Lady Oriane Merisse Character in Empire of the Covenant | World Anvil

Lady Oriane Merisse

Welcome to the Empire of the Covenant! In this federal empire, tensions are increasing between the Light and Dark political factions. Light Lady Annabelle is the target of the Leader of the Dark faction and in order to gain allies to protect her, she starts Courtship Rituals to make suitors compete for her hand—but then the Dark Lord joins in. Come read about Annabelle's Courtship and her world!
Introduction to the story | Lady Annabelle Alyssenne | The imperial nobility | Novel upcoming

Oriane Merisse's story is also told in quotes inserted in several World Anvil articles. You can have a look at them while you read this article to get more details about her, though be warned if you skip them that the texts following the links contain spoilers for those small stories.

Lady Oriane Merisse is an ex-commoner who claimed an Estate for herself and acceded to the high nobility of the empire. A lukewarm member of the Light political faction, she is well known for her power and ruthlessness.

Table of Contents


Personal history



Oriane Merisse was born as a commoner in the north of the empire a few centuries before the events of Book 1: Rituals of Blood and Power. She was born powerful, contrary to all expectations considering her family's position near the bottom of the social ladder. She never accepted this and when she was barely a teenager she already started plotting to change her fate. See:  

She recruited other dissatisfied individuals from around her, and together they led an expedition towards an Estate located near the Orage Mountains that she had determined to be weak. See:

The imperial nobility
Rank/Title | Feb 3, 2022

Nobles are all-powerful individuals whose House rules over a federal Estate of the empire (high nobility) or which used to do so (low nobility). Nothing prevents anyone from wrenching control of an Estate from its previous owner...

Map of the Empire of the Covenant
The Empire of the Covenant is a millennia-old federal empire spread over a whole continent and gathering around 600 independent Estates. Those are ruled by powerful mages, lords and ladies who are the Heads of their Houses and who are linked to the ancestral magic of their Lands. Estates are divided by their affilitation with the Light or Dark political factions.   See Geography, Climate and Demography of the Empire and Political Organisation of the Empire.

Ruler of an Estate

Oriane Merisse managed to conquer the Estate despite being an outsider not familiar at all with its Land's magic. This made her Lady of the new Estate of Merisse and extended her famed through the empire. As a result, many other lords and ladies became curious and eager to interact with her. See:

  Despite some troubles, she managed to get herself established in her Estate and accepted by her subjects. She reformed the Estate and got it to prosper. See:     Despite those successes however, relationships with her neighbours were still rather sore, in particular with the Danièlie. See:     To solve this problem, she made a marriage alliance with one of those families. Through a ritual, she and her wife, Céline Danièlie, got a son, Lucien. See:     Thanks to this new alliance, she starts to play an important political role in the empire and her Estate prospers. See:  


Unfortunately, young Lucien got bitten by a swamp insect and caught a grave disease which normally only affect poor people. See:     Numerous healers examined and attempted to treat him without results. In the end, Orianie Merisse took matters into her own hands. She deduced that a potential treatmant was available in the nearby Orage Mountains as all lifeforms living there have adapted to the violent magical storms there through developing a different way to interact with high concentration of magic.   Lady Merisse led an expedition in the mountains and made an exchange with the local prickly spark insects to be shown to rare plants and fungi. Since her neighbours were being unruly and attempting to use Lucien's condition to their advantage, Lady Merisse decided to return the situation. She declared war on them and attacked them without warning, making several prisoners. That gave her test subjects with which to determine the effects of the plants and fungi she had harvested.   Luckily, one of the storm mushrooms prove to be an excellent remedy. Unfortunately for others, this is not an easily accessible one and so while the story of Lucien's miraculous recovery and Lady Merisse's expedition in the mountain quickly became semi-legendary, this is of no help to anyone else. This story of her braving the deadly Orage Mountains in an attempt to save her son's life is seen as characteristic of the way in which she always wants to force the world around her to change to conform to her own desires rather than accept reality as it is.  


  Lady Merisse is utterly ruthless. Once she has determined she wants something, she will do everything in her considerable power to get it. She also completely believe in the "power is might" adage that rules society in the empire. The only block she had was being born in the wrong social position regarding her own power, but she has corrected that small problem now.   She looks down on anyone not recognising their proper place in the social order and not showing the proper amount of deference to her. She also scorn anyone not good or diligent at their job.   She loves her son Lucien dearly and wants to make sure that he is raised properly with the education and safety she could not have herself. She does not care so much about her wife but has a friendly business relationship with her. The less said about her in-laws however, the better.  


  Lady Merisse sees herself as a generous and tolorent lady that knows how to take care of her people properly, having been a commoner herself before. So long as her subjects fullfil their duties towards her, she will make sure all of them are safe, fed, and healthy and have access to good accomodations.   She has little tolerence towards her neighbours and how out-of-touch the rulers are with their people and the reality of the empire. They all perceive her as a rude upstart because she refuse to follow rules of etiquette that would force her to be deferent towards anyone weaker than herself. However, she was forced to find some allies among her neighbours to avoid total isolation. She had done so through her marriage. As an outsider, she has also managed to place herself in the position of an arbitrator of local disputes.   Lady Merisse is not interested in the imperial politics of the Light and Dark factions. However, she recognised the need for joining one of them so as to avoid making powerful enemies. She has chosen the Ligth as the north of the empire is filled with Light Houses and this will give her the least amount of problems. Ideaologically she is however closer to the Dark faction, but she has no problem voting against her believes while in the senate. This is all to benefit her own House.  


  Lady Merisse first objective was to find herself an Estate to claim so that she could correct the grave injust done to her by having her born in a poor commoner family. Following that, she did her best to impose her authority on her subjects and neighbours so that she did not have to fear any revolt and the family she was about to found would be safe.   Now that all oft his has been accomplished brillantly, Lady Merisse is focused on increasing the power and influence of her Estate and its riches so that she can make sure her House is properly installed at its head and it will not be easily ousted after her death.

Cover image: Lady Oriane Merisse header by AmélieIS with Artbreeder
Character Portrait image: Lady Oriane Merisse by AmélieIs with Artbreeder


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Dec 23, 2021 11:57 by Dani

I love Lady Merisse--she's quite the character! So much confidence too, with her view of not being born into the proper social order of things as she rightly deserves--and having to claim her spot there but thinking of it as a "correction" for something she's owed rather than achieved. :D Her quotes and voice through these articles have been spot on. Nicely done!

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Dec 24, 2021 09:56 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Thanks :D Lady Merisse has been my good surprise of the month, she is so fun to write with how confident and ruthless she is :D

Jan 3, 2022 05:01 by Morgan Biscup

I love her so much.   I never want to meet her.   All your bits of prose throughout really bring her to life and I hope she finds her way into your novels someday because she is so much fun to read about.

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Jan 4, 2022 10:51 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Thanks :D I was thinking of having her having lived a few centuries before the novels, so that her legend could be mentioned and be useful to the plot. But I'm not sure yet. I'd like to bring her more fully into the novels rather than just in the past, but that's going to be difficult plot wise so I need to think more about it...

Jan 17, 2022 09:36 by Stormbril

I absolutely love the mix between Oraine seeing herself as "generous and tolerant", while at the same time being utterly ruthless! It's such a great example of contrast between how we see ourselves, and how others perceive us. This is a really excellent character article!   Also, the way you've worked in so many block links to so many other articles is brilliant, as well as telling her story throughout them all. I really like that :O   I'm definitely putting this article in reading challenge article!

Jan 17, 2022 21:22 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Thanks for the comment! Oriane was really super fun to write, and having her come back in so many articles really allowed me to do some fun things with her :D

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