General Mercedene, also known as the Beast of the Reach, was a notorious Reachman warrior and leader of the Winterborn clan during the mid-First Era. Said to be a vicious woman who reveled in blood and death, she is best known for her part in the infamous Siege of Orsinium.
Prior to leading the Winterborn, she served under her mother Evandene who was the previous leader of the clan. According to legend, Evandene led a raid on an Orc village and decimated the populace. Not satisfied with her mother's punishment of the Orcs, Mercedene grew livid when she arrived with reinforcements. According to her "Harvesting a tenth of the weeds yields a hardier strain of weed. Best to burn the field so its soil can take another crop." In response, Mercedene immediately challenged her mother, killed her, cut out her heart, and ate it. Said to be a devout in her worship of Malacath, more so than than the Orcs themselves, Mercedene then decorated an altar to Malacath with Evandene's corpse.
Mercedene proved to be an able commander after she took over leadership of the Winterborn. The reputation of the Winterborn gained the attention of King Joile of Daggerfall, who hired Mercedene and her clan for his own ends. During the Siege of Orsinium, King Joile appointed Mercedene as his general against the Orcish forces, but also as an instrument to enact his grand deception. Although King Joile was allied with the Redguards, he sought to total conquest of his neighboring kingdoms. To achieve this he sought to eliminate the two greatest heroes of both Orsinium and Hammerfall: Baloth Bloodtusk and Gaiden Shinji. With their deaths, both kingdoms would be weakened allowing him an easier conquest of the entire region.
First, Mercedene kidnapped the brother of Baloth Bloodtusk and faked his death in order to draw Baloth into the war. Her deception was successful as Baloth forces arrived shortly after into Orsinium and reinforced the city. Next, King Joile implored Gaiden Shinji to face Baloth in a duel to decide the fate of the city and save the lives of his soldiers. Gaiden agreed to the duel and also marched his forces to Orsinium. Mercedene's trap was set. She made her way into Orsinium and met with a contingent of disguised Winterborn soldiers who arrived behind the siege lines. Once the duel Baloth Bloodtusk and Gaiden Shinji began, Mercedene ordered her archers to cut them both down. Her plan was successful and both heroes were slain.
Before Mercedene could escape the city, Commander Reliana of the Knights of the Dragon confronted her after uncovering evidence of Mercedene's betrayal. Both commanders fought, but Mercedene was ultimately killed. It is unknown what happened to her corpse, but Mercedene's spirit was cursed to wander the ruins of Orsinium for centuries after.