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Seoman (Simon) SnowlockA kitchen scullion in the Hayholt under the watchful gaze of Rachel the Dragon, Simon comes under the tutelage of Doctor Morgenes, who seems to plan great things for him, only to have his idyllic life shattered by the coming of evil to the castle in the form of the priest Pryrates. His subsequent journey leads him headlong into the conflict surrounding the Three Swords.
- Berserker Tears: After Amerasu's death, Simon goes into a berserker rage against Ingen Jegger, unknowingly crying the whole time.
- Conveniently an Orphan: His mother died giving birth to him. His father is unknown. Morgenes is the only one who knows the secret of his heritage.
- Declaration of Protection: Frustrated by Miriamele's refusal to reciprocate his affections, Simon instead declares that he will be her knight-protector, and abandons his duties to Josua in order to accompany her on her journey back to the Hayholt.
- Fiery Redhead: Simon fits the hot-headed image, but his hair is also a clue to his parentage.
- The Hero's Journey: A deliberate and methodical use of this by Williams; it can be seen throughout the story.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: After Amerasu's death in Jao-é-Tinukai'i, Simon first goes into a berserker rage and then falls into a stupor, fueled partly by grief and partly by shame at his savage behavior in front of the Sithi.
- Hitchhiker Heroes: Simon starts out alone, penniless, and starving in his journey across Osten Ard, but on the way acquires a host of friends and allies, some by chance and some by design.
- Little Hero, Big War: While the war comes into major focus at times, Simon's role in it and around it is given the most attention; he manages to miss all but one of the major battles.
- Locked into Strangeness: A lock of his hair is permanently turned white due to being splashed by a dragon's blood; it comes to be symbolic of his journey into otherworldliness. Jiriki tells him, "You have been marked, for good or ill."
- Moses in the Bulrushes: He is revealed to be the direct descendant of Saint Eahlstan Fiskerne, and therefore the rightful heir to the throne.
- Orphan's Plot Trinket: The ring given to him by Morgenes ends up being proof of his ancestry.
- Rage Against the Heavens: He suffers a crisis of faith after seeing his friends die on the quest for Thorn, and cries out against God in his anguish. His traveling companions are shocked.
- Took a Level in Badass: He begins the series as a kitchen scullion, and becomes first a capable soldier, then a leader among the forces of good, and finally the king of Erkynland. Atypical of the traditional badass, his strength is reflected more in his mind and spirit than in his body.
Princess MiriameleKing Elias's daughter, she chafes under her father's heavy handed yet distant manner and secretly ventures out of the castle in the guise of a serving boy. When her father tries to marry her off to Earl Fengbald, she flees with her handmaiden Leleth, and is eventually rescued by Simon and Binabik. Simon falls in love with her but her self-doubts and rebellious nature keep them apart for most of the story.
- Action Girl: She fights quite capably with the bow, first seen against Ingen Jegger's hunting dogs. While traveling to Erkynland with Simon, she hunts to supplement their supplies, and kills a Norn in the ruins of Asu'a.
- Archer Archetype: Her preferred weapon is a bow, fitting both her independent spirit and the fact that, as a girl, she'd never be permitted to train with a sword.
- Love Interest: Her relationship with Simon is first foreshadowed when he sees her silhouetted in a window at the Hayholt.
- My Girl Is Not a Slut: Simon is quite upset when he finds out about her sexual encounter with Aspitis, despite the fact that she was coerced. She doesn't help, either, throwing it in his face as a way to keep them apart.
- Rebellious Princess: Ever since her mother died, her father Elias has been distant from her, keeping her at arms' length and treating her more like property than a person. Unable to find acceptance from him, she becomes increasingly independent, sneaking around the castle in disguise and learning to shoot.
- Runaway Fiancée: When she learns that her father has arranged her marriage to Earl Fengbald, a despicable and brutal man, she flees the Hayholt with her handmaiden, Leleth. The pair are rescued from a huntsman by Simon and Binabik.
- Samus Is a Girl: She initially introduces herself as "Malachias," a Hayholt servant, and Simon doesn't figure it out for quite some time.
- Self-Made Orphan: She's the one who delivers the killing blow to Elias, defeating the Storm King in the process.
- Sweet Polly Oliver / Princess Incognito: She goes undercover as a common boy named Malachias.
King EliasInheritor of the throne of Erkynland after Prester John's death, Elias distinguishes himself with his violent temper and his love of carousing. The tale takes a blacker turn as his reliance on the dark priest Pryrates grows deeper, until he is coerced into making a bargain with the Storm King. Once he takes possession of the evil blade Sorrow, he begins a descent into madness and damnation.
- Abusive Parents: As his sanity erodes more and more, so too does his concern for Miriamele's safety.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Miriamele's primary motivation in the fourth book is to redeem her father, precisely because she believes he's doing evil not out of wickedness but rather grief. She's right.
- Cain and Abel: He and Josua bicker endlessly because Elias blames Josua for his wife's death. When the Storm King demands a blood sacrifice to seal their pact, Pryrates persuades Elias to use Josua.
- The Caligula: His own grief combined with the magical influences of the Storm King, Pryrates, and Sorrow, fuel Elias's descent into madness. His ensuing insanity results in his people suffering more and more under his rule, and his kingdom's power crumbling.
- Deal with the Devil: At Pryrates' urging, Elias bargains with the Storm King for possession of Sorrow.
- Dying as Yourself: He comes to his senses at the very last second, just before Miriamele kills him.
- Necromantic: Played for tragedy; his descent into madness begins with his love for his dead wife and his hope to be reunited with her spirit.
- Parental Favoritism: It was no secret that Elias was Prester John's favored child. Later on it's revealed that Elias was his only child, Josua being Camaris's son.
- Unwitting Pawn: Pryrates is the driving force behind Elias' madness, as he tricks the king into thinking that he's helping him achieve Immortality, when in fact he's getting him possessed by the Storm King.
