Merai Starchild:

Full Name: Merai hin'Dana, of the Anboren Family
Species: Theriomorph (cat)

Allegiance: Kyia, Meraist Church, Lothanasi
Religion: Meraist
Social Status: 6 (salary M100,000/yr., plus perks)

Age: 1307 as of 5/19/1999
Eyes: Brown, catlike pupils
Hair/Fur: Mahogany brown/white
Height: 168 cm (5'6")

Supernatural Abilities: Can channel and convert divine/cosmic energies (the "Starchild's gift"); immortal; standard powers for Avatar of Kyia

Merai hin'Dana was born in 692 C.R., the daughter of Alexander and Dana, two scouts in the Metamor Army. To all appearances, she was a rather ordinary child, though obviously intelligent and with an innate desire to help others. In 706 she discovered that she had a gifting for channeling divine magic, and the high priestess of Metamor, Raven hin'Elric, inducted her into the Lothanasi.

Unbeknownst to anyone in the mortal realm, Merai was actually the daughter of Kammoloth, who took on the form of Alexander and slept with Dana the night that her husband left on an extended patrol. The two mortals never discovered the deception, and Alexander raised Merai as his own daughter. Merai would not discover the truth about her birth until 708, when Kammoloth appeared to her in order to recruit her help in a grand deception that would bring about the downfall of the daedra lords. This plan backfired, however, when Merai unexpectedly sided with Iluvatar against the entire pantheon, bringing about the Great Fall.

The Lothanasi were divided over whether to praise Merai as a deliverer or curse her as a traitor. Merai believed she had received a direct revelation that Iluvatar was Eli, the god of the Ecclesia, and that Yahshua was his avatar. In the months immediately following the Great Fall, she spread this message widely among the Lightbringers, advocating that it be adopted as a central element in the theology of the reformed Lothanasi Order. Instead, Raven and the other high priests issued a statement that, while Iluvatar clearly intended to re-establish contact and relationship with mortal-kind, the true depth of the Creator's nature was too great for any human to grasp, and any image a mortal mind might see when confronted with True Divinity would necessarily be a product of his or her preconceptions, at least in part. They urged that each person must pursue relationship with Iluvatar individually, and emphasized that the reality of Him is greater than any of the names we might use to describe Him.

Merai was furious at this decision, which she saw as a cop-out on Raven's part for purely political reasons. This led to a falling-out between the two, and Merai resigned as a priestess of Metamor. She left Metamor to accompany Akkala, Artela and Velena on a tour of Lightbringer communities around the world -- the three goddesses had been among the first of the deities to accept the validity of Iluvatar's judgment, and they sought to learn what they could by traveling among their worshippers, helping people as best they could. For Merai, it was an opportunity to continue her holy mission while maintaining a lower profile; she was unlikely to be noticed as much in the shadow of the goddesses, and their power would help to protect her from the threat of assassination by disgruntled Lothanasi.

Years later, Merai reconciled with Raven and returned to the Northern Midlands. She settled in the small fishing town of Sorin, where she soon became the leader of a community of former Lothanasi and Ecclesia members who had devoted themselves to her teachings. There she and her husband, Brother Calvis of Bozojo, raised their family, bearing five children over the course of ten years. Their children eventually grew up, moved out, and had families of their own, and the community of believers Merai founded eventually grew to become the Meraist Church. The town itself grew in size as it became the center of the new religious movement, and in 808 -- a hundred years after the Great Fall -- the town elders renamed it Meriton in Merai's honor.

After Calvis died unexpectedly in his mid-50s Merai was called back into the service of Metamor at Kyia's request. Both of them sensed, in the chaos of those years, that she would have a great deal to do for a long time to come, and after receiving an inward confirmation from Eli Merai accepted back a portion of her former power, becoming an avatar of Metamor.

As the first avatar, Merai is in many ways a relic of a bygone age. After the fulfillment of the Starchild Prophecy, she had to find a new purpose for her existence. She found it, to a great extent, in service to Eli, and she served as a prophetic voice in the duke's court until the time when Kyia officially became Majestrix. Kyia is her closest friend, and the two women share a strong bond that is not easily categorized -- not really mother-daughter or sister-sister, but not exactly "just girlfriends" either.

Merai played little role in the initial redefining of the Lightbringers' purpose and agenda after the Great Fall, but she has been one of the most consistent hands keeping the Order on track over the years, especially since Lothanasa Tessariel's death in 961 CR. She knows that she could leave this world and pass on to the hereafter whenever she chooses -- all she would have to do is give up the divine energy that is sustaining her -- but she senses that she still has some part to play. She sometimes grows weary of the modern world, with all of its clamor and noise and chaos, but the inner voice of Eli continues to tell her "Not yet." She once received a dream that seemed to indicate that Nasoj was not yet truly dead nor finally defeated, and she is at least partially sticking around because she wants to see if that's true -- and to help make sure he stays in the ground this time for good.