Characters: The Dresden Files The Denarians
Characters from The Dresden Files
, the Denarians.
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The Denarians are an ancient order of humans who have taken up one of thirty silver coins, believed to be the ones paid to Judas, and each of which contains one of the Fallen - a powerful and mighty fallen angel. In exchange for unnaturally extended lives and superhuman power, the Denarians either work with or serve as vessels for each Fallen - and each Fallen invariably corrupts its bearer. The Denarians themselves are not a unified force; generally, one group works with Nicodemus, one works with Tessa, and the rest do their own thing, but they are all devoted to spreading misery, pain, and despair, thanks to the Fallen controlling or working with them.
- Artifact of Doom: The coin each one carries contains the essence of the Fallen inside, and making skin contact with it will implant either the Fallen itself or a copy of that Fallen's essence into the victim's mind.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Harry deliberately gives them these, in order to make them less scary — which has actual weight in a world where fear and belief are empowering forces. Michael warns him against this...then takes up the nicknames as well.
- Fallen Angel: Each and every member is a carrier to one of thirty Fallen Angels.
- For the Evulz: The Denarians' entire purpose is to inflict as much pain to humanity as they can.
- Public Domain Artifact: The thirty pieces of silver. the noose Judas hung himself with.
- Time Abyss: In Small Favor when Harry is describing the advantages the Denarians have, beyond the super strength, shapeshifting, and powerful magic, he considers the Fallen Angels themselves the strongest advantage for this trope. Not only do they likely predate the Creation of the Universe, they have had 2000 years living in a human mind and knowing how it ticks. They would know all the ways to tempt a person and what pains to make them feel, all in the name of converting someone to their cause. And then once they have a partner, they can give this wisdom to them and make the host a truly terrifying force.
- We Are Struggling Together: The various factions of Denarians rarely work together, and even when they do, they spend quite a bit of time backstabbing each other. Even within factions they're rarely what you'd call a happy family.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity
Nicodemus Archleone (aka "Nicky")
Cannot hurt you any more. No matter how many times I hear that one, it's always a fresh challenge.
The leader of the Order of the Blackened Denarius. One of the most dangerous foes that Harry has ever faced. While most Denarians force their hosts into servitude, Nicodemus is actually in a partnership
with his fallen angel. Wears the rope that Judas hung himself with as a necktie, and it grants him Nigh Invulnerability
. No one knows all that much about Nicodemus, as he makes it a point to find and destroy the church's records on him every couple hundred years.
- Achilles' Heel: The noose can kill Nicodemus, just as it grants him instant healing.
- Bad Ass
- Big Bad: He is one of a couple recurring ones. A subversion occurs when he finds out that he isn't the Big Bad of the series, and the thought troubles him deeply.
- The Caper: Plans on robbing Hades' Vault in Skin Games.
- Card-Carrying Villain
- The Chessmaster
- Combat Pragmatist: For all his swordfighting skill, he has nothing against controlling people with his shadows or pulling guns during a swordfight.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Oh GOD yes. Harry thinks he's read the Evil Overlord List. Well, up until a little logistical problem in Small Favor.note
- The End of the World as We Know It: In his own words, the apocalypse is not an "event" so much as it is a "frame of mind."
- Evil Counterpart: The author has stated that Nicodemus is essentially the opposite of Michael Carpenter.
- Evil Laugh: Subverted. Harry notes it isn't like that but a deep, rich laughter of one who is supremely confident.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Described as such in Small Favor. In Skin Game, it's gone to Guttural Growler levels because of the damage Harry inflicted on Nick's throat in their last fight.
- Eviler than Thou: Nicodemus is one of the few, possibly the only, Denarian who is more human than demon. This is because the demon admires the human.
- Faux Affably Evil: Polite, friendly, and civil. Even when he's about to cut your throat.
- Healing Factor: The noose allows Nicodemus to almost instantly heal from injuries that would kill any other Denarian. Fire, magical assaults, close-range assault fire, explosions - none of it can really harm Nicodemus to any meaningful degree. The best one can do is briefly stun or drive him off.
- Immune to Bullets: Thanks to the noose, bullets alone aren't enough to stop Nicodemus. Assault-rifle and other heavy rounds can stun, disorient, or briefly drive him off, but handgun rounds just seem to startle him at best and annoy him at worst. And regardless, he heals the damage almost instantly.
