Mel'arnach Val'Sarghress

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Mel'arnach Val'Sarghress
Moonless Age character
Portrait of Mel'arnach Val'Sarghress
Race: Drowolath
Current Status
Feldian Resident
Talents
  • High Sorcery - Shapeshifting
  • Affinity - Air Sorcery
Family
Trivia
  • Used to cross-dress as her brother

Mel'arnach is Ariel's biological mother. She is on hostile terms with her mother and leader of the clan, Quain'tana Val'Sarghress.

Mel'arnach despises her mother and spent most of her recent years locked away. She had a child in captivity with an aware spider named Zhor, but Quain'tana quickly took the child to claim as her own daughter. The girl was named Ariel and she became the heir to the Val'Sarghress clan. Mel was devastated and tried to steal her daughter away, but by the time Mel'arnach was able to tell her daughter the truth, Ariel had already solidified her loyalties to Quain'tana and the clan.

Mel'arnach also recently became aware of a second daughter of hers - a product of Val'Jaal'darya science. Mel'arnach's love, Snadhya'rune Vel'Sharen, used eggs from herself and from Mel to give rise to Kalki Nidra'chaal.

After a final internment, Mel has agreed to create more heirs for Quain'tana. She has moved to the Sulissin'rune dome with her bodyguard Lulianne for this purpose.

Appearance and Personality

Mel'arnach is a lover rather than a fighter. She is empathetic with those in need, is kind and affectionate to those she feels deserves it, and wishes only to have the freedom to do what she pleases. This is at extreme odds with Quain'tana's constant demand for duty, responsibility and strength of will, and the two never saw eye to eye. Despite this "softness," Mel can be just as stubborn as her mother, and she refuses constantly to bend to her will.

Though Mel'arnach does not like to mate with males, she longs badly for a child of her own. She does not like the cold and distant way that drow are usually raised, and wants to see her children grow up happy and free of the burdens of responsibility and hardship. Free of these politics herself, Mel has taken Snadhya'rune Vel'Sharen as a lover despite the fact that the Vel'Sharen are her clan's most hated enemy.

Mel'arnach is known to wear very revealing clothing made of spider silk that better facilitates the use of her high sorcery. Her hair is a very pale purple color and reaches down to her calves. Her eyes are purple.

Mel'arnach's High Sorcery

Mel's high sorcery is presumably very similar to that of Khaless before she was taken by a demon. Not much is known about her abilities, but she can be seen to shift into a strange black form that allows her to reshape her body and move in non-conventional ways. This ability, in some form, has been passed down to her daughter Ariel.

Biography - Background

Early Days of the Sarghress Clan

Mel'arnach and her twin brother Kel'noz were raised by their mother Quain'tana to hold the same ideals as the Sarghress clan - strength of mind and body, determination to do what is needed no matter the cost, and the will to fight against the grain. Quain'tana wished for Mel'arnach to follow in her footsteps, but Mel preferred a more tolerant and accepting path. They argued, but ultimately Mel'arnach was sent off to the Orthorbbae to learn about the politics of the ruling clans. She met and fell in love with Snadhya'rune Vel'Sharen, one of the leaders of the Sarghress clan's most hated enemy. During this time, she also became aquainted with Wi'am Val'Jaal'darya, Yuh'le, Sal'bara and others who were favored students of Snadhya'rune.

When Quain'tana found out, she demanded Mel'arnach come back and answer for her crimes. She remained on strained terms with Quain'tana until Quain was rendered barren by Sarv'swati Vel'Sharen.

An Heir to the Clan

Mel's first meeting with Ariel does not go the way she hoped.[1]

Soon after her injury, Quain'tana's only other daughter, Laele'aell, fell to a demon and was unfit to lead the clan. Mel'arnach refused to take her place as heir, so Quain'tana instead demanded that Mel produce a child to continue the bloodline. Mel refused this as well, citing an extreme distaste for men (especially those of the Sarghress clan). Quain'tana imprisoned Mel'arnach for this, and the clan begin to built urban legends around the dishonored heir that lurked in her spidery lair. Mel'arnach became the boogeyman of the Sarghress clan, a reputation she accepted.

Mel'arnach grew lonely with only her spiders and Zhor for company, and eventually the two began attempts to conceive a child of their own. Since Zhor was essentially a large spider, she hoped that they baby would be born with abnormal qualities that would make it undesirable to Quain'tana. Unfortunately, the baby was born a healthy female drow, and Quain'tana immediately stole the child away from the weakened Mel. Quain'tana named the baby Ariel, put her in Syphile's care and declared her publicly as her own daughter. Mel'arnach was heartbroken and enraged, and began to plot revenge on her mother.

