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Marian Rilet (Rill-ETT)

The Tattooed One

Written by J. L. Gryphon

Ambient sounds courtesy of tosha73 and EminYILDIRIM

Greetings to those below. I am Death, though Azrael is the name I love. Today will be an odd topic, if only because the person in question is odd, though not by her choice. In fact, very few of the happenings in Marian Rilet’s life have been her choice. With the exception of her tattoos, Marian more . . . fell into her oddity. But I’ll get to that.
Odder still, I suppose, will be what I am permitted to say and what I’m not permitted to say about Marian. She, more than anyone I know, may as well be a field that, within the long grass, hides trap after trap. Some are of her own making. Some are simply a result of choices made. And again, very few of those choices were hers.
“If you’re not powerful and successful yourself, make alliances with those who are.”
—Marian Rilet

A Kind of Family

“No commoner would dare glare at a nomarch the way Marian glared at her now. But Marian wasn’t just a commoner, because of course she had to be a legend on top of everything else.”
—Ilitha Reiyiss reflecting on Marian

by Zaid Pro from Pixabay

  In my attempt to introduce Marian to you all, I might approach the task by telling you about her family. You can learn a lot about a person that way. Except I can’t tell you about Marian’s family because it seems she never had one. At least not in the traditional sense. Orphaned on the street at a young age, she barely knew her parents, and I doubt she could even recall their faces if you asked her now. As for siblings, if she has any at all, I can assure you Marian wouldn’t recognize them even if they were standing directly at her side.   Which is why, if I am going to discuss the concept of “family” in relation to Marian, I must strictly discuss the assassins. They were her family . . . if a pack of assassins can be called such a thing. She was brought into their shadows at the age of seven and trained to be one of their elite. Eventually she would be hailed as the first commoner to achieve superior-class status. But at first, she graduated a simple watcher-class like all the rest, the words of her “family” guiding her every step:  
Common purpose creates one blood.   Different mothers, different fathers, but one blood.   Blood is thy creed; blood is thy way.   Do all things for thy blood.
  I think these words, more than anything else in Marian’s life, have impacted her the most. Well, these words and the day she met her, uh, “employers.” I suppose there is no use talking about Marian without mentioning them at some point. I cannot reveal their identity to you just yet—my master says it is not yet time—but I can tell you what they did for Marian. I can tell you what they gave her.  

A Devil's Deal

Marian: “I made a deal.”   Ree: “You, too?”   Marian: “Yes, me, too.”   Ree: “I’m sorry.”   Marian: “Yes . . . me, too.”  
—Marian Rilet and Ree

by Stefan Keller from Pixabay - Modified by J. L. Gryphon

  The day Marian met her employers is a day, I have no doubt, she wants desperately to forget. It is also a day that will be forever burned in her mind. Because how could you forget something like that? But I shouldn’t say much more. Speak of them lest they appear.   But when Marian met them, they offered her a deal. A bargain of sorts. And like a fool, Marian accepted. So it was she came to serve them. So it was she gained her last tattoo.  

Secrets in Ink

“Ilitha couldn’t resist staring at them again, taking in the leafy vines, the raven feathers, but most of all the roses in bloom that twined down both her arms, two pairs of narrowed eyes peeking from under the petals. Each eye seemed to examine the strange scripts inked around her wrists, as if forever curious what they said. Ilitha had to admit the pictures intrigued her, but she couldn’t understand why Marian had them.”
—Ilitha Reiyiss observing Marian Rilet’s tattoos

by Darkmoon_Art from Pixabay

  Here then, we get to the heart of the matter. Marian’s tattoos are something of a novelty to most people because as far as everyone else is concerned, tattoos are only—I will repeat, only—used as brands of ownership for human slaves. Marian is neither a slave nor even a human, so you can understand, those below, that Marian’s treatment of tattoos as a decorative artform draws quite a bit of attention. It is in this one case, though, that attention is a helpful thing. All the better to hide a secret in plain sight.   You see, most of Marian’s tattoos are perfectly normal, and, if you would permit me to offer my personal opinion, I think they are quite beautiful, especially the raven’s head above her breast. What it means is true. What it memorializes is . . . sad.   But one tattoo in particular can be found wrapped around her left wrist. It is a permanent bracelet, a scrawling script written in a language Marian cannot read. This is just one of the reasons this tattoo is a more significant example of choices made that were not her own. You might call this tattoo a curse. You might call it a gift. It is, at the very least, a mark, the same kind of mark you might place on your lunch in the workplace to ensure no one else eats it. Marian would certainly think of it as all these things, because while she would love to be rid of it, I think she’s also terrified of it being taken away.   This is because, this particular tattoo glows green every once in a while. When it does, it produces an interesting . . . forgetful . . . effect. Of course there have been times people have grown suspicious of Marian’s age, the fact she speaks with the slightest of accents, or that simple tip-of-your-tongue feeling that there is just something off about her. And yet, the moment anyone has tried to voice these thoughts, they have ended up blinking in confusion wondering what it was they were about to say. Don’t you hate when you’re in mid-sentence and suddenly the rest of the words just flee your mind? That very thing has allowed Marian to hide. And hide she must.  


“It’ll always be for you.”
—Marian Rilet

by peter_pyw from Pixabay – Modified by J. L. Gryphon

  Who must she hide from, you ask? Well, lots of people. It depends on the day, really. Sometimes it’s members of the Fisherhook Gang. Sometimes it’s Vānima the Veldriss. Other times it’s Helios or Jezryn Sulissurn. In rare cases it is even her employers, though they always find her eventually. Most of all, though, she must hide from herself because it is who she is that will end who she has become. It is what she remembers that will risk what she has fought so desperately to keep alive. It is what she wants that will reveal the thing . . . no one wants. Because who really enjoys truths of the past bubbling up to disrupt those foundational lies of the present?   But, if my master has anything to say about it—and I can assure you he does—those past truths will be revealed one way or another, and soon, not even a devil’s deal will be able to keep them buried. Maybe the devil himself will be unearthed this time. A dead memory finally resurrected. Personally, I can’t wait for that day.   The man named after the sky deserved better.

Signed your vengeful narrator,   Azrael the Star of Death


Book Information

  To learn more, hop on over to the books page OR hop on over to the teaser and get a sneak peek of Chapter 1! For more articles like this one, have a peek at my Worldbuilding Journal and explore Orosta.  

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Image by J. L. Gryphon via Artbreeder
True Neutral
Other Ethnicities/Cultures
Honorary & Occupational Titles
  • Superior Rilet
  • Raider Rilet
  • Hunter Rilet
  • Watcher Rilet
  • Initiate Rilet
Date of Birth
The Month of Joffell, Day 33, 14836 NS (unofficially)
Year of Birth
14836 165 Years old
Current Residence
Sicarius Ward District
Skin Tone/Pigmentation
Pale gray
Aligned Organization
Related Myths
Known Languages
  • Zishlyn (1st - fluent)
  • Orostian (2nd - fluent
  • Sithuli (3rd - fluent)
  • Lingua (4th - passing)

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