Look through your reflection in one of Creation’s rivers, into the spirit world. See the mighty legs of the mountains. Feel the heartbeat of the city. Here, every river is a dragon, and dragons sometimes take mortal lovers. They lay many eggs. They eat many of their young whom they find unworthy.
Mari’s father was a merchant, and a crafty one. He parlayed his relationship with the river goddess, and the resulting fame, into the beginnings of a merchant empire. Mari inherited much from him. When he drowned near his home, his will stipulated that she would receive his fortune – not a vast one, but certainly enough to keep her in good stead for the rest of her life. She plowed that money back into the company, and the trade routes of the East rained silver upon her. Then she left the company in charge of her father’s old associates and struck out on her own.
She and her sister wanted out from underneath their mother. Mari found her too changeable, too mercurial to be truly trustworthy. (Mother had never really raised them anyway. She left that to a small army of servants.) In the northeast Mari had hoped to start fresh: use the silver and her sister’s power to trade with the Fair Folk, outfox the Guild, really make a name for herself.
Then she met Ishowo and Koyokoyo. They told her what the Fair Folk were really like. Mari was horrified at what she had almost done. She wanted fame and profit, yes, but not at that kind of cost. Mari and Sia joined up with the two of them for a time, and helped those who had been hurt by the “kindly ones” along Creation’s edge.
Now they are in the Giant’s Glen, and likely headed for a fight. Mari sympathizes with Salome’s viewpoint, but finds her obnoxious as a person, so she acts as strategist for Ishowo’s group. She’d rather just get out of here. Hopefully that will be an option soon.
Mari has pal green skin with a hint of blue, eyes the same color, darker lips, and ears that look like fish fins. All of this clearly marks her as a child of the gods, and she’s not hesitant about letting others know that. Her hair is jet black and wavy. Her eyebrows are carefully plucked and arched. Her eyeliner is mixed with golden mica.
As a successful merchant, Mari dresses the part. She wears red velvet jackets and purple silk pants. The fabric is expensive; the cuts are traditional. She has a few pieces of jewelry with river pearls as the centerpiece, but only wears one or two at a time.
Mercenary, pragmatic, and self-involved. Mari has an inflated ego, but not so much as to make her foolish. Rather, it makes her more cautious. Mari’s sense of self-importance drives her to keep herself safe. She’ll go farther than most people to do so, present adventures aside. As the daughter of a dragon she’s likely to be long-lived, and she intends to enjoy the entirety of that long life.
Mari is always thinking about the future, and about improving her lot in life. She loves making a deal, especially one that will pay off more in the future. She’s glad to make a friend, to meet a need, and to be owed a favor. When she makes a deal, she puts all her cards on the table, without any holding back or duplicity. Her straightforward manner hasn’t won her a lot of friends, but it has made plenty of allies, and Mari would rather have those anyway.
Intimacies: Watch out for yourself (defining), Sia is family (major), Sia needs to stop trying to be my mother (major), Allies are better than friends (major), Don’t trust the Fair Folk, My mother is a wretched person.
Mari’s greatest asset is her intelligence. She can juggle a lot of facts and figures in her head, whether they’re mercantile or military. She’s good at guessing what other people will do. She knows her allies’ strengths and how best to deploy them on the battlefield. Mari thinks both quickly and deeply. She’s also good at games of strategy, and prefers them to games of chance. She had never heard of Gateway when she came to Pinedeep, but she’s learning it quickly.
From her extensive time as a merchant, Mari has gathered quite the hoard of jewels and high-value writs. She carries some of these on her person, sewn into various parts of her clothing. If Pinedeep were for sale, she could probably purchase it outright.
Mari is a non-combatant. It’s not that she couldn’t handle herself in a fight if she tried – her skin is hard, her fingers clawed. It’s just that she’s not interested in fighting under any circumstances. She’ll leave the battlefield instead, or bargain for mercy. Mari builds strategies; she doesn’t execute them. She doesn’t train with the others; she watches and comments. This frustrates Ishowo sometimes, who would love to have someone with dragon ancestry on the battlefield.
- Towalt Strongback, her porter, who carries her things. Quiet, hesitant, bored.
- Iselsi Elebeth, her accountant, who travels with her. Blasé, immodest, rugged.
- Phila Sledpack, who trades amongst the villages in the Glen. Impatient, cheerful, sociable.
- Bernice Threehouse, richest person in the glen before Mari arrived. Lives in Stonewall. Clumsy, cocky, self-serving.
- How bad would things need to look against Ishowo’s troupe for Mari to switch sides? Would her sister go with her?