Melinda of Elligan
Servant of Raziel
A relatively petite woman with fair skin, dark hair, and jade-green eyes, Melinda is not a great beauty, but comes relatively close; her hair, worn in a simple plait tied at the end with an off-white satin ribbon, falls to her knees – were it loose, it would likely brush the floor, but such a thing is almost never seen.
She wears relatively sober clothing, most often a simple linen dress dyed in Raziel’s colors and trimmed with embroidery that vaguely suggests the swirling of winds. In more formal situations, she has an elaborate brocaded gown of black and iron grey, with opalescent shell pins to hold her braid up. When called upon to deal with the outside world, she’s more than willing to dress in a less archaically feminine manner, perfectly comfortable in leggings and shirts of all kinds – and when necessary, light armor.
One thing she almost never goes without is a black, slightly frilly satin choker, held with an iron clasp wrought in the shape of Raziel’s device, a pair of crossed raven feathers; this is, more than anything else, to conceal the scar around her neck – a permanent reminder of how close she was to death when Raziel cut her free on the day of her execution.
Originally the daughter of a moderate-ranking official in the Shadow known as Elligan, she was seduced by Raziel at one point while he was practicing the arts of the thief – the very caper which directly resulted in his status as an outlaw. She later found herself imprisoned when an internal coup made her family a liability; Raziel’s band of outlaws struck the prison the morning she and around twenty others were scheduled to be hung until dead – Melinda herself had been hanging for several seconds when the scion of Amber cut a path to the gallows and methodically cut down and freed every last prisoner.
Her position as a liability made it clear she needed to flee the area; her gratitude to him for the rescue made the decision to join the outlaw band a simple one. It wasn’t until later that she realized that he was the one who had seduced her and her sister, as he had be then stopped bleaching his hair blond, as well as allowing it to grow out and adding a thick beard. It was clear he didn’t recognize her, either, and so she quietly kept it a personal secret, even as he fought with his second-in-command and lover, and then tricked the woman into taking control of the outlaw band.
It was something of a shock to her when, on the way out, he approached her and offered to take her with him; after a fleeting moment of notions she later chided herself for as childishly romantic, she inquired as to his reasons and learned he felt he had need of someone as pragmatic and skilled as her, in the places he was headed.
The Shadows that he carried her along to were bizarre, alien places, but she proved more than adaptable enough, gradually becoming comfortable in the myriad warpings of the infinite depths of Shadow, until the day he carried her along to his homeland at the summons of his family – and so Melinda found herself in Amber, the most trusted servant of Raziel in the Castle.
Somewhat reserved and cool toward most people, although after a while she’ll warm up to those who don’t strike her as tedious bores. While she’ll never admit it, she has an adventurous streak that allowed her to adapt to the more peculiar Shadows that Raziel took her to.
She tends to view the world in a calmly efficient manner, organizing her surroundings into mental categories and sorting out priority and order for dealing with them. While nowhere near the strategist that any Amberite is, it makes her an excellent majordomo or quartermaster in most situations.
One thing that she won’t admit, even to herself, is that the infatuation she developed when Raziel seduced her has never gone away, and indeed has matured over the decades they’ve traveled in Shadow together. She’s seen his various passionate affairs come and go, and she takes some small, consoling satisfaction that she’s the one he’s kept alongside him the whole time. Were he ever to indicate reciprocation of her secret feelings for him, she would likely end up being willing to walk through Hell itself for his sake.
Melinda has developed a deep love of the written word over her decades of life, and has taken to keeping her own private journal, well-hidden from prying eyes. If ever given to an editor, the accounts therein would make a credibly well-written set of novels detailing her adventures with Raziel. She has taken pains to keep her emotions for the Amberite well-hidden, although it shows through here and there in subtle ways.
She also enjoys dancing, a habit she picked up to accompany Raziel’s flute-playing; her repertoire of dances far exceeds his, something she has occasionally teased him about.
Lastly, she has a love of avians, envying them their natural ability to fly. It was she who convinced Raziel to take in the hatchling raven who would grow up to become Zwei, and her own room, adjacent to Raziel’s own, has a small aviary built into it.