Esti was born to Garaile and Katalin, a grog and a kitchen servant, respectively, at Aedes Mercurii on April 2, 1168. As a little child she scurried about the covenant with the other children and played as though she were a great warriors like her father. But as she was such a little girl, she couldn't keep up with the boys well; so she started taking the role of the maga in command, with them under her orders, and she had a natural aptitude for getting the boys to do what she wanted. Playing a maga suited her determination to rise to the top, even if she would never be one of those great magi her parents served. As she grew her intelligence was noticed, so training began for her to become a laboratory assistant and scribe, where being small would not hamper her. She learned to put a laboratory together and how to copy laboratory texts, and the magi grew to appreciate how organized she was, even if she was never a fast copyist.
Things changed drastically just before Esti turned 13, as it was then that her Gift emerged. Living at Aedes Mercurii the effects along with her turbulences were noticed immediately and celebrated, a much different reception than the Gift normally caused. As she had no Mercere blood in her past, Ophilio of Mercere passed on taking her as his apprentice. That left mostly the Flambeaux. She was secretly hoping Malfortis might take her. But after they examined her to find she was too small for much combat, had some minor difficulties with the elements, and was naturally talented with Mentem, Ricardus of Flambeau took her. Esti was a little worried, as Ricardus was not thought of as well as many of the others, but he was still a great Flambeau and she was excited to begin.
To her surprise, Ricardus was actually a particularly good fit. His sociability and interest in business suited her own talents. And having grown up in a covenant heavily influenced by House Mercere, Esti did not find Ricardus's lustful proclivities to be distasteful. As he was homosexual, he did not sleep with her, but he happily encouraged her to follow similar pursuits with the Redcaps, especially those of the Cult of Heroes since he knew they were always looking to procreate with the Gifted when possible. This resulted in her spending a good portion of her apprenticeship pregnant, which was not a problem for Ricardus since he needed a lab assistant and was training her to kill without being physical.
While Ricardus had been trained the School of Apromor, he was stronger in Creo and Mentem, and he wished to found his own school. Any school is most likely to start with an apprentice, so Esti became the first trained in the School of Ricardus within the Schools of Sebastian. To make sure she could handle herself as a true Flambeau, Ricardus trained Esti mostly to destroy minds with PeAn and PeMe while protecting herself with wards.
By the end of apprenticeship Esti had given birth to four children. The first was Bernardo, sired by Constantius of Mercere, born when she was 16. The second was Dario, sired by Crescent of Mercere, born when she was 18. The third was Elena, sired by Constantius of Mercere, born when she was 20. And the fourth was Rolando, sired by Zephyrinus, born when she was 21. Fortunately, Esti had her mother in the covenant to help raise all her children so they would never be too great a distraction from her apprenticeship, and Ricardus had her read a lot when she was less able to work. Even though none of her children seemed to be Gifted, they still bore Mercere blood as well as recent blood of a Gifted maga, so they were valued. Bernardo and Dario were already sent off through Harco to apprentice as Redcaps before Esti finished her apprenticeship.
For her gauntlet Esti was left locked up with a crowd of men about to be executed for rape, murder, and other crimes. Their executions were arranged to be delayed by Ricardus's agents, this way any deaths would be easily forgiven. Meanwhile, any Flambeau should be able to defeat such a force and escape a physical prison. Esti's formulaic spells warded her from the men while she quietly put them all to sleep, but she had to resort to spontaneous magic to handle the locks. After passing her gauntlet Esti switched to the name Mariana of Flambeau, associated with Diana in the practice of Aedes Mercurii, though to the Redcaps she had already become nicknamed as The Red Mother for her red hair and having given birth to several Redcaps in the making.
Bernardo: Mariana's first-born son, born June 9, 1184. He is nearing his gauntlet as a Redcap in the Roman Tribunal, training under his father Constantius. He has grown into a big, bold, young man.
Constantius of Mercere: He's an eternally plump and now a middle-aged Redcap in the Cult of Heroes. He fathered both Bernardo and Elena, and is now training Bernardo in the Roman Tribunal.
Crescens of Mercere: He's a hardworking, serious Redcap in the Cult of Heroes who spends much of his time further east looking for heroes reborn. He fathered Dario.
Dario: He is Mariana's second child, born December 12, 1186. He is the most sociable of his siblings and skilled with languages, and is now more than halfway through his Redcap apprenticeship in the Levant Tribunal.
Elena: Mariana's only daughter and third child, born September 17, 1188, and the one she bonded most closely with. She is about halfway through her apprenticeship as a Redcap in the Provençal Tribunal, having started a few years after Mariana's gauntlet. She has grown into a confident and inquisitive young woman.
Garaile: He was Mariana's father, a shield grog at Aedes Mercurii until he died in 1198.
Katalin: She is Mariana's mother and kitchen maid at Aedes Mercurii, having returned full-time to the kitchens now that Mariana's children are grown enough to be in their apprenticeships.
Ricardus of Flambeau: Mariana's parens at Aedes Mercurii. See F&F p.85.
Rolando: Feb 1189 He is Mariana's youngest child, born February 4, 1189. He started his apprenticeship as a Redcap just after Elena did, so he started a bit young but not overly so. He is noticeably smaller and less social than his older brothers, but he is clever.
Zephyrinus of Mercere: He's a younger, excited, and fleet-of-foot Redcap in the Cult of Heroes working in the Normandy Tribunal, known for running races in the tournaments. He fathered Rolando.