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Author Topic: [Hobbit + LotR] Maelúthien  (Read 2991 times)

Maelúthien

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Maelúthien
« on: October 14, 2015, 06:38:24 PM »


Lady Maelúthien the Blackheart



NAME:  Maelúthien
NICKNAMES (IF ANY):  Known to most within Gondor by her steward-given title ‘The Blackheart’. Rarely ever said to her face in court, the woman takes a secret pride in the name. Many throughout the realm simply call her ‘Mae’ for short, though a select few can get away with her childhood nickname of ‘Lúlú’. Those that can’t get away with it can expect a broken nose in response.
DATE OF BIRTH AND AGE (AS OF T.A. 2941):  May 1 2906 | 35
PLACE OF BIRTH:  Minas Tirith
RACE:  Man
GENDER:  Female


HAIR COLOUR AND APPEARANCE:  Mae’s hair like many of her features betrays noble blood. Smooth as silk and ink black in color, she cuts and styles her hair short; better for wearing a helm. Never really fussed with when in the field, the woman will style it whenever courtly appearances are necessary.

EYE COLOUR: Pale blue, as a Gondorian sky at the end of spring. Mae’s long and dusky lashes frame eyes seemingly lost in memory. Another marking of her heritage, in color alone. Her gently oval shaped eyes and wider cheekbones betray Maelúthien’s common heritage.

BODY TYPE AND HEIGHT:  Caught between a purebred noblewoman and a stable-master’s daughter in almost every regard, Maelúthien stands at an overwhelmingly average 5’6”. Her limbs are long and elegant; with velvet skin tight over wiry muscle. Slim hands lead to long fingers and dainty feet lead to nimble toes. All Mae’s height comes from her legs, with her torso doing little to help. The woman has non-subtle curves and a coiled build thanks to her common mother and conditioning.

OVERALL APPEARANCE:  A woman almost always on the job, Maelúthien feels entirely insecure without any armor on. When questing her most common garb consists of supportive wrappings well hidden beneath chainmail. Masterfully woven using the same black iron as the rest of her plate, the bodysuit of chain was crafted just for Mae. It sits as a second skin, barely a hindrance in any way. Around that she will don an unassuming cloak, expertly woven but nondescript. The rest of Mae’s armor straps on easily around the chainmail, the plating minimalist in style. A helm of light plate sports the iconic wings of Gondorian knights, with a chainmail veil obscuring all but her eyes when worn. The wings on either side of her helm are smaller than average and angled back,even fully armored Maelúthien appears sleek and dangerous. At first she may seem under-protected compared to most other knights; but this deception is key to her.

When forced to appear unarmored; usually at court functions or soirees Maelúthien can surprise others. Among the nobility of Gondor she wears the best and most desired of tailors. Always seeming to sport the latest trends the fleeting Ladies favor, none can deny the quality and skill put into her wardrobe. Even if Mae’s disapproving scowls and indignant huffs add little to the charms of finery. On the rare occasion she is caught neither at court nor in the field Maelúthien prefers supple leathers and comfortable cottons.

Discipline and training have given Mae a perfect posture. She stands perfectly still on foot, to the point where said stillness spills into any position she is in. Used to being mocked for it by the younger nobility, any true warrior will note one who has dedicated much time into mastering herself. On the move however Maelúthien is a swift and graceful sight. Whether a smooth cat-like walk or precisely stepped sprint, the woman moves as only a trained fighter can.

DISTINGUISHING MARKS:  As any true knight, Maelúthien has her share of scars. Most a muted motley of small nicks and cuts all over her body, only a couple truly stand out as distinguishing. The first just under Mae’s left collarbone, where a poisoned dagger had struck. The second a long thin line etched over her right calf, from ankle to the back of her knee. The third has been seen by only a couple others, a wide line from below Maelúthien’s navel to between her hip bones. Any who see, can note that such a wound would render a woman barren.

WEAPONS: 

At any time Maelúthien will have at least one of her three blades strapped to her person. Whether it be her favorite stiletto at her hip, the lethal bastard sword at her shoulder or the short sword sheathed behind her lower back. The iconic and arguably most skilled of her weapon training, is with a round shield. Expertly crafted with the same black iron as Mae’s armor, the White Tree of Gondor is regularly hand painted by her onto the face of it. This masterpiece is only equipped when Maelúthien knows she faces the most dire of situations.

FACE CLAIM:  Antje Traue

STRENGTHS:

Ambidextrous: One of the secrets to Maelúthien’s success is her natural affinity with both sides of her body. This boon gifts the woman catlike balance, reflexes, and an edge over most in combat.

Disciplined: Years of harsh training and strife have seasoned Mae into a mighty warrior. Where she lacks stature the skilled swordswoman makes up for with agility and accuracy.

WEAKNESSES:

Baseborn: An only daughter; product of a noble’s lust, even uplifted to nobility Mae is still widely regarded as a commoner in court. For every bit of her might and reputation, her impact on the politics of Man is moot.

Abdominal Strain: The result of the catastrophic wound to her abdomen, Maelúthien still has a long road to recovery ahead of her.

ASPIRATIONS: 

Legitimacy: On paper considered the legitimate daughter of her noble father, Maelúthien is considered far from that among the court of Minas Tirith. It is her lifelong goal to become fully recognized, even if she has become slightly jaded in this pursuit.

Companionship: Despite her frosty exterior, Mae has long grown tired of feeling distant to others. Alienated by both nobility and commoners, she secretly wishes to connect with somebody once more.
 