- Villainous Friendship: Unlike the other members of his inner circle who just seem to stay by his side for power, he and Earl Guthwulf have a genuine friendship based on trust and care for each other.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: He's willing to bring the Storm King back and destroy all mortals because he can't be reunited with his lost wife.
Prince Josua "Lackhand"Elias' younger brother, called "Lackhand" for the loss of his hand in a skirmish with Thrithings men that also claimed the life of Elias' wife. Known more for his love of lore than of fighting, he is secretly imprisoned by Pryrates for use in an evil ritual, but escapes with the aid of Simon and Doctor Morgenes. He is the tacit leader of the forces opposed to Elias' rule and reluctantly leads them in their struggle.
- Cain and Abel: He plays The Wise Prince to his brother Elias' Hot-Blooded nature, and pays for it by getting picked for a blood sacrifice to the Storm King.
- The Chains of Commanding: He hates the burden of leadership and would much rather be studying old books.
- Faking the Dead: He's seemingly killed by Elias in the final book, and decides to keep the illusion going afterwards so he can be free to join the League of the Scroll.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Turns out he isn't King Prester John's son, he's Camaris's.
- Modest Royalty: He never dresses in the pomp fitting his station and indeed has to be cajoled into even wearing his crown.
- Reluctant Warrior: While he's a capable fighter, he shows a dislike for killing and only enters combat as a last resort.
- Supporting Leader: He's aware that his fight with his brother, Elias, is merely a footnote to the larger battle against the Storm King, but he willingly leads his army in siege of the Hayholt in hopes of providing a crucial distraction.
- The Wise Prince: He'd far rather be studying than leading, and is among the most learned of all the noblemen in the story. In the end, he gives up his crown and joins the League of the Scroll.
King Prester JohnJohn came to the Hayholt as a wayward islander, but skyrocketed to fame when he emerged victorious from the catacombs beneath it, having slain the great dragon that claimed the life of the former king, Ealhstan Fiskerne. He went on to become the king of Erkynland and the foremost mortal warrior in Osten Ard, reveling in battle as he wielded the fearsome blade Bright-Nail. His only equal was the Nabbanai knight Camaris. At the opening of the story, his passing hands the throne to his son, Elias.
- Badass Normal: A legendary king who slew a dragon, despite possessing no magical powers.
- Blood Knight: To a certain extent.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: He was not actually the one who slew the dragon Shurakai.
- Maintain the Lie: Turns out it wasn't him who slew the dragon his legend is built on.
- Public-Domain Character: Based on the medieval legend of Prester John.
- Shrouded in Myth: Falsely, as it turns out.
TowserKing Prester John's jester, and privy to his deepest secrets, Towser maintains a presence in Josua's party for a long time.
- The Alcoholic: Drunk all the time.
- The Jester: His role at court.
- Passed in Their Sleep: He dies from old age in his sleep.
- Secret Keeper: Knows both John and Camaris' secrets, and faithfully keeps them both into death.
Doctor MorgenesOne of the founding members of the League of the Scroll along with Ealhstan Fiskerne, Morgenes devoted his life to the study of the Art and the history of Osten Ard, particularly the myths surrounding Prester John and the human conquest of the Hayholt. He also preserves in secret the legacy of Ealhstan's family. He takes Simon into his tutelage, but is unexpectedly spurred to action by the scullion's discovery of Pryrates' plotting. He sacrifices himself to allow Josua and Simon to escape the castle.
- Cool Old Guy: Simon admires and looks up to him. Also, just because he's probably the smartest person in the Hayholt doesn't mean he doesn't enjoy a good ale.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: In his confrontation with Pryrates.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: After serving as a good mentor and friend to Simon, he dies protecting him when Pryrates leads a group of of soldiers to his workshop to recapture Prince Josua.
- Mysterious Past: It's implied that he is very well-traveled. Unfortunately he never gets the chance to elaborate on any of his adventures as he dies very early in the story.
- Obi-Wan Moment: Saves Simon from Pryrates, but is killed in doing so.
- You Shall Not Pass: He sacrifices his life holding back Pryrates to allow Simon to make an escape from the Hayholt.
- You Are Not Ready: When Simon pesters him about "magic", or "the Art" as Morgenes refers to it, Morgenes tells him he'd no sooner teach Simon of it now than he would hand a torch to a baby sitting in a pile of straw. His showdown with Pryrates reveals just how dangerous magic can be.
Rachel "The Dragon"Mistress of the Hayholt's servants, Rachel rules the oft-wayward seamstresses, scullions, maids, and other staff members with an iron fist. When the Hayholt descends into madness, she remains, but is ultimately forced into hiding by an unexpected confrontation with Pryrates. Her Aedonite faith and charity serve her well in the trials that ensue.
- Apron Matron: Described as such.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She genuinely cares about Simon, despite her harsh treatment of him. She also gets multiple Pet the Dog moments despite her abrasive attitude in general. Two notable ones are helping Jeremias escape Inch, and trying to aid Guthwulf after he's rendered blind and insane.
- Mama Bear: Seeks revenge against Pryrates, who she believes to be responsible for killing Simon.
- Parental Substitute: To Simon, whom she loves as if he were her own son.
- Team Mom: To all of the servants in the castle.
DeornothJosua's right hand man. He is very loyal to the prince, since Josua gave his rank, but secretly he also wishes that his lord would be a little bit firmer, and less worried and haunted.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Being known as the "Prince's Right Hand" ends up playing a part in the prophecy that restores Camaris' memory.
- Ironic Nickname: The Prince's Right Hand. Josua doesn't have a right hand.
- Killed Offscreen: His death while fighting at the Stone of Farewell isn't shown onscreen. Instead, his body is found afterwards.
- Mauve Shirt: He gets significant characterization before his death.
