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Maelgwyn is the son of Samot and Samothes. After disappearing during the Quiet Year, he became a cult figure within Marielda before resurfacing fifteen years later.

Appearance[edit | edit source]

Maelgwyn is muscular and "stunningly handsome" with dark tan skin, cutting blue eyes, and shoulder-length blonde hair. In his first appearance during the Quiet Year game in Marielda, he wears the clothing of a lay brother of the Church of Samothes, and carries no weapon.

When the Six find Maelgwyn in the library vault of Memoriam College, he is tired-looking, wearing a dress uniform and with his hair cut short. He wears a gauntlet on his left hand through which he can channel divine power.[1] Later in the season, he is often seen wearing an iron crown and a mask bearing the face of his father, Samot.

Personality[edit | edit source]

I've never felt regret in my life. I am confidence, breathing.

– Maelgwyn, "Four Conversations"

Maelgwyn appears to be charismatic and self-assured (sometimes to the point of arrogance), said to carry the air of Samothes with him. However, he struggles with self-doubt and often puts on a confident face because it's what's expected of him.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Maelgwyn was born as a result of Samot and Samothes's divine desire for a confidence that they did not have in the face of Samol's illness. He grew up in the Mansion, a house in the woods given to Samothes and Samot by their father Samol, where he played as a child with Hitchcock's mother.

While studying as a teen, Maelgwyn and his friends created the second iteration of the Yellow House, in imitation of the young Samot's original group.[3] This version of the Yellow House presumably dissolved before the events of the Quiet Year.

Marielda: The Quiet Year[edit | edit source]

Maelgwyn makes his first appearance during Autumn of the Quiet Year. When a wizard duel between members of the northern mage university and members of the underground school (later known as the Yellow House) breaks out, he appears leading a group of pala-din alongside members of the original northern Marieldan school. They end the conflict by killing the elf-woman from the mage university. Although he sided with the underground school, he gives them a contemptuous look before leaving the scene.


This section contains spoilers for Spring in Hieron 27: A Place and a Time.
Click here to reveal.

In Spring in Hieron 27: A Place and a Time, it's revealed through Lem's dream essence trip to Quiet Year-era Marielda that Maelgwyn had gone to Marielda as part of a plan conceived by Samot and his Disciples: Maelgwyn would gain the trust of Samothes and the citizenry, rise to prominence in the city, and build up the military. When Samot's forces arrived, Maelgwyn would betray Samothes and use his military to lead a bloodless coup, ending the war in one fell swoop.

Snitch Nightly overhears a conversation Maelgwyn has through his mask with Samot, in which Maelgwyn speaks of this plan and expresses his unhappiness about betraying Samothes. Snitch sells this information to Samothes.

Maelgwyn goes on to act as prosecutor in the ill-fated trial of Christopher for the murder of Winsley Cartwright, which is cut short by a reinvestigation following Snitch Nightly's confession to the same murder. That winter, Maelgwyn begins organizing an army in the northern part of the island before disappearing mysteriously during training exercises. He had impressed upon the troops so strongly the importance of focusing on preparations for Samot's assault that they did not divert any resources for a search party.


This section contains spoilers for the Spring in Hieron post-mortem.
Click here to reveal.

During the Spring in Hieron post-mortem, Austin confirmed what was already heavily implied: Samothes imprisoned Maelgwyn in the gauntlet after learning that he was an agent of Samot. Austin described it as an "easy conversation", where Samothes said something to the effect of "You're young, and you are going to get yourself in trouble. Let your father and I work this out, and then you'll be back." Maelgwyn understood that the closest his overbearing father, in his grief, could get to an act of love was putting his son in a vault, and it had a negative effect on his psyche.[4]

Marielda[edit | edit source]

Maelgwyn's whereabouts are unknown for fifteen years following the events of the Quiet Year. During his absence, he became a cult figure in Marielda, worshiped by a sect known as Maelgwyn's Faithful, who believed him to be a blessed figure, either the son of Samothes or some aspect of him. The cult became a significant political force in Marielda, successfully lobbying to have the park that replaced the disappeared mage tower named after Maelgwyn.[5]

The Valentine Affair[edit | edit source]

In Marielda 08: The Valentine Affair Pt. 3, Castille discovers Maelgwyn imprisoned in a vault in the Memoriam College special archives. Maelgwyn first appears as a glowing, polygonal figure to Castille while she is stuck in the spirit realm. When he tries to lunge at her it becomes clear that he is bound or chained to the vault wall by one of his hands, and he slumps in resignation after the first attempt. He reacts scornfully towards Castille when she tries to talk to him, mostly communicating through gestures, and his one attempt at speech seems to exhaust him.

Maelgwyn is freed from his bondage when, on the corporeal plane, Aubrey takes a gauntlet that was being stored in the vault and smashes the glass reliquary encasing it. He appears, now wearing the gauntlet that was imprisoning him, and drags Castille out of the spirit realm alongside him, where Sige and Aubrey are still involved in a skirmish with the remaining Yellow House members and Carolyn Fair-Play. Using his gauntleted hand, Maelgwyn "erases" the ghost of Bolster Valentine, who was attacking Castille, from existence.

As the dust settles, Maelgwyn remarks to Castille that he never expected her in particular to help him, and asks about the state of the war between Samot and Samothes. He seems somewhat confused by his surroundings and unaware of the length of his imprisonment.

Later on, Maelgwyn insists Sige give him the crystal containing the memory of Samot and Samothes's final argument, which Aubrey has become trapped inside, because he is the only one with a connection to it. Sige relents, on the condition that Maelgwyn help retrieve Aubrey. As the Six make their escape from Memoriam College, Maelgwyn aids them by holding off Rector Sabinia with his gauntlet.

