Meixiu Song
Authored by Lyla (she/her)
Zhaoshang ✥ Currently Offline, last seen Dec 08, 2017, 06:11 PM
Zhaoshang
Duchess of Khange
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Soft-spoken, pious, and sensitive, Meixiu unexpectedly found herself at the head of a duchy after her father was executed for treason, and her sister abandoned her duties to join the Ladonic Order. Perpetually underestimated, and Tired of it. She takes her new responsibility very seriously, and is determined to prove herself at any cost.
Also Known As
Snowdrop
Address As
Your Grace
Gender
Cis-woman
Orientation
Bisexual / Biromantic (strong preference for women, apparently)
Age
18 years
Birthdate
April 27, 456
Marital Status
Betrothed to Arturo Corona
Formerly married to Shahrazad Yilmaz
Reputation
A victim of circumstance. The self-effacing daughter of a traitor, now faced with running a duchy after her disgraced older sister abandoned her duties. Not expected to succeed.
Hearsay
Meixiu Song's bones are made of glass. (false) Meixiu Song is as pure as the fallen snow. (true) Meixiu Song has never lost her temper. (false so false) Meixiu Song did not cry at her father's execution. (true) A strong wind could blow Meixiu Song apart, just like a dandelion. (...you decide)
Traits
Self-effacing, resolute, stubborn, idealistic, emotional
Mental
Strengths
Quick-witted, empathetic, articulate, sensible
Mental Weaknesses
Uncompromising, insecure, naive
Motivations
Restore the reputation of House Song, Become a just and effective Duchess, Bear and raise children who are less screwed up than she and her sister
In Public
Soft-spoken and polite, but no shrinking violet. Meixiu does everything with an air of calm and certainty, even (or perhaps especially) when she is feeling unsure. Genial, articulate, and well-read, but unfailingly modest, she adopts the guise of a "perfect lady" to direct attention away from her family's scandals and her own insecurities. She has gotten very good at this, over the years.
In Private
Meixiu is decidedly more hotblooded that she lets on. Though generous and openly affectionate with those she cares about, she can also be impatient and demanding. She dislikes being left out or left behind, and is not afraid to let those who have wronged her hear about it.
Family
Somewhat strained, at the moment. Growing up, Meixiu loved her family fiercely, and would have done anything to prove herself worthy of them. She has come to realize recently that her family is not as infallible (or as fundamentally good) as she once believed them to be. Her family has always made an effort to take care of her, owing to her delicate constitution, but Meixiu is beginning to resent the implication that her physical limitations make her weak. Once very close to her sister Jia Li, but currently feeling angry and abandoned.
Promiscuity
Commitment is the foundation of any successful relationship. The rest can come later, as long as trust has been established.
Politics
Glorian

Meixiu is thoroughly fed up with what she views as the "old guard" in Ilium. She believes in the positive power of change.
Religion
Devout. For most of her life, Meixiu planned to become a priestess. As a child, she never doubted that her father could speak to the gods. Now, she wonders if his death was their way of punishing him for his arrogance. Regardless, she visits the temple almost daily, and is scrupulous in her observance of the Faith. She feels a particular connection to the Sister.
Physical
Features
Very pale, often sporting bruises
Height
5'2"
Build
Slight, but soft around the edges; clearly not someone who is accustomed to strenuous physical activity
Physical Strengths
Ha. No.
Physical Weaknesses
Meixiu suffers from a genetic blood disorder, similar to modern day sickle-cell anemia. Symptoms include irregular bruising, chronic fatigue, and difficulty breathing (or occasionally fainting spells) if she overexerts herself.
April 27, 456
Birth

Winter 460
“Slow down, Meixiu!” Mother barks, in a tone that leaves no room for argument, “Be careful.”

But her sister rushes heedlessly across the grounds, scrambling up rock faces and bounding through snow banks. Meixiu tries to follow, but she cannot keep up. Dark bruises bloom under her skin as she scrapes up against rocks and sticks. Her breath comes in ragged gasps, and then stops coming altogether, and the world reels and goes dark.

“You must look after your sister,” Mother scolds Jia Li later that night, “she is delicate.”

Autumn 465
They all are climbing trees, except for her. She isn't supposed to. She might get hurt. Her cousin goads her, calls her a baby, even though they are the same age, and she thinks Jia Li may break his nose. Meixiu puts out an arm to stop her, but it is too late. He grins wickedly, his eyes scornful. "Lucky you have your sister to rush to your defense, Snowdrop. If it were up to me, I'd send you to the Wall. Weed out the weak stock, like we used to."

He shouldn't speak to her that way. Her father is the Duke. Still, Meixiu feels tears pricking at the backs of her eyes.  

"Well, it isn't up to you," she hisses, her chin held high, even if it quivers.  

Jia Li does break his nose.

Father finds her crying in the temple hours later, which is completely humiliating, because Zuan Song does not cry. He is a stern, gruff, unyielding man, ill at ease with delicate little girls like her, but he cups her chin in one large hand and makes her meet his eyes. They are chips of ice, cold and clear. Hers are runny and swollen, but the color is the same.

"Right before might," he reminds her, once she has sniffled her way through the story. "You are my daughter. No one is sending you anywhere." Meixiu doesn't know how to explain that being sent to the Wall is the least of her concerns. She knows better than to cry over old nursery tales. It is the principle of the thing. Zuan lights a match and leads her before the Maiden, motioning for her to kneel and light a candle, which she does. "Now no more tears, Snowdrop."

