Melna Durnaks

Melsheena "Melna" Durnaks (sometimes Callanianized as 'Durnaxe') is the Dominion's foremost specimen of the Orc race. She is well known for having a tragic backstory and being violently insane.

Originally a member of the Doma tribe, Melna was orphaned at a young age. Her father, Korik, was challenged by the Doma chief's brother, Tulek Ragakil to a 'Test of Taking', a traditional Orcish fight to the death, over his wife, Leena. Korik was killed in the fight, and when Leena avenged her husband's death, she was immediately executed. Doma tradition dictates that orphaned girls are worthless, and Melna was to be executed as well. Stonewater, the son of a visiting Alheera, in an attempt to save her, declared that he would take her as his wife. Unfortunately, Doma tradition dictated that a groom must claim his wife "physically and immediately". Seeing no other option, he hesitantly complied. Traumatized, Melna smashed Stonewater's face in with a hammer and fled into the wilderness of Maltak.

After a period of wandering, Melna stumbled across the Crone of Maltak. The Crone tutored Melna for a time, until eventually turning on her for some reason. Melna killed the Crone in self-defense and fled once again.

She eventually ended up in Callan and somehow got a researching position at the School of Arcane Arts. Her time with the Crone had made her a talented Chandak.

During a benefit concert for the city of Barthis, she once again met Stonewater, and for some reason her immediate reaction was to hug him.

An Analysis of Melna's Psyche

by The Archivist

When one analyses Melna’s life one cannot come to any other conclusion that she is sociopathic, prone to violent emotional outburst, has extreme emotional and sexual problems, and is possibly an alcoholic. From my analysis I can pretty safely say that Melna is a product of an overly violent, sociopathic, misogynist, and insane culture.

Within a thirty minute period she went from being the respectable daughter of a war hero in her tribe to have to having to see a duel to the death between her father and the chief’s brother over her mother, nearly being killed in a desperate gamble by the chief’s brother, seeing her father be struck down for saving her life. Then she goes on to see her mother murder her old husband’s killer, and she was in turn killed because she murdered her new husband. Being an orphan, Melna was immediately considered a worthless and undesirable person by her tribe who must be killed without haste. She is then raped by the son of another tribes chief because he decides he wants to take her as a wife and “save” her. Melna is then examined like a slab of meat to make sure she “pleased” Stonewater. After striking Stonewater in the fact full force with a hammer she runs away and leaves Stonewater for dead, bleeding and with a broken face. She meets with the Crone of Maltak, and develops a strong relationship with her over a number of years. She is then violently and suddenly attack with no warning by the Crone, and Melna goes into a murderous rage and kills the Crone. The first person we can confirm she killed.

These experiences would cause severe psychological issues in just about anyone. It makes sense that seeing her parents killed before her eyes, and then raped within a thirty minute period would cause Melna to have moments of violent mood swings and a desire to drink in order to not think about her past. Being violently betrayed by the one person she formed a relationship with, a major religious figure none the less, and then killing her in response a few years later could only have caused Melna to develop more psychological issues. Especially ones involving relating and dealing with other people.

I think it is also important to point out that Melna’s father was considered a “revolutionary thinker.” In an extremely conservative society such as the Doma tribe it is likely that his revolutionary thinking was not greatly appreciated, and he might have been a social outcast as a result. This would help explain why the chief’s brother was able to challenge Melna’s father for his wife with little protest from the rest of the tribe. In no instance do we see Melna reacting with any other orc children, or anyone else other than her parents in her flashbacks. The only known relationship outside of her family that we know of is Suyan Bikta, someone who belonged to a tribe of religious fanatics that even most of the dogmatic orcs hate. Someone she was so happy to see that she was willing to dismiss the fact there was evidence that he may have beaten an orc woman to death with a rock. This shows how desperate Melna is for friendship in any form, and that she is willing to completely dismiss reality in order to keep them. This also suggests the possibility that equality among women was not the only revolutionary idea that Melna’s father held if he was regularly meeting with the Bikta, and this could have been one of those convenient omissions Stonewater did because Melna was in the room.

No one within the Doma was willing to step in to help Melna when her parents were killed. I would imagine that there would be somekind of tradition for adoptions in the culture. But no one offered this solution, not even a political opponent to the chief who might adopt Melna just to rub salt in the chief’s eyes and insult him by defying his wishes. Really Melna should have fallen under the Doma Chief’s protection. When his brother killed Melna’s wife, Melna became his daughter, and when he was killed by Melna’s mother and she was killed in return, Melna should have fallen under Doma Chief’s custody (but this would have required Mookie to actually have thought about his beloved culture of savage nobles instead of looking for an excuse to have rape drama). It’s possible that the Doma Chief was too emotional to think about the nuances of his actions in such a short period of time.