- Mutual Kill: He and a Thrithings mercenary leader mortally wound each other while fighting at the Stone of Farewell.
- Undying Loyalty: He's not just loyal to Josua for giving him his rank, he's loyal to Josua as his closest friend.
Earl GuthwulfMarshal of Elias' armies at the opening of the story, Guthwulf leads the assault on Naglimund only to be brushed aside by Elias' decision to consummate his bargain with the Norn Queen. He grows increasingly concerned by Elias' erratic behavior, but is driven nearly mad by contact with the sword Sorrow. Subsequently blinded in a confrontation with Pryrates, he eventually finds his way to the tunnels beneath the castle.
- Even Evil Has Standards: While he may serve Elias faithfully at first, he grows more and more disturbed by his king's increasingly insane actions, Pryrates's rise in power, and the spread of Norn influence.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: He really shouldn't have taken Elias up on the latter's offer to learn Sorrow's secret.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He knew Pyrates was evil, and jumped at the opportunity to try and help Rachel kill him (though he didn't know about it beforehand). The result was that he was blinded and driven mad.
- Jerkass: Later becoming a Jerkass Woobie.
- Only Sane Man: Definitely counts as one in Elias court. Kind of a Jerk Jock, but not really actively evil.
- Redemption Equals Affliction: Try to kill an evil wizard, become a pitiable cripple and spend the end of your life as a madman wandering the haunted halls of an Eldritch Location.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: He eventually plans on deserting Elias, but being rendered blind while trying to help Rachel kill Pryrates put an end to that plan.
- Villainous Friendship: He truly cares about Elias as a friend and grows increasingly concerned about his descent into madness and dependance on Pryrates.
Earl FengbaldMarshal of King Elias' mortal armies after Guthwulf's defection, Fengbald is known for his brutality and his taste for subservient women. Miriamele flees the Hayholt in large part because of Elias' promise of her hand in marriage to this man. He leads the assault on the Stone of Farewell.
- Bad Boss: He is brutal to anyone who fails him and mistreats his servants as well.
- Dirty Coward: He is a sadistic killer, but only when he has the advantage. When he finds himself having to Face Death with Dignity, he's revealed as pathetic.
- Even Evil Has Standards: After trying to get information from a child, one of Fengbald's men asks if he wants the kid dead, seemingly for no reason other than For the Evulz. Fengbald is insulted, asking if the man thinks he's a demon.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Those villagers he strikes a deal with at the Stone of Farewell? They're the people whose homes he burned earlier. They have good reason not to trust him.
- Jerk Ass: His Establishing Character Moment is the off-screen massacre of a town complaining about taxes.
- Karmic Death: The relatives of some of the people he murdered lure him into a trap and kill him via Heroic Sacrifice.
- Kick the Dog: His response to a group of citizens petitioning the King for redress is to burn them out.
- Smug Snake: Yes, he's a bastard, but all he has going for him is his title. Beyond that, no one really cares about him and his death is really just a side story in a war that is itself nothing more than a distraction.
- The Starscream: He believes that he can parlay his marriage to Miriamele into usurping the throne. He never gets the chance.
JeremiasA boyhood friend of Simon's from the Hayholt, he was a former chandler's apprentice until Inch took him as his own student. With Rachel's help, he manages to escape the Hayholt and eventually joins Josua's side in the war.
- Ascended Extra: He starts off as a very minor character who appears briefly in the first two books. In the third book, he's still not a main character but he gets a much more prominent role.
- Big Brother Instinct: Has this towards Leleth, and he becomes one of the few people besides Geloe that she shows visible attention to.
- Childhood Friends: He was Simon's best friend at the Hayholt. They eventually reunite in the third book and quickly resume their friendship.
- Formerly Fat: He used to be chubby, but he loses a lot of weight after working in the forge.
- The Squire: He volunteers to become this to Simon following Simon's knighthood. Though Simon leaves with Miriamele, leaving Jeremias behind before he can do any official squire duties.
InchThe former assistant of Doctor Morgenes until he was replaced by Simon, something he did not take well. A simple-minded giant of a man with a penchant for cruelty, he betrayed Morgenes to his death by Pryrates and became the new foundry-master of the Hayholt.
- Bad Boss: As foundry-master, he beats and abuses his men, working them until they're crippled, mad or dead. These ones are lucky compared to the ones he hands over to Pryrates for his experiments.
- Dumb Muscle: Inch is described as a huge, strong man, but thinking is not his strong suit.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The giant wheel in his foundry and which he was using in an attempt to torture Simon to death, is what ends up killing him. He gets caught on it and is literally ground into chunks in the machinery.
- Insistent Terminology: He demands to be called "Doctor" Inch.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Doctor Morgenes might have lived longer had he not fired Inch.
- The Resenter: Towards Simon in particular for taking his job but Pryrates notes that Inch has managed to get rid of everyone smarter and better looking than him.
Eahlstan FiskerneFounder of the League of the Scroll and the last in the line of the kings of Erkynland before Prester John took up the throne. "Saint" Ealhstan, as he was known, was a famously beloved leader who saw portents of the return of the Storm King and did everything in his power to prepare Osten Ard for this eventuality. He died fighting a dragon beneath the Hayholt.
- Fling a Light into the Future: By way of founding the League of the Scroll.
- Genius Bruiser: Founded the League of the Scroll, was a member, fought a dragon.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: He killed the red dragon Shurakai but died in the process. He's the real hero to Prester John's Fake Ultimate Hero.
- Posthumous Character: Really posthumous. He died a century before the story even began.
Duke IsgrimnurA close ally of Prester John, Isgrimnur takes up the leadership of the Rimmersmen in exile after the treacherous Skali betrays his countrymen to Elias. A skilled if elderly warrior, he joins forces with Josua and acts as a voice of reason when all else seems to be going to madness.
