"Death makes stories out of people. Someone else's moment, their truth. A young man at court establishes a reputation; he leaves in disgrace. Twenty years later people scream his name ten years after his death; they know indisputable truths and nothing about a dead man who met someone who met someone they knew once, briefly."
you were a child who was made of glass Edit
For a few immediate details! Martel stands at a leanly muscular 6'3", with dark brown eyes and prematurely white hair to his shoulders/back. The nearest Earth equivalent to his accent (Cimmuran, upper class) is a mixture of English and French accents, making him incredibly European for someone whose universe of origin doesn't actually have a 'Europe'. More often than not he's carrying a broadsword, if dressed to suit Valdis as medieval mountain Lord; when occupying the home he and Candice acquired in Savannah, Georgia, his taste runs to crisp, tailored suits in black. Either way, he usually wears his hair loose. He's a former mercenary, former knight, current teacher, sorcerer and professional nuisance.
you want to go back to where you felt safe Edit
As a Knight of the Church, Martel was a brother-in-arms to Sir Sparhawk, a man who would be closer than blood to him even when they ultimately stood on opposite sides of a line Martel himself drew in the sand.
Martel was born the only son of a wealthy noble family in Elenia, but his blood relatives proved to be largely meaningless to him in the grand scheme of his life; fondly but distantly remembered, his father Lord Romiar, Margrave of Damerel, and his mother an Arcian noblewoman, Lady Veleda. He joined the Pandion Order at the traditionally young age, and had he not taken the path he did, he would have come through one of the finest knights they'd seen in their ranks, set to marry well and likely on his way towards the rank of Lord Preceptor. An expert swordsman and handy with a lance, Martel was a brilliant warrior, tactician and sorcerer (as tutored in the secrets of Styricum by the Pandion tutor in the arts, Lady Sephrenia).
It was, she would later say, in part his downfall.
Too clever for anyone's good and too ambitious by half, Martel sought instruction in the forbidden secrets; when Sephrenia refused him, he went looking elsewhere. His family's money, recently inherited, was more than enough to get him what he wanted - at least in the short term. He'd been chosen by the Styric sorcerer Zalasta to act as the opposite number of Anakha, and it was his own ambition that screwed him over. For the forbidden magic and the murder of several Pandion Knights who'd been sent to apprehend him, Martel was forcibly expelled from the Order and stripped of as much of his power as the Younger Gods could take.
Having effectively cut all the ties that meant anything to him, Martel went away from Elenia weeping and swearing revenge - revenge that, as the best and most well-connected mercenary in Eosia, he would spend more than a decade working to get.
He didn't win, of course; plots were twisted, secrets were kept and revealed, Sparhawk prevailed and Martel, his brother's sword through his chest, drowned in his own blood on the floor of a dark temple, his head in his mother's lap.
It wasn't such a bad end.
to hear your brother's laughter, see your mother's face Edit
So, of course, well enough couldn't be left alone.
One of Martel's most defining characteristics throughout his life was a general unwillingness to back down - it never mattered that he knew he'd made a mistake, that he regretted it, he'd made the choice and he refused to 'demean himself' by taking it back. Even if continuing down that path destroyed everything he cared about (deliberately and/or otherwise), and ultimately killed him. It took fatal injury for Martel to even skate near admitting things he should have been honest about a decade ago.
When he died - when he returned after death - it no longer mattered. He'd lived with his decisions until the end, and he was, he realized, now free of it. To do whatever he wanted to with his life (just so long as he never, ever, ever set foot in the world of his birth...ever again). Martel doesn't call this 'redemption'; he doesn't presume to think he can redeem himself. Instead, he does want reform of a sort - to find a waypoint between who he became and who he could've become, if he'd given himself the chance. The moments of peace with the people that he'd loved in life before he died are a driving motivation, whether he admits it or not.
Physically and psychologically scarred by his life and death, Martel's now doing his best to, to put not too fine a point on it, do his best. He's rebuilding a life in Arum, as Lord Martel of Valdis, where he'll act as a swordmaster to young Arum mercenaries. Never a knight again and retired from the mercenary life himself, he intends to devote his days to sorcery and scholarly pursuits, as well as occupying himself with the training of Arums and renovating his castle in the mountains to his personal satisfaction. He's building a life and a family for himself.
