A listing of characters from the tetrology The Doctrine of Labyrinths
, by Sarah Monette
. Caution: Since characters often die, survive, or react based on the acts or luck of other characters, unmarked spoilers likely will exist.
Felix Harrowgate, the most gifted wizard of the Mirador
, the seat of power in the country of Marathat. Although he pretends to be the son of a noblewoman fleeing political unrest in the far-off country of Caloxa, a political enemy within The Magocracy
reveals near the beginning of Mélusine
that Felix actually grew up as a prostitute in the Marathine capital of Mélusine. He still suffers from his past as a plaything for blood wizard
Malkar Gennadion, who introduced him to the Mirador for his own purposes and who proceeds to mystically use
to destroy the Virtu
, an event that also renders Felix psychotic and unable to access his own powers. After he convinces Mavortian and Gideon to save his newfound half-brother Mildmay the Fox from the Mirador's curse, Mildmay returns the favor by escorting him to the distant Gardens of Nephele, where, according to Felix's dreams, healers exist who can repair his mind. Although brave, witty, and charismatic, Felix also has a taste for cruelty
which he attempts (with mixed success
) to channel into violent sex with willing men
. Tall, pale, and redheaded, with one gold and one blue eye, he appears very exotic to most Marathines. After the midpoint of The Virtu
, he and Mildmay share a bond outside of brotherhood, as he casts the obligation d'ame on him, at Mildmay's request.
"I did not believe in redemption, or atonement; if anything existed beyond this frail and sordid life, I knew I was already damned. Knew, and did not care."
Tropes pertaining to Felix Harrowgate:
- Agent Peacock: He calls everyone "darling," wears "carnival-tent gaudy" clothes, and worries about humidity frizzing his hair... and also burns a guy to ashes with his mind.
- Attention Whore: It would be a gross understatement to say he loves attention, though it should be noted that Felix is far less comfortable with attention he earns without seeking it. As Mildmay observes, Felix doesn't like attention for his own achievements, just superficial things, like his looks.
- Badass Gay: Most of the time, he could burn you to a cinder with a thought.
- Badass in Distress: When he temporarily loses his magic.
- Big Damn Heroes: Along with Mildmay and Corbie, when they take on the machine under Summerdown in Corambis.
- Bishōnen: Felix is described as "as beautiful as sunlight". Unfortunately for others, he also shamelessly uses his beauty to manipulate and control.
- Bondage Is Bad: For the other guy, when Felix experiences a rage blackout in The Mirador; and for Felix, when the members of a sex cult take advantage of his vulnerability to steal his magic in Corambis.
- Brains and Bondage: With Malkar, Shannon, paying clients, and random dudes.
- Brought Down to Badass: While you can't get rid of a wizard's magic (at least as far as we can tell), severe mental trauma or certain medicines can render a wizard incapable of accessing his power. Luckily for the people who need him, he'll power a spirit-channeling maze with his own blood if that's what it takes. Another example occurs when he has to face down a fantome and the a Clock Punk weapon of mass destruction while under the binding-by-forms.
- Camp Gay: Other than wimpiness, it's hard to think of a single gay stereotype he doesn't at some point play into.
- Club Kid: Gaudy clothes, "darling"s, sex clubs, the whole nine yards.
- Convicted by Public Opinion: Felix hasn't been tried for heresy and treason yet, but the public nearly stones him to death when Stephen forces him to walk through the Plaza del'Archimago.
- Depraved Homosexual: Veers into this territory when he beats a partner (initially willing, but not by this point) nearly to death in a dominance-submission game in The Mirador. In fairness to Felix, he was crazy enough that he didn't even remember doing it.
- Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: He returns to Malkar's bed about six years after partially breaking the obligation de sang. This is about as good an idea as you'd think.
- Dream Walker
- First Gray Hair: When Felix comes to his senses in Troia, he looks in the mirror and realizes that he has a streak of white in his hair.
- Frameup: Felix is wrongfully jailed for treason in Mélusine, and for the murder of Gideon in The Mirador.
- Gentleman Snarker: When conversing with anyone who annoys him in any way. Which is to say, with any humans.
- Heroic Willpower: Demonstrated in his showdown with the fantome at the end of Corambis.
- I Gave My Word: Felix is incensed when Mildmay suggests that they break the conditions of Felix's commuted sentence by not going to Corambis.
- Interrupted Suicide: While trying to avoid being possessed by a fantome (Mélusine).
- Lover and Beloved: Beloved to Malkar, although the books thoroughly deconstruct this trope. Felix has no desire to pass on the tradition with an apprentice of his own.
- Mind Control: Uses the obligation d'ame to force Mildmay to kill an enemy. Also a victim of it from Malkar.
- Mind Rape: Malkar's assault on him early in Mélusine drives the plot of the first two books. Later, Felix inflicts a similar fate on Vulpes.
- Mistaken for Prostitute: In Bernatha, due to his bright clothes, which are a sign of prostitution in the city. Later, he begins hooking for real again.
- My Greatest Failure: It's a tossup between forcing Mildmay to kill Vey Coruscant and enabling Gideon's death.
- Not a Morning Person: Possibly as a result of this, he's often late to court.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Due to Malkar's sadistic manipulations, Felix's powers nearly bring down a country, and burn much of a major city to the ground.
- Psychopomp: Acts as one for various spirits in The Virtu and The Mirador.
- Rape as Backstory: His Keeper sent him out as a street prostitute when he was a kid; he started working at a brothel at 11 and was living with Malkar at 14.
- Rape as Drama: In both Mélusine and Corambis.
- Really Gets Around: Gideon suggests that Felix doesn't know how many men he's slept with in the last month. He's right.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Felix is mentioned by both Mildmay and Mehitabel as having absolutely no head for the worth of money. Mildmay, in fact, manages the household finances.
- Safe, Sane and Consensual: How he likes sex with Shannon and Murtagh.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: When it comes to the Cabalines' rules against laying the dead.
- Sex God: Gideon didn't know it was possible to have sex as good as it is with Felix.
- Shameful Strip: Courtesy of Brother Orphelin, at [[Bedlam House St. Crellifer's]].
- Sibling Incest: His attraction to Mildmay.
- Shamed by a Mob: When Stephen drags him through the Plaza del'Archimago in Mélusine.
