Maya Kovac

Lieutenant, Praetoran Legion; Mercenary, Clove Garrison's Corps; Malakhim of the Justice Shard

Description:

Maya Reen Kovac is the protagonist of Soldier, and a main character throughout the series. She is the Malakh of Agheat, the angel of the Justice Shard.

Her Charahub profile can be found here.

Appearance

Maya is a compact, muscular woman in her mid-twenties who takes great care to preserve her physical fitness. She has long, dark brown hair that she often wears braided or pulled back to keep out of her face. She is 5’5", small for a soldier, but agile and well-grounded. She does her best to maintain a physical appearance between “‘well kept’ and ‘fierce’” (B1P7). She is of medium complexion, and has blue eyes, as well as a tendency to sunburn.

She bears several scars from her occupation as a soldier and mercenary, the most notable of which is on her face. The scar is from a wound sustained on the battlefront in Ostia, and cuts through her left eyebrow, past the corner of her eye, and onto her temple. She also has several self-defense scars on both forearms, most on her left.

Personality

Maya is down-to-earth and practical, accustomed to taking orders but also self-sufficient. She was raised middle class, and enough education to read, write, and do basic arithmetic, but forewent further education to train instead for the Praetoran Legion. She feels most at ease with a weapon in hand, and shares an easy camaraderie with most people she meets. She is cheerful, albeit sarcastic, and fiercely loyal and protective.

Upon becoming the Malakh for Agheat, the Champion, Maya develops a serious hero complex coupled with survivor’s guilt and eventual post-traumatic stress disorder. Agheat’s sin of pride is something he shares with Maya, and both are haunted by the idea that they could have done more to stop the various tragedies in their pasts. The closer Maya grows to Agheat, the colder and more emotionally reserved she becomes, until she cloisters herself from her struggles altogether.

Family and Friends

Maya’s mother is Suvomita Kovac, a free citizen of the Empire whose mother and father were Sassanian immigrants. Her father is unknown, though her mother says he had been a soldier. It is unknown whether her father is still alive. She has one brother, Rajan Kovac, who is six years older.

Maya makes friends easily, and is implied to have many relationships before the events of Soldier. She is close to her brother, whom she joined the Legion for. Her closest friend is Alistair Jayne, a comrade from the Ostian battlefront, whom she writes regularly and visits on occasion. She is also proven to have a good working relationship with her mercenary commander, Clove Garrison, and sees him as a sort of surrogate father.

During Soldier, Maya becomes very close friends with Raoul Gravois, Clove’s daughter Wren Garrison, and Dion Lowry. She maintains excellent working relationships with her commanding officers, Luther Solomon and Blair Martialis, and her comrades, including Syrene Coulter, Dominic Kushetka, and Nimat Shahpuhr.

Personal Life

Maya defines her sexuality as heterosexual, but her gender identity is more of a mystery to her. At the beginning of the series, she identifies as solidly female, but as she becomes close to Agheat, her identity oscillates more towards genderfluid. She experiences heavy gender dysphoria during the events of Prophet, when it is much safer for her to travel as a man in the male-dominated Sassanian Empire, and for some time after is more at home in a man’s skin than a woman’s. By the time of her self-imposed exile in Harlot, Maya has become comfortable with her genderfluid identity, and rejects the confinement of binary genders.

She shares a short dalliance with Raoul in Soldier, though their relationship is rocky due to their individual mental health issues and the impending rebellion. When she leaves to hunt Adrian to Sassan, their romance is cut short. She does not pursue another romantic relationship – though she has several sexual relationships in the meantime – until reuniting with Alistair in Harlot, and rekindling their close friendship. When Alistair follows her into exile, she realizes that their relationship could become more, and the two eventually marry and have children.

Skills and Magical Abilities

Maya is a skilled fighter, and makes up for what she lacks in height and weight with speed, balance, and great technical skill. She is proficient with all the commonly used Legion weapons, and excels in unarmed combat as well. Her physical prowess allows her to perform feats others may not even attempt, such as scaling the sheer cliff to the Gravois home.

Any magical ability Maya possesses comes from her bond with Agheat, though she demonstrates very poor control over it during the events of Soldier. Through Agheat’s intervention, she can produce kinetic barriers as well as bolster her own physical speed, strength, and endurance. Agheat is aligned with the element of ice and water, and his magic is based mostly in physical enhancement, although possesses other myriad uses such as freezing water, solidifying any material, and creating physical barriers.

With the help of a few Iudaean scholars, Maya discovers she can best control her magical ability with material components or foci. By the time she reappears in Emperor, she has mastered most rudimentary magic without these material foci, and needs their assistance only for very complex or powerful workings.

