- For other uses, see Ma (disambiguation).
- "My children are nowhere to be found!"
- ―Meta Salmhofer[src]
Meta Salmhofer, also known as The Witch of Merrigod, was one of the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse and the mother of Hänsel and Gretel. Created by Seth Twiright, the ghoul child fell in love with Pale Noël and joined his criminal organization, spreading terror and malice in her wake. After being captured and scheduled for execution, Meta accepted a plea bargain to become part of Project 'Ma'.
In BT 022, Seth Twiright created Meta after creating Pale Noël and one other ghoul child, giving her a unique appearance and personality in contrast to Pale. He additionally made her an inheritor of Gilles to experiment with creating artificial inheritors. After discovering that Seth had put one of his previous ghoul children into cold storage, Meta rebelled and soon after escaped, fearing being frozen like her "brother". Sometime after, she fell off a cliff and lost her memories.
Due to her powers as an inheritor of Gilles involuntarily activating, Meta was later abducted by a farmer, imprisoned in his house, and repeatedly sexually abused. Around the time she was twenty, Pale Noël rescued her and encouraged her to kill the farmer. Following this, her first murder, Meta joined Pale's organization Apocalypse. Moving into their base at Merrigod Plateau, Meta involved herself in Apocalypse' violent riots across the Magic Kingdom Levianta. She also, at some point, discovered her powers as a Gilles inheritor and used them to her advantage, amassing an army of brainwashed men that became known as the Red Devotees. For this, she became feared throughout Levianta, earning the moniker "The Witch of Merrigod".
As her romantic relationship with Pale deepened, Meta discovered that he was immune to her brainwashing powers, and that as a ghoul child, he aged rapidly. Meta thus helped him maintain his youth by allowing him to feed off her magical power during intercourse, although this proved to not be enough. This led to Pale entertaining other lovers, including the young prostitute Milky Eights, which Meta tolerated.
The Witch of Merrigod
When the Leviantan senate secretly began Project 'Ma', Seth Twiright and several other researchers from the Royal Institute launched an expedition on Merrigod Plateau to capture Meta as a project candidate. On Pale's orders, Meta attempted to kill Seth during the assault, but ultimately Seth was the only researcher to survive the attack. When Pale recruited the Jakokuese refugee Raisa Netsuma into Apocalypse, Meta worked closely with her, although merely being civil with her.
After the attack, Adam Solntse, the head of the royal institute, made an expedition into Held's Forest with Seth to look for the "Witch of the Forest", a new Project 'Ma' candidate. Among other things, Meta took their expedition as an opportunity to exact revenge on Adam and the institute for the attack on Merrigod. While Adam and Seth searched, and while they were attacked by Raisa's White Army, Meta entered the forest with her own army of Red Devotees.
Finding Nemu village, Meta used her power to brainwash the men there and had them crucify and murder the village chief, Raiou Zvezda, as well as having them murder all of the village women. Shortly afterwards, Meta was discovered by Eve Zvezda and Adam Solntse. Following a brief confrontation, Meta departed with her army, including the newly brainwashed village men, when reinforcements from Levianta's capital arrived.
Following the coup orchestrated by Gammon Loop Octopus in the Leviantan government, Apocalypse began to face harsh setbacks as the new senate began cracking down on the organization. As a result, Meta awoke one morning around BT 001 and learned from Raisa that their base in the north had fallen to the Royal Capital Army. Meta quickly ordered her to retake the base using the remains of the White Army and half of her Red Devotees, leaving their fellow Apocalypse head Yegor Asayev to handle their activities in the west.
Shortly after, Meta met with Pale in his room and, among other things, the two discussed the possibility of there being a traitor in their ranks. While Pale planned to lead an attack north in Levianta, Meta was instructed to go enlist Yegor's aid in suppressing Held's Forest before they parted ways.
The Virgin Mother
Heading west, Meta arrived at the site of one of Yegor's attacks and came across a surviving villager who claimed to have lost her children. While distracted by the frantic woman, Meta was caught off guard by the release of a sleeping gas derived from Venom; as she fell unconscious, she was quickly imprisoned by Leviantan forces. Once arrested, Meta was imprisoned in a special cell within the Lighwatch Temple, where she was watched by the young priestess Elluka Chirclatia.