Kel'noz managed to persuade Mel'arnach to wait before attempting to steal Ariel away. If Mel'arnach took Ariel, Quain'tana would have searched relentlessly for the girl. Ultimately convinced that she did not want to raise her child on the run, Mel waited.

Biography - Arc I

Ariel's Growth

Mel'arnach uses her high sorcery to capture Syphile.[2]

Mel'arnach first had a chance to meet Ariel when Ariel was leaving to go to school at the Orthorbbae. Mel was excited, but Ariel had been raised on the horror stories the clan had spread about Mel'arnach the child-eater. Ariel panicked, but Mel held her close, attempting to show her daughter the love and affection she had never experienced with Syphile. Eventually Mel'arnach's guards managed to restrain her, and Ariel ran for safety.

Mel'arnach's impatience grew as she watched Ariel be raised away from her. She bent the knee in front of Quain'tana and respectfully asked to raise Ariel herself, and Quain'tana said she would never allow it. Mel attempted to attack her mother and promised to kill her one day. Quain'tana knocked her out and she was brought back to her chambers.

Mel later slipped her guards and found Ariel fighting with Syphile in the halls of the fortress. Just before Syphile could open a nether gate, Mel'arnach shifted her form into an irrecognizable black figure and intervened to throw Syphile down a nearby set of stairs. She then stole Ariel away to her lair, where the girl woke up screaming.

Mel calmed her down and spoke to her softly. It wasn't long before Ariel warmed up to Mel'arnach's kindness, and she began to open up about her experiences so far. Mel'arnach eagerly listened and advised her "sister," and gave her a purple dragon biogolem as a gift. She also gave Ariel advice on how to convince Quain'tana to allow her to go on a trip to the surface to rescue her friend, Faen. Ariel thanked Mel'arnach for her help and left to meet with Quain'tana.

One of Mel'arnach's guards began to wander into her lair for visits. Mel learned that the guard's name was Lulianne, and the two began to share their stories with each other. Mel enjoyed the company, and Lulianne appeared to grow some measure of respect for the supposed boogeyman.

Escape from the Fortress

Mel'arnach was somehow given warning that the Sarghress fortress would soon come under attack. Rather than warn her clan, she used the chaos to escape from the fortress with Zhor in tow. Lulianne gave chase, and the two women argued about responsibility to their respective clans. Mel refused to return, so Lulianne insisted on coming along until Mel'arnach came back. Mel agreed to this, and the two left for Felde to find Snadhya'rune Vel'Sharen. Mel had not been outside the walls of the fortress in years, and they found Snadhya's old estate to be occupied by a strange, but friendly girl who promised to take then the Snadhya at Orthorbbae.

Snadhya's plans are a dream come true for Mel.[3]

The girl turned out to be Kalki, Snadhya's secret daughter. Upon warmly meeting with her lover, Snadhya told Mel that Kalki was actually born of the eggs of herself and of Mel'arnach, making Kalki Mel's "daughter." Mel was shocked to hear that she had a daughter, and took some time to adjust to this revelation.

When Mel met up with Lulianne in the hall, she found the guard to be tainted and badly injured. Mel cared for Lu and did everything she could for the poor guard, though Zhor attempted to warn her that Lulianne was lying about what had happened to her. Mel and Snadhya spent the night eating chocolate and living luxuriously, just as Mel always dreamed of. Snadhya told Mel about the Nidra'chaal organization and confessed to being their leader. She asked Mel to join them. Mel, oblivious to what had happened in the previous centuries, thought it sounded perfect but decided she needed some time to think about it.

Snadhya managed to convince Mel'arnach to go back to the Sarghress. She told Mel to bend to Quain'tana's knee for now, and that if she played her cards right she would be the next Ill'haress of the Val'Sarghress clan. Mel begrudgingly agreed, and the two openly took a ride back to the Sarghress fortress.

Their cart was attacked, but nobody was injured badly. Mel arrived home with Snadhya's hand in hers, declaring that they came in peace.


