Cinder Of The Fields

Born from ashes

Cinder Of The Fields was a legendary bard that existed approximately 120 years before the departure of Expedition Demeter. She was a black-haired, olive skinned woman of Espadan decent. She was the founder of the The College of Ashes, which she created to push her philosophy: "History should not be written by the victors."

Cinder is well-known for being an advocate of peace. She grew up in Espada, the daughter of two wealthy noble families. Her time in The Freeholds made her no stranger to war. Her personal memoirs often talked about how she relished war in her early years, even serving as a Freehold Knight, representing her house on the battlefield. She was skilled and capable, but few stories ever depict her as an exceptional warrior.

Her memoirs go as far as to say that without the armor Freehold Knights are known for, she would have died on the field of battle long before she became a Bard, citing a particular encounter with an enemy Knight that she only survived and won due to her family's superior armor and their constant maintenance.

She died childless of heart failure at the age of 53 while writing in her study.



History

Love and War

Sometime in her twenties, she married, the armor traveling with her as she took her husbands name and shared his titles. Her memoirs express a deep romantic attachment to the man, though she neglects to name him at any point in the memoirs. Her new house enjoyed a rapid expansion of territory and power. The married couple would engage on the field of battle side by side.

She was in her thirties when she decided to remove the armor permanently. The armor has many advantages, but often comes at the cost of mental stability. In the case of cinder, the armor malfunctioned at the most inappropriate time.


The Battle of Cairn

During a crucial strategic battle with an opposing house, Cinder realized that she and her husband bit off far more than they could chew. The opposing house had one of the most advanced forms of Freehold Knight armor ever seen. The enemy knights not only devastated their military forces, but killed her husband.

Her own armor failed her as well, breaking under the pressure of an enemy knight's violent strikes. The sword drove through her and she was left to die, bleeding out in the suit of armor that became her identity. The armor of a freehold knight connects with the minds its wearers. Their memories and pains are stored within it, as well as their hopes, ambitions, and accomplishments.

Fun Fact: "of the fields."


The most famous story regarding Cinder concerns the earning of her Bardic Name. Bards often gain titles that attach to their names. These titles usually refer to a past deed. In Cinder's case, "of the Fields" refers to The Phobic Fields in the Freeholds, where Cinder was known to frequent when producing new works. One day, on the 124th of Dawn, 1620, she sat by a tree, writing her memoir.

She suddenly noticed an approaching military force out of Vanheim. She recognized the house colors, and lamented the thought of the bloodshed that they would cause. She head the marching tune from behind her. She turned and saw another force approach.

Cinder stood up and as the forces converged, she walked into the fray. She was in her forties, and her age was beginning to show. Many of the men and women stopped to wonder what the woman was doing on the battlefield. Others knew who she was, and stopped to stare in awe at the legend that stood among them.

She commanded the attention of the nobles on both sides, who stopped the battle when they saw her. After a rousing speech, claiming they shouldn't be worried of the family they have, but rather the family of their enemy, both sides laid down arms.
Whatever power that allows this function became unstable. She became overwhelmed with the sensations of countless dying men and women. She became overwhelmed with the sight of countless battles. She retained every memory of those who were slain. Some thought of their wives and children, who they would never see again. Some never had the chance to say goodbye. Some were merely peasants who had no choice but to fight, commanded by the nobles who dominated their lives from birth.

Epiphany

These memories and more caused such mental stress that her entire worldview changed. Many of the battles that she saw unfold in her mind we're not only battles she knew from history, but battles that she experienced first hand. The stories of valor and glory now turned to stories of slaughter and sorrow. What she once believed to be her achievements of victory, contorted into disjointed memories of horror and brutality.

She forced her way out of the armor, severing the connection. She fell to the ground, called for help, and was astounded to find an enemy bard would answer. The woman was a famous bard of Cordais, Bruna. Bruna was the founder of The College of Last Rites. Bards of the college take it upon themselves to read the last rites of as many religions they could learn to the dead on the field of battle, a process that could take days to weeks.

The Bard used her power to heal Cinder's wounds, singing a long-lost lullaby to the dead in hopes they find peace. Cinder took a keen interest in the bards of last rites. It was a Bardic College she never heard of. They have no epic tales depicting their great deeds, and in those moments, Cinder felt that they were the only ones deserving of it.

The College of Ashes

These events led her to joining The University of Espada, where she earned her colors soon after. She began the College of Ashes in hopes of finding these unspoken heroes, like Bruna. She founded it in the hopes that people will come to understand the importance of the aftermath, in the unspoken truths.

She refused to allow history to be written by the victors. She went on to influence many nobles in the Freeholds with her talks of peace. Stories spread of how she was able to prevent the worsening of a battle or to keep the wars from happening in the first place.
Glory will always come at a cost equal and opposed to the glory earned, a tax paid in cinders.
— Cinder Of The Fields

The Works of Cinder

The following are the bards most famous works.
  • A Song for Lhora: A quiet and mournful song intended for the viola. The song is thought to be symbolic of her husband's death, as Lhora is the name of a famous house in Espada.
  • Longing:A collection of poems written by Cinder, compiled after her death to celebrate the bard by the College of Ashes. The titular Longing is one of her most heartfelt poems written for Bruna, whom cinder never met again due to a war between the two freeholds.
  • Lady Cinder Of The Fields: While she wrote many songs and poems, she only completed a single text: her memoir. The book is featured in many collections all over the world, referred to as a thrilling, tragic, and beautiful tale.
  • Children


Cover image: by ERIK-HOEPFNER

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