Portrayed By Marion Cotillard
Sorceress, Lady of the High Court
[link to horned king and sword in the stone]
Morgana is a powerful half-fae sorceress, and one of the oldest members of the Court in Caerleon, though she has lived for most of the last two decades in semi-exile, hated by the King and Queen. Despite this, her influence in court matters is not to be ignored, as there are still many older nobles who remember her as the closest advisor to the great conqueror Uther Pendragon... and as a sorceress with powers quite dangerous to cross.
Morgana was born the daughter of the Horned King, and a captured Grail Maiden named Alia. Before she was born, the conflict between the King's dark powers and Alia's light began warring, and Alia fell deathly ill. Both mother and child would have died, but for the father's intervention. As a consequence however, Alia's grail powers were lost, and Morgana was born without them. Morgana was born with powers all her own, akin to her father's and greater than most Half-fae. Alia, unfortunately, never fully recovered from her illness, and died a few years later. She held on for her daughter, but could no longer go on when she saw just how much the young Morgana took after her father, who Alia could only now see had been a monster from the start.
The young sorceress was trained extensively by her father in the use of her dark magic, manipulation, and how to take care of herself - training that would by Morgana's own choice extinguish the last of her mother's Light within her. She was left in the forests to fend for herself more than once, and grew up confident and self-reliant, a woman of power who knew all too well her strength, and the greatness she was meant for. The peculiar circumstances of her birth had gifted her with a degree of foresight, and she and her father made use of it, with Morgana gradually learning to interpret her cryptic dreams of the future along with the rest of her considerable powers.
The Pendragon Court, and the School
When she was fifteen, the Horned King made a plan for her. The King of Calladahn, Alexander Pendragon, was tricked into a quest to rescue a young grail maiden, and Morgana was placed at the end of his path. Though she was no Grail Maiden, the King took her in and made her a part of his Court. She lived there for a time and grew close to the King and his son Uther, enough that she was considered almost a part of their family - just as she'd planned. When she eventually revealed her magic powers to them, the King sent her away to the Sortelige, thinking it best that she learn how to use her magic (at which she pretended to be a novice) with other half-fae.
Morgana chafed under the instruction of the teachers at the school - their goal seemed to be to only teach control, and never to allow the students access to the deeper secrets of magic, lest they become somehow too dangerous. Naturally, having already been trained by her true father, Morgana had little patience for the level of instruction at the school, finding even the higher levels of instruction the half-fae children were allowed to be insultingly basic. She began sneaking into the forbidden areas of the library, seeking for herself what the teachers refused to provide.
It was on one of these quiet trips that she would meet Merlin, another half-fae a few years younger than she, who was on a similar quest. The two quickly formed a friendship, and a short time later became lovers, meeting in secret with their stolen books and practicing with one another before spending the rest of the night in each other's arms. The relationship wouldn't last, however - when Morgana revealed some of her true powers, and attempted to share her true knowledge with Merlin, she found to her sorrow that the man did not share her views, remaining stubborn in what she saw as his false beliefs in the nature of 'good and evil'. Morgana left the school shortly after the breakup; there was no longer anything there for her, and her foster brother Uther was soon to take the throne from his father... she could no longer afford to waste time at the school.
The Reign of Uther
Morgana returned to Uther's side the day of his coronation, and joined him in celebration before pledging her services to him. She became the Court Sorceress, known to most as Morgan LeFay, one of Uther's most trusted advisors. Over the years, she would make herself indispensable to the King, and she encouraged his ambition to unite the lands of Ga'Leah under his own rule. When he began invading other countries to form his empire, Morgana was at his side, using her powers to protect and aid his conquest. She encouraged his darker urges as well - when the King went on his legendary purges of dissidents and those he perceived to be plotting against him, it was often with his sorceress at his side, whispering in his ear.
Morgana was both feared and respected by the King's Court - and naturally hated by some. Her influence was outsized, greater than most of the nobility, and there were many who resented it, though those who attempted to interfere with her tended to find their way to nasty ends. When Caerleon was built, she had her own grand chambers built in the castle, and resided there for many years, working her dark magic in secret, showing only her glowing celestial magic to the King's people. Though she always had her own motives, she was for nearly all of Uther's reign a true servant to his cause... After all, her star rose alongside his, and she meant for his power to be at its peak when she moved to claim it for herself.