Reconciliation

Snadhya left, and Mel was forced into shackles at Quain'tana's feet. Mel said she would do anything for another chance, to which Quain'tana mandated that she bear children for the clan. When Mel asked if there was another way, Quain said she'd have to kill her. With nothing left to say, Quain'tana demanded that Mel's arms be broken. Mel'arnach angrily spat that Quain should do her own dirty work, so Quain'tana obliged - smashing Mel'arnach's arms to a pulp with a warhammer.

Mel'arnach was thrown into a deep dungeon pit, where she was unexpectedly visited by Ariel and Kel'noz. Mel'arnach told Ariel about who her true mother was through sobs of pain, confusing Ariel deeply. Ariel couldn't bear to suddenly accept Mel as her mother, and ran for Quain'tana. Mel was utterly devastated, and she blamed Kel for turning the girl against her. Kel'noz simply replied that he needed to do what was best for the clan and encouraged Mel to let Ariel make her own choice.

Ariel convinced Quain'tana to give Mel'arnach one last chance. Mel agreed to Quain'tana's terms this time, and Quain'tana had her brought to the healers to fix her arms. She also demanded that the healers leave Mel the scars to serve as a reminder. Ariel visited Mel'arnach during her healing, placing her hand affectionately in her "sister's" palm.

Biography - Arc II

Bearing Heirs for the Clan

Mel talks to Faen about love.[4]

Mel'arnach was later moved to the Sulissin'rune dome to bear more children in the Sarghress main line while Ariel continued to grow up away from her. She bore 2 sons, both of which were taken from her and were being raised somewhere in the Sarghress fortress, and became pregnant a third time. Lulianne was exiled from the clan, and Mel'arnach accepted her as a personal bodyguard and friend.

On Ariel's first mission with the Home Guard, she stopped by Mel'arnach's apartment while patrolling the Sulissin'rune territories. While it was clear that Ariel had accepted the fact that Mel was her biological mother, she still held allegiance to Quain'tana and the clan. Ariel and Mel were on friendly terms, but clearly argued over Quain'tana's goals. Mel felt betrayed by Kel, feeling that he had turned Ariel away from her.

Mel'arnach also spoke with Faen in private. She did her best to encourage Faen to love Ariel and to not let Quain'tana's demands get in the way of that love. Faen used her empathy on Mel's pregnant womb and determined that the baby was likely to be a girl.

When Mel gives birth to said girl she develops postpartum depression in dealing with the inevitablity of yet another child being snatched from her arms--she goes so far as to not even look at the child, even at the nursemaid Xy'tin's urging. When she was finally able to depart Sarghress control with Khaless Sharen (who still wears the disguise of Lulianne), at the Val'Nal'sarkoth gate out of the city, Mel'arnach decided never to look upon her stolen children as hers for fear of the troubles she went through with Ariel.

Arrival in Felde

Mel isn't as excited as usual to meet Snadhya'rune for the first time since she was sealed in the Sullisin'rune Dome--in fact, she is angry and sad all at once for being thrown under the bus by the Vel'Sharen. Snadhya soothes her lover with a promise that she will never have to deal with the Sarghress again. However, Lulianne wasn't having it; she insisted that Mel'arnach should take control of the Sarghress and stop the war, but Mel would have no more of the clans.

Snadhya'rune then shows Mel her "gift", in the form of a transformed Zhor--by Wi'am Val'Jaal'darya's hand he was reorganized back into his original Dokkalfar form, although in need of getting used to the old body. At first Mel'arnach couldn't believe it was real until Snadhya and Wi'am explained who he was and how it was done. The two then were left alone to catch up on a lot of topics, such as the painful reminder of Mel's children being left behind in Sarghress hands. Zhor insists that Mel not overreact, but Mel is final in her decision to forget about the kids for the good of them both.

After Snadhya'rune's speech had concluded, a small squad of Sarghress specialists was captured after assassinating Femi Val'Jaal'darya and stealing a sample of what they assumed was the flower plague cure. When Snadhya'rune interrogated Erelice, she requested Mel'arnach's advice on the best approach. Mel'arnach advised her to cut them up, as the Sarghress only understood strength. She stood calmly while the rest of Erelice's squad was fired upon by Snadhya's stolen airship; after the first blast, she showed admiration for the ship's power.[5]

Mel and Zhor have their first argument.

