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Meliara Astiar

Meliara Astiar is the narrator and protagonist of Crown Duel, her memoir.

Note: The rest of this article contains spoilers!


Queen Meliara of Remalna is the daughter of Branaric Astiar of Tlanth and Ranisia Calahanras. Originally Meliara Astiar, Countess of Tlanth, she helped stage a revolution in Remalna along with her brother, Bran, in 4749. Mel is known for her close relationship with the Hill-folk and her steadfast defense of the Covenant, and has gained some prominence as a mage. She rules Remalna concurrently with her husband, King Vidanric Renselaeus, with whom she has three children: Alaraec, Elestra and Oria.


Meliara is a woman of small build, with "wide spaced dark blue eyes and wavy red-brown hair." Her hair, especially, is Mel's most distinguishing feature; a cascade of russet, honey and wheat-colored tresses reaches past her knees. Mel records that she vowed never to cut her hair until her mother's death was avenged, and even after it was, she could still not bring herself to cut it. She is partially credited with making extremely long hair fashionable in the Remalnan court, along with Tamara Chamadis and the Sartoran queen, Yustnesveas Landis. [2]

Because she is slim and lanky at 5'2 and a size 3 (in earth measurements), Mel envies women with fuller figures such as her sister-in-law, Nimiar Argaliar. [3] She describes her appearance as "short and scrawny," and admits that her lightweight structure is not conducive to physical battle. [4] One of Mel's feet is scarred from getting it caught in a trap during the Remalnan revolution.

Mel has an expressive face. Her husband, Vidanric, notes that the range of emotions seen on Mel's face can be astounding and rapidly exchangeable. Mel states that she herself is "quick to laugh, quick to act, and much to quick to judge." [5]

Early Life

Mel was the second child of Branaric Astiar, the Count of Tlanth, and Ranisia Calanhanras, who adopted into the Tlanthi family and thus ending the Calahanras line. Mel spent much of her childhood running barefoot in the mountains along with the other "village brats," completely oblivious to her title and noble privileges. Her wild and carefree upbringing sharply contrasts with the traditional noblewoman's education, as a result of her mother's vehement aversion to court life. Ranisia saw Tlanth as an escape from the deception and frivolity of court, and she and the Count purposely ignored the court training aspect of both Mel and her brother Bran's education, never believing it would be of any use to them. In fact, Mel was raised to distrust courtiers altogether--not overtly, but subconsciously, through her parents' views. Undoubtedly, Mel's childhood influenced her unrefined etiquette, impulsive judgments and blunt manner.

This ignorance perpetuated when Ranisia was killed on her way to Remalna-city, by the order of Galdran Merindar, and the Count of Tlanth went mad with grief, no longer the same afterwards. After losing both of her parents in a way, Mel grew close to Julen, the blacksmith's sister. She became a mother-figure to Mel, while her daughter Oria was Mel's best friend. Mel remained well-connected to the Tlanth villagers, having grown up among them and not in the castle; in fact, she knew all their names and families during the Astiar revolt in 4749.

From an early age, Mel became acquainted with the Hill-folk. She would sometimes dance among them, listening to their windharps. She and her family have taken great pains to co-exist peacefully with the Hill-folk, warning them of any danger and taking care of threats to their well-being (putting sprigs of stingflower around traps and soaking kinthus in the ocean, for example). Mel greatly respects the Hill-folk, and knows their ways quite well--how they communicate, behave and react.

Mel physically matured late in her teens, labelling her a "late bloomer." Her slim figure and political burden may have both contributed to the lack of development in this area; at the start of the revolt Mel herself declares she has never had a flirt, and though her Flower Day was fast approaching, she was still "happiest dancing with children." [6]


After his wife's assassination, Mel's father burned the Astiar library, reputed to be quite comprehensive--in a fit of depression. Ranisia was studying magic at the time, and the Count believed this knowledge resulted in her death. Though Bran learned to read and write at the instruction of tutors as he was first-born and to inherit, Mel was left to roam free in the mountains. As the Count's death and Galdran Merindar's looming threat emerged, Bran taught Mel her letters in her mid-teens. The year after, Mel learned figuring on her own, helping Bran figure out how to meet Galdran's ridiculous tax demands.

Mel is mostly self-taught. After the revolt, Mel began re-building the Astiar library, ordering books from the capital. She worked hard to remedy her earlier ignorance; reading became one of her favourite activities. Mel educated herself in topics like history, government and foreign relations. Upon arriving at Athanarel, she began reading memoirs of past rulers and their methods of governance.

