths that couldn't be forgotten...ever. One such family held the somewhat fearful name of Dire...and indeed, Dire had been their fate; the eldest son lost to war, the second gone beyond the waters for his fortune, the daughter a sad and lonely young woman, haunted by fate and memories...and one young son, on the edge of manhood, full of fire and energy...and a desire to lift up his family name. Bound by a strange Wyrd, he would come to be a leader, a noble man amongst the people...a hero to many across the earth. This is his story.

"Leah, come back from the edge of those rocks!"

Arune, concerned for his sister, rushed closer to the edge of the cliff. The islands highest peak, it overlooked the churning seas; an abandoned outpost, now its fortress tower lay empty, a perfect play place for children and young ones alike. Unfortunately, the not quite children liked it too, and this led to the events of the day...

Leah Dire stared into the dark, frothy waters below; her eyes frozen pools as she contemplated fate. Considered haunted, she hid herself away, trying to understand...trying to learn what it was to be who she was. If she just leaned alittle closer...

Arune ran closer just as his sister fell. Seized by fear, his legs pumped under him as he watched her fall, the rocks so close, death so close...

He held his nose and leapt, reaching for her...before it was too late.

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OOC: Please explain where this island is realistically Margrave or this is Non-Canon. Considering that you're part of my people you should be able to pick something in Polynesia and say you renamed it Arent. But you have to clarify, thank you.

OOC: The internet center won't let me open up the map link, so I can't tell where your territory is, sorry. Throw me a bone and name off some random island out there, I'll just call it that, and figure the rest out later.

IC:

The water was dark...cold...empty, as his mind was empty. His limbs were numb from the pain of the dive, his eyes blurred...he wanted to sleep...

"NO!"

It's as though he heard a great voice shout, and with a shake of his head, he revitalized himself and continued on. He could just barely make out her body, limp and cold in the darkness...if he could just reach her...and then suddenly, there she was, her pristine face pale, waxy. Taking hold of her, he swam back up to the light, the far away, ever dying light...

They were there, coughing upon the sand. Her eyes open, staring off into the sky, searching, emotionless. Getting up, he stumbled over to her, picking her up in his arms as he ran half-blind deeper into the woods.

*Later*

"Well, I'm very glad you brought her in, Arune. Though I would still like to examine you..." The good doctor Shu was in residence today, as he was every day. A formerly famous doctor and renowned thinker, he had long ago left his position in the military to practice medicine among the Marchar. He cleaned his glasses as he gave Arune a critical eye, trying to size the boy up for bruises or injuries. Arune played it off, trying not to wince.

"I'm fine doc, you know we Dire's heal quick. Still...I'd like her to stay the night with you, if that's okay?"

The good Doctor shook his head, curious but accepting. "Very well. And if I may ask, what sort of trouble are you up to tonight? More ancient Marchar rituals, or just some good old-fashioned boyish foolishness?"

Arune shook his head, laughing. "I'm just going to visit Mom..and maybe run a few errands. We can't live off of the charity of others forever, after all."

Smiling, Shu sent him on his way. "Be safe, you young rapscallion! Don't let Officer Tomas catch you at any tom-foolery!"

Arune bowed out with a smile on his lips, refraining to say anything else. After all, he had a mission tonight, one that could possibly effect the course of his life...even make him leave this sleepy isle for some grand adventure! That was what the Marchar were supposed to be all about, right? But first he had to make a visit, one he dreaded even as he wished for it...

He had to visit his Mom.

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*In Arent, at the Residence of Lachelle Solares et Dire*

His mother was as lovely as ever, of course. Attended to by several of the young ladies of the village, she maintained a comfortable cottage at the outskirts of the isle. In dark brocade, she was ravishing, graceful even in her forties, thick lustrious black hair held in place by combs. She had been nobility before her marriage, and it shown in her manners, her quick-wit, and her deep, probing eyes.

She was also completely mad.

It was a gentle madness, for the most part; she would speak to people not there, spirits and ghosts. The older folk cherished her, calling her Seer and Oracle. The majority, however, avoided her eyes and spoke of her in soft, sympathizing tones. Her eyes were eldritch fires, and her voice (that often spoke of the times before Marchar remember) was deep, and full of a strange authority.

She rose now, brushing away her attendants, as she embraced her son. "Arune, you've been so long since your last visit. I am delighted that you have come, my heart!" She let him go, allowing herself to take up the motherly duties of checking him for bruises and scratches, the usual fashion of young men on a small isle. Assured he was well, she gestured him to a seat and allowed the girls forward, taking tea as she lounged in her chair.

"So, my son, what mission brings you here? You have neglected to visit me save when you are confronted by some problem. I am ready, Arune; even ask and I will speak to the spirits and aid you as I can." Arune shook his head, unsure of how to begin. Gesturing about him, he eyed his father's rifle upon the mantle, gaining strength from his memory. "I...am at a loss, mother. We are excluded; our house withers while Leah and I spend our days wandering. Our purse grows smaller, while you must depend on the Mayor for our home. I am convinced that I must take up a trade, but nothing speaks to me; the sea calls my name to travel, not to fish. There is a Queen upon the Australian throne, and her territory is vast and filled with chances for men of valor to rise. And if I can take a place....even join the Keeper's service...I can bring back our lost prosperity. Say you'll help me, mother...for Leah's sake, and for the honor of our family."

Now of course most mother's were not very taken with this kind of talk. But Lachelle Solares was a princess; her family descended from the ancient Crusaders. His father had traveled with the Margrave himself to the Holy Land, and won her there, as a knight in the New Crusades. He had taken her from her family in the city of Acre and brought her to an island paradise, and her honor had swelled...until the day his father had dissapeared, lost beyond the waves. She was eager for her children's future, and that she had not the power to help them..when once she had commanded a houshold of servants and guards, been an authority...but now, in this backwater? How could her children rise to greatness here? Yet there was one way...

"My son, you are the gem of my heart, and you know I couldn't deny you a thing. It is upon your shoulders this family will rest, and that I have not given you the tools to excel haunts me more than the worst of the spirits. But there is one chance, one gift I might still possess...take down your father's rifle and kit." He did so with reverence; the well polished Mosin-Nagant was beautiful in its way; a wolf's features carved and painted into the stock and along the body, till its head reached the mouth. His father's pack, his sword-shaped Crusader's badge, his tool kit...and a pack of well preserved silver coins, cool in his palm, minted at Acre during the war. He would inventory his equipment later, for now he stood, slightly awkward under the unfamiliar weight. His mother pursed her lips, considering.

"Hmm...Yes, I think it will be well enough. You have the look of your father, and he likes the families of those who were with him in the war. He visits, you know, from time to time. He asks after his wife, and so she lingers here on occasion, trying to sooth him. He rather likes that." Arune looked confused as he waited for her to explain. "There is nothing else for it. The Merchant is on the island, and you will visit him...and if you can impress him, I'm sure he will give you the chance you seek. But first..."

Carefully taking the Crusader's badge into her hands, she pinned it to his chest, slightly above his heart. "There. If this doesn't convince him, nothing will. Go, and bring me back his answer."

Silently, he kissed his mother and left, his head afire. The Merchant himself, famous on the island for bringing frowned-upon technology into Sothwe territory, was a man of wealth and...connections. How did his mother know so famous a person? He spared little thought to his sister as he sped from the house, eager to find his path...and a future for his family.

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