A strong, stoic people living in the Valley in the eastern foothills of the Forbidden Mountain. Their ancestors were warrior slaves of the Zebak who rebelled against their masters. Before that, their people lived in the Valley of Gold.
Rowan of the BukshahThe protagonist of the series. He is a very fragile, small boy who is looked down upon by his people and belittled. One day, however, the old lady Sheba gives him a map of the Mountain which only he can see, which sets off a chain of adventures for Rowan.
- Big Damn Heroes: Rowan and the Maris Candidates are forced to brew an antidote to Death Sleep poison to save Rowan's mother from death. They complete the task are return just before Jiller's time is up.
- In the fourth book, he, Allun, Zeel, Perlain, Annad, Norris and Shaaran arrive in Rin just in time to stop the Zebak invasion force from attacking Rin.
- Character Development: Rowan becomes a lot less timid and more bold and crafty as the series goes on, due to his self-esteem rising and the influence of friends such as Zeel and Perlain.
- Cowardly Lion: Rowan is afraid of everything, something unthinkable and shameful in the eyes of the brave and proud people of Rin.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Rowan has been bullied for most of his childhood because he is different from others in Rin. It affected him deeply, and he has a low self-esteem because of it.
- Disappeared Dad: Rowan's father sacrificed his life to save Rowan from dying in a house-fire. The people of Rin do not think it a fair trade that Rowan survived and Sefton didn't, as Sefton was strong and popular and Rowan is weak and cowardly.
- Fire-Forged Friends: After their adventure in the Pit of Unrin, Rowan and Zeel become life-long friends. Similarly, Rowan and the Maris Candidates befriend one another during their quest to create an antidote to Death Sleep poison in time to save Rowan's mother from death.
- Rowan also is good friends with Shaaran and Norris after he helps to rescue them from their captivity in the Zebak lands.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- Rowan despite his reluctance is ready to become the new Keeper of the Crystal after it is revealed that Doss is a traitor and Zebak spy. Luckily the old Keeper of the Crystal helps him realise that the Zebak hypnosis over Doss would not hold against the power of the Crystal, so Rowan does not have to make his Heroic Sacrifice and instead allows Doss to become Keeper as he originally intended before the big reveal.
- In Rowan and the Bukshah, Rowan gives up his friendship with Zeel, Shaaran and Norris so that they would not have to follow him onto the final leg of their quest, which he is sure will end in some or all of them dying. He attempts to make them lose trust in him, by telling them that he has been keeping secrets from them. He does not count on their fierce loyalty to him and their unwillingness to abandon him, whatever he may have done. They all refuse to leave him, and instead are sympathetic and kind at hearing his 'confession'.
- I Am Who?: Rowan in shocked to find in the third book that his mother is the Chooser of Maris, and that he must take her place as Chooser should she die.
- I Just Want to Be Badass: Rowan is always wishing that he were as strong as the rest of Rin, so that he wouldn't be bullied and could help his mother around the village and in the fields. This eats at him more and more in the second, third and fourth books, as he becomes frustrated at not being able to help physically when his friends are in trouble. Eventually, he realises that he does not have to be physically strong to be of any help, and has other talents and his wits which he can use.
- Kid Hero: Rowan is the hero of the series, and he is only twelve years old when the final book ends.
- Psychic Link: Develops a mental link with Doss after the events of Rowan and the Keeper of the Crystal.
- The So-Called Coward: A variation; Rowan is genuinely terrified by his adventure, and is the subject of contempt from those around him because of his fear, but manages to pull himself together enough to make it through.
- Took a Level in Badass: Though he's not nearly as badass as the rest of Rin, he does improve somewhat over the course of the series, by becoming less timid and more ready to stand up for himself and do what's right. By the end of the series he is feared by others in Rin, something which he is amazed at.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Rowan is afraid of everything, and has to face his fears every single day.
- Action Girl: Like all women in Rin, Jiller is physically strong and not afraid to fight.
- Action Mom: She is the mother of Rowan and Annad, and she is a fighter like everyone in Rin (except Rowan and Shaaran and maybe Allun).
- Childhood Friend Romance: With Jonn.
- Happily Married: First to Sefton, before his death, and later in the fourth book to Jonn.
AnnadRowan's younger sister.
- Action Girl: She's too young to physically fight, but it's often mentioned how bold and brave she is, a complete constrast to Rowan's more timid and pacific nature. When she's older it's likely she would become a true fighting Action Girl who can hold her own against any enemy.
- Big Damn Heroes: She, Rowan, Allun, Zeel, Perlain, Shaaran and Norris arrive in Rin on Unos the grach just in time to save the rest of the people of Rin from the Zebak invasion force.