After the events of the Valentine Affair, Maelgwyn meets with Castille and explains to her her former life as the elven mage Charter Castille, and that they had been at odds with each other during the Quiet Year. Maelgwyn himself has a foggy memory of the time before he was imprisoned, and it's revealed that he has yet to remember that he is the son of Samot and Samothes.

Four Conversations[edit | edit source]

Over the year in which "Four Conversations" takes place, Maelgwyn's Faithful gains new rhetorical power as rumors spread of Maelgwyn's return. Maelgwyn has taken to wearing a mask depicting Samot's face and an iron crown[note 1] while performing heroic deeds on the streets of Marielda, which Austin has described as his "superhero mode"[6] and compared to Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon.[7][8] At some point he recalls the identity of his parents, although it's unclear exactly when.

During this period Maelgwyn meets semi-regularly with Castille at the Hanging Gardens of Maelgwyn, and the two erstwhile enemies form a bond.

In the Marathon Livestream: Return to Marielda game of Scene Thieves, Maelgwyn assists the Six and the Elephant Lounge Company both on-stage and in their heist of the Fontmen's records. In the play, he and Castille play a pair of spies for the "champagne god", and share an ambiguous stage kiss behind his mask during the play's bizarre denouement. Afterwards, the two of them decompress on the roof of Castille's apartment where Maelgwyn laments his acting abilities and reflects on the strangeness of the night's events.

Searching to find a solution to the Heat and the Dark, Maelgwyn travels to mainland Hieron to consult Samot and the mages of the University. When he returns he's convinced that he must kill his father, Samothes.

When I drive a dagger into my father’s heart... [t]he city will reconfigure itself, instantly. Sensing his demise. And it will build a sepulcher for him. Massive. Noble. And somewhere in there, I am sure is the solution.

– Maelgwyn in Four Conversations

Maelgwyn believes that the regret he would feel at seeing his father's corpse in his reconfigured tomb would provoke his own divine impulse and create something new that could stop the Heat and the Dark.

The Killing of the King-God Samothes by the Traitor Prince Maelgwyn[edit | edit source]

Maelgwyn, confident in the conclusions of Castille's research (which were a result of a failed Study roll by Ali), becomes convinced that he must use the Blade in the Dark to kill Samothes.

Maelgwyn did so, stabbing the Samothes with the Blade in the Dark on High Sun Day. Stricken with the feeling of loss and the desire to have his father back, Maelgwyn was transformed into an ashen-haired approximation of the King-God and trapped beneath Marielda on the lowest strata of Hieron by the magic of his father's tomb.

Seasons of Hieron[edit | edit source]

It was revealed in Spring in Hieron 00: What Came Before that the new Samothes who was once Maelgwyn walked from underneath Marielda to underneath the southwestern islands of Hieron and set up his base there, which would become the basis of operations for the Cult of the Dark Sun. Although he was unable to leave the lowest strata, his followers could come to him there to receive direction.

This Samothes believed that directly working with and understanding the Heat and the Dark could save Hieron, and created and shaped tools out of it. Seeing a kindred spirit in Ephrim, who also had a tumultuous childhood, this Samothes granted him his supernatural power over fire. In Make the Spring Last Forever, he saves Ephrim's life after Ephrim is killed by Ordennan steel arrows, in exchange for Ephrim helping steal a special sword hilt from Lem and helping convert Fero to their side.

In An Open Mind, he breaks Hadrian's sword and forges a new blade for it out of a semi-liquid form of the Heat and the Dark and his own blood. He also places Alyosha under mind control for lacking confidence.

In Slow Justice, Ephrim reassembles the Sword of Samothes and uses it to kill this Samothes. As he dies, he reverts back into Maelgwyn, and perishes in agony as he repeats "I tried" over and over. Alyosha then takes Samothes' hammer and begins to work at the forge, causing flowers to spring forth from Maelgwyn's blood and filling the void with "the breath and force of Ingenuity Alive".

Name[edit | edit source]

There have been several medieval Welsh kings and princes with the Middle Welsh name "Maelgwn", meaning "princely hound" or "princely warrior".[9] During Maelgwyn's introduction in Marielda 02: The City of Light Pt. 2, Austin spells the name out loud as "M-A-E-L-G-W-N", but the spelling was officially established as "Maelgwyn" by the title of the final Marielda arc, presumably to better reflect how it was being pronounced on the show.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Appears in[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. This is the same mask and same crown, first seen in Autumn in Hieron 04: Is It Time Already?, that Lem King and Hadrian (respectively) put on before receiving a vision of Samot.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Marielda 08: The Valentine Affair Pt. 3
  2. "Maelgwyn came from Samothes' and Samot's collective desire for confidence. that doesn't mean that (especailly by the time you saw him in Marielda) that he IS confident. I think most of his arc in that campaign is pretty explicitly him being consumed by doubt, putting on a confident face because that's what is expected of him, and looking for something and someone to help stabilize him" - Austin in the Fans at the Table Discord server, 8/29/17
  3. Live at the Table: Misspent Youth
  4. "Samothes is not a good person. [...] The closest thing he can get to love is, especially in that moment, in his grief, is being an overbearing father who literally puts his son in a fucking closet. [...] And Maelgwyn knows. Malegwyn is not a fucking fool. And in the process, loses it, right?" - Austin in the Spring in Hieron post-mortem
  5. Marielda 03: The Crosstown Job Pt. 1
  6. Marielda 10: Four Conversations
  7. "...after Maelgwyn is... back on the streets and running around with a mask on and being a Tuxedo Mask motherfucker..." - Austin in Live at the Table: Misspent Youth
  8. "But the part where [Maelgwyn is] like, around and doing shit? No. He hasn’t become Tuxedo Mask yet." - Austin in Spring in Hieron 27: A Place and A Time