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Maya Hearth-Woman

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Not all vampires can shapeshift. But, then, I'm not like other vampires. I'm the original. And I have to say I'm getting really sick of you.
~ Maya to Hannah Snow

Maya Hearth-Woman was the twin sister of Hellewise Hearth-Woman, and daughter of Hecate Witch-Queen. She is the first made vampire, and the ancestress of both lamia and made vampires. Born in prehistoric times, she meets her end in the novel Soulmate, at the hands of Hannah Snow. 

History

Prehistoric times

Maya Hearth-Woman had been one of the beautiful twin daughters of Hecate, the leader of the prehistoric tribe of witches. However, despite her exceptional power as a witch, Maya had an obsession with immortality, and, some time after her mother's death, sought spells to prolong her own life. Eventually, she was able to find the correct spell, but a requirement of it was to sacrifice all the infant children of the tribe. Maya did so, stealing the four babies and bringing them into the forest, drinking their blood. Maya then vanished, although the bodies of the children were recovered, to the tribe's horror.

Some nights later, Maya returned, seeking Theorn (Thierry), a member of the tribe and a friend to both her and Hellewise. Annoyed with his attention to both of them, Maya decided she would change Theorn into a vampire as well, to be hers alone. Despite his reluctance, Maya described her own vampirism and was certain he would change his mind when he became one too, and when Theorn hesitates (fascinated by Maya's ethereal beauty) she is able to grab him and drag him into the forest, biting him and exchanging blood by puncturing her own throat with wood. 

When Theorn awakens, Maya follows him, trying to convince him to embrace his new power, but Theorn rejects her completely, although he is unable to engage her in physical combat due to her strength. After witnessing the massacre at the tribe of the Three Rivers (which resulted in the accidental death of Theorn's soulmate, Hana), Maya again came to Theorn and told him to forget her. However, having found his soulmate, Theorn walks away from Maya, enraging her and sparking her lifelong hatred of Hana of the Three Rivers. 

Sometime after this, Maya bears a son, Red Fern, known for his blood-red hair. Hellewise then declares war on Maya, partially out of sympathy for Theorn and his own plight. Hellewise and the witches prove victorious; Maya and Red Fern are driven from the tribe forever, although Hellewise dies of wounds sustained in battle soon after the war ends. This begins the centuries-old blood feud between Hellewise's descendants, the Harman clan, and Maya's own descendants, the Redfern family (this feud isn't reconciled until the 16th century with the blood-tie and marriage of Hunter Redfern and Maeve Harman).

Ancient Egypt

After Hana reincarnates in Egypt as a priestess, Ha-nakht, Maya is able to locate the girl through Thierry, who reunites with Hana. Finding the girl inside a temple of Isis, Maya introduces herself to Ha-nakht and reveals her knowledge of the priestess's liaison with Thierry. Noting the girl's fears, as priestesses of Isis are forbidden to have relationships with men, Maya reassures her that she will not tell Ha-nakht's superiors. However, Maya tells the priestess that Thierry is a demonic creature who is only after Ha-nakht's life force, planting a seed of doubt in the girl's mind about her soulmate. Maya departs, but returns later to the temple, having shapeshifted into Thierry. She then attacks Ha-nakht, carefully imitating her death at Thierry's hands in her last lifetime as Hana. 

Maya continues this pattern through centuries; always finding Hana's next reincarnation, convincing her Thierry is evil, and then taking on Thierry's image and killing Hana before her seventeenth birthday. Maya does this out of extreme jealousy, as she despises Hana for ruining Maya's plan to make Thierry her consort. Maya also seeks to erode Thierry's endurance in pursuing Hana, hoping he will eventually give up his soulmate and choose Maya instead.

Night World series

Soulmate

When Hana reincarnates in the 20th century as Hannah Snow, Maya again sends her spies to find the girl; it is revealed that Maya has been searching for Hana's latest incarnation for one hundred years since she last killed the girl. A werewolf working for the vampire ancestress locates Hannah, finding the tell-tale birthmark on Hannah's cheek, and is able to escape and relay this information to Maya. When Thierry visits Hannah and they rediscover their soulmate bond, she allows the vampire lord to drink her blood, but in doing so Hannah sees a vision of a more "savage"-looking Thierry, and an image of a woman (Maya) warning Hannah against being with Thierry, who will kill her again in this life. This leads Hannah to sever their connection and demand Thierry stay away from her, which he reluctantly does out of love for Hannah.

The next night, after Hannah has rejected Thierry, Maya herself appears; she is aware that Thierry had planted enchanted amulets around Hannah's home and convinces the girl to invite her inside, breaking the power of the talisman. Maya chats with Hannah, revealing herself as a vampire and the one who changed Thierry. She attempts to warn Hannah against him yet again, but this time Hannah distrusts them both, and insists that Maya leave after telling her she has already warned Thierry to leave her alone. Maya seems surprised, but departs. Hannah returns to her room, but find Thierry (the disguised Maya) awaiting her. Maya assaults Hannah and manages to bite her, taking a substantial amount of blood, but Hannah slams a pencil through Maya's hand, causing the vampire to retreat. 

While Thierry is awaiting a witch ally in a hotel lobby, he is shocked to find Maya there; Maya is eager to end this centuries-old cycle and wants Thierry to give in to her. Thierry surprises her by stating that he intends never to see Hannah again, so long as Maya never harm her. Laughing, Maya is pleased at this change, although she then admits that she had sampled Hannah's blood, describing it as "sweet". Alarmed and furious, Thierry pins Maya to a wall and demands to know what happened. Maya tells him that once again she tried to kill Hannah disguised as him, but Hannah had defended herself with a pencil; Maya shows Thierry the "hole faintly ringed with blood". He promises to kill Maya if he threatens Hannah again, but Maya doubts him, saying he doesn't have it in him to kill. As a last word, she also references his promise to Hana never to kill again.

