LADY of the LAKE

Real Name: Niamh

Occupation: Lake-Goddess, guardian of Excalibur

Legal Status: Citizen of Avalon

Other Aliases: Nimue, Nineve, Maiden of the Lake,

Place of Birth: Unrevealed

Marital Status: Single

Known Relatives: Dyonas (father), Llew-Llaw-Gyffes (uncle), Gwydion (grandfather), Arianrhod (grandmother), Dagda, Leir, Amaethon (granduncles);

Group Affiliation: The Celtic Gods, ally of Merlin and King Arthur

Base of Operations: Lake Benoye, Benoye, (now part of modern France); Avalon, Otherworld

First Appearance:  Hulk Comic (Marvel UK) #18

History: Niamh is a member of the Tuatha de Danaan, an extra-dimensional race of beings who were worshipped as the gods of the Celts and the Gauls from the Ninth Century BC to the Sixth Century AD. A lake-goddess to her worshippers, Niamh became known as Lady of The Lake in Arthurian legend. The mage Merlin came to her for the enchanted sword Excalibur and its mystic scabbard in order to present it to Uther Pendragon as a symbol of his divine right to rule all of Britain. Uther Pendragon, however, became corrupted by his power and Merlin cleaved Excalibur into an anvil promising him that once he was once again worthy, he could re-obtain Excalibur. Uther was never able to attain Excalibur again and several men tried to obtain the sword for the right to rule Britain. Utherís son, Arthur Pendragon, eventually pulled the sword and began campaigns to unite all of Britain. Arthur, however, also decided to turn against the worship of the Celtic Gods and began promoting Christianity. As a result, worship of the Celtic Gods began to fall in decline.

Arthurís hated half-sister, Morgan le Fay stole the enchanted sword Excalibur and its magic scabbard and had the sword and scabbard replaced with non-magical replicas and then presented her lover, Sir Accolon, with the real Excalibur and scabbard. She then duped Accolon into attacking a particular knight in the Battle of Camlann not telling him that knight was Arthur. Despite his skill and courage, Arthur might have perished at Accolon's hands had not the Lady of the Lake used her magic to force Accolon to drop Excalibur. Arthur then seized Excalibur and defeated Accolon, revealing Morgan's plot in the process.

 After the Battle of Cammlan, wherein both Arthur and his treacherous rival Mordred met their dooms, the dying Arthur commanded his cupbearer, Sir Bedivere, to carry Excalibur to a nearby lake and cast it into the waters. Overcoming his reluctance after an admonishment to obedience by the dying king, Bedivere hurled the blade over the lake and as the blade neared the waters the Lady of the Lake's hand reached up from the depths to grasp it, brandishing it three times before returning to her watery home in Gaul.

 The Lady of the Lake was credited as being one of the nine goddesses that carried away the mortally wounded Arthur to the Celtic other-world of Avalon where he awaits the day when Britain once again needs him to return. (These were actually the daughters of Arwan). By means that remain unknown, she was murdered by the knight Sir Balin demanding Excalibur after Arthur's death. Merlin replaced her as guardian of Excalibur with Nimue, his lover who had also been one of his students in magic.

At some point, Niamh was restored to life by the Dagda, Ruler of the Celtic Gods, and returned to protected Excalibur although Nimue now acted as her representative in the mortal world. After the temporary destruction of the Ebony Blade by the Iron Knight in the Twentieth Century, the Black Knight (Dane Whitman) was given the sword Excalibur by the Lady of the Lake. She appeared only momentarily, handed him the sword and returned to the waters from which she had surfaced.

 The group of mutant heroes calling themselves Excalibur was duped into assisting Dr. Doom in a plot to steal the Promethium metal from Otherplace (Belasco's "Limbo"). The act of which could result in the "total obliteration of England." The Lady of the Lake witnessed this from the waters outside their lighthouse headquarters and sent Nimue to a pool in Avengers Compound, where she recruited the Avengers West Coast to help break up Doom's plot. She brought them to England where she helped them close one of the portals to Other-Place and then transported them to Other-Place.

