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Characters: Codex Alera
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Alerens

    Tavi 

Tavi of Calderon, a.k.a. Rufus Scipio, a.k.a. Gaius Octavian , a.k.a. Gaius Tavarus Magnus

Tavi, raised by his Aunt Isana and Uncle Bernard in the Calderon Valley, is apparently the only Aleran in the world to not possess the power of Furycraft. While this is often a major disadvantage, in order to compensate he's learned to rely on something else – his brain. After the events of the first book, he begins studying at Alera Imperia to join the imperial spy network known as the Cursors, and joins the newly-formed First Aleran Legion under the name Rufus Scipio.

Tavi is really Gaius Octavian, son of the slain Princeps Septimus. Isana, actually his mother, deliberately suppressed his Furycraft so he wouldn't be obviously High Blood and therefore a target for assassins. Eventually he does develop some Crafting, though to a lesser extent than most Lords. In the final book, the full potential of his powers emerges.

Tropes that apply to Tavi:

  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Mostly done offscreen. The one time we see this in action, it's both awesome and terrifying as Tavi decides how to kill High Lady Antillus and Crassus with a stick.
  • Bad Ass: Oh yes, he is:
  • Brought Down to Badass: Isana's well-intentioned spell may have made him the butt of jokes everywhere, but we can't deny he was able to compensate.
  • Battle Couple: With Kitai.
  • Becoming the Mask: He starts Cursor's Fury as a civilian Cursor who joins the First Aleran undercover as a junior officer, despite having zero time in the Legions. When the book ends, he's become The Captain, so much so that he spends the next years serving primarily as a legionare instead of a Cursor.
    • Foreshadowing: Magnus outright tells him that this will happen, with regard to his military career: "When you start, it'll be an act. At the end, it won't be an act anymore."
  • Beware the Nice Ones: In his rage and fury Tavi is absolutely merciless, as Fidelias almost found out
  • The Call Put Me On Hold
  • The Captain: The fourth book is called Captain's Fury for a reason.
  • The Chessmaster: Metaphorically as well as literally. Even the First Lord takes a couple of lessons from him.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Well, when everybody can rip you to shreds with their bare hands, playing fair doesn't seem very important. He says once that he never wants to be in a "fair" fight ever again. Even after his crafting powers awaken, he's still a pragmatist in battle.
  • Consummate Liar: He was raised by one of the greatest Living Lie Detectors alive. He needed to develop this skill in order to get away with anything.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: The majority of Tavi's plans are this. So much so that Kitai can correctly surmise where Tavi chose to have the Final Battle by thinking of the one place only a lunatic would go willingly. It's pretty much his motto. One of his plans gives an ally heart palpitations.
    • You want more examples, because you think just THAT won't work for you? Of course you do! Take, for instance, his role in the defense of the Elinarch. Due to a lot of things going wrong at once, he ended up in command of a single, inexperienced legion (about 7,000 soldiers) who had to hold a bridge against an army of more than 50,000 Canim: centuries-old, enormous, and incredibly dangerous wolfmen. First, to stop them from crossing the river anywhere else, he had all the butchers in the camp and the towns at either end of the Elinarch throw buckets of blood into the river to attract sharks. Any Canim trying to swim across quickly learned the error of their ways. He also went out to try to negotiate with the leaders. By himself. He proceeded to use his knowledge of their culture to laugh in the face of an Evil Sorcerer and exploit a division in their leadership. Then he sat for an hour and played chess with Nasaug during a truce to let them remove their dead from the fieldnote , in order to buy time for his men to set up his next tactic: sawdust and fire furies planted in every building on the Canim side of the bridge, which he then had his only Knight Ignus blow up while the Canim were trying to move through them. He'd made sure they were all in the buildings by having everyone in the legion hold tiny firecraftings over the main square so the stones were superheated and anyone trying to step on them would get fried. And the battle ended when he had his Knights Aeris bend the air to form a quarter-mile-wide magnifying glass, concentrating the sunlight into a Death Ray. The general consensus among the characters seems to be that Tavi is completely insane.
    Ehren: "This plan is insane... you are insane..." *looks around* "I'm going to need some pants."
    • And that thing mentioned above about going into the most suicidal place he could think of? His plan was to piss off the Eldritch Abomination-like Great Furies Garados and Thana and use them against the Vord Queen. It only really works when she tries to claim the furies and he has the even crazier idea of cutting her connection and letting them go free to wreak random destruction. They are very pissed about the attempt to control them, and Thana—an enormous, sentient thunderstorm—pretty much literally chews the Vord Queen up and spits her out.
    • This is the man who made ships out of icebergs and attached runners to sailing ships to make them work over ice.
  • The Dreaded: He becomes this to the Canim. He earns the nickname "Tavar" (after a wolverine-like creature from the Canim's homeland, that is small, very vicious, and routinely takes down things bigger than itself,) and the repeated efforts of the ritualists to sabotage relations between Tavi and Varg suggest that, despite all their bluster about their superiority, they are a lot more scared of him than he is of them. In First Lord's Fury, Varg reminds Nasaug of the time he "fed Sarl to the Tavar" (in Cursor's Fury) and says it completely without irony, showing he was aware it wasn't even a fair fight.
  • Guile Hero
  • The Hero
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Although less and less so as the books go on.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Preferred manner of keeping his opponents off balance. He wins a duel against one of the most dangerous swordsmen in Alera with just six words.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Lots of comparisons are made to Septimus, though Tavi is smarter than his dad thanks to a good twenty years of Badass Normality.
  • Magnetic Hero
  • Meaningful Name: Two of them: Gaius Octavian, meaning both the son of Septimus, and is the proper name of Emperor Augustus.
    • Actually three. His Canim nickname, "Tavar", is the name of a wolverine-like predator native to Canea, which even Canim warriors avoid because it fearlessly and ferociously fights to defeat its enemies and protect its territory despite its small size (relative to a Cane). Exactly like Tavi.
    • Four. 'Scipio' is probably a reference to Scipio Africanus, the genius Roman general who defeated Hannibal. Rufus may refer to several people - the general Lucius Verginius Rufus seems plausible. "Here lies Rufus, who after defeating Vindex, did not take power, but gave it to the fatherland."
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: He eventually gains the title Gaius Tavarus Magnus; "Tavarus Magnus" is roughly equivalent to "Lord Wolverine the Great."
  • Nice Guy: Tavi has more than once shown compassion and understanding to an incredible degree. To the point that he's sometimes considered to be a bit too nice
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: He had no way of knowing that cutting himself in the Wax Forest would wake up the Vord Queen, but it did.
  • Older than They Look: In the first couple of books in particular; Amara assumes he's about 12 when she first sees him, to which he grouchily replies that he's fifteen. The reason he looks so young is that his mother intentionally stunted his growth when he was a child via watercrafting to make him seem younger than he was, in order to keep people from guessing that he might be the son of Gaius Septimus, who died 15 years before the first book.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Considering how much damage the guy can cause with no powers, is it any surprise that giving him access to the full crafting abilities of the First Lord caused an insane amount of badassitude to ensue?
  • The Plan: Several in the last three books.
  • Rags to Royalty
  • Refuge in Audacity: Tavi's way to stop the Icemen destroying the Shieldwall? Give it to them. With plans to have them lease it back to the Alerans, no less.
    • And, say, every other thing he does, leading to hilarious moments that go something like "Oh God, he's doing something crazy... reh. It's Tavi, go with it." Which overlaps nicely with his Crazy Awesomeness, and the entry for Crazy Enough to Work above.
      • Everything he does is awesome and/or inventive. Some of it fits this trope, some doesn't. In addition to how he handles the Icemen, though, another example quite clearly fits this trope: In Captain's Fury, he breaks half a dozen laws, and in ways that clearly could not be covered up or ignored. How does he handle it? He suggests to the First Lord a general amnesty for Alerans who cooperated with the Canim in conquered territory, but phrased in such a way that covers Tavi himself as well.
  • Secret Legacy
  • Smart People Play Chess: Or the local equivalent, ludus.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: He's a bit of a late bloomer (what with Isana slowing his growth and all), but by Captain's Fury, he's repeatedly mentioned to be quite tall and rather attractive. It runs in the family.
  • Warrior Therapist: Against Navaris.
    "I never knew my father either."
  • Worthy Opponent: The Canim word "gadara" (respected and trusted enemy) is used a lot around him.

