I created Maeve early in 1997, when Tales of Ta’veren closed down for further development and a few players from the game opened Cuendillar. I played her regularly until the re-opening of Tales of Ta’veren, more sporadically while it remained open, and then returned to actively playing her in 2002 as Tales of Ta’veren shut down permanently.
Some of the things she has been up to over the last years are reflected by the accolades I’ve won with her at Cuendillar’s yearly awards: In 2003, Best Non-Tower Channeler & Best Character Description in 2003. In 2004, Best Non-Tower Channeler, Best Entertainer, Most Likely to Cause a Scandal, Most Enjoyable TP, Most Helpful Player & Best Newbie Helper (Non-Staff). In 2005, Best Short Description (don’t ask me how), Best Player of Daes Dae’mar (again, don’t ask me how) & Most Enjoyable TP.
Highlights of burnished copper lend a fiery sheen to her gleaming wealth of darkly auburn tresses, cascading in unfettered abundance over her shoulders and past both trim waist and well-rounded hips, although errant wisps of silken hair seem to always frame her face. Within its distinctive, triangular shape, a bone-structure both refined and noble blends with strong features—high, pronounced cheekbones and an aquiline nose prominent amidst steep angles and sharp edges—and a capacity for expressions vivid almost to a fault. Just the tilt of her narrow chin hints at prideful confidence, and frequently sudden shifts in her mood from one extreme to another make plain her sometimes playfully, sometimes capriciously mercurial disposition. Still, the smile which often lingers upon sensual lips of a deep, dusky red is slyly mischievous and seldom do tilted, almond-shaped eyes, like stormy skies grey and ever-changing, lack a wickedly shameless gleam of bright silver. Dark and lengthy lashes of tarnished copper cannot even begin to obscure that brazenly bold gaze and the slender brows which arch above with such elegant—and sometimes insolent—nonchalance serve only to complement it. She is far from tall of stature, her form lithely built and sleekly toned—yet lush and sinuously curved rather than slenderly delicate—and there is about her a supple, almost willowy quality, her movements imbued with smooth, fluid grace and a suggestive, feline languor somehow echoed in her low and slightly husky voice.
A gown of obsidian-hued satin garbs her form, enveloping it in a dark sheen which contrasts sharply with the warmth and vibrancy of her own colouring and sets off the extravagant embroideries which adorn the garment in the best of ways. Thread-of-gold and touches of red trace the edge of the wide, off-the-shoulder neckline—a daring cut that reveals more than just a hint of cleavage—and a dense pattern in the same colours decorates the front and side panels of the tightly laced bodice. Opulent embroideries, again in gold with droplets of red, also gleam upon the short sleeves, that fall to just above her elbows and stop short an inch or so from meeting with the long gloves of black lace that climb up her arms. Below the close confines of the bodice, past the deep curve of her waist and hips, the skirt is lavishly wide, equally fitting for a courtly setting as a ballroom. It falls in many deep, rustling folds about her legs, the hem coming to just past her ankles, and beneath it petticoats edged in golden lace are worn, brushing the tops of her black slippers. Completing her outfit, gold and blood-red garnets gleam at her ears, around her throat and wrists and upon her fingers. Matching these colours, a fan of painted lace is worn at her side, the silken string ingeniously fastened within the folds of the dress.
The strongest driving force in Maeve’s life is probably need, more specifically her need for love and attention. It was there from the start, no doubt, but it was strengthened by the death of her mother and the subsequent material spoiling and emotional neglect from her father. From the latter stems her penchant for manipulating people—or rather, men—to get what she wants (or at least what she thinks she wants), and from the former stems her utter devotion to Diar; there is no way that she will allow herself to lose him as well. Of course, that’s not all there is to her. She has quite a formidable temper—most easily set off by jealousy—and she possesses more than her fair share of haughty pride, making her quite a typical Saldaean (and yes, she also likes a dominant man who knows how to handle her when she acts like a spoiled brat). Except, of course, her sense of propriety is somewhat different from that of most Saldaeans, as most Saldaean noblewomen would never be seen in public wearing the kinds of gowns she often favours.
Maeve Ygraine, the third child of lady Delara Sherazad (the heiress to an old and high lineage of Saldaean nobility) and her less illustrious but notably wealthy husband (the only son of minor Saldaean noble and his wealthy wife, the sole heiress to an Andoran merchant-family’s fortune) by the name of Tharald Aztine, was from the day that she was born very different in looks as well as nature from both her father and her two dark-eyed, raven-haired siblings. Of the three children she was the only one to inherit her mother’s auburn hair, although awash in highlights of fiery copper, and her eyes were nothing like either her mother’s or her father’s; tilted, yes, but the colour of a stormy sky, shot through at times by flashes of silvery lightning. And her temper was all lightning and quicksilver too, but that was not exactly unusual for a Saldaean woman.