FEARS: 

Corruption: As many knights of Gondor, Maelúthien has had her fair scraps with the forces of darkness. They have become one of few things the woman dreads to face, their mark across her abdomen a constant reminder of the damage they can deal.

Thalassophobic: Mae has long been afraid of rivers and other large bodies of water, even before nearly drowning to death once. Never having learned how to swim, the knight is prone to fits of anxiety near them. She will only cross on a boat if absolutely necessary, and is always quick to cross bridges.

PERSONALITY:  Known as an ivory figure with a core of ice, Maelúthien’s first impression is rarely a warm one. Disciplined and seeming to carry Middle-Earth on her shoulders, the Blackheart can come off as dour and blunt. Not entirely untrue, Mae as she ages is becoming more jaded and cynical; especially in matters of Gondorian politics. Despite her years of effort and struggle to better the standing of Man, for every step she helps her people forward they seem to take even more back.The woman remains more infamous than anything else, the White City’s black knight more a subject for rumors than legends.

Underneath this exterior though, is a kind soul fond of afternoon tea and gardening. Not many are aware that the extravagant and exotic foliage that adorns her father’s estate were done by Maelúthien. It is one of her absolute favorite activities outside exercising and reading, all of which are done outside. She dislikes being cooped up indoors, even more so with mandatory events at court. As the only able-bodied member of her noble family, Maelúthien at her father’s wishes attends every function if able. One would mostly likely find her on balconies or within gardens during these, usually after the chamberlain announces her arrival and the necessary political rounds are made.

Maelúthien has a natural animal ken, her ability to calm and guide them an inherited talent. Even the most defiant of steeds can become a gentle beast at her touch, and stray animals are known to follow her through Minas Tirith. Despite this Mae does not keep any sort of pet, outside the couple snakes that keep her gardens pest-free.

Her strongest and most secret desire, is for simple companionship. Not necessarily a romantic entanglement, given her poor history with them. Simply someone she doesn’t have to meet any expectations with, someone whom Mae could simply be herself around. A demisexual, unless Maelúthien has developed a close relationship with someone she won’t feel any sort of attraction towards anyone. What she really craves, is someone outside Minas Tirith’s court. Though noble in blood, she cares little for the aristocracy of Gondor and their frivolous antics.

HISTORY: 
 
Maelúthien was the first and only child of the Gondorian nobleman Malbeth. Her mother was the daughter of Minas Tirith’s stable-master, one of many pretty young things that caught Malbeth’s eye. Rumored to have a barren Lady wife,  more nobles chose to speculated that the lustful Malbeth was responsible for his own lack of male heirs. Rumors that often found his ear. All throughout the pregnancy, Malbeth’s most trusted guards were always nearby to protect the Lord’s only future heir.

Delivered by her stable-master grandfather, the wise and gentle man aided in delivery. A small swath of jet black hair atop Maelúthien’s head instantly proved Malbeth’s parentage. Jealous of the baseborn teenage mother, and the time Malbeth sought to spend with the babe;  Malbeth’s spiteful wife secretly paid a thug assassin to kill Mae’s mother a barely more than a year after the child was born. Despite terrible fighting between Malbeth and his Lady wife, Maelúthien ultimately was not allowed to be raised as her father’s heir. Instead her grandfather would take the burden of the babe, and become the only parent Maelúthien needed.

Beregond had been the stable-master of Minas Tirith since his own father passed, a man of few words and infinite patience. Known throughout the White City as a kind, gentle sort, he was as good to his granddaughter as possible. He made sure she was as well fed as any foal under his charge, body and soul. Beregond told stories to Maelúthien throughout her childhood, the little girl’s most favorite thing. Great epics of heroes and times long passed, Mae could never take her eyes off her grandfather whenever he spun a tale. Even as a baby she would stare, his calm baritone soothing and wonderfully learned in storytelling.

From a very young age Beregond, affectionately called ‘Papa’ now by Maelúthien, realized the girl had inherited a gift from his blood. The little girl loved to draw with charcoal, the entire stable covered in doodles of horses and knights. This was not unusual to him, but the fact that he often caught Mae using both hands at the same time to draw spoke of the gift. Ambidextrous, like her mother and her Papa. It further cemented as the girl grew, and in her new weekly chores was reminiscent of her mother at that age.

Maelúthien has nothing but fond memories of this time, of fresh bread handmade by her Papa and regular tea times. He taught her to ride ponies, and never discouraged Mae from drawing. Supportive of her every choice, but sure to raise Maelúthien right. His stories were only of heroism and duty to the common folk, and were a nightly affair in the modest stable home. Mae never noticed the sneering glares of other peasants, her bright blue eyes and long dark hair a betrayal to her noble blood. She was happy, it seemed the sun always shined in Minas Tirith back then.

 
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Mae never got into any trouble in her youth, rigorous chores often left the girl bound for dreamless sleep after a hearty stew. Always she worked near her Papa, the gentle giant a constant watchful presence. He’d milk the cow in the mornings, and Maelúthien would brush her. While she fed the chickens, he would gather eggs. When Papa brought the horses fresh buckets of water, Mae had the duty of cleaning their stables. The one chore they always shared, was grooming the horses. For hours they worked side by side, Papa teaching Mae all he knew about caring for the noble beasts. It was hard work, but her grandfather installed the ‘nothing worth doing is easy’ mindset Maelúthien adheres to.

