Mariposa, the Butterfly Princess

Mariposa was the unofficial name of a Butterfly Princess from the Darklands.  Though the butterfly people had no proper nouns in their language, she adpoted the name as her own and used it with some reluctance.   She came from an uncharted forest in the Darklands and was nearly three hundred years old.

Mariposa had shoulder-length hair, a visual cue that denoted her approximate age.  Her wings were pink with large green spots and small blue spots; no other butterfly shared this particular marking. The natural color of her eyes was brown, but as with all butterfly people they changed color depending upon her mood.

Mariposa was a fourth-generation descendant of the royal lineage.  When Mariposa was younger, her mother served as the butterfly queen.  As a youth, Mariposa did her best to make her mother happy, learning to fly higher and fight better than anyone. She would not learn until later that her mother's unpredictable behavior was due to bloodrock poisoning. Mariposa was eventually forced to confront the butterfly queen and kill her.  This action saved the remaining butterflies, but prevented Mariposa from ever ascending as the new queen.  Mariposa had at least two siblings, both brothers.

Mariposa had begun to wield a sword at around age 50.  At some point after her coming of age, Mariposa was betrothed to a butterfly male, with whom she had one child, Gusano.

As the leader of the butterfly colony, Mariposa was entrusted with a bloodrock amulet, purported to enable her to communicate with her ancestors.  She was armed with a bloodrock dagger.  Like most members of her species, Mariposa rarely wore clothing, though she wore ceremonial battle armor when venturing into dangerous environments.

Mariposa exhibited greater strength, speed, and intelligence than many other butterflies, and this good fortune was not lost on her.

The Lost Treasure of TorlynnEdit

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Mariposa in her Pixie-made battle armor.

Mariposa lived peacefully as the leader of her butterfly colony, hidden deep in the Darklands.  One day when foraging for eyeberries, she came across a human named Four unconscious and wounded, in the forest.  Fascinated with this creature, she restored him to health and agreed to help him find his way back home.  After taking a shortcut through a cave filled with vicious brain-eaters, Mariposa was stung and poisoned, compelling Four to save her.  It was around this time that she began to fall in love with Four.

After taking Four back to her colony, she discovered that the butterfly grotto was empty and that her people had unexpectedly disappeared.  Suspecting the rival moth colony to be responsible, Mariposa and Four traveled to the Golden Desert and discovered another member of the Mermaid's Bliss crew, Christabel, being held captive.  Mariposa helped rescue Christabel, but after sensing the strong bond between the two humans, a jealous Mariposa left the two humans to their own devices while she continued her search for the missing butterflies.

She consulted pixie clan leader Nyx, who suggested that humans might be responsible for the butterflies going missing.  When she detected the sound of thunder coming from the shoals, she went to investigate, but the pixie's suspicions were confirmed when a human-made arrow struck her wing, forcing her to swim the rest of the way.  She discovered that Four and Christabel had been attempting to use explosives to free the shipwrecked Mermaid's Bliss.  After the pixies effected repairs to the ship, Mariposa traveled with Four and Christabel to human civilization.  Her search for clues led her through the town of Darkholm and finally to Castle Torlynn, where Four pretended to offer up Mariposa in exchange for the bounty being offered for aerial warriors.  She was taken to the Torlynn arena where she would be executed by dragon beetles, but Four intervened and helped her defeat the insectoids. 

Having learned that the King of Torlynn was sending all the earnings from the tournament attendance to a location in the mountains, Mariposa and Four and Christabel traveled there and discovered Forever the dragon, who had made a deal with the King for his treasure in exchange for a vial of the dragon's blood.  Forever gave Mariposa a jeweled dagger as a parting gift and transported the party out of the mountains.

After discovering that the missing butterflies were being held in the dungeon of Torlynn Castle, Mariposa reluctantly recruited the help of the moths to attack the castle and free the butterflies.  The moth lord Xarzuss agreed to this only on the condition that Mariposa surrender herself to the moths.  After entering the castle and confronting King Papillon, he took Mariposa's jeweled sword and consumed the dragon's blood.  The jeweled sword was cursed, however, and a volley of moth arrows pierced his body, killing him.  After the moth lord was defeated, Mariposa was released from her promise.