    Steadholders 

Isana

Isana is Tavi's aunt (well, actually, mother). Born in the Calderon Valley, she is an incredibly powerful watercrafter but lacks access to other Furies. Isana distrusts Sextus because he allowed her husband, his son Septimus, to die, but becomes increasingly entangled in Aleran politics as the series goes on.

Tropes that apply to Isana:

  • Action Mom: In Princeps' Fury and First Lord's Fury.
  • A-Cup Angst: She was always a little peeved that her body looked more like that of a young girl than that of a full-grown woman. This, in fact, made her think that she'd never attract another man.
  • Badass Longcoat: Begins wearing one in Princep's Fury, on the urging of Araris. It's thick leather with interwoven steel plates; not quite as good as legion armor, but better than nothing, and easier for her to fight and move in.
  • The Empath: A result of her powerful Watercrafting ability.
  • Distressed Damsel: If there's a situation where she can be kidnapped and/or swoon, she'll take full advantage of it. Lampshaded:
    "At some point I would like a few weeks to go by in which I do not faint during a crisis."
  • Failure-to-Save Murder: The reason she hates Gaius Sextus and didn't trust him with Tavi's safety.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo
  • Healing Hands: Give her enough reason, and she doesn't even need a tub of water to help her.
  • An Ice Person: Once she figures out that yes, snow counts as water.
    Doroga: "If I ever invade Calderon again, it will be in summer."
  • Living Lie Detector: She sees through Gaius Sextus at one point.
  • Mama Bear: Everything she does, she does because she wants to protect Tavi.
  • Making a Splash: Very possibly the most powerful watercrafter in all of Alera, High Lords included.
  • Master of One Magic: As a single-element Crafter, Isana wouldn't normally be considered very impressive as Alerans rank their powers – but as mentioned above, she can do a lot with what she's got.
  • Older than They Look: She's probably in her mid-forties, but could pass for eighteen if it wasn't for some grey in her hair.
  • Took a Level in Badass: She gets a lot more powerful after a little swim in the Leviathans' Run.
    • However, it's unclear exactly why that is: maybe she got them from the swim in the ocean in a stressful situation, but then again maybe she had that power all along or Septimus left her some furies of his own when he died and she didn't realize it. In either case, any extraordinary use of her power in her homeland is more normal where she is familiar with the place, and because she's a nobody from the hinterlands, she just assumed she couldn't possibly be that powerful otherwise.
  • Unhappy Medium: She's as good or better at watercrafting as some of the High Lords, but doesn't share their ability to block out emotions with metalcrafting. This leaves her curled up in a little ball from emotional overload a couple of times.
  • Warrior Therapist: When she fights Antillus Raucus in Princeps' Fury, explaining to him as she's about to die that the real reason he doesn't want to listen to her is jealousy at Septimus for defying his parents and marrying the commoner he loved and regret that he didn't do the same with Max's mother.

Bernard, Count Calderon

Bernard is Tavi's uncle and Isana's brother, possessing the power of earth and woodcrafting. He begins the series as a steadholder (wealthy farmer), but ultimately takes on a noble title as Count of Calderon and passes his steadholt to Isana. He is in love with Amara, and the two are married (at first in secret, but later openly).

Tropes that apply to Bernard:

Kord

A Steadholder like Bernard, who runs his Steadholt along with his two sons Aric and Bittan. Unlike Bernard, he is a brutal thug and his Steadholt is a Wretched Hive that runs on slavery.

