☪ MEI HUA, (25)
"If you pick up a male rabbit, he kicks and struggles,
but a female rabbit is bleary-eyed and still;
Set them both on the ground and let them run-who can tell if I am female or male?"
-From "The Ballad of Mulan" (木兰辞, or mù lán cí)
n i c k n a m e (s) || Ming Yun (the name she took when she disguised herself as a boy; translates to "destiny"), Little Flower (Zhao's name for her; derived from the fact that Mei's full name literally means "beautiful [Mei] flower [Hua]"; Mei hated it when she was a little girl)
b i r t h p l a c e || Xiong
s t a t u s || Nobility
s p e c i e s || Elf
g e n d e r || Female
h u n t e r || Demon
c h a r a c t e r + o r i g i n . s t o r y || Hua Mulan+Mulan
s u p p o r t i n g . c a s t || polyvore.com/friends_enemies_other_as…
l i k e s || swords of all shapes and sizes, bladed fans and armored parasols (and armored fans and bladed parasols), her favorite pair of needle-like daggers that can be conveniently disguised as chopsticks used to hold together a bun, her favorite crossbow, the exhilaration of fighting a battle, Zhao Li (her friend/betrothed/possible love interest??? Who knows-it's all very complicated), Jinmei Wang, exploring new places, when she is alone and doesn't have to pretend that she is a boy, her respective homes in Xiong and Petram, sunrises and sunsets, practicing her drills underneath the glow of the pale moon, sparring, feeling the sun on her face and the dewy grass beneath her bare feet, snowy mountains and dense forests and sunny meadows, her longbow and her trusty quiver of arrows,lightweight armor that's easy to move around in, tall flowers-though she's particularly partial towards tough, resilient (but not traditionally pretty) flowers, gauzy silk gowns (surprisingly-it should also be noted that Mei doesn't mind ruining them on an almost daily basis, either), foggy crags that jut out into the ocean with a harsh, austere beauty, fields of colorful wildflowers and forests of bamboo stalks, tea (black, green, oolong...it doesn't matter what kind, because Mei probably likes it), steamed buns/man tou, mooncakes/yue bing, bokchoy and leek and luffa/si gua (all vegetables from Xiong), dogs of all shapes and sizes, playing around with her new short hairdo
d i s l i k e s || Yueying Li (her friend/betrothed/possible love interest's mother), Anzhou Cao, Mei-ying, the Unseelie fae (especially Oberon), dark creatures/monsters/demons/whatever in general, how her parents would be most proud of her for being a good wife to Zhao (at least, that's what she believes), disappointing her family, mucking up the esteemed Hua name, her beauty (it's brought her nothing but shame and unwanted attention), how her parents/family in general view women as somehow "lesser" than men, how her family won't accept her for who she is, bitter melon (it's gross), traditional Xiong medicine (also gross), tight clothing, heavy steel armor (though she'll put up with it, if she must), mosquitoes (let's face it-who /likes/ mosquitoes?), boring classical poetry, painting (she's not very good at it), singing (she's not very good at singing either), extreme humidity/mugginess (the one aspect of nature that Mei can't /stand/), people who underestimate/look down upon women (and being underestimated/looked down upon due to her gender), Daizeron, loud gongs (they're so /annoying/), being forced to wear her hair in a tight bun
s k i l l s ||
*Mei is proficient with a wide variety of weaponry, ranging from her bare fists to explosives, but her true talent lies with the bow and arrow and the crossbow
*Though she isn't bad with swords, either
*And she has a particular fondness for weapons that are pretty but deadly, from her childhood days...Mei's mother may have been a willing to indulge in her daughter a /little/ bit. Just a little.
