Gwenhwyfar is infamous in Ga'leah as not only the wife and Queen of High King Arthur, but also as an adulterer and traitor to the crown for her brief affair with Knight of the Round Table, Sir Lancelot.
Her presence in the High Court was fraught with controversy from the very beginning as are her claims to the crown of High Monarch following the fall of King Arthur. Although she lacked confidence in her abilities to lead without her husband, she proved to be a competent Queen who grew into her throne and the responsibilities of the crown even after Arthur emerged from his self-imposed exile and they set about mending their marriage.
Gwenhwyfar was born to Cywyrd of Gwent and his wife the former Lady of Carmelide. After the untimely death of her mother, she was raised primarily by her father who worked as a blacksmith in the kingdom of Calladahn and is often touted as one of the most talented blacksmiths in all of Ga'leah.
A childhood spent at the foot of her father's forge bore in her a fascination with swords and swordplay. Over time, she began to beg the knights, guards, and swellswords who frequented her father's smithy to teach her bits of swordplay.
However, the ill intentions of a young man towards Gwen invoked her father's wrath and left the boy irrevocably damaged by the encounter. Following the beating, Gwen was sent away from Calladahn and the town of Gwent to live with her grandfather where she would be taught to act like a lady and, with luck, be safe from harm.
Gwenhwyfar spent several years at Carmelide with her grandfather, Lord Leodegrance Aeron. These years were not pleasant for the young woman who was expected to learn all of the things a highborn lady should know, all in an attempt by her grandfather to find her a suitable and profitable matrimonial match.
She continued attempting to improve her swordplay by enticing the Sellswords and Knights in grandfather's employ into giving her lessons in return for valuable jewelry. It was not until she approached Owen Blackwell, that she found a more permanent tutor to help her not only improve her swordplay but also deal with the trials of living under her grandfather's rule.
She first encountered Arthur Pendragon in the stables of Carmelide where she mistook him for a knight of Caerleon come to take take part in talks regarding the security of the kingdom of Dokrayth. She coaxed him into a sparring match, which she consequently won in front of many of his guards, knights, and her grandfather. Arthur saved her from a fierce punishment by suggesting that she serve as a servant to Sir Lancelot whose manservant had taken ill before arriving in Carmelide. Although this was proven to be a lie, Gwenhwyfar spent the subsequent week with the High King under the guise of her punishment, sparring with him in the mornings, taking on his knights at his behest, and even venturing to a waterfall for a nighttime swim and encounter with a roving band of gypsies.
It was at the end of the week at a Gala held in the High King's honor that Arthur and Gwenhwyfar made their feelings for each other known. Although Gwen's grandfather still wished to use her for his own benefit, Arthur quickly put to rest any attempts he might make to control Gwen any further. When Arthur departed Carmelide, Gwen returned with him to Caerleon.
Gwenhwyfar found it very difficult to adjust to life at the High Court. Many accused her of bewitching the High King because of the brevity of their courtship. It was only after she proved herself by taking a crossbow bolt to the shoulder thereby saving the King's life in combat, that she was able to garner enough respect from the Court to be permitted to marry the High King. This act of sacrifice was later repaid by Arthur shortly after their marriage when he stepped in front of a rogue stallion to protect Gwen from injury while suffering one himself.
Although she very much enjoyed her marriage to Arthur, Gwen found that her time with her husband was limited by his duties to the kingdom. In an effort to make time with him, Gwen often convinced Arthur to 'run away' with her for short periods of time to seek out adventures. It was during these adventures that Gwenhwyfar and Arthur acquired their alter egos of 'Mop' and 'Bob'. She also had trouble adjusting to the numerous assassination attempts, one of which was almost contracted out to Mop and Bob themselves. Interactions with Merlin and his disguised lover, Nimue, were somewhat tense as well, even when the quartet was joining forces to combat a stone woman of impressive power.
Gwenhwyfar was also under intense pressure from the High Court to provide an heir for Arthur. Her first and only pregnancy a year after their marriage ended in an emotionally scarring miscarriage caused by an infertility curse cast by the jealous Morgana who wanted no one but her son Mordred to have claim to the Pendragon throne.
Approximately seven years after the marriage of King Arthur and Queen Gwenhwyar, the Lycans, led by their Alpha the Big Bad Wolf, abducted Gwenhwyfar on her way to a ball in Dokrayth. Gwenhwyfar attempted to end her life by stabbing herself to prevent the Lycans from using her against her husband, but the Huntsman treated her wound and she was taken to a hidden location in the Yarrow where she was tortured mercilessly through physical, mental, and emotional methods including but not limited to the use of Allutherian Orchid Tears. The Tears were effective in weakening her mind, but it was the false message carried by the Greed Alpha to Gwenhwyfar by way of her husband's dagger and the instruction to finish the job that truly fractured her psyche.