- Living Shadow: He can use his shadow to fly. And strangle people. And all sorts of other crazy things. And we've probably only barely seen the basics.
- The shadow actually seems to be a manifestation of his Fallen, Anduriel. In Small Favor it whispers to him at times, and actually screams when one of the Swords lights up.
- Manipulative Bastard
- Master Swordsman: He's had two thousand years to refine his swordfighting. Michael is a highly-skilled swordsman, but he's little more than a speedbump for Nicodemus. Shiro is apparently the only one who could stand against him.
- Meaningful Name: His last name, Archleone, means "Great Lion". Lampshaded by Harry.
- Really 700 Years Old: Rumored to have been around when Jesus was a local.
- Skunk Stripe: Has a gray streak in his otherwise dark hair. This is the only indicator of his age.
- The Sociopath: Self-admitted in Skin Game.
- Unholy Matrimony: In Small Favor we learn that he's married to Tessa, "not that it seems to mean very much to either of them".
- Villainous Friendship: He seems to get along quite well with Anduriel.
- Villainous Incest: He has a sexual relationship with his daughter, Deirdre.
- Weapon of Choice: Swords in general. Doesn't matter what kind; after two thousand years' worth of experience using them, one doesn't stick to one type.
- Wicked Cultured: Though he isn't fully versed in the most recent developments in psychology, not many psychologists know how to drive chariots, so it evens out.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Nicodemus plays a mean game.
One of the Fallen Angels of the Blackened Denarii, known also as the Webweaver and the Temptress. Nicodemus offered her coin to Harry, who refused but was later tricked into touching it. Lasciel's Shadow, known as Lash to Harry
, was a psychic duplicate who took up residence in Harry's head for some time; her stay in his subconscious changed her significantly from the original, making her a separate and individual entity.
Tropes below apply only to Lash (Lasciel proper has yet to appear).
"May I kill him, Father?"
Nicodemus's daughter (and lover
). His favorite subordinate, she's a powerful Denarian who takes the form of a clawed monster with long, flexible metal blades for hair that she can move at will
. While she's nowhere near as smart as her dad or as psychotically, destructively violent as her mother Tessa, she's plenty scary in her own right.
Polonius "Tessa" Lartessa (aka "Mantis Girl")
More commonly referred to as "Tessa", she is also a leader for the Denarians. As Nicodemus' wife, she and her Fallen, Imariel, are stated as the second-eldest of the Denarians. Generally, she is a rival to her husband, though they do work together to accomplish a similar goal- the last time they were said to have worked together, the Black Plague spread across Europe. She chooses bearers for coins based upon willingness to take a coin, not talent; Fallen who serve Imariel (and Tessa) go through bearers quickly. Tessa is concerned with short-term views, while Nicodemus is focused with the bigger picture and long-term issues. Tessa is also shown to be an exceedingly capable sorceress. Harry notes that she is a "big-leaguer" and "White Council material."
- Ax-Crazy: Without a doubt
- Bad Ass: Extremely skilled as a user of gambits and exceedingly capable sorceress.
- Batman-Gambit: Itís implied that she is running one of this, managing to play both Harry and Nicodemus like a fiddle. Her capture of the Archive was a rather beautiful one itself.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: In her Denarian form she takes the shape of a giant praying mantis.
- Break the Cutie: What she did to Ivy; presumably, what was done to her as a slave.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Does this to Ivy
- Cute Bruiser: A pretty, apparently young woman who packs a BIG punch.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: She started out as an underage hooker (though she wasn't underage for Roman Greece). Now she's a powerful mage responsible for some of the most abominable crimes in human history.
- Freudian Excuse: It's mentioned that her own father sold her into slavery in order to save his buisness.
- Really 700 Years Old: She looks between 14 and 16 years old... and was a slave in ancient Greece before she met Nicodemus.
- The Sociopath: is responsible for many of the most horrific wars and ethnic cleansings in human history
- Shock and Awe: Her preferred style of magic.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Tessa prefers recruits who are readily susceptible to the Fallen's temptations over recruits with intelligence or specialist skills. As a result, Tessa's minions tend to be more numerous than Nicodemus', but less formidable individually and far less capable. Naturally, this leads to Tessa periodically complaining about her peons' incompetence.