- Squishy Wizard: Not as graceless as some of his colleagues, but he's still so physically inept that Mehitabel laughs when Vulpes asks if he was the one who beat Mildmay to a pulp in The Mirador.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes People are stunned by his golden left eye. And, guess what, wizard. Freakishly powerful wizard.
- Telepathy: Uses it to talk with Gideon and Thamuris.
- Tell Me About My Father: Felix just wants Diokletian to tell him who the man is. He can't tell him, because nobody knows.
- The Caretaker: Of Mildmay, who's fallen seriously ill, in Corambis. Felix takes this role very seriously, to the point of prostituting himself to pay a doctor.
- The Dog Bites Back He snaps down hard on Malkar in The Virtu. That's why Malkar isn't around for the third and fourth books.
- The Oathbreaker: As Mildmay says, "I don't know of anything you care enough about to swear by," possibly because of the many times Felix has sworn by his soul and broken the vow.
- The Ophelia: A definite gender inversion in Felix in Mélusine.
- Tongue-Tied: Due to layers of spells cast on him, Felix can't tell the Cabal the truth about Malkar in Mélusine.
- Unhappy Medium: When unable to control his ability through magic.
- Unlimited Wardrobe: Felix, at least while in power. He has a coat for every occasion, as long as "carnival-tent gaudy" (Mildmay, The Virtu) fits the mood. And if it doesn't, he'll still go with that.
- Unscrupulous Hero: This is a guy who will risk his life to lay ghouls to rest... only to turn around and Mind Rape his own brother.
- We Used to Be Friends: With Thaddeus de Lalage.
Mildmay the Fox
"Since you ask, no, it ain't a nice way to live, but it beats the fuck out of dying."
A former teenaged assassin
for a don
in Mélusine's Lower City
, Mildmay broke away from her influence and, at the beginning of Mélusine, earns a living as a cat burglar. Despite telling himself that he "know[s] better," he falls for his demimondaine client Ginevra Thomson. Thrown into disarray by her murder
, he becomes involved in Mavortian von Heber's schemes regarding Felix, then suffering from Malkar's assaults and the Cabalines'
suspicion. When he sees Felix's face and similar coloring, he realizes that they are actually half-brothers. Given Mildmay's Lower City-bred hatred of the Mirador, it comes as quite a shock, but he feels beholden to Felix for the removal of a curse and escorts him to the far East in hopes of finding a cure for his insanity. Due to lingering traces of the curse, combined with the stress of the journey, he suffers a permanently crippled leg. His accent and badly scarred face
lead many people to underestimate his intelligence and capacity for kindness After becoming Felix's esclavin in the obligation d'ame, he adopts the more respectable name "Mildmay Foxe".Tropes pertaining to Mildmay the Fox:
- Badass Normal: His mundane badassery is sufficient to enable killing wizards.
- Big Brother Instinct: Mildmay is good with children and protective of them, even though his face tends to scare them. He also has a serious case of this towards Felix from the moment they first meet, despite being six years younger.
- Card Sharp: Mildmay was trained as a card sharp while he was a kept thief. He is such a good card player that he pays his and Felix's traveling expenses without even needing to cheat.
- The Caretaker: Mildmay is this to insane!Felix in Mélusine.
- Chivalrous Pervert: He may visit brothels staffed with dubiously willing women, but they seem to have a better-than-average time when he does.
- Cloud Cuckoolanders Minder: To Felix, in Mélusine.
- Combat Pragmatist: He's gone below the belt several times in fights, once even kicking Felix... anyway, yeah, he's gone below the belt several times.
- The Dog Bites Back: On Kolkhis in The Mirador.
- Face of a Thug: Mildmay's face is mentioned to be incredibly frightening— to the point where he never smiles because he knows it would scare other people. However, most of the women he encounters (Mehitabel, Kolkhis, the Fawn daughters, Corbie, and random chambermaids), not to mention Felix, seem able to look past it.
- Friends with Benefits: With Mehitabel. Later with Corbie.
- Handicapped Badass: After his leg gets broken in Mélusine, it heals badly and he won't be running anyone down... but if they get within arm's reach, he can take on just about anyone.
- Hitman with a Heart
- Genius Bruiser: Quickly learns both Troian and Kekropian.
- Gentleman Thief: Averted. Mildmay is illiterate, swears constantly, and has no illusions about the morality of his career.
- Green Eyes: While he has no magic of his own, he has the uncanny ability to never get lost ever, even in the middle of magical labyrinths.
- Mind Control: Exerted on him by Felix, Astyanax, and Malkar, for various reasons.
- Reluctant Warrior: Until the end of The Mirador, Mildmay is this, wanting to keep from killing but his lifestyle refusing to accommodate.
- Rape as Backstory: Kolkhis "could make me. She'd done it before."
- Roofhopping: Mildmay's preferred way of getting around on the job, until his leg gets hurt.
- Seen It All
- Sex God: According to Mehitabel, "'no one' was as good as Mildmay."
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: As exemplified by his catchphrases, "Fuck this for the emperor's snotrag" and "Fuck me sideways till I cry".
- The Stoic: His parental figure loved to try and get a rise out of him to embarrass him, and eventually Mildmay just figured out how to keep himself from reacting, to the point that he no longer remembers how to react to anything mundane.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: From what is known about Malkar, and from what Felix tells us about him, it's heavily implied that Mildmay suffered sexual, psychological, and physical torture at Malkar's hands. But even when Mildmay does remember, he refuses to talk or even think about it: Mildmay is a first-person narrator in every book, and by the fourth book remembers what happens, but we, the readers, never find out and it's still kept ambiguous.
- Tyke Bomb: He became a professional assassin at fourteen.
While making their return to Marathat in The Virtu
, the half-brothers encounter Mehitabel, currently working as a governess in a bourgeois household in eastern Kekropia. As it turns out, this is one of her many disguises
: she worked both as an actress and as a spy for the Bastion (a stronghold for the Kekropian military), and immediately recognizes the Cabaline tattoos. She trades her knowledge of and contacts within Kekropia for assistance fleeing to Marathat, where she starts over as an actress at one of Mélusine's major theaters. Unfortunately, the spymaster of the Bastion still holds her great love
, Hallam Bellamy, captive, and, through Lieutenant Vulpes, forces her to use her wiles
to seduce information from prominent Marathines. She and Mildmay are Friends with Benefits
in parts of The Virtu
and The Mirador
, and she retains considerable fondness for both redheaded brothers until her character exits the series with the end of The Mirador
"Are you planning to execute me, too? I'd like to know before I make dinner plans."
