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For a thousand years, they ruled, equal in power, their sons and daughters spread throughout the land to ensure their continued dominion. Until a queen appeared—her power a new, dark song in the world. Such wondrous things she could do with her power, such horrible, wondrous things...

–A Stygian Spider about Maeve - Tower of Dawn

Maeve is a Valg Queen, who escaped from the Valg realm and made the world believe she was one of the three Fae Sister-Queens, along with Mora and Mab.[1]

Biography

Many tens of millenia ago, the realm where the Valg originated from was full of wars, and suffering. Then came the mighty war, waged by the three Valg Kings—Orcus, Mantyx and Erawan—against whatever forces that hindered true ownership of their land. As the three Kings became victorious, they turned their realm into one of eternal darkness, cold, ice and wind. A paradise for the Valg demons.[1]

The Valg Kings ruled equally in power for the next thousand years. They bred their royalty through various lines, creating Valg Princes and Princesses, to ensure their land remained conquered, in their ownership. They ruled in peace until Maeve, a Valg Queen with tremendous dark power, who beared many gifts, appeared before the three Kings. They each desired the Queen, for her beauty, cruelty and power, but Maeve would only ally with one of them, despite their pursuing and wooing.

Queen Maeve married King Orcus, the oldest and strongest Valg King.[1] But it was not enough for her, she was not content. She was restless to leave, to witness and conquer foreign realms, and to rule unchallenged. So she used her gifts to look through the world, at tears between it, separating realms; Wyrdgates. By piercing the veil, the Wyrdgate separating the Valg realm and another realm, she saw Erilea, a world full of light, green and singing. So Maeve waited in the Valg Realm for an opportunity to leave.

Queen Maeve had learned that Wyrdgates naturally open and close, at random times. So when Orcus left to see his brothers, a Wyrdgate opened in the Valg realm. Maeve left immediately and arrived in Erilea—in the Dagul Fells mountains of the southern continent. She brought the kharankui with her—her beloved handmaidens, the Stygian Spiders. After their arrival, the Wyrdgate rapidly closed. Maeve ordered the Stygian spiders to guard the mountains surrounding the vanished Wyrdgate, in case the rip between worlds ever appeared, because the Kings would arrive, and they would look for their Queen, and Maeve did not wish to go back.[1]

Maeve left for the western continent, Wendlyn. There, she found the Fae, the oldest inhabitants of Erilea. And then Maeve saw that all the faeries, the Fae included, were ruled by two Fae Sister-Queens. The fair-haired Mab, the youngest, who bore the shape of a white swan, and cunning Mora, who bore the shape of a great hawk.

So Maeve bound her essence into a Fae body, and hid her darkness, her true Valg form, beneath her skin. She used her gifts to rip into the minds of the two Queens, and made them believe they had an older sister. She took the name of Queen Maeve of the Fae, and when the "three" sisters returned to their palace, she altered the minds of every creature she encountered, until all beings in the realm of Erilea knew that Wendlyn and Doranelle were, and always had been ruled by, the legendary three Fae Sister-Queens. Those that resisted her power, she found ways to end them.

But the Valg King Orcus discovered how Maeve had left through the Wyrdgate, and used his knowledge and power to extract three slivers of the realm doorway—three Wyrdkeys, to control the opening and closing of the Wyrdgate at will. Each Valg King bore one key, and they opened the Wyrdgate, going through fruitless searches in countless realms for their Valg Queen. After ravaging those realms, they at last reached Erilea—alongside their countless armies of horrors and the Valg. Continuing their search, they only found the Fae of the continent, in Wendlyn, ruled by the three Fae Sister-Queens, to stand against the three Valg Kings. The Valg armies fought against the extensive armies Maeve and her "sisters" had collected. But the Valg Kings did not recognise Maeve—for she was disguised in a Fae body. She used her knowledge of the Valg armies, how they worked, and defeated their armies.[1]

But then Maeve learned of the Wyrdkeys, and planned to steal them from the Valg Kings, and then kill or banish them to their original realm, using the keys then as she saw fit. Accompanied by a small band of Fae, Maeve infiltrated the Valg war-camps, using her knowledge of their armies, and stole the keys. She made it seem as though the knowledge was passed by from the Spirit World which she could commune to, a lie she made those who questioned her believe. Upon stealing each Wyrdkey from the Kings, she banished Orcus and Mantyx. It was at this moment that Brannon Galathynius suspected that Maeve was not who she is —that perhaps, she was Valg — upon discovering that she feared Mala Fire-Bringer's flame, which he wielded. So Brannon stole the Wyrdkeys from her, and Maeve was unable to banish Erawan.

