Characters for Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne.
The ruling family of the Annurian empire, based in the capital, Annur, where they make their home in the Dawn Palace. Claim to be descended from the goddess Intarra, their patron, who is said to have had a child with one of their ancestors centuries ago.
- Badass Family: Valyn is fearsome Kettral warrior, Kaden has near-supernatural abilities from his monk training, and Adare is a fierce leader who's been touched by divinity.
- Divine Parentage: Descended from the goddess Intara, who becomes their patron
- Elemental Eye Colors: Due to their divine ancestry, all the emperors and most of their children have eyes that are described as 'blazing'. As in, their pupils are literally on fire.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Emperor sends his heir for brutal training under the Shin monks and his second son to serve in the military.
The current Emperor of Annur after his father's death, Kaden spent half his life isolated in the Bone Mountains, training as a monk under the Shin, and has little to no idea about how to rule an empire, nor does he understand what all his monk training will amount to - especially when the Shin are being hunted by an unseen creature in the mountains.
- Blind Obedience: Has been indoctrinated into this by the Shin
- Distracted by the Sexy: When he sees Triste.... Justified in that she's the only girl his age he's seen since he left Annur, and it doesn't hurt that she's drop-dead gorgeous.
- Emotion Suppression: As part of his Shin training.
- The Emperor: Becomes this after his father's death.
- Fish out of Water: Once he leaves Ashk'lan and his isolated life among the Shin for the real world.
- Reluctant Ruler: He knew he would have to take the throne one day, he just knows he isn't ready in any way at the moment.
- Socially Awkward Hero: After spending most of his life with emotionally repressed monks and no contact with the outside world.
- The Stoic: See above. This becomes a plot point, as emptying your mind is a key element of reaching the vaniate.
- The White Prince: Played with. He hasn't exactly led a sheltered life among the Shin, but he knows nothing about what's going on within his empire.
- You Need to Get Laid: Pulled on him by his ministers and guards, of all people, as a rite of passage and to prepare him for the harem of concubines he will receive. Also to distract him while they try to assassinate him.
The only one of the Emperor's children who didn't inherit the blazing fiery eyes of the goddess Intarra, Valyn is a soldier of the Kettral and nearing the end of his training, where he will have to undergo a terrifying trial. But at the same time, his father has just died, leaving his brother and sister in danger, and there may be a traitor among the Kettral who has his or her sights set on Valyn.
- Bad Liar: Is mocked for this by his friends.
- Berserk Button: Don't mess with Lin. Or Kaden.
- Big Brother Instinct: Is fiercely protective of his younger brother Kaden.
- Blind Weaponmaster: Thanks to his Hull-given enhanced senses.
- Cannot Spit It Out: His feelings for Lin.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Lin calls him out on it.
- Determinator: As evidenced by the end of the second book, Valyn does not give up.
- Eye Color Change: Undergoes one after Hull's Trial.
- Handicapped Badass: After Il Tornja blinds him at the end of the second book.
- Heroic BSoD: Goes into one after Lin's death and then again after he's blinded.
- Master Swordsman: His weapon of choice.
- Morality Adjustment: Goes from arguing with Lin that right and wrong are necessities to saying "fuck necessity" when Kaden calls him out on his brutal killing of Yurl.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Goes on one after Yurl, whereupon he brutally kills him after chopping off both arms
- Team Dad: To his Wing. He's devastated when Laith is killed on his watch.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Lin. They get a kiss in before she dies.
- Warrior Prince: Was raised in the imperial palace before being sent to join the Kettral as a young boy. He doesn't really give much importance to his princely status, though he is teased about it by his friends.
The eldest child and only daughter of Emperor Sanlitun, Adare has always struggled with the fact that, as a woman, she won't get to sit the throne and her only worth will be in marrying well. But when her father dies, it's she and not her brothers who is at the heart of the capital, trying to solve his murder and keep the family line alive while balancing her duties as Minister of Finance in a court where no one thinks she's ready for the job.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Her fellow ministers don't take her seriously because she's a girl.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Moulds herself into this in order to be taken more seriously as a woman.
- Badass Bookworm: Is smart and well-educated, but learns to get her hands dirty too.
- Daddy's Girl: As the only one of her siblings who stayed back in the capital, she develops a close bond with her father and seems to be the one he trusts the most as well.
- Determinator: Like her brother, she never gives up.
- Iron Lady: Strives to be this, but has trouble controlling her anger.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Has a moment of this at the end of the book, when she realises she just sent an innocent man to his death.
The late Emperor of Annur, Sanlitun dies under mysterious circumstances before the book begins, kicking off the events of the series.
- Dead Man Writing: His letter to Adare
- The Good King: Presumably. But considering we've only seen him from his children's perspective and they're obviously slightly biased....
- Papa Wolf: As seen in his reaction when his young sons are kidnapped and held hostage by his enemies.
- So Proud of You: Never says it explicitly, but makes it clear to Adare
- The Stoic: Like Kaden, a result of growing up among the Shin.