Although the Lycans intended to use her as leverage to obtain the silver mines of Solhara, they were largely unsuccessful. Gwen was later saved by Lancelot and brought back to the High King.
She suffered intense trauma from her ordeal, including memory loss, night terrors, and anxiety attacks. Although Arthur was present for the excruciating first days of her return to Caerleon, Gwenhwyfar's weakened state left her with no memory of his presence and the torture of the Lycans left her a mere shadow of her former self plagued by insecurities and hostilities towards her husband. Her feelings were exacerbated by the arrival of Amber Jackson at the High Court. The young woman, hired by Arthur to serve as Gwenhwyfar's guard after the royal guard failed so miserably at protecting her from the Lycans, was similar enough to a young Gwenhwyfar that the Queen saw the guard as an intended replacement and become convinced that Arthur was having an affair beneath her nose.
Lancelot proved to be a vital part of her 'recovery.'
Following her abduction by the Lycans, Gwen entered into an affair with her husband's best friend and greatest knight, Sir Lancelot. It did not go on long. Overcome with guilt over her unfaithfulness, Gwenhwyfar attempted to seek out Arthur and tell him the truth but was interrupted in the middle of her confession by the guards having come to arrest her for treason.
Arthur subsequently sentenced her to death by fire. Although Nimue, still disguised as a serving girl, came to help Gwenhwyfar escape her punishment and flee with her life, Gwenhwyfar refused to leave. She was certain that her husband would be unable to carry through with her execution.
The Execution and Aftermath
Gwenhwyfar's intended execution was interrupted by the invasion of a zombie horde led by undead Lancelot. When Arthur proved unable to end Lancelot's reign of terror, Gwen took Excalibur from his grasp and beheaded the knight herself, eventually leading Caerleon in expelling the Starving from their doorstep and shoring up the city against further attacks.
Afterwards, King Arthur fell to alcoholism and closed himself in his room away from the world. Gwenhwyfar and Arthur had only one encounter after her failed execution during one of his few excursions from the safety of his quarters. It did not end well. Gwenhwyfar's actions following her intended execution were reckless and foolhardy, culminating in a late night trip into the wilds beyond Caerleon to commit suicide by Starving. There, she was intercepted by her guard, Amber 'Jack' Jackson, and despite their rather harried past, the young woman helped to give Gwen hope for the future and turn her towards the proper path. One of her handmaidens, a disguised Nimue, would also prove helpful in keeping Gwenhwyfar's lack of belief in her own Queenly abilities from impeding her rule of Ga'leah.
Gwenhwyfar took up the title of High Queen and struggled to lead Ga'leah in his absence. Since taking over the throne, she established refugee camps outside of Caerleon for those displaced by the Blight; she entered into an alliance with the merkingdom; brokered a deal withthe Dark One (Rumpelstiltskin); established contact with Nimue (the Lady of the Lake); and made efforts to befriend Robin Hood and his Merry Men.
Following some months of exile, Gwenhwyfar and Arthur had a chance meeting on a country road where they discovered there was still some hope for rekindling their romance. Gwen returned Excalibur to her husband, and in the days that followed they spent time trying to repair their relationship and overcome the derision of their subjects who now referred to them as the 'coward' and the 'whore'.
It was an innocent trip to Calladahn for the Midsummer Festival that gave both Arthur and Gwenhwyfar a chilling insight into how they were viewed by the populace when there was an attempt on Arthur's life that very nearly succeeded. Arthur's anger and frustration over the way his people saw him came to a head when a stable boy accidentally allowed his prize destrier to escape the stables of Caerleon. Gwenhwyfar's attempts to calm him proved unsuccessful and an altercation between the two of them led to Gwenhwyfar seeking out her friend, Dahlia Rainecourt, to accompany her on an alleged rescue mission to free Gwen's father from the Queen of Calladahn. When they arrived in Thrine, they discovered that the whole thing was an elaborate trap set by the Lycans and together they killed the Alphas of Sloth and Gluttony before attempting to return to Caerleon. Their victory was short lived, however, when Gwenhwyfar was met by Nimue, as the Lady of the Lake, come to tell her that Arthur had been abducted by a Headless Horseman. Armed with the enchanted sword Nimue and Gwenhwyfar's father had crafted for her, Gwen set out to find her husband and free him from his captivity.
The False Arthur
Gwenhwyfar found her husband on his way back to Caerleon with renewed purpose having seemingly and conveniently escaped his captors. It was not until his prized destrier reacted uncharacteristically, that Gwen became aware of the changes that had come over her husband. Her attempts to deter their return to the capital were thwarted, but once there she called a disguised Nimue to her side and did her best to prepare for the castle for what she assumed would be the battle to come. Instead of attempting to take the castle or throne by force, however, Arthur seemed instead to be intent on killing Gwenhwyfar herself. Gwen fought him valiantly, desperate not to hurt him and convinced that he could overcome whatever dark magics had been used against him. When it seemed all hope was lost, that she was dead and Merlin and Nimue had been severely injured, Arthur broke the hold the magic had over him and returned to his senses.
