Ten years ago, fan art of Fortuona was few and far between. Now that she's the Empress and Mat "I am not a bloody lord" Cauthon is First Prince of the Ravens, she's finally gotten her share of the spotlight. Who am I to deny her more?Daughter of the Nine Moons
Empress Fortuona Athaem Devi Paendrag (formerly High Lady Tuon Athaem Kore Paendrag, Daughter of the Nine Moons) is the second daughter of the late Empress Radhanan. As heiress to the Crystal Throne, she was in charge of leading the Return. She declared herself Empress after Semirhage slaughtered her entire family, and has since established Altara as the seat of Seanchan power in the Westlands. Her homeland is now mired in civil war.Tuon Athaem Kore Paendrag
(Pointillism! This took 40 hours of work.)
Fortuona's childhood was sad and difficult. She saw her mother only twice a year before her sixteenth naming day (Winter's Heart
, Chapter 14). We know only that her father "died of a bad wager" (Crossroads of Twilight
, Chapter 28), ostensibly in one of the deadly plots she and her siblings were forced to execute to prove themselves worthy of one day ruling the Empire (a struggle in which two of her siblings were made da'covale,
and in which she herself had a brother and a sister killed). She is a skilled fighter and wrestler, in spite of her tiny stature. She has survived many assassination attempts, the earliest of which occurred the year she was born. Twice, she has intentionally vanished and been presumed dead, down to the arrangement of her funeral rites (Crossroads of Twilight
, Chapter 4). Her closest companion is her bodyguard, Voice, and Truthspeaker Selucia, who is also the closest thing to a mother she has ever known. Although hardened by the events of her childhood, she has a good heart and a deep-rooted sense of justice (albeit a Seanchan
sense of justice). For this, she has earned the undying loyalty and love of those who serve and protect her.Tuon
In many ways, she is as hard as Rand. I am still struck by the scene in Knife of Dreams
(Chapter 11), in which she casually drives a blade into the chest of an assassin that Mat (haunted by memories of Melindhra, Tylin, and Renna) shows clemency. But the ultimate proof of her willpower is her ability to defy Rand's will.
The Gathering Storm
Chapter 35, "A Halo of Blackness"
His expression was grim. Despite the afternoon light, his face was shadowed, far more so than everything else beneath the pavilion. He held her eyes still, and her breaths came quick and short. In the corners of her vision, she thought she saw something around him. A dark haze, a halo of blackness, emanating from him. It warped the air like a great heat. Her throat constricted, and words were forming. Yes. Yes. I will do as you ask. Yes. I must. I must.
"No," she said, the world barely a whisper.
His expression grew darker, and she saw fury in the way he pressed his hand down, fingers trembling with the force. The way he clenched his jaw. The way his eyes opened wider. Such intensity.
"I need--" he began.
"No," she repeated, confidence growing. "You will bow before me, Rand al'Thor. It will not happen the other way around."
by J. Seamas Gallagher
Fortuona has the ability to learn to channel. Although she chooses not to learn, she is trained as a sul'dam
and takes great pleasure in training both damane
and horses. Early on in her relationship with Mat, she views him as property as well--in their very first encounter, she tries to buy him from Tylin (Winter's Heart
, Chapter 17). Soon after he kidnaps her, she expresses an interest in taking him on as a cupbearer. Even shortly before she completes the marriage ceremony, she still isn't entirely convinced she doesn't want to break him.
Knife of Dreams
Chapter 26, "As If the World Were Fog"
She wondered about the scar he took such pains to hide. That he did was understandable. Why had he been hanged, and how had he survived? She could not ask. She did not mind lowering his eyes a little--in fact, it was enjoyable making him writhe; it took so little effort--but she did not want to destroy him. At least, not for the moment.
Above: WoT Doodles
Below: Reasons for Kissing--Tuon
Her feelings for him have clearly deepened since. Although their odd relationship is endearing and funny, I find their partnership unsettling. Mat's mercilessness as a military commander and his role in sparking the invention (or reinvention) of firearms pair strangely with Tuon's determination to conquer the Westlands. They may be an odd couple, but underestimating either of them is likely to be the last thing their enemies ever do.WoT--card teasers 1
by Ariel Burgess
, personal website
, Facebook page for the Wheel of Time poker deck
(In the interest of fitting with the theme, I didn't include Olver. The full version is a triptych and can be found here