Mariposa freed the remaining butterfly people, though many of them had been killed, including her mate.  After Four was appointed the new King of Torlynn, Mariposa returned to the Darklands.  After nearly a year, however, she agreed to live in the castle with him as his new Queen.  Though the existence of her people was a secret, she revealed her true form to members of the royal council shortly before her coronation.

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Mariposa visits Tha'aron's cabin in White Mesa.

The Quest for the World-BreakerEdit

Mariposa attempted to live in the castle with Four, masquerading as his human Queen, but human food was inadequate to sustain her and the cold, stone walls of the castle were completely unlike the living forest.  She divided her time between Torlynn and the Darklands, trying to fulfil her duties to both the people of Torlynn and her own people, who were near extinction.  She was obsessed with the notion that her people would soon be no more.  When one of the surviving butterfly elders informed her that there were other lost butterfly colonies somewhere out there, it only fueled her desire to preserve her dwindling race.

Eventually, Lady Deorwynn schemed to remove Mariposa from the throne, informing her that her marriage to the King was not legal because Mariposa was not human.  She left the castle in search of the fabled Flightless One, the mythical butterfly who might know where the lost butterfly colonies were located.  Traveling with knight captain Brian Devonhyre, Mariposa encountered two of Four's traveling companions, a moth warrior named Syxx and the child Talla Unica.  After realizing that the story of the Flightless One was actually a clue to finding her location, the four companions found her home inside a tremendous Tree.  The Flightless One informed the part of the impending dangers of the World-Breaker weapon, and Mariposa revised her priorities.  No longer chiefly concerned with preserving her own species, she resolved to find the World-Breaker and stop it from destroying all life.  Her mission was nearly derailed after visiting the wizard Tha'aron and subsequently being trapped in an avalanche in White Mesa.  She was rescued by Forever the dragon, who had been fascinated by the party's dying thoughts.  He agreed to help Mariposa and her friends in exchange for a statue he had seen in the Golden Desert.  Mariposa and Syxx took Forever to the desert to recover the statue; while there, they inadvertantly discovered a second butterfly encampment.

Mariposa was reunited with Four after the pieces of the weapon were reassembled.  To quickly ascertain what Four knew about the weapon, she initiated llenleth with him at the same time they were both hit by a psychic blast from Baby the dragon.  This resulted in a psychic bond between the two in which they could hide no secrets from one another.  It was then that Mariposa's true feelings about humans became evident to Four.

Mariposa and Talla Unica were invited to live at the second butterfly encampment.  Four was invited for a visit as well, but he was not permitted to stay.  In the end, Mariposa and Four parted company once more.

The Curse of the Fate ShifterEdit

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Mariposa in her diamondite battle armor.

Mariposa had anticipated continuing her role as leader, but the butterfly king had no need for a second ruler, and her role within the new community was reassigned.  No longer a butterfly princess, Mariposa put her sword in storage, and was relegated to tending to the large stockpiles of food the butterflies had accumulated.

Mariposa longed for Four every day, and eventually decided to search for him.  She was accompanied by Taylor, a young male butterfly who had threatened to tell the butterfly king that she had left without permission.  Once she donned her armor and weapons, however, the dark energy emanating from the bloodrock began to affect her mind.  It negatively impacted her sensory perception and her ability to make rational decisions, though she was initially unaware of just how profoundly it was affecting her.

When they encountered a trio of moth warriors, Taylor boldly rushed into the fray and was promptly struck down.  Mariposa was forced to fight them off, killing two of them but sparing a third when she learned he was related to Syxx.  As she rushed to Taylor's aid, attempting to administer tourniquets and healing nectar, Taylor insisted that she end his life.  As she held her sword, he placed his hand upon it and the blade was thrust into his heart.  In the aftermath, Mariposa was uncertain whether it was she, or Taylor, who had committed the act.

