His father, the Margrave Tarek of the Cerulean Marches was assassinated when Marek was only seven years old. The sadness weighed heavily on his mother Isabelle. Some say it made her visions stronger, some say it led her to not trust them, her most precious birth-right and gift as Oracle.
But, for years she and Marek's older brother Robert managed the affairs of the Cerulean Marches. But, Robert came into his own... made his own polital moves and friends. His mother lost favor.
This is what Marek remembers, along with the last vision she shared with him. It came as a prophecy or a riddle...
You've been down too long in the midnight sea
Oh what's becoming of me
Ride the tiger
You can see his stripes but you know he's clean
Oh don't you see what I mean
Gotta get away
Like the eyes of a cat in the black and blue
Something is coming for you
Race for the morning
You can hide in the sun 'till you see the light
Oh we will pray it's all right
Gotta get away-get away
Between the velvet lies
There's a truth that's hard as steel
The vision never dies
Life's a never ending wheel
You're the star of the masquerade
No need to look so afraid
Jump on the tiger
You can feel his heart but you know he's mean
Some light can never be seen"
Marek did not understand. And Isabelle could not decipher it, save in one manner. "Run, Marek... Run as fast as you can, as far as you can. For me, Marek. I love you, my son... Now, run!"
And, grabbing whatever was at hand... Marek ran, as he heard marching feet coming down the hall. Not yet a man, he ran from everything he knew. He believed in his mother's vision.
And he had nightmares, cold and wet sleeping out of doors. The feeling of being watched. Of someone or something getting closer. Stalking him. And one day, as he washed his face at a stream, he saw his own reflection... and something was on his forehead, a mark.
No one else could see it.
Then there was that night on the docks years after leaving home, when they came for him. No one in particular, just bad men. Cruel men that had chosen them as their quarry. There was nowhere to run, so he hunkered down in the back of the dark alley... praying they'd not find him.
But, they did... and they tortured him by walking slowly into the darkness. And a strange thing happened. His fear slowly turned to anger and rage... But, it was not "his" nature.
The rage swelled and he felt that very familiar and unsettling feeling of being watched, followed... stalked. But, it was not "them". Yet, as they approached he screamed with his soul into the moonlit sky that barely lit the alley.
And, from above him came the most glorious thing he could imagine. For that is exactly where it came from after years of forming, his very imagination.
It had feline eyes, and a near ursine body... all black, with silvery teeth and claws with that same mark he'd seem upon his own brow on its forehead. That unmistakable sigil. Snarling as it circled for position and silent in it's strike, it was seconds until all the men were laid low.
And them the beast turned to come for him.
He remembered his mother's words then, as he slipped into oblivion.
"Shiny diamonds. Like the eyes of a cat in the black and blue. Something is coming for you..." He had never thought it was coming to save him.