Life happens how it happens, either move with the maelstrom or die wallowing about the change in the winds.
Social Rank: 7
Concept: Repatriated Artist
Marital Status: Widowed
Religion: Faith of the Pantheon
Hair Color: White
Eye Color: Deep Blue
Description: What once was heart-stopping beauty in her younger days has matured rather than faded in this tall and willowy elder woman. Hair as white as the freshest snow is kept silky and straight, and will easily fall to her waist if not pinned up. Silver brows arch over eyes of bright and pure deep blue of the remote ocean, colors seeming to shift with her moods and clothing in adding elements of grey or even dark green, but never losing the fascinating intensity of hue. Her pale skin bears the lines and wrinkles that seem to indicate more laughter and delight than anger or sadness. High cheekbones and elegant lips, as well as a near-regal bearing to her tall and fragile-seeming form still lend her an air of otherworldliness, and her movements supple and confident, bearing the mark of a dancer, her still elegant hands as refined as an artist's.
Personality: Maren is seldom the most forceful personality in the room; she is not the storm, but the calm of its resolution. There is a vibrancy in her gaze and demeanor, especially when she engages in her art, that can give the illusion of a much younger woman brushing off decades just in the way it sets her alight. Warm and soothing of presence, and softly spoken, she holds herself with quiet but unshakable confidence, and a twinkling in her eye when something amuses her.
Background: Born in Maelstrom to Prince Drake Thrax, Maren Thrax was the youngest of the five children and the only girl; by virtue of those things she did not feature prominently in the public eye during childhood. The shadows of her brothers were tall, especially her eldest brother Donrai, but she still found ways to thrive amongst them. The household and the family were by no means indulgent, but even predatory sea serpents are sometimes moved by beauty and wit, and it was clear that she would grow into a formidable amount of both.
Her parents perished when she was quite young, though the new High Lord was very dutiful in seeing to her education. Perhaps it was hoped she would join other Thraxian notables in a sharp legal and logical mind; but it was something warmer that stirred her even in Maelstrom's environment of stoic and imposing chill. She took to almost any instrument that was placed in her hands with startling ease, even some of the gruffest and most standoffish lords and ladies seemed to at least tolerate and even enjoy her presence.
When she was sixteen, she was sent to Arx to serve as a lady in waiting in the royal court, as well as to train in the art of being a courtier from Whisper House. She blossomed there, forming close friendships with many of the other young ladies from Houses throughout the Compact in similar service, and seeking out further training in dance and music. By the time she was in her late teens, she was considered to be one of the beauties of her generation, particularly talented in the arts, enjoying the social whirl of Arx in full. But she was ever mindful of her place and her duty, and when she was twenty she obediently returned to Maelstrom at Donrai's request, enjoying getting reacquainted with the brothers that she'd corresponded regularly with but had seldom seen more than a couple of times a year during her time in Arx, and knowing that within a year she was likely to be introduced to whatever match Donrai decided would serve the interests of House Thrax the best.
She continued in her studies of the arts, setting many sailors' and area folklore to music, capturing oral tales into written word and illustration, and even devising performances based on them, though they were often given to others to perform. As a birthday present, Donrai granted her permission to travel to House Blackshore's holdings and the great library there to gather more fodder for her works, though once she returned she was to meet her match. Her travel there was uneventful, and she set off for home by all accounts with many writings and sketches that surely would have fueled her artistic endeavors for many years. But she never returned. A terrible storm kicked up, and the ship she was on as well as one escort was lost, the remaining escort arriving badly battered in Darkwater Watch. After weeks of searching, there was a small amount of wreckage located--and months later more things started to wash up on shore. She was presumed lost at sea.
In truth, she almost was. She was one of a very few survivors of the wreck that drifted for weeks; starving, thirsty, sunburnt, eventually all but her succumbing painfully slowly to exposure or their injuries. She was likely only days away from death herself, when a passing foreign ship came across her, one of the high ranking military officers aboard persuaded by his second to overrule the captain and insisting that they examine the strange wreckage. The second, Zixin Lir, was in the smaller boat that approached and drew her from the wreckage, and took her aboard before they continued their journey home.
