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"From blood and ash, we will rise!"
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This article contains plot details and potential spoilers for the Blood and Ash series. If you have not begun reading or are not too far into the story, please refrain from reading or at least proceed with caution.
You're the Chosen, born in the shroud of the gods, protected even inside the womb, veiled from birth.

From Blood and Ash

Penellaphe Da'Neer (née Balfour), often simply named Poppy, is the former Maiden or Chosen One in the Kingdom of Solis and rightful Queen of Atlantia.

Biography

Early Life

Poppy is the daughter of Queen Isbeth and the god Ires. She is raised by Coralena Balfour and Leopold Balfour as one of their own children. Poppy grew up believing that Ian Balfour is her brother. At a young age, Cora and Leo attempt to escape from Solis with Poppy and Ian. While they are at an inn in Lockewood, Alastir Davenwell betrays them and allows the craven to attack the group. At the time, Poppy believes that Cora and Leo are killed by the craven. She is bitten by the craven but survives without turning into one. Poppy and Ian are raised at the capital by Isbeth and her handmaidens. At the age of 13, Poppy is forced to don the veil of the Chosen.

While living at the capital, Ian teaches Poppy numerous skills, such as lock-picking until he ascends.

From Blood and Ash

Unable to sleep, Poppy sneaks out of Castle Teerman using a white mask she found and a "borrowed" cloak from the servant Britta. She soon finds herself at The Red Pearl, the location known for shady and covert dealings where she watches women dance upon men and plays cards with a few others outside. However her games come to a short end, when she spots Vikter Wardwell, one of her royal guards. In an effort to avoid being discovered, a women who somehow seems to know Poppy is the Maiden, instructs her to hide in the sixth room of the facility. Upon entering the room, Poppy discovers she is not alone and has stumbled upon member of the Royal Guard, Hawke Flynn. After mistaking her for Britta, Hawke begins to kiss her and he soon realizes she is not who he thought she was. Poppy internally debates whether she should stay in the room as she risks the discovery of her true identity.

After deciding to stay, Poppy repeatedly denies Hawke's request that she take off the mask. The two exchange witty banter as Hawke lingers on top her and even caresses her breast. Eventually he is called away by Kieran. As Hawke turns to leave, he promises Poppy that he will return and asks Poppy to stay. Despite promising that she will stay, Poppy quickly leaves after Hawke.

The next morning, Poppy's companion and Lady in Wait, Tawny, interrogates Poppy about where she was the night prior. Although Poppy and Tawny had gotten into mischief together before, Poppy is hesitant to trust Tawny fearing that she will go report Poppy's activities to the Duke and Duchess. After more questioning, Poppy confesses that she had gone to the Red Pearl the night before, but leaves out any mention of Hawke. Tawny and Poppy proceed to discuss their upcoming ascensions with Tawny excited and Poppy fearing the unknown.

Poppy is woken by Vikter and tasked with using her powers to take away the pain of Marlowe, a man who was bitten by one of the craven and will soon turn. Her and Vikter take it upon themselves to help people bitten “die in dignity” rather than being slaughtered in the town centers. Later on, while Poppy and Rylan are heading out to their daily stroll in the garden, Poppy is apprehended by Lord Mazeen, who inappropriately touches and taunts her. Several moments later, a scream is heard and they find the body of Malessa Axton with two puncture wounds in her neck.

After the commotion died down, Poppy and Rylan eventually do make it to the garden. Rylan is shot and killed by an arrow through the heart. Poppy then defends herself with her bloodstone dagger stabbing the man attempting to kidnap her in the heart, however he survives and is called off by a mysterious whistle. Despite possibly angering the Duke and against the advice of others, Poppy attends Rylan’s funeral. Hawke takes over watch of Poppy and tells her that he will keep her safe and she will never be hurt again.

With the death of her personal guard, Rylan, a new guard must be appointed. Poppy is summoned to a meeting with the Duke, Duchess, Vikter and her new personal guard. She discovers that none other than Hawke Flynn has been chosen. In fear of being outed by him for sneaking out, she remains silent but must take off her veil reluctantly when asked to do so. Hawke doesn’t show any sign of recognition to which she is relieved, having believed that he might recognise her from the night at the Red Pearl. He says that both halves of her face are just as beautiful as the whole, and takes the oath to protect her as her guard. Poppy smirks at the Duke when Hawke does not flinch from her scars.