The ordeal with Arthur awoke in Gwenhwyfar a newfound purpose. Now able to see the capable Queen others recognized in her and eager to help Arthur lead the kingdoms, she was able to face the Big Bad Wolf bravely alongside her husband and free Dahlia from him before he killed her as a show of power.
The Ocean Blight
Following the events of Arthur's enchantment and during Dahlia's convalescence, Arthur and Gwenhwyfar went against the advice of Nimue and the court advisers and took a vacation on the fabled Sanctuary. On their way to the island, they encountered the Shadow Fae, Isis, who seemed to have no love for the royals or their attempts to help Ga'leah. Unlike when her actions were challenged before, however, Gwenhwyfar was confident that she had done all she could for the people of Ga'leah and did now allow the Fae's words to affect her.
A few blissful days on the Sanctuary were interrupted by the arrival of Blighted Chuul who charged the beaches of the Sanctuary and chased King and Queen off the island into an boat in the open water where they encountered more Blighted Chuul as well as Blighted Mermaids. Gwenhwyfar nearly drowned attempting to fight off the monsters, but was saved and revived by her husband.
The King and Queen made landfall in Solhara where they witnessed a host of nasty creatures swimming upstream towards an unknown destination. They attempted to ride ahead of the oncoming horde and found themselves at the Oasis with an ill prepared Virginia Company and the Powhatans. The High King and Queen did what they could to help the inhabitants of the Oasis fight off the Blighted sea creatures alongside Sage the Green Man before using the Powhatan's carefully guarded Shifting Silver to travel back to Caerleon.
Moments after arriving back in Caerleon, Gwenhwyfar and Arthur witnessed the arrival of the Leviathan, a massive creature which could easily level Caerleon if it was not stopped. Together with the knights, guards, and citizens of Caerleon, the King and Queen helped to slay the Leviathan and defend the capital.
The Warrior's Tourney
Despite the dire state of the world, the High Court determined to continue on with the Warrior's Tourney following the loss of the Maritanis to the Black Water. Gwenhwyfar successfully won the Armed Swords competition, reconnected with her estranged cousin, Elaine Corbin, and finally put her issues with her grandfather to rest when he confronted her at the Tourney demanding shelter from the Blight and she sent him away with the assurances that she no longer even wished to waste the energy hating the man.
On the final day of the competitions, the Dark One made an appearance to cause a bit of mayhem, casting an enchantment that reduced the people at the Tourney to teenagers in body, mind, and memory. Although at first it seemed a youthful Gwenhwyfar would not care for a similarly youthful Arthur, the two slowly built a strange camaraderie until Arthur took Gwenhwyfar to see the Round Table and she realized that he was the High King just as he had claimed all along, and that she, in fact, was his wife.
Recruitment and Leadership
Shortly after the Warrior's Tourney, the High King and Queen were visited by Aethanryke the Forebearer, God of Time, who requested the company of Arthur on an important mission through time. Left alone to govern the kingdoms once more, Gwenhwyfar set before herself the task of filling the empty seats of the Round Table with worthy young women. Her first recruit was a landed pirate, Amelia Bonny, who made a strong first impression by sending back nude the knights dispatched to invite her to Caerleon. Next, Gwenhywfar journeyed to the Pride Lands where she met Nala, a Skinwalker who agreed to join her fight and return with her to Caerleon. Unfortunately, upon their return, Gwenhwyfar was met by a very worried and insubordinate Amber Jackson. After a well meaning but inappropriate tirade, the young guardswoman turned knight was chastised and sent away only to learn later that she had lost her position as one of Gwenhywfar's guards. When making the rounds in the camps outside of Caerleon, Gwen encountered the would-be Musketeer, Constance Bonacieux, and offered her the chance to earn a place at the Round Table as well.
Several days after they departed, the Forebearer returned to warn Gwen that he'd lost Arthur in time and that she may never see him again. Gwen responded by slapping the god and lecturing him on his own shortcomings. Aethanryke agreed to help the High Court, and Gwen refused to give up hope that Arthur would return to her.
Less than a week after he left Caerleon, Arthur returned looking haggard but alive. Their happy reunion was shortlived, however, when Nimue appeared with the dead body of Merlin. Although Gwen tried to comfort her friend, Nimue distracted her with the gift of a ring that would allow her to dispel the curse upon her womb and conceive a child. Though still worried about her friend, Gwen could not help but seek out Arthur to ensure that he was handling the death of his friend as well as could be expected, and to tell him the good news about the ring and their future children.