The Endless Stride
Ethne Marie Lochlan
An easygoing, confident woman whose dedication to goodness and righteousness is as strong as her love for Morrow.
- Age: 30 Summers
- Height: 5’9"
- Weight: 155 Lbs.
- Hair: Dark copper, mid-back length, with small, neat braids interwoven throughout. Typically held back in a loose ponytail that flows over the back of her cloak.
- Eyes: Blue-Green
- Race: Caspian/Thurian
A couple inches taller than the average woman, with a strong, lean physique and a self-assured look often upon her face, Ethne can be intimidating to behold for some… especially when fully suited in her armor and weaponry. From her armor and her physique, it would be obvious to a stranger that this woman is a knight or protector of some kind, but her easy, confident bearing and propensity toward a lazy smile and sometimes crude humor can be confusing as to just what sort of knight.
As per her apparent Thurian heritage, she has pale skin with a dusting of freckles across her nose, hair like the burnished copper of an accumulator chassis, and bright, alert blue-green eyes reminiscent of the seas near Ceryl. (However, having been raised in Caspia since she was three, she receives her racial benefits from her mother’s side of the family.) She has a number of scars, visible or not depending on her state of dress. The most obvious one arcs across her left cheek and looks uncannily like a lightning bolt. It disappears into her hairline, the flesh turned pink and silver-gray where it’s raised. Indeed, it was caused by lightning of sorts… well, that is a story she would gladly recount if asked.
As for her personality, those who spend any amount of time in her company will probably find themselves at ease in her presence without having really noticed. She’s easygoing and comfortable in her skin, and she likes to laugh and have a drink or two, just like her father. That being said, like anyone who fights for a cause or a code, she has a serious side that can switch on at the drop of a hat, whether stone sober or drunk, and woe be to he who causes such a switch unnecessarily. She will always try reason first, as laughter and mutual understanding is always a much better ending than violence, and it pleases Morrow. But if you draw her ire, she can be relentless to the bitter end.
- Wears armor decorated with her own personal style and tassets bearing the radiance. She carries a large mechanika Umbrean war axe strapped to her back. Upon closer inspection, one would find that the axe head is engraved with a personal message, as it was a gift. It says: Be the fire that both burns brightly and brings salvation. And in smaller etching underneath: —For being my fire; AH.
- Has remnants of a Thurian accent from her mother.
- Hobbies include, but are not limited to: drinking (on occasion), music (she sings when the mood hits her and also carries a small flute), conversation, philosophy, and astronomy, as she is fascinated by the heavens. She also considers herself a connoisseur of Cygnaran cigars, a habit picked up from her father.
Ethne is a paladin of Morrow, raised mostly by her Thurian father in Caspia, as her mother passed away when she was seven. Regardless, her decision to become a paladin had very little to do with being raised by a man alone, and much more to do with her own feeling that she was called to it from an early age. And for good reason…
The first time she ever saw a paladin of Morrow she was seven years old, hurrying through the busy streets of Caspia, gripping her mother’s hand tight. It was a day like any other, and they were hurrying only because her mother was trying to beat the throng of people home from the markets. With young Ethne’s tiny hand in one hand and bags of food and goods in the other, her mother decided to head through the network of alleys between a row of shops and the street their humble apartment was located on. They were alleys they’d run through countless times, and indeed, Ethne made sure to crane her neck to catch a glimpse of the painted markings on the bricks as they passed, for she loved the colors and swooping lines. There was a painting that had only been there a few weeks, and what she didn’t know, of course, was that it was the marking of a particularly nasty gang of thieves who’d taken root in the area.
As they rounded a corner, they came face to face with a group of said thieves, all brandishing weapons that glinted wickedly in the slanting light. Their eyes were hard, as cold as the steel of their knives and swords. “Whatcha got there?” One of them prompted. Ethne noticed that some of the men were looking at her rather than the packages, and for reasons she wouldn’t understand until much later on, it made her uneasy. Her mother must have noticed as well, for she shoved her daughter behind herself and got that stern look that Ethne knew well.
“Let us pass,” she said, “and you can have everything I’m carrying. Go on, take it!”
But it wasn’t enough. This wasn’t a simple mugging; that particular group of thieves, the Scampion Boys, would become renowned for the trafficking of children and young women in the coming days. Though they had not yet reached notoriety, her mother could read these men’s intentions plain enough. Looking down at her beloved daughter, she whispered one word as the men started to approach them: run.
Her mother drew two knives from beneath her skirts and turned to face her fate, and Ethne ran back the way they’d come, though she hadn’t wanted to leave her mother alone. Still, she knew better than to disobey this time. She ran out the other end of the alleyway, panicked, and immediately felt a heavy hand descend on her shoulder. “Show me,” a gruff voice said from above her, and though the glare of the sunlight reflecting off his armor shielded his face from her sight, the radiance of Morrow emblazoned on the front of his breastplate was clear as day. She lead him into the alley.
They were too late to save her mother’s life, but they were not too late for justice. He told her to wait for him just around the corner, but Ethne couldn’t help but peek, watching as this stranger meted out swift and merciless justice with but a few wide swings of his claymore. The blood and carnage scared her, but there was a part of her that burned with the righteousness of it, hot as Morrow’s flame. And though her mother’s death signaled an abrupt and unwanted change in her young life, it also marked the day she took her first step onto Morrow’s righteous path. As the paladin carried her home, her cold hands clinging to the sun-warmed, unforgiving surface of his armor, drops of blood sticky under her fingers and tears drying on her cheeks, she felt as though nothing could harm her so long as he was there. And without realizing it just yet, part of her knew that she would offer the same succor to others one day. She would save lives and deliver swift justice, just as her savior had done for her, in the name of Morrow.
