974 years after the unification of Galifar, in the early morning of the 12th day of the month of Lharvion, Timor Kemble d’Medani the Elder paced his rooms, waiting impatiently for the door to his wife’s room to be opened. Just as the sun emerged fully over the horizon, he heard an increased bustle, then a halfling in House Jorasco livery quietly opened the door and approached him. “The Lady Aanna has come through, sir,” she spoke barely above a whisper. “Your daughter has been born.” Timor rushed past her to see his wife and to meet the little girl who had caused her so much trouble. p. Much to his surprise, Timor found his wife standing over the cradle in which many of the Kemble babies had been laid after being born. She turned to him with a smile, and said softly, “She’s sleeping. Don’t look so shocked to see me up and about already. You know how skilled these halflings can be.” p. “Yes, I do know, but you must be exhausted! You should by lying down, resting. She’s in the best hands we could hope to have, you needn’t worry yourself over her. Come, back into bed, it’s all ready for you.” Timor tenderly took her hand and gently led her back to the magnificent, plush bed covered in the finest linens with an array of soft pillows. “The only question you should be considering right now is what our daughter shall be called.” p. “And that I have already decided, my dear. She is to be named Lorsanna, for my mother. We can only hope she will help protect her in this dangerous world.”
“Timor, wait for me! You’re running too fast!” Lorsanna was running as fast as she could, holding her skirt up around her knees, trying to catch up to her older brother. “You can’t see before I do!” Timor the Younger slowed to a walk, glancing back, then stopped to wait for his 4-year-old sister. She reached him, breathless, and he took her hand to walk the rest of the way to the windows over the large front entrance hall. They stared through the glass, straining to see the approaching carriages. The patriarch of House Medani was coming to visit their family and to confirm the appearance of Lorsanna’s Mark of Detection that revealed itself on her last birthday. Her father had a Siberys Mark, and her mother a Lesser Mark, so it was expected she should at least become an accomplished member of the House. Timor also bore the Mark of Detection, although his had appeared on the day Lorsanna was born, when he was already 6 years old.
“Look! There’s cousin Werem! He’s riding the lead horse!” Timor exclaimed in awe, eyes gleaming with worship of the 25-year-old half-elf astride a magnificent white horse. “Uncle Trelib must really like him!”
“Now, son, remember you must call him Baron Trelib, not uncle. He is the leader of our House, after all,” Timor the Elder reminded him, having quietly followed his excited children to the windows. “Now, we must go and be ready to greet him and the rest of the family he has brought with him.” With a glance of special meaning and pride, he took Lorsanna’s hand and turned Timor by his shoulder toward the stairs.
Lady Aanna was waiting, dressed simply yet elegantly in deep purple silk. She looked over her children and smiled, smoothing Lorsanna’s dress where it was rumpled from her exertions.“The Baron is almost here. We should go out and be ready to receive him. Remember your manners and not to pester him with questions. They have had a long journey.” She took Lorsanna’s hand and led her out the large, heavy oak doors. They stopped at the top of the stairs leading to the drive, and Lorsanna stood between her parents, hiding herself slightly behind her mother’s skirt. Timor the Elder gently urged her to stand in front of them, giving her a slight push on the back. He wanted to make sure the Baron saw her as quickly as possible, feeling there was something special about this little girl.