After speaking to Elluka and learning more of her predicament, Meta was approached by Yegor Asayev and learned that he was the traitor in their ranks, and that Pale and Raisa were similarly captured like her. After a heated exchange between them about his treachery, Meta was left alone with the witnessing Elluka, whom she warned to leave the temple. Not long after, the condemned Meta was moved to a new cell for her impending execution.
As her execution approached, Meta was surprised to learn that her executioner was a disguised Seth Twiright. With Seth secretly offering her exoneration in exchange for becoming a test subject for Project 'Ma', Meta agreed; using the electric chair, Seth brought her close to death and Meta was taken from the temple in a casket. She escaped soon after regaining consciousness and discovered a map to the Royal Institute in her coffin, along with a note from Seth telling her that he would kill Pale if she didn't cooperate.
Meta was thus inoculated with the God Seed and made part of Project 'Ma'; during the course of her pregnancy, she was hidden in the Research Institute under the watch of several informants, while Seth repeatedly refused to let her see Pale. Months later, after Seth explained more about the state of Levianta's politics, including that she would not become queen during this Project 'Ma' thanks to her criminal history, Meta once more asked to see Pale and Seth finally let them meet. To Meta's surprise, she learned that Pale was now in the body of a child, Seth having moved him into a different body to solve the problem of his deteriorating old one.
As Seth allowed the two a moment alone, Meta and Pale shared a bittersweet reunion, hoping to escape and restart Apocalypse together after the pregnancy, before Seth took Pale away. On December 27, EC 0, Meta successfully gave birth to twins Hänsel and Gretel. Four days after the birth, Meta observed her children in their life support tubes that night; as she did, it triggered her lost memory of escaping from Seth when she was young. When Meta came to, the institute was under attack from the remnants of Apocalypse, led by Pale.
As Pale urged her to escape from outside, Meta resolved to take Hänsel and Gretel with her so they wouldn't suffer as she once had. Stealing them from the laboratory, she joined Pale and ran through the foggy night with the twins. As they ran, however, Pale soon became sluggish and collapsed, with Meta realizing the fog was the same gas that had been used to capture her before.
As Seth approached them, Meta and the twins remained unaffected by the gas. At Pale's urging, she reluctantly continued on alone and escaped into the night. Starting a new life in Elphegort, the fugitive mother hid with her children in Held's Forest.
A year later, in EC 001, Meta took her children out on a moonlit night through the forest; after putting them on the ground and leaving them for a moment, the witch returned to find them gone. Shortly afterward, she discovered that a woman, Eve Moonlit, had run off with her twins and began chasing her through the forest. Just as Meta finally caught up with her in front of her home, the terrified Eve lashed out with her lightning and Meta died at the witch's doorstep.
Shortly after Meta's death, Eve's crime was discovered by her husband, Adam, who found Meta's body and buried it behind the house. Eve, having perceived that Meta was a bear the whole time, showed no awareness of her crime nor of Meta's true identity, and quickly came to view Hänsel and Gretel as her own children. Thus with Meta dead, Eve and her husband Adam raised the children in her place. The twins later killed the two before going on a search for their "real" mother and father.
Centuries later, Ma speculated that the reason Hänsel and Gretel's reincarnations, Arte and Pollo, were so loyal to Banica Conchita was because of her resemblance to Meta. After Mayrana Blossom became the second member of Père Noël, she chose the designation "Fourth Shadow" in reverence to Meta's rank in Apocalypse.
In history, stories of Meta and her relation to Merrigod Plateau were recorded in a number of literary works, saying she had plunged the Magic Kingdom Levianta into chaos. A cult faction also developed within the Levin Church, revering Meta as the holy virgin mother of the Twins of God. The leaders of the dominant Levia sect quickly suppressed these beliefs, asserting Church doctrine that Meta was merely a witch associated with Apocalypse. The Levia sect's oppression of the cult's heresy later resulted in the creation of Neo Apocalypse and the New Four Horsemen Incident.