Bio:

Series Involvement

Soldier

Maya is the main protagonist of Soldier. She is a former soldier from the Praetoran Legion, now working as a mercenary under Clove Garrison. The story opens with her being hired by Raoul Gravois as an undercover bodyguard for his expedition to uncover the Adrastos Scriptures. During the trip, they are attacked by anti-Imperial rebel group known as the Kana’im, attempting to steal the Scriptures. Maya’s brother Rajan Kovac, believed to be missing, is one of her attackers, and despite her surprise Maya is still able to fend them off without them taking the Scriptures.

Adrian Sterling, a courtier and advisor to Thomas Cicero as well as the co-leader of the expedition beside Raoul, accuses Maya of conspiring with the rebels, and has her arrested. While she is imprisoned, Adrian interrogates her for any information on the rebel group called the Kana’im, but Maya has no affiliation with them.

Raoul, convinced of Maya’s innocence, frees her from prison, and tells her that her commanding officer Clove Garrison has been discovered to be corresponding with Kana’im agents. He tells her to warn Garrison and seek out her brother and the Kana’im, as they are the only sanctuary she will find now that the Empire believes her to be a traitor.

Maya seeks out Garrison’s home only to find a Praetoran Guard patrol already searching for him. She breaks in to Garrison’s home and is attacked by his daughter, Wren Garrison, armed with a riding crop. Maya assures Wren that she’s doesn’t intend her or her father harm, and they need to leave. The Guard patrol, however, arrives at the home before they can escape, and Garrison stays behind to distract them, making Maya promise to keep his daughter safe.

Maya and Wren find the entrance to the underground Kana’im headquarters with Garrison’s direction, and are met by a group of Kana’im waiting for them. They are introduced to the rebel group and told of the existence of the Malakhim, humans given great magical abilities through the fallen Great Heretics, now imprisoned in the Divine Shards. Maya’s new mentor, Content Not Found: dion-landers, is the Malakh of Ziuat, the Arbiter, and he tells Maya that she has been chosen by the angel within the Justice Shard: Agheat, the Champion, who founded the Kana’im in order to oppose the rebel angel Pamantar, the Destroyer.

The Kana’im receive word that Clove Garrison was killed by the Praetoran Guard who attempted to arrest him. Wren, distraught, disappears from the Kana’im headquarters, and Maya goes after her with her brother’s help. While tracking Wren, Maya and Raj witness the burning of Garrison’s mercenary barracks – while its occupants are trapped inside. Horrified that the Empire would kill her comrades just to prove a point, Maya pledges her service to the Kana’im.

Maya’s attempts to harness the magic of the Justice Shard are largely ineffective, resulting mostly in strange recurring dreams and Agheat’s song in her head. A few weeks after she joins the Kana’im, Dion has a vision that the Kana’im in Salone will riot ahead of schedule and be put down by the Legion soldiers stationed there. Maya is ordered to accompany a corps of soldiers, led by Raj, to assist the rebel fighters. In Salone, Maya is nearly killed by a Legion soldier who manages to knock her off her feet; she is saved by Agheat’s intervention with a physical barrier that repels the blow. Upon fleeing Salone, Maya recognizes one of the Kana’im she helped as Alistair Jayne her best friend and former compatriot on the battlefront in Ostia.

Alistair brings several documents to the Vyrasis Kana’im that are in Old Praetoran, which none of them can read. Maya reports that she knows someone who could translate them – Raoul, who also still has possession of the Adrastos Scriptures that the Kana’im need. She and Alistair are assigned to retrieve the Scriptures and Raoul, if possible, despite his relation to Armand Gravois and the Archbishops.

Maya and Alistair infiltrate the Gravois home by climbing the cliff underneath, only to discover Raoul’s rooms unused for some time and the Scriptures missing. While they search, Maya is apprehended once again by Adrian Sterling, who reveals himself to be the current Malakh for the angel Pamantar. Maya flees by jumping out a window into the sea below, and is saved from certain death by Agheat’s magic, which allows her to swim several miles across the Golden Horn where Raoul finds her and brings her to the house in Tower District.

When she awakens, Maya discovers that Raoul is the new Malakh of Noaptea, the Apostle, who was close friends with her own angel. Raoul appears to be mostly out of his mind with anxiety and panic, having escaped Adrian’s imprisonment through unknown means. He has with him the Wisdom Shard and his Imperial translation of the Adrastos Scriptures.