As punishment for smirking at the Duke, Poppy is lashed seven times with a cane. The Duke forces Poppy to strip her top half and Lord Mazeen holds her hands down on the Duke's desk preventing Poppy from covering her exposed chest. After the beating, Poppy leaves the Duke's office to find Vikter, not Hawke, waiting for her. Vikter explains that when Hawke noticed Tawny's and Poppy's distressed reaction to the Duke's summons, he immediately sent for Vikter to find out the reason. Vikter, aware of the Duke’s “lessons,” dismissed Hawke prior to Poppy exiting the Duke's office and take Poppy back to her bed chamber. Realizing how attentive Hawke is, she stays in her bedchamber for two days not wanting to explain to Hawke why she can barely walk.

Poppy takes care to avoid speaking in front of Hawke and ignores him when possible. This is until the night when the Rise outside the castle is attacked, and Poppy sneaks out to take part and help. Hawke discovers her shooting arrows and remarks how she must be like a goddess, unbeknownst to him that she is the Maiden. Poppy tries to flee from him and the two engage in a heated conversation against a wall, after she threw her dagger at his face which he expertly avoided. Hawke reveals that he knows it’s her, both the Maiden and the woman he met in the Red Pearl, and knew the moment he saw her face in the Duke’s office. They make their way back to her room and sit, discussing what she was doing and if he would tell on her, among other things. He says that he won’t, and ends the conversation by remarking how she should wear better shoes and thicker clothing next time.

Apparently, Hawke told Vikter after his conversation with Poppy in her room, and she discovers that Vikter is very angry with her decision to sneak onto the Rise. He and Poppy have an argument while training and Vikter questions whether Poppy should trust that Hawke won’t tell on her to the Duke. Vikter tells her that he might have other motivations for keeping quiet. Poppy replies, restating what Hawke had explained to her: that if he hadn’t kept quiet, then she wouldn’t trust him, therefore, making his job harder. When Vikter states that he understands why Poppy’s defending Hawke, she asks him what exactly he understands. His response that she’s defending him because of the reason that he’s attractive is immediately shut down by Poppy and she tells him that her reasons for defending Hawke had nothing to do with Hawke’s attractiveness. After, Poppy says that she trusts Hawke, sharing what had happened with the conversation between her and Hawke. The conversation between Poppy and Vikter ends with Vikter telling Poppy that she’s important to him, not because she’s the Maiden, but because she’s her. He also tells her that she’s like a daughter to him, leaving Poppy feeling emotional, and she tells him that he’s important to her too.

Poppy and Tawny go to a public meeting where the Duke and Duchess are giving a speech about the Craven attack. Poppy notices the same blonde man from the City Council meeting. She notices that he and some other members of the crowd are giving off a different emotion. Unsure if she is imagining it, she alerts Vikter that there is something strange about the man. The Duke and Duchess announce to the people that they had spoken with the Gods and that the Gods had allowed the Craven to reach the Rise because the Gods were angry about the rising amount of Descenters. Soon after, the blonde man shouts out demanding to know what happened to the 3rd and 4th children that were handed over during the Rite and why no one has ever seen them. He proceeds to throw a Craven hand at the Duke and Duchess. The man, a Descenter, is arrested.

Poppy seeks Duchess Teerman and explains how she believes that he powers were changing. The Duchess asks Poppy if she can sense what the Duchess is feeling and is relieved when Poppy indicates that she could not. Poppy has never been able to sense anything regarding the Ascended. The Duchess informs Poppy that the same thing happened with the first Maiden, her skills began to evolve and then her actions led her to the Dark One who then killed her.

Poppy sneaks out of her bedchamber to go to the Atheneum searching for the diary of Ms. Willa Colyns. The diary recounts Ms. Colyn’s sexual escapades. Distracted by reading, Poppy loses track of time and hears the voices of the Duke and a guard outside the door. Poppy immediately climbs out on the window ledge. After the guard and Duke leave, Poppy hears someone else enter the room. Hawke then asks if she is still out on the edge. Refusing his help, Poppy climbs back into the room. Exasperated, he calls Poppy by her nickname for the first time. He demands to know how she left her bedchamber and she reluctantly tells him about the servants' access. He takes the diary from Poppy is surprised by the diary's topic.

Later that evening, Tawny and Poppy prepare to attend the Rite. This is the first Rite that Poppy is allowed to attend. It is also the first time Poppy is allowed to wear a garment that is not white. Poppy wears a gown with long, flowing, crimson sleeves with the gown skimming her curves and a red domino mask. Vikter escorts Poppy and Tawny to the Rite with Hawke nowhere to be seen.