- Brainy Brunette: Her street smarts get Mildmay and Felix through the southern duchies.
- Femme Fatale: After Vulpes coerces her into spying for the Bastion.
- Good Bad Girl: Likes sex and helping people.
- I Have Your Wife: Vulpes coerces back into spying by threatening her great love, Hallam Bellamy.
- Master of Disguise: When Mildmay still can't stand her, he notes that he'd rather eat hot coals than admit it, but "she knew all about disguises."
- Meganekko: With her big, childlike eyes and spectacles.
- The Mistress: To Lord Stephen, although she seems to do it mainly in hopes of ingratiating herself with Vulpes.
- Nerves of Steel: Felix says that she "would stand like iron when [lesser people]] mewled and ran."
- Rape as Backstory: While we don't know how far he went, she ran away from home at fifteen to get away from her pervy uncle, René.
- True Blue Femininity: Mildmay is struck by her beauty when he visits her as she prepares for a soiree while wearing "yards and yards of this gorgeous indigo crushed velvet."
- When She Smiles: While she is not conventionally pretty, Mildmay says her smile is "as bright as a handful of diamonds in the sun."
A margrave of southern Corambis, formerly Caloxa, Kay Brightmore went to war
against Usaran raiders at age fourteen. Many years later, he supports Gerrard Hume, the son of Caloxa's dead king and Kay's secret object of desire
in an uprising against the Corambin conquerers. The rebellion ends when Gerrard and most of his top commanders die attempting to awaken an ancient engine of destruction
. The incident leaves Kay blinded and at the mercy of his captors, one of whom, the duke of Glimmering, puts him through a macabre Humiliation Conga
that includes publicly exhibiting him chained to Gerrard's catafalque. Meanwhile, the awakened machine begins sucking in the energies of machines and living beings within the region of Summerdown. Kay appears only in the final novel, Corambis
"I fear my heart is more gears than flesh."
Tropes pertaining to Kay Brightmore:
Background and Historical Characters
Tibernian noblewoman who married Gareth Teverius with the plan of overthrowing the monarchy and placing her son, Shannon, on the throne as a puppet king. People in the Lower City still remember her as the Golden Bitch, "a soubriquet she had earned seven times over" (Felix, The Virtu
). After her death, the Teverii attempted to obliterate all legal reminders of her, something made more difficult by the fact that Shannon looks just like
her. He has only one keepsake from her, a necklace with flower-shaped links, which he gives to Felix to take into exile.
Mehitabel's great love, a Kekropian wizard who attempted to flee. Louis Goliath caught him, cut off his thumbs
, and locked him in an oubliette
, later using him to coerce Mehitabel
into spying for the Bastion.
Marathine noblewoman, killed by her husband after marrying a king of the Cordelian dynasty. Mehitabel, Gideon, and Antony discover her crypt in the Mirador, despite the fact that she has a dummy tomb at an Emarthian villa. Mildmay describes her as "Gloria Aestia with guts."
Former Witchfinder Extraordinary, assassinated by Mildmay.
of the Bastion. Via Isaac Garamond, he coerces Mehitabel into spying for Kekropia. At some point he had a sexual relationship with Gideon Thraxios.
Blood wizard who trained Brinvillier Strych; ultimately defeated by a wizard (probably of the Mirador) named Loël Fairweather. Felix can still feel the mikkary pouring off her emerald rings, still stored in the Mirador.
Felix and Mildmay's mother. Born in Troia, she rebelled against her strict father and became pregnant with Felix by an unknown man, then fled the country when Felix was a few months old. By the time he was old enough to remember her or she had Mildmay, she was working as a prositute in Mélusine. She died in the Great Fire when Felix was eleven. He strongly resembles her, both physically and temperamentally.
Blood wizard, teacher of Vey Coruscant, who burned Jane Teveria to death in the Hall of the Chimeras. In Mélusine
, Vey Coruscant attempts to resurrect him, but can't, since his body is missing from the Boneprince. As it turns out, he's alive and well, under the name of Malkar Gennadion
Grandmother of Stephen, Victoria, and Shannon. She attempted to purge crime from the Lower City by killing large numbers of delinquent children. Brinvillier Strych burned her to death in the Hall of the Chimeras.
Scheming cousin of Lord Stephen and pawn of Vey Coruscant, Kolkhis, and Robert of Hermione; assassinated by Mildmay.
Late Lord Protector, an ineffectual leader and a womanizer; father of Stephen, Victoria and (legally) Shannon.
Lover and co-conspirator of Gloria Aestia; possible biological father of Shannon Teverius.
A harmless minor witch in the Lower City. The Mirador charged him with heresy and burned him at the stake, probably during Cerberus Cresset's tenure. He was a close friend of Mildmay.
Other Characters, First Encountered in Mélusine
A wizard in the Gardens of Nephele. He and Felix have a brief affair, prior to Felix's discovery that he had laid a compulsion on Mildmay.
Half-brother and bodyguard of Mavortian von Heber. Himself an annemer, he relies on his intimidating appearance and skill with a sword to survive. Although he and Mildmay do not like one another, Felix thinks they have much in common.
and close friend of Mildmay; shy, sweet, and very smart. He brings the Kalliphorne's news of Mildmay's kidnapping to Felix.
Henchman of Vey Coruscant. He participates in the attack on Mildmay and Ginevra in the Boneprince graveyard.
Musician, admirer of Austin Lefevre... and informant for Vey Coruscant and possibly Kolkhis of Britomart
A ghost or spirit who encounters insane!Felix in the lower reaches of the Mirador in Mélusine
. He wants desperately to be put to rest, something Felix accomplishes in The Mirador
Coruscant, VeyBlood witch
the Lower City's Dassament district. Formerly a pupil of Brinvillier Strych, she attempts to use Mildmay and Ginevra in her failed attempt to bring him back from the dead
. Felix, using the obligation d'ame, forces Mildmay to assassinate her
A nature-witch (and therefore heretic); the lover of Ginevra's friend Estella Velvet; arrested during a witch hunt
. As Mildmay later finds out, Estella traded his whereabouts for Faith's release
A celebrant in the gardens of Nephele. He locates Felix while practicing oneiromancy and encourages the younger man to seek him out. Once among Methony Feucoronne's many lovers (and therefore possibly Felix's father), he turns out to be far less nurturing and more disapproving than Felix might have hoped.
