ARIANRHOD

Real Name: Arianrhod MacLlanllwyr

Identity/Class: Human (see comments) magic-user (1st through 10th Century AD);

Occupation: Warrior, sorceress

Group Membership: People of Ashandriar

Affiliations: Ashake of Meroë, Marada the She-Wolf

Enemies: Casta, Inkose, Simyon Karashnur, Keos, Macros, Y'Garon and other demons of the Outer Dark;
    formerly Ashake of Meroë

Known RelativesRhiannon (grandmother), Donal MacLlyanllwyr (father, deceased), unidentified mother (deceased)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Currently unrevealed;
    formerly Ashrandiar, on the rocky coast of England

First Appearance: Epic Illustrated#10 (February, 1982)

Powers/Abilities: Arianrhod possesses a number of mystical abilities. Her gift is healing, but she can also teleport and cast illusions, and she has limited influence over the four ancient elements: earth, air, fire, and water. She could fire mystic bolts. She had poor control over her teleportation ability, and often ended up further away from her target (or in worse shape) than when she started. Teleportation requires her full attention. She has also sensed mystical energies.
    At the time she was seen, she was young and a relative novice, and her powers would be expected to have increased with age and training.

    Training under Marada, Arianrhod developed some experience in archery, swordsmanship, and combat.

History:

(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - Arianrhod's people dwell in Ashandriar, a stronghold and place of learning, mystery, and power. It is a remote place, made moreso by its reputation, and even older than stonehenge. Legends state that those who rule Ashandriar are not human but Sidhe, the immortal gods and goddesses of the faery; these legends have SOME truth to them. Ashandriar was ruled by  Rhiannon, mistress of the arts arcane

(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf) - Donal MacLlyanllwyr brought the broken and submissive Marada -- who had been savagely raped and mystically bound by the demon Y'Garon -- to Ashandriar.
    After a night's rest, Marada questioned Donal, asking if she was his prisoner. He offered to let her go free if she could disarm him in combat, but she was easily subdued. While she submissively offered herself to Donal, she refused to explain what had happened to change her so.
    Simyon Karashnur, mage and servant to Y'Garon, used Marada's possessions to enable a demon of the Outer Dark to come to Earth and usurp Marada's form to recover her for their masters. Sensing this, Marada awakened, screaming. Rushing to her side, Rhiannon had Arianrhod stayed by Marada's side, talking to  her, providing comfort, and becoming her friend over the course of the night. Nonetheless, Marada refused to share her recent trauma even with her.

    Over the next few days Arianrhod gave Marada a tour of Ashandriar, and over the ensuing months they became inseparable companions; through Arianrhod, Marada discovered the wonders of childhood and a joyous innocence she had been herself denied. As Marada began to recover from her trauma, she found herself drawn to Donal. While bathing, however, Arianrhod mystically sensed Marada's scars and she questioned Marada, who furiously drove her off. Regretting this, Marada soon after opened up to Donal and revealed her trauma. 

(Epic Illustrated#11 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf) - The N'Garai Marada attacked Donal and Marada; Arianrhod briefly stunned the demon with a mystic blast, but it swiftly recovered, and delivered a mortal wound to Donal. Shrugging off a second blast from Arianrhod, the demon sensed power in her rivaling Marada and decided her masters would appreciate two sacrifices for the price of one, abducted Arianrhod to force Marada to follow her. Rhiannon tried and failed to save Donal, after which Marada re-donned her old warrior attire and had Rhiannon send her to Y'Garon's realm so that she might rescue Arianrhod.
    Marada, her instincts and skills proving to be intact, fought her way to a confrontation Simyon Karashnur and Y'Garon alongside the chained Arianrhod, who warned Marada to run because it was Marada they really wanted.. Overcoming her fears and Y'Garon's control, Marada slew the demon and then Simyon.
    Marada freed Arianrhod and told her of her father's death, but as Y'Garon's legions approached they were forced to flee. Arianrhod cast a spell to return them to Earth, but they arrived in an area unknown to them. Rather than risk an even worse outcome, Marada decided that they would journey on foot from there.

(Epic Illustrated#12 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - Marada and Arianrhod traveled thousands of miles over the course of months.