 The Lady of the Lake also appeared in the shower of Adam Crown and informed him of his destiny as a reincarnation of King Arthur. Apparently following her mystic guidance, Crown traveled to the Museum of Pagan Antiquities in London, stole a priceless Iron Age sword and hurled it into a nearby canal. The sword sank beneath the surface and then she returned it back above the surface after renewing its enchantments. Crown followed the guidance of the Lady of the Lake bringing the sword to Wiltshire, England. Crown floated out into the middle of Blagdon reservoir where the Lady of the Lake once again appeared him. She led him to Avalon to the Green Chapel where she brought him to the empty tomb of Arthur and convinced him that he was the Pendragon reincarnation of King Arthur. Crown accepted the Pendragon spirit as she brought him before the Green Knight.

In addition, Ben Gallagher dreamed of a woman, who may have been the Lady of the Lake, who transformed him into the Pendragon reincarnation of Percival. His dreams ended when his real body died from wounds recently suffered in battle against the Bane B'Ngudjaaa. The woman transported him to the tombs of Avalon.

 The Lady of the Lake eventually sent Nimue to appear to Dane Whitman in a lagoon in the Central Park Zoo from where she transported him to Avalon and imbued him with the spirit of a Pendragon. Under the Lady of the Lakeís instructions, she outfitted him with a new suit of armor and presented him with the Sword of Light and the Shield of Night and a new winged steed that she named Strider to replace his lost Ebony Sword. The Black Knight eventually returned to Avalon beseeching the aid of the Lady of the Lake in locating the Inhuman Crystal. He was met by Nimue but she refused to help him and instead told him that she must be his lady as he was bound to her service. In addition, she reminded him that Crystal was wed to Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver) and that his affection for her was not honorable. As he left, she prophesized three women for him: the one he loves, the one who stole his heart, and the one who yet waits. All would cause him heartache and grief.

In an alternate future of the Twenty-First Century, the Lady of the Lake was called upon by Merlin who had brought Iron Man and Dr. Doom to this alternate future. Merlin called on the Lady of the Lake to pass on Excalibur to Iron Man to defeat a threat of that future's Dr. Doom and Iron Man.

Height: 5í9Ē

Weight: 360 lbs.

Eyes: Green

Hair: Blonde

Strength Level: The Lady of the Lake possesses superhuman strength enabling him to lift (press) about 25 tons under optimal conditions.

Known Superhuman Powers: The Lady of The Lake possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Celtic Gods. Like all of the Celtic Gods, she is exceptionally long-lived, but she is not immortal like the Olympian Gods. She has not aged since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any known conventional means. She is immune to all known terrestrial diseases and is invulnerable to conventional injury. If wounded, her godly life force would enable him to recover with superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of her bodily molecules to cause him a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for the Dagda, Leir or a number of gods of equal power working together to revive her. The Lady of the Lake does have some superhuman strength and her own Danaan metabolism gives her far greater than human endurance in all physical activities.  (Danaan flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the superhuman strength and weight of the Celtic Gods).

The Lady of the Lake has extra-ordinary mystical power approaching that of the Dagda or Zeus. She can control the elements of water such as when she created a wave powerful enough to remain flowing long enough to hold her up in the air. She can also teleport through bodies of water and obtain anything thrown to her no matter what lake the object is being tossed into at the time. She can also pass between dimensions as when she moves from Earth to Avalon.

The Lady of the Lake can survive underwater without breathing and she has greater strength and more power under water  than she has on land. Hence, she can be killed on land even by anything as mundane as a sword. She has enchanted vitality and is immune to terrestrial disease. She is also particularly graceful and extremely limber underwater.

Comments: There are at least two accounts involving the Lady of the Lake that cannot be readily reconciled with the activities of the Lady of the Lake. One concerns her surrendering Excalibur to Arthur during the occupation of the Romans in Britain, and another involves the sword being returned to her by the eagle ward of Spirit, a Native American member of the counter-terrorist group known as GIJoe after it was stolen by the Ninja known as Storm Shadow. The latter event might have occurred in an alternate quantum universe while the other was simply a fiction created by Hercules as Kevin Sorbo for his TV series. 

Thanks to Mike for his wonderful images of Asa Lindh as the Lady of the Lake.

Clarifications: Niamh, the Lady of the Lake, is not to be confused with: 

 

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