- Badass Beard: Josua forces Isgrimnur to shave it off when he has to disguise himself as a monk to search for Princess Miriamele. He is not happy about it.
- The Big Guy: Basically a wall of a man. Stout of tum, but strong as an ox, despite being seventy years old.
- Happily Married: Is devoted to his wife Gutrun.
- Honorary Uncle: To Miri, who she considers an uncle even though they're not related by blood.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Unfortunately, Isgrimnur's eldest son, Isorn, does not survive the events of the original trilogy.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Spends the story traveling the length and breadth of Osten Ard, serving his king and fighting his enemies personally.
- Supporting Leader: He's the Duke of the Northland, and basically acts as The Big Guy to Miri's Five-Man Band.
IsornIsgrimnur's son who spends much of his time acting as a message runner between the various groups allied with Josua.
- Emergency Impersonation: Disguises himself as Camaris when the latter goes into the tunnels beneath Asu'a.
- My Greatest Failure: Feels this way about losing Elvritshalla to Skali of Kaldskryke.
SludigOne of Simon's traveling companions on his quest to Igjarjuk to retrieve Thorn, Sludig is a veteran soldier who teaches Simon swordsmanship and helps him overcome his adolescent angst.
- Abusive Parents: Implied. He is really not fond of talking about his father.
- Demoted to Extra: He's a major character in the second book but plays only a small role in the third; he lampshades this by complaining about being ignored.
- Dual Wield: Prefers two axes; he's given the epithet "Sludig Two-Axes" in the Interquel novel The Heart of What Was Lost. He explains to Simon that it's handy to have a backup when one gets stuck in a ribcage.
- The Eeyore: Deeply pessimistic and always complaining.
- Old Soldier: His personality, though he isn't actually that old. He's just seen more than his fair share of action.
- Put on a Bus: In the third book.
- Real Men Love Jesus: He is seriously upset during Simon's Rage Against the Heavens.
- Oddly though, he's still wary of bringing up the old Rimmersgard gods such as Udun One-Eye. When he's questioned about this, he says that just because he's an Aedonite doesn't mean that he thinks Udun isn't just as real as Usires Aedon, and he worries that the bawdy song about Udun that Grimmric sings at one point might draw his wrath.
- The Resenter: A mild version of this, he's a bit jealous of Simon being knighted before him, when Simon is younger and much less of an experienced warrior than himself. Things work out for him though as he becomes part of the landed nobility by the time of the sequel novel The Witchwood Crown.
JarnaugaA founding member of the League of the Scroll, Jarnauga lives most of his life in perpetual vigil over Stormspike, the black northern mountain that is the home of the Norns. He emerges from this vigil in an attempt to warn Josua's forces about the looming threat of the Storm King, but loses his life in the battle for Naglimund.
- Badass Bookworm: Picks up a pair of axes when the time comes to fight in Naglimund.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In Naglimund; he stops to defend a doorway against attacking Norns so Josua and the rest can escape.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: Again, picking up axes.
- The Smart Guy: One of the last surviving members of the League.
- The Mentor: Acts in a small way as a mentor to ... the one-eyed monk. Passes on his League pendant to the latter before his Heroic Sacrifice.
EinskaldirA Rimmersman warrior and chieftain serving Duke Isgrimnur.
- An Axe to Grind: And boy does he love his people's traditional weapons.
- Badass Beard: As is usual among the Rimmersmen.
- Badass Normal: Lacking any supernatural speed or strength, he manages to kill several Norn warriors.
- Blood Knight: He's not a berserker per se, but is more than happy to kill anyone his Duke commands him to."Fight and live, fight and die, God waits for all.""I have tasted faerie-blood tonight. I would not mind more."
- Born in the Wrong Century: At one point Deornoth muses that maybe Einskaldir would have preferred the old pagan Rimmersgard religion, with its warrior's heaven, instead of the (by comparison) more peaceable Aedonite faith.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He is mortally wounded while distracting the Norns so Josua's party can flee further into Aldheorte.
- Real Men Love Jesus: For all his bloodthirstiness, he is surprisingly pious.
CadrachA monk and scholar who became a junior member of the League of the Scroll; Cadrach's hunger for knowledge met its match when he unearthed a copy of Du Svardenvyrd, the black tome of Nisses' lore that revealed the impending return of the Storm King. Upon reading the book, he fell into a black pit of despair that broke only when Pryrates discovered his secret and tortured the knowledge out of him. He falls in with Miriamel, who pries away at his veneer of self-loathing in the hopes of eventually reforming him.
- Ascended Extra: He was originally a one-off character that Williams liked enough to bring back, and turned out to have a significant role in the backstory and main story.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Wants to die, but can't kill himself because of a gaes laid on him by Pyrates.
- Despair Event Horizon: He made the mistake of reading Du Svardenvyrd. He was strong enough not to go insane, but it still broke him.
- Drowning My Sorrows: From first to last, he loves his drink. He only quits at the very end, out of devotion to Miriamel.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: The only person to have read the whole of Du Svardenvyrd not to do so, but it still transformed him from a powerful mage into a broken, drunken thief.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He sacrifices himself to allow Miriamele to escape from the Storm King's Collapsing Lair at the end of To Green Angel Tower.
- Redemption Equals Death: See Heroic Sacrifice, above.
Princess MaegwinDaughter of King Lluth of Hernystir, Maegwin is forced to watch as Skali's forces conquer her people and kill her father and brother. She chafes at the demands of leadership, burns with unrequited love for Count Eolair, and is eventually driven to madness in her desperation to save her people.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Spent years nurturing a hopeless crush on Eolair.
- Despair Event Horizon: Crosses it when she leads her group of exiles back to Hernysadharc and instead of the gods raining vengeance upon Skali Sharp-Nose and his men like she thought would happen, Skali takes her and the exiles prisoner.
