|Portrayed by||Aidan Turner|
|Occupation||Asha'man of the Red Ajah|
|Affiliation||The Grey Tower|
|Affinities||Spirit/Fire, Air/Earth, Water|
Mael Akashi does not look like a man nearly a century old. He stands at slightly above average height, with a moderately athletic build; he is no warrior used to carrying twice again his weight in armour and weaponry, but neither is he a spindly bookworm. Someone unfamiliar with the effects of channelling would likely place his age at around thirty.
He has curly black hair that refuses to remain smoothly combed, looking a little windswept even when he’s been indoors all day, and the look in his dark eyes retains a degree of intensity even when he’s otherwise relaxed. His face is most often set in a stern, commanding expression, but that’s just its neutral state; he could be staring blankly at nothing and look like he’s planning his next campaign against the Shadow. His smiles are rare; at least those of the genuine, warm quality.
He carries himself with a military bearing, his movements economical and efficient. An old, poorly Healed injury in his right leg makes walking painful to him and he rarely takes an unnecessary step, or stands if he can sit. He still carries a sword at his belt as a part of his uniform, and nobody can deny it looks like it belongs there, though he rarely uses it anymore due to his bad leg limiting the range of his footwork considerably. On horseback he’s as capable as anyone.
His pride and Borderlander temperament have been tempered by the long decades of life and years of leading men on the battlefield, but neither is ever completely gone. He has some workaholic tendencies and a mile-wide perfectionist streak; he demands a lot of those around him, and twice again as much of himself, though the old injury forces him to slow down a little.
He was reasonably well-educated already before going to the Black Tower and, though he is primarily a man of action, he has a keen mind and a head for detail. He has a lot of respect for those drawn to the more peaceful pursuits of Healing, diplomacy and research, and he gets along with many different kinds of people but he has few very close friends.
Born an only child of an old but fading Kandori noble House, Mael was named “Hope” in his parents’ desperate wish to see the House rise again. However, that was not to be. At the age of nineteen, after a particularly aggressive band of Trollocs ventured all the way to the village overlooked by the Akashi manor, Mael began to have strange dreams.
For a few years the dreams didn’t interfere too much with his life. At the age of twenty-one he married a rich tradesman’s daughter, Ariane, and soon after the couple had a son, Eleas. But as the Blight grew more restless again, the dreams became worse, to the point that he could spend days on end in a fog, not quite certain what was real and what not. Finally, when he woke one morning bleeding from unexplained cuts, Ariane decided she’d had enough and told him to travel to the capital to see an Aes Sedai.
He never got to an Aes Sedai; an Asha’man he met in Chachin, called Sayid Zarac, told him he could channel and that he possibly had a Talent for Dreaming. He was barely given time to send a letter to Ariane before he was carted off to the Black Tower in Andor.
In the Black Tower, he was almost immediately caught in the middle of a power struggle between his mentor Alastair Trenvael and the Tower leadership, and though he was ultimately an unimportant piece on the board, Mael’s progress through the ranks was held back because of his association with Alastair. Alastair taught him most of what he knows about channelling and leadership and about the world outside the Borderlands. The two later became lovers, in a manner of speaking, though neither was given to dramatic proclamations of feelings and they never really defined whatever their relationship was.
Mael visited home twice since leaving. The first time was as a Dedicated, roughly six years after leaving home, since he and Alastair were in the Borderlands anyway. The visit revealed that Mael has another son besides Eleas; Leander, born after he’d left for the Black Tower. However, Ariane wanted nothing to do with her husband anymore and told Mael to stay away. Feeling that he’d lost any right to argue, having stayed away so long, Mael went.
He was raised to Asha’man shortly after that, in a minor victory for Alastair in the Tower’s internal power struggles, and that freed Mael to spend most of his time up by the Blightborder, fighting the Shadow. True to his word to Ariane, however, he stayed clear of a certain village in Kandor.
Mael had been an Asha’man for nearly thirty years when a battle gone wrong left him grievously wounded. Alastair, whose skill in Healing was not up to the task, had to try to Heal him anyway just to save his life, but the Healing left his right leg damaged. There was nothing even real Healers could do, afterwards; what had been Healed once couldn’t be Healed again. Mael was simply going to have to live with it.
And so he did, even if it meant that he had to stay at the Black Tower more. He helped Alastair manage his intelligence networks and — reluctantly — learnt about other kinds of battlefield than the Blight: the politics of the Westlands. Though he did still fight, sometimes, he spent more time behind a desk… until the news came of Ariane’s death.
Mael attended the funeral, mostly unrecognised by his children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren; he’d never met or even heard of most of them and he had no place among them. Only Eleas, now a man of sixty, recognised him and they both agreed it was better to keep it that way. After the funeral, Mael left again and hasn’t seen any of the family since.
Some years after Ariane’s death, the inner conflict at the Black Tower escalated, things came to a head between Alastair and the M’Hael, and Alastair was killed. The M’Hael’s supporters wanted Mael dead as well, but he managed to escape into Tel’aran’rhiod. He knew his only chance of survival now lay with the Grey Tower.
- Soldier (17 July 2017)
- Dedicated (17 July 2017)
- Asha'man of the Red Ajah (17 July 2017)