Mordane

Lady Mordane returned to Blackcrown.

Once a Beauty, Now a Beast
Tamsin Egerton
Tamsin Egerton as Mordane Bulwer
Name: Mordane Bulwer
Aliases: Mordane the Golden (usually meant ironically), Mordane the Tarnished, Mordane the Broken
Faction: The Reach
Organization: House Bulwer
Occupation: Noblewoman
Rank: Minor Noble Lady
Age: May 9 94 (26)

Description

Standing as tall as many men, only a couple of inches under six feet, everything about this noblewoman is meant to be noticed. Her long flaxen hair, her glimmering eyes of a rare golden hue, even her skin glows golden with health. The right half of her face shows it too, the beauty she was born to, the clean angles, the full lips, the long eyelashes. Yet it is the left side of her face that will forever keep the most notice, for as night brings a close to day, so too does the mass of scar tissue dash all appreciation for the beauty of the other half of her features. Long healed the injury might be, but the permanent ruin that now covers her cheek, nose, and half her forehead is still a startling and horrible thing to behold.

Background

A Story of Three Bulls: The Black, the Golden, and the Bloody

The sigil of House Bulwer is the bull, bone on blood. It is not a pretty flower, or apple, or bee. It is a symbol of their strength and the length they will go to in pursuance of their duty. Their words, Death Before Disgrace, is another stark reminder of this. The men of the house are, down to the last, meant to be knights and warriors whose swords are destined to smite their enemies and those of the Hightowers, and their shields are for the protection of their house and their liege, rather than themselves. As for the women born into this house, theirs is the traditional role of noblewomen in Westeros - it is their duty to marry well and secure alliances, so that House Bulwer will always have friends both in peace and war. It has always been a point of pride that among Bulwer women, there are none willing to abandon this duty, for though they do not take up blade and shield in defense of their House and that of House Hightower, theirs is still a solemn role that is just as important and must not be shirked for any foolish notions of love or selfishness.

If only the Bulwer men had embraced this last concept as heartily as the women. A generation ago, three brothers were born. Jonah, the eldest, was known as Blackbull and married Merricent Tyrell. Trenton, the middle of the three and called the Golden Bull, married Clara Costayne. The youngest of the three, labeled the Bloody Bull, was Harrian Bulwer.

Lord Jonah Blackbull was always prepared to do whatever it took to get what he wanted. Though as all the brothers he was skilled with sword, lance, and shield, he also excelled at courtly intrigue - and of the baser, less honorable types of intrigue as well. This, combined with the well of insatiable ambition that he held deep within himself, meant that he was not only capable of taking what he wanted, but always would. This is how he came to take Merricent Tyrell as his bride - though she was promised to Grodan Greyjoy, neither this nor his lesser station proved any obstacle once he had his eye on the daughter of the Lord Paramount of Reach. But Grodan Greyjoy was not a man to sit down while something was taken from him, and with a fleet of longships, he pillaged the coast of the Reach until he came at last to Blackcrown. The Blackbull watched as the Reaver Lord waded through his men, and saw the true skill of his enemy. So when Grodan reached him, rather then lose to him in single combat, Jonah tried one last dirty trick - he took hold of his bride and placed his sword to his throat. But Grodan was of a similar mold as Jonah himself, and his blade cleaved through Merricent’s arm so that it might claim the Blackbull’s life.

The second-born of the brothers, Trenton, the Golden Bull of Blackcrown, was also destined to suffer his own misfortune, and also because of his wife. But that was years later. In those early days, the dark cloud of Jonah’s death seemed to leave a bright and shining future in it’s wake, thanks to it’s new golden lord and the fact that Jonah had died heirless. Trenton was a proud man, demonstrated in his ostentatiously bright gold-trimmed armor with gleaming gold-plated horns adorning the helm. He certainly had plenty of reason to be. He was tall and strong, a champion jouster, and heartbreakingly handsome. His byname may have been reinforced by the armor he wore, and been indicative of his pride, yet it was his golden looks that had first spawned it - gold of hair and brown eyes so light they shone like twin golden dragons. But to this day, it is not his looks nor his skill in the tourneys, nor even the golden horns of his helm that the people of Blackcrown remember of their Golden Lord. They remember his fair and even hand and the care with which he ruled. They remember that if he was a dire and dangerous enemy to those who crossed him, he was also a just protector for those under his care, and few ever made trouble for Blackcrown while he sat in the lord’s chair because of it. They remember that he was ever a loyal servant of the Hightowers, and many of the favors which Blackcrown still enjoys from the hand of their liege are due to his time as lord. That is what they remember… and also how he died.