Though her mother’s death was a needless tragedy, Ethne was a singularly strong-hearted girl, even that young. Rather than be broken by it, she learned to use the pain of her loss to fuel her determination to do good things for others. She would often be found volunteering her time helping others around the neighborhood. Her father lamented the fact that he couldn’t offer his little girl an education, but was not surprised when she sought it out herself at the Sancteum. Small but sure, Ethne stood before the clerics whose audience she’d managed to gain and recounted the tale of her mother’s death and her determination to be like the man who had saved her life. “But I will need training and an education,” she told the assembled men of the church, surprising a smile out of a few of them with her assuredness and the honest plea in her little face. To see one so young speak with such confidence, and seem to understand exactly how to deal with tragedy in a way far beyond her years, was quite a surprise.
“My father and I are not wealthy,” she explained. “I have no money to offer… only love for Morrow and my own dedication. Please help me to be strong.”
The men discussed it, agreeing amongst themselves that this girl must not only have a hell of a father, but must be made of stern enough stuff to deserve their help. They decided that she would best be served by joining the Cygnaran military academy and training to become a trencher. It would not only give her the training and education she needed, but the experience to become an accomplished and battle-hardened warrior of the faith, as her protector had been, and as she wanted to be. They worked out the details, and soon she was on her way to attaining her goals, and Cygnar had another soldier in training to fight for its cause.
To put a long story short, Ethne grew into a fine young woman under the tutelage of the Academy, and went on to serve as a trencher for five years, from 17 to 21, when she was knighted for saving her Captain’s life and the lives of countless other soldiers in the field of battle. She made friends with most everyone she served and grew up with, for who could resent the success of someone so dedicated and kind-hearted? Not to mention her quick reputation amongst the other recruits for that easygoing nature of hers, and for her silver tongue and sense of humor. On the battlefield, she was just as fearless and dangerous as the rest of them, and would do whatever it took to save the lives of anyone who needed it, a fact that was widely known. Needless to say, there are many scarred up, hardened men serving in the Cygnaran military who would crack a smile just to see her on the street, and they would certainly go drinking together to celebrate the old times.
After her service to Cygnar, Ethne decided it was time to focus on her true calling, now armed with all the skill, strength and experience the military had given her. She left the trenchers and decided to go on a pilgrimage, traveling throughout Cygnar and stopping wherever she felt her services were needed. She left behind her a trail of goodness and righteousness, lives saved and villains brought to justice, as well as the simpler kindnesses, like children with full bellies and old men and women whose heavy burdens would be easier when she was around. She worked hard to spread the feeling that that paladin had once given her, and relished every trusting look given by child or adult, every smile of relief to see her approach, every look of uncertainty and fear in the eyes of those who were wrongdoing. Yet even to these men and women she was fair, and could often be seen sharing a meal and a drink with the very thief she was preparing to bring to justice, hearing his or her tale of how they’d come to that point in life. Her compassion is but one of her strengths.
For nearly five years she traveled in this way, spreading the good word of her beloved God, while always writing letters home to her father along the way, making certain he was looked after and doing well. Eventually her journey took her outside of Cygnar, first to Llael and then to Ord, a country that seemed to call to her in some unknown way with a hidden purpose. And so it is in Ord that she’s stayed for the last four years, ever searching for that purpose that Morrow had lead her to find. After saving the life of a noble child in the streets of Armandor, she was summoned by the child’s father to be thanked in person: none other than Rogan Torcail, the Moorgrave of Almare. After nearly an hour of friendly conversation and sharing stories, she was offered a job in the household, as both a protector for the child, as well as advisor (and now, friend) to the family. She trains the men working in the family’s militia, as well as training and tutoring the child, and protects the family however is needful, working with the full understanding that should a stronger purpose find her, she would leave the household for however long it takes to take care of it. This has happened numerous times already, as word of unrest reaches the Moorgrave frequently from neighboring towns, some of which draws her attention.
She stays with the Torcails not because she is obliged to, but because she wants to do so. She and the child have a bond, and she and the Moorgrave and his wife have a mutual respect and friendly relationship that she values highly. However, her duty to her code and to Morrow would come first if the situation arose.
- The Torcail child whose life she saved is Sebastian Torcail, Rogan’s second son. He is now 15 years old, and was almost 11 at the time.
- The initials AH on her axe stand for Aleksander Helstrom, the Captain whose life she saved in Cygnar. He had the axe made for her as a thank you, but the personal inscription refers more to the brief fling they had during her service. He would often call her his fire, not only for her fiery red hair but because of the fire in her heart, which inspired him to be a better man. He is now married to another, and she has been gone from Cygnar for many years, but the axe and the memories are dear to her all the same.
- Ethne has a reputation in many places throughout the Iron Kingdoms, mainly those along the path of her pilgrimage north through Cygnar and in the areas surrounding Armandor. She is known for her goodness and compassion, but also for her skill with the large axe she wields and her dedication to her code. She is liked by many, but also feared and disliked by those who have crossed her path under ill circumstances. (As previously said, some of those she brought to justice may still look upon her with begrudging respect for her fairness and compassion, but naturally there were those who chose to fight her instead and lost.)