Myrrh

myrrh.jpgMyrrh the Defiant (c. Y474 – Y523) was a human woman, princess of of the Du’un Empire, and one of the Nine Crusaders who overthrew her brother, Emperor Sheol XIV. The failed coup she initiated in Thariz in Y490 is widely considered to be the beginning of the Holy War, a civil war that culminated in the destruction of the Du’un Empire. After the Miracle of Dawn, Myrrh wielded the Archangel’s Sceptre, a holy staff of immense arcane power. In addition to her bravery, she was known also for her vanity, and she used the Sceptre’s power to retain her youthful appearance for many decades. Following her death, some true believers worship her as a goddess of beauty, death, rebirth, and storms. Of all the crusaders, she was closest to Freya, her friend, mentor, and commander in battle, and Woten, her godfather and loyal bodyguard.

Myrrh was born eight years after her brother in the imperial capital. When she was fifteen years old, she witnessed the imperial Ceremony of Ascension, where her father, Sheol XIII, bequeathed the Black Book to her brother, and with it, the divine right to rule. Ancient imperial law dictated that the emperor and empress may conceive only one male child, and all other children were to be killed to preserve the purity of the Du’un line. Her parents broke this edict in secret by bearing Myrrh after their firstborn son, and kept her confined to the palace for fear that word of their forbidden daughter would spread. The empress assigned Woten, Myrrh’s godfather, to be her ever-present guardian and retainer. Myrrh was content to live in the lap of luxury, practicing swordplay and magic in the comfort of the imperial palace.

Her idyllic days were cut short when her brother took the imperial crown in Y489. Whatever power the Black Book possessed, she said it changed him. The dutiful, yet loving young man she knew to be her brother was gone, replaced by a suspicious and malevolent despot. The morning after he was crowned emperor, both his parents were found dead in their beds of cardiac arrest. He came to take his sister’s life the next night, but her protective magic and Woten’s knowledge of palace’s secret tunnels allowed them to escape. Over the next year, they organized a rebellion in the city’s catacombs. Their attempt on Sheol XIV’s life in Y490 failed, but Myrrh, Woten, and twenty of her number were able to escape the capital. When they arrived in the Scythian mountains, they numbered only six.

Baldur and Myrrh first met in Y495, well after the Liberation Army had begun to set up a free government in Scythia. Myrrh lived a sheltered life, even during wartime, thanks to Freya and Woten’s constant protection. She was twenty-one and Baldur was but fifteen, and neither of them had seen a more beautiful person before in their lives. The two were deeply in love, or they at least thought they were. Less than a month had passed before a troubled Freya sent Myrrh, pregnant and confused, to live in the care of the sisters for the next nine months. After the birth of her daughter, Myrrh decided to let the sisters raise her daughter while the war raged across Norn and returned to the front lines. Baldur and Myrrh remained in love for some months after, but they grew apart during the war. They rekindled a friendship after the Remnant War, but Baldur married another, and Myrrh never married again. The cursed bloodline of the Du’un Empire still lives on through her descendants, but these descendants are faced with a choice. They can succumb to the power that corrupted the emperors of old, or follow the path of justice that Myrrh and Baldur blazed so many centuries ago.

For Myrrh, the Holy War was not a war of vengeance. She knew that every soldier she killed with her magic was one of her countrymen. It was worse at the old Kurtulmak fortress of Mersin; the force that cornered the Liberation Army there were deployed directly from Thariz. It was there that her spells began to tear through the bodies of men she had seen patrolling the streets a thousand times before. But no matter the pain she faced, Myrrh still held hope that her brother might be saved from the dark power that dominated their bloodline. When the Liberation Army breached the walls of Thariz, though, she knew her hopes were for naught; her brother was too far gone to be saved, even by her magic, even by her love.

After the war, she spent much time with her constant companion, Freya, the first queen of Hildsvine, and later, of Grandévere. Unlike the rest of the crusaders, Myrrh had no desire to rule. She stayed indoors, spending her time away from Freya alone, weaving spells and digging through the magical tomes that were constantly delivered to Hildsvine, recovered from Du’un libraries and hidden repositories. After Baldur’s death in Y522, she retreated to an old castle outside of Hildsvine for thirteen months. Within the first three months, she would sometimes meet with Freya, but she soon denied all visitors. There are no records of her actions during this period, but when she returned to Hildsvine, Freya wrote that her eyes shone with renewed purpose. She set out for the mountains in the far north of Norn, packing only her legendary sceptre and enough supplies to get her as far as Aurvandil. After a brief stop in Aurvandil’s capital and a meeting with the giantess Skadi, Myrrh was never heard from again. Nine months after she departed Hildsvine, however, the volcanic Mt. Muspelheim erupted, coating the entire northern mountains in a thick layer of choking ash. It is believed that Myrrh was killed in Muspelheim’s eruption.

Myrrh

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