- Thanatos Gambit: He gambles with his life in order to uncover the conspiracy against his family by arranging to meet with all the suspected conspirators alone and leaving a record of the names and dates of the meetings for Adare to find. He dies - and his handy note leads her straight to his killer.
The late Empress of Annur and mother of Valyn, Kaden and Adare, she died of consumption several years prior to the first book.
An isolated, mysterious order of monks who live in Ashk'lan, deep within the Bone Mountains, virtually at the edge of civilisation. They spend their days meditating, working and living a simple, Spartan life in order to worship the Blank God, and in the hopes of attaining what they call the 'vaniate.
Kaden's best friend and a young Shin novice, who started out as a thief in Annur and wasn't too happy about being dragged off to the Shin as punishment.
- A Day in the Limelight: In the online short story 'The Last Abbot of Ashk'lan'.
- The Artful Dodger: Was one before being arrested and sent off to the Shin as punishment
- Messy Hair: Reportedly wears his this way as a deliberate rebellion against the Shin style of shaved heads.
Kaden's unmial (teacher), a cantankerous, anti-social and impatient Shin monk who knows more than he's letting on.
- Eccentric Mentor: For the Shin, who are all cool and composed, while Tan has a temper and an unorthodox attitude.
- Warrior Monk: Though the Shin are pacifists, Tan carries a weapon and knows how to fight.
Abbot Schial Nin
The Abbot of Ashk'lan and leader of the Shin monks.
A very young Shin novice who follows Kaden and Akiil around and still has a very optimistic view of the world.
An elite military branch who are the equivalent of Annur's special ops squad, they make their headquarters in the Qirin Islands, use special dark blades and act as soldiers, spies and assassins of the empire. Oh, and they ride giant wild birds called kettral. A typical 'Wing' or team of Kettral include a leader, a flier, a demolitions master, an archer and a leech.
Ha Lin Cha
Valyn's closest friend (and crush), a brave and often ruthless Kettral cadet who helps Valyn try and uncover the conspiracy against his family.
- Action Girl: Like all the Kettral women, she can handle herself in a fight.
- Berserk Button: Insinuating that she can't protect herself and needs a man to save her. A big point of contention between her and Valyn.
- Establishing Character Moment: Shooting and killing the girl Valyn is carrying to safety out of a collapsing tavern, so he dump the (literally) dead weight and make the leap without hindrance. Even more jarring considering it's her first ever kill.
- Heroic BSoD: When she fails to defend herself against Balendin and Yurl, leaving her feeling totally helpless and pissed off about it.
A hot-tempered, headstrong Kettral cadet with a penchant for demolitions and a love for blowing things up.
- A Day in the Limelight: Gets her own POV in the second book.
- Action Girl: Like all the Kettral women.
- Anger Born of Worry: Constantly expresses this, especially towards Valyn.
- Enraged by Idiocy: Gwenna is enraged by pretty much everything, but stupidity and incompetance are special pet peeves.
- Even the Girls Want Her: Pyrre admiringly points out her 'beguiling figure'.
- Fiery Redhead: Her long red hair is one of her distinctive features - along with her explosive temper.
- Genius Bruiser: She knows a lot about explosives, mechanics and chemistry
- Hair-Trigger Temper: As mentioned above, is quick to anger.
- He Is Not My Boyfriend: Does not react well to Pyrre hinting at something between her and Valyn.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Gwenna is hot-headed and sharp-tongued, but also cares deeply about her teammates and about protecting the innocent.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Tries to pull one by blowing up a bridge, but luckily she survives.
- Man Bites Man: Nearly takes off the ear of one of the Aedolian Guard when he tries to disarm her.
- The Nicknamer: Calls Valyn a variety of sarcastic, exaggerated honourifics.
- Wrench Wench: As the (hot) demolitions master of the Wing
A cadet who has been trained to fly the kettral, giant birds that the Kettral ride into battle - and he loves going very, very fast.
- Ace Pilot: On a giant bird, of course, not a plane.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Seen in the way he treats the prostitutes he sleeps with, reacting with genuine sorrow towards Amie's death.
- Deadpan Snarker: Provides most of the comedic relief in the series.
- Drives Like Crazy: More like flies like crazy.
A cadet and a leech, Talal uses an unknown source from which to draw his magical abilities and, like most leeches, is the subject of suspicious and distrust by even his peers.
- Blessed with Suck: How he views his powers.
- Driven to Suicide: As a child, when he finds out he's a leech after being raised in a family that fears and despises them.
- Fantastic Racism: Is a victim of this, due to being a leech, as magic users are feared and often persecuted across the empire.
- The Lancer: Despite initial trust issues, he seems to become Valyn's confidant and adviser in the Wing.
- Only Sane Man: In his Wing - considering Valyn doesn't know what he's doing half the time, Gwenna has a Hair-Trigger Temper, Laith Drives Like Crazy and Annick is flat-out terrifying.
- Your Magic's No Good Here: When he doesn't have access to his well, or source of power.
Though she looks young and fragile, Annick is the best archer among the cadets and only slightly terrifying in nature.