Years after the Blackbull’s death, like his brother before him, the Golden Bull was slaughtered due to his wife. In his own way, he loved Clara, but theirs, as are all marriages of the noble manner, was arrangement, an alliance, a match made for the benefit of his house rather than a union of two people in love. He did his best by her, brought her with him on his visits to Oldtown, never left her wanting for gifts or new dresses. He kept his affairs discreet and never sired any bastards - or at least none that he acknowledged. He even named her the Queen of Love and Beauty anytime he won a tournament. And he never raised a fist to her, not once - that is, not until the day he discovered her affair with a bravo, that deadly type of swordsman that hails from distant Braavos. He had for a time suspected the affair, but Clara had denied it. Denied that she had at last found passion the like she had never known was missing from her life until now. Denied feeling like the breath of life was finally filling her breast after fifteen loveless years of marriage. But there was no denying that the face of Clara’s newly born baby girl resembled Furio Vielo rather than Trenton, and there was no holding back the Golden Bull’s hurt and fury. His pride had been utterly attacked and in that brief moment, he forgot himself. Clara’s defiant words of finally admitting her sin still echoed in his ears even as the sound of his hand hitting her flesh rose in hers. This lapse was his downfall, for it brought Trenton and Furio into a duel to the death, one that the Golden Bull was destined to never walk away from.

And then there was one brother left. His tale, however, has yet to be fully told and indeed its latter half is as of yet unknown. Ser Harrian the Bloody Bull was the finest warrior of the three, the most deadly. There were none who questioned how he earned his name. If he drew his sword, blood would coat it before it was sheathed, and always it was done for his house - to fight it’s enemies, to honor it’s oath to Hightower, and to right any wrongs done to either; For in him the House words burned the brightest. When his first brother died, he did nothing, but this was only right and just. The Blackbull had earned his end by his own wrongdoings, and his other brother had fixed what the first had wrought. But Trenton’s death, that was different. It was done in an unsanctioned duel, and ended in the death of the Golden Bull by the hand of the man who had cuckolded him. The House had been disgraced in the worst of ways, and only blood could pay for blood. So he sought the imprisonment and death of Furio Vielo, but again an injustice was done, one that not only brought further shame to House Bulwer, but to House Hightower as well - Vielo escaped, along with the baby girl that had born of his and Clara’s indiscretion. Were it up to Ser Harrian, he would have pursued Furio then and there, and set things to rights the only way he knew how - with blood. But vengeance was tempered by the needs of his house. His nephew Mark, Trenton’s eldest son and heir, was barely man-grown and needed his guidance, at least for a time.

The Golden Calf

Of the children born to Lord Trenton and the Lady Clara, it was the youngest child, Mordane, that would be the only child to inherit the physical characteristics that had first prompted the byname of father. She was a truly beautiful babe, fine featured and delicate, with wisps of tow-colored hair. But it was the eyes, that unusual golden shade of amber, that truly marked her as the Golden Bull’s daughter. Yet Mordane herself never got to see the similarity in person, as it was just over a year after her birth that the birth of her bastard half-sister brought about the death of her father and the disgrace of her mother. Neither did she get the chance to know her mother, who in shame and sorrow left her children and her home, retreating from the world to become a Silent Sister.

In the years before her flowering, it was clear that she would become one of the greatest beauties of the Seven Kingdoms. Mordane’s eldest brother, Mark, the new Lord of House Bulwer saw this as an opportunity. The family had once been tied to the Tyrells, but now only his recent marriage to the daughter of Lord Redwyne was of any real consequence. In the beauty that was the family's youngest daughter, Lord Mark foresaw a more powerful match, perhaps to one of the Houses Paramount - and dare he even contemplate the Blood of the Dragon being mingled with his own? Yes, much like his uncle the Blackbull, Mark Bulwer had great ambitions, and many of these he rested on the future of his younger sister.

Mordane became the pampered pet of Blackcrown. Spoiled, indulged and coddled, her head was filled with stories of her own self-importance. As predicted, tales of her beauty spread throughout the Reach and she had no shortage of admirers. Her entire sense of self-worth became intrinsically tied to her physical perfection and thus, she became vain, shallow and vindictive. She enjoyed cruel and manipulative little games with the servants and those she perceived to be her inferiors. Capable of being sweet, charming and charismatic one moment, she could shed that demeanor like a soiled cloak and twist others around her little finger. It was a simple thing for her to avoid consequences for her actions, but she never tired of the game. If anything, it reinforced her own sense of self-importance. Because she was so lovely and destined for greatness, the rules simply didn't apply to her.

Mordane was educated as a young noblewoman should be, learning the skills and tasks that would be expected of her. Because of her role in Mark’s plans, however, the usual education provided by her septa that she received alongside her sister Elyn was augmented, and she was given time with the house maester as her other brothers Owen and Victor were. Any other skill or proficiency she had was also nourished, because Lord Mark was determined that his sister would be perfection itself, and was prepared to invest quite heavily to achieve this. When it was discovered that she had considerable natural talent in painting, she was indulged in this as in all things, and a Braavosi artist of repute was brought to Blackcrown to tutor her. When hunting became another passion, she was allowed the freedom to pursue this as well. She was instructed on how to become a skilled rider and found that the chase and the bey of the hounds thrilled her - and if she was reckless in the way she always charged ahead, she was still, as always, indulged.

Of all her faults, though, it was this last, this recklessness that changed Mordane's life forever. As she became an age to be wedded, Mark hosted many possible suitors for the hand of his golden sister. Nothing less than an heir to a House was considered and preferably an heir to a more powerful or wealthier seat than the Blackcrown. In honor of Mordane's fifteenth nameday, a great feast was held by her lord brother. More than one possible suitor received an invitation, and many powerful houses were represented in the young men who came to press their suit. Mordane was in her glory, basking in the attention and competition between her suitors. So it was no surprise that when a hunt was called for, she led it herself, dashing ahead of the rest of the party, in spite of the misgivings of her brother's huntsman.