Once the execution was concluded, Mel'arnach asked about Lulianne's whereabouts, still unaware that she was actually Khaless. After securing a promise from Snadhya to have Lulianne sent to her, she returned to their quarters, where Zhor still waited. He confronted Mel, finally able to tell her how much he felt that Snadhya's influence had changed her, and in his opinion, not for the better. Mel'arnach denied it, arguing that she felt untouchable and safe with Snadhya'rune. She then stormed out of the room, telling him that she liked him better as a beast.[6]

Family Reunion

Mel'arnach was thrilled to find that Snadhya'rune had arranged for Ariel and Faen to attend a family dinner after her surprise arrival in Felde. There were initial tensions, however, as Ariel did not appear to have been warned of who would be attending. The two young drow attempted to leave, but were stopped by Snadhya, who asked what news they brought from Chel. Ariel confidently told Snadhya that her clan was losing the war; the First Daughter seemed surprisingly satisfied by the news. Snadhya'rune continued to speak of her wish that Chel be led by a strong leader, and complimented Faen and Ariel's clans on their ability to breed strong women in an effort to sway them. Mel'arnach pleaded with her to listen to Snadhya'rune, saying that she wasn't like the other Sharen. After offering to set aside her crown if it would put them at ease, Snadhya'rune convinced Ariel and Faen to stay long enough for cake to arrive.

Mel'arnach was finally able to introduce Ariel to her father Zhor, who had been recently restored to his original Dokkalfar body by Wi'am Val'Jaal'darya.[7] To Mel's discomfort, Kalki then announced loudly that Mel was her daddy. After rebuking Kalki, Snadhya shifted the conversation to what Ariel's aspirations were. Upon the news that Ariel had received a promotion to the Highland Raiders, Mel appeared to be thrilled at the news. [8]Snadhya spoke of Chel's need for a strong ruler, which Mel agreed. When the subject of who would take over in the event of Quain'tana's demise, Snadhya attempted to convince Ariel of her right to rule, stating that Mel'arnach could be at her side to help her. Mel'arnach was pleased with the idea, proposing that they could be a family once again, including her younger children. Snadhya supported her, stating that a mother should never be separated from her babies.[9]

Mel happily introduces Ariel to her father Zhor, after years of waiting.

Ariel, still unconvinced, again attempted to leave with Faen. Hoping to convince her to stay, Mel'arnach pleaded with her to listen to Snadhya'rune, hoping to convince her that Quain'tana was tearing them apart. As mother and daughter argued, Kalki stabbed Ariel's hand with a knife, pinning it to the table and telling the younger drow that she was stuck with them. Faen attempted to help her remove the knife as Snadhya reprimanded Kalki, warning her not to push her patience. Before anyone could stop her, Kalki snatched Lulianne's sword and severed Ariel's arm.[10]

Mel'arnach was stunned, watching on as Zhor tackled Kalki and Faen attempted to help Ariel close her wound. Kalki threw Zhor to the side, beating him with Ariel's arm until Snadhya'rune intervened by summoning a floor dragon to subdue her. The young Nidra'chal argued that she and Snadhya didn't need Mel and Ariel, stomping angrily out of the room at her mother's order. Mel watched her leave, illiciting a promise from Snadhya to help Ariel.[11]When Lulianne apologized to Mel afterwards, as it was her blade that Kalki had stolen, Mel admonished her, telling her that she was the one to blame for losing her patience, calling herself a terrible mother.[12]

With Snadhya's assistance, Ariel was brought out of her stupor, having managed to close her wound with Zhor's guidance. A pair of guards soon brought Riz'riia into the room, claiming that they had caught her sneaking about. Snadhya attempted to convince Ariel to absorb Riz's arm, reasoning that it would be too late to reattach her original arm - especially since Kalki had left the room still holding it. Mel'arnach also attempted to convince her, telling her that Quain'tana would have killed a hundred of her own troops for less. Ariel refused, however, stating that a Sarghress didn't steal from her comrades. Snadhya commented that it was disappointing, and that she sensed Zhor's blood in her as Zhor looked on proudly.[13]

Escape From Felde

Mel'arnach, Lulianne, Zhor and several guards escorted Ariel and Faen to their rooms; along the way, Mel commented that she hoped that Kalki would be punished - she should be the one to give Ariel the arm. When they arrived at the guest quarters they found that the room had been set on fire - presumably by Kalki. Ariel noticed her discarded arm lying on the ground; after attempting to reattach it, she found that it was unsalvageable. As she sat in disappointment, Mel attempted to reason with the guards, telling them that they would take Ariel and Faen to their chambers upstairs.[14]

They were interrupted by the arrival of a member of the Kavahini clan, who proceeded to evade the guards and headed down the hallway. When Lulianne left to give chase, Ariel and Faen took advantage of the distraction to slip away, despite Mel'arnach's protests. As they turned to go, Ariel told Zhor that it was nice talking to him, at long last, telling him to take care of Mel. Mel'arnach attempted to stop them, desperate to see her family reunited after so long, but was stopped by Zhor, who told her that she needed to learn to let go, revealing that he had had several children before he had been changed.[15]They watched Ariel and Faen retreat, then resolved to find safety for themselves.

