Late in the night, after the ringing sounds had at last subsided, the master returned to the forge to check on the apprentice’s task. She was asleep in a chair, exhaustion plain on her face. He stepped quietly past her to examine the work. The six dagger-blades were ready. The edges were sharp, the lines true – but this was not what he looked for. He picked them up, one by one, and smiled as he noted the differences. Each time, the apprentice had deviated slightly from what he had taught, trying her own variations on the style. Most of them were worse in some way than what he had made but it showed what he was seeking. She had passed this test.
Our name is a challenge! We bear it with pride, but never unearned arrogance. Your name, young Mervaille, should always drive you forward. It must burn within you, demanding that you prove your right to carry the torch. The values of our lineage have been refined by the brightest of our minds. We hold true to these three tenets – leadership, progress, and tenacity. Keep to these tenets and you may become the next hero of our name.
Leadership! We shall always be at the front of the effort. Whether it be battle to defend our home or labor to raise a house – the Mervaille are always there and ready. A good leader shows by example what must be done and knows the hearts of her fellows and followers. A Mervaille leader remembers also that we are not rulers – leave that to the nobles placed above us by God. A leader takes pride in the accomplishments of those led and accepts responsibility for their failure. A leader trains and strengthens their followers, always pushing them for more.
Progress! The light of humanity shines brightly and illuminates the way forward. We respect our history and traditions but never let them become a shackle that binds you. The world is dark and broken; it’s up to us to make a better one, so we will need to find new and better paths in all things. From the first steps of our house, we knew that creation and innovation would be our way.
Tenacity! Leaders bear great burdens, and the fight against the oppressive world is not easy. Progress always comes with setbacks – many attempts will fail. There will always be tragedy on the way, and powerful forces arrayed against humanity itself. A true Mervaille stands strong against these things. We rise back up from failure, ready to try again. We defy those who would threaten our home, as Saint Gabrielle defied the Beast.
Our history is colorful. The founders of the Mervaille line were from many families, coming together in shared veneration of Gabrielle the Defiant. They forged this new line through mutual assent, swearing that they would no longer be cowed as humanity had been cowed under the Witch-Kings. Smithing was the Mervaille craft in those days but unlike many families, we moved with the passage of time. There are no few blacksmiths among us still, but as the Throne developed the wonders of gear and piston we have picked up these new tools with a fervor. Wonders and plans dreamed of by our ancestors can finally, perhaps, be brought to reality.
We have suffered setbacks, of course. Before the plagues we were on the cusp of great breakthroughs. There was even a small monastery in the lands near Luisant, devoted to the development of new and useful ideas. The loss of that knowledge was one of the many great tragedies of the past centuries. But as is our way, we press on. Some say that within the ruins of the monastery, lost blueprints and schematics wait, detailing great works that past smiths and engineers of the Mervaille dreamed of creating. Yet for many years gone, we have been unable to find these ruins in the wilderness after they were overrun.
The heroes of the Mervaille line are many. We honor those of the past, but look most of all to those of the present; no beacon is brighter than the one before you. Sir Jean-Luc, of course, is the brightest of our generation. His courage, his dedication to improving the world, his expert leadership on the field of great battles, his unwavering resolve… with these attributes, it is no wonder that he inspires so many of our youth to greater heights.
No matter what your role in life, you can embody our tenets and follow the example of our heroic Knight. Certainly the militia offers opportunity to show leadership and courage, and our forges and workshops give an excellent chance both to supply the needs of our fellows and to innovate new techniques, and the priest can always use acolytes and aid in their holy mission. Even outside of these, possibilities abound; the fiery spirit of a Mervaille can bring inspiration and aid wherever their life may take them!