Tropes that apply to Kord

  • Abusive Parents: Kord is a horrible father who mistreats Aric for being a decent person.
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: The biggest recurring obstacle impeding Amara, Tavi and Bernard from warning Garrison of the Marat threat in Furies of Calderon was Kord and his sons, who kept interfering at crucial junctures in the hopes of derailing the trial of Bittan for rape. It turns out Bittan really was innocent; simply letting the trial go through would have made the story easier not only for the "good guys", but would have saved Kord and Bittan's lives as well.
  • Dishing Out Dirt
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Particularly brutal to female slaves.
  • Parental Favoritism: Spoils Bittan, his thuggish son.
  • Playing with Fire
  • Slave Collar: Fond of discipline collars that make people take pleasure in obeying the orders of the person who put on the collar.
  • Scary Scorpions: His Earth Fury manifests as one.

     Cursors 

Amara, Countess Calderon

Amara is a windcrafter and a Cursor, one of the First Lord's elite messengers, spies, and general agents. She comes to the Calderon Valley while trying to return to the capital and warn Sextus of Aquitaine's plotting, thereby setting off much of the books' action. She is married to Bernard, but sometimes angsts about her fears of infertility (Alerans place great value on having children who will inherit their powers, to the point that a man of Bernard's rank is legally obliged to have children).

Tropes that apply to Amara:

Ehren ex Cursori

Another of Tavi's classmates, and a Cursor. Like Tavi, tends to rely more on his wits than his furies.

Tropes that apply to Ehren:

  • Badass Bookworm
  • Badass Normal: The in-universe equivalent, since Tavi is practically a Handicapped Badass by their standards. Ehren isn't particularly powerful compared to all the Citizens he hangs around, but he still manages to kick a decent amount of ass.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Has some very funny moments like this. In one instance, hearing a commotion on deck, he opens his door to ask what's going on. When an arrow drives through the door close enough to touch his hand, he just goes, "Oh," and shuts the door. Later in the same book, after he wakes up naked, in a healing tub, staring at what he thought was an enemy about to kill him, his response is, "Oh. Well, I see some things have happened while I was lying down."
  • The Chessmaster: Very good at thinking of contingency plans. And, it turns out, at manipulating people – in First Lord's Fury, he plays Aquitainus Attis like a harp, resulting in the latter's death before he can become a threat to Tavi.
  • Disney Death
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: In the last book. Doesn't let that stop him, though.
  • Knife Nut: At one point someone identifies him as a Cursor based solely on "the number of knives he had hidden on him."
  • Manipulative Bastard: See The Chessmaster.
  • The Quiet One: Doesn't usually talk much, which is rather handy in a spy.
  • The Smart Guy: Not quite in Tavi's league – to be fair, the only people who come close are Varg, Sextus, Aquitaine, and Fidelias – but he is very clever.

Astorius Magnus

A senior Cursor, under whom Tavi trains.

Tropes that apply to Magnus:

  • Cool Old Guy
  • Crouching Scholar Hidden Badass: He first appears as a professor who's semi-voluntarily exiled himself to an archeological dig. And then it turns out he's also a senior cursor, and served in the Legions, and Fidelias notes that if he wants someone dead, they'll die.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He likes to point out when Tavi is acting a little ridiculous.
  • The Mentor: One of Tavi's mentors; he helps Tavi acclimate to Legion life, and later openly advises him.
  • Older Sidekick: Who's also a valet.
  • Servile Snarker: "And Your Highness expected me to listen?"
  • They Called Me Mad!: Magnus invokes this when celebrating the success of his and Tavi's furycraft-free catapult at the beginning of Cursor's Fury. (Magnus isn't exactly a Mad Historian, but to be fair, the fools at the Academy did call him mad.)

    Lords and other Nobles 

Gaius Sextus, First Lord of Alera

Gaius is the ruler of Alera, the most powerful Crafter alive, and essentially Albus Dumbledore without the facade of eccentric senility. While often ruthless, he is both intelligent and wise and everything he does is for the greater good of Alera. All respect Gaius's abilities, but some (like Isana) think he's lost touch with the common people and is therefore dangerous. Others (like Aquitaine or Kalarus) want to take his throne themselves.

Tropes that apply to Sextus:

  • Anti-Hero
  • Badass Grandpa: Literally.
  • The Chessmaster
  • Chrome Champion
  • Failure-to-Save Murder: Several characters resent or hate Sextus because of his apparent failure to protect Septimus.
  • Forgot Flanders Could Do That: Deliberately invokes this in Captain's Fury. He says that the High Lords of the realm, Kalarus in particular, see him only as a scheming old man, and that image is part of what makes Kalarus think he can just take over the realm. So during that book, he sets out to forcibly remind Kalarus and the rest of the High Lords that in a realm where Authority Equals Asskicking, there is a very good reason why the House of Gaius is in charge.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In Princeps Fury, he sinks Alera Imperia and the surrounding countryside into a massive volcano, destroying a majority of the Vord army and slowing them down enough to let the Alerans regroup.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-universe example: Amara is unwilling to trust him ever again after he turns one of the Great Furies against Kalarus, destroying the entire province with a volcanic eruption. However, it was that or let Kalarus use it to destroy most of Alera's Legions when they finally killed him, so...
  • Older than They Look: Like all powerful watercrafters – in this case, he looks like he's in his forties, when he's about 80.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: When he isn't about to collapse due to his age and overwork catching up to him. Witness Captain's Fury, when he kills off two whole legions of Kalarus's Super Soldiers, or Princeps' Fury, where he takes down millions of the Vord military forces with him in a Heroic Sacrifice, sinking Alera's capital city into lava and turning the whole region into a wasteland that the Vord can't use.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure
  • Shipper on Deck: It's subtle, but throughout the series he seems to do everything in his power to put Bernard and Amara and Tavi and Kitai together – first, having Amara serve as his personal envoy to Bernard as the new Count of Calderon (thereby ensuring that she'll see him regularly), and then when Tavi bullshits his way into having Kitai made an ambassador, makes it his only duty to be her teacher and guide for the following several weeks. The irony here is that Amara thinks she has to hide her marriage to Bernard because of her duty to Gaius and Tavi wants to hide his relationship so Gaius can't exploit it, but he seems to know about and approve of both cases.
  • Shoot the Dog: Better than the alternative.
    • When his character is introduced, he takes a potshot: he admits he is willing to sacrifice a loyal retainer to test the fidelity of another one. He assumed the loyal one would lose the fight.