Madam of the Goosegirl's Palace and one of Mélusine's most reliable information brokers; reputed to have once been a mistress to Lord Gareth Teverius. She comes to despise Mildmay for aligning himself with a Cabaline, brother or not.
Somewhat like Felix, Vida is a beautiful, powerful member of the Cabal and Curia. He notes that her "cold, ruthlessly rational intellect" had made them "often allies, more rarely friends". She is the lover of Thaddeus de Lalage.
A shy, sweet-natured young man with a crush on Felix. Although Felix does not reciprocate his attraction, he considers him a friend and mourns his death in Mélusine
A psychopathic blood wizard who found then-adolescent Felix in a brothel, then groomed him to become a member of polite society, while also brutalizing him and casting the obligation de sang on him. He steals Felix's power to break the Virtu, burn much of the Mirador, and destroy its wards in Mélusine
. Felix kills him to save Mildmay in The Virtu
. As it turns out, "Malkar Gennadion" is an alias for Brinvillier Strych. Whether Strych had faked his own death a century ago, or come back from the dead, remains unknown.
Tropes pertaining to Malkar Gennadion:
- Bastard Boyfriend: As the other tropes prove.
- Big Bad: His evil is behind most of the sorry things that happen to Felix, several of the ones that happen to Mildmay, and the biggest to threaten Marathat, over the course of the books.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: What he inflicts on Mildmay while holding him captive in the Bastion.
- Consummate Liar: He lives in the Mirador for, give or take, nine or ten years (depending on which of account you're reading at the time), and in that time convinces everyone that a local whore is a foreign nobleman, establishes his own mini-court of fawning admirers, and even seduces the Lord Protector's Ice Queen sister.
- The Corrupter: Of Felix. It's hard to know how much of this is just for kicks, and how much of it is to gain access to Felix's magic.
- Depraved Bisexual: Fond of tricking people into loving him and then yanking the rug out from under him. For extra kicks, he sometimes rapes them, too.
- For the Evulz: His chief motivation for raping Felix,torturing various people, driving a young woman to suicide, and attempting to assist in the invasion of a country that more or less minds its own business? He enjoys it.
- Lover and Beloved: His relationship with Felix is a deconstruction.
- Manipulative Bastard: He excels at tricking people into doing what he wants.
- Mind Control: The obligation de sang allows him to use this on Felix. He also enacts a compulsion on Mildmay in The Virtu.
- More Than Mind Control: He isn't averse to using this, either, as when he schemes to let Robert find out about Felix's humiliating past so that Felix will return to him.
- The Svengali: He trained Felix so he could one day use him to bring down the Mirador.
Heber, Mavortian von
Norvenan wizard, driven by revenge against a man named Beaumont Livy, who 
drove Mavortian's love to suicide some time in the past. He uses a spell to call the most useful person to him, thus winding up with Mildmay. He suffers from disabled legs, likely also a result of Livy's cruelty, and relies heavily on his annemer half-brother and bodyguard Bernard to function. He dies facing Malkar Gennadion, who turns out to be Beaumont Livy under a different name.
Tropes pertaining to Mavortian von Heber:
- Best Served Cold: He's spent much of his life in pursuit of Beaumont Livy. And he dies for it, too
- Brains and Brawn: How he seems to view his relationship with Bernard.
- Consummate Liar: According to Mildmay.
- Handicapped Badass: Although he can barely use his legs, he reveals the presence of the Hermione fantôme, metaphorically stands up to a captor who's got him drugged and locked in a room, and crosses probably most of a continent at least twice.
Hermione, Robert of
Despite his modest skill as a wizard, Robert's status as the brother of Stephen Teverius's late wife, Emily, gives him enough power to act as a major antagonist to Felix, publicly exposing him as a former prostitute and tormenting him during his spell of insanity. He gets his comeuppance in The Mirador
, when Mildmay reveals that he has been involved for years in a monarchist plot involving, among others, Gloria Aestia, Vey Coruscant, and Kolkhis of Britomart
Owner of a bar in Alchemic where Mildmay, Bernard, and Mavortian all briefly work.
An anthropophagous, mermaid-like monster who lives in the Sim. Phoskis Terrapin believes he has her caged, but in reality she can readily escape her trap. She enlists Mildmay, Mavortian, and Bernard to cure her husband of a magical illness and becomes quite fond of "the foxlike one", tipping off Cardenio when it sees him boated away from the city by Malkar and even befriending Felix, whom she considers Mildmay's "littermate," while he true-dreams.
An acolyte in the Gardens of Nephele, assigned to tend Mildmay. He originally despises Mildmay as a thief and murderer, but comes to care for him and alerts Felix to Mildmay's dire situation.
- The Atoner: He feels so guilty about mistreating Mildmay that he thinks he deserves to be put back to scrubbing floors with the novices.
- Upper-Class Twit: He wears expensive jewelry and is, initially at least, very snide toward Mildmay.
Sometimes known as Kolkhis of Britomart, and to her followers as Keeper, Kolkhis (first name unknown) is a don
in Mélusine's Britomart district, running thieves, cardsharps, and assassins. Her favorite pupil
was Mildmay, who she raised from the age of four, made her lover when he was thirteen, and turned into an assassin shortly thereafter. Targets he killed for her include Lord Cornell Teverius and Cerberus Cresset, the Witchfinder Extraordinary. He broke away from her at around age seventeen, but she continued to want him back. In The Virtu
, she helps smuggle Felix into Lamia to rescue Mildmay from Malkar... at the price of a book confiscated by the Mirador. Ruthless, imperious, and cruel, she delights in manipulating people and especially seems to enjoy setting Mildmay and her current favorite, Septimus Wilder, at one another. Later in The Mirador
, Mildmay discovers that she was in league with Vey Coruscant for well over a decade and took part in a plot to restore the monarchy
.Tropes relating to Kolkhis
- Bitch Alert: When Felix meets her in The Virtu.