*Quick and nimble; lithe
*Enhanced strength, speed, and senses (especially hearing and sight); very agile (due to the fact that she is an elf)
*Just running around and generally causing havoc, when she was younger
*Now, Mei is much less assertive, but she is quite a good listener (even if she's not very good at giving advice) and very diligent
f l a w s ||
*Feels the need to hide her true identity because she is afraid of bringing shame and dishonor to her family (more so than she already has), and that people will view her as more vulnerable or weak because she is the girl that Oberon wants for a lover
*Secretly, she's terrified that Oberon will come back for her someday, and that she will be too weak to fight him off (another reason to hide who she really is)
*She can and will drive herself in exhaustion
*As a child, Mei was more than just a bit reckless and blatantly disregarded the rules
*Now, though, she perhaps follows the rules a little too closely, even as she is breaking all of them at once by disguising herself as a boy
*Though she still retains a streak of mischievousness that is only really brought out by her friend Jinmei
*Especially susceptible to heat and fire
p e r s o n a l i t y || Mei was never the quiet and dutiful daughter that her parents would have wanted. Sure, her mother accepted Mei for all her stubborn love of adventure, but Mei knew that she would have /preferred/ a more.../manageable/ daughter, to say the least (more on that later; it's complicated). And her father? Well. He'd wanted a son.
So Mei tried to be that son. She tried to wrestle with the other boys, the way a son would have. She tried to learn how to wield a sword and shoot a bow and arrow and ride a horse, just as a son would have. Above all, she'd wanted to make her parents and ancestors proud. She'd wanted to bring honor to her family, to the esteemed Hua name.
She'd /wanted/ to. Mei has no idea what she wants /now/, though.
Mei grew up a cheerful and mischievous girl. She was always looking for another adventure, and she was recklessly brave, with a certain brazen disregard for her own safety that only children could possibly possess. Mei was constantly scrambling over rocks and climbing up trees and rolling down hills and splashing through streams, soiling her new clothes and ruining her hair in the process. Her mother would scold her, her father would frown, but Mei was a headstrong child, and she would do as she pleased, thank you /very/ much.
Nowadays, though, Mei is afraid to do just that-she's afraid to do as she pleases. She tip-toes around others, terrified that they'll realize the secret she's been guarding for years: that she's not Ming Yun, but Mei Hua. That she's not quiet, diligent Ming, but a mischievous child who can't stay out of trouble.
Mei is not so cheerful anymore, now, and nowhere near as impulsive. She'd rather watch and wait than dive head-first into the action. She is dutiful and hardworking; a good soldier. Mei is extremely driven when it comes to advancing her skills, whether it be with a crossbow or a sword or one of those newfangled shotguns. She lives for the clang of steel on steel, for the moment that she lets a bolt fly towards an advancing demon. She lives for the adrenaline of a battle, for the thump, thump, thump of her heartbeat thrumming in her ears as the world is reduced to nothing but bloody instinct and the roaring in her veins. She lives for those few, precious moments where she doesn't pretend that she is Ming, even though she is wearing a man's armor and wielding a man's weapons. She is Mei on the battlefield, in all of Mei's stubborn, beautiful glory.
But after the battle is over, after the clang of steel on steel has faded into despairing moans and the taste of death has settled heavily onto her tongue, Mei is Ming again, and she is guarded and wary once more, because nobody can know that she is a girl. Nobody.
Loyal and dutiful, Mei seems like the perfect soldier. She uses the blankness of her expression to mask her vulnerability, but on the inside, she's falling apart, one piece at a time. Look, there goes one piece, she thinks, as she forgets the name of the older boy she used to wrestle with. And then another goes when she forgets the little village boy she used to race through the sun-lit forests and streams. And yet another piece slowly slips away as Mei struggles to recall the face of her closest friend before she left Xiong for Petram, for that gentle little girl who would rather hang back and make flower crowns than roll around in the mud.
Mei ignores it, though. Who she is, what her name is-this is not important. What's important is the fact that Mezda wants to engulf the entire world in her chaos. What's important is the fact that Daizeron is amassing an army to invade Xiong.
What's not important is her name, her gender, her family. What's not important is that her name is Mei Hua, that she is a girl, that her parents wanted a son.
It's not important at all.
