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|“||You know, when we get down to it, I've always placed my life on the line. Whether it was in the air force or the UAN conference rooms, every single day was a warzone.||”|
— Maria Yslenski in an interview
|Maria Santiago - Yslenski|
Maria Andrea H. Santiago|
June 12, 1985
|Residence||City of Progress, Munijoch|
|Citizenship||Finipino - Munian|
|Education||BA in International Relations & Diplomacy|
|Alma mater||Arreneo University|
Bellatrix Squadron Captain (former) |
Finipino Chief Ambassador (former)
First Lady of Munijoch
Progressional Law School Professor
Finipino government |
|Notable works||Made the Finipines more open to the international community|
|Home town||Maybila, Finipines|
|Known for||Strengthening Felipeno-Munian relations, being the first First Lady of Munijoch|
Captain (formerly) |
First Lady (formerly)
|Parents||Selena and Arthur Santiago|
|Relatives||Max Santiago (brother)|
Echo (Captain) |
Maria Andrea H. (Hermida) Santiago-Yslenski is the former First Lady of Munijoch and Ambassador of Felipenas to the UAN. Known throughout Antarctica for her marriage to former Munijoch president Joseph Yslenski, her compassion and negotiation tactics are said to be the epitome of Finipino diplomacy.
- 1 History
- 2 Personality
- 3 Appearance
- 4 Strengths and Weaknesses
- 5 Trivia
- 6 Quotes
- 7 See Also
Despite the smile that graces her face at any given moment, there are dark times that haunt the crevices of her mind and soul. While bits and pieces of her story have not been publicly uttered by the former First Lady, files taken from the Finipino archives have allowed civilians to know the story of this brilliant woman.
Maria was born to Arthur and Selena Santiago, and lived within the capital of Maybila. Arthur was the owner and baker of the family-run Santiago Cafe, which catered mostly to students and workers who were near the establishment. Selena was the secretary of the Secretary of National Defense, who mostly worked in the capital. Maria is the younger sister of Max, who was a few years older than her. Maria studied in many of the public schools near the cafe, where she made many friends. When Maria wasn't studying or playing with her brother, she would be learning how to run the family business. She had started with merely helping out with carrying and cleaning, until she started to learn how to cook and bake the family recipes. This made her a rather happy child who enjoyed the workings of baking and running a business.
Unknown to anyone in the family, Selena had eyed her daughter to become a member of the Maharlika army. Given her limitless energy and enthusiasm in nearly anything she does, Maria would have been the perfect fit for the organization. Selena set to work in putting her in extra classes, ranging from ballet to foreign languages. Her husband had approved thinking that her desire was to bulk Maria up to have a better advantage when she got older, not knowing her ulterior motives. Maria was put through her paces with every pirouette and turn she made, in every language she uttered and spoke. She struggled at first to cope with it, given that she was also balancing time in the cafe and her academics, but Maria had pulled through just for her mother to stop criticizing her.
In the backdrop of Maria's training and work however was her gentle grandmother named Elena, who was a simple nurse during the times of the war. She disapproved the way her daughter-in-law was treating her youngest granddaughter, and thought that it was no way to treat such a girl. When Maria wasn't learning a new language or learning a new routine in ballet, or when she wasn't baking pastries or studying her lessons, Elena would teach her granddaughter how to enjoy life. It wasn't a secret that she doted upon her, and she tended to spoil her whenever possible. As a seamstress, Elena fashioned beautiful sundresses for her to wear whenever they would go out for a picnic. During nighttime, Maria would find herself listening to the stories of her grandmother that would lull her to sleep. More often than not, these stories centered around peace and a world free from the tyrannical grips of those who try to take away democracy.
As the years went by, Maria's extra lessons under her mother gave way to other trainings. Ballet became martial arts, and languages became codes. Nonetheless, Elena remained to be a constant peace in her life. She constantly reminded her granddaughter not to push herself for doing things she cannot easily attain, and to work towards the level she desired. When Maria wasn't decapitating a dummy with a sword, she was being taught to be gentle with a pair of scissors and a bonsai tree. When she wasn't busy learning a new cipher, she was busying herself with reading romance novels her grandmother handed her. Between the lessons on merciless aggression and detached conversation, Maria was being taught to be gentle and kind.