- The Vamp: More than willing to try and seduce Harry and offer herself sexually to him in exchange for Gard and Hendricks.
- Unholy Matrimony: Nicodemus took her away from her life as a child prostitute and apparently married her, but they both seem to loathe each other and only cooperate on special projects.
- Weak, but Skilled: In magical terms. Being alive for two thousand years with a Fallen giving one lessons lets even someone with a very modest talent for magic develop it into something very, very powerful.
Tessa's second, Rosanna is able to assume the form of a classic demon: batwinged, leathery skin, red eyes, and so on. She was the one who corrupted Sanya into taking Magog's coin when he was a younger man. Older and more dangerous than she seems, Rosanna is an expert
at tempation and manipulation.
- The Dragon: To Tessa.
- Horny Devils: Technically, she's not a succubus, but she seems to be the basis for the classic concept.
- Killit With Fire
- Manipulative Bitch: She's able to feign the "scared girl who is in over her head" act so effectively that Sanya, who knows what she is, is still affected by it. When Harry calls her on this, both Rosanna and her Fallen partner seem impressed.
- Older than They Look: At least several centuries old, but like all Denarians she looks a lot younger than she actually is.
- Punch Clock Villain: Tries to act like this, but Harry sees through the facade.
- The Vamp: She was Sanya's handler while he was Magog's host. He left the Denarians when he discovered how she actually felt about him.
Magog (aka "Magilla")
Big and brutal, Magog is the heavy hitter of Tessa's crew, resembling a monstrous gorilla. He's fast and tough and hits like a freight train, but is very unsubtle, and abuses his hosts viciously, to the point that they are just animals.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: Magog does not win points for being clever or quick-witted. His response to most threats, whether they be a Squishy Wizard or the most powerful assassin in Summer, is to charge straight at it and plow it under.
- The Brute
- Lightning Bruiser: Harry notes that he moves fast, and his reaction time is "almost nothing."
- Mugging the Monster: In Small Favor's climax, Magog picks a fight with the eldest Billy Goat Gruff despite the latter's repeated insistence he's got no quarrel with him. It goes... Poorly.
A particularly brutal Denarian who abuses his hosts, Ursiel is aggressive, violent, and psychotic. Taking on the form of a massive, six-legged bear, he serves as Nicodemus' heavy hitter.
- Bears Are Bad News: So powerful that he takes all three Knights of the Cross plus Harry to bring him down.
- The Dragon: To Nicodemus.
- Off with His Head!: How the Knights of the Cross bring him down.
- Tragic Monster: The current vessel encountered in Death Masks was once a man named Rasmussen, who was a gold prospector heading for California in 1849 when he came across Ursiel's coin. By the time Harry encounters him, Rasmussen is a broken and insane man whose mind has been shattered by Ursiel.
Thorned Namshiel (aka "Spinyboy")
A wizard working with Tessa's group, Thorned Namsiel looks like a human covered with a number of thorns, hence the name. Namshiel serves as her mastermind, and also took part in the attack on Arctis Tor
- Berserk Button: Gets absolutely pissed when he sees Harry use Soulfire—partly because it's a mortal using "their" power, and partly because Harry's using it to pound his face in.
- Brainwashed: Circumstantial evidence suggests he's been influenced by Nemesis.
- The Chessmaster
- The Man Behind the Man: Implied to be this for Tessa
- Off with His Head!.
- Squishy Wizard: The least-threatening physically of the Denarians, though getting beat about the head and shoulders by Harry's staff, followed by smashed repeatedly into pillars by a giant hand and burned by a column of Hellfire would ruin anyone's ambitions of being ambulatory.
- Razor Wire: Has a strangulation spell that he uses to get around Harry's shield, strangle him and pickpocket the remaining coins.
Quintus Cassius aka "Snakeboy" and "Liver Spots"
The fourth of Nicodemus' usual crew of Denarians, Cassius is a wizard with an emphasis on snakes. Unsurprisingly, takes on the shape of a humanlike snake in his Denarian combat form. At the end of Death Masks
, he gives up his coin
, as he expects that Nicodemus will help him. He is disappointed, and returns in Dead Beat, working with Grevane under the agreement that the necromancer will help him take down Harry and seize Lasciel's coin.