He had to use that same argument around her eleventh birthday, when a sudden and searing fever burned through Malbeth’s Lady wife. The woman had not lasted a fortnight before the illness took her life. Malbeth himself was not present for her death, instead on a horse bound for Lorien. It was always rumored the knight-turned-Lord had allies within the elven community there, the story of Malbeth and the Elven Maiden a favorite of drunken nobility. He was gone weeks only to return far too late with a possible cure. Malbeth did grieve for a time, but had long planned for such an event. The steward of that time owed him a favor, one earned long ago in their youth. A favor Malbeth had held onto for some three decades.

Maelúthien would be raised from commoner to his legit heir.

She kicked and screamed in protest as Malbeth’s guards retrieved her from the stables, a pile of gold and a letter of thanks left in exchange. Many watched the wild girl fight and struggle as the men tried to pull her along. None stepped in to stop the guards, and for years Maelúthien bitterly held onto that memory. It took a lot for her to eventually swallow her outrage and logically see that it was more a case of poor folk not wanting to cross the men with swords. Mae knew who Malbeth was upon meeting him for the first in years, her grandfather always honest during her inquiring years. She knew how her mother died, and why her father rarely could see her. Yet all Mae could see in Malbeth back then, was the cruel stranger who tore her away from home.

Malbeth, perhaps a bit mad after his wife’s death, was driven with a singular drive to catch Maelúthien up to other noble children her age. She could read, if not perfectly, and after Mae broke a desk in protest Malbeth gave up on numbers. He failed to see that keeping Mae cooped up in a stuffy room full of books was too stark a change from her normal day of moving and working. Her nights of sleep were fitful, and she hated every plate of food put in front of her.

 Her behavior would get to the point where her father pulled another favor to bring a tutor in. The archivist of the palace’s library seemed impossibly ancient to Mae. All liver spots and large spidery veins, the archivist was hunched and slow to move. Yet he could speak with the most commanding of voices, a master orator and legendary historian. Where Malbeth struggled in teaching Mae what he knew best, the archivist seemed to know who the girl was before meeting her. Their sessions were more stories of history and the lores of their lands. Through them Maelúthien’s mind developed, with the archivist a calm and constant mentor to the day he passed on. But not before advising Malbeth to guide his daughter, not try to control her.

That he should be smart enough to see the gifts she had to offer.
 
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Despite his every instinct telling him to hold back the tales of his youth, Malbeth began to regale Maelúthien weekly with them to help distract Mae from her tutor’s passing. Decades ago he had been considered one of Gondor’s most promising knights. From an at the time prevalent and wealthy noble family, Malbeth had been one of the most talented swordsman the White City had ever seen. Tournaments were won, favors  were gathered and personal alliances were forged.  Mae was fascinated from the first, though kept this secret for many months. At such a young age, he didn’t feel it was time to reveal the deadly grayscale that pushed him into early retirement. Malbeth noted her favoritism towards his tales with the elves or northern dwarves, and was always sure to use them whenever she queried into why he stopped adventuring.

It was the look in Maelúthien’s eyes, more than her constant pleading that lead to a resigned Malbeth agreeing to begin teaching her. He could only actually teach the very basic of basics while keeping his condition secret, but it became apparent quickly that Mae would not be sated on them for long. She had a fire to her eyes, and a seemingly undying thirst to learn more. Malbeth had always pictured Maelúthien’s future in political matrimony, but after discovering she had inherited his ambidexterity he couldn’t deny where her destiny pointed.

Resigned that he could no more control Maelúthien’s destiny than he could control the weather, Malbeth gave in fully to her desires of one day being knighted. So he pulled a string he never thought would ever be plucked, a former arms-master of the Swan Knights. Disgraced from the ranks for unfaithfulness to his Lady-wife, the man formerly known as Sir Halbarad the Ironheart would agree to teach Mae. She would never forget the night Halbarad had joined them for supper, only discovering his purpose there after Malbeth and the former knight had shared surprisingly raucous and raunchy tales for hours. Jaw to the table twice that night, the young Maelúthien couldn’t sleep that night for her nerves and excitement buzzed.

Malbeth and Mae alike were stunned by the Ironheart’s request for her father to join them. At first wholly against it, her scowls while watching them fight soon turned to reserved smiles. For the first time, she saw her Lord-father in a new light. Gone were the bored and disappointed eyes of a surrendered soul. His eyes burned with an intensity not unlike a hunting eagle, despite Malbeth’s hobble and clearly strained movements. Halbarad and him fought slowly, sure to explain the reasoning of every decision, peppered with any other tricks they could think to throw at Maelúthien. As the weeks rolled on these sessions became the reason Mae woke daily, excited to hear what sort of tales would be woven for her. The only thing that would usurp that would be knowing soon she would start fighting.

The first time Mae held a sword, all she could think was how very heavy the short length of metal was. A dull and ungainly length of iron, she kept quiet her deep disappointment of not being gifted with a named Elven blade. A disappointment Halbarad and Malbeth chuckled at whenever her back was turned. They too in their youths had used similar weapons. Crude and the most basic of basics, used by squire candidates for ages. It was as much for her benefit as her hazing. The two men were quite amused as they watched Maelúthien pace and fiddle with the sword between sessions. They watched as she favored neither arm, both in training and outside it. Malbeth and Halbarad both knew what this meant, as it was once the secret to Malbeth’s talents as a warrior. Maelúthien had inherited the gift of ambidexterity, and with it the potential to be what Malbeth had once been meant for.