It is meant to be reassuring, their little pet name for her, but Meixiu feels a twinge of shame when he says it. As she dries her eyes she casts a silent prayer to the gods to make them stop, or call her something else. Flowers die, when the frosts come. She would rather be a wolf. 

Summer 471
They do not want her to go. It is too far from home, too dangerous. She has a delicate constitution. What if the journey is too taxing on her? Or the heat?

There is no convincing her mother, who has always held her hand too tightly, and then wondered at the bruises. It is her father who she finally manages to move. She has heard the gods in her dreams, she tells him, (and she silently promises to atone for the lie once it has served its purpose). They require her service, and what can she do but ready herself for their will? He would rather her apprentice in a temple closer to home, but Meixiu is resolute. The best theologians study and teach at the University in Nejem, and don't the gods deserve the best from her?

It is a stretch, but it is enough, and when her father grants his permission Meixiu shrieks and twirls around the room until she must sit, wheezing. Her mother looks furious, and her sister sulks, but she cannot bring herself to care. For the first time, it feels as though the course of her life is something she gets a say in. The first taste of independence is intoxicating. 

Spring 472
Shahrazad Yilmaz is not the sort of person that ought to notice her. Meixiu wilts in the Nejemese heat. The sun leaves her skin red and stinging. Next to her classmates, she feels sweaty and sheltered and small. Shahrazad is tall and self-assured. Her teeth flash brilliant white when she smiles her way and calls her clever, which must be a lie, because Meixiu prattles like a fool whenever their paths cross.

She does not remember when studying together turns to friendship, or when friendship turns to midnight dips in the river.

"I can't swim!" Meixiu protests, but Shahrazad, who has come to know her too well, too quickly, only smiles and reaches for her hand.

"You can do anything you like."

When Shahrazad kisses her, Meixiu forgets to breathe. Her lips and fingertips leave lavender bruises on her delicate skin, when they forget to be careful. Shahrazad tries to apologize, every time, but Meixiu never lets her. She is so tired of being careful. Her parents are not around to warn and worry. She can do as she likes.

So she does.

She stays up late nights tangled in the arms of a woman who leaves her bruised and breathless. And she drinks wine, even though it makes her head spin.

And eventually, on what might be called a whim, but feels like divine inspiration -- she marries her.

September 473
She spends hours on her knees in the temple, praying. She asks the Mother to be merciful, that he may feel no pain, and the Father to judge him fairly. She asks the Guide to lead him safely from this life to the next. She asks the Warrior to give him courage. She does not ask any of them to spare him. She is not that naive. She lingers before the Huntress, closes her eyes and begs strength for Jia Li. As always, Meixiu ends up at the feet of the Sister, and there, finally, she cries.

"Grant me the grace to forgive him," she prays through her tears. She would like to be able to properly mourn for her father, but she fears she is too angry. All her life, she has envied and admired his immovable nature. She thought it was strength. It was not.

Zuan Song is stubborn, and a fool, which might be alright if his own life was all it would cost him. It is the selfishness of his treason that Meixiu cannot bring herself to forgive. He is sentenced to die, and the rest of them are left to bury him and assume his mantle. Jia Li, she can tell, is terrified.

The fateful day comes, and her father's head rolls, and Meixiu blinks.... and misses it. Her eyes are cold and hard, like chips of ice. She holds her wife's hand, and her sister's, and sheds no tears.

Autumn 473
Meixiu believes the gods intend her sister to rule the duchy of Khange, as their father's rightful heir, but she can't help but wonder what purpose they have for making it so difficult.

She does her best to reassure her. Surely she will get the hang of it eventually. She must. In moments of desperation, Meixiu reminds her sister of her duty to their people, to their house, to her. "For me, then, Jia Li" she insists, reaching for her hand. "Stay strong for me. I will help you."

She does. She tries.

Her sister is a warrior, always her protector, but the ruling of Khange is not a problem she can swing a sword at. Meixiu does her best to step in where and when she can, offering advice, soothing her tempers, but it is not enough. It is so clearly not enough.

Still, she does not expect her to leave.

Winter 474
Father dead. Jia Li gone. Both so selfish it makes her teeth ache.

Shahrazad roars when she tells her what must come next. She smashes her fist against the wall. You can't do this to me.

Meixiu shakes her head. She is Duchess of Khange, now. She can do anything she likes.

It is tempting to ask her to stay. She can feel the words on her tongue, but she cannot make herself say them. It isn't fair -- not to her wife, or to the man who will be her husband, ensuring the future of House Song. That's what she tells herself, anyway, but maybe she is waiting for Shahrazad to come up with the idea on her own... Maybe she will dig in her heels, and swear by all the gods that nothing in this world could move her from her side.

She does not.

Shahrazad leaves, like the others, and it stings no less for Meixiu having commanded her to go. It isn't fair, she wants to scream, but she bites her tongue. None of it is fair, but it is necessary, and there is no one left but her to do the things that must be done.

She waves her mother away and writes the people of note across the empire, letting them know of her new position, and vowing on her honor to repair what her father broke. She spends long hours in what was once Zuan's library, poring over old ledgers. She prays for guidance, and courage, and clear sightedness. She reads, and listens, and learns. She does not sleep. And she realizes, with more bitterness than she ever thought herself capable of, that she is good at this.

Face Claim
Sarah Bolger
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