+Used to be very impulsive, but ever since her experience with Oberon, she's become more cautious and careful about things
+Confident in her own abilities as a soldier
+A good listener
-/+Doesn't trust easily
-/+But once you gain her trust, she'll follow you to the edge of the world and back
-/+A bit of the strong, silent type
-/+Uses her stoic demeanor as a way of masking her true feelings
-/+Insecure and uncertain about where she stands with her family; doesn't want to dishonor them, but knows that she can't go on with the plan her father originally had for her
-/+Both hates and loves feeling like her "old" self
-Not very good at talking about her feelings
-Not very good at talking about feelings in general
-Will drive herself to exhaustion if not stopped
-Hates being viewed as weak or vulnerable
-A bit on the blunt side; has never been one for manners and wordplay when a straight-forward answer will do
b i o g r a p h y || Mei, her name was. Mei Hua-beautiful flower.
And Mei indeed was beautiful. With her bright, inquisitive eyes and gleaming black hair and her red, red lips, no one could deny that Mei was as pretty as a picture, when she bothered to comb her hair and wipe the mud off her face. And sometimes she was even lovelier with her hair a tangled mess and her face streaked with dirt, when her wind-wild eyes were shining with exhilaration and her grimy cheeks were flushed with excitement.
Mei was beautiful, yes. But was she a flower? That was a more ambiguous question. The Hua family, an elven clan elevated to nobility due to Mei's forefathers' instrumental role in negotiations in between the nations of Xiong and Petram, was an old, prestigious family. To bring dishonor to the esteemed Hua name would be a sin worse than fratricide, in the eyes of Mei's parents. The men of the Hua family were strong and proud and honest, and the women of the Hua family were delicate and dainty and, most importantly, silent. They were shy pink roses and exquisite white magnolias; decorations. And that was how it had been for generations upon generations.
But Mei would never be a demure rose or a pristine magnolia. Right from the start, she was curious and energetic, always looking for a new adventure. Mei was the happiest when she was out with the sun and sky and trees, when her eyes were wind-wild with exhilaration and her cheeks were dirt-streaked with excitement. Mei loved to run through the fields like she was a galloping stallion. She loved to swim through the streams like she was a quicksilver goldfish; to leap from tree branch to tree branch like she was a soaring hawk. No, Mei was not a typical flower. She was tough and resilient-a woody orchid or a thorny thistle or a stubborn dandelion, not a pale pink rose or a snow-white magnolia.
Mei was born in Xiong, and though she grew up in Petram since her father was always working with the leaders of the nation, she will always remember the water lilies and pagodas and moon doors of her birthplace, just as she will always remember the rolling hills and meadows of Petram. Mei had two homes-one was with chirping cicadas and towering bamboo stalks and vivid red orchids, while the other was with serene mountainsides and cool forests and gurgling streams, but both Xiong and Petram would always be a part of Mei.
Mei had friends when she was little, she knows; the other boys were always happy to have her wrestle and spar with them, and the other girls were always happy to indulge in Mei's obsession with playing the knight saving the damsel in distress, but she only had one friend-Zhao-who she knew would be at her side no matter what.
Zhao Li was the son of a family older and more powerful than the Huas themselves. Zhao's father had died early on, and his uncle had stepped in to take his father's government position. Meanwhile, his mother, Yueying, was almost as powerful as the empress herself (in fact, the two were rumored to be close friends). Mei had known since she was old enough to walk that she and Zhao would be married-the two were betrothed when she was born, before Zhao's father passed away-and for some reason, she didn't mind a single bit. She and Zhao were best friends; two peas in a pod. Whenever Mei went back to visit in Xiong, she and Zhao would race each other up steep hills and fight their pretend wars with sticks and rocks, and Mei's eyes would get that wind-wild gleam in them that Zhao loved so much...
...though his mother found it unseemly. Yueying was a harsh woman who had used her cunning and sheer political prowess to secure herself a rich and powerful husband, who she'd promptly disposed of once she'd given birth to a son. From the moment that Mei had first laid eyes on Zhao's mother, she'd known that she hated her. And, indeed, Yueying seemed hell-bent on taming Mei's fierce stubbornness.
"A good wife does not speak unless spoken to," she would say, punctuating her words with sharp, stinging slaps. "A good wife never behaves improperly. A good wife never has dirt on her face or clothing. A good wife listens, but does not interrupt."
Mei seethes with anger every time she thinks of Yueyin, now. And Yueyin's hard eyes flash through Mei's vision every time she loads her crossbow, every time she picks up a sword.
