Now in the main Famineland’s trilogy, Lady Aster doesn’t get a lot of panel time, but she was integral in Lark’s development as a warrior and is important for Lark’s (and Orin’s) futures within the House.
When I wrote her, I always knew that Aster would serve the Fhorais Daoine and help their people survive. My author notes say: “She has fought in countless wars, her history is bloody, and her name is legend.” So everything I wrote about, I always kept that in mind. Sometimes she is cold or unfair, but that is what makes Aster interesting to write. She follows the Path of Valor even when she does not want to.
The leaders of the Daoine are sworn to protect and serve. (They serve as leaders, police and guards inside the village and mercenaries to bring back wealth outside the village.) Every choice, good, bad, or neutral, Aster makes for the good of her people and her House. Yet it is not blind faith that leads her, but logic, cunning, and the understanding of their enemies. Aster has made plenty of controversial decisions as Matron of House T’Ralóm, including keeping Brogan alive after the loss of his leg and most importantly to the Faminelands Series, Aster chooses the fate of Nora’s bastard daughter, Lark. This is told from Lark’s perspective in the Carp’s Eye and then a much closer version to the truth by Brogan in the History of Lady Meadowlark.
One summer’s day, Nora did not return from a mission as planned. Each day, the bowyer grew thinner and harder. A month later, we received word that Nora had indeed fallen in a battle. There was no body. I escorted my sister to the bowyer’s hut to deliver the news. For the first time, Aster held Lark as they both wept for Nora. The bowyer would not speak, but sat staring into the flames. During the Moon of Mourning, the bowyer ignored the food which was brought to his hut. Lark had only eaten a little before we heard his mad ramblings, the child’s screaming, and the sound of wood against flesh. After that, Lark scavenged for food.
A few more things happen, then Calafas goes looking for Nora’s body.
Roan heard screams. He sent word to us and ran to the bowyer’s hut. The man held a bow as he dragged his daughter out the door but they had not food, nor warm clothes. The bowyer snapped, “Forgive us, Noble One, I search for my wife, and you stand in my way.”
Lady Aster called, “Calafas, Your sorrow might demand death, but what of your child?”
Hate filled the bowyer’s eyes as he stared at my sister. He did not seem to care that I unsheathed my sword as he took a step towards us. “I search for my wife, Lady, as YOU will not! My girl needs her mother.”
Lady Aster interrupted, “The child cannot make such a journey in her state.”
Aster did this for a few reasons none of which were charity. Lark might be a bastard, but she is the only known surviving offspring of Nora’s bloodline which is important to the Daoine and their Southern Cousins. (At this point, Orin has run away, they are pretty sure he is alive, but no one has any idea where he is.)
Nora’s death has created a hole in the ranks. She was their greatest mercenary and brought back food for the village. Aster will train Lark so well that in the next major skirmish, Apprentice Meadowlark, skips two ranks and becomes Huntress Meadowlark, by the end of the war, the girl is a great lady. Once The Carp’s Eye starts, Lark is on the road with Orin, Aster is a source of information, but must leave her to her own path. Well, pretty much as you can see from this image from Living Stone.
And in the upcoming Mareton’s Curse, Aster will begin make other decisions that will effect Orin and Lark’s future happiness. Aster and her Lord Arna were married to create a political alliance, as I alluded to, Lark will be married to someone whose main attribute is that he has a suitable bloodline. Love has nothing to do with it.
Faminelands #3 Mareton’s Curse will be available on March 1st. You can preorder both digital copies and trade paperback in the ZB Publications Store (Pre-orders will ship Feb 26th) and for those of you who enjoy reading the free version, a page a week will begin on March 7th at http://faminelands.com