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Ehlana and Mirtai by knight776

Mirtai and Queen Ehlana

Mirtai is the Atan bodyguard of Queen Ehlana during the later events of The Sapphire Rose and the entirety of The Tamuli. She also later becomes Ehlana's symbolic daughter (which, as a result, also means she became the symbolic sister of Danae/Aphrael and symbolic sister-in-law of Sephrenia) and the wife of Kring.

Mirtai was born in the territory of Atan in the Tamul Empire. As a child, she studied the fighting and athletic styles of her parents and friends while continuously challanging herself and honing her abilities, until, at the young age of six, she was an able fighter (even for an Atan) and was capable of running "from dawn until sunset" without stopping. In this way, Mirtai lived comfortably and happily in her early life.

Shortly before her eighth birthday, however, Mirtai's peaceful life was destroyed by an Arjuni raid on her village, when, by her own account, her mother was killed by the first arrow fired. Her father also died at some point during the raid, but Mirtai didn't see it happen. Soon after, the raiders began to take prisoners, but when one attempted to seize Mirtai, she stabbed him in the armpit, and then in the heart- likely her very first kill. Shortly after, another raider tried to capture her, but she sliced off his fingers and stabbed him in the belly (a wound from which he apparently took two days to die). The rest of the raiders realized just how much of a threat she was and beat her into unconsciousness. They then chained her up and prepared her for transport.

Over the next six months, Mirtai was shipped to the city of Tiana, where she was sold to a Dacite merchant named Pelaser (who was a known pedophile). Knowing of Mirtai's abilities, Pelaser kept her away from all weapons, but gave her a metal spoon to eat with. During her subsequent journey to the city of Verel, Mirtai worked on sharpening the handle of her spoon and continued to do so following their arrival (a tactic which greatly intrigued Stragen). When Pelaser later advanced on her, she used the spoon to stab out his eyes. She then strangled him with her chains.

Following Pelaser's death, Mirtai and the rest of his property fell into the hands of his nephew, Gelan. Gelan was grateful to her for killing his unsavory uncle (a sentiment shared by many of his neighbors) and making him rich, and was also a kindly man, and so he intervened with the authorities on her behalf and took her home with him. He taught her to speak Elenic and bought her a variety of silk gowns and other presents, and the two became very close. (Gelan also found her presence useful in quieting the suspicions of his neighbors, as he was a homosexual and Elenes were largely intolerant of such a trait.) Gelan also bought her a set of proper daggers (after a rather messy incident when she killed a would-be attacker with her spoon, which, by her own admission, was ill-suited to clean kills). Once again, however, Mirtai's happiness was shattered when Majen, a former lover of Gelan, cheated on him and later killed him in order to gain possession of a house. Mirtai then fell into the posession of Gelan's religious sister, who soon sold her (at her own urging) to an Elene merchant. Mirtai then tracked down and killed both Majen and his lover, disemboweling them both before she set their house on fire. She then left with her new owner.

The two of them made their way to the city of Vardenais, where the merchant sold her to Platime. Platime then tried to put her to work, first in a brothel (which ended in a number of injuries and some few fatalities) then in a variety of odd jobs which she either failed or refused to do. Eventually, Platime was called upon to serve Queen Ehlana, at which point he gave her to the queen free of charge. Mirtai then began work as a bodyguard and as the unofficial head of Ehlana's maids (though she also meddled extensively in other affairs, such as Ehlana's schedule). She served in this capacity for slightly over six years.

During the events of The Tamuli, Mirtai initially continues to serve her previous roles. When the knights head to Tamuli, however, Mirtai begins to assume a more active role. She eventually meets Atan Engessa, who serves as her new adoptive father, and undergoes the Rite of Passage customary in her homeland (it becomes apparent that, until now, Mirtai has officially been classified as a child). She then takes on active roles in the various campaigns of the knights, until Ehlana and Alean are kidnapped by Scarpa. At this point, she is very briefly incapacitated emotionally and is apparently contemplating suicide, until Danae points out that, as Ehlana's heir, she owns all of Ehlana's property, including Mirtai; as such, Mirtai is unable to kill herself without Danae's permission. Though humiliated and angered by this development, Mirtai then returns to her normal self and assists the knights in her owner's rescue.

At the end of the Tamuli, Mirtai seemingly departs Ehlana's service and heads off to marry Kring, promising to come visit once she and Kring get settled "wherever we decide to live."

"That would be Mirtai, the giantess," Talen said. "Queen Ehlana's perfectly safe, Sparhawk. Mirtai's an army all by herself." -The Saphire Rose