Fearing punishment, Mariposa returned to the encampment and was chastized by the butterfly king—not for the death of Taylor, but rather for leaving the camp without his express authorization.  When Mariposa argued the point, the butterfly king summarily exiled her from the settelement, decreeing that Gusano would remain safely at the camp.  While leaving, Mariposa was approached by Talla Unica, who had felt ostracized by the children and wished to accompany her.

Disguised as a human, Mariposa began her search in the closest human settlement, a town called Frontwater, though Talla Unica later suggested that Mariposa was deliberately looking for Four in places where she knew he wouldn't be, because she was afraid she might try to hurt him.  Indeed, following a tankard of durian wine at the Callithumpian Interrobang?!, Mariposa lost all her inhibitions, removing her disguise and threatening to fight every one of the patrons herself.  This potential disaster was narrowly avoided only due to Mirabel Miller driving the underground Dwarf digger straight up into the air next to the tavern and back down into the ground right next to it, prompting the patrons to flee.

In the aftermath, Talla Unica chastized Mariposa for her behavior, insisting that she dispose of the bloodrock weapon and armor.  At first Mariposa was outraged by the suggestion, violently throwing Talla to the ground, until she realized that the bloodrock was, indeed, changing her.  She disposed of the equipment, feeling vulnerable and still suffering the deleterious effects of the bloodrock's poison.

Mariposa and Talla later encountered a Troll camp.  They attempted to flee, but both were captured.  Mariposa, still suffering from bloodrock fever, threatened to fight them all with her bare hands, but they quickly overpowered her and made preparations to flay her and eat her.  Talla Unica managed to escape, but returned and, using her clairvoyance to predict the weather and tricking the Trolls into thinking she was causing it, prompted them to flee and allowed her to rescue Mariposa a second time.

After Talla Unica predicted they would be travelling to the Elvenwood, Mariposa accompanied her there where they met with Elladan.  Mariposa disapproved of Elladan's intent to use Talla Unica's clairvoyant abilities to help them with the war with the Dwarves, but after Talla agreed to lead them into battle, Mariposa prepared for the fight and constructed herself a new klee-bahh to replace her bloodrock sword.  She also met a female Elf named Arienne, who took a great interest in Mariposa and offered to teach her some simple enchantments to supplement her combat skills.  Mariposa agreed, initiating llenleth with Arienne so that the Elf could impart the knowledge directly to Mariposa's mind.  The mental connection was unusually strong; the two remained mentally synchronized for a significant period of time afterwards.

When the Elves reached the Giant, Mariposa was overwhelmed by its sheer magnitude and suggested a retreat.  The Elves attempted to use enchantments to stop it, but were unsuccessful.  When Talla Unica became aware of an egress inside the Giant's foot, Mariposa and Arienne entered the machine to try to sabotage it from within.  Mariposa attempted to use one of the nw enchantments she had learned to levitate one of the mechanical gears out of its moorings, but her lack of skill with using magic resulted in everything nearby being levitated—including Four and Mirabel and Syzygy, who had engaged in an extravehicular activity outside the Giant and would have fallen to their doom were it not for Mariposa's timely, and inadvertent, intervention.

When they encountered a small group of Dwarves within the Giant, Mariposa was horrified by the speed and deliberation with which Arienne dispatched them.  Mariposa admonished her, feeling as though killing them was unnecessary.  Arienne agreed to restrain her lethal tactics, though they both knew they would need to kill whomever was in the control center operating the Giant.  That someone turned out to be Four, who had managed to disable the Dwarf commander and had seized control of the operations center.  At first, Mariposa had thought she and Four had found themselves on opposite sides of the war, until Four revealed his intentions had also been to disable the Giant.  The entire group was extracted from the Giant's head by Forever the dragon.