As Uther grew old however, he grew paranoid, and increasingly feeble in the mind. Morgana decided she could no longer stand to see him fade, and when the Red Dragon Rebellion formed, though she saw it coming, she did nothing to stop it. She did, however, kill several of them in their sleep after their assassination was successful - poison, as she saw it, was a horrible and unfitting way to kill a man who was the greatest conqueror in human history.
With Uther dead, and none of the Red Dragons who would have been able to claim his throne alive to do so, the High Court shattered. Morgana was patient, deciding to bide her time, and gradually begin picking up the pieces. She accepted an invitation to join the Order of Fate for a time - there she would meet another half-fae, Nimue, and form a rare friendship. The pair would come to find their own differences however, just as she did with Merlin - Morgana would continue to be alone in her pursuit of power. But a position with the Order of Fate allowed her access to artifacts and knowledge of great power, though many of them proved difficult for the sorceress to steal. In the end she devised a plan, and seduced the King, who was Nimue's husband, in an apparent attempt to shatter the relationship and gain control for herself. Nimue discovered her plot however, and the two fought a duel of magic. Nimue emerged the victor, and Morgana disappeared from the Order... though in truth, it had all been a distraction. The outcome of the battle had been unimportant to her - she had what she came for.
When she returned to Caerleon, she discovered that Uther's son had survived after all, and was to be crowned as the King, Arthur Pendragon. Though she had not been able to get to the boy King early enough, she could still join his Court as she had his father. Morgana made herself younger to match the boy's age, and eventually seduced him - though her attempt to install herself as Queen was thrwarted by the unexpected appearance of the boy's mentor, Merlin. Morgana was forced to leave Caerleon - though not before she had become pregnant with the King's son.
She named the boy Mordred, and raised him in secret, the way she had been raised herself. Mordred would prove to be possessed of too much of his father's softness however, and once she had taught him well how to protect himself, she sent him out into the world as her own father had, securing a place of power for him at a grand castle before moving on herself to other plans. As a safeguard - and, even she would admit, partly out of pique - Morgana also cursed Arthur's new bride, Gwenhwyfar, with infertility.
Morgana found herself a young Grail Maiden, Rapunzel, and took her in - in order to keep her safe (and hidden), she sealed the girl in a tower, returning often to take care of her and raising her much like a daughter. She had many uses for the girl's power (and as a possible wife for her son), and she was patient - there were many things that had to be ready to come together if she was to secure power once more... though things did begin to fall apart.
The Time of the Blight
Mordred found himself cursed into the form of a beast, and Morgana cursed the entire castle's staff into furniture and furnishings out of fury - they would remain that way until they helped her son, who they had so badly failed to protect. Rapunzel would be stolen from her tower and released into the world as well, by her old friend Nimue, no less. As the Blight has spread across the world, and Morgana's best laid plans have begun to crack, the sorceress has been adapting... some plans may have failed, but she is a woman who always has more, and she means to recover from the slights the world has dealt her. She was born the daughter of a King - she will have her due. But she remains patient... for now.
In the meantime, Morgana sought to ally herself with another great power, which she found in the great black dragon Melusina. She managed to ingratiate herself with the dragon and made herself essential with her dark magic, In the dystopian future where many found themselves, Morgana was a great ruler, overseeing a large portion of the world on Malificent's behalf - an area that was if anything somewhat less restrictive than other places. Morgana, after all, would never allow herself to be seen as an unfair ruler - at least not publicly.
When the Blight ended, Morgana was nowhere to be found. She avoided the final fight when it became clear to her through her visions that Malificent's star was no longer on the rise, and she took pains to protect Melusina from the collapse of her mother's empire. As always, Morgana was patient - she knew there would always be other opportunities, so long as they survived and maintained what power they could.
Morgana is a woman of vast ambition, tempered only by patience and pragmatism, all traits learned from her father. To her the world is a vast and complex game, and one that can be won by someone smart - and ruthless - enough to take every advantage as it presents itself, so long as they hold themselves back enough to avoid being caught and destroyed by the other players. At her core, she is cold and calculating, possessing genuine affection for only a few, and even then such affection would never be enough to prevent her from using that person to her own ends, even to their potential destruction.