The carriages were now approaching the house, and Lorsanna saw with excitement that these were no ordinary horse-drawn carriages, but elementals, powered by strong magic. Some members of the party, like Cousin Werem, were mounted on horses, but most were inside the three carriages. One stood out, slightly smaller than the others, but more elaborately decorated, and Lorsanna could feel the power surrounding it, guarding it from unfriendly spells or attacks in addition to the restrained speed of which it was capable. This had to be the Baron’s personal transport when he chose to travel over land, and as if to confirm this suspicion, it was the carriage that stopped directly in front of the grand steps leading to the entrance. Timor the Elder proceeded down the steps, making a small motion to tell his family to remain where they were, as the door to the carriage opened. A man jumped out and pulled down steps for the other occupants to descend. He bowed deeply and offered a hand to an older, dignified looking half-elf, who Lorsanna thought must be Baron Trelib. Her father also bowed and offered his hand, which was quickly taken by the Baron who pulled Timor close to him and gave him a quick, one-armed embrace. “Timor, m’boy! So glad to see you! How is everything? Working hard for the House as always, I’m sure! Ah, and this must be the young Lady Lorsanna,” he spoke warmly and rapidly, moving up the stairs and approaching Lorsanna, her mother and brother. She gave a quick, nervous bob of a curtsy, not sure if she should look at this important man. “Very nice, very pretty. You’ll have to keep on eye on this one, help her stay out of trouble, eh? And this must be Timor the Younger! A bit more grown up than the last time I saw you young man. Been studying hard, I hope? We expect a lot from you, too.”
“Yes, sir,” replied Timor respectfully with a small bow. “Father has been giving me extra lessons at home, too.”
“Ah, very good, very good. And Lady Aanna! Lovely as always! Wonderful to see you all. Come, come, shall we go in? The rest of the group can follow on their own, I’m sure.”
“Of course, Baron,” replied Timor the Elder with a slight look of suspicion in his eyes, “but you know we must have one small demonstration to be sure it is indeed you. We can’t be too careful in these times.”
“Yes, yes, certainly. Good man, Timor, good man.” And with that, the Baron related the story of how he met Timor the Elder for the first time, when they had both snuck out of the House headquarters in their younger days for some sport in the city. Timor smiled at the memory, then asked, “and what was I wearing for my disguise?”
“Hahaha, yes,” he chuckled, “you borrowed the stable boy’s mucking clothes and smelled like a horse! No one would go near you!” With a smile, Timor turned toward the house, inviting his guest to go through the door.
That evening, the family gathered in their great hall with the Baron and his retinue. Lady Aanna had spent a great deal of time preparing for this visit, and her acute attention to detail showed everywhere. She had ensured there would be a server for every four guests, the Baron’s favorite foods and wines were artfully prepared and a sense of simple luxury exuded from the furnishings and decorations. No one could say this feast was garish or ostentatious in any way, nor could they deny its sumptuousness and the generosity of their hosts. The Baron occupied the seat of honor, flanked by the two children. Lorsanna was filled with excitement; this was her first great feast and she was one of the stars. Her mother made sure she was given a new dress specially designed for the occasion, the finest she had ever worn. She felt like the most important person in the world and anticipated the Baron’s confirmation of her Mark. It manifested itself on her birthday, just one month ago, on the back of her left shoulder, which her mother said was lucky. Most clothes would conceal its presence if she were in a situation where a Dragonmark could be a liability.
Just as the servers cleared the main course from the tables, Timor the Elder stood to make a short speech. He thanked everyone for coming, then turned to the Baron. “Sir, as the head of House Medani, I humbly ask you to accept my daughter, Lorsanna Kemble d’Medani, as a Dragonmarked member of our House. I pledge to raise and train her to the best of my ability to be an asset to the House in all things. Lorsanna, please stand,” he beckoned his daughter. As she stood, he turned her to show her Dragonmark to everyone present, and Lorsanna was glad of the special dress. It was cut in such a way that her left arm and shoulder were bare to show off her Mark to everyone at the feast without embarrassing her. “Here is her Dragonmark, which appeared one month ago, on her fourth birthday. Does anyone deny its authenticity?” he challenged. No one spoke.
“I, Baron Trelib d’Medani, accept Lorsanna Kemble d’Medani into our House. I welcome her as our newest, and youngest, Dragonmarked daughter.” The hall erupted in applause. Lorsanna blushed, then hugged her father. No one could remember a younger Medani manifesting the Mark of Detection. She was definitely some one special; how much so, only time could reveal.