Maria Oestridez

Maria was born in Malaga on the Andalusian coast. Hers was an artistocratic family supposedly descended from Roman blood. As Mozarab Christians under Moorish rule, the suffered persecution and adversity, but for generations they endured and maintained their existence in Malaga, and at times continued to prosper. But after a bloddy uprising and brutal suppression, in which both her parents were killed, Maria's paternal uncle took her and her sister with his family and fled to Castile.

The Oestidez family, ever resiliant, quickly rebounded. Within three years, they went from destitute refuges to a prominent family established in Toledo. Maria's eldest cousin Jadiadique, had grown tall and strong, and with wealth enough to purchase armaments had become a caballero and an adventurer. This is how she first met Clemente. Or rather, when Clemente met her, for she barely noticed him. Clemente tried to get Jadiadique to introduce them time and time again, but she was always courting someone else or engaged in some other activity. One time when she acknowledged him and permitted Clemente to sourt her, he was called away on an adventure expedition that took him over three years.

Meanwhile, Maria had her own life to lead. The reason her time was occupied all the time was because of her education, but she did have suiters. And she had decided to marry one, Andreas Formentarios, but she was unsure. He was wealthy, her uncle liked him, he was respected, but he was also aggressive and had a temper.

Then one day her cousin Jadiadique returns from campaign, and with him Clemente. And he continued to chase after her, unrelenting despite her insistence that she was betrothed already. He told her he liked the challenge, and after beating a giant at wrestling, he felt like he was capable of anything. Maria admired his persistence, was astounded at his bold audacity, and was enamoured by the way he told his tales.

But she was engaged, and true to her word, she had to rebuff Clemente.

One fateful night, when Clemente came to pester her, he overheard her in an argument. Andreas was in a drunken rage, accusing Maria of being a harlot and cavorting with Clemente behind his back. He hit her, and was about to beat her when Clemente burst in. And Clemente got laid out on the floor by a left uppercut. Then Maria crashed a vase over Andreas' head, and had him removed from the property.

This was just the beginning. It took another year of persistence, courting as she continued her education in philosophiae and the artes liberales. Clemente was hired off to war again, but this time returned quite soon and was eager to share the news. The king was chartering a series of new fueros along the borderland of New Castile, and mercenary caballero villanos such as himself were being offered land grants to join the settlements as landlords. He wanted Maria to join him as his wife. He would be a landed man now, and she would be a pioneer wife. A great change for each of them, but an exciting adventure neither could resist. They were wed a month later.

The rest of the story was already told in Roberto's saga, how she and Clemente had only one child, Roberto.
How she raised him to have faith in God and to be introspective, and how she died while pushing him out a widow and saved him. But one more tid bit. The ring. Roberto took the ring from his dead mother's finger, and in his mind it is his mom's ring, and never questioned why it is large or fits him so well. She wore it on her thumb, and as a child he never thought twice about it. This ring, made of gold and set with a ruby, is used as Roberto's Fons et Origio (where he keeps his vis in case he needs it in a hurry). Maria was given this ring by her uncle the day she was wed, it belonged to her father.

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