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Melanie von Musel de Rolo[2] was a member of the de Rolo family and a former Lady of Whitestone. She was responsible for the creation of the gardens at Whitestone Castle.

Biography[]

Lady Melanie was part of the third generation of de Rolos to be born in Whitestone,[5] although she grew up in Wildemount with the von Musel family.[6]

She had an arranged marriage with her cousin, Wolfe de Rolo, so she moved to Tal'Dorei, and they became the Lord and Lady of Whitestone together.[2] The couple didn't love each other and there wasn't much happiness between them, although they got some peace and happiness after Melanie created the back gardens of Whitestone Castle, in around the 730s PD,[7] where she grew many plants from Wildemount.[8] However, her true intention was to get rid of her husband, and since many of those plants were poisonous, she spent several years slowly poisoning Wolfe, intending to eventually murder him.[5][1] That finally happened after the Great Whitestone Fire, in which Lord de Rolo ended up seriously injured, and since his health was already weakened, he died in few weeks,[9] so Melanie took over the city as its sole ruler.[2]

Lady Melanie decided that, taking advantage of the fact that a third of the city was destroyed, it was a good opportunity to expand its limits, so they began to occupy land in the Parchwood Timberlands to cover a sacred place that the first settlers of the city used to use as a makeshift temple of Pelor. However, problems started to appear: accidents, wild animal attacks, strange visions and phantoms (some talked about seeing the late Lord de Rolo himself), etc. Of all the construction, only the Temple of the Dawnfather was completed successfully.[10]

Ivan von Musel by Micaerys

Fan art of Ivan, Melanie's cousin, by Micaerys.[art 2]

When the dowager Lady de Rolo consulted Ivan, a cousin of hers who had been studying for a year in the city as a cleric of Erathis, he told her that she must have offended the Lawbearer by expanding Whitestone without showing her due respect as the goddess of civilization. After Ivan resolved the conflict with the Prime Deity (killing a grey direwolf sent by Erathis to test him and mark how far the city-state should expand) Lady Melanie created the Third House of Whitestone as a thank you,[2] and gave Ivan the title of Grand Master of the Grey Hunt, as an incentive for him to stay in the city.[11]

Lady Melanie ruled Whitestone until eventually she was removed from her position for suspected witchcraft and raising of the undead,[5] presumably being succeeded by a descendant of hers.

Legacy[]

The gardens were reconstructed after the Briarwoods' occupation to include some rose gardens, a small hedge maze, and a pond, as well as a revival of the walled poison garden by Percival de Rolo and Keyleth, who named it the Widow's Garden.[5][1] Melanie's surname has been passed through generations, with several of the de Rolo children carrying it, the most recent of which is Percival's youngest daughter, Gwendolyn Zahra Melanie von Musel de Rolo, who also bears Melanie's first name.[12]

According to some rumors, Melanie's ghost is sometimes seen in Whitestone.[13]

Appearances and mentions[]

Trivia[]

  • Her name derives from the Greek word melania, meaning "blackness".[14] It's possible that the name itself is a reference to her rumored deals with black magic.
  • Melanie is considered part of the third generation of de Rolos born in Whitestone, and that (along with the fact that hers was the first marriage of a von Musel joining the de Rolo family)[15] means that one of her parents was related to the de Rolos (even if not necessarily bearing the surname), and through them she was related to the main line of the family.[16]
    • Despite being considered part of that generation she's never said to be born in the castle herself. The fact that Wildemount is called "her native home" indicates she was born there, and not in Whitestone.[17]
  • The marriage between Melanie and Wolfe is described as "purely political",[18] and the fact that she managed to maintain control over Whitestone even after Wolfe died suggests she had her own claim to the succession (perhaps her de Rolo parent should have inherited Whitestone but the circumstances didn't allow it), and those rights could potentially challenge Wolfe's position, which would explain why there was such an interest about Melanie and him marrying each other.
    • A possible explanation (although unconfirmed at the moment), is that, as there are several branches of the de Rolo family in Exandria,[19] Melanie was the descendant of a first-born line of the family who tried to claim Whitestone, and their relatives of the city-state resolved the conflict with a marriage.
  • While talking about Whitestone history and its potential for the future, Taliesin Jaffe expressed a great interest in Melanie's story and her connection with Wolfe and Ivan.[20]

References[]

Art:

  1. Fan art of Lady Melanie von Musel de Rolo, by Micaerys. Work contributed to the Critical Role Wiki by the artist.
  2. Fan art of Ivan, Melanie's cousin, by Micaerys. Work contributed to the Critical Role Wiki by the artist.
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