- Badass Adorable: Not in her personality, but it's reiterated on many occasions that Annick looks way, way too young to be such a holy terror.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Very, very slowly, towards her Wing.
- Older Than They Look: Everyone who meets her thinks she looks about fifteen at the most, but she's really in her late teens.
One of Valyn's close friends among the cadets.
- Explosive Stupidity: He's a demolitions master but is described as being comically bad at it.
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Has this moment when he makes a joke about the different ways to die just minutes after Valyn's found out his father's been murdered before cutting himself off too late.
Valyn's arch rival among the cadets, Yurl is a noble-born boy who thinks he's better than his peers and bitterly jealous of the prince.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Thinks he's better than his peers because of his high birth.
Yurl's right hand henchman, a leech with very sinister abilities.
- Emotion Eater: His 'well' or source of magic.
- I Shall Taunt You: Uses this during this fights, in order to rile up his opponents and make them careless. Also a side-product of his Emotion Eater magic.
- Sadist: Emotions are his well, so he feeds off negative emotions like anger, grief and pain.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Comes off this way to Valyn because of his often unorthodox practices and advice.
Ran il Tornja
The kenarang or military commander of the Annurian army, he's selected to act as regent until Kaden returns to the capital. Irreverent and bold, he helps Adare conduct the investigation into her father's murder.
- Agent Peacock: Has traces of this, especially when a disgusted Adare describes his flamboyant dress sense.
- Early-Bird Cameo : is actually Tan'is, the Csestriim who kills his own daughter in the intro
- Well-Intentioned Extremist unlike most of his peers he does not actually want to exterminate humanity per se. He has figured a way to revert humanity into Csestriim, thus saving his race and "fixing" their wayward children in the same stroke. Unfortunatedly, said method carries a significant risk of killing all humans as a side effect. In fact, even the best case scenario would likely result in many people dying off instead of reverting back to Csestriimhood
The High Priest of Intarra, the patron goddess of the imperial family, and accused of the murder of Emperor Sanlitun.
- Give Me a Sign: Uses this to prove his innocence by stepping into the place in the Temple of Intarra where the sun's light hits a giant magnifying glass - without being burnt. Subverted, in that he's a leech and used his magic to pull off the trick.
A beautiful young girl whose mother is a leina, a priestess of Ciena, goddess of pleasure, and part of an order of elite and cultured courtesans that cater solely to the aristocratic classes. She meets Kaden when his ministers 'give' her to him as a concubine for the newly crowned emperor.
- Disappeared Dad: Her high-born father never formally acknowledged her.
- Distracted by the Sexy: The Aedolians use her for this purpose for Kaden.
- Heroic Bastard: Her father is a nobleman and her mother is a concubine.
- High-Class Call Girl: She comes from an order of women who are just this, but while she's learnt the 'low arts' (dancing, singing, painting), her mother, a concubine, refused to let her learn the 'high mysteries', AKA the 'bodily pleasures'.
- Wonder Child: Or 'goddessborn', a child born to a leina despite all the contraceptive precautions taken, whose mother chose not to abort her.
- Younger Than They Look: Kaden first assumes her to be a grown woman - mostly due to her clothes, which accentuate her curves - but on a closer look realises that she's about his age or younger, so a teenager.
A confident, irreverent and chatty merchant woman who arrives with her husband in Ashk'lan, seemingly harmless - but hoarding a stash of weapons.
- Dirty Old Woman: Not old per se, but described as being roughly middle aged.
- Murder, Inc.: Belongs to one called the Skullsworn.
- Professional Killer: A Skullsworn, one of the assassins who serve under Ananshael, the god of death.
An ancient, immortal and genetically superior race that predated mankind and whose children gradually evolved into humans, which spawned a centuries long war between the Csestriim and the humans. The Csestriim lost and receded from history, becoming little more than myths and children's stories, but now it seems they're returning to the surface.
- Mercy Kill: What they thought they were doing to the humans. See below.
- Offing the Offspring: In the prologue, we see the Csestriim murdering their children because they've contracted the Rot - in other words, they've begun to age and to feel emotions.
The goddess of light, fire and the sun, patron of the Malkeenian imperial family line and said to be their ancestress.
- God in Human Form: Evoked this when she interbred with the Malkeenian line
- The Old Gods: She and a few of the others are part of the original pantheon of gods who then gave birth to the younger, newer ones
Known as the Owl King, he is the god of darkness and the night, and the patron god of the Kettral.
The Blank God
Thought by some to be the first and thus the only true god, he is worshipped by the Shin, who attempt to reach him through meditation.
The god of pain and suffering, whose name gave rise to the curse ''Kent-kissing'.
- Cats Are Mean: His nickname is 'the Cat'
The god of death, patron of the Skullsworn, an order of assassins, whose name gave rise to the curse ''Shael-spawned'.
The goddess of birth, life and creation, consort to Ananshael.
- Odd Couple: With Ananshael, who's the god of death
The goddess of pleasure, patron to the leina, an order of elite courtesans.