The Merida are a race of assassins renowned for their silence and skill. They are a people without a home, a Princedom, or any known permanent Keep, though they currently hide within the boarders of Cunaxa. Their colors are yellow and brown. If they have a banner it is not known to those not Merida. They have a hierarchy and nobles, the royals of which are called the Merida Blood. Those of the Blood bear a ritual chin scar to signify their station.
Much of the culture of the Merida - outside of the training of assassins - remains a mystery.
In the Old Tongue Merida means 'Gentle Glass.' This name is because these assassins' chosen weapon - and calling card - is a glass knife, which is filled with poison. The green-glass blade is nitched and shatters as it enters a body, poisoning the victim as well as making it impossible to remove the blade. If stabbed by a Merida knife there is no hope of survival. This makes the Merida very formidable assassins.
The Merida had been Vellant'im, who thought to profit by working with the ancient diarmadh'im. They travelled to the Continent and became the assassins of the sorcerers. They were an elite people, feared across the Continent. Their home had been the Desert. When the diarmadhi rule ended, the Merida were pushed from the Desert by the Isulk'im. They swore that they would one day retake Stronghold and rule the Desert, which is why that Princedom is their main focus. As the Merida typically have lots of children they replenish their numbers quickly and are able to attack The Desert en masse almost every generation.
Prince Zagory of the Desert, Kirwan, and Zehava all fought wars against the Merida and pushed them farther north. When Rohan came into power, the Merida were stewng in Cunaxa, biding their time to strike the Desert once more.
Dragon Prince TrilogyEdit
They later were hired by High Prince Roelstra and his daughter, Ianthe. Roelstra wanted them to raid and eventually attack the Desert so that Rohan would be goaded into following the Merida across Cunaxa's boarder - that way Roelstra could declare war on the Desert - and all the other Princedoms would have to support him as per a peace treaty made at the last Rialla. Ianthe used the Merida as soldiers at her tower Keep, Feruche. She also ordered them to capture Rohan as she wanted revenge on him for spurning her. The Merida were only too happy to attack the Desert and its Prince. They quickly succeeded in all of these endeavors, though the war did not turn out the way they had hoped; Rohan won. He then had every surviving Merida warrior's right hand cut off.
Fourteen years later, the Merida tried to kill Pol, Rohan's son and heir. They attacked due - in part - to growing rumors of Roelstra's son, a man named Masul. The Merida cared little whether the rumors were true; they merely took advantage of the rather large chink in Pol's, and thus The Desert's, armor. This attempt in Greypearl failed, as did another in Princemarch itself, though Maeta, Stronghold's guard commander and a possibly second cousin of Pol's, was killed.
At the Rialla of 719, men wearing the brown and yellow Merida colors killed the man claiming to be Masul's real father. This man was not a true Merida: his clothes had been badly and hastily dyed and leaked after he'd been thrown in the river.
Dragon Star TrilogyEdit
When the Vellant'im invaded the Continent, the Merida joined forces with them as they were distant relatives. Urstra, a Merida, was one of the leaders of the attack on Tiglath, a northern Desert Keep near the Cunaxan border. During that attack Urstra's nephew, Birioc, was killed as was Tallain, Lord of Tiglath.
One of the worst blows the Merida dealt during the war was the assassination of Kostas, Prince of Syr. This ignited an even fiercer hatred for their people, and if they were caught there was no quarter given.
The Merida knife is the symbol of their way of life. The very word merida means 'gentle glass' in reference to their chosen weapon. The blade is made out of green glass and is notched. The glass is filled with a fast-acting poison. The notch in the blade catches at the body it is stabbed into; the glass also usually shatters. These both release the poison inside the blade, ensuring the death of their victims. The hilt of the knife is wrapped in brown leather.
- Farid, Lord of Skybowl: Born 638. Killed 704.
- Maeta, Guards Commander of Stronghold: Born 670. Killed 719.
- Kostas, Prince of Syr: Born 687. Killed 737.
- Number of Others: ???
- Beliaev: A Merida Blood, who worked for Roelstra and Ianthe. He captured Rohan and his squire, Tilal, and brought then to Feruche. Tilal lived because although Beliaev had sworn to retake Stronghold and destroy Rohan's line, he did not kill children. During Rohan's capture Farid of Skybowl was killed. Beliaev had also been working with Roelstra at the 698 Rialla.
- Birioc: Born in 716, he was the bastard son of Prince Miyon of Cunaxa and a Merida noblewoman. Birioc was not raised a Merida, but as the bastard son of a Prince. He trained at Remagev Keep under Walvis. He died at the battle of Tiglath.
- Urstra: Born in 669, he was Birioc's Merida uncle. He was executed in 737 for attacking Tiglath and betraying the High Prince.