Mel's court education was provided mostly by her then future sister-in-law, Nimiar Argaliar, several months before her first appearance at Athanarel, on the condition that she come and dance at her wedding. Mel was reluctant attend court, unlike her brother Bran. Nee taught Mel court etiquette, like fan language, dining, curtsying, entrance protocol, and to some extent, the art of conversation. Mel also learned how to put together a wardrobe, as well as the appropriate occasion to wear each gown. With Nee, Mel also hired Mora, a maid to oversee her staff.

After Mel became queen, she applied her self-learning to supply a dearth in Remalna--magic. She ordered books from Eidervaen and began learning white magic, mostly renewal spells and small magics.

Astiar Revolt

Mel's role in the revolution began with the Astiar revolt. Galdran Merindar sent his cousin, Nenthar Debegri to overthrow the Astiars and take Tlanth. Greatly outnumbered and poorly supplied, Bran and Mel fought back admirably, holding Debegri off until Galdran sent in Vidanric Renselaeus, the Marquis of Shevraeth, to replace him as commander.

Mel led a pack of non-warriors to sabotage Shevraeth's forces, changing street-signs, peppering their food, and to the request of Bran, laying out traps. Unfortunately, Mel's foot got caught in one of the traps and she was taken prisoner. Brought to Athanarel as a traitor on death row, she escaped with the aid of her spy, Azmus, and the Renselaeus family, who were covertly working against Galdran from inside the court. Mel roamed around the country for days on a bad foot, even at one point being the subject of a highly publicized (and intentional) wager between Shevraeth and the Duke of Savona.

Finally, after barely avoiding death on several occasions and spending time in prisons, Mel was taken to the Renselaeus estate and reunited with her brother, Bran. Here at Renselaeus, the Prince, his son the Marquis, and the two Astiars discussed the future of Remalna and the Renselaeuses's plan. At Mel's decision, however, the Astiars chose not to partake, though on their way back to Tlanth they were ambushed by Galdran's warriors.

Mel attempted to duel with Galdran when he charged at her, sword in hand. Shevraeth then killed Galdran and his warriors surrendered quickly thereafter.

Personal Life and Marriage

Mel did not have any flirts until her arrival at court, where she was made popular by the Duke of Savona, who sought her out for many dances. Though none of the relationships were serious, she was often at the side of Geral Keradec at sporting events, and Deric Toarvendar at social parties.

She had a brief dalliance with Flauvic Merindar that was quickly dismissed by his plot to overtake the Remalnan throne for himself.

Mel's only serious--and reciprocal--admirer was Vidanric Renselaeus, who later became king of Remalna. Their method of courtship was rather unconventional--by letters. Their initial meetings were hostile, she believing he was one of Galdran's supporters, so he wrote to her anonymously. In this manner, Mel got to know Vidanric as an individual without her original prejudice against him. She and Vidanric had a joint marriage and coronation ceremony in 4751.


According to Sherwood, "the couple wears white and green and they exchange vows that have been more or less the same for ages. But the tough part, for Mel, were all the vows that in effect invested her with authority as a queen. Now, this was one situation where the groom had a great time, because Vidanric had grown up doing formal parties, and he'd planned to get a whole lot of diplomatic fences mended, and pay off the last of the old scores vis-a-vis those who were secretly helping the Merindars. But Mel was so terrified of making a mistake, she was a robotfor the day. Her female friends designed her gown, and coached her, and Savona tried to crack a couple jokes to get her to smile, until he realized she couldn't hear him. That's why there's no real writeup in her account [Crown Duel]--she really doesn't remember it." [7]

Related People


Through her mother Ranisia, Mel is directly descended from the Calahanras noble house and all its associated members, including Geral and Jhussav Calahanras. The Calahanras family ruled Remalna for several generations. [8]

Through her father, Mel is descended from Thirav Astiar (and by marriage, Harantha Chamadis), Ardis, and another sister. [9]


Mel is very close to her brother, Branaric Astiar and his wife, Nimiar Argaliar, as well as her niece, Kitten.

With Vidanric, Mel has three children, in order of birth: Alaraec, Elestra and Oria.


Mel has close connections with the Russav Savona and Tamara Chamadis, as well as Elenet Kheraev of Grumareth and the Khialem family.

She also exchanges letters regularly with Oria, her childhood friend and now mistress of the house at Erkan-Astiar.


Though Mel says she cannot sing [10], she is greatly fond of music. [11]

Mel's favourite colour is blue.[12]


  1. CD.p13, 96
  2. CD.p246
  3. D.1695
  4. CD.p18
  5. CD.p14
  6. CD.p21
  7. D.322
  8. citation needed
  9. citation needed
  10. CD.p331
  11. CD.p232
  12. CD.p293

Categories: Crown Duel || Beauty || Remalna || Astiar Family || Renselaeus Family

Page last modified on May 04, 2013, at 09:56 PM