It is little surprised that Melna ran away from the people that humiliated, traumatized, attempted to kill her, and betrayed her and never returned for many years until recent events. The racism and general bigotry of Callan is well documented, and it should be noted Melna chose to live in this society rather than in her own homeland and with her own people. Actually this may have played to her advantage considering Callanians have repeatedly shown little concern for Melna’s repeated violent actions. They seem to dismiss her actions like one would dismiss a schoolyard fight in elementary. Only Melna doesn’t get detention for her bad behavior. It is not unexpected to think that Callanians just expect Melna as an orc to act violent, be prone to emotional outbursts, and be prone to getting drunk. In its own sad little way, this is probably the closest thing Melna had gotten to acceptance in her life. In fact Callanian’s are overly dismissive of orcs actions, especially to each other. Dominic and Luna barely commented on Melna being raped, if at all. Despite them being the closest thing to best friend each has ever had, Luna never comforts Melna about the issue of her being raped, or even talks about it. Callanians seemed relatively unconcerned when Melna beat a drunk Stonewater unconscious, dragged him out of a bar, and then sadistically drowned him with water magic. Dominic is reguarly willing to dismiss being reguarly assaulted and attacked by orcs in additions to any wrong doings done by orcs. Dominic’s willingness to accept and defend such a violent, insane, brutal, and misogynist culture as the orcs have suggests an amount of moral and ethical relativism that is scary.

Melna herself is a sad, broken sentient being. Her unfortunate mix of an Elektra complex and Stockholm syndrome with her rapist alone suggest someone who is unhealthy psychologically. Stonewater and her father seem to be the two major male figures in her life, and her own ability to find distinctions between the two is self admittedly little. Despite her openly violent behavior towards other men she does not act similarly to Stonewater, despite their history. The three main mother figures of her life, her mother, the Crone, and Miranda, are all either dead, betrayed her, or are leaving her life. This may help explain why she is so possessive of what few friends she has. One could interpret her violent reactions to Dominic as her expressing her worries that Dominic is driving a wedge between her and Luna. She assaulted Dominic while drunk and thinking he was having sexual fantasies about Luna (something I would think most people would not consider bad given Dominic and Luna’s relationship), and assaulted him again when she thought Dominic was using Luna to play mind games with her. This might also help explain why she was so willing to trust her childhood friend Suyan when he first saw him over an unconscious orc woman with a rock in his hand.

So that brings us to current events. Dominic thinks it wise to send Melna to the Doma to get them to join in their war against the Bikta. This despite that fact that Melna was declared a non-person by her clan, and an outsider if they still consider her marriage to Stonewater to still be binding. If the Doma Chief is still alive he is going to affiliate Melna with the murder of his brother, the daughter of a revolutionary thinker, and possibly a violent nut. Melna is also prone to emotional outbursts, and is going to have to deal with the man who said she was to be immediately killed, and then raped on the spot by Stonewater. If Melna was going to blame someone for what happened to her other then Stonewater, it would have to be the Doma Chief. Somehow she, as an undesirable exile with a bad past and emotional baggage with the Doma, is going to have to convince the Doma to join a war the Rhazgala and Stonewater are unlikely to win on their own. All for a woman they have no interest in…when they have shown obvious misogynist tendencies? In a rational world without puppet master Dominus, Melna would be doomed to failure. There has to be someone better to send as a representative to the Doma, but for whatever reason everyone is just going to go along with what Dominus says because he said he had a vision. Either these people are just that desperate, or just that stupid. Given previous orc actions, I think I know which one I would pick.

The idea that she will kill the Crone again isn't so much a prophesy as a statement of fact. The Crone is one of the big traumas of Melna's life, and them being in the same room is most likely just going to result in Melna assaulting her like she does with anyone she doesn't like. It is only a matter of time until her violent streak and her punching people full force in the face results in her killing someone again. It was probably a wise action on Dominic's part to keep those two apart as long as possible.

In conclusion Melna is a violent, emotional, lunatic with severe mental problems. With her past there is little surprised she is as screwed up as she is. What is surprising is the amount of, almost dismissive, acceptance everyone has for her violent behavior. For being a bunch of bigots, Callanians are awfully accepting of such a violent and disruptive member in their society for so many years. Especially considering she is an orc. Dominic went to jail and had to do public service for being a manipulative bastard and bad puns. Melna does not get even a slap on the wrist even for violently assaulting people. Sending Melna as an ambassador does not make any logical sense on multiple levels. If one examines her history or actions one would think they are trying to provoke the Doma to go to war with them, and not the Bikta.