Marna de Aegos
Skaldic Witch of Aegos
Sokhatyy/Mudak’s stat block is on its character sheet
As a framing device to explain Marna, one must look at her mother’s past, and the past of the region, as both had a profound effect on who Marna has become.
This explanation begins at Thanesrest Mausoleum, which is on Orthost, an island in Broken Bay, a linnorm kingdom in the lands named for such. Here, a disaster struck during the funereal internment of the king Kernic Quicktongue, over 2,500 years ago. During the ritual Kernic’s corpse was possessed by a demon, and he rose to kill all of the mourners present, raising them as undead servants afterwards. Since then, the ruins have been “activated” and haunted by the unquiet undead, and it is up to priests and holy men from Skjoldmur to occasionally cull or calm the creatures raised by the strange magic of the ruins. These ruins are Thassilonian in nature, and Marna’s mother was one of the holy ones who would suppress the vile magic on a regular basis.
Nearly 30 years ago Marna’s mother traveled to Orthost to meet up with some other witches and priests, as she often did, to manage the cursed land. As she approached the ritual site she was ambushed though, set upon by burly individuals in robes who dragged her to her destination themselves. There, she was horrified to discover the arranged corpses of some of her oldest friends, their blood spilled from their throats. The ritual dagger was likewise drawn across her own throat even as she gaped at the arrangement, and her body slumped and blood pooled with that of her peers, completing the seven-pointed star the bodies were arranged in.
The cultists were worshipers of the runelord Xanderghul, and their calendar called for action on the same night that a ritual to suppress the ruins’ magics was normally performed. Obviously, this created conflict. The elder members of the cult had begun the first of several counter-rituals needed to fully activate the ruins and reawaken their lord, and all who had traveled to suppress the ancient curse on Orthost that night were sacrificed to accomplish this. The ritual would take an ongoing effort though, just like the suppressive efforts, so they would need to return to the villages of these holy people and discourage future interruptions. Slaughter and elaborate effigies were determined to be sufficient warnings, as is customary for the Ulfen. With their trackers’ aid the cultists swiftly returned by the witch’s path, traveling the short distance to Aegos to find her village of Bauerheim.
The cultists were not expected by Bauerheim’s residents: Marna’s mother was to return in a full three days. Most of the followers of Xanderghul in the region also took part in raids and reaving “arranged” by Ingimundr the Unruly, the current linnorm king of Broken Bay, so they well knew how to slaughter and pillage. While the village was likewise populated by raiders and accomplished fighters, the element of surprise allowed the runelord cultists to take the sentries unawares and easily crush the disorganized defenses. There, a slaughter was begun as raiders fell upon raiders in the night, and blood soaked the snow-spotted streets.
Here we find Marna Ersland, a young girl of only eight years old.
Marna has never spoken of when she “snapped”, a colloquialism for the event in which a kineticist manifests their powers for the first time. Any talk of the period following the raid until her time in the courts of Arik Grimfire is met with a warning look (the type which only women can give) and a thumb-stroking for the handaxe which she always wears at her belt (another warning sign one learns to look for from the viking woman).
Still, some details are twisted as rumor in Skjoldmir, if the witch is a topic of conversation. Some say that Marna saw her father slain before dying herself, being raised as a revenant to enact horrible justice for herself; others that cultists were crushed and ruined by black energy, which dyed their skin as they screamed their last; and some that the Sisters of the Nithing Pole, a local witch coven, had snatched the girl and fused her with a demon. Most are preposterous, but a grain of truth remains. Marna will not say what is true, though….
About nine years after Bauerheim was destroyed Marna resurfaced in the presence of Arik Grimfire, the ruler of Skjoldmur. She had been discovered in Thanesrest Mausoleum, alone, by some of Grimfire’s men. They had traveled to Orthost to deal with the undead, which had become quite aggressive and numerous, and found the witch performing rituals on a silent island. Taken back to Grimfire, the young woman informed the cleric of Gorum that she had single-handedly solved the problem. It seemed ridiculous that the beautiful witch’s brash claim was true, but no other reason could be found for the calm returning to Orthost for the first time in nearly a decade. Grimfire was both impressed and smitten, and shortly thereafter had Marna as a personal advisor (and more).
Marna de Aegos spent the next seven years in close proximity with Arik Grimfire, leading groups of guarded priests to suppress the island’s curse, as well as serving as his emissary to figures of import, not least of which included Ingimundr the Unruly. She was known to be a cool head but a furious enemy, and had partaken in as many battles as peace treaties in her lord’s name. Her growing expertise with Thassilonian ruins also allowed her to increase the suppression of Orthost’s undead during her tenure…. leading to another fateful run-in with the reavers of Xanderghul.
Though he didn’t need it for his trust in her, when Marna brought Grimfire one of his own advisors to confess to his senior role in the cult, bound and beaten by the witch’s armed men and fellow priests during the day’s defense of Orthost, he knew he had the right person on the job. Much was learned of the plans of the Xanderghul cultists, yet when the cringing man spoke of the slaughter of Bauerheim the witch’s handaxe removed his head… in one stroke, some say. Marna gained renown as a local expert on ruins and cults, and was usually sent forth by Arik to manage any strange situation in the greater Aegos area, including the sunken city of Udeomel and the gutaki worshipers of Dagon in Rivenstone. She had many successes, and her few failures did not remain for long.
It thus comes as no surprise that she was eventually scouted by the Watchers. She slipped away quietly as soon as they asked for her expertise, and has not returned to Broken Bay since, though the suppression rituals have continued in the way she instructed, even without her guidance.
Given a place to learn and the opportunity to expand her knowledge, Marna has spent the last 13 years exclusively in the employ of the Watchers. She has recently been informed that she will be needed at a site which has the rumblings of giant-led cult business, with the added confirmation of Sihedron rune sightings in the region. With a small group of peers she is to journey to Varisia, near the Storval Plateau, to look in on these rumors. The truth will be found, and the axe grows dull without care; Marna spent a too-long stretch away from the field, and yearns for exploration.
Marna is driven by the memory of her family and the slaughter of her village at the hands of the cult of Xanderghul. She wishes to see no further brutality from the dead wizard kings or their society, and so has devoted much of her study and attentions to fighting them.
- Quick to action
- Strong-willed (against her patron’s push)
- Constantly being pulled toward the slope down into evil by her patron
- If she had not taken training as a witch, her patron would be able to exert more control over her than it already does. The pact ties its hands and forces it to abide by their agreement
- Warm and nurturing (with friends)
- Extremely hostile (with cultists)
- Thumbs her axe when frustrated
- Intimidate-focused interaction skills
- Will back down if an ally tells her she’s overdoing it, or that they should try a different approach first
“Witch of The Void ~Marna” | “The Overwhelming Darkness ~Snapping”
“The Kidnapped Orphan” | “Formless ~The Patron”