Personality and Traits
Meta was a cynical and cruel woman, who nonetheless was capable of great acts of love. Due to her traumatic upbringing, Meta became hateful, opportunistic, and often found herself running away from her circumstances, as she herself later reflected. As demonstrated by her flippant attitude and speech, Meta had a general disregard for authority, while also showing contempt for her peers that she considered weak, like Raisa. Similarly, as a member of Apocalypse she created chaos with the belief that laws and regulations were foolish.
Due to her nature as a HER, Meta was utterly desensitized to violence and demonstrated little empathy for others, brainwashing and slaughtering civilians as she saw fit. She was capable of brutal murders for the sake of revenge, and showed no sympathy for those who were devastated by her or Apocalypse' actions. She was, however, capable of civility towards others on occasion, such as the young Elluka Chirclatia.
Meta also showed genuine love and devotion to those close to her. In addition to having a loving partnership with Pale, Meta also cared for the children she bore as a result of Project 'Ma'. Empathizing with their similar circumstances, Meta came to understand how her suffering had affected her and resolved to love the children the way she had never been loved. Even though she believed her feelings were selfish, Meta nonetheless was motivated by a desire to keep the two from being used, and presumably lived peacefully with them after her escape.
Skills and Abilities
Meta was a powerful witch with a rare amount of magical power that caught the attention of Seth Twiright, allowing her to be the second candidate for Project 'Ma' and the first to successfully give birth to the twins for the Project. Among her magical abilities included the powerful Swap Technique, allowing her to transfer a nearby soul, including her own, to another nearby body or object at will. Although initially being unable to control it properly, Meta's ability as an inheritor of Gilles was powerful enough that she wielded an army of brainwashed devotees in Apocalypse, though she couldn't use it on women or Pale. Later on, Meta's inoculation with the God Seed rendered her immune to the sleeping gas derived from Venom.
Eve Moonlit: Meta's predecessor and later murderer. After Meta's brief encounter with Eve during the attack on Nemu village, Meta had no more contact with her until the night that Eve kidnapped Meta's children. While pursuing her tirelessly, Meta showed no clear signs of remembering their brief first meeting.
Pale Noël: Meta's lover and fellow member of Apocalypse. Meta loved and trusted Pale, tolerant of his sleeping with other woman due to his unique circumstances and her own belief that he would always come back to her. Meta's devotion to Pale was such that she was willing to cooperate with Seth for the sake of his safety. During Project 'Ma', she regretted that her children were a result of the project rather than being a result of starting a family with Pale.
Seth Twiright: Meta's partner and creator. After her creation Meta was rebellious towards Seth and distrustful of him, fleeing in fear that he would freeze her like he did a fellow ghoul child. Though not remembering this for most of her life, Meta nonetheless remained distrustful of and antagonistic towards Seth, particularly in support of Pale, and only cooperated with him when her life or Pale's was at stake.
Raisa Netsuma: A fellow member of Apocalypse. Meta was contemptuous of Raisa, thinking her too weak and wild for the high position that she occupied. She also thought her ugly, and was thus confident that she was not a threat for Pale's affections. Her feelings towards Raisa were such that Meta suspected her of being the traitor to their cause before her capture.
Hänsel: Meta's son. After his birth, Meta grew to love him as she realized the depth of their connection, and wished for him to have a life better than hers. She became greatly concerned for Hänsel's emotional and physical well-being, taking him from Project 'Ma' to live a normal life and pursuing his abductor until her death.
Gretel: Meta's daughter. After her birth, Meta grew to love her as she realized the depth of their connection, and wished her to have a life better than hers. She became greatly concerned for Gretel's emotional and physical well-being, taking her from Project 'Ma' to live a normal life and pursuing her abductor until her death.
Conceptualization and Origin
- Meta's name is partially inspired by the name of her representative Vocaloid, MEIKO, with both names sharing the first two letters.
- Meta's characteristic color, red, is a reference to the red horse of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, representing War; MEIKO, Meta's representative Vocaloid, is also characterized by red clothing.
- Meta's being venerated as a virgin mother of gods may be an allusion to the Virgin Mary; Levin, the religion that venerates her, also has similar parallels to Christianity.