He's not a good person (and by no means a nice one), or intrinsically evil either; he's mostly just a lot of person, noted for his intensity and power of obsession. Martel makes no secret of who he is and who he was - there's a ruthless pragmatism in his honesty, where no one can sabotage a reputation he's not bothering with.
He'd like to be better. He'll settle for the knowledge that Annias and Arissa are probably cursing him from hell right now.
your childhood home is just powder white bone Edit
(and when you're gone, will they love you the same?) Edit
- Candice Monaghan » Martel and Candice met in a bar; it was not love at first sight and it was definitely not any kind of happy ending. More like a rocky beginning. Aware of his own obsessive (and frankly codependent) tendencies with loved ones, Martel warily resisted forming an attachment - but not, it turned out, quite hard enough. The two of them largely blundered into their relationship, implications and misunderstandings leading to clarifications that led ... from one thing to another, as these things do. Martel's intensity lends itself to a needy sort of obsession; devotion that most people are not and should not be able to sustain. Candice, however, is more reserved; Martel often finds himself feeling the need to reassert himself and their relationship. Most often physically; when Candice is present, he is almost invariably touching her somehow, a hand on her back or hip, keeping her within reach, reassuring himself she is there and staying there. Traumatized - damaged - by the life that he inflicted on himself and forced the rest of his world to deal with, Martel relies heavily on Candice for a kind of stability and comfort. He already considers her to be his wife, effectively; he could marry her tomorrow or ten years from now. The wedding itself is more reminding the rest of the world than affirming anything for himself. Candice can handle Martel; know him, still love him, and give up her human mortality to stay with him. Aphrael has his soul in her fist, but Candice is keeping an eye on it for her.
- Maria Khirdaji » Maria was the first person that Martel spoke to after his last words to Sparhawk and Sephrenia in Azash's temple. Over the half year since, he's developed an affection for her that's more paternal than anything else - his function and occupation of space in her life is mainly 'peculiar uncle that lives abroad'. He loves her like his own, from the perspective of a man who doesn't really know how to do that any more; the family that he was so devoted to in life is the same family he tried to brutally murder and bring the world to its knees over. Maria represents something to Martel that he's not sure of how to relate to, but that he needs and wants in his life. She laughs at him - something he finds surprisingly appealing. Maria knows who he is, and what he's done, but she has never and will never see him as the man he sees in the mirror. He's more grateful than he can properly express for that. Maria is family, and family that has never had reason to be afraid of him.
- Faye Valentine » Maria knows who Martel is and doesn't seem to give a damn; in contrast, Faye knows nothing about him but the presence and attitude that he broadcasts and she reacts to it in a way that is much more familiar to him than Candice's love or Maria's blithe trust. Martel is a man who needs an audience; a theatrical fuck up who lived the last decade of his life playing a role to the hilt 'til he had most of the world convinced it was all he knew and all he was. The ritual of being that man - it's not that far behind him. Only a year ago he was still in the midst of bringing Eosia under his armoured heel to the worship of Azash. Martel's interactions with Faye bear more than a passing resemblance to the way he's interacted with Sparhawk in the past - when they were trying to kill each other. It's harmless, from his perspective; he has no intention of jeopardizing his second chance. But it's a rush to still be taken seriously, because he should be. Beyond that, he enjoys the verbal sparring with her, conversations that are never boring.
- Eirene » Martel discovered Eirene in the nexus, where she'd arrived shortly after a severely unpleasant death. He offered her some assistance - and eventually a job that included room and board, managing his household at Castle Valdis. They tend not to have many conversations outside the usual bounds of employer and employee, but Martel is (in his own way) rather fond of her. He's also incredibly protective of her; his working theory of nexus resurrection had been along the lines of 'well, damn, I did manage to piss off two major pantheons, who wanted me?' but Eirene is...different from him. In every way possible. Eirene's gods surely had no good reason to reject her, but as far as he can see they did, so to hell with them, and he'll take care of her. She has a place in his household for so long as she wants it, and always his slightly awkward affection. He does, after all, have a predisposition to be fond of tiny women who will yell at him and possibly beat him with a spoon.