Together they tutored Mae over the years, Halbarad in swordplay and chivalry while Malbeth covered courtly intrigue. Though no longer able to wield physical weapons, the Lord’s mind and tongue were edged sharper than any sword. He vehemently instilled everything he knew of Minas Tirith and the other noble families. More importantly how to approach the politics of the White City, and how something as simple as a wrong gesture or phrase could damn everything. Maelúthien had at first been indifferent to this, until the Ironheart explained it had only taken him scorning the potential mistress to lose his ranks and titles. She did not understand how anyone could do such a thing, and wouldn’t for many years to come.

Maelúthien by the end of each day found a new definition of exhaustion. Between Halbarad’s drills and Malbeth’s homilies, Mae was left too drained to muster a single snark. At that age she’d never admit her new found delight in dinner with her father and his old friend, the endless cascade of shared memories and talks about the current world state. Both men predicted that not only Gondor, but all of Middle-Earth was heading towards a darker era. Mae would need to be ready if that was the case, and they were fixated on making sure she’d be.
 
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

After years of training, favors cashed by Malbeth and a solid showcasing of her skills to the White City’s court, the then fourteen year old Maelúthien was endlessly excited to be approved for squire-ship. That year the nobility had thought to put together a tournament for this batch of recruits. A way for Gondorian knights to see the potentials before choosing them for apprenticing; and for Minas Tirith to be entertained. When discovering that the tourney was to happen, Halbarad and Malbeth tried to advise Mae on how to approach. Recommending she take it slow and steady, they could both tell their words fell on deaf ears as Maelúthien’s eyes burned with inner fire.

Too brash and eager to test her own limits, the unseasoned hopeful took apart her first handful of opponents. Mae did not hold back, and soon found herself among the top dozen by the end of the first bracket. Many thought to use Maelúthien’s own tactic against her, not counting her smaller size and agility. Only one other was able to steal her spotlight, a boy a year older from a very wealthy family. Duilin was his name, and throughout the tourney his visage spoke of utter boredom. This didn’t change at the final round, where Maelúthien faced off with him. To her utter surprise and shame, Duilin was able to ground and disarm her with a single move. It was known to the whole court, Mae may have the talent; but Duilin had the gift. Though stuck in second to a boy Maelúthien now wholly loathed, the tourney would herald a boon greater than she could have imagined.

That very evening upon returning to Malbeth’s manor, a surprise dinner guest would be at the table when Maelúthien arrived. Having brooded in her chamber for hours, she never heard their guest arrive. A spectator since the earliest brackets of the tourney, Thorondir the Thorough had watched for anyone promising to make his final apprentice. A man with a  solid reputation more known for his amicability than his adventures, Thorondir was still an established and well loved knight of Gondor. Though only coming in second, Mae’s exuberant display had caught his aging eye from the start. There was one he felt could truly honor his legacy.  After an amiable meal and Malbeth’s blessing, Maelúthien would accept his offer.

The next few years Mae would be Thorondir’s shadow. Together they traveled all across their native lands, lending their skills and swords to whoever needed them; noble and common born. A man that seemed pleasant but world-weary, it didn’t take long for Maelúthien to warm up to him. They always supped together, and every night Thorondir’s song would put her to sleep. He reminded Mae of her Papa, if perhaps more haunted by his past. She never pestered him about what kept the elder man awake, his nights filled with more song and pipeweed smoke than sleep.

Maelúthien would never forget the unique scent of Thorondir’s leaf, grown by the man himself. At the time he even made her grow a single plant, which was a constant companion in their travels. She didn’t know Old Toby from any other plant, nor how much care and patience was required to raise it. From a single seed in a petite pot, Mae had a habit of humming some of Thorondir’s songs under her breath. Every time a sprout finished growing, Maelúthien would transplant it to her father’s garden on their next visit to Minas Tirith. During these visits over the years, she would watch her father’s mysterious condition worsen. The leaf was one of few things that subsided the pain which racked Malbeth, and Mae saw it as her duty to help her father in any way possible. As years passed, the time father and daughter spent together lessened. It took some time for Maelúthien to adjust, but she never could bring herself to ask about his disease.

A distraction would come weeks before Mae’s eighteenth birthday, Thorondir having accepted a Steward given mission to the south of Gondor. They wouldn’t be alone either, for another pair of the White City’s elite would spearhead their next task. Idril was to Maelúthien’s surprise wasn’t the grizzled ranger the young lady had expected; Instead she was tall, blond, and the most beautiful woman Mae had ever seen. Perhaps a little over a decade younger than Thorondir, the two greeted one another warm as family. It was clear there had once been something there between them, but the exact nature of whatever that was forever eluded Maelúthien. That surprise would be eclipsed completely though, as with her was someone Mae suddenly recognized. Duilin; all golden curls and dimpled smiles had grown up since she last saw him at the squire tourney years ago. He greeted Maelúthien with a wink, she with an upturned nose and an indignant huff.

The road south was filled with Thorondir, Idril, and Duilin’s chatter while Mae remained mostly quiet and observant. The gilded lad drove the girl absolutely mad, teasing her over anything and everything Maelúthien did. This reached its worst whenever instructed to spar with one another; she always doing her best to knock him on his ass while he mocked and outplayed her every move. Thorondir was sure to spend time with Maelúthien alone though, advising her to the best of his ability or just sitting in silence. She never minded his company, though had little to add to their conversations then. Especially after he had agreed with Idril’s idea to teach the youths how to dance; something important to noble circles. Mae would come to love this though, as it became quickly clear she grasped it faster than Duilin. Forced to work together, they were taught to both lead and follow the other. Maelúthien always preferred leading, forcing Duilin to stay on his toes as much as he did to her.