In her Fae form, Maeve had never mated before. It is unknown whether she actually desired Athril, or simply wanted his protection from Silba and the ring she forged; the golden ring of Silba which would provide the bearer immunity from the Valg, their possession, and their power. Brannon took the unforged Amulet of Orynth from Mala Fire-Bringer's temple in the Fae lands, along with her sacred immortal sun stags. As he fled to Terrasen, Athril covered for Brannon, and battled Maeve. Maeve desired Silba's ring of Valg protection, for her final defence against the Valg Kings. But Athril hid the ring in Goldryn—the sword blessed by Mala—and even after Maeve killed Athril, she could not find the ring. 

But Maeve still prepared for the inevitable arrival of the Valg Kings. She hoarded a stronghold of Fae healers, and stationed them between the now-mortal lands of Wendlyn, and Doranelle. Not to give mortals their healing salvation, but a defence against the Valg, because it was Silba’s healing magic that could rid a man, woman or Fae, from Valg possession. It could remove the demon like an infected parasite, and then it’s true demonic form would wither and die in the sunlight, which they greatly fear.

In her empire's stronghold, Queen Maeve sought out the gifted Fae, bearing magic and might, and who had powerful beasts lurking beneath their Fae forms. The strongest of them she had swear the blood oath to her, so that she could command them to anything—total submission to her whims. Maeve had these Fae, her Cadre, oversee the armies she had been building. At some point in time, she had the fortress Mistward created for the Demi-Fae that wanted to cross to Doranelle. The gifted Demi-Fae who could shift, or bore strong magic, were sent to Doranelle like the other Fae. She kept an extremely gifted healer of Silba, who’s secondary Fae form is a white barn owl, as her absolute last line of defence. 

After gathering her forces, Maeve retreated to Doranelle, where she built up her final defense against Aelin. The three Fae-Queens' former palace and settling was abandoned to the City of Rivers in Doranelle. She created a palace of stone smack atop a river basin, so that if Brannon's heir came after her, she would be safe. She did not search for the Wyrdkeys, because she learned through her gifts that Aelin, the heir of Mala Fire-Bringer, would lead her to them. So she took the measures to have her niece brought to her, forcing Aelin's mate Rowan to love Lyria, then breaking him by killing Lyria. This was so that when Evalin Ashryver brought Aelin to Maeve, she would at last be in her clutches, and give Maeve anything, including the Wyrdkeys, which Brannon made sure only Aelin could retrieve.

A thousand years later when Terrasen was attacked, Maeve denied help to the kingdom as punishment for keeping Aelin from her.

Crown of Midnight

Baba Yellowlegs tells Celaena the story of the Valg wars and the Wyrdkeys, she informs her of Queen Maeve, how Maeve had indeed retrieved the Wyrdkeys from the Valg Kings, and banished them to their realm. But, for all her wisdom, the Fae Queen was unable to return them to the gate, and no steel, forge or might could destroy them.

Heir of Fire

When Celaena heads of to Wendlyn to 'do what must be done' as instructed by Elena Galathynius, she ends up in Varesse. After discovering that Maeve sent Rowan Whitethorn to search for her, Celaena accompanies him to the immortal lands of Queen Maeve. They reach Mistward, and after walking throught the compound, he guides her to a small room. There she meets with her aunt. Maeve has waited a long time to meet with her, but because she does not leave Doranelle, she couldn't see Aelin herself, but she used her power to watch her. She tells Aelin that Evalin Ashryver and Rhoe Galathynius had disobeyed Maeve and eloped. She informs Aelin that the bloodlines were too volatile to be mixed, but Evalin promised to bring her to Maeve, which Maeve muses that she had forgotten in Aelin's eight years of life.