- Anna of Cornwall » Anna...reminds Martel of himself. Since this is a horrifying idea and even he recognizes that - he's taking steps. He's offered himself as her tutor, with the thought that one of the most important things she can learn from him is the value of limits. (It's worth noting he informed her that if she crosses a line he doesn't like that she can't come back from, he'll kill her.)
- Toshiko Sato » Martel finds Tosh - who told him once that he's a scientist - utterly charming, and hopes to catch up with her again at some point to hand over the promised copies of his research on death and resurrection in the nexus.
(and when you're gone, will they say your name?) Edit
- Ewar » While most of the people in Valdis were actually hired, Ewar was among the young men who came originally to help with the renovations and rebuilding of the castle and outbuildings. He eventually decided that he would be more useful remaining there than he would if he went back to his clan, and negotiated himself a job title (swordmaster) and a salary (pretty good). He acts as Martel's right hand, and is adjusting to spending part of his time in the modern world when they base themselves at the house in Savannah.
- Sparhawk »
- Brody » For reasons more or less totally inexplicable, Martel is really fond of Brody.
- Severus Snape » Men do not have friends, or so Martel and Severus would have you believe by way of their interactions. They are not friendly. They don't bond. They have a strictly working relationship based on what Severus can do that Martel can pay him for; they maintain titled distance and would likely not name each other as anything other than business acquaintances. They are both, of course, well known for being straightforward and truthful at all times, particularly about their feelings and friendships. ...yes, that's all lies. Martel and Severus are uniquely suited to friendship with each other, which of course means neither of them will admit it come hell or high water. There are similarities between them, and differences enough that the similarities are something to quietly, near-silently find solidarity for, rather than hating themselves in each other. Martel likes Severus, and moreover he respects him. Severus is unflinchingly who and what he is, and ten years past the same thing that Martel's still reeling from: death. Their conversations are strange, surreal - asides that are only funny to them and comments that other people would probably not want to understand, discussions from perspectives that only lives like theirs can give you. They get along worryingly well; probably somewhere out there in the big bad multiverse, Sparhawk is watching in transfixed horror and wondering if it's too late to take back 'letting Martel live'.
- Dexter Grif » Grif and Martel have been acquainted since shortly after his initial arrival in the nexus, and for slightly less long than that they've been quietly cross-training behind the scenes. Grif is more or less the reason for Martel's presently passable skill with projectile weapons of the more modern sort, which have...thus far managed not to be relevant to anything, for which we're all very grateful. For some reason, outside of that they usually seem to run into each other when Martel's in a bad mood.
- Aloysius Martel » Aloysius is Martel, in another life. A better life; a life where the worst he could do wasn't bad enough to destroy his life. A life where his mother loves him, his father is proud of him, his brother watches his back. A life where he is different, where he can maintain a bachelor's boyish attitude at an age when Martel himself was worn beyond the repair of his loved ones or anyone but himself (and he refused). He has everything that Martel cast aside and can never truly get back; he never lost it. And now, now this bastard who already has enough, more than enough, more than Martel can comprehend - he wants what isn't his, what belongs to Martel now. Maria, of course. The irony of Martel's hatred of this, and he knows it, is that there's no one but himself he'd trust with her. He's not comfortable with their relationship - he's not comfortable with Aloysius - but for her sake he tolerates the other man. It's easier to get along with his alternates when the common ground they share isn't the same person. In some ways, Aloysius is the closest alternate to himself in the modern era worlds; this doesn't make him feel any better.
- Alexander Georgiou » Friendly acquaintances, Martel and Alexander have been known to have a go around the practise field; it's always nice to dust off the skills vs an opponent who can actually match him, rather than only ever dealing with his students. Presumably the aforementioned students enjoy the show, too.
- Uther Doul » They met through Martel hiring him on as a temporary librarian for Valdis, and remain sort of friendly if not actually friends.
- Bruce Wayne »