Drills and dancing were a regular thing, even when they arrived to the city of Pelargir; their destination. They had all been briefed on the mission en route, Idril having been charged with finding a route smugglers had been using. Rumored to have roots with a foreign pirate’s guild, Idril had scouted Harondor for years in search of them. Out stepped by them too often, Thorondir was brought in to add a new element. For weeks himself and Maelúthien pretended to interview and interrogate citizens of Pelargir. What they were truly meant for, was a misinformation campaign. Mae saw a new side of Thorondir as they walked the city streets, able to act as a whole other person whenever speaking to a target. After months of subterfuge and sabotage, the smuggling ring found itself hurting. Found itself plotting retaliation.

It happened quick at first, Thorondir and Idril’s throats slit in the deep of night. Instantly slain together in bed. A stroke of luck found Maelúthien and Duilin on the rooftop of their tavern that night, spared the assassins that would have ended their lives. That morning found them panicked, uncertain to how their mentors died nor which direction their murderers had fled. They needn’t wait long, as a raiding party hit Pelargir clearly to make a gory statement. Despite the intense levels of fear at her throat, Maelúthien agreed with Duilin that they had to help defend the city.

The fight was long, it was bloody, and it left Mae with a terrible wound to the back of her right calf. Yet when the sun set that day, the raiders had retreated to their ship to sail away. Duilin and Maelúthien both survived, to the cheers of the citizens who had joined the fight. Once fit to travel again, they would slowly return to Minas Tirith. Duilin in that time doted on his wounded friend, always choosing to walk while both their horses took turns carrying her. Between the previous fight and the pampering, Maelúthien began to see Duilin in a different light. She listened to him talk of his family, his parents and a smattering of younger siblings. Despite herself, Mae began to love him. It saddened her when the weeks travelling with him ended, and they found themselves before the great gates of the White City.

Their report to the Steward and the court was a somber one, despite the congratulations given on defeating their foes. Once dismissed Duilin personally returned Maelúthien to her home. Months passed, Mae’s wound healed, and Duilin found himself knighted for valor in Pelargir’s defense. She waited for weeks after celebrating with him, fully expecting to receive a similar honor soon. When it came to months passing, she went before the Steward to ask why he had never called for her. In the tongue of political jargon, he turned her away and denied any sort of promotion. On that day Maelúthien’s disdain for politics was seeded.

She found herself in a sort of purgatory, with no uplift and none stepping forward to claim her as a squire. Only able to keep herself busy to not dwell on the outrage, the gardens around Malbeth’s estate soon bloomed with her new hobby. Searing fury was taken out on practice dummies, the young lady breaking them apart on a weekly basis. Duilin was a regular presence, his duties as a green knight mostly localized to the city. He’d talk to Mae as she gardened, and despite his protests at her aggression always agreed to spar with her. Unable to contain her envy and indignant rage, Maelúthien often fought fiercer whenever Duilin asked for her to cool down. By the year's’ close Mae had broken his nose three times, she her knuckles twice, and a single kiss given in a heated moment..

Eventually Maelúthien admitted to Duilin the days which they fought were the only which she found herself in a dreamless sleep. Ever since losing Thorondir her nights were filled with nightmares and sallow insomnia. After admitting this to him, Duilin’s visits increased as much as he could spare. He dined with Mae almost nightly, and would often stay long enough for Mae to fall asleep on her favorite lounger.
 
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

A full year had passed since the skirmish at Pelargir, and Maelúthien’s fury tempered to a cool contempt. Duilin and her father in no small part aided in this, for they were both as angry towards the court. Yet they all knew given her mother, the injury and Malbeth’s absence from court that there was little more they could do than have Mae begin to represent her house. Appalled by the idea at first, Malbeth and Duilin were able to convince her that with their help she would be fine. So she began to attend the courtly functions; all of them in fact, despite her private protests. Duilin would have none of it, and insisted she went with him every time, despite the catty jealousy seen in the other women their age. Maelúthien hated him for it, for the awful shade of red that took to her cheeks every time she entered at his elbow.

She lost count of the salons, the suppers and sessions of courtly sentencing. Always quiet unless asked to contribute, Mae easily recited whatever Malbeth had taught her. Maelúthien was prudent, she was polite, and she was to the point; more importantly she was perfect with every phrase. Eventually all the functions just seemed to blend together in the same routine. Arrival with Duilin, paying proper respects with Duilin, dancing with Duilin, dining with Duilin, more dancing with Duilin, and finally leaving with Duilin. Over that year his favor in court only grew with his deeds, popular by both the noble and common. Despite her reserved nature and neutral small talk, Maelúthien bewilderingly began to notice more of the nobility wishing to speak to her too. Mostly about Duilin, but sometimes to tell her side of Pelargir’s tale as well. When it got to the point where they would both begin to be invited to private dinners, Maelúthien was shocked to learn many whispered that she was soon to be betrothed to Duilin. Not only that, but dozens of the nobility secretly yearned for that very thing to happen.

A whole summer passed with this knowledge, silently waiting to see if he would speak of the rumor or confirm it. Entire nights she would wage wars of heart and mind, all tangled sheets and staring at the candle near her bedside. In their now years together, Maelúthien had never considered her one and only friend in that way. Yet in that glorious summer his smile heralded hers and anything he uttered was perfection. Their dancing had always enthralled her despite Mae’s outward scorn, the only thing rivaling that being fighting at his side. Her young lord with the golden hair had been there for the worst of her life, and there he was during the best of it. Maelúthien came to realize she loved him, as much as life itself.