(Epic Illustrated#12 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - In East Africa, a mercenary captain had recognized Marada and -- well aware of her reputation -- made her a simple offer: join his command or die. Marada accepted the offer, but later found, as they struck deep into the black empire of Meroë, that they were on the wrong side of a rebellion, part of an army of freebooters hired to seize the throne of Meroë's ruler -- the Candance, Ashake.

(Epic Illustrated#12 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf) - On a morning in a dusty East African plain, Ashake's army ambushed the invaders. A bloody battle ensued, with the mercenary army getting slaughtered until eventually only Marada and Arianrhod were left.

(Epic Illustrated#12 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf) - Marada tried to give Arianrhod the time and space to focus a teleportation spell, but another warrior slashed Arianrhod's forehead with his sword, dropping her. Distracted by Arianrhod's injuries, Marada fell soon after. Ashake herself then showed up and stopped her soldiers from assaulting the unconscious women. Ashake had them taken to her castle and given drugs to help their pain.

(Epic Illustrated#12 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - Arianrhod magically healed her own injuries.

(Epic Illustrated#12 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf) - Arianrhod healed Marada's injuries after which the two were invited to dine with Ashake, who explained that they would either participate in an event where she would hunt them -- and earn either their freedom or death -- or become slaves; if she moved against Ashake, the guards would slay them right there. Though Ashake stated that she had never failed to slay her prey, Marada realized that she had no real choice, and so she agreed.
    The next morning, Marada and Arianrhod were sent out to try to reach some mountains across the plains to attain their freedom. They were sent bereft of anything save light clothing and sandals, and Ashake followed two hours later, armed with a spear, bow and arrows, sword, and dagger. Arianrhod, with Marada's encouragement, forced herself to run to the point of exhaustion. Arianrhod collapsed to rest, but then sensed Ashake's approaching presence, panicked, and fled, running off a ledge and falling a short distance below. Seeing human skeletons on the ground beside her, Arianrhod screamed out. Marada found and comforted her, and Arianrhod told Marada that she considered her to be her mother, as her true mother had died when she was very young.
     Soon after, Ashake located the pair and began targeting them with arrows. Marada pretended to take an arrow to the head in order to lure Ashake into a trap, then knocked her bow from her hands and stole her dagger. After a savage struggle, Marada overpowered Ashake, but then then four of the Candance's soldiers, led by Captain Keos, appeared, intending to slay Ashake and take command of Meroë for themselves.
    Arianrhod cast an illusion of a firebird to distract the soldiers, and Marada and Ashake attacked them.
Keos managed to pin Marada's sword, but Arianrhod stopped him from using his dagger against Marada, enabling Marada to free her sword and stab Keos through the gut. Ashake herself slew the last traitorous soldier, Macro, after which Ashake's loyal soldiers arrived. Recognizing that Marada almost certainly had saved her life, Ashake pronounced her and Arianrhod honored friends. Marada considered continuing her battle with Ashake but decided to instead accept her hand and part as friends.

(Epic Illustrated#12 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf) - After a week spent with Ashake, Marada and Arianrhod departed Meroë, taking Ashake's final gift, a pair of horses and directions to the high road north to Egypt. Ashake offered to Marada to stay with her as her right hand and...trusted friend (a hint at more?) to form a fighting force that even Imperial Rome would think twice about challenging. Marada declined, stating her pledge to return Arianrhod home.

(Epic Illustrated#22 (fb) - BTS) <760th year of the city of Rome> - Marada and Arianrhod gained transport on the merchant vessel Raven from Alexandria to Brindisium (and/or Massilia).

(Epic Illustrated#22: Wizard's Masque, Part I) - Marada was twice awakened in her sleep, once while Arianrhod was crying over having trouble remembering her father, and once when Arianrhod tried to use a magic spell to return them home, the latter of which allowed a Gyatrias (a tentacled demon dwelling in the void between worlds) to grab Marada and pull her through a portal. As she vanished, Marada futilely hurled her sword, which was left sticking in her cabin floor.

(Epic Illustrated#23: Wizard's Masque, Part II) - Via the magic of Jaffar ibn Haroun Al-Rashid, Marada returned the instant after she had vanished. After Arianrhod promised not to try such magic again, she asked how Marada came to dressed like a queen, Marada asked to be be alone.

