Below is a bit of a history lesson and as such it is not written from the viewpoint of the protagonist know as The Child of Venus
The Month of Ara, Sixteen Seventy-Four,
The first of Ara dawned bright and brisk, as it had done so many years ago. Few are caught unawares by Ara, for those who are the incessant wailing of the Mourners of Ara alerts them quite quickly. The month of Ara is a month founded several centuries ago commemorating the Hallow Ara, the Flame of Peace, Divine. Through her intervention the Bright Shining, the holy army of the Shining Lord’s church, and the Pagri set aside their arms and were able to strike a treaty.
It is said that Ara was so saddened by the violence and death that she sat in prayer for weeks, taking neither food nor drink. Her spirit burned and she wept for the fallen, soldiers and tribesmen alike. Even as she prayed the battle lines drew nearer.
As the story goes the Shining Lord visited Ara that night just before sunset and he gave her a gift. “I shall give you the tools for what you seek but, You, and you alone, shall be the answer to your prayers.” Were the only words he spoke. On the many feathered wings did his servitors descend upon the young woman as the Lord of Light disappeared. These beings of shimmering bronze whirled about her, a maelstrom of metal and feathers.
When they dispersed she was left alone with armour of gleaming gold. Though it had no helmet, the suit of armour was perfectly molded to her shape A thin, delicate chain collared her throat, a burning ruby set in the middle. The sounds of battle could be heard outside of the small convent and she didn’t hesitate. Faster than any man, and weaponless, she charged out into the fray.
Her mouse brown hair was transformed and burned with the Shining Lord’s dawn light as she raced into the horde. A sword swung toward her, intent on taking her head from her shoulders and had it not been for the divine might of the Lord of Light story would have ended. A shaft of dying sunlight burst into life in her hand and she parried the blade. She fought with the combined knowledge of all the faithful. In that instant she was not woman, she was as sexless as the blade she bore. And she bore it well. Cutting a brilliant swath between the two armies, both sides sounded the retreat. These were hardened military men being shown up by a woman. A ferocity unknown to the army of the Bright Shining.
At the sun’s dawning Ara was met with the leaders of the two armies. The Pagri Chieftan and three Prelates. Both fearful of this luminescent woman and what new side she fought on. A treaty was brokered under the cruel gaze of the Shining Lord and his new avatar. The Daughter of Sunlight.
The Pagri would stop worshiping their infernal Star Gods, the main point of contention, and would in turn hand over all Children of the Starry Heavens in their ranks to the church, in perpetuity. With the sole exception being the Son’s of Mars. It was a kindness Ara insisted upon. That the Pagri might have need to protect themselves, it was the one thing she asked for.
In return they would be allowed to worship their Pantheon of a Thousand Spirits. A host of nature spirits the tribes had worshiped for centuries. The Prelates allowed this because the Shining Lord had given man dominion over land, sea, and sky. Their tribal worship was not, in the eyes of the church, blasphemous. They were, in fact, worshiping the Lord of Light. Just in a number of his many and varied disguises.
The Shining Lord blessed that treaty. A treaty he, himself, created. For her help in bringing it to fruition Ara was named The Daughter of Sunlight. Honor bound never to bear children but, to ever be the bearer of peace.
It was a joyous occasion and the revelry that followed will live on in infamy. For the Daughter of the Sun saw only one bright dawning. As the parties wore on late into the evening Ara retired to the convent that was her home. She doffed her armour and found her bed, sinking into the familiar scents and sensations of her solitary cell.
So truly did she sleep that she did not hear her door open, for she had forgotten to slide the bar home, nor did she hear the rustle of clothing as someone slipped inside. As darkness descends so does the Shining Lord flee. During the cold night the Lord of Light turns his face away from his people. It is during that time that evil seeps into the world.
Ara was murdered, in cold blood, as she slept. She was found by a group of her sisters, a jeweled dagger ruthlessly thrust into her chest. It didn’t take long for the blade to be identified as the knife of the Pagri chieftain. A Son of Mars.
And so it came to be that the Sons of Mars must pay a terrible price for the death of Ara. The Sons of Mars were hunted to every man, woman, and child; All people who bore the seal of Iron Banded Mars paid the price. The hunt lasted barely a fortnight. And that fortnight was soon became known as the month of Ara. A handful of years later Ara’s convent became known as the Mourners of Ara. Believing that Ara was blessed by the Shining Lord they believe she was Hallowed. They were soon seen as spiritual cult and were later sanctioned by the church. Each Mourner pledges an oath of chastity as they are spiritually wed to Ara.
Hallow: A Hallow is similar to a Catholic Saint.
Fortnight: A fortnight is a unit of time equal to 14 days