- Disappeared Dad: Her father was killed in a house-fire.
- Made a Slave: In Rowan and the Zebak, she is accidentally abducted by a grach, which was under orders from the Zebak to steal a bukshah. She ends up in Zebak city, where she is held captive in the old Rin compound with the other remaining slaves (Shaaran, Norris and Thiery of the Silk).
- She Will Come for Me: Says this almost word for word to Shaaran, Thiery and Norris while she is held captive in the compound with them, referring to Rowan.
SeftonRowan's deceased father, who gave his life in a house-fire to save Rowan's.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Died in a house-fire trying (successfully) to rescue his son Rowan.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Like everyone in Rin (except Rowan and Shaaran).
Strong JonnA childhood friend of Marlie, Jiller and Allun, and a romantic interest of Jiller. He becomes more like a father figure to Rowan as the series progresses.
- The Big Guy: Jonn is large.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Jonn and Jiller were childhood friends; after Jiller's first husband died they eventually became something more.
- Fearless Fool: In an excellent twist, Jonn is beaten by the mountain not because he was afraid, but because he wasn't when he should have been. Exhausted and slowly freezing he realises that Sheba was right, only fools do not fear, and admits this to Rowan.
- Happily Married: Jiller and Jonn, after their wedding in book four.
- Nerves of Steel: He never panics during a crisis, and can always be counted upon.
- Second Love: Jonn is Jiller's.
AllunA half-Traveller man who is considered an oddity in Rin, much like Rowan. As such, the two understand each other well.
- Babies Ever After: By the events of the fifth book, Marlie and Allun are expecting a child.
- Childhood Friend Romance: With Marlie; they were friends since childhood, together with Strong Jonn, Jiller and Sefton.
- Dark and Troubled Past: His father died when he was young (between five and ten years old) and his mother chose to return to Rin with him to be with her own people, essentially tearing Allun away from everything that was familiar and a comfort to him. In Rin, though he tried to fit in, he was always bullied and discriminated against because of his Traveller heritage, something which resulted in him refusing to learn how to swim. He has major self-esteem issues due to this severe childhood bullying, and feels like he doesn't truly belong in Rin as he is half-Traveller and is always searching for some way to prove himself to his own people and find his own place.
- Deadpan Snarker: Not as much as some others, but Allun has his moments.
- Disappeared Dad: Allun's father died during the War of the Plains.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Rowan, during their quest up the Mountain.
- Happily Married: To Marlie, after the events of the fourth book.
- It's All My Fault: Blames himself (admittedly not needlessly) for Rin's trouble in Rowan and the Travellers, as it was he who brought the Mountain berries down from the Mountain. It's not entirely his fault, of course— as everyone in Rin says, they all share the blame, because if they had been more willing to trust the Travellers and less possessive of the berries then their danger would have been uncovered sooner and they all would have been safe.
- Nerves of Steel: Is a very reliable companion; never panics in the face of danger.
- Official Couple: With Marlie.
- Weak, but Skilled: This seems to be Allun's main fighting style, as he is not as strong as most of the people in Rin but uses his quick wits to defeat his enemies.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Allun never learnt how to swim because of the aforementioned childhood bullying; this comes right back to hit him in the face in Rowan of Rin, when the Mountain party comes across an expanse of water they have to cross in order to continue their quest. His reaction is equal amounts guilt and frustration.
MarlieA woman of Rin, and Allun's sweetheart.
- Action Girl: Like all women in Rin, except for Shaaran.
- Babies Ever After: By the time of the fifth book Marlie is pregnant with her and Allun's child.
- Childhood Friend Romance: With Allun.
- Disappeared Dad: Nothing is mentioned about her father; it can be assumed that he is dead.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Befriends Rowan during the quest up the Mountain to restore the water in the stream in the first book.
- Happily Married: To Allun, after the events of the fourth book.
- Official Couple: With Allun.
- Pregnant Badass: In Rowan and the Bukshah she is expecting her first child, and over the course of the novel is forced to walk many kilometers across ice and snow towards the city of the Maris people to escape the Cold and the Ice Creepers. When the people see Zeel's kite, they turn back, thinking that the village is in danger, and Marlie (presumably) goes with them. That's pretty badass.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Marlie is afraid of closed spaces.
SaraAllun's aging mother.
- Action Girl: Not as much now, but definitely when she was younger.
- Happily Married: To Forley the Traveller, before his death in the War of the Plains.
- Nice Girl: She is very kind and warm-hearted toward others, even those in Rin who are less than kind towards her and Allun.
BrondenA furniture-maker. She is very grumpy and cynical.
