Marda Larensdaughter is Miri's older sister.
When Marda was very small, her pregnant mother was injured in a quarry accident and gave birth to her little sister, Miri, prematurely. The girls' mother held onto her newborn for a week straight until she succumbed to her injuries.
When Marda was old enough, she joined her father Laren to work in the quarry mining for linder in order to help support their small family. Although Laren forbade Miri to work in the quarry at all, the sisters grew very close. Miri would even kill the winter rabbits they needed for food just so Marda didn't have to, because she knew Marda hated harming any living creature.
One day, a palace messenger informs the Eskelites that the priests of the creator god have divined their village to be the home of the future king's bride. However, a coarse mountain girl is unfit to be royalty, so every girl of marrying age is required to attend an academy that will educate them in everything from mathematics to etiquette so that they each may become ladies worthy of being chosen to be a princess. However, Marda is just a few months older than Prince Steffan. Since no girl older than the prince is allowed, Marda is forced to stay home as her little sister Miri is taken away to the large, decades-old house three hours away from the village that will serve as a school.