Maya convinces Raoul to return with her to the Kana’im headquarters, since he is a fugitive from Adrian anyway. Maya attempts to help him recover from his unstable mental state by acting as a soothing presence through Agheat, and helps him befriend Alistair, Dion, and Wren. The more time she spends with Raoul, the closer they become, and she develops protective and romantic feelings towards him – though she is unsure whether the feelings are her own, or Agheat’s for Noaptea.

Maya reveals her feelings to Raoul, who is taken aback and wary of entering any relationship due to his mental illness. Their conversation is interrupted, however, by a sudden attack on Kana’im headquarters by Adrian Sterling and a corps of Legionnaires. Despite their attempts to drive off the attackers, Maya and Raoul are cornered, and Maya is heavily injured; Raoul manages to teleport them to the safety of the Tower District house with Noaptea’s help.

They are met there by Nimat Shahpuhr, one of Syrene Coulter’s agents, who tells them their orders are to withdraw from the capital and regroup in Theopolis. At first Maya is reluctant because of the capture of Luther Solomon, who she feels indebted to, but a brief letter from Dion convinces her to join Nimat and Raoul..

In Theopolis, Raoul, Dion Lowry, and Maya are taken in by Lydia and Alexios Drakos, a married pair of Iudaean magic scholars. From them, Maya learns to control her magic through the use of material foci, and masters a few rudimentary abilities. As Raoul becomes more confident in his own magic and his mental stability, he agrees to a romantic relationship with Maya. However, their romance is short-lived, as only weeks after their arrival in Theopolis, an Imperial Legion army marches with Adrian at its head.

Maya fights alongside the Kana’im rebels, putting her new abilities to use, and with the help of the Iudaean militia, they turn the tide of the battle against the Legion. Realizing that he has lost the battle, Adrian escapes, but not before gravely wounding Wren. At first, Maya does not realize Wren’s injury, until Raoul, who has been working to tend to the wounded, tells her. Maya arrives at Wren’s side in time to be present when she dies, and falls into a deep despair at her inability to protect Wren and keep her promise to Garrison. Consumed by grief and rage, Maya chases after Adrian without a word to anyone, vowing to kill him for Wren’s sake. She is joined by Dion, who had been harboring romantic feelings for Wren, and together they begin the next phase of their journey – to bring Adrian Sterling to justice.

Prophet

Maya is no longer the main protagonist when Prophet begins. Instead, she is seen through Dion’s perspective.

Adrian Sterling is on the run, and has taken the Courage Shard with him. Filled with rage over Wren Garrison’s death, Maya and Dion chase after him, following his trail east to Sassan. When they arrive, they find themselves suddenly out of their element; neither of them speak the language, and as white-skinned, blue-eyed foreigners, they are instantly marked for trouble.

They are aided in their journey by a mysterious Sassanian called Farouk, who claims to be helping them at his god’s command. Farouk encourages Maya to disguise herself as a man to survive the male-dominated Sassanian Empire – better a foreign man, respected as a warrior, than a foreign woman, a welcome target for slavers and sexists. At his behest, she crops her hair short, binds her breasts, and assumes her brother’s identity to protect herself.

Much of Maya’s personal arc in Prophet revolves around identity. She has failed in her role as a protector, unable to keep Wren from harm. Her identity as a soldier is worthless without an army or commanding officers. She develops severe gender dysphoria during her travels in Sassan, partially due to her assumed identity and partially due to the influence of Agheat, whose energy is decidedly masculine.

As Maya and Dion track Adrian, they discover that he is in Sassan for a reason – he intends to persuade the Sassanian leaders to resume their centuries-old war with the Imperium, already weakened by the current rebellion. Maya, Dion and Farouk do their best to foil these plans, but Adrian escapes them once again, only to be captured by slavers who take the Courage Shard and transport Adrian to their base.

Initially content to leave Adrian to his new fate, Maya and Dion steal the Courage Shard and prepare to return to the Imperium. Dion, however, has a vision from Pamantar, of Adrian’s traumatic suffering at the hands of Thomas Cicero. Dion begs Maya to help him rescue Adrian, but she refuses until Dion shows her his vision. Maya grudgingly agrees only once Pamantar promises that she and Adrian will come quietly home with them.

Maya presents herself as bait for the slavers, to give Dion and Farouk the opportunity to track them back to their base. En route, however, Maya is brutally tortured and raped upon the discovery of her gender. Once they arrive at the base, Dion and Farouk attack to provide the distraction Maya needs to kill her captors – gruesomely – and free Adrian, though he is gravely wounded in the escape.

Once the four have escaped, Adrian succumbs to his injuries, and dies during the return journey to the Vyrasian Empire. Maya and Dion, at Pamantar’s request, bury him on the banks of an oasis in the Sassanian desert, and Pamantar creates an enormous oak tree to mark his grave, enchanted to never wither or die even in the hot desert sun. Unsure of the purpose of their journey, Maya and Dion return home dejected, disheartened, and scarred – physically and mentally.