Lord Aquitainus Attis

Mostly off-screen in the early books, Attis is one of the two high Lords in serious contention for the position of the next First Lord. Sleeping with the First Lord's wife may give him some advantage at this...

Tropes that apply to Aquitaine:

  • Anti-Villain
  • Big Bad: Subverted. He's built up as this in the first half of the series, but is upstaged in the second by the real Big Bad, the Vord Queen.
    • Big Bad Duumvirate: With his wife. Technically, most of her schemes are aimed at getting him the throne, but that's only because as a woman that's the closest she'll ever get to true power. In many ways, Invidia was the Big Bad more than he ever was, since she was more actively involved in the plot and unknown to him, was behind the murder of his best friend, Septimus. Attis is, in fact, motivated largely by vengeance on the men he holds responsible for that.
  • The Chessmaster
  • Enemy Mine: With Gaius and the Vord. He's the first High Lord to stand with Gaius, and calls out Rhodes for being an obstructive idiot, because he knows that the priority is for Alera to survive – and at the same time, he can give a boost to his position.
  • Graceful Loser: When he realises that Ehren manipulated him into making himself vulnerable, leading to a mortal injury and thereby securing Tavi's position, his only comment is a thoughtful and faintly admiring, "I think the little man assassinated me."
  • He Who Fights Monsters: He wanted to take down Lord Rhodes and Lord Kalarus, power hungry manipulators who were behind his friend's death. He ended up becoming just like them.
  • Out-Gambitted: Shown in the last book. Gaius adopts him as Tavi's younger brother and leaves Ehren at his disposal. That way, Alera has a competent protector until the real heir gets back and one of Tavi's closest friends is close enough to Attis to arrange his death if and when he seems disinclined to get out of Tavi's way.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Amara actually cries when he dies, since he'd been trying so hard to save everyone during his last few weeks.
  • Meaningful Name: Attis. In Babylonian mythology, Attis is castrated by Cybele and dies. Invidia deals Attis a death blow by piercing him in the loins with a red hot sword. Cauterizing the wound prevents it from healing.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: No, really! Far from being behind Septimus's death, he was angry at Sextus's Failure-to-Save Murder and decided that since he couldn't even protect his own son, someone else had to take over protecting the country.
    • In the last book he points out that had the heroes not foiled his plans in the first book, the country would have been unified to face the threat instead of delaying so long bickering and backbiting. Even more ironic in that said foiling is what woke the Vord up in the first place.
    • Conversely, if it hadn't been for his plans in the first book, it would have been much less likely that Tavi and Kitai would have been in position to break it in the first place.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Plots within plots within plots!

Lady Aquitainus Invidia

At least as ambitious as her husband, Invidia is cynical, manipulative and lethal. She'll keep her word, in public at least, but only because her reputation for fair dealing is more important than anything else she'd gain – and in private she'll do whatever is most expedient. As a High Lady, she's utterly lethal on the battlefield when she needs to be.

Tends to use watercrafting disguises a lot. In Captain's Fury, she is shot and poisoned by her sometime lover and spy Fidelias. She is now on a Vord life-support as her liver is non-functional.

Tropes that apply to Invidia:

High Lord Kalarus Brencis

The other main candidate (besides Aquitainus) as the First Lord's successor. The province of Kalare is one of the few where slavery is still rampant, and Kalarus has taken the twisted furycrafting of slave collars and weaponised it.

Tropes that apply to Kalarus:

  • Ax-Crazy: The First Lord thinks that Kalarus would be a bit easier to deal with if he weren't quite so mad.
  • Bad Ass: One can't deny his ballsiness, he pulls a Night of the Long Knives and turns the stars red.
  • The Caligula: Equally, one can't deny that this guy is a few legionares short of an army.
  • The Chessmaster: Averted. His "masterful plot" fails thanks to Sextus being a better player.
    • Well, it half-succeeded; Gaius saw only one way to defeat him, and though Kalarus never thought of it, Gaius was pissed that it came to that – namely, annihilating the enitire province before Kalarus did.
  • Compensating for Something: Lady Placida mentions he had a little problem bedding women back at the academy. Either he was impotent or he just was a bastard.
  • The Ghost: In Captain's Fury. He is alluded to in Furies Of Calderon, since Kord got his slave collars from his province.
  • I Have Your Wife: Kidnaps Lady Placida and another noble's daughter to prevent their armies from actively opposing him, and holds Rook's daughter hostage to ensure her continued good behavior.
  • Kick the Dog: As far as he's concerned, the day is wasted if he hasn't found at least three small furry animals to kick before lunchtime.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Set himself up as this on purpose as insurance when it looked like he was going to be defeated.
  • Orcus on His Throne: In Captain's Fury. Justified because Bernard and Amara crippled him at the end of Cursor's Fury – he was quite an active villain before that.
  • Out-Gambitted: So, you set up a volcano to explode when you're killed and cover a few hundred square miles around it with a surveillance network set to detect the furies of the one guy who can stop you? Too bad he takes a cue from his grandson and just walks in, not using any furies until he's too close for you to prevent him from taking control of the volcano away from you.
  • Shoot the Dog: Forces Gaius to do this.

Kalarus Brencis Minoris

Son of Lord Kalarus and classmate of Tavi's at the Academy – where he was a vicious bully. Hasn't improved since.

