|“||Maybe we should come back later?||”|
A large, liver-spotted man, barrel-chested and paunchy, cowers in the far corner of the room, his white hair a tangled, stringy mess. He covers his face and chest with trembling hands, unable to look in your direction.
Maerwald was once a great and ambitious man seeking to establish himself as the new master of the keep. He banished the dark things lurking in the keep after centuries of neglect. Together with the Steward, he tried to restore the beauty of the keep, laying claim to it when no one else would take it. However, as time went by, his mental condition deteriorated. His withdrawal turned to isolation. Restorations stopped, followed by the servants and repair crews departing.
By the time the Watcher reaches him, Maerwald has completely secluded himself beneath his keep in the uppermost level of the Endless Paths of Od Nua, driven to madness by the resurgent memories of his past lives. He is only intermittently lucid, switching erratically between his three personalities.
The reason for his madness is simple: Maerwald's previous lives were marked by violence and brutality. The oldest personality is of a female Glanfathan marauder of the Nine Claws clan in the Broken Stone War, who orchestrated a raid on a frontier colonial settlement. The raiders burned the houses, killed the men, and raped the women. It just so happened that the very marauder that organized the raid and ordered her men to violate the women was impaled on a pitchfork at the end of the raid. Her soul transferred to the closest vessel it could find, the boy her lover had just conceived by rape.
The victim gave birth to the boy and raised him as a soldier, imbuing him with hatred of the Glanfathan people. She told him that his father was slain in the raid on the village, except that he was a proud Aedyran soldier who died defending his family. The boy wound up enlisting just in time to participate in the War of Black Trees, carrying out Admet Hadret's strategy of scorched earth. He committed atrocities against the clans, especially the Nine Claws he blamed for his father's "death", burning entire villages to the ground with the people inside their homes.
These terrifying memories lurked within the soul, waiting for the time to strike. And so they did: As Maerwald stared into the fire in his hearth at Caed Nua, watching the wood burn, the memory of those other fires two centuries ago came to the fore. Together with the smell of burning flesh and the screams. Nobody could withstand that strain. Maerwald unraveled, eventually seeking refuge in the topmost level of the Endless Paths...
|This character is involved in quests.|
- The Old Watcher: Maerwald is confronted during the quest and put out of his misery. He informs the player that it is impossible to forget the memories that a Watcher comes to remember, though he concedes that if there were any way to reverse the process of Awakening, the secret would be kept by the Leaden Key. His Glanfathan personality then attacks the player, forcing them to fight him. Once Maerwald is defeated, the player is given three options: to release his soul, to bind him permanently to Caed Nua, or to absorb his knowledge. Releasing him will provide the player's stronghold 2 prestige, binding him 2 security, and absorbing his knowledge allows access to a powerful item in the lower reaches of the Endless Paths.
- The player's decision as to Maerwald will affect the difficulty of the fight during the Proving: The third fight is drawn from the Watcher's memories and pits them against Maerwald. Releasing him will make Maerwald easier to fight, binding causes him to be a tougher opponent, while absorbing him for knowledge will leave a very angry Maerwald who will cause a potent challenge.