Seeing Snadhya'rune's True Colors

After the invasion began to turn in favor of the defenders, Mel'arnach sought out Snadhya'rune. She arrived at Snadhya's throne room in time to see the First Daughter showing true rage for the first time as Snadhya raged at the invaders, crushing them with her summons. Upon seeing Mel'arnach's look of shock, Snadhya appeared to calm down, masking her rage with a polite expression and calmly asking for a healer.[16]

Fighting For Snadhya's Cause

When Sil'lice invaded Snadhya'rune's tower in Chel, accompanied by Commander Sang and a complement of Sarghress Home Guard soldiers, they found resistance in the form of some of Snadhya'rune's favored agents. As Sil'lice was about to defeat the Sul sisters, Mel'arnach intervened, using her abilities to save Bae'rali. Using hand-to-hand, she fought with Sil'lice, taking a wound to the chest by Sil'lice's sword. She was in turn saved by Shodun Val'Illhar'dro, who used her spellsong to blast the rogue Sharen out through a window.[17]

Snadhya promises to find Ariel and reunite her with Mel.

A Parent's Worst Fear

Mel'arnach was staying with Snadhya'rune at the Val'Nal'sarkoth Fortress, where the First Daughter broke the news of the Sarghress inner conflict, and her children getting caught in the crossfire. Unaware that her youngest two children had actually survived, she mourned them, lamenting that she hadn't even had a chance to learn the youngest baby's name. It is unsure whether Snadhya'rune deliberately misled Mel'arnach, or whether she was mis-informed by her agents. Snadhya attempted to soothe Mel'arnach, telling her that they hadn't confirmed Ariel's status and promising to reunite them if she still lived.[18]

Mel refuses to let anyone harm Zhor.

Mel'arnach returned to their guest quarters, waiting for Snadhya to conclude her business with Viri'sylvia Val'Nal'sarkoth. Hearing a noise, she investigated, and found Chrys'tel Vel'Sharen rummaging through Snadhya's belongings. When Mel confronted her, Chrys'tel appeared to be unimpressed, continuing to desperately search for something. Before she could attack the young Sharen, Zhor intervened, telling Mel to not interfere. She argued with him, telling him they owed Snadhya; Zhor denied this, and gave Chrys'tel vital information that the only known sample of the cure was in the hands of Jaal'darya who were loyal to the Nidraa'chal.[19]

Mel's loyalty was tested when Shinae and Jiaan entered the hallway, chasing Chrys'tel. Zhor wheeled himself in front of Jiaan, hoping to slow him down and allow Chrys time to escape. When Jiaan kicked him, however, Mel refused to stand by and watch any longer, and punched the Sharen guardian, telling him not to touch Zhor. Their fate after the attack on the Val'Nal'sarkoth fortress was uncertain.[20]

Notable Quotes

"If there was a ship, Quain destroyed it. She destroys everything she touches." - To Ariel and Snadhya'rune, when asked what she thought of the old stories about Quain'tana.

"Don't you dare! We're going to be a family at last!" - To Ariel and Faen as they prepare to escape Snadhya's tower in Felde.

"And the youngest? They couldn't...I never even had the chance to hear her name!" - To Snadhya, after being told that her children had been killed.



This article reflects events up to chapter 50.

Sources:

  1. chapter 1 page 48
  2. chapter 8 page 30
  3. chapter 27 page 18
  4. chapter 36 page 26
  5. chapter 46 page 25
  6. chapter 46 page 31
  7. chapter 46 page 62
  8. chapter 46 page 63
  9. chapter 46 page 65
  10. chapter 46 page 67
  11. chapter 46 page 71
  12. chapter 46 page 73
  13. chapter 46 page 77
  14. chapter 46 page 87
  15. chapter 46 page 89
  16. chapter 46 page 139
  17. chapter 46 page 101
  18. chapter 50 page 221
  19. chapter 50 page 235
  20. chapter 50 page 237