Of course, this was met with the disapproval of her mother. Upon realization of what her mother-in-law was up to, Selena doubled the efforts in turning Maria into the perfect soldier. Training was increased tenfold as tensions arose in Maharlika, and Maria had to concentrate further on what she was doing. Elena had tried her best to keep up with her granddaughter and her desperate desire to make her mother happy, but to no avail.
Bellatrix Squadron Captain
Maria was sixteen when the civil war broke out.
Selena disappeared early on during the civil war. Maria was the other one besides her father who looked for her through the police offices, and constantly found herself fruitless. When classes were suspended due to the fights escalating in their side of the capital, Maria often busied herself with helping out in the cafe.
President Ynares's Aide-de-Camp
After the Ynares administration, the administration of Amor Atienza took its place. During the transitionary period, Atienza had gone over a list of remarkable personnel of the Ynares administration to see if she can find any use of them in her administration. Following a suggestion from Ynares himself however, she found herself studying the profile of Maria Santiago. She was intrigued by the accomplishments of the 22 year old woman, especially in her young age. She was a perfect candidate to be the ambassador of the country to the UAN, and seemed to have matched what she wanted to depict before the assembly. Atienza then summoned her for a discussion regarding a position in the UAN. Maria was more than happy to comply.
Maria was on her way to the Palasyo when she was stopped by her parents. They ordered her to not attend the meeting with the president, and to turn it down. They also threatened to delete her if she continued with the meeting. She turned them down and reasoned that she earned this, and they had no right to take it away from her. Without another word, she left the road and proceeded on her way to the Palasyo. She eventually met up with Atienza in her office and discussed about the proposal. This meant that Maria would also have to divulge about her background, which was met with complete understanding (and a bit of shock) from Atienza. After a few more talks and agreements, Maria was appointed as the Ambassador of Felipenas tot he UAN. Although gladdened by the chance to serve her country, she wasn't exactly the happiest penguin when she was suddenly thrusted into the limelight. The national media wanted to know about the former aide-de-camp's path to her position, especially since there was so little to know about her. For the sake of her security, though, Maria's file had been given the highest security clearance possible and given a team of bodyguards.
Maria resided in a house that wasn't too far from the Palasyo or the airport, and had a lovely view of the Maybila Bay. Everyday, Maria would be reporting to the Palasyo to update the President on their international relations, as well as pick up paperwork that needed signing. Often, she would have to fly to South Pole City to be present for a meeting. Due to the threats on her life, a team of Presidential Security agents were designated to her, with her personal guard being the former head of security of deceased Defense Secretary Oliver Ballesteros. She had affectionately called him Defense, given his background. Defense, being her personal bodyguard, always tagged along in all the meetings and dinners she had to attend. Beyond the healthy working relationship they had, they are seen to be great friends. Often, they would be seen sparring with each other or talking about their backgrounds in the military or personally. They were so close to the point that Defense often fretted over her physical wellbeing, despite her constant reassurances that she is a grown woman and can handle herself.
At the age of 24, Maria has been serving for two years when she attended a delegates' meeting in Munijoch. Here she would meet Joseph Yslenski, then Chief Ambassador of Munijoch. Together, these two established Felipeno-Munian relations and often conversed about their lives. Unknown to them, however, was the series of events that would tie them closer together.
First Lady of Munijoch
Following the disappearance of Victor Malkov, there was a call for a new president. She became the First Lady of Munijoch, and dropped her Felipeno Ambassador status. She remained good friends with Atienza, often seen having tea with her whenever the president visited her former ambassador's new home. She does do diplomatic affairs for her husband whenever he cannot, and also does work inside the country. Her programs were made especially for the out of school youth and the orphans. She has earned the hearts of Munians and Felipenos alike.
Months after his inauguration, they had a child named Matthew.