- Bad Boss: In charge of everything from cardsharping to assassination.
- The Don: She runs a crime syndicate in Britomart, with everything from petty theivery to political assassination under its aegis.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: She has black hair, gray eyes, and pale skin with "those cold blue undertones that made her look some mornings like the world's most beautiful corpse" (Mildmay, The Mirador).
- Even Evil Has Standards: Pretty much the only thing she does for free is assist heretics.
- Graceful Ladies Like Purple: As Felix describes her in The Virtu.
- Lean and Mean: She has a "long snaky body" and gets her kicks from forcing herself on her subordinates and generally messing with their heads.
- Manipulative Bastard: The kind who'll send her fourteen-year-old lover out to kill a man in a hopeless bid to earn her love.
- Wife Husbandry: A gender inversion, as she raises at least two of the boys who become her lovers.
A former Eusebian turned fanatical Cabaline
, probably of Midlander origin. He befriended Felix over their shared experiences with abusive wizards and rescues him from St. Crellifer's, but turns on him when Felix fails to quickly return to normalcy. He hates Gideon Thraxios and wrongly believes him to be a spy, a fact that Isaac Garamond
attempts to manipulate to the Bastion's advantage.Tropes pertaining to Thaddeus de Lalage:
Poet and lover of Ginevra; murdered alongside her by Vey Coruscant's crime syndicate.
A fanatical member of the Order of St. Crellifer. Felix sees him as a corpse.
A fence in Ruthven. She helps move Mildmay's stolen goods.
Childhood friend of Mildmay, who regards her as a sister. Once a member of Kolkhis's syndicate, she now heads up Gang Bangers
in the Lower City. While pursued by the City Guards in Mélusine
, Mildmay takes refuge with her pack, but one of her underlings tips off the police, who massacre much of her pack. She survives, but the friendship does not.
Novalucrezia, Giancarlo of
Head of the Curia, and thus Marathat's highest-ranking wizard. He fails to immediately recognize the compulsions laid on Felix and has a terrible scowl. Nonetheless, Mildmay considers him "a fair man, about as fair as a hocus could be". In The Mirador
, he repays Mildmay's service to the Mirador by asking Lord Stephen for clemency regarding Felix's heresy.
A sadistic warder in St. Crellifer's. He torments Felix with cruel questions and subjects him to a Traumatic Haircut
and Shameful Strip
Famous banker and mayor of Mélusine.Tropes related to Elvenner Packer include:
- Mayor Pain: Mildmay and Stephen may not agree on much, but they both despise Elvenner Packer, mayor of Mélusine.
- Morally Bankrupt Banker: Stephen would rather turn Marathat into a vassal of Tibernia than indebt the country to Elvenner Packer.
Leader of a Mélusinien pack and personal enemy of Mildmay. In The Virtu
, he attacks Mildmay as the latter re-enters the city, but Felix foils the attack by making Rindleshin's knife red-hot.Sadistic warder of St. Crellifer's
Lower City criminal who controls an access route to the Sim. Kolkhis once had Mildmay live with him, theoretically as leverage over her, but really so he could deflect some of the suspicion for Cornell Teverius's murder away from her and onto Phoskis. He hates Mildmay, and tries to feed him to the Kalliphorne, whom he mistakenly believes he controls.
Eldest known child of the late lord protector Gareth Teverius, she is sister to Stephen and half-sister to Shannon. Outside of an ill-fated affair with Malkar, she is very dour and strict. Mehitabel describes her as "[s]tern, regular, and uncompromising."Tropes pertaining to Victoria Teveria:
- Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: She has an affair with Malkar. In retrospect, Stephen finds this very unsettling.
- Ice Queen: Mildmay describes her as "cold as a dead fish" on Felix's return to the Mirador, but the description applies most of the time. Remarkably, Malkar managed to gain her love anyway— likely just so it would hurt more when he turned on the Cabalines.
Youngest-known son (at least legally
) of Gareth Teverius, by his second wife, Gloria Aestia, the fabled "Golden Bitch," from which fact he gained the unpleasant nickname of "Golden Whelp"; half-brother of Stephen and Victoria Teverius. Much to Stephen's disapproval, he has been in a relationship with Felix for nearly five years at the start of Mélusine
. While he and Felix split acrimoniously, he later becomes a loyal friend to Mehitabel Parr. Luther Littleman's ghost implies that Shannon is indeed not of "the blood of the Teverii."
Tropes pertaining to Shannon Teverius:
- Bastard Bastard: Played with; people keep expecting the likely son of Gloria Aestia and Cotton Verlalius to do something terrible, but his offenses mostly consist of spreading rumors about and sniping with his ex.
- Camp Gay: Catty, a flamboyant dresser, and a huge devotee of theater.
- Dating What Daddy Hates: His much older brother Stephen is the head of the family and hates Felix more than just about anything else in the world. Guess who Shannon moved in with.
- Heel-Face Turn: In The Mirador, he grows into a reliable friend to Mehitabel and shows kindness to Felix after his fall from grace.
- Generation Xerox
- Malicious Slander: He spreads a rumor that Felix and Mildmay are sleeping together. They'd feel better about it if it weren't so close to the truth.
- Pretty Boy: Famous for it.
- Royal Brat: Shannon's behavior early in the series is a headache for his brother, his lover, and probably that poor guard lieutenant.
- Stalker with a Crush: Of Felix, when The Mirador starts.
- Yandere: In Mélusine, he seems to change his mind over whether he wants Felix or not on every few days that he sees him.
Lord Protector of Marathat, brother to Victoria, half-brother to Shannon. Stubborn and phlegmatic, he generally tends well to the country, at least by comparison to his recent predecessors. He dislikes homosexuals in general and Shannon and Felix in particular, and is eager to punish Felix for treason based on flimsy evidence in Mélusine
. Over time, he becomes more aware of his failings: he declares Shannon innocent of treason when he could have used Ivo's plot to have him executed; upon discovering that Mehitabel, now his mistress
had spied on him, she allows her to testify privately; and he exiles rather than executes Felix and Mildmay for Felix's heresy. His formal justification for the last decision is Arsène L'Hiver's claim that executing Felix in Mélusine might damage the Mirador's magical energies, but, since he could simply have them killed elsewhere, he's likely repaying Mildmay (whom he initially despised) for his loyalty in uncovering Ivo Polydorius's monarchist plot.Tropes pertaining to Stephen Teverius:
- Heteronormative Crusader: He "is known especially to not like molls" (Mehitabel). Unfortunate, considering the fact that, as Mildmay notes, Stephen's brother Shannon "wasn't at no pains to hide [his homosexuality] and hadn't been since he'd reached his second septad."
