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The Band

Band Tropes

Valerian Nightshade (Teuila) (lead vocals, lyricist)

  • Berserk Button: Brutalist architecture, mostly because she thinks the name is false advertising considering the lack of portcullises, dungeons, spiky metal bits, and poles on which to impale the heads of one's enemies.
    • And don't question her gender or femininity.
  • Bi the Way
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Borderline example. She's pretty full-figured by celebrity standards, at least.
  • Big Girl: very much a Type 3. She's a bit of a marshmallow for a very tall, perpetually black clad former dominatrix turned heavy metal vocalist.
  • Boobs of Steel: she's not a combatant, but she is the most physically powerful person in the band as well as the most well-endowed.
  • Brawn Hilda: She's a 6'2" plus-size contralto profundo who can carry both guitarists at the same time. (Although to be fair, Yanang is tiny and Lilja is quite thin.)
  • Contralto of Danger
  • Cute Little Fangs
  • Daddy's Girl
  • Dark Is Not Evil
  • Dark Messiah: speculated to be so by those who think Maenad are people of metaphysical significance, but Val herself denies it.
    "For God's sake, people, I am not the Messiah!"
  • "Darkness von Gothick" Name
  • Everybody Hates Mathematics: she does, at least. Her outstanding suckitude at matters mathematical probably contributed a lot to her lack of respect for her own intellectual prowess.
  • Face of a Thug: her naturally intimidating appearance is an advantage in her current job, but caused her problems in high school.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: she likes the beer.
  • Heroic Bastard: her parents' relationship ended when her mom went back to South Africa, and they never did wind up getting married. Val has her father's last name because he's the one who raised her.
  • Holier Than Thou: averted. She's a Christian, and neither outstandingly depraved nor outstandingly virtuous.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover
  • The Leader
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: unintentional variant. She gave up on Death Metal because her lower register tended to break things and make listeners acutely uncomfortable.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: on occasion.
  • Statuesque Stunner: she's 6'3" in her socks.
  • Stout Strength: she deliberately cultivates this.
    "For one thing, toned fat looks better than flabby fat, in my opinion, and also, if people still insist on giving you crap about your looks, it's easier to fling them across the room."
  • Team Mom: sometimes functions this way when Artemisia is elsewhere.
  • Verbal Tic: she, uh, tends to use a fair amount of, y'know, speech fillers.

Lilja Lakebetonika (lead guitar)

Musa Hawthorne (drummer, lyrics)

  • Black and Nerdy
  • Cool Big Sis: she's a few years older than the other girls, has the most worldly experience, and winds up listening to a lot of their personal problems that they don't consider urgent enough to take to Artemisia. However, she resists being thought of as the Team Mom.
    "How about I'm the 'cool aunt who's a bad influence?'"
  • Does Not Like Shoes: she plays the drums barefoot.
  • Erudite Stoner
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl / Lady Drunk: sits somewhere between these two, as she's more jaded than the stereotypical Hard-Drinking Party Girl but more playful and less bitter (usually) than the usual Lady Drunk. She is, however, the heaviest drinker in the band under normal circumstances.
  • Hartman Hips
  • Immune to Drugs: which has its downsides, like the reduced efficacy of most painkillers.
  • Meganekko
  • Occidental Otaku: with a particular fondness for Mind Screw anime.
  • Oh My Gods!: she tends to invoke the deities of Ancient Egypt in various creative ways.
  • One-Note Cook: she's not bad in the kitchen, but she has a hard time wrapping her mind around the idea of recipes that contain no alcohol in any form. (Pasta sauce: vodka. Potato soup: white wine. Brownies: coffee liqueur.)
  • Sad Clown: in a way, she's a bit of a mess underneath the amiably cynical sense of humor.
  • The Smart Guy: she's the most book-smart person in the band proper, although this doesn't keep her out of trouble.
  • The Southpaw
  • Stepford Smiler: she's got a lot of issues relating to her family and her old band that she does her best not to think about. When they come up anyway, Drowning My Sorrows tends to come into effect.
  • The Unfavorite

Yanang Bai (rhythm guitar)

Violet Aciano (bassist)