The Frosian War and Joseph's Kidnapping
Maria was busying her trying to remain updated regarding the events unfolding when the coup against Joseph happened. Concerned for her son's safety and hers, Maria immediately contacted Atienza and proceeded to make arrangements in order to get her and Matthew out of the country. With assistance from the Felipeno embassy, Maria and Matthew were able to evacuate to Felipenas. Although she was reluctant to leave her second home so easily, she had to ensure the safety of her son above anything. She brought with her important documents, such as important (and classified) paperwork and files. She also brought along a few sentimental objects, such as Joseph's favorite shirt and some books. She also had to secure several important rooms in the palace, such as the Triago lair, the music basement, and the personal library the two made months into Joseph's inauguration. The two were welcomed in Maybila by Atienza and her entourage, and whisked away to Maria's residence there when she was still unmarried. Defense was reassigned to her, much to her joy.
Matthew was fascinated by the beautiful scenery his mother's homeland had to offer. Maria was gladdened by this, and found his amusement as an ample distraction from the war and her husband's disappearance. She began to explore her country once more, often bringing along Matthew with the constant presence of Defense. Many who recognized her stopped to talk to her, and Maria would happily converse as Matthew babbled on her lap. When she isn't exploring, though, she was usually at home with Matthew or in the Palasyo. There, she would be briefed of the latest developments of the war as well as any other important issues. They would also discuss the disappearance of President Joseph Yslenski, despite the sensitivity of the topic. Most of the time, Maria was ready to discuss it, but there were days when she couldn't stand being in the same room with those who look at her piteously regarding the topic. Whenever she cannot bring Matthew to places, it's usually Pietra or Defense who bring Matthew to scenic places to visit. They would often him stories about his mother, despite the fact that he probably doesn't understand them.
Meeting Max Santiago
While hiding in refuge in her home in Maybila, Maria and Defense were alerted by a crash in the terrace. Defense tried to get her to a safe room with her son, but Maria refused and wanted to confront the potential intruder herself. After shooing Defense off to protect Matthew, Maria prepared herself for what would happen in the terrace. Armed with only a gun, she slowly inched towards the door. Once she turns and aims her gun at the assailant, however, she is surprised to find herself staring at the same eyes she has. Although she wasn't totally confident with her presumption, she recognized the intruder to be her brother, Max Santiago.
Initially, Maria wasn't amused with his intrusion. She immediately dragged him into the house and inspected him of any weapons, before making him sit down and explain himself. Max appeared to be confused himself, especially since he was only instructed to go to the address and delete whoever was inside. He was also met with an unimpressed Defense, who was ready to delete the man himself. He was eventually sent to the Palasyo to explain himself, as well as undergo a DNA text to determine if he really was the sibling of Maria. After confirmation as well as several tests, he was finally able to see Maria again. Although gladdened to know that his sister was still alive, he was still confused as to why their parents hardly ever mentioned her.
At first, interaction between them was sporadic and often short-lived. Maria was still suspicious and refused to let her brother interact with her son. Max, in return, would constantly try to prove to her that he was worth trusting and letting in to her life. Defense had observed the older brother's subtle desperation for her approval, and eventually tried to coax Maria into giving her brother a chance. Of course, it took a while, but eventually Maria was able to talk more and more to her brother. It didn't take long for them to get along, and Matthew soon began to learn more and more about his new uncle.
Despite the end of the war on June 22, Maria and Matthew remained in Felipenas for almost a year. This was due to the fact that with her husband missing in action and a different president in position, Maria was virtually powerless in Munijoch. Although saddened by the events, Maria kept herself busy for the sake of her son and herself. When she isn't tending to his needs, Maria was often planning with NGOs on ways to help those who were affected by the war. She has made many trips to Rio de Vatica to speak with refugees and volunteers who were working. Many of the equipment and donations she made came from her own pocket. Often, Max would help her with managing Matthew while she took care of her second home.
After Joseph resumed office, Maria and Matthew were sent home and reunited with Joseph in the City of Progress. Maria was glad that Matthew managed to get a glimpse, even almost a year's worth of her life in her homeland. But, she was much more overjoyed with the fact that Joseph was alive and well. With the democratic government almost shattered and the casualties high, Maria assisted in the efforts to rehabilitate the country by focusing on the education and welfare of the Munian youth. She would work shifts in the hospitals and in the programs she initiated, working around the clock despite the concerns of Joseph. Her trips to the Rio de Vatica were more frequent as First Lady, as she ensured that citizens were settling in nicely.