- Modest Royalty: He hates pomp and circumstance.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Lord Stephen. Mind you, what he does isn't always good, but he takes it very seriously.
- Your Cheating Heart: Takes a mistress while searching for a wife, with the express purpose that each will undercut the other's power base.
A guest in the Gardens of Nephele, Thamuris is an powerful young wizard/scholar dying of consumption, related to his covenant's use of Pythian casting, in which the future follows a pattern set by the prophect, over which the caster has no control. However, he has become addicted to his use of Pythian casting and endangers Mildmay by delivering a "huphantike"
"Love and betrayal, the gorgon and the wheel. The dead tree will not shelter you, and the dead will not stay dead. Though you do not seek revenge, it will find you all the same."
Tropes pertaining to Thamuris:
- Junkie Prophet: In a couple of ways. He takes lots of laudanum for pain, but Mildmay also describes him as a "junkie" with regard to prophesying itself.
- Seer: Although one of his prophecies will eventually kill him.
- Telepathy: He uses this for long-distance communication with Felix.
Thomson , Ginevra
A demimondaine, recently arrived in Mélusine from a provincial location named Wraith. She and Mildmay share a passionate affair. Vey Coruscant has her killed shortly after she leaves Mildmay.Tropes related to Ginevra Thomsen:
A recent Eusebian refugee from the Bastion, Gideon helps Felix to ameliorate the effects of the Mirador's spell on Mildmay and risks his life to cast a healing spell on Felix's broken fingers. After Felix, Midlmay, Mavortian, Bernard, and Gideon flee Hermione together, Mavortian forces him to accompany them across Kekropia, but Gideon, Mavortian, and Bernard all find themselves captured in Aiaia. By the time Mildmay and Mehitabel rescue them in The Virtu
, prejudiced locals have badly starved him and cut out his tongue as punishment for joining the cult of the White-Eyed Lady. During the return journey, he and Felix become lovers, but they break up in The Mirador
as a result of Gideon's sexual reticence and Felix's cheating
with a variety of men, including strangers. He and Thaddeus share an enmity dating back to their time as Eusebians together, possibly involving Gideon's one-time status as "catamite and confederate of Louis Goliath, spymaster of the Bastion." In spite of the breakup, Felix experiences a dramatic Heroic BSOD
when Isaac Garamond murders Gideon in a failed attempt to frame Felix and have him executed
.Tropes pertaining to Gideon Thraxios:
- Beware the Nice Ones: Mildmay notes that it's easy to feel so sorry for Gideon that you forget how dangerous he can be.
- Child Soldiers: He used to be one.
- Driven to Suicide: Almost; he settled for ritual fake suicides instead.
- Gayngst He feels a lot of this, possibly because his early sexual experiences were fraught with fear and pain, or at least not much pleasure.
: "Has no one ever bothered to make this good for you before?"
Gideon: "Not like this."
- Malevolent Mutilation: The Aiaians cut of his tongue for his religious beliefs.
- Mystery Cult: He joined the White-Eyed Lady's banned religion in his teens.
- Telepathy: How he communicates with fellow wizards after the Aiaians cut out his tongue.
Weather-witch for the crew of the Morskaiakrov
. He is a Merrow, as are his crewmates; they are short, sturdily-built, red-headed, and gray-eyed. He encourages Mildmay to be gentle with insane!Felix.
's cook. He appreciates Mildmay's abilities as a cook and storyteller.
Demimondaine, friend of Ginevra Thomson, and girlfriend of Faith Cowry. As Mildmay discovers in The Mirador
, she gave the police knowledge of his whereabouts in exchange for releasing Faith, who had been arrested for heresy
The Gardens of Nephele's archon, who becomes livid when she learns that her covenant's wizards have neglected Mildmay's injuries.
Other Characters, First Encountered in The Virtu
A blonde, blue-eyed prostitute patronized by Mildmay in Kekropia. He picks her for her resemblance to Ginevra
. Her services do not disappoint.
A young Troian of noble birth, fleeing a feud in her home country in the assumed identity of a boy named Phaëthon, aboard the White Otter
. After learning of her plight, Felix and Mildmay help her escape a trap awaiting her in Kekropia. However, she is needy, self-centered, and snobbish, and after this rescue, they leave her to her own devices.
Senior envoy from Tibernia to Marathat. Although himself annemer, he possesses a good grasp of magical principles and proves a competent conversationalist when dealing with wizards.
Cabaline wizard who attempts to revive a past friendship with Felix.
Bourgeois eleven-year-old traveling with his family aboard the White Otter
. Much to his parents' disapproval, he befriends Mildmay. On land in Klepsydra, Felix and Mildmay rescue him from a booby-trapped maze honoring the White-Eyed Lady, where Florian's tutor had brought him.
St. Rose, Edgar
Cabaline and friend (or at least friendly acquaintance) of Felix. Mildmay wonders if they're lovers, a question the series never answers.
Closeted gay secretary to Florian's father, Kerr Gauthy. He makes a pass at Felix while aboard the Morskaiakrov, leading to Felix panicking unexpectedly. Only later does Felix realize that his newfound fear of being trapped results from his earlier Mind Rape
by Robert of Hermione.
The somewhat paranoid captain of the White Otter
. He forces Felix to relinquish his rings for the duration of Felix and Mildmay's passage.
Other Characters, First Encountered in The Mirador
Handsome, but snobby, self-pitying and lecherous, lead actor of the Empyrean.
Gossipy and hard-living but good-natured actress who works alongside Mehitabel at the Empyrean. Mehitabel thinks she was likely once a prostitute and "ha[s] no idea where Corinna had learned to read."