- Heroic Sacrifice: After being almost killed, she ends up in a coma. When she realizes, on the Dream Road, how horribly she's screwed everything up, she gives her life force to Simon so he can survive Inch's Wheel of Pain.
- Hopeless Suitor: To Eolair, driving her into despair.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Takes a much more active role in leading her people after Hernystir is conquered by Skali, in sharp contrast to her father's young widow Inahwen, who is borderline useless.
- Tsundere: Type B, she's mostly polite to everyone except Count Eolair, because she secretly harbors romantic feelings for him and doesn't know how to deal with them.
Count EolairA noble of Hernystir driven into exile after its conquest, Eolair spends much of the story abroad, seeking out allies to aid his people in their time of need. He has feelings for Maegwin but believes that she holds him in contempt, which keeps them emotionally separated. When the Sithi liberate Hernystir, he joins Jiriki's force in their assault on Naglimund.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Turns out Maegwin's crush wasn't quite so hopeless. He was very fond of her, and that fondness had been growing before she went insane and sent him away.
- Bittersweet Ending: He is now the ruler of a broken people, and Simon informing him about Maegwin's death wasn't entirely comforting, but...
CamarisCamaris was the greatest knight of the Benidrivine era, rivaled only by King Prester John. His presence on the battlefield was so immense that enemies would surrender rather than face him, not the least of which because he wielded the great blade Thorn which could mow men down like wheat before a scythe. Not long after the death of John's wife in childbirth, Camaris vanished and was presumed dead, only to be discovered twenty years later as a simpleminded servant in an inn in Kwanitupul. Once restored to his wits, he demonstrates bitter unhappiness and seems to have no will to live for himself, only fighting to save his beloved Osten Ard from destruction.
- The Atoner: Because he slept with Prester John's wife, who was fifty years younger than the king, resulting in the birth of Prince Josua.
- Badass Grandpa: After coming out of his Heroic B.S.O.D., he proceeds to sweep the countryside clean of Elias's armies, fighting as well as he had decades earlier.
- Badass Normal: No superpowers or anything, but an unstoppable fighter with Thorn in hand.
- The Big Guy: Even bigger than Isgrimnur, probably something like 7 feet tall.
- The Chains of Commanding: Really, really dour. Basically, clinical depression.
- Cool Old Guy: Becomes a mentor to Simon, teaching him the tenets of knighthood.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: As a brainless servant, he still possesses enough skill to kick Aspitis's ass in a duel.
- Death Seeker: Following the death of Prester John's wife in childbirth. He gave away all his possessions and set out in a rowboat, disappearing in a storm.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Whether the storm drove him witless or he did it himself is pretty much up to you.
- Knight in Shining Armor: He's the archetypal Arthurian knight: horse, sword, arcane code of honor.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: He's Josua's real father.
- Religious Bruiser: Grimly deconstructed. His guilt and self-loathing over his own transgressions provides enough negative energy to empower Ineluki through Thorn.
- Reluctant Warrior: "Camaris conducts war like a lady's maid cleaning spiders. She'll put it off as long as she can, but once she starts, she doesn't stop until the job is completely done." "Who is the greater warrior? The one of slightly lesser skill who loves it, or the one of greater skill who abhors it?"
- Shrouded in Myth: Ever since his disappearance. Arguably, after his second disappearance, too.
Duke BenigarisThe Duke of Nabban, Benigaris assumed the title at the Battle of Bullback Hill, where he betrayed Josua's forces and personally murdered his father, Leobardis.
- Aloof Big Brother: He doesn't care much about his little brother, nor does he think much of him.
- Momma's Boy: Initially he seems to be one, but as he begins losing the war against Josua and Camaris, he eventually cuts ties with her, and doesn't even appear to feel bad when she commits suicide.
- My God, What Have I Done?: According to Aspitis, after he murdered his own father, Benigaris spent the night crying in remorse.
- Patricide: Personally murdered his father to gain his title. It says something that feeling remorse for it is one of his only redeeming moments.
- Suicide by Cop: After the war with Camaris and Josua arrives at his doorstep, and he realizes just how badly the world is screwed due to Elias's actions, he demands a Duel to the Death with Camaris for rule of Nabban. He knows he has very little chance of winning, but at least, in his mind, if anyone survives the end of the world, they'll remember him as the man who fought well against Camaris instead of as just a man who murdered his father for power.
- Villainous Breakdown: As the war against him begins to go badly, he displays his instability by murdering an astronomer who gave him a bad prediction and cutting all ties with his mother.
Count AspitisA Nabbanai nobleman who falls deep in the service of Pryrates, the devilishly handsome Aspitis briefly imprisons Princess Miriamele on his ship and coerces her into sleeping with him with the intent of forcing her into marriage.
- And Now You Must Marry Me: After taking her virginity, his plan is to force Miriamele into marriage so he can seize the throne after Elias.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: A count and one of the most flat out evil characters in the series. He's in good company serving Pryrates.
- Big Bad Wannabe: While he wants to be king after Elias by marrying Miriamele, the Storm King's forces endanger the entire world and are far more of a threat than he could ever hope to be.
- False Friend: Benigaris thinks of him as a close friend. In reality, Aspitis detests him and even mocks him behind his back about Benigaris crying the night he murdered his father.
- Faux Affably Evil: Even after he's been outed as a villain to Miriamele, he still speaks to her with a gentlemanly tone. Only now the content of what he says is frequently slimy, mocking and cruel.
- Humiliation Conga: He's betrayed by the niskie he employs, his ship is attacked by kilpa, he's disfigured by Miriamele during her escape, and he's soundly beaten in a sword fight against a seemingly simple old man in front of his men.
- Smug Snake: His aspirations are almost as large as his ego, and he doesn't realize just how small of a fish he is in the grand scheme of things when compared with the Storm King and his plans.