- Friendless Background: She has had precisely one friend in her life: Minna, who by all accounts was rather like Rowan. Minna died trying to save a bukshah calf, and Bronden hasn't had a friend since.
- Jerkass: She more or less exists to voice the exact wrong opinions.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite the above, she is above all else loyal to her people and merely does what she thinks is best.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: She never came to terms with Minna's death.
LannThe head of the village, and the oldest warrior alive. She has a very proud and stern personality.
Bree and HannahThe Gardeners of Rin.
NeelA potter of Rin.
- And I Must Scream: Neel's death in Rowan and the Bukshah.
- Character Death: He is eaten alive by an ice creeper.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Like most people in Rin.
ShaaranA young, gentle girl of Rin. She was originally a slave, but was rescued along with her brother Norris by Rowan and his friends.
- Dark and Troubled Past: She spent a large part of her childhood enslaved to the Zebak, and had to watch as her parents died and her people slowly faded away.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: Her parents both died of fever when she was little.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Shaaran has dark hair and pale skin.
- Fire-Forged Friends: She becomes good friends with Rowan after their escape from the Zebak lands.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Though not fatal, during the quest to defeat the ice creepers Shaaran gives up her box of silks, which had been very precious to her.
- Last of His Kind: She is the last of the people of the old Rin.
- Raised by Grandparents: Since her parents died when she was very young, Shaaran was mostly raised by her grandfather Thiery.
- Shrinking Violet: She is very timid, especially in the beginning of the fifth book.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Although she appears to be afraid and timid, she can also be very determined and fierce.
- Starting a New Life: After she and Norris escape from captivity they settle into life in the village of Rin. Allun's mother offers to shelter them, as Allun has just announced his betrothal to Maarie and will be marrying her soon.
- Took a Level in Badass: Shaaran starts off as a girl who is afraid of the bukshah and known for weeping often and having a soft heart, but in the end proves to be as determined and courageous as most of Rin, and does not falter even once during their final quest. When Rowan, Zeel and Norris decide to sacrifice themselves as they believe Sheba's riddle asks it of them, Shaaran vehemently tells them that this cannot be what the riddle had in mind, as she cannot believe that the Mountain would want others to die so that its hunger can be sated. It is Shaaran who leads Rowan to the true meaning of the final riddle in the quest.
NorrisA fighter of Rin who was a slave in Zebak lands.
- Dark and Troubled Past: He spent most of his life enslaved to the Zebak, and was only freed from it when Rowan and his friends came to the old Rin compound to rescue Annad. He also had to watch as his parents died and his people slowly faded away.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: His and Shaaran's parents died of fever long ago.
- Foil: Norris's upbringing was an exact reversal of Rowan's: A headstrong, emotionally guarded boy born to a timid but passionate people.
- Last of His Kind: He and Shaaran are the last people surviving from the old Rin.
- Raised by Grandparents: Norris and Shaaran were raised by their grandfather Thiery, as their parents died of fever when they were very young.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: He is a typical Rin warrior, and proud of it.
ThieryAn elderly, pacific man who was enslaved by the Zebak. He was the keeper of the Silks and owned a grach named Unos.
- Dark and Troubled Past: He spent his entire life in slavery to the Zebak and had to watch as his entire tribe and family dwindled away and died out.
- Doting Grandparent: Is this towards Shaaran and Norris.
- Fire-Forged Friends: He is quick to befriend Rowan, Allun, Zeel and Perlain who come to free Annad (and offer to free Thiery and his grandchildren as well).
- Happiness in Slavery: Averted. Thiery and Shaaran are quick to accept Rowan's offer of taking them away to Maris so that they can finally be free from their captivity.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He sacrifices his own life so that Unos the grach can fly again and allow his family, Rowan, Zeel, Annad, Perlain and Allun to escape back to Maris.
- I Gave My Word: Thiery had sworn to the Zebak that as long as he was alive his grach Unos would not spread his wings and fly. It is only after his death that he is relieved of the promise.
- Outliving One's Offspring: His offspring, who was one of the parents of Shaaran and Norris, died of fever when Shaaran was a small child. Thiery watched it happen.
ShebaThe bad-tempered, unpredictable Wise Woman. She aids Rowan and the people of Rin through cryptic riddles and puzzles which they have to solve to save the day.
An ancient nomadic people who roam the land of Maris.
Odgen the StorytellerThe leader of the Travellers, and Zeel's adopted father.
- Aloof Ally: What he appears to be, when Rowan first meets him. This is because he distrusts the people of Rin, thinking that they might be allied with the Zebak, and is offended at their own lack of trust in his people. After helping save Rin from the Unrin Trees and after Rowan gets to know him better, he becomes considerably warmer and more welcoming.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Becomes good friends with the people of Rin after helping to save them from the Unrin Trees in Rowan and the Travellers.
