Marielda (city)

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This article is about the location. For the season, see Marielda (season).

Marielda, later known as the City of First Light, is a pre-Erasure island-city off the southern coast of Hieron and the setting of The Six's adventures in the Blades in the Dark interlude season of Friends at the Table.

History[edit | edit source]

The Quiet Year[edit | edit source]

"For a long while, blessed Samothes led His Somber Campaign against the heretical armies of the Boy-Traitor Samot, clashing steel in valleys and volleying arrows across plainsland. In time, though, your wise lord, the god-alive, recognized that there had been a stalemate, and that you, His people, were suffering.

And so, He returned to you, to His home, your city in the south, moving at fast pace, the dust of the Traitor Charioteers rolling like thunder behind him. And as they pursued, Samothes climbed the mountain of fire from which He forged our first tools, with which He built the first bridge, and He reached inside that mountain, and turned the ruddy summit just so. And because He is Great, it bent to His will: Viscous fire erupted, rushing down the peak and into the riverways that separated the city of light from the continent. He pulled up on the blaze like a reined mare, and yanked the city and its surroundings further away from Hieron. The ground itself shook without mercy, ocean water filled the new gap in the land, and then fire fled into that self-same sea, creating an inseparable blend of liquid heat.

Now, Samothes has returned to the mountain to work on some new holy device, and we have been left to rebuild the city as His faithful disciples.", Campaigns

Marielda’s recent history is rich with strife and conflict. Once a part of the nearby continent, Marielda was pulled away by Samothes to protect its inhabitants during the war between Him and Samot. Following this was a strange and eventful year. Legends of strange, distorted people being found inside the trees to the south of the city proved to be true as the weavers joined the city; the cobbins appeared on the beaches and began building what is now Emberboro. Samothes, seeing the difficulty of finding food on the isolated island, began sending rocks filled with fish to fall onto the city.

Exiles and deserters from the mainland showed up and started living outside the walls. Inside the walls, people began forming their own community-run school to share knowledge. Around this time, another school appeared - the university tower, arriving suddenly one day and casting a shadow where none had lain before.

Tensions began to rise between the upper and lower classes, leading to sabotage and murder. Perhaps it was this which inspired Samothes to unleash his law-bringers on the city, the emotionless pala-din. Among their first acts was their blockading of the new community school and university tower. This drove the creation of the underground school, which would in time be called the Yellow House. The mages inside the university’s tower used their power to drive the pala-din away from their tower and gain access to the city, where they invited citizens of Canopy Row into the tower to learn. This did not last long; both heads are killed weeks after leaving the tower for the first time. Bolster Valentine was doused in firewater by the pala-din; Charter Castille lost a duel with members of The Yellow House, who were backed by Samothes’s school, Maelgwyn, and the pala-din. Soon after their deaths, the tower is turned into a deep, possibly bottomless hole; a matching one can be seen in the ocean off the southeast coast.

Samothes is busy during this year; His newest projects arrive at the same time. Factories spring up in the city, filled with machines capable of manufacturing just about anything imaginable. The city starts to move, then, rearranging itself unpredictably. Only Canopy Row, built of wood from the island’s forest, is spared from this shifting.

In autumn, Samot began making moves against the city. Marauders wearing His symbol were seen causing trouble within Marielda; in the northwest, an army had begun to gather as snow fell over the area.

Maelgwyn, a steadfast devotee of Samothes, disappeared after starting to train an army. More weavers were recruited from the woods to defend Marielda, and just in time - Samot’s army launched its attack at the beginning of that winter. The siege lasted for weeks, leaving thousands dead, but in the end, Samothes and the citizens of Marielda prevailed.

The time of The Six[edit | edit source]

Though Samot had been rebuffed, the war continued over the following fifteen years as Samothes' city adjusted to a new sort of normalcy, transformed by both time and His wise reconfiguration. The neighborhoods of Canopy Row and the Golden District became delineated as Chrysanthemum Parish and Orchid Parish, two of the city's six official parishes, while Emberboro, home to most of the city's cobbins and refugees from the mainland, was still denied the same official recognition. Now downtrodden factory workers, many of the exiles from the mainland began to organize under the auspices of the Black Slacks. Meanwhile, the city's lost son Maelgwyn had inspired a sect known as Maelgwyn's Faithful, growing in influence and dedicated to the idea that the inspiring young man had been not merely devout but blessed or even divine.

Amid this, a small gang of scoundrels known as The Six began pulling off a series of daring heists—a train robbery and a burglary at a forbidden hall of learning, most notably—in their quest to obtain and sell forbidden knowledge to the people of Marielda. In the process, the once-lost Maelgwyn resurfaced and, searching for a way to protect Hieron and Marielda from the Heat and the Dark, became determined to kill the King-God himself. With the partial assistance of members of The Six, Maelgwyn managed to murder his father Samothes with the Blade in the Dark on High Sun Day. The divine spark of regret that he hoped would create something capable of protecting Hieron transformed Maelgwyn into an ashen and grim form of his father, and pinned him within Samothes' tomb.

On that same High Sun Day, the forces of the Boy-Traitor returned with new vigor and launched a second invasion, this time a sweeping success, bringing the city under Samot's rule. The Boy-King, saddened by the death of his lost love and their son's tragic choice, chose to rename Marielda in Samothes' honor, rechristening it the City of First Light.

Geography[edit | edit source]

Map of Marielda drawn in Roll20, from Spring in Hieron 00

Marielda covers most of an island of Hieron's southern coast, which Samothes pulled from the mainland immediately prior to the Quiet Year. The waters surrounding it glow with an unnatural and deadly heat. The inner city is protected by a crumbling wall. At the southwest of the island is the Western Wood, a dense forest and home to the weavers; to the east, a sweltering hot beach of black, volcanic sand across the channel from Samothes' volcano, terminating in the secluded Slow Point. A single large rock, unearthed by the city’s divorce from the continent, stands sentinel on the northern end of the island. Bergs of obsidian float in the bay, and to the island's southeast, a vast hole sits in the ocean, sucking down the glowing waters.

Parishes[edit | edit source]

The city is divided into six parishes each centered around a church of Samothes.

  • Violet Parish: northernmost district, mostly military barracks & bars
  • Quince Parish: also known as Quinceton, a snowy and cold area of the island outside Marielda's west wall. home to many elves and weavers
  • Chrysanthemum Parish: also known as the Gold Zone, the city's rich central area
  • Orchid Parish: former slum now home to middle class & gentrifiers in the southwest
  • Helianthus Parish: densely populated working class apartment blocks in central/south-central Marielda
  • Iris Parish: sparsely populated factory district in the southwest

A seventh neighborhood, Emberboro, on the island's eastern side, is not officially recognized as its own parish.

Factions[edit | edit source]

Main article: List of Marielda factions

Marielda is a city of many factions, each with different and often conflicting goals. The Six manage to run afoul of many of them, including the Golden Lance, the Fontmen, and the Yellow House.

Origin[edit | edit source]

Marielda's name comes from mareel, also known as the milky seas effect, a phenomenon in which areas of the ocean are lit by bioluminescent bacteria[1]. The English word mareel, and cognates from other languages (such as the Swedish mareld) derive from the Old Norse term mǫrueldr, a compound of marr (sea) and eldr (fire)[2]. Thus, the name plays upon the glowing lava-waters which have surrounded Marielda since Samothes ripped it from the continent during his war with Samot.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "mareel is where we eventually punched Marielda out of" - Austin via the Fans at the Table discord, #tm-spoilers channel, 6/30/17

External links[edit | edit source]