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Spc. Mara Bloom

By SunsetteSkye
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Character  Mara BloomLocation  The Sundered Marches
"Well, aren't you bright and shiny today?"

A friendly, motherly loudmouth from the crater prairies outside Lanva. Mara and her younger siblings grew up on a farm at the desert's edge. They were orphaned when Mara was in her late teens as a result of their parents breaking a contract with a witch. With the deal rendered void, so was the magic that held off desertification of the soil; the farmland's fields became barren and little more than sand.

Soldiering on, she took out a loan and converted the farm into a print-shop for the Lanvan Herald-Star, the premiere newspaper throughout the Sundered Marches. Over the next 15 years, she gradually began to dabble in machinery and alchemy as a result of experimenting with new printing processes. She'd almost developed a six-color print process, sure to revolutionize the business and save the family farm once and for all, when the war came. During the first siege of Lanva, the print shop was rarely far from the Duvencht supply lines. Crossfire from cannons and warmages on both sides of the battle finished the job the desert had started; she watched from the back of a wagon as magefire ripped apart the foundation.

The siege ended shortly thereafter, but it was too late for the Blooms.

Her younger brothers moved on to take manual labor in the city, but Mara wasn't content to settle for a low-wage job -- not with various loans still hanging over her family's head and in her name. Unfortunately, most places were mistrustful of a self-taught and self-employed alchemist who'd never had good reason to mix more than ink. The only place that was willing to pay her professional alchemist wages on an amateur's resume was the Revolutionary Aerie. Despite her grudges over the war's role in flattening the family homestead, Mara found little choice but to enlist in the military as a combat alchemist.

While she's open-minded in some ways, she's not in others; as a general rule she dislikes magic and those who deal in it, including the Revolutionary Aerie's own warmages. Furthermore, she's not really in this for the greater good or anything; while she'll go the extra mile to help a friend in need, she's not fighting for some grand vision of democracy against imperial tyranny. It's just a good paycheck.

Her hang-ups and her weight -- she's a good deal over regulation -- have made her difficult to work with despite her wide knowledge of alchemy and engineering. Together, they've gotten her booted to the Irregulars.

wildersurge did all of the amazing lineart, shading, and coloring on this picture!
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