- Like a Son to Me: Zeel, his adopted daughter, is this to him.
- Parental Substitute: To Zeel.
ZeelA Zebak raised as a Traveller. Zeel befriends Rowan and accompanies him on many adventures.
- Action Girl: She accompanies Rowan on three of his adventures.
- Aloof Ally: Is this to Rowan in Rowan and the Travellers. There's a good reason for it.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Zeel is dark-haired, and she is certainly aloof to those who don't know her.
- Dark and Troubled Past: She was the sole survivor of a shipwreck which drowned both her parents, who were trying to escape from slavery in the land of the Zebak. She ended up being found and adopted by Ogden and the Travellers, but still had a lot of prejudice thrown at her because of her race, causing her to pretend she is a full-blooded Traveller.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: Zeel's parents both sacrificed their lives so that Zeel could live in freedom and safety, away from the very restricted Zebak society.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: As Rowan gets to know her (and the readers by extension) she becomes less and less aloof toward him.
- Family of Choice: After Zeel's parents are drowned at sea, Zeel is adopted into the Travellers and becomes Ogden's adopted daughter.
- Fire-Forged Friends: After braving the Pit of Unrin together, Rowan and Zeel become close friends. They hated each other previously, or at the very least distrusted one another.
- Happily Adopted: By Ogden.
- Heroic BSoD: Has a major one in Rowan and the Zebak, as their group travels through the Wastelands toward Zebak city. When an ishkin attacks them Zeel recalls a horrifying memory from her early childhood, when she still lived among the Zebak. Though she holds her own during the fight she breaks down afterward.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Though not fatal, in Rowan and the Bukshah Zeel gives up her favorite kite.
- Hot-Blooded: Very much so, at times.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Allun and Perlain.
- Kid Hero: Zeel accompanies Rowan on several adventures and is only twelve when the series finishes.
- Nerves of Steel: Zeel is very capable, and never panics during a fight.
- Only One Name: Zeel, like most characters, is only known by her first name.
Fish men who live on the coast of Maris. Foreigners generally refer to the otherwise nameless land as Maris in reference to them.
The Keeper of the CrystalThe leader of the Maris clans and the keeper of the great crystal of Maris.
- Legacy Character: All Keepers of the Crystal since Orin's time can effectively be considered the same character, including the current dying Keeper at the start of the story and Doss after he joins with the Crystal in turn.
Perlain of PandellisA Maris man who escorts Rowan and his mother to Maris for the Choosing. He becomes fast friends with Rowan and aids him during his quest to rescue Annad from the Zebak lands.
- The Cameo: Briefly appears in the Star of Deltora book Two Moons, just long enough to tell Mab and her ship not to set foot in Maris. This makes him the first, and so far only, character to appear in more than one series.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Becomes friends with Rowan during their time together in Maris.
- The Straight Man: Acts as this whenever he and Allun interact.
Doss of PandellisA Candidate of Maris. He eventually becomes the new Keeper of the Crystal.
- Dark and Troubled Past: His entire family was drowned in an accident while out fishing ( an accident which is revealed to have been caused by the Zebak), leaving Doss as the sole survivor.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Rowan especially, after their quest to create an antidote to the Death Sleep poison, but also with Asha and Seaborn, the other two Candidates.
- Nice Guy: Is essentially this, especially after the mind-control over him is broken and he becomes the Keeper of the Crystal.
- Psychic Link: Develops a mental link with Rowan after the events of the third book.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Is this after he becomes the next Keeper of the Crystal.
- Sole Survivor: He was the only one of his family to survive the boating accident which killed them. This is revealed to have been purposeful on the part of the Zebak, who had chosen Doss to be a mole for them as they had heard that he would be a candidate for the title of Keeper of the Crystal and could help them invade Maris.
- Took a Level in Badass: Before becoming Keeper, Doss is a quiet, kind though mysterious boy. After he connects with the Crystal, however, he is so powerful that he is able to sink an entire Zebak fleet of ships without batting an eyelid.
Asha of UmbrayA Candidate of Maris.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Befriends Rowan, Seaborn and Doss during their quest to create an antidote for Death Sleep.
Seaborn of FiskA Candidate of Maris.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Befriends Asha, Rowan and Doss during their quest to create an antidote for Death Sleep.
- Official Couple: With Imlay.
- Official Couple: With Seaborn.
- Memory-Wiping Crew: The Zebak have the power to completely wipe a person of their memories of the past.