Comments: Created by Chris Claremont and John Bolton.

    As detailed by Archie Goodwin in Overview (Epic Illustrated's notes on stories and contributors), Marada's first story was initially intended to feature Red Sonja, but copyright complications at the time resulted in the story and character being totally redesigned into Marada. Further, it was intended to feature in Bizarre Adventures (the black and white magazine that had evolved out of Marvel Preview). The delay due to the copyright brought about a shelving of the material for use in Bizarre Adventures for many months. Reluctant to let their work -- with which they were quite pleased -- languish in inventory, Claremont pitched it to Archie Goodwin and Jim Shooter, the editors of Epic Illustrated (with the latter being Marvel's Editor-in-Chief at the time), and they got a spot for it split between two issues...plus they got to make it their own property (which was the nature of Epic material).
    It has been theorized that Simyon Karashnur was changed from Kulan Gath, but I think he resembles any number of evil sorcerers from the Hyborian and other eras.
    Another two-part story was planned for Marada in Epic Illustrated. If you're aware of it seeing print, please let me know.

    Marada is the daughter of a Caesar-but not the Caesar, Gaius Julius Caesar, since she refers to his book on the Wicker Man, the Celts, and Ashrandriar. Since she lived after the word "Caesar" came to denote a title for a ruler (similar to how "Kull" became a title for the rulers of Valusia), that means she lived some time after the death of Gaius Julius Caesar. Caesar in turn died after the last pharaoh (as seen in Thor I#240-241's) flashbacks, the defeat of Cleopatra at Actium caused Egypt's annexation into the Roman Empire).
    The Ashake from New Mutants I#32 lived in Pharaonic times.
    Since Marada Starhair  invokes a goddess, this story takes place before about 300 AD or so, before the Theodosian Code, which made the Roman Catholic Church the official religion of the empire and banned almost all other religions--see my explanation under the
Mitra entry.
--Per Degaton
    Chris Claremont notes that he intended to do more stories about Marada and noted her time of activity as the century bracketing the Birth of Christ. I'd take that to mean from 50 BC to 50 AD.

    Ab Urbe condita (related with Anno Urbis conditae: AUC or a.u.c.) is Latin for "from the founding of the City (Rome)",traditionally set in 753 BC." So the 760th year of the city of Rome would be roughly 7 AD.
--courtesy of John McDonagh and Darci

    Y'Garon, despite his appearance, pretty much has to be the same as the character in other mainstream stories. Claremont wrote those stories as well, and named Y'Garon as being "of the Triad," of the "Outer Dark," and of the Madbhara...which have pretty much all become terms referring to the N'Garai. Via the Y'Garon connection, I'd mark Marada as being Earth-616 until proven otherwise.

    Ashake was confirmed as a descendent of Chris Claremont's Ashake, who was an ancestor of Storm in the latter Ashake's OHotMU A-Z hardcover profile, written by David Sexton.

    With Ashandriar allegedly being ruled by "Sidhe -- the immortal gods and goddesses of faery," it would seem likely that Rhiannon could be to be the Celtic Goddess Rhiannon, though this is unconfirmed.

    The Marada the She-Devil graphic novel is a colored retelling (not quite a reprint, there are a few minor pages added) of her stories in Epic Illustrated#10-12.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
It is uncertain whether Arianrhod of Ashandriar is the same being, named for, or otherwise connected to:


images: (without ads)
Epic Illustrated#12 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf, p1
Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf, p13, panel 1


Appearances:
Epic Illustrated#10 (February, 1982) - by Chris Claremont (writer), John Bolton (artist), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Epic Illustrated#11 (April, 1982) - by Chris Claremont (writer), John Bolton (artist), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Epic Illustrated#12 (June, 1982) - by Chris Claremont (writer), John Bolton (artist), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (1985) - by Chris Claremont (writer), John Bolton (artist), Jo Duffy (editor)


Last updated: 11/26/08

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Marada and the characters in her stories (with the presumptive exception of Y'Garon and the demons of the Outer Dark) are the property of Chris Claremont and John Bolton.
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