Given that I have been playing Lady Miriam for about 6 months now, it is difficult to know how to introduce my latest character to you. You might recall Rowan’s introduction, thrown into the deep end (literally) in Llaminusu’s frozen sea to claw her way back from the brink of despair to victory. A born fighter who fought her way from apprentice scout and loathed borderlander through to becoming the honour-bound Huntsmaster of Norham, head of the Foresters and the Law Guilds in general, ex-herald and devoted servant of Crowa. Heck, she was even turning into a dragon. She fought from day one until the end and if I could sum up Rowan’s character it would be firey. Enough of you have seen her calm one minute, raging the next; or fought toe to toe with her as one of the monster crew to know what I mean. And you all made that journey with her.
Lady Miriam was deliberately designed to be unlike Rowan. In my mind Miriam is quiet, demure, scholarly. She has a love of history and knights, and is developing nicely into a researcher. She writes letters, reads up on stuff that’s going on and generally allows me to get involved in plot. I was originally playing with the concept of a special, but hadn’t quite got round to submitting the paperwork as I was still toying with the idea, considering the benefits and the downsides to submit for consideration, when I suddenly needed a character. I had a few lined up who are still floating around, but I decided I wanted to give my Sidhean Priestess a try. I had enough background information to get her passed through the referees as a local noble, and managed to pull together the core elements of her kit for the day site later the same month. My OH sourced the glasses for me and, when donned with the headscarf saved from the later days of Dr Blackstaff, I found the “in” I needed. Rowan had war paint and a rolling Scottish accent I worked on for weeks. Miriam has her glasses and modest attire.
In another post I’ll go through the recent craft projects I’ve been working on (including Miriam’s kit), but all I will admit my inspiration for Miriam’s kit came in part from “World Without End’s” main character Caris. When she enters the priory as a nun, she wears a layered garment of cream and pale grey/blue with headscarf. It just struck me as something a Sidhean Priestess (of the pilgrim path) who has spent many years in a Sidhean abbey and Templar Keep would most likely wear.
With this sort of look and development in mind, I’ve planned out the changes to kit that might occur as Miriam grows in her devotion and service.
Miriam is a noblewoman of Berwickshire, of an old Berwickshire family recently returned to rank and status. As the youngest daughter I thought it would be acceptable for her to have had years amongst a cloistered environment, lending some innocence to her. As I talked through my ideas with my branch referees, I had the happy discovery of coincidence which has led to the development of certain aspects to her backstory and character. With her mother dead at a relatively young age, with the elder sister likely to already be married off, it excuses her current maidenly state. I also argued that her Father will, like as not, have been unsure what to do with the young Miriam – particularly with the upheaval of Lirronese invasion in 997, the siege of Carlech, the civil war in 1005 and the Greynar invasion, coupled with the troubles with the Great White Liche. With lands to defend, one son in the Griffin Order and the other being taught to be a noble in his own right, packing Miriam off to secure walls for her own safety seemed logical. Accompanied, of course, by Maude.
Ah Maude – my npc handmaiden who strikes fear into the hearts of the local adventuring men. In my head she is modelled on Marion’s maid from “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”, who can silence a man with a well-placed glare and a fierce devotion to her lady. Plus she’s dangerous with that embroidery needle of hers …
I am lucky that by coincidence my OH’s Griffin Knight is linked through the Berwickshire families to Miriam as a second cousin, allowing us to have a familial connection to play around with. It gives him an excuse to escort me places when we go out of branch and Miriam has a pet knight to look after as a priestess.
Through her current adventures I have found that Miriam has a leaning towards Vleybor, which surprised me at first. However, whilst she is about considering the balance, she is supposed to be of a genteel upbringing where she would know of battles going on around her, but has been sheltered from some of harsher “realities” of Ithron. She is moved by compassion, has been the secondary healer on each mission and is more likely to rush to heal a fallen companion than run away to hide in a bush. Having been faced with times when the party has been torn to shreds and only by luck and a little bit of faith have we somehow pulled ourselves back together, it has been reassuring and enjoyable to discover that Miriam does have a backbone somewhere. Not in the same way as gutsy Rowan ploughing into combat, nor the grim determination Mercy having to conquer her fears and “get the job done”, but something a little steelier than I had originally imagined for this bookish priest. Perhaps it’s that little bit of warrior celt in her ancestry?
For Miriam I have made a set of “reuseable” scrolls out of artists canvas and sharpie pens, as Miriam has time to illuminate manuscripts in amongst her reading and prayers. These scrolls are designed to be torn along a seam cut in the cloth and secured by masking tape, but can be “stuck” back together for another mission or for the next day when at fests – to simulate Miriam taking another of her pre-prepared scrolls from her luggage. Each has the ritual on, plus a prayer written specifically for each ritual and copied from her prayer book. These prayers are normally sung or canted when on mission, accompanied by a squeak if something comes towards her whilst she walks the circle. More on that when I write up Miriam’s adventures thus far …
One of the fun aspects of Miriam is the little bits of “tat” she has in character – her family heraldry on a belt sash, the embroidery on her prayer scarf, the pouches and bits for her satchel, notebook and scroll case, embroidered and laced handkerchiefs and prayerbeads looped onto her belt. It’s still a novelty to be able to have practical “pretty” things after playing the no-nonsense, no-frills warrior.
I hope you all enjoy reading of Miriam’s adventures as much as you enjoyed reading about Rowan and I hope to meet you out there in the field. So please, don’t mind me if I just potter along with my staff in one hand and a song on my lips. I’ve got your back.