  • Ambiguous Disorder: she's a bit of an odd duck even apart from being a Genius Ditz Weirdness Magnet musical prodigy. This was actually one of the reasons for her aunt's overprotective behavior during her childhood.
  • Author Avatar: not exactly, but she does have the most interests (marine biology, baking) and personality traits (vegetarianism, love of animals, odd sense of humor, highly-strung nervous system) in common with her creator.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: normally, she's a kind and cheerful young woman, but she can be a little emotionally volatile at times. Her bandmates have exaggerated this tendency and live in fear of Violet really losing her temper and bringing on The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Chaste Hero: she's the only band member who's still a virgin, and if she isn't oblivious to Yanang's occasional crude flirtation, she hasn't said anything.
  • The Chick: lampshaded.
    "Officially, I'm the bass player, but my real job is to keep the two guitarists from killing each other."
  • Cloudcuckoolander: she has her moments, although it can be hard to tell how much of the weird stuff she says is an honest reflection of how she sees the world, and how much is her odd sense of humor at work.
  • The Cutie: as much as someone in a band like Maenad can be, at least.
  • Hair Decorations
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: she's fairly feminine compared with her bandmates (although more girlish than womanly) and shows the most interest in the culinary arts, although she concentrates more on sweets than on real meals.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals
  • Granola Girl: she's a vegetarian, loves animals, doesn't wear leather or fur, drinks a lot of herb tea, recycles her soda and vodka bottles, and enjoys walking around barefoot in warm weather. To Yanang, this makes her practically the Anthropomorphic Personification of hippiedom.
    • She does, in fact, eat a lot of granola, but that's mostly because she likes it and other kinds of sugary cereal don't react well with her weird metabolism.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes
  • Minidress of Power
  • Not Good with People: a mild Type One for the most part, although she does have her moments of slight misanthropy.
  • Parental Abandonment: her parents died when she was young, and she's lived with her aunt and uncle ever since.
  • Prisoners Of Pollyanna: while she's not officially held to stricter standards of purity than the rest of Maenad - their manager tries to keep her away from hard drugs, but that's more out of pseudo-parental concern than a desire to preserve her image - some of her fanbase does hold her to exaggeratedly lofty standards of innocence for an adult woman in a decidedly non straight-edge rock band. She's been criticized as a Bad Role Model For Young Girls for doing things like wearing skirts shorter than school dress codes allowed and consuming alcohol in public when she was of legal drinking age.
  • The Southpaw
  • Sweet Tooth: unfortunately, she suffers from mild low blood sugar on occasion so she can't overdo it.
  • Womanchild: she wears barrettes, collects stuffed toys, and is the band's "younger sister" figure.


Maenad's original bassist, who left the band in 2007.

Maenad employees and associates

Artemisia Mandrake

The long-suffering manager. A small, geeky, quietly hypercompetent Norwegian-British woman a little older than Musa. The band knows just enough about her to know that she has Hidden Depths, although they're not entirely sure about the details. Yanang has speculated that she's actually a killer robot lawyer from the future, or at least a cyborg.
  • Action Girl: she's a trained martial artist. This comes in handy more often than you'd think in her line of work.
  • Anti-Hero: probably a Type 4. She can be ruthless, but she needs provocation.
  • Badass Bookworm: or as the girls put it, "ninja librarian."
  • Battle Butler
  • Brainy Brunette
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick
  • Iron Lady: mostly when dealing with other high-powered businesspeople, although she's not a pushover at any time.
  • Lady of War: polite, dignified, and can kick your ass in a skirt and sensible pumps.
  • Mama Bear: do not threaten any Maenad member's life or long-term welfare. Artie will not be happy.
  • Meganekko: although her personality is more in line with the Stoic Spectacles stereotype, she does have a nerdy side as well, since she shows some familiarity with pre-fourth edition Dungeons & Dragons and its alignment system.
  • Must Have Caffeine
  • Only Sane Man
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: in a way, although it's oriented towards the impact people could have on Maenad and its members rather than their conduct toward Artemisia herself. Artemisia is fully conscious of this.
  • Rapunzel Hair: she normally camouflages it with a conservative updo, but it reaches below her waist.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Her hair's actually very dark brown, but she fits the high-contrast aesthetic.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: slightly. Her eyes are distinctly reddish (although more maroon than true red) and she can be pretty ruthless, although she's not gratuitously evil.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: she can do a Gendo Ikari impression regardless of where she is in relation to the light sources in the room. Now that is a talent.
  • Stoic Woobie: she's been putting up with Maenad and the associated, sometimes life-threatening craziness for years.
  • Straight Man
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: she's not one for showy displays of emotion, which she considers unprofessional and potentially dangerous, but she cares in her way.
  • Team Mom

Ivy Choi

A Chinese-American record producer who's been in the business since the seventies, although due to a few peculiarities of her medical history, she looks a bit younger than she is.

Doctor Alaria Ajowan

Maenad's physician. She's mysterious and eccentric, but undeniably good at her job.


Maenad's chef, a highly skilled, basically unflappable Danish woman.

Employee #00314, aka "Pi"

The world's unluckiest roadie, who has been Maenad's loyal employee for several uncomfortably eventful years.