Her ambition is matched only by her endless thirst for knowledge, which she has pursued all her life, from the grandest libraries to the dark corners of the world's ancient ruins. For knowledge is power, in a very real sense, and she takes pride in being well-informed, as well as in the literal power she gains from learning ancient and powerful secrets of magic.
Having lived at the High Court for more than half a century, Morgana's tastes tend to be quite expensive, and she is more than willing to kill to keep herself in luxury if she needs to - though she prefers to manipulate her way to the top. This is true of her in many respects; while she is more than capable of handling her own dirty work, her first choice is always to be patient, and allow people to be led to their own destruction. She would rather trick someone into giving her what she wants than steal it directly, and much rather convince someone else to kill someone (or themselves) than kill them herself. She is manipulative in the extreme, and always pursuing an ulterior motive, something that many people over the years have discovered far too late to save themselves.
Powers and Abilities
Morgana is a half-fae, and as such much more powerful than human mages in general, however her particular parentage (the Season Autumn and a Grail Maiden) has given her considerably more than the usual aptitude and depth of power, even before her Choosing made her fully Fae. Her birthright from her mother has been extinguished in favor of her father's magic, a power that was strengthened in the exchange. Despite that, at just over a century, Morgana is not yet at the peak of her powers - but she remains in the terms of Ga'Leah an extremely powerful sorceress, a prodigy of sorts in the study of dark magic, and a scholar of a wide array of subjects. Morgana is a voracious reader and spends much of her downtime studying one subject or another; finding new troves of information, especially the sort others would prefer be left buried, is one of her favorite pastimes.
Morgana's favorite fields of study are dark magic, particularly in the service of curses and in amplifying her own powers. Morgana's strongest ability is the draining of energy from living creatures - she is a master of using this to fuel her own abilities, to the extent where she can drain years off the life of a human in order to restore her own youth. This is important to her because her unusual power comes with an unusual and dire price - the overuse of her magic power causes her body, despite its half-fae heritage, to age rapidly. She can appear to age ten years in human terms after using her power in a difficult battle, and some of the grandest spells she has worked have turned her into an old woman overnight. Draining the life from others has allowed her to maintain her youth at a level appropriate for a half-fae of her own age, and in theory could allow her to reverse her aging even further, though she has only done so once - prior to her seduction of young King Arthur.
Morgana's other dark magic talents are in blood magic - she uses this mostly for a form of healing when necessary, though frequently she uses it as a manipulation tool, to cause pain and force the person into compliance. She has not mastered this ability, but is on her way and could be considered something of a mid-level talent. It is certainly the second darkest ability she uses - difficult to argue with the ability to literally steal years off someone else's life. The majority of her curses are based in blood magic however - it is in that field that she is the most skilled. It was a ritual of blood magic that cursed the inhabitants of the 'Beast's castle, amplified by her powe drawn from the light of the moon, and the very life of a young human 'donor'. Morgana still covers the scar with a glamour.
Her second primary talent however is in Lunar Light magic. Morgana has always favored the nighttime over the day, and the illusory abilities of Selene's light have always held a special fascination for her. In the eyes of the majority of people, this is the ability she has mastered - it is the one she shows when she is playing the benevolent advisor, the shimmering silver light a far preferable public outlet for her energy than her blood magic or life draining abilities. This magic is also her main combat outlet, she is adept at creating hard constructs of light to use as shields, focusing the lunar energy into forceful blasts, and most of all in using this school to create illusions to trick and beguile the senses. It would not be wrong to say this is the magic she uses the most frequently, particularly seeing as it saddles her with the least cost.
Like most other mages, Morgana dabbles in cantrips of many disciplines, she was taught basic uses of fire, telekinesis, and the like during her years at the Sortilege, though she is not dangerous in their use, and mostly uses them for minor conveniences - lighting candles, pulling something to her hand from across a room, and the like.
Her last ability is the one she has kept the most secret, and the one whose source is something of a mystery. Perhaps due to some strange mixture of her parent's blood and powers, Morgana has a limited ability to see the future. Her prophecies come to her in dreams, and are frequently abstract and difficult to decipher as they come without context. Because of this, she is much more likely to figure out what a dream means if it is of something just about to happen, since the signs will be clearer - dreams of far-off events are generally vague, shrouded in darkness and metaphors that won't make sense to her at the time, but she makes careful note of each of them. Correct interpretation of her dreams has led to many of her successes - the opposite, of course, has led to several of her failures.