She slowly began to come out of her shell, more freely telling small tales in conjunction with Duilin’s stories of their road of to and from Harondor. The court seemed to eat up every regaling, and what was once whispered desires became more verbal. Many romanticized their partnership as early as the squire tourney a couple years ago. Noble ladies gushed at the handsome Duilin, how his charming shine contrasted perfectly with Maelúthien’s dusky temperance. By then at every soiree, salon or dinner party Mae would always be at Duilin’s elbow. She would even sneak her hand into his, if only a few times a year. The girl appreciated none ever seemed to notice her reddened cheeks whenever she held it, and relished in the reassuring squeeze he always gave in return.

It was one of these nights where raising her bravado to hold Duilin’s hand wouldn’t be Maelúthien’s most frightful event. An autumn salon heralded by the largest moon Mae had ever seen would set the stage. Everything had proceeded normally; arriving with Duilin and her father, making necessary courtly salutations, and the usual idle conversation peppered with bouts of dance. Chance would place her before the Steward, to lead her eye wandering just over the hand which retrieved a dagger. Mae had moved to push Duilin out of the now thrown weapon’s path, the blade stabbing deep into her upper left chest instead of the Steward’s heart.

The next week was a blur of poisonous nightmares and violent illness. Spared anything vital wounded, the most visible part of her ailment came in blackened veins across the left half of Mae’s chest. Though Duilin had protested loudly, Malbeth convinced the lad to ride to Lothlórien. There was one who could cure Mae, and with Malbeth’s letter at hand the young knight rode off. She was lost in a sea of dry, black, cracking dehydration with only her sickly father for company. Even in her feverish haze, Maelúthien heard Malbeth’s quiet confession in the deep of night. He whispered for her to recover, for the night Mae was wounded would be the lord’s last day in court.

It would be an elf who arrived to Mae’s bedside when the poison nearly took her. Maelúthien could still recall the scent of her chestnut hair, and the cleansing wave of gentle elven healing. Soon her fever broke, and the fuzzy edges of her sight would sharpen. Still bed-ridden and weakened, Mae was still able to greet Duilin upon return with a small smile. In the few days between his arrival and her savior’s, Maelúthien had  become fond of the elf, her soothing hum and warming presence. They were all at her bedside when a tired but beaming Malbeth would shuffle into Maelúthien’s chamber, a sealed note from the Steward at hand. Within it read an obviously political letter of gratitude, but within it the best new she ever had. Maelúthien was to be knighted for her sacrifice in saving the Steward.

Once healthy enough to make an appearance at court, Mae was surprised to receive even the scattered smattering of applause when the Steward’s blade touched her shoulders. Titled the Blackheart; for the black veins still visible upon her left side. They would eventually fade, but Maelúthien’s title would always remain. Still on the mend, she would spend many a quiet afternoon tending to Malbeth’s gardens once more. Duilin would join her as often as he could, but the young lord began to find himself called to duty more often. She wouldn’t be alone though, for on one of these afternoons Mae would meet one of few she truly called friend.

The middle child of a large, moderately wealthy but artistically spirited noble line had witnessed Maelúthien’s heroic sacrifice. A few years Mae’s junior, she had crossed paths with the girl named Gillas several times in court. Surprised she had sought her out at all, Gillas talked plenty for them both whenever there for Maelúthien. Her open spirit and unfathomable adoration for Mae quickly won the recovering lady over. Nearly every time the red haired damsel came over she’d bring something for her friend. At first small things like hand-stitched scarves, as their friendship strengthened Gillas would begin to bring stunningly garments of fine materials. Always perfectly sized from the start, Mae could only remark in wonder at the young lady’s talent. Gillas had a way of perfectly denying Maelúthien anytime she balked at the expensive seeming gifts.

Both Duilin and Gillas did well over the next several months, there for their now recovered friend as Mae began to attend her knightly duties. Mostly sent on dull token escorts with nary a bandit scrap, Maelúthien tried to be patient with her expectations. She would simmer under the brim of her sun hats whenever gardening, those close to her the only ones able to ready the body language of their frustrated Lúlú. Maelúthien would only have a single outburst to them, Duilin sure to keep her behind closed doors when the news was delivered. The purest of noblemen, the Steward included, had much disdain for the common blooded daughter of Malbeth. Doing their damnedest to downplay her efforts, there were arguments against this by the several families who were loyal to hers. In an attempt to quell this contention once and for all, Maelúthien was to venture to the corsair city of Umbar. Charged with retrieving the head of a man accused for the attempt on the Stewards life.

In tears but determined Mae prepared and left swiftly the next night. Another full moon painted Minas Tirith in brightly shining silver, the cobblestone roads near glowing as Duilin followed at her heels protesting. She would have none of his talk of fleeing, her heart burning with nothing more than desire to shove this quest back in their faces. Maelúthien would go to Umbar, she would cut down any in her path and she would return with a head for the Stewards dinner plate. Before she could mount her steed and proceed, Duilin would hold Mae fast by her elbow. He would shrug his shield from shoulder, the oversize buckler then fastened to her horse. His first gift to her, the second quickly following in a hasty kiss. Duilin commanded Maelúthien to return to him. She would.