Tropes that apply to Brencis:

  • Captain Ersatz: There's a fair bit of Draco Malfoy in him (Brencis is nastier, though, by virtue of having inherited a bit of his dad's instability), though it's unknown if that was deliberate.
    • Even funnier when you consider that Tavi is a skinny kid with black hair and green eyes...
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He may be a coward and a jerk, but when the going gets tough, he responds in kind. Like the time he disobeyed the Vord Queen. Also, he creates slaver collars more powerful then Invidia's, though that's at least in part because of tricks he learned from his father.
  • Dark Chick: Male variant, to the Vord. Completely selfish, he has no higher motives than having a good time.
  • Dirty Coward: When he ends up facing Amara, Bernard, and, most importantly, Gaius, he Screams Like a Little Girl and runs. Understandable, though.
  • The Hedonist: After his dad dies and Kalare collapses, he spends his time having threesomes and taking drugs.
  • Mind Rape: One of the best at it.
  • The Rival: In Academ's Fury. When he shows up next, he's kind of outclassed.
  • Smug Snake
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy
  • Yuri Fan

Senator Arnos

The politician in charge of military spending, who dismisses any report of military threats that don't fit his preconceptions. Politically, not a supporter of the First Lord, but in a position too sensitive to ignore.

Tropes that apply to Arnos:

    Mercenaries 

Fidelias ex Cursori, a.k.a. Valiar Marcus

Fidelias was a Cursor and Amara's mentor, until he betrayed the First Lord for Aquitaine. A master spy and manipulator, he has greatly helped Aquitaine's bids for power until deciding Tavi would make a better ruler. He is now Tavi's advisor, in a Secret Identity. In any event, Fidelias is absolutely loyal to only one thing – his country – and will do whatever he thinks is best for it, no matter how terrible others might think it.

Fidelias is absent throughout Cursor's Fury, and it's only after a moment of Fridge Logic from Amara that the narration reveals where he is: throughout the book he's been serving in the First Aleran Legion as First Spear Valiar Marcus, an old cover identity of his. Marcus later has some inner struggles with Heel-Face Revolving Door and Becoming the Mask, but ultimately abandons Lady Aquitane and sides with Tavi.


Tropes that apply to Fidelias:

  • Badass: At one point in Captain's Fury, he takes a javelin in the gut. What does he do? Try to pry it out; when that doesn't work, he cuts down the shaft to make himself more comfortable, and continues giving orders and fighting until he passes out.
  • Becoming the Mask: After taking on the guise of Valiar Marcus, Tavi successfully earns his loyalty up until the point that he comes to value his role as Valiar Marcus over his role as Fidelias, even to the point of turning against Invidia.
  • Big Bad Friend: To Amara at the beginning of the first book.
  • Consummate Liar: As he said to Odiana: "Yes, I do. No, I don't. The sky is green. I am seventeen years old. My real name is Gundred."
  • Death Seeker: Has shades of this.
    • Death Equals Redemption: Feels that he has to die in order to find some sort of redemption. Which happens. Sort of.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Bernard, same crafting, both straightforward, mentors, and a little gruff at times. Too bad Fidelias is evil(ish).
  • Good Feels Good: Part of why he ends up Becoming the Mask; it's plainly obvious that Valiar Marcus, First Spear of the First Aleran, is a lot happier than Fidelias ex Cursori.
  • Heel-Face Revolving Door: Started out on the side of the Big Bad, then switched to the First Aleran, then almost to the Big Bad's Dragon, before finally sticking to Tavi.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side: ...Because they're most likely to be able to preserve the Realm.
  • Fallen Hero: Amara viewed him as this. Tavi, Max, and the First Aleran's leadership see him as this after they learn Valiar Marcus, their dependable First Spear, is also the greatest traitor to the realm.
  • Famed in Story: Fidelias has a reputation as one of the best Cursors, which makes his defection a Mass "Oh, Crap!" moment for his former colleagues. Marcus was given the name Valiar in recognition of his bravery after the aforementioned raid, one of only five men so honored. When Max learns that Valiar Marcus is the First Spear of the First Aleran, he becomes a lot more hopeful of the Legion's chances.
  • No Nonsense Nemesis: Fidelias never gloats. He never does anything he hasn't thought out and planned ahead for, and he never offers his enemies any second chances or a dramatic showdown. Best demonstrated when he decides to deliver his resignation to Lady Aquitaine—with a balest bolt, from several hundred metres away, laced with two of the most lethal poisons in the Realm.
  • Non-Indicative Name: "Fidelias" means "faithful". Which he... um, isn't. Except to the Realm itself.
  • Reliable Traitor: After turning on Gaius, he serves the Aquitaines fairly faithfully despite not liking them much personally. Until he decided Tavi would be a better leader than Attis, at least.
  • Retired Badass: Valiar Marcus came out of retirement to join the First Aleran. This causes Magnus to become suspicious of him, since until he came out of retirement, Marcus had vanished off the face of Alera... around the time Fidelias was known to be operating.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Ultimately averted. It was a close thing, though: when Tavi found out who Marcus really was, he ordered him crucified and had to be talked out of it by Kitai.
  • Secret Identity: As Valiar Marcus.
  • Sergeant Rock: Oh yes. There's a reason he's First Spear.
    • Old Soldier: The most experienced legionare in the First Aleran. At one point, Tavi is about to give him orders, and changes his mind.
      Tavi paused, took a breath, and shook his head. "He’ll know what to do."
  • That Man Is Dead: Forced on him in favor of Valiar Marcus at the end of the series.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Like many watercrafters, though it's much harder for him due to it not being his specialty. It takes almost a month and is apparently quite painful.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist
  • Wild Card
  • Worthy Opponent: Gaius Sextus appears to hold him in high regards even after he turns face. Enough to use furycraft to sneak into his room and leave him the swamp-exploring gear he had left behind because they're in an Enemy Mine situation against Kalarus, also serving as an If I Wanted You Dead... reminder.
  • You Just Told Me: During a fight with some Vord scouts, Magnus, who has been suspicious of Valiar Marcus for a long time, shouts, "Fidelias! Behind you!" When he whirls around to look and sees nothing there, he realizes he just blew his cover. Tavi is pissed.

Aldrick ex Gladius

Probably the second greatest swordsman alive, fears only the swordsman who once beat him – the legendary Araris Valerian. Lover of Odiana, and a mercenary in the service of the Aquitaines.