The Duchess and Lord Mazeen both take turns talking to Poppy with the Duke nowhere to be seen. Agnes approaches Poppy and asks Poppy if she could speak to her alone. Vikter denies this request. The three of them step outside, and Agnes thanks Poppy for what she did with Marlowe and that Poppy should not be here tonight. Poppy and Vikter both sense that Agnes wanted to say more, but Agnes leaves.

Poppy notices that Tawny is itching to join the crowd but is staying by Poppy’s side because Poppy is not allowed to mingle. Poppy tells Tawny to go have fun and that Poppy planned to retire to her bedchamber. As Hawke escorts Poppy to her room, he convinces her to go the garden instead. As the two talk about how the garden reminds Poppy of Rylan, Hawke shares about the caverns that he and his brother used to go to. Poppy again takes away his emotional pain.

Hawke leads Poppy to the benches under the willow tree where there were benches. Poppy asks Hawke to kiss her, which he obliges and more. Hawke stops saying that they should return or else Poppy will no longer be a maiden. As they leave the willow tree, they run into Vikter who has been searching for the pair. Vikter immediately recognizes that Hawke and Poppy have been kissing leading Vikter and Hawke to argue. After Hawke leaves, Poppy argues with Vikter shouting that she did not want to ascend and hopes that she will be found unworthy.

As Poppy and Vikter return to her room, they hear a loud, cracking sound followed by screaming from the Great Hall. Poppy rushes to the Great Hall as Tawny is still in there. Poppy sees one of the wooden rods behind the dais had broken revealing the body of the Duke stabbed through the heart with the cane that he used to lash Poppy. Written in blood above the Duke’s body is the mark of the Dark One, From Blood and Ash… We Will Rise.

Suddenly, Descenters start blowing up the windows in the Great Hall. Tawny, Poppy and Vikter quickly rush out; however, those who had left earlier were suddenly rushing back into the Great Hall due to Descenters killing people outside. Vikter and the Royal Guards form a protective circle around Poppy and Tawny to protect them from the stampede. They are pulled apart and lose one another in the crowd.

Poppy, Tawny, Duchess Teerman, Lord Mazeen, Vikter and a couple guards escape the Great Hall and the Duchess insists that they hide in a room with only one exit/entrance. The Descenters make it into the room prepared to kill everyone. Poppy pulls out her dagger and fights alongside Vikter. Poppy and Vikter take down all the Descenters, and the Duchess is scandalized that Poppy knows how to wield a dagger. As Vikter, Tawny, and Poppy prepare to leave the room, one of the Descenters rise and throws a sword at Vikter mortally wounding him. As Vikter dies, he apologizes to Poppy for failing her and not protecting her. Hawke enters as Vikter passes on.

Lord Mazeen taunts Poppy about Vikter’s death. In a fit of rage, Poppy slices off Lord Mazeen’s hands and head and proceeds to butcher him. Hawke comes up behind her and pinches a nerve causing Poppy to black out. She stays in her bedchamber for a week and finally leaves when the Duchess summons her. The Duchess informs her that there is no punishment for Poppy's execution of Lord Mazeen. Poppy correctly deduces that the Duchess was always aware of the Duke and Lord Mazeen’s lessons. The Duchess informs Poppy that Queen Ileana has ordered Poppy to return to the Capital. Although Poppy wants to take Tawny, Hawke says no and Tawny agrees.

Hawke introduces Poppy to Kieran, a royal guard who travelled with Hawke from the Capital to Masadonia. Hawke, Kieran, Phillips, Airrick, Noah, and Luddie are tasked with escorting Poppy to the Capital. Unable to ride a horse, Poppy rides with Hawke while he holds her by the waist. He informs Poppy that he brought along the Diary of Ms. Willa Colyns. The group spends the night in the Blood Forest, but the Forest is extremely cold. Hawke lays down next to Poppy and proceeds to give her pleasure.

Poppy wakes up to overhear Kieran and Hawke discussing their plans of where to stop next. Kieran asks Hawke if he is ready to get to New Haven and indicates that he noticed the growing relationship between Hawke and Poppy. He reminds Hawke twice to remember his task. Hawke goes over to wake up Poppy, who had been feigning sleep. They hold hands and Kieran looks over concerned.

As the group continues to travel through the Blood Forest, they are ambushed by a barrat and a group of Craven. Poppy defends herself. Noah dies and Poppy notices Phillips kneeling next to Airrick. Poppy and Hawke quickly go to Airrick. With Phillips and Hawke watching, Poppy takes away Airrick’s pain as he passes into the Vale.