Maeve shows interest in Aelin's powers and wants Aelin to show her what had become of them. She tells her that Evalin hid her from Maeve for years, and she wanted to stifle Aelin's power, when Maeve only wanted her to submit to it. She also tells Aelin that she didn't help Terrasen because Evalin did not uphold her promise, but lied. Maeve comes to the point, informs her she has learned that Aelin wants answers about the Wyrdkeys. To recieve them, she must train in magic and might at Mistward, for a Demi-Fae like her to be deemed worthy of entering Doranelle. She promises to answer truthfully once Aelin has exerted complete mastery over her fire.

Though it takes a great deal of time for her to be able to shift between her human and Fae forms, and learn control over her gift, Aelin manages to do it. Not long after, she, along with Rowan and his Cadre, as Aelin calls it, attempt to defend Mistward against a massive Valg attack. After defeating them, Rowan joins them as carranam, saving her from a burnout.

After they've won the battle at Mistward, Aelin and Rowan head to Doranelle for the answers she claims from Maeve. Maeve does hold up her end of the deal, telling her that the Wyrdkeys can not be destroyed, rather, they must be sealed back to the Wyrdgate. Should Erawan possess all three of the keys, he'd wield insurmountable power, though he only possesses one or two.

Maeve suspects that Aelin may know where the third key is, and she begins to have the cadre whip Rowan in order to force Aelin to divulge the information. She only halts when Aelin calls on her power to encircle the city, stating that even if it is made of stone, its people aren't. She then bargains with Maeve: A ring from a long-dead lover then traitor—Athril—in exchange for Rowan's freedom from his blood oath. Aelin does not realize at the time the ring's true power, and Maeve accepts the offer. Once Rowan is released, he swears a new oath to Aelin.

Lorcan Salvaterre then steals Silba's ring from Maeve, and swiftly arrives in Rifthold, to hunt down the Wyrdkeys. He was obeying the blood oath in the sense of saving Maeve from destroying herself, from the threat of the Wyrdkeys. Meanwhile, Queen Maeve replaces Rowan Whitethorn with Cairn, a sadistic Fae male.

Empire of Storms

Maeve sends Gavriel and Fenrys to the continent to kill Lorcan for stealing Athril's ring from her. She amasses her armada soon after, and orders them to set fires on Eyllwe's coast, supposedly to blame Aelin for it, but also to tire her out. Maeve also informs Erawan where Aelin is, to trick him into sending an army of Ilken to tire Aelin even further.

Lorcan's summoning gives Maeve Aelin's location, and Aelin is separated from her friends during the Dark Queen's attack. Maeve summons Gavriel and Fenrys, then captures Elide Lochan while Aelin speaks with Elena Galathynius, and when she and Manon Blackbeak return, Maeve confronts her. She forces Lorcan to hold Elide, and overpowers her enemy in a duel of magic. Aelin's magic was depleted from putting out the fires and destroying the ilken, so she has almost nothing left.

After Gavriel and Fenrys return to their queen, Gavriel offers to take Aelin's punishment, but Maeve refuses. Since he failed to kill Lorcan, she strips him of the blood oath for dishonor, severely weakening him. She magically disarms Aelin, and reveals that she knew about Gavriel's son, and the Lock Aelin must die to recreate. Maeve has no intention of letting that happen, because she wants the Wyrdkeys for herself. The Valg Queen also reveals that she saw Aelin and Rowan as mates in the future, and decided to leash them to her. Maeve used her powers to make Rowan fall in love with Lyria, and then she orchestrated Lyria's death. Maeve let Aelin escape Doranelle so the young Heir of Fire could lead her to the keys.