TiamakA Wranna scholar and student of one of the members of the League of the Scroll, it is Tiamak's ambition to someday be counted among their ranks. His questing for knowledge takes him out of the Wran, where he is widely regarded as a savage no better than the rest of his people. Quiet and unassuming, his wisdom ends up playing an invaluable role in the quest to save Osten Ard.
VorzhevaA Thrithings woman who was Josua's mistress. She's also the daughter of Fikolmij, the March-Thane of Clan Mehrdon and all the High Thrithings.
- Abusive Parents: Her father is a bastard who treats her like she's his property.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: She and Josua have a very heated relationship, not helped by the fact that Josua still has lingering feelings for his brother's dead wife. Despite their clashes, they still love each other enough to marry and have children.
- Culture Clash: Her Thrithings upbringing causes her to sometimes have trouble adjusting to Erkynlander culture.
- The Exile: Self-imposed, to get away from her arranged marriage and her abusive father.
- Hot-Blooded: She's a very passionate, and occasionally stubborn, person, which can put a strain on her relationship with Josua who has an opposite personality.
- Hot Consort: She starts off as Prince Josua’s mistress, which gives her the unfair reputation of a “Thrithings whore” among the noble women of Naglimund. Eventually she marries him and bares his children.
- Missing Mom: Her mother is dead, and she claims that her father killed her.
- Odd Friendship: She forms one with Aditu, who becomes very intrigued by Vorzheva's pregnancy.
- Runaway Bride: Her father tried to force her into an Arranged Marriage. She decided she didn’t like that and fled from her people.
BinabikApprentice to Ooquequk, one of the original members of the League of the Scroll, the diminutive troll Binibiquegabenik (Binabik for short) wanders the lands far more than most members of his isolationist race. Together with his wolf companion, Qantaqa, they make a formidable pair and form a fast friendship with Simon after Binabik rescues him from starvation in the wilderness.
- Eloquent In My Other Nonnative Tongue: Apparently his Sithi is perfectly grammatically correct.
- Hitchhiker Heroes: Subverted, as Binabik was instructed to look for Simon.
- The Lancer: To Simon.
- Magical Native American/Our Trolls Are Different: The Qanuc, known as trolls to the Rimmersmen, have a culture very similar (except for riding sheep) to the Inuit.
- Overly Long Name: Like all trolls, he uses a shortened version to interact with foreigners.
- Poisoned Weapons: His blowgun darts.
- Strange-Syntax Speaker: Among other idiosyncracies, his speech tends to overuse the present progressive tense.
SisqiSisquinanamook is daughter of the King of the Qanuc and is Binabik's betrothed. Along with her parents, she becomes irate when he fails to return for the ceremonies that commemorate the onset of spring among her people, but loves him enough to aid in his rescue when he is condemned to execution for his "crimes". She proceeds to join him in his embassy to the "big folk" to keep a watch on her investment.
- The Ageless: They are hinted to have long ago discovered the secret of immortality, which secret they declined to share with their servants and allies. In fact, they don't live forever. Instead, they merely age very, very slowly.
- The Fair Folk: They're immortal, beautiful, graceful ... it's not hard to understand why humans keep wanting them dead ... or worshiping them.
- When he joins Simon & co. in the search for Thorn in the latter part of the first book, Prince Jiriki spells out that he's not doing this because of any love for mortals, it's only because he's interested in their quest, and he still owes Simon for saving his life. At that point in the story, he doesn't even really care if Ineluki the Storm King wants to wipe out humanity: Ineluki wasn't the one who shattered his people's civilization and drove them into the wilderness. The others have no counter-argument for this.
- Hidden Elf Village: Most of them live in Jao e-Tinukai'i deep in the Aldheorte forest, which is their last remaining major settlement.
- Mystical White Hair: All Sithi have white hair, although most of them dye it a variety of colors.
- Old Shame: Amerasu believes their treatment of the Dwarrow (see The Ageless, above) was a crime for which the Sithi are still paying the price.
- Space Elves: There are hints that the Sithi may have come from another planet, as their trip to Osten Ard was across the "Dark Ocean", and the journey was long enough that it was implied to be generations (enough that the label of "ship-born" is used to distinguish those born on the journey).
- Uncanny Valley: In what is a clear difference to Tolkienesque elves, characters here keep noticing that there's just something off about how Sithi look and moves that makes them distinctly inhuman.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Being so long-lived, the Sithi and Norns acquire a lot of grudges and sorrow, and it's implied that all of them become afflicted by unbearable ennui as they get older. Amerasu secludes herself in her home rather than face a world that's not as beautiful as her memories, and Utuk'ku is so consumed by rage at the past and by disgust at her own very advanced mortality that she wants to destroy everyone and everything.
Prince JirikiOne of the youngest Sithi, Jiriki nevertheless has a place of distinction as a descendant of Amerasu and her secret envoy with the humans. On one such trip, he becomes trapped in a woodsman's net and is about to be killed when Simon stumbles onto the scene and rescues him. Fleeing, Jiriki fires his White Arrow toward Simon, which is symbolic of the life-debt he now owes the young human. Despite his relative youth, Jiriki plays a major role in the conflict, as his understanding of and rapport with mortals leads him to drive his people to abandon their isolation and go on the offensive against the Storm King's forces.
- I Owe You My Life: He gives the White Arrow to Simon to symbolize the life-debt he owes. This arrow becomes immensely important later.
- The Power of Trust: More than any other character, Jiriki comes to symbolize the chance that mortals and Sithi may some day come to trust one another and cooperate.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Jiriki is among the most activist of all his people, leading hunting parties to defend their borders, pushing for greater intervention against the Norns, and generally refusing to go along with the Sithi's policy of of non-intervention.