(Also known as Guinevere Dawnlight) A childhood acquaintance of Mildmay, she ran away from Kolkhis's pack and became a demimondaine in Candlewick Mews before contracting smallpox, which ruined her looks. She now works for the necromancer Augusta Fenris. Mildmay gets her out of jail, where she's being held for digging up Luther Littleman's grave.Tropes pertaining to Jenny Dawnlight:
Briefly mentioned in Felix's narration for Mélusine
, this Unhappy Medium
is a long-lost (and long-suffering
) friend from Felix's childhood. Sold to a pimp
by his bankrupt mother when he was twelve, Vincent remained a Pharoahlight prostitute until bought by [[Bastard Boyfriend
Ivo Polydorius, probably around fifteen years ago. He spent most of that time secluded at Arborstell, but returns to Mélusine when Ivo puts forward a daughter as a marriage candidate for Lord Stephen and with attempts to resume his friendship with Felix, who proceeds to manipulate Vincent's visions for his academic gain. After Ivo's downfall, Crowell Polydorius throws him out to starve, but Mehitabel takes him in and makes him her secretary.Tropes pertaining to Vincent Demabrien:
- Asexuality: Suggested during a conversation with Mehitabel in The Mirador's final chapter. Given his unfortunate history, though, it's hard to know whether he's the real deal or just traumatized.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Resembles the coloring of a woman who looked like "the world's most beautiful corpse," and sees dead people on a regular basis.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: He desperately wants to help the trapped spirits he sees.
- The Ophelia: He plays with the trope— he's fragile looking and acts crazy, but the ghosts he sees are real, not hallucinations.
- Self-Deprecation: All the characters experience their moments of self-doubt, but Vincent is the master of self-mockery. He's also well aware of other people's faults, although he's rarely mean enough to mention them.
- Sex Slave: To Ivo, by the time The Mirador rolls around.
- Unhappy Medium: As Felix says, "[t]he ability brought him no joy that I could see, but that made the thing more credible rather than less."
Briefly mentioned in Mélusine, she gets her first dialogue in The Mirador
, where she appears as the Empyrean's stunning but shallow
lead actress. She abruptly deserts to the Cockatrice, throwing her former coworkers into disarray.
A necromancer in the Lower City's Scaffelgreen district and the employer of Jenny Dawnlight. She and Mildmay use Luther Littleman's bones and ghost to uncover the monarchist plot
involving Vey Coruscant, Ivo Polydorius, Kolkhis of Britomart, Gloria Aestia, Cornell Teverius, Cotton Verlalius, Hugo Chandler, and Robert of Hermione
The Empyrean's ingenue, likely a former delinquent, from the Lower City. She rejects Septimus Wilder as a suitor.
A supposed refugee from the Bastion; in reality, a spy. He uses his identity as a refugee to seduce Felix
in the misguided belief that he can earn the latter's trust, while using the identity of "Lieutenant Vulpes" in coercing Mehitabel to spy for Louis Goliath. When his schemes to gain information go awry, he murders Gideon and frames
Felix for the crime. Felix escapes the murder rap, but is exiled along with Mildmay for a different crime— using magic to drive Garamond insane. In Corambis
, Garamond, still mad, commits suicide by leaping from St. Crellifer's roof, which Felix sees in his dreams.Tropes relating to Isaac Garamond:
- Asshole Victim: He did a lot of horrible things, but his ending is arguably worse.
- Driven to Suicide: By Felix
- Honey Trap: For Felix.
- Mind Rape: Louis Goliath performs sendings on him, a practice that drove Mehitabel's lover half-mad.
- Questionable Consent: Felix continues sleeping with Isaac even after Mehitabel informs him that he's a spy for the Bastion, which implies that his masters aren't giving him much choice.
- Smug Snake: Until he realizes his Frame-Up isn't working.
- Villainous BSOD: When he figures out the frameup is a bust.
Quiet, repressed daughter of Philip Lemerius, sister of Antony Lemerius, and half-sister of Semper Philipson. She becomes Lord Stephen's fianceé.
Stuffy nobleman and gifted amateur historian; lover of Mehitabel; son of Philip Lemerius (whom he hates), brother of Enid Lemeria, and half-brother of Semper Philipson.
Father of Enid Lemeria and Antony Lemerius, as well as natural father of Semper Philipson, whom he finds an embarrassment due to his bastardy and career in theater. He is a friend of Lord Stephen, but very few other characters find him appealing, due to his prudish and overbearing nature.Tropes pertaining to Philip Lemerius:
Junior envoy from Tibernia; a pompous, homophobic wizard who frequently quarrels with Felix. At the end of The Mirador
, he suggests that Stephen not execute Felix and Mildmay in Mélusine, on the grounds that doing so could damage the Mirador's magical energies.Tropes relating to Arsène L'Hiver:
The ghost of Vey Coruscant's quondam master, who reveals The Plan
to Mildmay and Augusta Fenris.
Ivo Polydorius's fifteen-year-old daughter, whom he puts forward as a potential wife
for Lord Stephen.
Marathine nobleman. The dynastic branch of the Polydorii passes to him after Ivo's conviction for treason. One of his first acts is to throw out Vincent Demabrien.
Marathine nobleman and Vincent Demabrien's jealous, masochistic owner. Along with Vey Coruscant, Kolkhis of Britomart, Robert of Hermione, Hugo Chandler, Gloria Aestia, Cotton Verlalius, and Cornell Teverius, he has engaged in a decades-long plot to overthrow the Marathat's protectorate and restore the monarchy.Tropes pertaining to Ivo Polydorius:
Shallow, spendthrift nobleman and lover of Mehitabel.
Kolkhis's latest assassin and lover, in The Mirador
. He and Mildmay come to realize that they're Not So Different
. He loves Gordeny Fisher, who rejects him.
Other Characters, First Appearing in Corambis
Duke of Glimmering and Kay Brightmore's captor. He loathes Kay Brightmore not only for treason but also for the mass execution of prisoners of war, including Albern's older brother, Geoffrey. Often referred to by the name of his duchy.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: His treatment of Kay,in retaliation for the murder of prisoners of war.
Dean of the magicians' college in Esmer. He casts the binding-by-obedience on Felix, but refuses to recast it when Felix's fantôme removes it. He hires Felix to work as a professor and, after Felix falls into disgrace due to his experience with Edwin Beckett, finds him a position as Virtuer of Grimglass.