She summons Cairn, giving Aelin a choice: come willingly, or be taken anyway with Elide in tow. When Aelin agrees, she gives messages for her friends. Maeve forces Aelin to bow, then take off her shirt, which she does. The Dark Queen orders Cairn to whip Aelin, but orders Aelin to count. Cairn starts over repeatedly at Maeve's command, stopping only when one of the Fae warriors holding Aelin spots Rowan approaching. Maeve straps an iron mask to Aelin's face, and her warriors chain the assassin and put her in an iron box.

After Aelin is taken away, Maeve sends Fenrys to her ship, and speaks with Lorcan. Despite his claim that he stole the ring and betrayed Aelin all for Maeve, the queen states she has no use for a warrior she can't trust. She takes back her kill order, but also strips him of the blood oath without honor. She departs afterward, and her ship vanishes.

Tower of Dawn

During this book, Maeve's true nature and form is revealed by the kharankui of the Dagul Fells mountains in the southern continent - when a Valg Stygian Spider captures Nesryn Faliq and Sartaq. The spider explains Maeve's past with the three Valg Kings, her escape to Erilea, and her history with the Fae and their two Sister-Queens, Mora and Mab. The members of the khagan family also inform Chaol of Aelin's skirmish with Maeve, and her victorious battle with the Fae Queen's armada, at the northern continent's coast near Eyllwe.

The last chapter sets the scene with Aelin and Maeve, following the former's confinement. It is the only part of the book where Maeve is shown in person. While Aelin was entombed in her iron sarcophagus, Maeve cleverly diffused sweet smoke inside, to force Aelin to sleep.

Some time later, Maeve and her entourage landed in an unknown place, fresh with rain, wind and in the daytime - likely far away from the Valg. Cairn hauls the lid of the iron sarcophagus aside. Maeve approaches Aelin, peers down and smiles at her, saying "You're awake. Good." Cairn then lifts Aelin out of her coffin, and brings her towards the queen, holding her still. Maeve smiles at Aelin, and says "Let's begin".

Personality and traits

The Queen of the Valg is a spider, who has used her long immortal life to create a web of traps for her enemies. Maeve is the kind of person to pull strings from the shadows, with plans that are far reaching. She's intelligent, vicious, deceptive, manipulative and extremely dangerous. She seems to love toying with those she deems inferior to her. In Empire of Storms it is revealed that she is also very cruel, and has no qualms against very brutal punishments.

She will never face her enemies in their full strength, but have them laboured, broken, and drained from battling other forces. She did this with the three Valg Kings, by using Mab and Mora's armies to drive the Valg legions out, and then strike the Kings when they were weakest—and steal the Wyrdkeys.

She also did this with Aelin Galathynius, making her put out the fires she started in Eyllwe, using her Fae Armarda as potential kindling, and then going as far as to whisper of Aelin's location to Erawan, so that she could be fully drained by eradicating 500 ilken. Only when she was fully drained, when Maeve had the full advantage, did she strike.

Physical description

Maeve is depicted as a raven-haired beauty, who is regal and stunning. She is described as the dark sister, to the fair-haired Mab. She has moon-white skin, long fingers, and long nails. She was originally thought to have black, depthless, obsidian eyes, but it was soon revealed that she has deep violet eyes. No crown adornes her head, and she does not need one, for she made sure all beings in every realm knew her as the Queen of the Fae.