When Hannah finally recovers her memories and realizes Maya's deception, she goes to Las Vegas to seek Thierry and reconcile with him, although when she arrives he is not there. Having met Circle Daybreak, Hannah retreats to a balcony, but Maya is waiting for her; having shapeshifted into an enormous bat, Maya knocks Hannah out and captures the girl. 

Maya brings Hannah to an abandoned mine shaft in the Nevada desert; she believes that Thierry and Hannah are trying to deceive her and reunite behind her back. To finally destroy her, Maya decides to change Hannah into a made vampire, and then kill her, which would end the cycle as vampires do not reincarnate.

In spite of Maya's efforts, recalling several abilities gained from her previous lives, Hannah is able to free herself and create a stake to await Maya. She is given an opportunity to kill the vampire matriarch, who returns to finish the blood exchange with Hannah, but ultimately she cannot bring herself to ambush Maya. Maya, who apparently knew Hannah was behind her, reacts with genuine surprise that she couldn't go through with the kill. Thierry then arrives to rescue Hannah. Maya holds Hannah hostage, threatening to kill her in front of Thierry. However, he reveals to Maya that he will always love Hannah, even if Maya does complete her plan to destroy Hannah permanently.

Additionally, even if she killed both of them, nobody Maya "hated" would be a witness to it. Upset by this, Maya tells Thierry that she loved him, but Thierry corrects her; in truth she only wanted him, especially because she could never have him. Defeated, Maya releases Hannah, but then finally strikes, intending to kill Thierry after having lost her purpose for living. Reacting quickly, Hannah stakes Maya to protect Thierry. Maya regards Hannah's action with a kind of respectful laughter before she dies; her body crumbles and mummifies before Hannah and Thierry.

Personality

Maya apparently came across as a sweet, kindhearted girl when she was a witch, as Thierry and Hellewise were both deeply shocked when they learnt that Maya had murdered the tribe's babies in her quest for immortality. In truth, Maya was a psychopath and a narcissist, desperate for attention. She was obsessed with becoming immortal and perhaps had a fear of death. She was very confident in herself, to the point of arrogance and seemed to take perverse pleasure in causing pain and suffering to those she believed had wronged her. She was incredibly selfish and lacked any kind of empathy for others, seeing nothing wrong with murdering innocent children in her quest for immortality, forcibly turning Thierry into a vampire and stalking and murdering Hannhah Snow in each of her incarnations. These acts also demonstrate the lengths she would go to in order to achieve her aims. Maya did not give up easily; the only time she gave up was when she and son were defeated by her sister, Hellewise, and when Thierry made her realise that even if she succeeded in killing Hannah permanently, Thierry would still never be her's.

Maya was very power-hungry, attempting to kill her own sister in order to take over her tribe and going to great lengths and committing terrible crimes to obtain immortality. Maya could be very jealous and possessive; she turned Thierry into a vampire partly because she was irritated by his affections for her sister Hellewise and then claimed that she "owned" him. She also repeatedly murders Hannah Snow, Thierry's soulmate, out of jealousy. Maya could also be quite delusional; she seemed to genuinely believe that if she killed Hannah permanently, then Thierry would want to be with her. She also claimed that she loved Thierry, but Thierry corrects her, saying that she merely wanted him for himself, because she knew "she couldn't have him." She appears to despise and scorn those she views as being weak, and gains some kind of respect for Hannah when she kills Maya to protect Thierry, stating "You had guts - after all."

Physical appearance

Maya is described as being a "stunningly" or "hauntingly" beautiful, willowy woman, with very long, black hair and "large, almond-shaped, heavy-lashed" eyes that continually change color (like her descendant, Ash Redfern). She has full lips, and "skin like silk" and "exquisite" facial features. She is described as being tall in stature.

Before she initiated the spell to change into a vampire, Thierry Descouedres described her as "pretty", and that her physical beauty (like all vampires) increased upon her transformation. Thierry later describes her beauty as being "like the rainbow on oil scum", due to his intense hatred of her. It is noted that one of Hellewise's descendants, Blaise Harman, bears a notable resemblance to Maya in both appearance and certain personality aspects.

Powers and abilities

Despite her transformation, in addition to the typical vampire abilities, Maya has retained all of her skills as a witch, and is capable of using powerful spells, especially ones that can alter her appearance (taking on Thierry's image to trick Hannah in all of her past lives). These qualities make her the most highly formidable vampire to fight against. She also mentioned that, as a vampire, she must feed on blood every day. She additionally, due to her great age and strength, has the power to shapeshift into a gigantic bat, something only a highly advanced vampire can achieve.

Weaknesses

Despite being the first vampire and over 30,000 years old, Maya is still vulnerable to the typical vampire weaknesses like wood. In fact, it was being impaled by a wooden stake that ultimately led to Maya's death.

Trivia

  • There are certain discrepancies on the kind of vampire is.
    • In Soulmate, she is stated as being a lamia vampire. Though Maya has the ability to reproduce and it is a distinguishing trait of the lamia, she was originally born a witch before becoming a vampire, and therefore cannot be classified as a lamia (as they are notable for being born as vampires).
    • However, in Night World: The Ultimate Fan Guide, Maya is classified as a made vampire. This would be more fitting, as she was not born a vampire (like the lamia). However, unlike typical made vampires, Maya became one through the use of a spell instead of exchanging blood with another vampire.

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