Players (who are going through Story Mode) reach Bastion’s Keep in Act III. There are several NPCs (non-player characters) to talk to, including villagers, children, and couples.
Rondal and Marta are the oldest couple in the keep, and their story has more to it than you might expect.
Most of the soldiers in Bastion’s Keep are young men. Rondal, however, is quite a bit older than the typical soldier.
Despite this, it appears he is still able to go into battle alongside the much younger soldiers. Rondal has spent his life as a soldier, and Marta has spent her life as a military wife. As such, few things phase either one of them anymore.
The first time the player encounters Rondal and Marta, the two are having a conversation with each other.
Rondal: Got to go, Marta. More of those creatures need killing on the lower walls.
Marta: I’m sure I heard it was the upper walls, dear.
Rondal: That’s what I said! Look, there’s a chance I won’t come back this time.
Marta: You’ve been saying that for forty-four years. Go on, now.
It appears that Rondal is starting to “lose it”. He thinks he’s heading for the lower walls, when he really mean to say the upper walls. Marta, who seems to have gotten quite used to Rondal’s inaccuracies, gently reminds him that it was the upper walls (not the lower ones). Rondal insists that was what he said. I get the feeling that Rondal really thinks he said the upper walls, and is unaware of his mistake.
Rondal then tells Marta that there is a chance he won’t come back from battle this time. Marta is not worried. She responds that he has been saying that for forty-four years, and encourages him to get into battle.
We know from what other NPCs have said in Diablo III that Tristram fell about 20 years ago. At that time, Rondal had already been a soldier for approximately 24 years. Twenty years later, (in the present time in Diablo III) Rondal is still a soldier. If he started when he was 20, that means that Rondal is now 64 years old. One can assume Marta is the same age as Rondal.
The next conversation that the player overhears between Rondal and Marta takes place shortly after demons ambush the keep.
Rondal: I would ask if you’re all right, but I know better.
Marta: That was hardly an ambush, anyway. Do you remember when the barbarians tried the same thing thirty years ago?
Rondal: Hah! They tried to steal you away, didn’t they? I was frantic until they brought you back two hours later with an apology.
Marta: I simply reasoned with him. Garm still sends me a bundle of hides sometimes, you know. He was the nicest kidnapper I ever met.
Rondal and Marta are both 64 years old right now. Marta references something that happened 30 years ago – when Rondal and Marta would have both been 34 years old. This incident took place about 10 years before Tristram fell. At the time, Bastion’s Keep was an outpost that would occasionally be invaded by Barbarians, (not demons).
So, 34 year old Marta is in the Keep – presumably while Rondal was out doing his duty as a soldier. Barbarians ambushed the Keep, and one of them, Garm, kidnapped Marta. Rondal returns to find that his wife is gone – and has been kidnapped by Barbarians. Naturally, Rondal is “frantic” after hearing the news.
But then, Garm the Barbarian not only returns Marta to the Keep, but also apologizes for kidnapping her. Within two hours, Marta “reasoned with” the Barbarian, and convinced him to bring her back to the Keep. One can only guess what it was, exactly, that Marta said. We can see that Marta does not break when bad things happen – she takes charge!
Marta continues to say that Garm the Barbarian sends her gifts sometimes (bundles of hides). Clearly, Marta made quite the impression on Garm. They have formed a strange friendship. Interestingly, Marta says that Garm was “the nicest kidnapper” she’d ever met. Perhaps this incident wasn’t the first time Marta was kidnapped. In many ways, Marta is just as tough as her husband Rondal.
The next conversation between Rondal and Marta, that the player overhears, is one that shows the couple still loves each other very much.
Rondal: Things are looking up, Marta. There’s barely anything left to kill.
Marta: I knew you could do it.
Rondal: There are other soldiers about besides me, if you haven’t noticed.
Marta: No, I haven’t.
The next conversation between Rondal and Marta refers to the player character. The pronoun they use changes depending on if you are playing a male or female character.
Rondal: Did you hear? The demons are on the run, thanks to her!
Marta: Good. Have you thought any more about retiring?
Rondal: Pah! Every time a battle ends, you ask me about retiring.
Marta: Better than during the battle, I would think.
This brief conversation reveals that Marta has been wanting Rondal to retire for a long time now. She’s not pressuring him to do that, though. It seems Marta is aware that being a soldier is something that Rondal enjoys. So, Marta waits until a battle has ended before asking Rondal, once again, if he would like to retire. She’s very practical.
There are two, brief, conversations between Rondal and Marta that the player overhears. It takes place toward the end of Act III. The conversations, once again, refer to the player character.
Marta: Thanks to that Wizard, you can finally get some rest.
Rondal: I feel fine!
Marta: I can tell that your bad knee is troubling you love. She’ll have to save the world without you.
Marta can see that Rondal needs a rest, and she also knows full well that he isn’t likely to want to. He insists he feels fine. Marta gently points out that she can see that his bad knee is troubling him. Who knows how long Rondal’s had that injury?
Marta tells Rondal the player character “will have to save the world without you”. She makes it sound as though Rondal is way more powerful than the player character, and, at the same time, letting Rondal subtly know that the player character can manage without his help.
The final boss in Act III is Azmodan. After the player kills Azmodan, it is worth it to go back into the Keep and talk to the NPCs. Rondal and Marta have one final conversation.
Rondal: Well, Marta. That demon lord is dead. Time to move on.
Marta: I’ll go pack my knitting.
This conversation shows that Rondal has been considering the idea of retiring. He announces that it is “time to move on”. Marta, who has been gently asking him to retire for years, has convinced Rondal to retire. He’s ready now. Instead of responding by mentioning how long she has wanted Rondal to retire, she simply says “I’ll go pack my knitting”. It’s as simple as that.
It certainly appears that Rondal and Marta, two 64-year-olds who are about to begin enjoying their retirement, will go on to have a happy life. But, this is Diablo III, and things don’t always turn out as one would hope. The player runs into Rondal and Marta one last time in Act IV.
There are two bodies on the ground near one of the doors of Bastion’s Keep. One is listed as Marta. There is the body of a soldier right next to her – which must be Rondal. The two never made it out of Bastion’s Keep, and it is unclear exactly what happened to them. All we know for sure is that they probably died together, one right after the other.
Marta drops a journal called “Burial Wishes”.
Burial Wishes: If you are reading this, my husband and I are both gone. We would like to be buried side by side, preferably in a sunny spot. Oh, and please don’t bury my husband’s sword with us. He won’t need it anymore. – Marta.
There is an in-game item that relates to the story of Rondal and Marta.
Rondal’s Locket is a Legendary Amulet. The flavor text on this item says: “To Rondal – When you carry this, you carry my heart. Love always, Marta.”
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