Tropes that apply to Aldrick:

Odiana

A powerful watercrafter who was enslaved as a young girl – a mind-warping slave collar combined with her powerful empathy and the trauma of slavery has driven her mad.

Tropes that apply to Odiana:

Captain Demos

Captain of the Slive, a merchant vessel that indulges in smuggling as long as they can afford the bribes. Originally recruited by Ehren to carry word of the Canim in Cursor's Fury, he's later hired to help Tavi transport Varg after their Prison Break in Captain's Fury and remains a part of the team through Princeps' Fury and First Lord's Fury. A powerful woodcrafter, as evidenced by the fact that the Slive itself is one big woodcrafting he can control at will.

Tropes that apply to Demos:

  • Anti-Villain: Originally. He was the one who brought Sarl and the Vord Queen back to Canea; in his first appearance he threatens a pawnshop owner with murder, and in his second appearance he nearly follows through Ehren does it first and then proceeds to kidnap all the women and children he can find on his way out of town. Sure, he's technically saving them from being murdered by a horde of Canim, but only so he can sell them into slavery. And yet he's somehow very likable. Like a Darker and Edgier Captain Jack Sparrow.
    • In the following book Tavi notes that he doesn't have enough chains on his ship to be a full-time slaver; he probably never really sold them as slaves and really was just trying to save him. It's just that, he's a pirate – he has a reputation.
  • The Captain
  • Green Thumb: His whole ship is controlled by his powers over wood.
  • The Stoic: He has two emotions: Blank, and pissed.
  • The Unsmile: They are instead described within Academ's Fury as showing his teeth.

Rook a.k.a. Gaelle

Head of the Bloodcrows (Kalarus's equivalent of the Cursors), she is Kalarus' chief spy and assassin; a minor but important recurring character.

Tropes that apply to Rook:

Phrygiar Navaris

Bodyguard, assassin, or blade-for-hire, Navaris doesn't care – she's in it for money and the reputation as the most dangerous swordswoman alive.

Tropes that apply to Navaris:

    Soldiers 

Araris Valerian a.k.a. Fade

One of the greatest swordsman who ever lived and once Septimus' close friend, he is believed dead by most of the world and uses the identity of Bernard's disfigured, brain-damaged slave Fade to watch over and instruct Tavi. He also develops a romance with Isana.

Tropes that apply to Araris:

  • Because I'm Jonesy: Aldrick ex Gladius's favorite boast is to announce that the only person who's ever beaten him was Araris Valerian, "and you're not Araris." When Aldrick realizes that the scarred, apparently feeble-minded and harmless slave he's just delivered this boast to really is Araris, he all but collapses.
  • Becoming the Mask: A bit of a twist on the actual description: he isn't a con man, and he only clings to his alternate identity out of guilt. But he clings hard.
  • Berserk Button: Threaten Isana in front of him. Go ahead. I dare ya.
  • Big Damn Heroes: A lot.
  • The Cavalry: Likewise, a lot. Especially in Cursor's Fury, when Bernard, Isana, and Amara are about to be killed by Kalarus's Immortals, and in comes Fade, out of nowhere, in a dirty chef's apron, and slashes their way out.
  • Chrome Champion: Does this for the final showdown.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: His cover. He's very good at it. He abandons this after Cursor's Fury, where he openly appears as Tavi, and later Isana's bodyguard, as Araris Valerian.
  • Extra Ore Dinary: His metalcrafting ability makes him the deadliest swordsman alive. Also came in handy around Bernardholt's forge.
  • Failure Knight
  • First Episode Spoiler: Some fairly critical details about him are revealed early on, which can make him tricky to talk about without giving plot twists away.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Played with; he disguised himself by burning his face with the Legions' brand for cowardice. He's no coward, but he thinks he is.
    • Meaningful Name: When your surname means 'all-heal', and you end up with the master healer, and at least metaphorically healing her....
  • The Mentor: To Tavi. He's also the first person to realize that Tavi has become capable of furycraft.
  • My Greatest Failure: Blames himself for Septimus's death because Septimus had ordered him to leave and protect Isana instead.
  • Not So Stoic: It took one hell of a lot of effort, though.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Again, he's good at this, in his Fade persona.
  • Posthumous Character: Died before the start of the series in the Marat war.
  • Scars Are Forever: That brand on his face isn't going away any time soon.
  • The Stoic: Not even Isana can pick up on his emotions most of the time. That's right, he's stoic on the outside and the inside.
  • The Swordmaster: Widely renowned as the single greatest swordsman in Alera. After a while, the narration simply stops describing most of his fights, summing them up in lines like, "Nine men rushed him. They died."
  • The Worf Effect: Araris alternates between descriptions of his martial prowess and scenes of him getting roundly trounced. For example, when Nevarris nearly guts him in Captain's Fury, or when the Vord stun him by hitting him with a door toward the beginning of First Lord's Fury.

Antillar "Max" Maximus

Illegitimate son of one of the most powerful High Lords, Max is Tavi's roommate at the Academy and a close personal friend. Lives life for the moment, as he doesn't expect to outlive his father. Powerful in Earthcrafting (especially the ability to induce lust), with a respectable skill in watercrafting as well. As one of the nobility, is also capable in all six elements. Seems to have fallen into the role of Tavi's primary sidekick.

Tropes that apply to Max:

Antillus Crassus

Max's legitimate half-brother, and their father's heir.

Tropes that apply to Crassus:

  • A Father to His Men: Maybe moreso than Tavi; not quite as popular, perhaps, but less willing to put lives in danger. Still generally liked and respected.
  • The Atoner: For his mother's treachery.
  • Only Sane Man: Considering his brother is not the most far-thinking person, Ehren is a somewhat cold spy, his boss's plans are all Crazy Enough to Work, and his boss's girl does whatever the hell she wants to, Crassus is pretty much forced into this position.
  • The Rival: To Max, in a more friendly way as the story progresses.
    • Bash Brothers: Literally. Max and Crassus together are nigh-on unstoppable.
  • The Strategist: His main weakness is that he is too cautious (which nearly costs him dearly), but even that usually serves him well since he is able to sense traps more easily than anyone else. In pretty much every other respect he's an excellent leader and tactician.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When he finds out that his mother is alive and Tavi never told him, he doesn't take it well and calls him out on it.