Only stopping for her mount and herself to rest, Mae found it difficult to sleep. Over and over she sustained herself on the thought of proving the nobility wrong. Maelúthien would lay on her bedroll for hours, her fingers lightly tracing lines that made up the Tree of Kings upon Duilin’s shield. For seemingly endless weeks she traveled, the very weather itself seeming to fight her in torrential rain storms. By the time she did reach Umbar Mae had had enough. The green knight donned her full plate, with sword and shield at hand. Leaving her horse behind to rest for the trip back. Maelúthien stormed the streets, following the path she had memorized from the decree’’s directions. Those foolish enough to step up to the seemingly small knight quickly found their knees broken and throats slit. Taking less than an hour to arrive Mae kicked down the small manor’s door and cleaved the criminal’s head clean off his shoulders. A bloody sack at her hip with the head and a confident swagger to her stride, none attempted to attack Maelúthien on her way out. The sun shined her entire return trip to Minas Tirith, where she stormed the royal hall to slam a severed head onto the Steward’s dinner plate.

Duilin threw one of the most grandiose feasts in recent memory for Maelúthien’s return. He made her tell the story of her quest over and over to everyone, his own excitable commentary a strange switch for the duo. Though many outwardly showed much less enthusiasm and some even outright indignity, many within the hall whispered words of praise to Mae. It was a good night, so eventful her and Duilin barely had a chance to talk in private. Nor would they get that chance, for the months that followed the young lord would be called to the field near constantly. Maelúthien herself was busy with Gillas’ fashion demands, Malbeth’s commissioning of a custom armor for her, and other functions of nobility Mae found herself aiding her father with. For the first time she began to feel apart of the noble elite, a welcome distraction during Duilin’s absence.

Little did they know Duilin’s duties were more than service to Gondor. Ill over his choice of suitor in Maelúthien, the Steward  laid plans for one of Minas Tirith’s favorite sons. While the two were distracted by their busier lives, he arranged two political betrothals. With complete secrecy he sent a missive to Edoras, and made arrangements for his own favorite daughter. Undisclosed for months more to come, the Steward waited patiently for opportunity. This came in Malbeth’s deteriorating health, the lord bound to his bed by the grayscale which warped his flesh. Unable to attend any courtly functions for over a year now, Maelúthien’s presence simply didn’t bring enough pull for her family at court. During a session that seemed as any other; the royal hall would be filled with golden rays of a setting sun as Mae and Duilin listened to business as normal. After the usual sad pleas and dull decrees, the Steward would stand to announce his fantastic news. The famous Duilin was to marry the Stewards fairest daughter, and Maelúthien had been promised to a nobleman of Rohan. Before all of Gondor’s elite the kindling romance between her and Duilin was shattered, along with her heart as she heard her new betrothed would be arriving next week to collect her.

Inconsolable in her fury, Maelúthien didn’t pack more than a stiletto and a bedroll before leaving Minas Tirith that very night. She didn’t say farewell to anyone, nor told anyone she was leaving. Riding fast and hard, Mae drove her steed as much as possible northwards away from Gondor. Assumed to have holed up in Malbeth’s manor for the time being, it took a fortnight for Duilin to discover his love’s departure. After speaking to her father the lord recommended he ride to Lothlórien. It was always Malbeth’s contingency plan, one that was shared with Maelúthien from an early age. Before Duilin could leave the lord’s chambers, Malbeth told the young man to wed his daughter and travel north to the Dúnedain for a fresh start. Frantic but excited, Duilin mounted to retrieve his true bride to be. For days he rode, plenty of coin given to passed farmers for information on the passing noblewoman. Always he seemed half a week away, Mae unrelenting in her retreat from Gondor.

It had been near two weeks since Maelúthien left Minas Tirith when Duilin finally found her. She had set camp along the Anduin with the leaves of Lórien near. Duilin gave Mae quite the start when he suddenly rode out of the darkness towards her. At first all outrage and questions, they argued deep into the night as bad as when they first met as squires. Until Duilin dropped what her father’s wishes were. Stunned speechless at how perfect it sounded, neither Maelúthien or her husband to be heard the orc pack sneak into camp from the east.

A perfect storm of unawareness and unpreparedness sacked them, an arrow instantly finding purchase into his right arm. Their horses killed first by a volley of black arrows, it was all Duilin and Mae could do to flee from their corrupted attackers. With the elven realm so close, Maelúthien was determined to get herself and her man to their custody. Lothlórien was their only hope for shelter, and they literally fought for their lives the entire dark morn. Yet they were both already exhausted from not sleeping,  their cuts numbered many and their blood dripped freely. Pushed towards the river’s edge, lord and lady stood back to back in a last stand against the dozens of orcs. Only separated when a large brute seized Maelúthien’s long braid to drag her into the river. With his flank exposed the orcs quickly swarmed Duilin, one tearing his throat out with jagged teeth. That would be Mae’s last image of him, as another orc’s pike pierced deep into her abdomen. Driven down to the riverbed, she could only hold for so long before her lungs quickly filled with water.

Maelúthien was certain she had died that day, and in many ways she had. Instead of waking to white shores and Duilin’s spirit with hers, she awoke to pointy eared strangers who looked upon her with pity and concern. They spoke to her of the events that transpired, the elven rangers who had saved her and the skilled healing given by their Lady. Sullen and inconsolable from the start, it was three months into her recovery before Maelúthien even spoke to another. Her savior, the Lady Galadriel was beyond gracious when Mae finally thanked her and apologized for the delay. Fully expecting to be reprimanded, it brought her to tears when Galadriel instead embraced the wounded knight.