Powers and abilities

Mind Manipulation
  • She was able to alter the minds of Mab and Mora, the two Fae Sister-Queens, and every other being in her realm, to believe that Maeve had always been a Fae Queen, the older sister to Mab and Mora.
  • She was also able to infiltrate Aelin's mind, until Aelin tried fighting back.
Seer/Oracle Abilities
  • When Brannon stole the Wyrdkeys from Maeve, and then mated with Mala Fire-Bringer, spreading the fiery power down his bloodline, Maeve saw a glimmer of the future. When Mala's heir would be born, they would lead her to the keys. She saw who Aelin was, what she was, who she loved, and who her mate would be; Rowan Whitethorn.
  • She also saw that Mab's bloodline ran true, that her descendants who went through the Settling would gain the full powers, shifting abilities and the immortality of the Fae.
Fate Manipulation
  • She tugged on the right psychic thread the day Rowan met Lyria in Doranelle's market. She forced his fate to change, and gave Aelin's mate to Lyria, so that she could break him, and then he would swear the blood oath to her.
Umbrakinesis
  • Wall of Darkness: She used this to battle with Aelin against her fire, until the Darkness engulfed Aelin and her flame.
  • Whip of Darkness: She used this to slice into Aelin, making her fall onto her knees.
  • Dark Energy: She poured her darkness onto Aelin over and over again, like a hammer on an anvil, breaking her.
  • Dark Coil: To latch onto Aelin's neck, and then she encompassed Aelin within that darkness and pain, squeezing and constricting her, causing Aelin to scream in unfathomable agony.
Telekinesis
  • She used this in the form of "invisible hands", similar to Dorian Havilliard's raw magic. She controlled Aelin's body, pulled her upright, and then cut the tethers on her sword belt, disarming Aelin with brutal efficiency.
Blood Oath
  • She is able to exert control upon those who have taken the blood oath to her, the orders becoming absolute when in near proximity to her.
  • Examples include: ordering Lorcan and Fenrys to stand down, watch and do nothing, and not move or speak until Maeve tells them to.
  • The control is partially weaker on Fenrys, who has fought against the blood oath ever since he took it.
  • The control slipped when Ancient words were said between Rowan, Fenrys and Gavriel, to evade the wrath of Aelin Ashryver Galathynius. But the control resumed once Maeve summoned Fenrys and Gavriel, bringing them to close proximity near the coase.
Valg Abilities
  • True Immortality: As a Valg Queen, she seems to have an extremely long lifespan - like Erawan, Mantyx and Orcus. She possibly is like the Gods and Goddesses of Erilea, who bear true Immortality.
Fae Abilities
  • Enhanced Speed
  • Enhanced Hearing
  • Enhanced Healing
  • Elongated canines
  • Secondary Form: She does not have a true Fae secondary form, but her true form is that of a Valg Queen. Perhaps in this way, her secondary form is a Valg Being of shadows, claws, and a darkness to devour souls, and her Fae form is her primary form.

Appearances

Trivia

  • Upon being summoned by his heir in the Temple of Stone in Ilium, Brannon admits to Aelin that he doesn't know whether Maeve will die if her heart were pierced by a blade. Additionally, he confesses to her being old when he was a child.
  • Despite being Valg in nature, the blood in her body is red in colour, not black. Additionally, she was able to invoke blood oaths of Fae soldiers to her, without the Valg corruption in her festering them.
    • This could be because she has not infested a body, and taken posession of it. She has rather molded her entire essence into a body which is physiologically Fae.
    • Another reason could be that Valg royalty may be so powerful, as to prevent their corruption from being displayed in such ways. Erawan did this similarly - by leashing his deadly darkness in front of Manon.
  • However, like all true Valg, Maeve is deathly afraid of fire - specifically Mala Fire-Bringer's magic, which Brannon Galathynius was able to wield, and now which Aelin Galathynius is blessed with, being the Goddess's true heir.
    • Perhaps Maeve's true reason to control Aelin, was to keep her as another defence against the Valg Kings. Of course, not as a sacrifice to return the Wyrdkeys back to the Wyrdgate; but a weapon.
    • Upon retrieving the Wyrdkeys, she would likely have Aelin wield her flame against the Valg Kings, alongside Maeve and the Wyrdkeys' power.
    • Or she may attempt to forcibly utilise Aelin's near-unlimited reserves of power, in the methods described as Rowan in Heir of Fire: how rogue Fae would torture magically compatible Fae, and steal their magic to wield in their form.
  • Some say that the healer Maeve keeps is Athril, who's secondary form was an owl, and who was enslaved by Queen Maeve and forced to live(citation needed). Although this is likely not true, since standard Fae return to the afterlife after 1000 - 2000 years.
  • She only had 2 lines of dialogue in Tower of Dawn.
    • The first, when peering at Aelin in her opened iron sarcophagus - "You're awake. Good.".
    • The second, once Cairn brought Aelin in front of her - "Let's begin."

References

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