Other Races

    Marat 

Kitai

Kitai is a girl of the humanoid Marat race, and Tavi's frequent partner, foil, and love interest. Tough and athletic, like Tavi she has learned to rely on her wits to beat powerful Crafters. Like all Marat, she has bonded telepathically with a being of another species, but is unique in that her chala is sentient (namely, Tavi). As a result, she often feels isolated from both cultures. As Tavi develops his Furycrafting, she becomes able to share it through their bond.

Tropes that apply to Kitai:

Doroga, Headman of the Gargant Tribe

Doroga is Kitai's father and one of the most important Marat chieftains. He is blunt and earthy, but anyone who speaks with him for long realizes that he is surprisingly intelligent and canny. Doroga is the first to recognize the menace the Vord pose to the world, remembering them from old Marat legends, and also sends Kitai to learn about the Alerans, bringing her into contact with Tavi again.

Tropes that apply to Doroga:

  • Big Damn Heroes: On a regular basis.
  • The Big Guy: His chala is a giant ground sloth. It goes with the territory.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Doroga is always happy when finding a good fight.
  • Bond Creatures: Walker the gargant.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: As Kitai puts it, the problem with Doroga is that he does not seem wise.
  • Can Not Spit It Out: Not Doroga himself, but he's fond of mocking Alerans (primarily Amara and Bernard) about their inability to talk candidly about sexual topics.
  • Carry a Big Stick: His weapon of choice is a cudgel too big for Amara to even lift.
  • Cool Old Guy: Hell yeah.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kitai had to get it from somewhere. Particularly memorable was his editorializing when asked to mediate a juris macto.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: With Bernard. So much so that Bernard is willing to challenge a Senator who had insulted Doroga.
    Bernard: Senator. If you call my friend a liar one more time, I will take it badly.
    Arnos: Excuse me?
    Bernard: I suggest you find an alternate shortsighted, egomaniacally ridiculous reason to blatantly, recklessly ignore an obvious threat to the Realm simply because you don't wish it to exist. If you cannot restrain yourself from base slander, I will be pleased to meet you in a juris macto and personally rip your forked tongue from your head.
  • Genius Bruiser: No one ever expects a huge, ugly, Cool Old Guy to be quite as canny as Doroga is. He's a decent tactician, learned to read and write surprisingly quickly, has pulled off at least one pretty good Batman Gambit, and has a tendency to function as all-purpose wisdom dispenser whenever Jim Butcher needs to give a character some advice.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Oh yes. Doesn't mean he's not a realist.
  • Shipper on Deck: His closing remarks in Furies of Calderon has him say Tavi is "doomed", and he and his wife were just like Kitai and Tavi, which just involved clear disagreeing.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: He's so heavily muscled that he had to tear the legionare's tunic he wears to make it a vest; otherwise he couldn't get it on.
  • Super Strength: As a result of his chala being a gargant. Most clearly demonstrated in the first book, where he picks up a coffin-sized boulder and throws it. And even manages to hit his target.

Atsurak

Marat headman of the Herdbane tribe, and also a hordemaster (warleader of several tribes). Serves as one of the primary villains in Furies of Calderon.

Tropes that apply to Atsurak:

    Canim 

Ambassador Varg

Varg is the Canim Ambassador to Alera. He's a lot smarter than most Alerans give him and his kind credit for, and recognizes Tavi's capabilities fairly quickly. After getting double-crossed by his advisor, he spends some time in Aleran prison until Tavi breaks him out to get his aid.

Tropes that apply to Varg:

  • Badass Grandpa: Literally and figuratively.
  • Canis Major: Canim are very large.
  • The Chessmaster: And teaches some to Tavi.
  • Everybody Knew Already: Apparently, Canim have a sense of smell strong enough to identify family relations. This means that he doesn't need to be told who Tavi's mother and grandfather are. In fact, Varg knew two books before Tavi did. This also creates some Fridge Brilliance when one thinks about the scene where they met – Tavi was bluffing, pretending to be what he actually was.
  • Genius Bruiser: He's both one of the smartest and physically most powerful characters in the books – and considering this series, that's saying something.
  • Large Ham: When given a reason, he can be quite the melodramatic guy.
    • WHO WILL DRINK WITH ME?
  • The Nicknamer: Gives Tavi the Meaningful Nickname Tavar.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy
  • Really 700 Years Old: His exact age is never mentioned, but admits to having played ludus for at least 600 years.
  • Smart People Play Chess: He taught Tavi to play ludus.
  • Wolfman
  • Worthy Opponent: To Tavi, and the Alerans in general. The word is gadara. The Canim actually prefer having Worthy Opponents to friends: they're people you can respect and even like, yet will always keep you on your toes.
    • Note that Nausag, Varg's son and protege, addresses him as gadara-sar, meaning "Worthy Opponent-Father."
  • You Didn't Ask: When Tavi goes to explain that Isana is actually his mother, Varg's response is basically, "Yes, I know. I can smell it." He then goes on to mention that he knew Tavi was the First Lord's grandson since he'd first met him; he just figured he shouldn't say anything, because who knew what those crazy Alerans were thinking and maybe it was normal.

Sarl

A Canim ritualist, who is Varg's political rival. Undermines Varg by seeking alliances behind his back including with the Vord.

Tropes that apply to Sarl:

Nasaug

Leader of the Canim warriors who arrive in Alera with Sarl, Nasaug is honorable yet ruthless and above all a highly competent military commander. He is one of Tavi's primary antagonists (albeit a respected one) throughout the middle part of the series.

