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Liath "Lyle" Machs
by on February 2, 2019
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Now that the wonderful readers of this book have a general idea of what Maréire is like on the surface, it is time that we delve a bit deeper. The native ponies are open enough about their culture, especially after they've had a few drinks in them at their favorite establishment. Their ancient history is a wonderfully rich tapestry of living Gods, powerful warriors, warring kingdoms, and an ancient and mysterious enemy known as the Firbolg. As I sit here at one of the few inns in Gallowmere and write this by candlelight, I cannot help but appreciate how similar, yet how different this place seems to somewhere like Canterlot. The Knotted Cask where I am staying is above one of the larger drinking establishments in town, and the merriment goes very early into the morning with ponies singing in their native tongue, laughing, and playing a small drum that I understand is called a bodhrán. It creates a very warm and welcoming atmosphere that is quite unlike any I have seen. I have a very large window to look out of, and even at night the Royal Castle of Gallowmere cuts an incredible silhouette in the night sky that nearly puts Canterlot to shame. I have a meeting with one of the Princes tomorrow to discuss recent events, but that must come later.
To understand the ancient history of Maréire, you must first understand it's inhabitants. Most ponies have their roots as farmers, fishermen, or warriors. The Royal Knights of Fianna make up the royal guard of the castle, made up of some of the best warriors on the island. It is said that a Knight of Fianna can't be trained, they're born. Following a strict code laid down in ancient times they protect both the royal family and Gallowmere itself with almost zealous loyalty, each of them taking a Geas upon being admitted into the company of Knights and given treasured equipment made of pure Gallowglass. It is seen as one of the highest honors in Maréire society.
As for the rest of the ponies that make up the population of Maréire, they hold a reverence for their island that borders on a religion. It goes beyond simple respect or admiration, and it's clear that every pony on the island has some kind of connection with the land. Maréire is prayed to, communed with, and even the spells used by the magically inclined are seen as gifts from the island itself. There are even a unique class of ponies called Druids that perform the various magical rituals throughout the island, such as the one required to mine Gallowglass, harvest lumber, bless marriages, and even calm the seas around the island to allow for fishing. There isn't a fishing ship that sails the seas around Maréire without a Druid on board. Similar to becoming a Knight of Fianna, one must be born with special qualities to become a Druid, specifically a unique magical connection to the island. They do not cast spells that allow for the duties they perform, as there are plenty of Earth Ponies and Pegasus that are Druids, they are able to speak with Maréire and ask it for boons and blessings which it may or may not answer. The citizens believe that Maréire has a will of it's own, and I've seen no evidence to suggest that such a thing isn't the case.
Even the docile sprites that are the Aosi seem to be connected to the island in some way, believed to be extensions of the will of Maréire it is strictly forbidden to harm one and doing so is punished just as strictly as if the act had been done to another pony. Speaking of the Aosi, they are referred to as spirits in the common tongue, and do not appear to be able to speak apart from high pitched chittering sounds. They possess a curious and mischievous nature, one having stolen my bag of supplies when I arrived on the island. Having chased after it for some time, it only released my belongings after having become tired of holding my heavy satchel of books aloft. They appear incredibly strong for their tiny size, and appear to be jovial little creatures that simply seem to flit about the towns and countryside taking interest in what everypony is doing. Even at night, their beautiful glow is seen lighting up the towns and roads like there is a constant festival happening over the whole island. Nopony seems to know exactly what it is they do, but they appear to be of no threat other than the occasional prank. It's said that only Queen Maev, her two sons, and Druids are able to speak with them, and they are sworn to not reveal details other than casual conversation. It seems that for every amazing fact I find out about Maréire I find at least one more secret.
Topics: backstory, history, lyle