After the Elf army arrived to engage the Giant, Mariposa had the idea for them to combine their magical efforts and levitate the Giant into the sky.  It was of sufficient mass that she realized this might also fulfil Mirabel's plan to change the weight of the Earth and prevent its impending collision with the Moon.  The plan was successful, but in the aftermath, Elladan was incensed by Mariposa's defiance towards him and forbade the Elves from having future contact with the butterflies.  Despite this, Arienne agreed to remain friends with Mariposa in secret.  Mariposa also assured Four that she was aware of his limerent ability but that it had no effect on her; she loved him for who he was.

In appreciation for her efforts, Gerrick awarded Mariposa with a new set of diamondite armor, lightweight and form-fitting and even more durable than her old bloodrock armor.  The armor was equipped with micro-sized locking springs; donning the armor took only seconds.  Mariposa returned to the butterfly encampment to assist Cooper in the delivery of her baby caterpillar.  She was prepared to exile herself again, until she learned that in the wake of the butterfly king 's death, he had chosen Gusano to succeed him.  With her son now the leader of the colony, he immediately rescinded her exile, welcoming her back to the fold.

Alternate Reality (Various)Edit

When Four began to use the fate-shifter to manipulate reality, he attempted to create an alternate version of events in which Syxx did not sacrifice herself.  In this new unfolding of events, since Syxx refused to help Mariposa carry the assembled World-Breaker into the sky, the task fell to Mariposa to do it.  She took the weapon into the sky where it detonated, and Mariposa was instantly killed.

In another version of events, Four elected not to board the Mermaid's Bliss and become a pirate.  This resulted in Mariposa's people never vanishing from the butterfly grotto, but it also meant Four and Mariposa would never meet.  Furthermore, Four discovered that a few short years later, Mariposa's colony would be attacked and devoured by dragon beetles.  These alternate versions of Mariposa were erased from existence when Four made the proper corrections to reality.

Embarrassment of RichesEdit

Mariposa continued to act as Gusano's advisor, counseling him on important decisions until such time as he was old enough to make these decisions for himself.

On unctual year 3892, Mariposa attended the tenth annual Torlynn Fair with Four, where she met a childhood friend of Four's named Jenna Saiquois. Following Brian Devonhyre's reported disappearance, Mariposa engaged in llenleth with Jenna to divine his whereabouts from her mind. Mariposa grew concerned when she discovered that Jenna's mind had been protected by a powerful magic spell.

After Four learned from Jenna that Deorwynn was still alive and had set a trap with the intent to destroy Four, Mariposa was hesitant. Her limited clairvoyance told her that they were heading for disaster if they chose to confront Deorwynn. She finally agreed to help Four on the condition that she, not Four, lead the expedition to the Forgotten Basin to stop Deorwynn's plans.

Mariposa soon found herself in close combat with moth warriors and mosquito people, all under Deorwynn's control. During the fight, a large hole was torn in her left anterior wing by one of the mosquito weapons. After Four grabbed Deorwynn's scepter, thinking he could use it as a weapon, he instead accidentally opened a portal to another realm; he was sucked through the portal, followed by Syzygy and Talla Unica. Faced with the choice of leaving him to his fate or following him, Mariposa jumped in after him.

They found themselves in a barren, inhospitable environment, with Talla Unica and Syzygy nowhere to be found. Mariposa's telepathic link with Arienne had been severed, and she was unable to use her direction sense to determine their location. After a strange, flying machine appeared, Four was convinced it was being controlled by Deorwynn, lassoing it with his grappling hook. Mariposa grabbed the rope, and the two were carried towards a megalopolis and into a residential living area. They found themselves at the door of one of its inhabitants, a female human calling herself Birthday.

Birthday welcomed them into her home, as well as Talla Unica and Syzygy, who found their way to the apartments. As Mariposa questioned Birthday, learning more about her world, it became evident that they had been transported to the far future.

After Birthday explained to them about her job as a data archivist, preserving old books into a digitial archive, Mariposa, a fellow storyteller, felt a kinship with her. Birthday would later offer Mariposa the opportunity to preserve her butterfly parables, transcribing them digitally so that they could be preserved for future generations.