Tropes that apply to Nasaug:

  • Anti-Villain: He's only on Alera because he has to be, but since he's here, he's going to do the best job he can.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Oh, yes.
  • Badass Family: Varg is his father.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: To Sarl at first. Lampshaded later by Varg, who describes his actions at the beginning of the war as feeding Sarl to the Tavar. When it's put like that, you almost feel sorry for the poor bastard.
    • The Starscream: Actively works against Sarl to betray him and seize power. This is good for the Canim, because Nasaug is exponentially more competent than Sarl. This is bad for the Alerans for the same reason.
    • Dragon Ascendant: Takes over complete command of the Canim forces after Sarl dies.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy
  • Smart People Play Chess: Including with the enemy commander in the middle of a bloody battle.
  • The Strategist
  • Submissive Badass: To Varg, who notes that Nasaug is four hundred years old and a skilled Warmaster in his own right, but who nonetheless submits to the authority of his mentor and father.
  • Wolfman
  • Worthy Opponent: To Tavi, and also to Varg, his mentor and father.
  • Xanatos Gambit: As Tavi observes, his strategies never serve just a single purpose. He sees to it that he has many paths to a victory.

Master Morak

One of the few decent Canim ritualists, who believes in the following the Old Way of using one's own blood for magic instead of another being's.

    The Vord 

The Vord

A Horde of Alien Locusts accidentally awakened at the beginning of the series.

Tropes that apply to the Vord:

Vord Queen

The leader(s) of the Vord. Very scary.

Tropes that apply to the Vord Queen:

  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Hell yeah!
  • Big Bad
  • Bishojo Line: She starts out very buggy-looking. When we see her next, she looks more human, but still has obvious chitinous plates of armor. Her last form is an Uncanny Valley-tastic Green-Skinned Space Babe copy of Kitai with some of Tavi's features.
  • Black Eyes of Evil
  • Creepy Child: The first Queen has extremely creepy childlike aspects to her. As Invidia notes, she's only nine years old. Her 'Doll House' is a steadhold in Vord territory she created to try to comprehend good. It's just as scary as it sounds.
  • Cute Monster Girl: She tries, but...
  • Dying Race: The prime Vord Queen creates sterile "daughters" deliberately because they inevitably rise up and attempt to destroy her. With her death in the final book, the only queen left, in Canea, does not have the ability to produce more.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: One Vord Queen doesn't get why Amara would give her own life to kill the queen. Later on, the Prime Queen takes measures to understand humanity more properly. Unfortunately, this tends to make things even worse. For instance, she attempts to serve dinner to people and have small talk, but is willing to brutally murder innocents because they are inconvenient. She doesn't understand why this is wrong.
  • Genius Bruiser: One of the scariest things about the Vord Queens in general is how incredibly smart they are. The first Queen is so intelligent she's almost like a Zerg version of Grand Admiral Thrawn.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe
  • Hive Queen: Well, duh.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Frighteningly averted. The queens are smart, and while they have the numbers to Zerg Rush, they use very intelligent tactics while doing so. In Academ's Fury, before the number of Vord became completely ridiculous, the first queen fought using a devestating series of ambushes before moving in to crush her weakened enemies.
  • Humanity Is Infectious / Intrigued by Humanity: The primary Vord Queen. Her daughters want to kill her for that. In fact, are genetically required to kill her for that.
  • Lethal Chef: The Vord Queen doesn't really get cooking.
    Invidia: "On a scale of one to ten, ten being the most revolting and one being almost edible, I believe that rating this recipe would require the use of exponents."
  • Lightning Bruiser: Swords barely scratch her, she's as fast as a Windcrafter, and as strong as an Earthcrafter. And that's before she learns how to furycraft.
  • Made of Iron: Balest bolts bounce off her skin. Balest bolts can, for reference, go all the way through two heavily armored legionares.
  • Mama Bear: Pretty much everything she does in the entire series is purely because she has an overwhelming need to make sure her "children" are safe.
  • Pet the Dog: When she is in a position to completely exterminate humanity, she sets aside areas where they can live freely, safely and under their own government, the only condition being they let her sterilise them. Considering her Vord instincts are continuously screaming at her to immediately wipe out every non-Vord, the fact that she's willing to slowly establish Vord dominance by preventing new human life rather than immediately causing death and suffering to those who are already alive says a lot about her. Note that while this does indeed weaken the resistance against her she has the numbers to crush them completely if she wanted to, and this offer is not a trick; she fully keeps her word to them to the point that even after she's killed, the Vord she assigned to protect the surrendered humans continue to do so, even from other Vord.
  • Psychic Powers: With mind reading and illusion crafting as her specialties.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Her "green Kitai" form has waist-length white hair.
  • Waif-Fu: She is able to tear through nine-foot tall Canim warriors, shred a Legion shieldwall, and take on the mightiest crafters in Alera with casual ease.

    Alera 

Alera

Probably the greatest and most powerful fury in existence, and effectively the incarnation of the entire continent. She's taken a fondness to the house of Gaius, acting as a Spirit Advisor to them and causing effects on a massive scale when they ask and it suits her. However, she will not directly aid one side over another; using her power effectively relies on setting up situations where some outside influence helps your side more than the other.

Tropes that apply to Alera:

  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Technically all furies would be this, but Alera's the most human and comprehensible of them, having interacted with the house of Gaius for centuries.
  • Bishonen Line: Of the great furies we see, Kalare is a giant volcano, Garados is a hideous mountain beast, and Thana is a vast, gaunt shape composed of countless windmanes. Alera, on the other hand, is very humanlike until you get to her eyes.
  • Kaleidoscope Eyes: They cycle through just about every color imaginable. But then, she's a Physical God...
  • The Mentor: Her Training from Hell is all that gets Tavi anywhere near normal skill levels at crafting.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Sextus' destruction of Alera Imperia destroyed the mosaic that called her into being as a discrete existence, and she's already fading away when she first meets Tavi.
    • In a subversion, she doesn't die until after the epilogue.
  • Physical God
  • Spirit Advisor
  • Time Abyss: She is billions of years old.
    • Perhaps one of the foremost examples: "Entire species come and go, like the sparks rising from a campfire."

Circle of MagicCharacters/LiteratureThe Cornelius Chronicles

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