AdituJiriki's younger sister, Aditu is less wise in the ways of mortals than he, but "adopts" Simon after she rescues him from the northern wilderness and brings him to Jao-é-Tinukai'i. She later acts as the Sithi emissary to Josua's forces.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: She doesn't understand human taboos about nudity, and frequently goes unclothed or nearly so around Simon, much to his confusion.
- Moment Killer: She interrupts Simon's would-be tryst atop the Stone of Farewell.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: While she would deny being "royalty", she is Jiriki's sister and, though she doesn't agree with all of his ideas, ventures out on her own regularly.
- What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: She makes fun of and sometimes toys cruelly with Simon's mortal feelings.
Amerasu "Ship-Born"The eldest living Sithi, second in age only to Utuk'ku of the Norns, Amerasu is named "Ship-Born" because of her birth during the Sithi's voyage to Osten Ard from their lost homeland. As age confers wisdom and power, she is also second only to Utuk'ku in her mastery of the Art and of the Dream Road. She nearly manages to reveal the Evil Plan to the gathered folk of Jao-é-Tinukai'i, but is silenced by Utuk'ku and killed by her huntsman.
- His Name Is...: Gets killed by Utuk'ku's huntsman seconds before she can reveal their enemy's Evil Plan.
Other or unknown
GeloëA mysterious personage of unknown race and history, Geloë is held in mingled fear and respect by those few who know of her. Living in the midst of the wilderness in a Baba Yaga-esque hut, she could easily be mistaken for a witch but is in reality more of a Druidic figure with mastery of all sorts of lore including the art of shapeshifting. She aids Simon, Binabik, and Miriamele when they stumble upon her abode, and later joins Josua's party.
- Ambiguously Human: She looks like an old woman, but everything about her seems to hint at her being something more without ever saying what.
- Dream Weaver: One of the most experienced travelers on the Dream Road.
- Dying Alone: By choice. After being mortally wounded by Utuk'ku's assassins, she leaves so no one will see her die, using her connection to Leleth to relay one last message to Josua and his supporters before passing on.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: She's quite fond of turning into an owl, though she never does so on screen.
The Forces of the Storm King
Ineluki/The Storm KingIneluki was said to be the brightest flame that the Sithi had ever known, and had the depredations of humanity not come to Osten Ard, he might well have led them out of their exile to a new golden age. Unfortunately, his power and ambition turned to defending his people against the onslaught of the Black Rimmersmen, and he went down dark paths in search of forbidden knowledge, which eventually led him to forge in secret the dread sword Sorrow, devourer of light and hope. He sought to destroy the armies invading his home of Asu'a with a mighty spell, but instead cast himself and his servants into the realms beyond death, where his spirit burned for five centuries in search of a way back. He is the Devil of Osten Ard, a being of fire and ice who seeks nothing less than the total destruction of all mortals and the consumption of the world by Unbeing.
- Big Bad: The main antagonist of the trilogy behind all the world's woes. His hatred and pain has turned him into a being that threatens the very existence of the planet.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: The forging of Sorrow and the dark magics he wielded in the defense of Asu'a both count. He was warned against both but did so anyway.
- Eldritch Abomination: His mere existence is such a wrongness that simple exposure to it can drive mortal minds insane.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold: Paralyzing cold is how he freezes Simon's will and forces him to obey the call of Bright-Nail.
- Expy: As Ineluki, he bears a striking resemblance to Fëanor of The Silmarillion. After becoming the Storm King, he's essentially a more sympathetic Sauron.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: His backstory is a quintessential example of what happens when you go too far in pursuit of an idealistic vision of the world.
- Knight Templar: With respect to mortals. He has no sympathy for them and wishes them all utterly destroyed.
- Load-Bearing Boss: His destruction triggers the collapse of Green Angel Tower.
- Omnicidal Maniac: This is where Ineluki ended up after going down the slope from a Messianic Archetype to Well-Intentioned Extremist to dead and hating all living beings.
- One-Winged Angel: He turns the possessed King Elias into a terrifying being of fire and shadow.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: In this case, time is the can, which Pryrates' spell seeks to undo.
- Self-Made Orphan: After Ineluki made Sorrow, his father called it an abomination and ordered him to destroy it. This broke the last vestiges of his sanity and he murdered the king on the spot, taking his antlered crown.
- The Undead: He's never embodied except at the very end, but he is described variously as "undead" and "beyond death".
- Warrior Prince: Even among immortals, Ineluki was terrifyingly powerful. In his backstory, he slew a dragon, and almost single-handedly held off the army of humans invading Asu'a.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: His campaign to save his people from the Black Rimmersmen started out as this, before he went completely over the edge.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: His tragic backstory proves crucial to his defeat.
PryratesNobody knows the origins of the black priest Pryrates, and he never reveals them. Introduced to the League of the Scroll around the same time as Cadrach, his love of dark knowledge had already begun to reveal itself. Displaying a visible disdain for such things as morality and restraint, he delved into the deepest secrets of the Art and of Unbeing and eventually made contact with the darkest being of all, the Storm King. He acts as the architect of all the evil that befalls the mortal lands of Osten Ard, gleefully sacrificing souls and even entire nations to feed his hunger for domination.
- Bald of Evil: He shaves his head. Even his eyebrows.
- Card-Carrying Villain: He takes a cackling delight in being evil for evil's sake at times.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: He learns these right from the source — Utuk'ku and Ineluki themselves. Specifically, the Words of Changing and the Words of Unmaking.
- The Dragon: The heroes believe that he is Elias' henchman. They are wrong; Elias is Pryrates' pawn. It then appears that he will be this for the Storm King, but he ends up being more of a Starscream, and the heroes are not the ones who kill him.
- Establishing Character Moment: He makes a brief appearance almost running over Simon with a carriage, and in his first real in-person scene he stomps a dog's skull in, just because he can.
- Evil Chancellor: He deliberately ingratiates himself with Elias in order to get promoted to "trusted advisor", intending all along to betray him.