The group ventured back out into te megalopolis to search for a way to get home.  Eventually, bounty hunters Brian and Mirabel caught up to them; Mariposa sensed that they were both under a strong magic spell cast over them by Deorwynn.  Heavy rainfall delayed their confrontation and the bounty hunters retreated.  Following a second drone encounter, Mariposa grew weak from malnutrition and collapsed.  Four followed suit due to heat exhaustion, falling upon the transponder that Birthday had given him, summoning a hovercar to recall them both to Halcyon Heights.

In order to get the dying Mariposa the medical treatment she needed, Birthday allowed Four to choke her to unconsciousness, her subdermal idento-chip summoning diagnostic drones that would collect her and take her to the hospital for treatment.  Four switched the prone form of Birthday for that of Mariposa, riding with her on board the ambulance to Hobbs Hospital.  

The drones analyzed Mariposa and were able to formulate an artificial nectar substitute tailored for her specific health needs.  They also observed her damaged wing, slicing it off with a laser scalpel—much to Four's shock and horror—before using the hospital's biological regenerator to grow her a new wing and graft it to her body.

After the bounty hunters chased Four through the hospital and he fell to his apparent death, a devastated Mariposa returned to Halcyon Heights.  She asked Birthday to search the data archives for some spell book that might allow Mariposa to open a portal back to her own time.  She also began adding her butterfly parables into the archive, eventually culminating in Birthday putting together a book about Mariposa' adventures.  

Mariposa also sensed that the days were shorter than she was accustomed to.  This, combined with the lack of archive data about her time period, made her realize that she was in fact in the distant past, not the future.  With this discovery came the realization that the Cataclysm would one day transform the world, destroying virtually everything from the Old Age.

When Talla Unica slipped out into the inhospitable winter, Mariposa left to retrieve her.  She stopped at the underground shops, using her newly-acquired idento-chip to purchase new spectral lenses and an auditory amplifier.  Back in the megalopolis, she encountered a black warrior fighting off a large group of drones.  She rendered her assistance, turning on him after the drones were defeated—for she recognized him to be Four, and was furious at him.  She was finally able to speak freely, telling Four that ambushing Deorwynn was a mistake and that doing so had stranded them inexorably.

Later, Birthday invited Mariposa and the others to participate in the interactive holovid scenario, Space Attack.  In the scenario, Birthday served as Captain on board the space craft Centennial, while Mariposa served as First Officer.  Mariposa, who had real-life leadership experience, countermanded several of Birthday's orders during the course of the scenario.  Seemingly in retribution, the scenario responded by cutting the tether to Mariposa's drop pod, stranding her on Phascolarctos Three and prompting Four to effect a rescue.  Their behavior was so off-script that no scenario had been written to accomodate it, and the holovid promptly shut down.

Later, Four developed a new plan to return to the New Age by getting incarcerated so that they could be put into cryonic stasis, thus enduing the Cataclysm and, eventually, awakening in the New Age.  To this end, Mariposa helped Four subdue a drone in order to remove its battery and, as a terrorist act, detonate it on Diamond Bridge.  When that failed, Mariposa considered levitating a large boat that she'd seen in the distance, but worried that the magic drain might harm her unborn child, which she had only recently conceived with Four.

Eventually, they realized they could skip the incarceration entirely and go right to the cryonics lab.  They found a waiting Talla Unica and Syzygy, who had predicted this move and had spent time clearing out all the drones.  Mariposa was put into cryonic sleep, with Syzygy monitoring the life functions of both Mariposa and her unborn child.

The Veil of SoulsEdit

As time passed, the mind of the unconscious Mariposa existed within the ever-changing dreamsphere.  She briefly dreamed of the monster-humans that she had feared as a child.  She was able to telepathically project and locate Four, also existing within the dreamscape.  She had lost much of her memory of her time spent in the Old Age, though she was able to correctly intuit that her body had been put into an artificial sleep state that would be difficult to awaken from.