Her life was saved by the healer aboard the ship, but it took many weeks for her to recover, and she stayed with the local magistrate until they could figure out what to do with this foreigner plucked from the sea, as well as find someone who spoke Arvani. There was one constant, however; Zixin visited frequently, helped her learn the language while she taught him hers. Months after her arrival he brought her to a teahouse with musicians--she delighted them by being able to play some of the ones similar to ones she was familiar with, and singing without musical accompaniment some tales from home. After that each time they met, there was yet another new unfolding of art. He would recite poetry to her, for the beauty of the rhythm and sounds for her to enjoy long before she could understand it fully; take her to new places in the area and keep her company as she painted. They were drawn to one another, but their friendship was one that slowly unfolded, growing deeper roots before they allowed other things to blossom.
For seven years, even as she built a life in this new place, she ever gave up on trying to find a way back home. Her acclaim as a performer and artist opened doors to talk to influential people, but seldom was she given a clear answer on if it was possible. Finally a visiting Imperial official told her in no uncertain terms that there would be no return, she kept her head high and hid her devastated heart. Weijin wasn't home. Instead, Zixin asked her to consider making a home with him. Nearly ten years after she was first plucked from the sea, she did just that, choosing to set aside her hopes to remain as she once was, a princess of Thrax, to marry for love and hope, and by tradition yield that title to do so. And then she moved forward and onward, using all the gifts of her upbringing, and the resolve and determination she'd only honed in Weijin to truly build a life with him. They welcomed their daughter Zyanya a few years after, when she at last closed the chapter on thinking she would ever see Arvum again.
Over the next thirty years their household grew with many students (both hers and his), friendships, grand successes and failures, more happiness than heartache. Watching and guiding their daughter to blossom into a respected artist in her own right, whispering tales of the family and lands that her mother had traveled from, with Maren incorporating as much tradition and teachings as she could into Zyanya's life. The events of the wider world did not really reach her, especially in their quiet area of Weijin. Though the pace of Maren and Zixin's life slowed, she didn't even realize it was the beginning of his twilight years until her beloved warrior-poet died in her arms after a very brief illness. Devastated, she once again summoned her strength to be strong for her daughter now too. It was after his death that she discovered that Zixin hadn't forgotten her love of the Mourning Isles and those she'd left behind, and intended to honor the Arvani heritage of his child as well. Decades of dedicated and decorated service to Weijin and Jadairal had given him some influence on the layers of bureaucracy of the empire, and unbeknownst to her he'd been pushing on that quite heavily behind the scenes, to grant his family a favor upon his passing. He knew that she wouldn't leave his side, and that he was unlikely to be able to leave Jadairal. His final gift to her, after his passing, was a chance for an audience that might allow her to see Arvani shores again. Once more, the current in her life shifted, this time drawing her back to the home she never thought she would see again, bringing with her her greatest treasure and brightest hope, to give her daughter a chance to experience her heritage in full.
|Apollo||Her art seems to suit her person in every way.|
|Harlex||It was late in the evening, she looked as if she came down from the moon itself and cloaked in the night. Her kindness and the sadness underlaying it spoke to me and reminded me of someone from long ago. She showed me how to fly and I felt some burdens wash off me and into the sea. The gift, tangible and immaterial, I will never forget.|
|Mabelle||I have unending amounts of respect to elderly woman. A beautiful woman who obviously has been all her life, her eyes still sparkle. A lot to learn from those of age. Makes me wish my mother still lived.|
|Mirk||A woman recently returned to Arx from a life that wasn't what she expected. Still, it left her with a wealth of life experience, and I look forward to hearing some of the stories or songs she learned along the way.|
|Petal||A mysterious woman who seems to have had a fascinating life. I hope to learn more about her and her past. It also sounds like a very good life she had with studens and dancing and music and people always around. Different my quiet loft above the shop with just Calla and me.|
|Piccola||I know not what brought you away or what brings you back, but I hope that the judgment soon ends and the effort to change the Compact begins.|
|Sorrel||A storyteller! This woman has much to say and much perspective to share. I look forward to listening to what she has to say.|
|Valdemar||Sounds like an Islander, but also doesn't in a way I can't put my finger on. She seems like good company.|
|Vittorio||A veteran of the city. I'm sure she has vast knowledge upon things no one else talks about.|
|Zoey||Some people are artistic, some people are refined, and some are living works of art. I feel like I could learn much from her.|
|Zyanya||I see you in all of the faces you have worn, in all the years of my life, but never have I seen you among others like yours. I pray this place brings you joy again.|