Harlot

Maya arrives very late in Harlot and has little influence on the story, returning from her journey with a new haircut, a dark tan, and an enormous weight of accumulated mental baggage. Crippled by severe post-traumatic stress disorder, Maya checks herself into Neil Holloway’s clinic in order to try to recover some of her former confidence.

She is present when Eirian Fletcher kills Neil to retrieve the Love Shard in his possession, and is unable to do anything about it. Raoul blames Maya for his lover’s death, and his mental breakdown severs him completely from Noaptea and the Wisdom Shard. He throws the lifeless stone at Maya, and she takes it and flees Vyrasis with Alistair at her side, not to be seen again for more than a decade.

Emperor

Emperor picks up twelve years after the final events of Harlot. Maya has exiled herself from the Imperium and settled down in a remote village in Scythia. She has married Alistair, and together they have three children: Imriel, Katalin, and Nikolaos. She’s also cut off all attachment to magic – angelic or otherwise – and has buried the Justice and Wisdom Shards under the ruins of an abandoned church nearby. She can and does still interact with Agheat, but has sworn off magic and heroics altogether, choosing instead to live a civilian life and teach combat lessons to any who want them.

Her peaceful life comes to an abrupt halt, however, when the Archangel Gabriel appears on her doorstep to ask her aid against an unknown earthly enemy. Maya refuses, but cannot ignore her next visitor – Dion Lowry, now a full-grown man and the very picture of the hero Maya always wanted to be.

Dion asks Maya to help him investigate a mysterious sinkhole only a few days’ ride from her village, and she grudgingly agrees. The sinkhole, they discover, is the result of the death of several angels at the same time, causing the laws of nature around them to warp. Both wonder what could have done this to an angel, since neither of them believe themselves capable even at their strongest.

When Maya returns to her home, she finds it in ruins, the result of an attack on her family by agents who had followed Dion, searching for the missing Divine Shards. Alistair had fought off the attackers with the assistance of Gabriel, who could not interfere directly, and unearthed the Shards in the hope Alistair could use one. The only viable vessel, however, was their son Imriel, whom Agheat could use due to his similarity to his mother. Enraged that her son was exposed to exactly the sort of life Maya was trying to keep him from, Maya rounds on Gabriel – who points out that whoever sent the agents will not stop, and Maya cannot keep ignoring her identity as a Malakh and the goings-on in the world.

In order to protect her family, Maya agrees to return to Vyrasis with Dion. Along the way, they encounter more agents after the Shards, and discover that the one sending them is none other than Raoul Gravois, who has become the Emperor. Unwilling to judge Raoul until she can speak to him herself, Maya leaves the Shards with Dion and enters Vyrasis alone and unarmed. She is arrested on sight and dragged to the Imperial Palace, where she lays eyes on Raoul for the first time in twelve years.

He is not the man she knew. He is cold and aloof towards Maya, and seems interested in her only for the Justice in Wisdom Shards, which he demands she hand over. She tells him she doesn’t have them, and attempts to get a sense of why he has changed. Raoul still blames her for Neil’s death, she learns, but the real reason for the change is his new angel – Pamantar. Shocked, Maya does not resist when Raoul has her thrown in prison.

She is intercepted, however, by the only remaining Kana’im agent in the capital: Nimat Shahpuhr, who helps her to escape and meet back up with Dion. Convinced that Raoul must be stopped, Maya agrees to help Gabriel and the heavenly forces, and sets about seeking what few allies she has left. She gathers the remaining Kana’im – Nimat, Lydia and Alexios, and Dominic Kushetka among them – as well as a few foreign allies, including a few few friends from Scythia and her old friend Farouk and his Sassanian allies. Maya leads the human fighters alongside the angelic army, led by the Archangel Michael, against Raoul’s newly converted Agnostic Legion. Privately, however, Maya confesses to Gabriel that she does not believe herself to be the hero they need, but the younger, stronger Dion just might be.

Raoul’s power only grows, however, as he gains control over the Mercy Shard, formerly Neil’s, and kills Eirian Fletcher for her Love Shard as well. Possessed of three Divine Shards, Raoul is nearly unstoppable. Maya and Dion devise a plan of attack to remove him – and Pamantar – from the equation, but it does not end well for Maya, and she sacrifices herself to give Dion the opportunity he needs to defeat Raoul and Pamantar. She dies with a smile on her face, proud of Dion’s growth and sure that he is the hero the world needs.

Maya Kovac

The Angel Chronicles smokeonthewater