Maenad minions

Doctor Magnolia Oakmoss

Band therapist and Southern Lady. She has her little quirks, but who doesn't? And she has such lovely manners.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: when her habit of murdering people is out of the picture, she's a perfectly competent therapist, and she does manage to help Maenad.
  • Catchphrase: "Why, bless your heart..."
  • Cute and Psycho: she's very feminine and always minds her manners, when she isn't murdering people. Fortunately, she's managed to behave herself while working for the band.
  • Girly Girl: compared to her, everyone in the band is a bit butch.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!
  • The Shrink: doesn't fit any of the usual stereotypes, since she's competent at her job, but has some fairly serious personal failings of her own.
  • Southern Belle: she never wears white before Easter, and you will pry her hairspray from her cold, dead hands.
  • Sweet Home Alabama: she's very Southern in some ways (big on the hairspray and sweet tea), but open-minded enough to get along reasonably well with a multiethnic group of bisexual rock stars, even if she does think their fashion sense needs work.

     other Maenad-verse characters 


Valerian's family

Valerian grew up surrounded by the relatives on her father's side (the Teuilas, most of whom settled in Hawaii), but didn't meet her mother or any of the other people on the South African side of her family until she reached her twenties.
  • Apron Matron: Huihana Teuila (Val's grandmother) is not to be messed with.
  • The Clan: at the very least, she has a lot of relatives compared to her bandmates.
  • The Fundamentalist: Huihana, although she mellows a bit eventually.
  • Gentle Giant: Kamani, Val's father, at least when he isn't in the ring.
  • Goth: Valerian's mother. How do you think Val wound up with a middle name like Nightshade?
  • Missing Mom
  • Professional Wrestling: Kamani's primary occupation, although he's also a B-Movie and TV actor, and he focused more on acting once he hit middle age.

Violet's family

Violet was orphaned as a preschooler, and grew up living with her aunt and uncle in Beaver Tracks, a small town on the British Columbian coast.

Artemisia's family

Artemisia's parents are Magnus Ravnen, a Norwegian supervillain with a cult fan following, and Lily Mandrake, a British accountant Magnus originally hired to help look after his "legitimate" financial interests.

Musa's family

Musa's family hails from a smallish, mildly depressing (at least by Musa's standards) city in Eastern Washington. Her immediate family consists of her parents Frasier and Lantana, her older sister Erica, and Musa herself.
  • Cool Old Lady: Great-Aunt Saffron. She's the only relative whom Musa actually likes.
  • It's All About Me: Erica is the queen of this.
  • Muse Abuse: some of the celebrities in Erica's Roman à Clef and Very Loosely Based on a True Story novels bear an awfully strong resemblance to the various members of her sister's band. This has not helped family harmony any.
  • Parental Favoritism: Frasier and Lantana spent a lot more time and energy on Erica than on Musa. Both sisters acknowledge this, although they both feel that this state of affairs has somehow wronged them. Erica's more vocal about it.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Erica
  • Writers Suck: Erica's not exactly a Butt-Monkey, and she has some talent, but she's also monstrously self-absorbed and totally lacking scruples.

Yanang's family

While Yanang and her siblings were born in the United States, the older generation are all immigrants. One of Yanang's uncles fought in the Secret War and claims to have CIA connections of an unspecified nature, her parents earned their living in a more mundane fashion by opening a Southeast Asian fast food joint in East LA.

Lilja's family

  • Ill Boy / Littlest Cancer Patient: Lilja's twin brother Lars.
  • Parental Favoritism: their parents were so preoccupied with Lars's medical issues that they didn't pay much attention to Lilja unless they needed a blood donation. This preoccupation extended to after Lars's death.
  • Soap Opera Disease: Lars unfortunately suffered from this for much of his childhood.

Other Characters

Erik Mortiisson (a Norwegian-American lumber baron and the former owner of Maenad's Cool House)

The Assassin

The Apprentice

Laugh of the Medusa (Musa's first band, a mid through late nineties feminist Alternative Rock group)

Ginger Sorel

Violet's best friend from high school, a half-Quebecois city girl whose family moved to Beaver Tracks when Violet was fifteen.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: she's a firm believer in this, and as a good-hearted Nightmare Fetishist, is an example herself.
  • New Transfer Student
  • Nightmare Fetishist: she sought Violet out as a friend because Violet gave the impression of being the least "normal" girl at their school.
  • Perky Goth: friendly enough to bring Violet out of her self-imposed shell.
  • Satellite Character: played with. She's only in the story because of her friendship with Violet, but when they were in school together, Violet was Ginger's sidekick.

