How my subconscious made me into Captain A. Marek

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I love Captain America. No joke. Steve Rogers played by Chris Evans is my favorite superhero, hands down. When I had the chance to play an Unchained Heroes campaign with my friends, I chose to be a Paladin and make him just like the Captain. I intended to emulate him in actions and deeds and not be a direct copy of him, but my subconscious played a little trick on me. Without realizing it, my character took on his full persona and then paid homage to his name when I made an alias for him. I am not kidding when I say it was an accident that Saul Antipova became Steven A. Marek. Steven? like Steve Rodgers, Kurt? Really? Yes. Then as the campaign unfolded he joined the Shields of Man and was then Captain Marek. So you got to be called Captain Marek? That is a very close resemblance to Captain America, Kurt? I know. You made his middle name Aaron? That makes an A for initials; A plus Marek is almost like America, Kurt. Yes, I know that too. My friends joke about my subconscious all the time because of things like this, I hadn’t even realized it until they told me.

However it happened, Captain Marek is one of my favorite characters and I am happy to share him with you today.

Saul Antipova’s Origins

Saul Antipova is the first son of a powerful family in a campaign known as the Shields of Man. The world is a dark place full of demons and set in a resource starved world on the edge of a great desert. Everyone in the world is conscripted to join the Army, but when you are an Antipova and part of one of the richest houses in the world, those sorts of rules don’t apply to you, at least that is what his parents think. Saul is a stalwart soul with a desire to help and serve the people. Like all sons of a major House, he had the best education and the finest trainers. A humble overachiever, he quickly surpassed his trainers in the arts of military tactics and war. His strong sense of duty, instilled by his trainer and father figure Dmitry Zenokov, made him want to do more than sit in is plush family home and eat grapes while people were dying of thirst and demons where ripping this generation of soldiers apart. He knew he could really help the people against inequality and the tide of never ending demons that plagued his lands, but his parents would have none of it, so he had none of them.

Saul becomes a Paladin

The first time he disappeared from his family estate was when he made the pilgrimage to become a Paladin. Usually such training requires years of preparation, but he was allowed to enter the Inner Sanctum and gain his Paladyne, Vangar, without a single member of the Great Temple stopping him. He was only 15 and he was determined.

His Paladyne, Vangar did not make it easy on him; Saul very nearly died, he was near death by the time he stumbled out the Sanctum, but he left it a Paladin. After weeks of recuperating, he began working in the Great Temple and serving the Paladins there. He was well received and well-loved, but it did not last, within 6 months, his parents had found him, paid off the administrators of the Temple and dragged him home.

Saul stayed with his family, living in misery for the next two years, until he reached the age of 18, the year of Conscription. He did not think there would be anything his parents could do against the Law, but he was wrong there too. As one of the first three children of his household, he would be obligated to serve in the Military to help defend against the Demons. This was the Law and he was glad to follow it, so when he arrived to take his place at the local barracks and begin his training and duties he did not expect to be turned away. His parents had found a loophole. Another may volunteer to take the place of him if they do it of their own free will and apparently a young Alchemist by the name of Thena (like Athena without the “A”) had done just that. “His place was already assigned,” they told him. “He could not join,” they said. He argued with them until he was forcibly removed. This was completely unacceptable for Saul, so he did the only thing he could think of, he ran away.

Saul becomes Steven

Saul took his time and found an opportunity to escape his family within the next few months, traveling to a far off outpost with a new name, Steven A. Marek, and a new identity. His dirty blond hair was dyed to a dark brown and Vangar changed his eye color from a blue to a green. When he reached the outpost, no one was the wiser to his true identity and he fit in well with the soldiers. He put himself in harm’s way, selflessly protecting his companions, and everyone wanted him on their missions at the Bezaran Outpost. He survived the most dangerous missions and kept his teammates alive to tell the tale, he volunteered for every task he could. Yet he would not become Captain Marek by staying at the Bezaran Outpost, that would be later, for his parents were looking for him and his time was numbered.

His parents searched high and low for him and forced the one who took his place in the Military, Thena, to join in the search or forfeit all the money she was given for her family, immediately. A resourceful one, more so than people were willing to admit of a 4th child of a commoner family, she found Saul before any of the Antipova Family’s other contacts did. She hated Saul and did everything up to and including the “knock down, drag him home” method to get him out. None of that worked for very long, however, because Saul (now Steven) was incredibly determined to defy his family and by proxy, her. Only after Thena told him of what she would lose by him not coming home did he relent. Though, it wasn’t long before even that was not enough to keep him away from the front lines.

To Saul, what Steven had become was truly who he was. He made it home insofar that Thena’s contractual obligation was fulfilled, but he did not stay long. When Thena left and was forced back to the front, he bided his time and fled yet again. He would be Steven A. Marek if it killed him.

Steven becomes Captain Marek

Steven, as he now preferred to be called, was able to get away from his family, yet again, shortly after Thena’s contract was fulfilled, alleviating him of that guilt, and traveled to a new outpost, run by Commandant Ziroslav where he met what would be the rest of his close friends and companions shortly after (Thena and Adarra). Thena stayed close to him to make sure he stayed in one piece long enough to get him back and Adarra Montaine was from another very important family and knew his family situation well, even if she was not running from home.

Not long after he was settling into his new role at the outpost, his mother, furious with him, decided to take it out on Thena by threatening her family once again; partly because she wanted a scapegoat and partly because she was the only one that could seem to track him down. This time however, Thena, was not successful in getting him back. A rapport was built between she and Steven where she let him be the person he wanted to be, at least from Steven’s perspective, what was truly going on in Thena’s mind was for her alone to know.

Saul was able to perform to the full extent of his abilities, and as Steven, was recognized by the Shields of Man as an excellent soldier and more. He and his companions were part of many dangerous missions and stopped a number of terrible demon incursions. For this they were promoted to Shields of Men, an organization designed to protect the people of the land from all threats Within and Without. They were given ranks that coincided with Captains in the military and so Captain Marek was born.

Steven as he now likes to be called, is now a member of an elite organization fighting against the those that would harm the people, the government, and the Crown. Now, he is truly doing what he was meant to do as Captain Steven A. Marek.

I know, he is a member of Shield and the campaign is called Shields of Men? This is so many coincidences that it can’t be real. To that I say, it was REALLY all a great big and exciting happenstance. No forethought or planning about it on my part. Trust me. I hope you liked Steve’s (Saul’s) story.

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