At the time of her birth, the marriage between Tharald and Delara had already begun to grow uncomfortable, as Delara had long ago realized that not only had her husband married her for her name and little else but also that they were as incompatible as two people could possibly be, her Saldaean nature poorly suited to a man like Tharald who more and more came to favour the Andoran side of his heritage. The once lively and vivacious Delara had resigned herself to these facts, and slowly their relationship had turned overly polite and formal, if not exactly unfriendly. However, with the birth of Maeve things took a turn for the worse. For while the other two children were something they had in common, her youngest daughter put an additional strain on the relationship as Tharald was always very distant towards the child, and strongly disapproved of the way she was turning out. Almost as if he knew that something wasn’t quite right.
In the year that Maeve was to turn eleven, Delara succumbed to a summer fever, leaving the young girl on her own—for over the years she had grown more and more distant from the rest of her family—and very, very lonely. Delara had always cared for and protected Maeve more than her siblings, and the girl had come to adore her mother, wanting nothing but to please her. Now, with her mother gone, the girl was left feeling as if she had somehow failed, and over the years to come things got progressively worse, as Tharald—who never had understood either his wife or his youngest daughter, and barely his other two children—continued to try and treat her like he had treated Delara; giving her all that she could wish for of material things, but nothing in the way of love or affection. And while Thiery and Dianora seemed ... unscarred by such an upbringing, with their younger sister the result was a very different one, perhaps because she was so very much her mother’s daughter. That all she wished for never was further a way than a request left her spoiled and demanding, yet worse was how the lack of love and affection would mark her and what it would drive her to do.
To replace what had been lost with the death of her mother could not be done, as there was no one willing to give or receive the love and affection she yearned for, so with time she came instead to seek, in all ways possible, what she at least could have: attention. While still merely a young girl it was mostly through rebellious and outrageous acts that she gained this, but as she grew older and changed from child into a young woman, other ways opened for her, ways she did not hesitate long to take advantage of, finding that they would not only provide her with the attention she so desired but also the means for her to still have whatever she wished, even after her father tried to impose restrictions on her. Too late had he realized how spoiled and unruly she had become, and now she took matters into her own hands whenever he tried to restrain her. Why argue with her father about being allowed something when she could always charm someone into discreetly helping her?
And so daring flirting became another way to seek that attention she craved and to manipulate others in order to get whatever she wanted as well, like she had always been used to. She was ... uncannily successful, even for an admittedly pretty and charming young girl. Fickle and shallow she came to be seen as for the way she acted, breaking many hearts despite her young age and caring for none as none truly was able to touch the true, sincere her, and no one ever knew quite where they had her. She was dangerously mercurial, her mood and manners shifting from one moment to the next and her range was quite formidable. From sweet and charming she’d suddenly turn fierce, even vicious, and while she’d one moment be the perfect, poetry-reciting Saldaean lady, the next she could just as well be as wanton as any tavern wench or more forward than even most farmgirls. And all of it was to some degree an act.
Seldom did she show her true self, hiding it beneath the mannerisms picked up both from the things her mother had taught her or seen to that she was trained in (often without Tharald’s approval but he could never command his wife when she’d made her mind up) and the more proper education her father had insisted on as well. And so she had dancing and riding lessons, hawking and hunting tuition, some training in the use of knives, even a bit of unarmed fighting, and of course schooling in the language of lace fans, court etiquette and even basic management of an estate. And after Delara’s death she found ways to ‘educate’ herself, to her father’s and his household’s distress, in less proper things such as gambling, more fighting and other things a Saldaean lady really ought not to know about, as well as continuing to practice the sa’sara in order to be every bit as brilliant as it was rumoured her mother had been in her youth.
Often her father or one of his older, less easily swayed retainers would catch her, rarely without the company of one or more of her devoted admirers, trying to ride that new, unbroken stallion, practicing knife fighting or even wrestling (not seldom in the hayloft…) and of course dancing, always to a captivated audience. In the year that she was to turn 17, not long after her 16th birthday, her father had had enough of her escapades, and one day she was simply told that her had arranged a marriage for her with the oldest son of an Andoran lordling, a long-time business acquaintance of his, in the hope that this at least would force her to settle down. Maeve, having met her intended lord Farhan Camhail a few years earlier and found him to be an utter bore, refused, and likely would have had no matter who her father had found for her.
Tharald’s response, locking her up for a time so that she would come to her senses, only drove her into making a decision which would change her life utterly and forever, leaving her no way back and an uncertain future ahead of her. After a few days of sullen sulking she pretended to give in, allowing him to finalize the engagement and playing the perfect daughter while the journey to Andor and her marriage were prepared. But as soon as she got a chance, when her father set out for Andor a week before she was due to go, she charmed some of the servants in her uncanny way, pretending eagerness to marry and saying she wished to surprise her father by arriving early. Thus she managed to get a pack-horse loaded with a selection of clothes and jewellery, as well as a small sum of money, and saddled her favourite steed, riding off into the night and towards a new life.