Robert Candlemass

Adrian Negura-Bunget

Susperia Tristwood

Lycanthia Darkwell

Doctor Love

Linnea Hammerfall



The band

Aryn (lead vocals, Danish)

Didrik (guitar, Norwegian)

Hallbjorn (drums, Icelandic)

Konstantin (bass, Swedish)

Matthias (Hardanger fiddle, Norwegian)

Elisa (manager, Norwegian)

  • Ascended Fangirl: became a band manager because she loved music but wasn't particularly talented at songwriting or performing.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: she normally dresses in Gothic Aristocrat style (similar to EGL, but with longer skirts and more grownup aesthetic), but she tones the frills down for business meetings.
  • Fangirl: of Artemisia Mandrake.
  • Guile Hero: she has no combat training, but she gets things done.
  • Meganekko
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: she looks a lot like Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymoshenko.

Amalthea Lovelace

An American singer and pianist who made friends with the band on their first tour of America, and later provided soprano vocals for some of their songs. See Helix for more information about her.

     Other Characters 

Naomi Lovelace

Amalthea's older sister, a multimillionaire inventor and part-time adventurer. See Helix.

Delilah Savage

An American Differently Powered Individual, with an outstanding talent for not dying despite considerable provocation, who has, among other things, worked as an actress (in both off-beat Porn with Plot and legitimate drama), musician, and mercenary. See Helix.

Sigyn Solefald aka Queen Beruthiel

A talented but notoriously eccentric Norwegian musician. Was friends of a sort with Delilah during the latter's sojourn in Scandinavia, but their relationship became strained when Sigyn stabbed Delilah through several vital organs with a replica Viking short sword during an argument. She's also notable for being a Norwegian ultra-nationalist and racist against almost every ethnic group on earth, including Germans and Swedes (among other things, she believes that "pan-Germanicism" is an effort of stealth Germano-Swedish cultural imperialism bent on erasing Norwegian cultural distinctiveness.) In other words, she's a piece of work, although her music is generally considered pretty good by fans who aren't put off by her persona or her stylistic experiments.
  • Alliterative Name
  • "Awesome McCool" Name: although it's a pseudonym - her parents called her Christina.
  • Black Metal: her early works.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: she's very talented when she gets her act together.
  • Cute and Psycho: she is a cutie. Too bad about the whole "Axe-Crazy racist sociopath" thing.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: in-universe. Despite her talent for spectacularly alienating people, she retains a core fanbase willing to forgive her anything. A few of them even sent Delilah letters in the hospital threatening her with various horrible fates if she pressed charges for the whole "attempted murder" incident.
  • Expy: She's loosely inspired by Varg Vikernes — or, more accurately, by Greven-tan — crossed with an anime-style Cute and Psycho.
  • Heavy Mithril: her stage name is based on a Tolkien character.
  • Jerkass Woobie: she's kind of a horrible person, but she has rather serious mental problems that have never been treated or even diagnosed - because the people around her tend to dismiss them as either "artistic temperament" or as symptoms of her various moral failings - and, despite her considerable personal charisma, she's no good at maintaining friendships or collaborations.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: she is genuinely fond of her kitty.
  • Large Ham: even when she takes off her stage makeup and doesn't sing, she never truly stops performing.
  • Mad Artist: she apparently suffers from manic episodes as well as some kind of undiagnosed personality disorder.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: her later works.

     Venus Envy 

Kate Cadaver / Katherine Valentina Mayakovsky

Venus Envy's lead vocalist and rhythm guitar player, who also writes or co-writes many of their songs. She's smart, creative, and passionate, but has an unfortunate penchant for romantic self-destruction.

Dani Lilith / Clarissa Danielle Harlowe

Venus Envy's lead guitarist, and Kate's Foil and best-friend-turned-lover. Dani's talented, driven, and in many ways the cold to Kate's heat, although she's not as sensible as she thinks she is.

Billie Jiang

Venus Envy's bassist, a quirky, dreamy woman with literary inclinations. She's also a werewolf, but there's medication for that nowadays.

Zandra Mackenzie

Venus Envy's drummer. A cheerful and resilient transgender redhead.
  • The Chick / The Heart: her non-musical role as "the sensible, motherly, emotionally intelligent one" is what keeps everyone else's personal dysfunctions enough in check that Venus Envy can continue to function as a working band.
  • Dye Hard: her hair's really strawberry blonde, but the red's become part of her image.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook
  • Silk Hiding Steel: not quite a straight example, as she is a punk rocker, but she's both the most traditionally feminine and the best at holding everything together in adverse circumstances.
  • Team Mom
  • Transgender

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