It was the Lady who broke woeful news to Mae further into her recovery, revealing that the weapon which pierced had also rendered her unable to bear a child. Numb and unable to weep more than she already had, Maelúthien eventually became grateful for the tender care given by her saviors. Her healers were gentle and responsive, and the single warrior assigned to watch over her reminded Mae of her first mentor Halbarad. Between him and the late night talks with Galadriel, Maelúthien found learning of their people a welcome distraction to the pains of healing. It would take over two years of therapy and care before Mae was well enough to travel again, even then the Lord and Lady of Lórien were sure to send the warrior whom watched over her all this time as an escort. The road back to Gondor was quiet, both travellers grateful for this. Two and a half years after fleeing Minas Tirith, Maelúthien returned to a city unchanged. Before parting ways at the great gates, she realized the man had never revealed his name to her. When asked the elf just gave a smile. Instead of a name he gave her a small cloth from a breast pocket, and left without another word. Mae unfolded it to find a small locket of silver in the shape of lembas wrapped in a leaf. When opened she would find a single curled lock of blonde hair, Duilin’s hair. A possession Maelúthien would never show to another soul again.

The return to her father’s bedside was bittersweet, their reunion marred by Malbeth’s disfiguring condition. Fully paralyzed from the neck down, his pale flesh had mostly turned to gray bark-like scales. Bittersweet in their meeting, Maelúthien told her father of Duilin’s fall and the wound to her abdomen. He had cried at hearing of this not for himself but for being unable to hold and comfort his daughter at her terrible loss.
 
And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

She would later learn the nobleman from Edoras was a forgiving sort, and had wed less than a year after Maelúthien’s departure from Minas Tirith. Good news for her, as a slow dread had settled into the back of her mind at the thought of having to marry. Her first return to court would see her judgement from the Steward first. With her long hair freshly cut short, slimmer build and and almost empty look to her eye, anyone could see the young knight had survived an atrocity. Confident the ordeal had broken Mae enough, the Steward assigned no scrutiny and pursued no punishment. Ordered to do little more than return to her duties as a knight of Gondor, the Steward would wait out Malbeth’s line instead of striking it down.

Life would pick up a pace not unlike before Duilin’s death. What time would have been spent with him was instead given towards solace in Malbeth’s garden or visiting with the man himself. It always pained Mae to see her lord father now, memories of him helping her train as clear as yesterday. To see him bedridden and on death’s door was a daily wrench to her heart. More than ever the crippled lord pressed to teach Maelúthien everything he knew on courtly maneuvering, as he knew his time grew short. She would get plenty of practice in the years to come, sure to attend every courtly function to assure her family was represented. Their line may end with Maelúthien but she was sure that they would make an impact on the White City in her time. It had always been Malbeth’s goal to foster foreign relations and a more humble aristocracy, and his daughter fully supported his desires.

Whether because of this or the increase in malfeasance within Gondor, Mae would begin to find herself called to the field once more. Finding herself on the road more and more, Maelúthien became adept at juggling her duties as a knight and her duty as a noblewoman of Minas Tirith. She struggled every session to have a voice at first, but as the years passed Mae found herself a natural at maneuvering the rich elite not from the forefront but from the background. Using her infamous reputation and small but effective inner circle, Maelúthien does what she can to improve their world state from court as much as from questing through Middle-Earth.
 
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.




YOUR NAME:  Dutch
AGE:  2old
COUNTRY: 
EXPERIENCE: Mucho
OTHER CHARACTERS:  GRAWN
CONTACT:  PM
HOW DID YOU FIND US?:  Still Reis’ fault
ROLE PLAY/WRITING SAMPLE: 

Quote
To be added after getting to know the character in game.


CREDIT TO:Do not go gentle into that good night

by Dylan Thomas



« Last Edit: April 06, 2016, 06:09:30 PM by Maelúthien »

Manwë

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Re: Lady Maelúthien the Blackheart | WIP
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2015, 12:54:10 AM »


Avatar by Phobs-heh, signature by Cass~

Dutch

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Re: Lady Maelúthien the Blackheart | WIP
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2015, 07:06:56 PM »
Cheers! I'm still working on this, but y'know. Fallout. Battlefront. ._.

Mandos

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Re: Lady Maelúthien the Blackheart | WIP
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2015, 01:21:15 PM »

Varda

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Re: Lady Maelúthien the Blackheart | WIP
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2016, 04:25:40 AM »

Manwë

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Re: Lady Maelúthien the Blackheart | WIP
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2016, 08:46:46 PM »


Avatar by Phobs-heh, signature by Cass~

Ulmo

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Re: Lady Maelúthien the Blackheart | WIP
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2016, 04:25:47 PM »


Fíli | Aesa | Kvasir | Andar | Liv | Ivorak | Haleth | Ástir |Damel
Veizla | Vex | Loire | Muunokhoi | Morvoren | Faramir | Rorion | Ashar

Ulmo

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Re: Lady Maelúthien the Blackheart | WIP
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2016, 10:23:52 PM »


Fíli | Aesa | Kvasir | Andar | Liv | Ivorak | Haleth | Ástir |Damel
Veizla | Vex | Loire | Muunokhoi | Morvoren | Faramir | Rorion | Ashar

Dutch

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Re: Maelúthien
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2016, 06:14:07 PM »
Took like six months, buuuuut


Ulmo

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Re: Maelúthien
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2016, 06:37:10 PM »
Good things come to those who wait and Maelúthien proves it!  Her application is a beautiful, immersing read and I very much look forward to seeing where her adventures take her. <3



Fíli | Aesa | Kvasir | Andar | Liv | Ivorak | Haleth | Ástir |Damel
Veizla | Vex | Loire | Muunokhoi | Morvoren | Faramir | Rorion | Ashar

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