My name is Malinka. I am a soldier-maid, a warrior from Far Eastern Amazonia. I am lucky enough to serve in the Rayin’s, that is, Queen’s, very own Guard and for many years I was honoured to be always at her side, serving her faithfully, fighting many battles.

But there came a dark day when I was wrested from her and I floated in a limbo near tall, forbidding buildings, strange noisy machines and grey overcast skies. I was born a child, and in a land such as I never knew. I was bewildered and frightened. As I grew older and came to consciousness I saw I was in a Godless land where everything was askew and no-one lived by ritual or beauty or poetry or magic. How my heart ached! I felt completely abandoned and everything was meaningless.

But praise be to Dea, and to Her handmaiden the glorious Vikhe, goddess of warriors! One day I was called to a small band of other warriors and I looked in their eyes and they looked in mine and we knew each other. I had found my compatriots and I was alone no longer and we built ourselves the land of Aristasia apart from and yet accessible from the strange land you know as the Pit.

I lived many years among the maidens and in their provinces, though sadly we were mostly in the West near Vintesse and Quirinelle. Some of us particularly liked Novaria because it reminded us of home with its Eastern flavouring. But I always was a maid of habit and I missed the wildness and the passion – the dancing, the battles, the songs and ale by the campfires on windswept battlefields.

I fought in, and even led, many magical campaigns against the Demons of Darkness who thronged in the strange land outside and beneath our Provinces, who often attacked us. I fought the battles successfully, but I yearned for my very own Province, for the land of my heart, and I yearned for lost maidens, some soldier-maids, some the healing sisters that tend the wounded, yearned for eyes I had not found among the maidens of Aristasia.

So one day I went on a mission, away from Aristasia, away from the safety I had known there, away from my friends and fellow-warriors and into the ravaged plains of the Pit. It was a lonely journey, and sometimes I felt faint and unsure of my mission. But I felt Dea’s hand upon my shoulders, and Vikhe’s songs at my lips and I sang the warrior song called “The Iron Ring” as I journeyed. And it was this, this song, that led me to a broken warrior, who was mending and who needed my help. But more of this another time.

Malinka FiaBrighe of the House of Colwyn