Contact: Gtalk preferred. Mysteriouspriest at gmail
Character Name: Melanie al-Haadiyah
Character Age: 27
Birthday (including year): October 16
Current Location: Forsilvra
House [Birth and Marriage if applicable]: Related to the Fleurants, but not acknowledged by them.
Player Base: Tenika Davis
Appearance: Melanie stands at an impressive 5'9". Her mother Marwa said that her own grandmother had been as tall, but that the height had been lost for a few generations. She has a tiny pale scar on the back of her neck, under her hair, from the midwife's knife on the day she was born. She smiles a great deal, particularly now that she's out of Enos and out from under the thumb of the Fleurants.
As an homage to the fangs of Fujin's serpents, Melanie carries a blade when she travels, the blade tainted with poison. It probably won't kill her enemy quickly enough to save her should she be attacked, but she believes the gods will defend her if she deserves it and if it fits their plans. All she wants is the right to claim vengeance, and even if an enemy leaves her dead in a river... they will probably not make it far either.
Melanie is a woman strongly impacted by her history. Generations of women before her passed down knowledge that her mother passed to her and that she now uses for the benefit of those she meets along her travels, many of them never knowing how her family's history has touched them. Her grandmother had been a wise woman for their tribe, and now Melanie considers it her job to be the wise woman for the Quintists, using the wisdom of her family for the benefit of the gods who adopted her to bring her to the service of their church and their people.
The scorching heat of Melanie's home slows down the pace of life a great deal, but heading further north has allowed the cooler air and water to quicken Melanie's pace a great deal. Obviously water doesn't taste quite as sweet further north, but it's a livelier world without her home's lethal midday heat replaced by the unpredictable and irascible weather of the northern provinces and that suits Melanie just fine.
She's used to people being a little wary of her if they agree with the church that Amelie was the one who selected Melanie. Melanie herself refuses to decide whether being bound to the goddess of death in that way is a blessing or a curse--either way it means that she's been seen, and she matters. She'll take a cursed significance over total insignificance any day. Melanie's a friendly woman, but sometimes when she speaks about the gods and their ways she does so with an intensity that plays into this reputation.
Really, though, her mystic's heart beats inside a woman of flesh and blood. She's enthusiastic, passionate, and loves to eat and swim and experience the world the gods created. She treats her status as an Acolyte as license to be very familiar with people regardless of rank, since all humans are equal before the gods and even kings may suffer nightmares, indigestion, or difficulty conceiving. Everybody's problems are the same, and everybody can turn to the gods.
As comfortable as she is around most people, she prefers the company of women, since their lives have secrets and mysteries that men aren't going to understand. There are experiences women share that even the sweetest and wisest of men cannot touch. She wants to hear everyone's gossip. She wants to know about women's children, husbands, love affairs, all of that completely common and utterly human stuff. She can't be everyone's best friend or chatty aunt unfortunately, and people who refuse to be her friend will find themselves treated to her religious intensity instead. If she cannot be loved, she'll at least be respected and perhaps slightly feared.
She's generally happy to shake off that act, though, and get back to hearing about whose stablehand is driving the noblewomen wild.
Melanie spends a lot of time hypervigilant for signs and omens, since she believes the gods are constantly talking to humans and humans just aren't paying attention. A lot of these obviously come to nothing since not every flock of birds or defective animal birth can carry the weight of the entire future, but every now and again she'll be able to look back and say that she saw something coming... even if she didn't quite know it at the time.
The animism of her mother's people strongly colors how Melanie interacts with the gods and their associated animals, plants, and consecrated spaces. To her mother, the spirits that filled the universe were a part of daily life, not sacred faith but plain ordinary fact. Melanie hopes to bring other Forsilvrans closer to the Five and their children in a similar way, keeping the gods on the minds of humans and--hopefully--keeping humans in the gods' good graces.
In this way she considers herself their emissary. When people she meets have problems that can be solved by the gods--and really, what problems cannot?--she offers them solace and a chance to make things right with what an outsider might call charms or spells but which Melanie treats like prayers with props. She came to the gods because of the kindness of their priests and priestesses, and so Melanie is hoping others will do the same.
Still, there's a limit to her patience. The skin and hair the gods saw fit to grant her from her mother's people mark her as different, and there are those who think to punish her for it. In these cases... well... the gods can be wrathful as well. Everyone knows that.
In Enos, Ahestere lived a woman named Marwa, who was of mixed Maélazan and Hazir ancestry. She was the maid and mistress of one of Enos's Fleurant bastards. In 213 she decided to try and get a child from him in the hopes of earning herself a greater commitment from him. He'd only been a little use to her so far, and knew that his family wouldn't look kindly on him marrying a Hazir woman... and he was only part of the family on their good graces as it was.
A child might do the trick.
The girl was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her throat, but the old woman who attended the birth cut it away quickly enough that the child was eventually able to clear her lungs and breathe. Marwa had had a daughter. They kept the girl from her father for a few days to make sure that she would live, and finally the two were introduced. Her father was dismayed at how much the infant looked like her mother, and when pressed for a name he named her Melanie, which meant simply dark. That was the last time Marwa was to ask a man what he thought where children were concerned.
In 225, when Melanie was twelve, a vulture kept by the Enos temple to honor Amelie got loose. After eating the snakes kept to honor Fujin, it flew away. Worried by this terrible omen and wondering what they could have done to upset Amelie, the church despaired of ever seeing the vulture again and set to work apologizing to Fujin for the offense. With luck, they'd just gotten caught up in a quarrel between the gods, and it had nothing to do with them at all. That was their hope.