The group make it to New Haven and are greeted by a little boy, Elijah, and his wife Magda. Poppy notes that the town is excited and acts like they are in the presence of royalty. Hawke instructs Magda to take Poppy to a room and give her some clothes. Poppy is confused by how Hawke knew the woman’s name. Magda informs Poppy that the Lord of New Haven was off on a hunting trip with some guardsman. As Poppy takes a bath, she realizes that she did not want to Ascend and no longer wants to be the maiden. She decides that when she arrives at the Capital, she will tell the Queen and go into exile. She plans to ask Hawke to go into hiding with her.

Hawke arrives at the room and Poppy asks him to spend the night with her. Hawke resists at first stating that if he does spend the night, Poppy will no longer be a maiden. Poppy knows and Hawke and Poppy sleep together.

Poppy wakes to Hawke speaking to someone at the door. He leaves and later Phillips comes to the room. Phillips indicates that there is something suspicious going on at New Haven; he has never heard of Hawke or Kieren and neither have any of the other guards. Also, there are no Ascended or guards at New Haven and he has never heard of an Ascended going hunting. As he tries to drag Poppy to the stables, Poppy believes that Phillips must be working for the Dark One.

As Phillips drags Poppy away from her room, they run into Kieran, who transforms into a wolven. Poppy and Phillips run to the stables where the other royal guards are waiting. Poppy insists on finding Hawke, who shows up at the stable. Poppy starts to run to him trying to explain that Kieran is a wolven. Kieran steps up next to Hawke confusing Poppy. Hawke kills Phillips. Other people join the fight and Poppy notices Rylan's assassin, Jericho, who was missing a hand. The Royal Guards are killed and Poppy sustains a large wound to the abdomen.

Poppy and Hawke fight and Poppy gains the upper hands a few times. Delano, a wolven loyal to Hawke, wonders whether they should intervene but Elijah says no and that he is shocked a maiden could throw down. Kieran comments that this is what happened when you mix business with pleasure informing everyone that Hawke and Poppy had slept together. When Poppy realizes that Hawke is an Atlantian, the right leaves her and she deduces that Hawke plans to hand her over to the Dark One.

Delano leads Poppy down to the cellars. Hawke visits Poppy and stitches up a wound she received while trying to escape the stables. He tells Poppy that the Ascended were vampyr who needed to feed off mortals because of their strong blood lust, that the 3rd and 4th children handed over during the Rite were used to feed the Ascended, and that if those who were fed upon were drained and not killed, they would turn into the Craven. He tells her that the Dark One plans to trade her for the Dark One’s brother, Prince Malik. He informs Poppy that he must go speak with King Valyn Da’Neer of Atlantia, but that he will find her better quarters. Initially Poppy does not believe Hawke, but as she thinks about his words, she begins to question everything the Ascended taught her.

Naill, an Atlantian, and Delano come down to the cellar to escort her back into the castle. As they release her from her chains, Jericho with a group of angry wolven, Atlantians, and mortal descenters come down to execute Poppy. Delano changes to his wolven form and attacks. Naill throws a sword to Poppy and tells her to defend herself.

As Delano and Naill fight to save Poppy, Poppy also saves the life of Delano. Both Naill and Delano are taken down and Poppy is stabbed by Mr. Tulis. Jericho prepares to butcher her up as the crowd cheers and yells out which body parts should be cut off first. As Jericho swings his sword, Delano attacks him. While Naill fights the rest of the crowd, Delano noses Poppy and howls when he realizes the extent of Poppy's wounds. Kieran appears in his mortal form and tells someone to go get the Prince right away. Kieran picks up Poppy and carries her back to the castle.

Hawke tries to save Poppy and uses compulsion to get her to drink his blood. When she comes to, Poppy remembers Kieran having referred to Hawke as Casteel, and Poppy realizes that Hawke is the Dark One, Prince Casteel "Cas" Da'Neer. Poppy grabs her dagger and stabs Cas in the heart. She cries and apologizes for killing him. She run off into the woods. After a few moments of running in the woods, Cas grabs her from behind and indicates that he cannot be killed with a stab to the heart. He told her that she had forgotten that it was real and proceeds to bite her. After he bites her, he states that he should have known. Poppy and Casteel then have sexual relations in the snow. Afterwards, Poppy realizes she had no regrets.