Mariposa endured dream after dream while existing for thousands of years within the dreamsphere.  Finally, as her sleeping body entered the New Age, Mariposa was able to telepathically reach out and alert Arienne to her predicament, thus proving to Arienne and the others that Mariposa was still alive.

The dreamsphere became more and more dangerous.  At one point, Mariposa was killed by the dragon named Christabel, but Mariposa survived the experience.  Later, Four and Mariposa confronted a dreamsphere version of Deorwynn, who managed to destroy the dreamsphere itself, creating a vortex that sucked Four and Mariposa into non-existence.  It was at this very moment that they were both revived in real life, and awakened.

Arienne examined Mariposa and determined that her baby exhibited a very strong life force.  This additional life energy also increased Mariposa's magic ability, as she discovered when she was able to dispel the enchantments over Jenna that made her subservient to Deorwynn.

After the discovery of the castle-ship Endeavor, Mariposa was made Quartermaster and second-in-command under Four.  While Four was determined to reassemble the components of the keystone scepter and give it to Mariposa to destroy Deorwynn, Mariposa had no intention of doing so.  She harbored hopes that she could negotiate with Deorwynn and arrive at an amicable resolution.  However, she recognized the value in a contingency plan, so she agreed to help search for the parts of the keystone scepter.

Mariposa and Arienne went with Talla Unica to Seventeen Horse Town in order to look for the cobblestone.  Talla Unica advised Mariposa to kiss Arienne to appease the locals, which Mariposa did with some reluctance.  However, the cobblestone was actually inside the stomach of a junglefowl, which Talla Unica brutally killed and sliced open in order to retrieve the stone.  Mariposa began to worry about Talla Unica and feared for the safety of her unborn baby.

Mariposa assigned Brian to be her bodyguard in order to protect her and her child from Talla Unica.  However, after Brian attempted to kill Talla Unica, Mariposa realized his emotions were blinding his judgement and released him from his charge.

Later, Four revealed that he believed the nanobots he had acquired during his time spent in the Old Age were responsible for allowing him to conceive a child with Mariposa.  The butterfly princess was troubled by this revelation, realizing that it was technology, not nature, that created her unborn baby—and also that the nanobots were now inside her bloodstream as well.

After a group of graduates from Arkingston Military Academy intercepted the Endeavor crew at Wyvern's Nest, Mariposa realized that word of the Endeavor's exploits had traveled to other lands.  She also surmised that Deorwynn had probably sent her moth warriors to kill the academy students, perhaps so that the Endeavor crew could continue reassembling the keystone scepter.

When Arienne and some others declared mutiny, Mariposa conferred with Arienne to negotiate terms.  She agreed that it was best for everyone's safety if Four were removed as Captain, and agreed to take command.  When Mariposa insisted that they return to the butterfly encampment instead of the Elvenwood, Arienne tried to argue the point, causing doubts in Mariposa's mind about Arienne's true motives.

When Endeavor was about to crash into the volcano in the Forgotten Basin, Syzygy was sent to protect Mariposa, grasping at the walls and using his built-in springs to provide her with a relatively stable landing.  Mariposa and the others fought their way through cadavers that had been reanimated by Deorwynn until they found their way inside the volcano.

Mariposa fought while those around her were injured or killed, including Jessyka and Arienne and Four.  She pled with Deorwynn to stop attacking and join forces, even offering Deorwynn the keystone scepter as a token of goodwill.  In response, Doerwynn let loose a magic burst into Mariposa's abdomen, wounding her and instantly killing her unborn child.

Incensed and filled with rage, Mariposa lifted Deorwynn into the air with telekinesis and began tearing her apart until there was nothing left.  She then collapsed.

After the battle, Brian and Fairweather collected Mariposa's unconscious form, vowing to take her to the butterfly encampment to seek treatment for her.


Mariposa's favorite food is eyeberries.

Behind the ScenesEdit

Mariposa was based on an illustration the author created to represent his wife.

Mariposa will appear in the sixth book, Invasion of the Thought Stealers.

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