Maria may be slightly concerned with the new government system, but she secretly agrees that the system is needed until the country grows tired of it.
With her husband's stepping down and a new president in Munijoch, Maria had taken advantage of the newfound privacy by immersing herself in arts. Pottery has been a hobby that's piqued her interest while First Lady, having strolled the art museums of Munijoch often. She had taken this as well as other little hobbies to keep herself busy, like knitting. She also took on the task of being a full-on household wife, often busying herself with taking care of their son Matthew.
Currently, she plans on teaching a class at the Progressional Law School.
Many would agree that Maria's defining trait is her cautiousness in anything and everything she does. Despite her rather lavish home and life as the First Lady, Maria keeps a rather strict simplicity code. Not only is she a very simple woman, but is also humble and kind. She is determined to achieve her goals, making her a bit too stubborn to change unless given enough proof.
In the Battlefield
During the times when war was more apparent than peace, Maria had more than once taken up arms to defend those who couldn't. She is known to be cooperative in a unit, often keeping watch of the others' backs.
Maria is an Adelie Penguin. She is seen to be a rather lean penguin, despite the frequent spars and jogging she does. She is lime green, with dark brown eyes usually associated with chocolate. She has long, curly brown hair that's usually in a bun. Most of the time during her administration as ambassador she wore pantsuits, but remarkably she began to wear dresses too during her First Lady term. She is a few inches shorter than what is common in her age, and often uses heels to make up for it. She also wears an amulet with a purple gem, a symbol of her marriage to Joseph Yslenski.
Strengths and Weaknesses
- Cooking - Maria finds it important to possess culinary skills, and sometimes uses her cooking as a negotiation tactic.
- Diplomatic Skills - After studying International Relations at the University of Arreneo, Maria's skills in diplomacy had gotten better than when she was still untrained.
- Medical Expertise - With the concern of the welfare of others in mind, Maria has sharpened her knowledge in first aid and basic medicine at a young age. After getting proper training from the military and doing shifts in the Air Force General Hospital, she is a self-proclaimed medic.
- Paperwork - She finds it a satisfying thing to accomplish, and often becomes a bit of a perfectionist while working on it.
- Clumsiness - Maria can be very clumsy, often tripping on stuff or dropping objects. This kind of contradicts her agility.
- Reluctance - Maria cannot will herself to fight people, unless she is fighting for a cause and she knows that the people before her are evil.
- Ticklishness - Although many believed that military training has toughened her physically and mentally, she can easily be sent into a fit of giggles with a simple brush on the side and belly. Unknown whether her feet are ticklish as well.
- Workaholism - Given that she tends to be absorbed at what she does, she often winds up overworking herself to physical exhaustion.
- Her favorite color is white, because she finds it very calming to look at.
- She has an excellent immune system, mainly caused by a rigorous exercise routine.
- She is a light sleeper, which she considers both a blessing and a curse.
- She kept a bunch of bubble wrap in her cabinet in order to relieve stress in her office.
- She is emotionally attached to a black and red sweater that is still a bit too big for her.
- Whether or not Maria was loosely involved during the Zamorez Crisis remains a mystery to many.
- She is a worrisome mother who tends to check or keep an eye on Matthew as much as possible.
- Though of course, she knows that one day she'll have to leave him alone.
- She is the only First Lady of Munijoch.
- Most of the time, her cooking negotiation tactic is used on either Joseph or Matthew.
- She has a grudge on Isaac Juggernaut, as he was behind the kidnapping of her husband during the Frosian War.
- She is usually the last one to find out where Joseph is.
- "Get me off of this crazy train..."
- "Was... Was that a fire extinguisher?"
- "Bubble wrap, oh bubble wrap."
- "I don't see the point of this game."
- "We actually have a law for that? Do tell."
- "Boys, behave."
- "Oh my Benny Joseph what are you doing?"