- Evil Gloating: He gets most of a chapter dedicated to describing his Evil Plan in loving detail to a helpless audience. Then he tries it on the Storm King, preemptively, which doesn't go as well.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: Yup, trying to backstab the ancient, angry undead sorcerer you just resurrected is a great idea.
- Evil Sorcerer: To a tee.
- For Science!: His goal is knowledge. All knowledge, all secrets, no matter how dark or forbidden. He seeks everything that can be known.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He started off as a newly ordained priest that came from a poor island family, delved into forbidden knowledge, and ended up as an Evil Sorcerer who nearly caused the end of the world.
- Kick the Dog: In his Establishing Character Moment, he crushes a puppy to death beneath his boot, just to creep out Simon.
- Karmic Death: His plan to betray the Storm King results in his annihilation by same.
- Made of Iron: Due to his magic, he shrugs off getting knifed by Rachel the Dragon, and survives an arrow through the throat from Miriamele.
- The Man Behind the Man: The audience knows this, but for a long time the heroes don't realize that he's the one driving Elias, not vice versa.
- Misanthrope Supreme: He cares nothing for people; they are instruments to him, to be discarded as easily as a pair of old shoes when they are no longer useful.
- Sinister Minister: Although Pryrates is notionally an ordained Aedonite priest, he does absolutely nothing that resembles the worship of that religion, and is even excommunicated by Lector Ranessin in The Stone of Farewell, not that it does any good.
- Squishy Wizard: Averted, it's shown that trying to get into a hand-to-hand fight with Pryrates is a very bad idea.
- The Starscream: He intended all along to betray his master. It doesn't work out well for him.
- The Unfettered: He states that he is "what a person who accepts no limits can become."
- Torture Technician: If his "laboratories" in Hjeldin's Tower are any indication.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: He uses the Words of Changing to adopt a variety of terrifying shapes.
Utuk'kuQueen of the Norns and the oldest thinking creature in Osten Ard, Utuk'ku rests in the dark mountain of Stormspike like a spider in her web, manipulating events with her indomitable will. She is Ineluki's closest ally and the author of his schemes, and it is her magics that bind the dark forces that allow him to attempt to reenter Osten Ard. She is the last of the Gardenborn, the only being left alive who remembers the lost home of the Sithi and Norns. She is a being of unknowable age, wisdom, and power.
- Angst Coma: She expended so much of her power and hope into Ineluki's victory that once he's vanquished, Utuk'ku falls into something called the keta-yi'indra, a kind of healing sleep almost as profound as death. It takes her thirty years to wake up from it.
- The Chessmaster: Though she doesn't hold a candle to Ineluki, she's quite capable of devising centuries long schemes on her own.
- Cult of Personality: The Norns worship her like a god, believing that failing her or betraying her are the greatest crimes imaginable, and that their own pain and suffering is nothing compared to Utuk'ku's, whom they say has given everything for the sake of her people.
- The Dark Chick: She's the only woman on the side of evil.
- The Dragon: Ineluki's sidekick and the one who actually carries out most of his evil plan.
- Evil Counterpart: To Amerasu. Both are the eldest and rulers of their people, both spend their time in seclusion living in their memories, mourning their dead children. But Utuk'ku also happens to want to kill everyone and die.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold: She lives in the dark heart of a mountain in the frozen wastes.
- The Faceless: She wears beautiful silver mask, an image of her own face. Because underneath it she looks like an old woman.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: The Queen of the Norns who wishes to exterminate humankind and has conditioned her subjects to be fanatically devoted to her.
- Malevolent Masked Women: She's a genocidal queen who always wears a beautiful silver mask to conceal her true face.
- Omnicidal Maniac: She really wants to destroy the world.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Her son Drukhi, went mad when his wife was accidentally killed by a human archer. He swore to kill all mortals and when his wife's clan confined him, Drukhi made himself die. The fallout from her son's death led to Utuk'ku's desire to wipe out all mortals and the split between the Norns and the Sithi.
- Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: Aditu theorizes that though she wants to die, she can't bear the idea that others will live on with her gone. So she wants to arrange the greatest cataclysm imaginable to take as many people with her as possible.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Turns out the Sithi/Norn gift of immortality really isn't all that great. She wants to die.
- Winter Royal Lady: Utuk'ku is the Queen of the Norns and is located in the snowy mountain of Stormspike. She's closely associated with snow and coldness.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: She's played with a certain degree of sympathy; her desire to destroy the world comes from the dreadful ennui of eternal life coupled with a hatred of humanity stemming from the death of her son.
Ingen JeggerA Black Rimmersman who serves Utuk'ku as her Huntsman. He hounds Simon and his friends in the first book and is defined by his loyalty to his mistress.
- The Beastmaster: He's the master of the monstrous Norn hounds and frequently employs them in his hunts.
- Boomerang Bigot: There is something to be said about the fact that he has Undying Loyalty to a non-human who wants to wipe out his entire species.
- Determinator: Say what you will about the man, but he will not give up. Best shown following the aftermath of the first book when he's nearly killed by a dragon, but still manages to drag himself off a mountain and back to his Queen.
- The Dragon: Serves as this to Utuk'ku in the first two books, being her primary agent.
- Go Out with a Smile: He dies smiling at Simon's hands, happy that he had succeeded in fulfilling his task of assassinating Amerasu.
- Psycho Supporter: He may be human, but he's completely devoted to the genocidal Norn Queen.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: He manages to track Simon and his friends all over the kingdom.
- Undying Loyalty: Despite being a human, his only desire is to serve the Norn Queen.
- You Have Failed Me: Inverted. Following his defeat in the first book, he actually begs Utuk'ku to kill him for failing her. Instead, she, painfully, peers into his memories and decides the failure wasn't his fault, restoring his status and giving him a new mission to redeem himself.