Chasing a deer into a ravine, Mordane's horse stumbled on an exposed tree root. The beast fell hard, breaking a leg in the process, and pinning the girl helplessly beneath its bulk. The thrashing and squealing of the crippled horse agitated the pursuing hounds and one of them slashed her face with its teeth, tearing the flesh of her right cheek and ear, and forever destroying her famed beauty. Though it was only a matter of a couple minutes before the rest of the hunting party had caught up, the damage was done. Mordane was quickly taken back to the castle and placed under the care of the maester.

In addition to the disfigurement, Mordane suffered a broken leg from the fall. Her sleep, even when induced by the milk of the poppy, was troubled with terrifying nightmares of the ordeal. Though the maester of House Bulwer could stitch her face and mend her leg, nothing would restore her beauty. One side of her face remained perfect, yet the other was marred from the dog's teeth and she'd lost some of her ear as well.

The Broken Calf

Unsurprisingly, the interest in courting the once golden Mordane came to a halt now that she was unalterably tarnished and broken. Her brother had not yet secured a marriage contract for her, wanting to hold out for the best offer. His greed meant that no bargain had been sealed and instead of a politically profitable alliance, he was left with an injured and scarred sister. Cursing his ill fortune and the recklessness of his sister, Lord Mark took no further interest in her. He made vague mention of sending her to the Faith, but his own wife intervened.

Lady Lia was one of the few in Blackcrown who had not been fooled by Mordane's beauty and her winning ways. In fact, she didn't care for her good-sister all that much, considering her vain, shallow and mean-spirited. However, the Lady of Blackcrown was moved by pity and when her husband turned his back on Mordane, she reached out to her.

If not for the intercession of her good-sister, Mordane might well have not recovered from her wounds. The leg mended well, only aching a little now and again, when the weather was bad. Even the facial scars healed cleanly, due to the maester's careful stitching and expert use of medicinal herbs and ungents. But Mordane’s spirit was crushed. For her entire life, she had believed that her entire worth depended upon her loveliness. That perception was reinforced when her brother turned his back upon her. Depression set in, compounded when Mordane found herself repaid in kind, for many of her wicked and mean-spirited games. A mirror had been held up, literally and figuratively, and the scarred noblewoman did not like what she saw.

Mordane left her sickbed a different person. Shy, withdrawn and fearful, she now recoiled from attention when before, she did everything she could to attract it. Her painting, coaxed along by her Braavosi tutor who briefly remained retained due to the intervention of Lady Lia, became an outlet for everything that had happened. Her experience gave her a new maturity and a depth of expression that transferred onto the canvas in ways she would never have been able to before her accident. She would eventually ride again, and even occasionally could bring herself to hunt - but she was now so frightened of hunting hounds that she couldn't bear to hunt with them again, or even be in the same part of the keep as them. Her reckless ways, her easy flirtations and manipulative games were a thing of the past. She seldom left the walls of her family’s castle except to ride, and never for very long, tending toward anxiety when she felt unsafe.

The news of the rest of Westeros seemed far removed from Mordane's world. Lord Mark would move between Blackcrown and the Hightower’s court in Oldtown, bringing news with him whenever he did, but it never effected her daily life one whit. It was a surprise, then, when more than a decade after her accident, her life was altered by her brother preparing to return to Oldtown once more - for this time, he was bringing his sister with him. Unbeknownst to her, her lord brother had again made mention of sending Mordane to a motherhouse, but his wife knew that this would be devastating to the girl and in truth, to herself as well. In the years since the accident, the pair had grown close, and Lady Lia could not bear to lose her friend. She instead insisted that Mordane accompany them to the court of the Hightowers, assuring her husband that there were those who would see merit in her artistic skills and perhap in some small manner advance the House’s fortunes. In truth, however, Lia saw this as an opportunity to at last get Mordane out of the castle that had made her its willing prisoner, and hoped to see her truly live again.

RP Hooks

  • Siblings: Mordane has two older brothers that could become PCs, Owen and Victor. She also has an older sister Elyn, also available to be a PC. Please contact Mordane via +mail or page if interested.
  • Cousins: There is the possibility that Mordane has cousins through her uncle, Ser Harrian. Please contact Mordane via +mail or page if interested.
  • Former Suitors: If you or a character you are making is or was the heir or lord to a noble house about a decade ago and were unmarried at the time, there is a chance you could have been among the suitors for Mordane's hand in marriage, and were at Blackcrown when she had her accident. If interested in pursuing this hook, please contact Mordane via +mail or page.

Quirks

  • Wealth: Comfortable
  • Well Educated
  • Artistic Expression
  • Reformed Socialite
  • Fear of Dogs
  • Social Anxiety

IC Events

Mordane Logs

Related Logs

Logs featuring Mordane.

Logs that refer to Mordane.

Relationships

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Gallery

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