Though, it should be noted that there's another set of hard eyes that also flashes through Mei's vision every time she lifts a weapon. Mei was no more than fifteen or sixteen when she accidentally stumbled across the entrance to the fae world-Avalon. She was exploring the woods and hills of Petram when suddenly, she found herself in a strange and dangerous world of eternal night.
When Mei remembers the Unseelie Court and its ruler, Oberon, she burns with a mixture of shame and rage. When she remembers how the fae captured her and left her in a cage for-for days? Weeks? Months? Mei can't remember-she feels a scream clawing its way up her throat, begging for release the way that Mei had begged to go home, even though she'd been convinced that she would die in Avalon at the hands of the ruthless Unseelie king. And, when she was finally brought before Oberon himself, she remembers his eyes glittering with a terrifying combination of lust and malice, she remembers his hands on her skin and his breath hot against her neck, she remembers how weak and helpless she was-
-and the fear and fury are almost too much for her, and Mei sees read and black spots as she tries to shove the memories back down, deep down inside her where nobody can see them.
But when Mei was finally brought back home, she mostly remembers a numb emptiness inside her, because Oberon would not let her go. She'd rejected him once, but Mei knew that when their paths next crossed, he would not let her slip away so easily. So she would be ready for him; she would face him with her head held high, a sword grasped firmly in her hands.
But Mei needed time. She needed to leave her home in Petram; she needed to find a place to hide before Oberon came for her. When her father decided to go down to the city, Mei pleaded for him to take her with him, and he refused her, again and again and again. Mei would spend her sleepless nights weeping because she could hear Oberon telling her that she would be his and her father telling her that she would stay at home and marry Zhao and be the silent wife that she was meant to be, until one day, she'd had enough.
Mei impulsively cut all her hair off-the hair that had once cascaded down her back like an inky-black waterfall, reduced to nothing-and changed her name to Ming Yun; "destiny". She disguised herself as the apprentice that her father had wanted, the stranger who was apparently already more worthy of her father's instruction than Mei, and left for the city. Once there, however, it was not much longer before Mei found herself in a fight for her life against demons that had begun to attack Petram towns.
Battling the demons was perhaps the second-most frightening thing that Mei had ever experienced, and her father's refusal to let her learn how to wield a sword and shoot a crossbow and ride a horse made it even worse. But Mei learned quickly, and she frequently was out until the moon had risen, practicing the drills, over and over and over again. It was easy to forget about Oberon, Mei found, when she was hungry and exhausted from training so hard, when she was too distracted by the ache in her bones and the blisters on her hands to think about Zhao and his cruel, cruel mother.
Eventually, Mei's diligence and dedication were noticed by her commanding officers, and eventually, she found herself given the opportunity to join the Dark Knights. With Daizeron a growing threat and Mezda becoming more powerful each day, Mei decided to become an initiate. And although there are women in the Dark Knights, Mei will remain Ming, because admitting that she is Mei means admitting that she was weak and brought dishonor to her family; her family, who believes that she is gone forever, who wishes that she were a boy.
But it will all work out in the end. Mei will help the Dark Knights and the Bastion Alliance defeat Mezda and the monsters, and she will go home to her parents and tell them what she'd done, and everything will be alright because she /has/ brought honor to the Hua family, even if she didn't marry Zhao and become his silent, obedient flower of a wife.
(Or that's what she tells herself, anyway).
s u r v e y || polyvore.com/two_fans_are_always_bett…
m o d e l || Liu Wen
t o p . t h r e e
o1. Mei Hua
o2. Tallulah Blakuin
o3. Jacqueline Porter
w r i t i n g . s a m p l e || polyvore.com/luck-lovely_lethal/set?i…polyvore.com/even_most_beautiful_rose…
t a k e n || @ayzrules
[ optional extras ]
s t o r y ||
m o o d b o a r d || polyvore.com/wolves_like_girls_have_s…
s t o r y b o a r d || polyvore.com/cgi/set?id=229934572
c o l l e c t i o n ||
w a r d r o b e ||
h e a d c a n o n s ||
p l a y l i s t ||