As they walk back to the castle, Cas indicates that he is taking her home. Poppy wonders if it is Masadonia or Carsodonia, and Cas replies neither and that he is taking her to Atlantia. Poppy then takes a bath and falls asleep in the tub. She wakes up to find Kieran staring at her wondering if she died. Kieran tells her that she should get out of the bath as the Prince wouldn’t want her sitting in cold, dirty bath water. Poppy indicates that she doesn't care what Cas wants and Kieran replies "you should… because he wants you even though he knows better, even though he knows it will end in yet another tragedy."

After Poppy dresses, Cas enters telling Poppy to come down to dinner with him. Poppy resists but Cas indicates to Poppy that he needs to show people that Poppy is under his protection. Reluctantly, Poppy joins Cas and Kieran. As they head to the dining hall, Poppy realizes that those who attacked her had been spiked to the wall. Although most were dead, Jericho has been left alive with a stake through his throat to suffer a slow, torturous death. While eating, Poppy indicates that she did not feel bad for those staked to the wall because they were happy to kill her and cut up her body parts, but that everyone should be given dignity in death, even Jericho. At that point, Delano asks Cas if the plans have changed. Cas indicates that they will now be heading home since he discovered that Poppy is half-Atlantian after tasting her blood. He explains that they must return to Atlantia to marry.

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire

TBA

Personality

Poppy is an extremely complex person with multiple sides to her personality. While she can be described as feisty and compared to a viper, the extreme abuse Poppy endured from the monarchy in Solis caused her to hide parts of herself and transform them in order to restrict the amount of abuse she would receive. Earlier in her character development, Poppy is mostly complacent, quiet, and unassuming. However, parts of Poppy's inner self slip out in small ways, such as sneaking out of the castle and learning combat. It is with the help of Hawke, that Poppy's true personality begins to break through and the fire deep inside her comes burning out. She is thoughtful, loving, strong, and fierce. She stands up for those she loves and will fight for them until her last dying breath. Poppy is quick-witted with a sarcastic sense of humor. She yearns for people to believe in her and respect her, as she believes in them. Additionally, her gift of empathy allows her to see multiple perspectives and truly understand people. It is also the reason for which Poppy often gives people the benefit of the doubt and is able to show them love and respect despite a difference in opinion.

Physical Description

Poppy is described as of a girl with medium height, fair skin and auburn hair that resembles burnt copper. Her eyes are of an emerald green color. She has two scars on the left side of her face, one that goes above her eyebrow and another that extends across her cheekbone. Additionally, she retains scars on her legs and stomach, from when she was attacked by a craven. Her body type is described to be athletic, but lacking a willowy, thin frame. She used to wear white clothes fitting for a maiden and a translucent veil to cover her face. After leaving the title of Maiden behind, Poppy dons a different type of clothing. Additionally, she starts wearing her hair down instead of in up-dos.

Powers & Abilities

Powers

  • Empathy: Poppy is gifted with the power of empathy, allowing her to reach out and feel emotions in people. The most prominent is pain, which she learned to sense earliest. With the development of her gift, she is later able to sense a wider range of emotions. Poppy can also taste those emotions. According to her, anger and hatred taste bitter, love like chocolate and berries, surprise feels a cold splash, fear has an acid taste and jealousy leaves behind an ashy coating at the back of her throat. This power is found in Nyktos' bloodline, from his mother's side.
  • Healing / Suffering Absorption: Due to her gift, Poppy is able to take away other peoples pain by reaching out to them. She also possesses a certain range of healing abilities thanks to this.
  • Amplification of Emotions: Poppy can amplify emotions and project it onto other people, causing unimaginable pain which can lead to their deaths.
  • Resurrection: Poppy can restore the soul back to the person from limbo or command the soul to stay with the body.
  • Immortality: After being “ascended” by Casteel it is believed that Poppy will be immortal much like the deities. While Casteel did completely drain her of her blood and replaced it with his own, AND Poppy awoke with bloodlust, she does not seem to need blood, her eyes remained green instead of turning black, and she did not sprout fangs.

Abilities

  • Weapons Expert: Poppy is an expert with several kind of weapons and apt in learning new kinds.

Gallery

See more here.

Trivia

  • The nickname Poppy came from her mother - next to Poppy's brother only a few other people know of and use that name.
  • Poppy possesses a dagger made from Wolven bone and bloodstone, which was gifted to her by Vikter Wardwell.
  • She hates to feel helpless.
  • She loves reading books.
  • Poppy loves strawberries.
  • Poppy enjoys asking questions (much to Kieran’s dismay).
  • Poppy's birthday is the same as the day The Crown of Gilded Bones came out (April 20th).
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