People often ask "why is Mai always naked?!" A fair question, as nobody else (that I can think of) walks around Skyrim in quite the same way as Mai. The answer ranges from the simple (cuz nudity is fun!), to the more complicated (Mai is a personification of the Loverslab 'Skyrim-but-naughtier' vibe).
However, to try and address lore (or at least, my butchered version of Skyrim lore) I whipped up this kinda-sorta origin story. This picks up immediately after this story, for anyone looking for context! Hope you enjoy!
The Tale of Mai
Night - Just outside Whiterun city walls...
Mai: "Guys, I'm soooooo embarrassed about the whole "peeing" thing! What would it take to make you both forget about it?"
Celann: "What do you think little buddy - should we let her get away with it?"
Mai: "Come on, little boy. We're best friends, right? I'll do anything! Just don't tell anybody about this..."
Lars: "Hmmmmm....I'll keep quiet.....BUT........you gotta be my girlfriend from now on!"
Mai: "Haha - great idea! I'll be the best girlfriend in all of Skyrim!"
Mai: "How about you, big scary vampire hunter. What do I need to do to keep you quiet?!"
Celann: "Well, I was gonna ask you to be MY girlfriend....but as Lars here beat me to it, I guess I'll settle for you explaining why you are naked all the time!"
Mai: "Um.....really? That's not a very interesting story. Is there anything el..........."
Lars: "Yeah! I wanna know too! Tell us, tell us, tell us!"
Mai: "Okay, I guess. Here goes. It all started a few years ago...."
......I was young and stupid. I grew up in an ophanage, and when I was about 14 or 15 I decided to hike out into the wilderness and discover Skyrim.
People warned me it was dangerous, but I didn't listen. I assumed if I was polite and kept away from trouble - it would keep away from me. But it doesn't work that way.
The Forsworn, a group I knew nothing about, found me and took me captive.
They stripped me completely naked and took me into the mountains to their camp.
I was sure they were going to rape and/or kill me, and I heard them talking about sacrificing me to the 'Hag'. But instead....
....they took me to their leader - a woman named 'Shan'. She was kind and explained that I had been kidnapped by mistake. However now that I had seen their camp she couldn't let me leave.
They fed me and looked after me, under the condition that I don't try to escape - and that I never wear any clothing. I helped out doing basic chores, but it took a while to get used to the naked thing!
Shan was a good teacher, and she helped me fit in. She offered advice on getting used to being naked at all times, and explained that it was a Forsworn tradition for getting closer to nature. Slowly, I started to like it.
Eventually I stopped missing clothes at all. Being naked just felt much better.
I even stopped covering myself in front of the men. I'd play mind games with them....
...showing off every inch of my body - and I quickly discovered I could manipulate them in this way. I learned how to control the minds of men!
The camp became my home, and I was one of the Forsworn. They stopped treating me as a captive, and I could see they liked having me around.
I had finally found my true home.....or so I thought. Often, when things seem too good to be true, it's because they are. Dark clouds were gathering on the horizon.....
.......to be continued
I was happy, living in the mountains close to nature and helping out where possible - but I couldn't shake the feeling that something wasn't quite right.
Every now and then the camp would mobilise a war party, and they would head out into the night. I was never given a straight answer when I asked who it was they were hunting.
Then later, I would be awoken by the sounds of their return - screams of panic and anger...
...As it was rare for them all to return alive.
I quickly realised that there were those who did not appreciate our kind - though I knew not why.
One thing was clear: to survive in this world I would need to learn how to defend myself. And so one morning I tied my hair back and approached the warriors for training.
They laughed at first - but when they saw the determination in my eyes they agreed to teach me the ways of combat. They were tough teachers...
But I learned fast. They all agreed I was a natural with the bow. But I didn't stop there...
I wanted to stand as an equal to the best in our camp, and so for many months I trained in the art of fighting.
Finally, I was accepted into the circle of warriors. To mark the occasion, I was allowed to decorate my body as I saw fit using traditional war paints.
It was decided that I was ready to join a war party, and head out into the great unkown to protect our land. When the time arrived I suddenly realised that I had never properly thanked Shan for all that she had done for me...
But she was nowhere to be seen. In the back of my mind I knew there was a chance that I may not return alive from this trip, and so it was important I tell her how I felt. I searched everywhere - except the forbidden fort at the back of the camp. I decided to break the rules, just this once....
I was not prepared for what lay inside...
Shan: "Please....don't make me do this! The girl has become one of us - she is Forsworn now. I'm begging you....."
Hag: "NOOOOOO! No more lies....no more excuses. You promised me the pretty flesh....many months ago when you first caught her. But I will wait no longer. Bring her to me. Bring me the pretty flesh NOW!"
Hag: "I will have the girl...I will have her NOW...and I will rip off her PRETTY FLESH! You made the oath Shan......and you know what will happen if you break it!"
Shan: "I.....I just..............I will do as you ask. No more stalling. I'll go get her now. She's yours."
I couldn't believe it. The first family I had ever felt a part of, throwing me to the claws of a monster. My heart shattered into a million pieces. I wanted to cry. I wanted to fire an arrow into the head of that horrific creature. But most of all, I wanted to run...
...And so I ran. I ran right out of the camp, past all of the others. They didn't try to stop me - or ask what was wrong - they just let me run away. I guess maybe they all knew.
Mai: "And that was that. I never saw any of them again. I headed down the mountain, and after a long trek I ended up in Rorikstead."
Mai: "I learned so much from my time in the mountains. So very much..."
Lars: "That's so sad! Um....are you okay?"
Mai: "I'm fine, thank you. I'm sorry - I didn't mean to depress you!"
Celann: "No Mai, I should be the one to apologise...."
Celann: "I didn't mean to open old wounds. I should never have asked you to tell that story."
Mai: "Really - it's okay. There was no way you could know, right? And hey - you saved my life, remember! I still owe you."
Celann: "Mai, i'm gonna be honest with you. I didn't come here specifically to kill a vampire. This was Durak's contract. I'm here because of you."
Mai: "You're....here because of me? You travelled halfway across Skyrim.....for me?"
Celann: "Indeed I did. Mai....you've been haunting my dreams. In fact, I'd jump willingly into an Oblivion gate if it meant precious seconds by your si....................."
Lars: "HEY! Keep away from my girlfriend mister!!!"
Celann: "Oh...right....yeah........sorry Lars!"