Obsessed Corambin who wants to reawaken the Clock of the Eclipses with sex magic
. To this end, he hires Felix, now working as an S&M prostitute again, for an orgy and forces him
past the limits of their arrangement.
(Also Isobel Carey) Kay's stubborn, proud sister, whom he forced to marry the duke of Murtagh. The marriage lacked the desired political result due to her barrenness. Despite the abusive history between her and Kay, Murtagh says that she "was as near hysterics as I have ever seen her" when she learned of his capture by the duke of Glimmering.Tropes pertaining to Isobel Brightmore:
The duke of Murtagh, wife of Isobel, and brother-in-law of Kay. He rescues Kay from the duke of Glimmering and makes him Vanessa Pallister's fianceè and warden of Grimglass. A [[controlled Safe, Sane and Consensual
sadist]], he hires Felix for violent sex, for which he later feels considerable remorse (although Felix himself regards the experience as harmless). Frequently called "Murtagh."Tropes pertaining to Ferrand Carey:
Ferrand Carey's nephew; secretly an aethereal, or medium, for which fault the duke mistreats him. He loses his close friend Cyriack Thrale when he fails to hide his abilities. He and Kay forge something of a bond, as Kay convinces him to escort him back to Summerdown and Murtagh later sends Julian to live at Grimglass.
A young Bernathan prostitute
whom Felix originally hires to share her knowledge of the city
with him, and who later becomes both his apprentice and madam. She has grown accustomed to hiding her magical talent, both from her fear of enslaving "warlocks" and due to her culture's prejudice against female magicians. After moving to Esmer with Felix and Mildmay, she seduces the latter in what Mildmay believes is a case of Settle for Sibling
. She opts to remain in Esmer, with hopes of becoming a Virtuer, when the brothers depart for Grimglass. For reasons unknown, she dislikes her first name so intensely that hse doesn't want to share it. Her appearance is Ygressine rather than traditionally Corambin, making her worry about looking "like a half-breed jezebel."
"I want to be a virtuer, and fuck the Women's College and what women should or shouldn't do and all the rest of it."
Tropes pertaining to Gartrett Corbie:
- The Apprentice: To Felix.
- Birds of a Feather: Corbie's circumstances aren't unlike the challenges Felix faced as a teenager. Word of God even says that Felix sees Corbie as a mirror of himself.
- Book Dumb: Corbie is intelligent, and fortunate enough to be literate, but her grandmother pulled her out of school when she was eight. It is one of several factors that make her stand out at the Institution.
- Coming-of-Age Story: Corbie has a quiet one going on in the background. She starts out as a girl who is too insecure in her magic and her intelligence to even attempt witchlights, let alone get a third-grade magician-practitioners license. By the end of Corambis, she's decided she's going to become a virtuer. For a sense of scale, that's like saying that someone who doesn't think she's smart enough to get a GED decided to get a doctorate.
- Cool Big Sis: Corbie fills this roll for Julian after flirting with him doesn't go anywhere because Julian is an awkward puppy.
- Good Bad Girl: Even after she quits doing it for money, she has a lot of sex for fun.
- Disappeared Dad: She doesn't know anything about him beyond the fact that he was an Ygressine sailor who took shore leave in Bernatha.
- Embarrassing First Name: Corbie hates her first name, only revealing it reluctantly to Felix and threatening to hit those who use it. She kicked Felix to keep him from using it when introducing her.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: Corbie is exceedingly popular with the boys at the Institution and seems to have them wrapped around her little finger before Felix or Mildmay even set foot on campus.
- Fish out of Water: At the Institution, due to being lower class, uneducated, and a girl.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The tiny girl to Felix's huge guy. Felix is explicitly stated as standing 6'2", taller than anyone in Corambis. Corbie, even in comparison to the slightly shorter (than Marathines) Corambins, is exceptionally small judging by Mildmay calling her a "little tiny gal.
- Master-Apprentice Chain: Corbie's will stretch back to Porphyria Levant. On another branch it goes back to one Rosindy Clark who taught Iosephinus Pompey. The former is what provides conflict and drama. The latter is what makes teaching her seem possible.
- Missing Mom: Likely. Logic would dictate that Corbie was raised by her maternal grandmother, but there is never any mention of her mother.
- Morality Pet: Corbie often plays this role for Felix since for some reason, unlike with Mildmay, he constantly reminds himself that she deserves better than his usual behavior. The post was previously held by Mehitabel.
- Plucky Girl: Despite poverty, misogyny, and a Dysfunctional Family, she remains optimistic and eager to lend a hand when Felix needs her.
- Raised by Grandparents: Might have worked out better if Gran hadn't been a Boomerang Bigot.
- Really Gets Around: Felix notes how familiar she is with the men at the university.
- Settle for Sibling: Mildmay thinks this is why she propositions him.
- Student Teacher Romance: At least in Mildmay's opinion, she has a crush on Felix. Due to Incompatible Orientation as well as his own horrific experiences with Malkar, it goes nowhere.
- When She Smiles: Corbie is a pretty enough girl, but Felix says she's absolutely lovely when she smiles.
Usaran warlord. He convinces Kay to return to Summerdown and again offer himself to the machine.
Physician-practitioner who uses magic and herbs to treat Mildmay's lung infection. Since Marathat forbids healing magic as heresy, Felix finds her knowledge of the subject fascinating.
Colleague of Gartrett Corbie. Apparently she hold some sway in Bernatha's red-light district, since she manages to chase away Sunny Pingree's gang.
The would-be king of Caloxa, and the man with whom Kay is in love.Tropes pertaining to Gerrard Hume include:
- Genre Blind: Um, why did he think performing a blood ritual in an underground labyrinth to activate an ancient "engine of destruction" would turn out okay?
- Incompatible Orientation: With Kay.
- Mauve Shirt: Doesn't survive his first chapter.
- Too Dumb to Live: His genre blindness costs him (and most of his closest followers) their lives.
Cheerful member of the Magicians' Circle. Felix likes him, despite his excessive loquacity.
Murtagh's secretary, who arranges his extramarital liaisons. According to Murtagh, he seems to "enjoy accomodating my more outrageous requests."
(neé Vanessa Carey) Widow of the warden of Grimglass and relative of Ferrand Carey, who arranges for her to marry Kay.Tropes relating to Vanessa Pallister: