*A ship bound for distant lands awaited her, she would leave again, only this time she wouldn’t come back.*
Anna Mariya lived a life she never thought she would. Of course she wasn’t always Anna Mariya. She had been born Mariya Antoniya Amador. Even now she misses the simplicity of those days. The first true memory she has from these days was following the future dame Anabella Ruthern on her final knight’s quest: going to a village deep within the Rimveld and clearing out the creatures known as Wazai, a sort of furry monster that called the ice caverns home with the habit of capturing passing traders. That’s what set a young Mariya down the path of becoming a page and then later a squire. The squire trials had her scouting keeps, fighting wolves, rats, and spiders, but most of all, had her solidifying who she was.
Most of these days were spent with her friends. Sparing with Stefan and Marie, chatting with Kat and Camilla, truly enjoying life even though she knew this wouldn’t last. She was to enter a golden cage at the tender age of sixteen. But that didn’t mean she was completely willing to trade her armor for the court gowns she loathed. Rosa had tried to train her to be a ‘proper’ lady, but Mariya never wanted to fool anyone into thinking she was anything other than herself. It was a conviction she kept even now as she feels her life start to leave her.
Stefan had always been a brother to her. Even when childhood feelings bubbled up, he was still her brother in arms and one of her closest friends, especially when both had beaten each other bloody during training spars or nearly blowing up a city together. Marie was her older sister she didn’t realize she needed so desperately, and while they found themselves often fighting together in crazy situations or just having a shoulder to lean on, she knew Marie would be there. Kat was her younger sister she wanted so desperately to protect, the only one that really knew what she was getting into and still stayed by her side. Camilla was the sister that was the same age as Anna Mariya, but also the level head this group needed, especially when the shenanigans got a little out of control.
Anna Mariya should’ve known her first marriage would end in disaster. Heinrik never truly loved her, it was clear to everyone but her. She would never admit it out loud, but for a long while she would hope and pray he would come to his senses. Maybe then she could get the boy she loved back.
They met when they were children, running about without a care in the world despite everything happening around them. That changed when they got older and the looming fate of the crowns they would come to bear steadily became real. There would no longer be times they would hide away from the world, just being able to speak with each other honestly.
Once they were crowned, the changes kept piling despite her efforts. But she would try to keep going, not just for her friends and family that relied on her, but now for her darling children. Petra and Sigismund meant the world to her and she would do everything in her power to protect them from the cold world that was encroaching on them. She would live for them, because she didn’t have anything else to live for during those last few years. She wondered what would take her first, an assailant’s blade or her own. She knew she couldn’t keep breaking down once she thought she was alone or drinking herself to sleep, not even going back to her room she shared with Heinrik, but sleeping on a cot in her children’s room.
She remembers the day she fled vividly even now. It was a flower festival Rosa and her children had set up. She had managed to slip away from her patron knight, Ser Cedric Barclay, with the promise she would be back once she made her rounds. She did make her rounds, saying her goodbyes to Kat, Stefan, and Marie along with Fionn and Friedrich. It was easy enough to fake her death, the corpse had already started to rot once it was discovered in Heinrik’s office, not it would’ve mattered, she would’ve been replaced anyways. Heinrik had actually touted her replacement in front of her before she fled, and though she tried her best, she would always resent her replacement. By the time she was across the lake and off to find the alchemist, she resolved to accept what she had done; she left on her own terms, and she would return on her own terms once it was safe. She just prayed everyone would forgive her by the time she came back.
When Mariya became Anna, ending up in the empire was third on her list of outcomes. The two cities before Providence she didn’t want to burden or draw unnecessary attention to. Safely stowed away in Providence, she found a life for herself. That did mean debuting in Orenian Society, but in the end it was worth it. She met the love of her life, friends she cherished as much as the ones she was forced to leave, and started both a family and a career she could be proud of.
She didn’t think of how much her life would change when Kelhus introduced her to Caspian. At first she thought he was just another person getting hounded by the older women of the season to find a partner. Later on she thought he was someone she could trust with her past and the ghosts that still haunt her. It wasn’t until she was walking down the aisle did she realize she wasn’t shaking, she was excited. She was marrying a man who knew everything about her and still loved her anyways. Their time was fleeting, though they had three children together, their work kept them apart. But she still loved him. Still loves him.
Meeting Elisa and Aimee during the social season was another change she would gladly come to welcome. Sure there were others, passing friends and acquaintances, but with these two she started to heal. Sure Anna Mariya never truly conformed to society’s standards, but she stood up and fought when she had to if it meant her friends were happy. Seeing and working with Eliza again was a piece of her past that she was comfortable coming to light. She learned a lot under Eliza and still to this day treasures her as a friend, even though it was more along the times of when she regularly spent time with Eliza as she did with Charlotte and Joseph.
A true crowning moment for Anna Mariya was her career in Foreign Affairs. A position she originally took part to protect her family outside of the empire, part so she could visit said family without raising much suspicion as to why she was away from the city for weeks on end. She did hold a bias to Yong Ping, having spent much time there when it was just the Taiping District to when they became a true nation in their own right. Yong Ping was always a second home. She never did go to Haense during this time officially. Unofficially she snuck away to her adoptive family’s manor to have dinner and to hear as much as she could about her darlings she had to leave behind. Though many treaties were signed, she never felt she did enough until she finally retired, but by then she was exhausted of everything she could give to her career.
Anna Mariya lived most of her life hiding what she ran from. Her story morphed as she got older and into a more secure position within the Empire. It started with she grew up on the border of Haense and the empire, though not completely false, she still had to hide major details. She never felt right having to hide so much of herself. For so long she just wanted to shout that she was still alive and wanted somehow to bridge her two halves together. Little did she know that wouldn’t happen during this lifetime.
Up until Edvard VI, she had spoken with the prior pontiffs about her situation. One suggested she reconcile with Heinrik, but when she brought up the point that he had already moved on and that would only result in her death, the point was dropped. The other she spoke with more frequently, yet another set of eyes and ears for her to keep tabs on her children, but also in the end nothing could be done.
Edvard had been the one to bring her out from hiding, but also caused many issues. How did she balance her position in the Empire with the one she left in Haense? The answer is she didn’t, she tried but it didn’t end up working out that well. And in the end, it drained her to the point where she had to leave yet again.
In the end, Anna Mariya outlived her husband Caspian (died shortly after seeing Elaine married), her daughters (Elaine to a fire and miscarriage and Petra to a swift death), her son was missing presumed dead for many years, her parental figrues and mentors, friends she longed to speak with, the list goes on. The subsequent wars also continued to fracture her, leaving two halves of a woman already broken to try and piece back together.
“At first I wanted a life someone would remember, but now, I realize how much I just wanted a quiet life..” Anna Mariya murmured as she leant against the railing of a ship. She called for her trusty owl and reached for her quill and ink to pen a letter to the public:
In all honesty I don’t know where to begin with this. When I was younger I wanted to change what I could and protect those I cared about. I grew to care for a Koengzem and I wanted to see a change where the courts weren’t miserable to people like me who didn’t always fit the mold. Looking back on that time, I suppose I could’ve sucked it up and done my duty, but even before the sleepless nights drove me further into a spiral, I realized that I couldn’t lie to the people and be something I’m niet. I am a warrior and a diplomat first, a functioning society member questionably second. So that would be my first apology: I’m sorry I was niet strong enough to tough out staying married to Heinrik and doing my duties minding the courts.
My second apology goes to all that I had to hide my past from and the actions that past caused me to make. I know many times I seemed paranoid and only saw the worst in situations, I just didn’t want anyone else to be driven to what I was. Everyone deserves a life of their own choosing. I know that will niet always be the case, especially with how human society functions, but i’ll be damned if I don’t at least try. If anyone was curious about the life I would’ve chosen: I would’ve left sooner had it niet been for my children and the family I found that I cared for. I wanted them to be happy, and in my demented state, I decided it was better that I niet be in their lives. I wish it wasn’t true but it was and a lot of time remains it the case. I’m sorry it ended up that way.
My only request is that you remember me as I am. A woman who tries her best, who kept trying to get up when everything kept trying to shove her down or to the side, and most of all: a woman who loves her friends, her family and especially her children. All I ever wanted was to protect as many people as I could, to help them be better and to help them niet make the same mistakes I did. But that does niet mean I want you to forget my mistakes. I want them to be remembered so nie one else suffers as I did. And I wish to pass on these pieces of advice: Do niet let yourself get shoved to the side, Learn from the failings of those before you and improve on their triumphs, and most of all: find love, it makes everything easier.
Anna finishes writing the letter before looking out of the window, she didn’t see the usual sights of Yong Ping, Karosgrad, or Old Providence, nor the boat she was on, but instead she saw the shores of Lake Viktoriya, the mountain ranges just off in the distance, surrounded by the evergreen trees and the roses of Reinmar. The color drained away as Anna tried to reach for her charcoal stylus, using the last bit of her energy, she found that she got tired quickly while starting her travels, to draw the scene but adding everyone in her life along the shoreline, looking out and for once, everything was quiet. This is what she wanted, a quiet life for once.
*The ship docked, and Anna Mariya stepped off. No one saw where she went, all that is known is that her corpse was sent back, still looking as young as she was in life.*
*A painting done of Anna Mariya upon her return to her natural state*
Mariya Antoniya Amador
Mariya of Mondstandt
Anna Marie Asul’onn
Anna of Sunbreak
1793 - 1872
346 E.S. - 425 E.S.