Melanie found the animal. Unaware that it had escaped from the temple and treating it as a nuisance carrion-bird, neighborhood children were throwing rocks at it. By the time Melanie came upon it, its wing was broken. Her mother was away visiting relatives, and nobody would help, so she wrapped it in a cloak and solemnly carried the large wounded bird to the temple. She liked the people at the temple because they never made fun of her hair and hoped that they'd be kind enough to help the animal rather than simply butchering it.
All conversation stopped when the little dark curly-headed girl showed up with their sacred bird, as good as brought to the temple by Amelie herself. Still insure what Fujin had to do with anything, they were nonetheless impressed by the circumstances under which Melanie had come to them that day, and when they walked her home, they asked who her father was. Ordinarily she wouldn't have told them, but they were priests and so she gave his name. They left her at her mother's house and went to ask him if his daughter Melanie could be permitted to join the Quintist church.
He was infuriated to be so publicly associated with his illegitimate offspring by the maid--in front of the church, no less!--and denied permission. That, as the priests were sure, was that. Perhaps they could discuss whether the omen of Melanie carrying their bird could outweigh the wishes of her father, but that would have to be taken up with the Chosen. They left his house and so did he. He was headed to see Melanie.
Her father never made it there. A murder of crows frightened his horse and the beast threw him and trod on his chest. The horse fled and by the time anyone found him, the ravens had dug deeply into that wound and even taken his eyes.
Or at least, so Melanie and her mother were told when the Quintists returned a week later, having heard of the man's fate from his neighbors and drawn their own conclusions. These gods were not Marwa's, but foreign or no she didn't dare cross them after what had happened to the last person to stand in their way.
Melanie wondered for years what Fujin had had to do with anything. Why had he given up his serpents to the voracious appetite of Amelie's vulture? Was he angry with Amelie for it? Was he angry with Melanie? She thought of Amelie as the one who'd destroyed her old life, but she paid special attention to Fujin in case the thieving god thought to steal her back as payment for the insult Amelie had paid him in acquiring her.
Things began to make more sense to Melanie when Ahestere finally fell prey to the indiscriminate beak and claws of the plague. She was an Acolyte by this point, and she dreamed of Fujin. She was sleeping on the floor of her mother's house, where she had as a child, when Fujin came to her covered in blood. He smiled his beautiful smile, teeth flashing white in his dark gore-smeared face, and she knew in the dream that her family was dead. He came to her, and he lay with her, and she woke in the temple in a sweating terror.
She snuck out into the night to check on her mother, but her mother was fine. Still, it had been a terrible omen, and two years later when the plague claimed Melanie's little sister Riham, she remembered Fujin. The plague finally burnt itself down to ashes, and Melanie noted with surprise that her mother still lived. An incomplete vision, then, but one that had badly rattled her. Enos held only a very small place in her heart because of the Fleurant family's disregard for her and anybody who seemed anything like her, and Marwa had moved to Lismore after Riham's death anyway.
Melanie left to travel even further north, hoping to learn how they had dealt with the plague and reach out to the minds and hearts of these foreign strangers in the hopes that perhaps if the worship of the Five and their children were kept strong, the gods would be pleased with their mortal creatures and spare them. To this day she is certain that either the plague will return to finish off her family as her dream foretold, or that some other calamity is coming. If Amelie were planning to take Marwa, Melanie knows that there was nothing she could do to stop it, but perhaps if she helps ensure that the gods had less reason to punish humanity, she can help avert their wrath.
Melanie's ears were full of the throbbing of water. This water was calm; there was no tide here. Still, it was loud and its groaning reached down from where the water slipped like silk over her skin all the way down to her bones. In the midst of all the noise here at last she had quiet. Nobody wanted anything. Nobody needed anything. Nobody had a fine story to tell her, all urgent tragedy or thrilling sauciness. Here it was just her and Enkil's element over her skin.
They were all secrets, she knew, the muffled and warped words that he moaned against her skin. They were his to keep but not hers to know, but she was grateful he'd do her the honor of letting her come so close to them, of letting her hear his voice at least. It was not an experience she thought most people had, though maybe they could if more of them thought to hold their breaths and open their eyes in the murky water... watching sediment drifting through the lances of sunlight... and just... listen.
She was only human, though. Eventually Melanie had to surface, gulping in the air that her body craved as the price for allowing her so long with Enkil. She paid it gladly; he was worth it.
[Time Line Events]
213 AF: Melanie is born.
225 AF: Melanie is invited to join the Quintist church. After the death of her father, she's accepted as an Initiate.
232 AF: Marwa bears another girl, Riham.
235 AF: Melanie becomes an Acolyte.
236 AF: The plague reaches Ahestere.
238 AF: Riham is killed by the plague.
240 AF: Last documented case of the plague.
4/27/241 - House Linnet and the banners of Ahestere arrive in Forsilvra, and Melanie is with them. She avoids the Fleurants and instead keeps closer to the SanJars and Linnets when possible.
Some Fleurant -/- Some commoner
- Unknown -/- Marwa
Last edited by Melanie al-Haadiyah; 07-05-2012 at 04:54 AM.
The Lioness of Forsilvra
Fantastic and welcome to the church! <3
Although I'm sending you one PM about one issue
Last edited by Jenn; 07-06-2012 at 11:53 AM.
Welcome to Forsilvra! Come on in! Say Hi! Wipe your feet and stay awhile
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