Son of Mike Havel and Juniper Mackenzie (sometimes called "the son of Bear and Raven" for that parentage), Rudi was given the title of "the Lady's Sword" at his Wiccanning. He is literally chosen by destiny to unite the people of Montival as a force for good, not that that makes his life charmed (well, maybe!) or easy. Has a Childhood Friend Romance with Mathilda Arminger, who becomes The High Queen to his The High King; they have four children. A fifth child is born after his death. Their eldest child, the Princess Orlaith, is designated his successor.
- The Ace: Better than anyone else at almost any skill one cares to name; at the peak of physical and intellectual performance. The only thing keeping Rudi from Marty Stu territory is that he does make mistakes and is willing to admit to his limitations.
- Badass Adorable: in his childhood he was cute, precocious, and put up just as much of a fight as his two adult guards during a kidnapping attempt.
- The Chosen One: Son of the Bear who Rules, Sword of the Lady, with titles like that he had to be.
- Happily Adopted: While Rudi's biological parentage is important to the story, Mike Havel played no part in his rearing. Rudi comes to think of his mother's second husband, Nigel Loring, as a father, to the point where in one conversation he assumes that a reference to "your father" is intended to describe Nigel.
- Happily Married
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Edain Mackenzie.
- The High King: Of Montival, a confederation of post-Change successor states scattered throughout what used to be the western United States and Canada. note
- Magic Knight: Without a doubt the deadliest character in his segment of the series...and that's just with his sword. When he calls upon Morrigu then things get truly serious.
- The Men First: Rudi learned at his stepfather's knee that it's essential for officers to see to their soldiers' welfare, even before their own. As a commander, he takes those lessons seriously.
- Non-Human Sidekick: His horse, Epona, qualifies as a character in her own right.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: As High King, will travel for days on horseback in the snow to hear the cases of those who appeal to his justice. Killed intervening in what appears at first to be a minor skirmish among raider parties on Montival territory.
- Sympathetic P.O.V.: He's surprisingly relatable, despite being so consummately capable as to verge on Marty Stu.
- Warrior Prince
Daughter and heir to Norman and Sandra; eventually becomes Lady Protector. Despite being born on opposite sides of the Protector's War, she and Rudi become fast friends as children, and are drawn to one another as adults.
- Action Girl
- Action Mom: You just attacked her little daughter? Good sir, prepare to kiss your ass goodbye.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning
- Battlecry: "Holy Mary for Portland!"
- Happily Married
- The High Queen: After her marriage to Rudi and the establishment of Montival
- Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: At Richland, and again in the attack in the Silver Tower, she fights well in formal clothing.
- Mama Bear: See Action Mom, above.
- Pregnant Badass
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: In addition to taking up her sword in defense of her Association and the High Kingdom, she's a capable diplomat and administrator.
- Sympathetic P.O.V.
- White Sheep: Her parent are two of the most morally questionable characters in the series, but she herself is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Played with; when Magnificent Bitch Sandra compliments Mathilda on her political savvy, Mathilda reflects that this would disturb her if Sandra were not her mother.
Orlaith Arminger Mackenzie
Oldest child of Rudi and Mathilda, and heir to her father's throne. (Though not to her mother's title as Lady Protector of the PPA — as the PPA practices what's dubbed as "classic" primogeniture, Orlaith is only third in line to that throne, behind her two brothers.) Her parents have carefully trained her in the responsibilities of her position, but as of The Golden Princess she is still young enough to feel the same yearning for adventure that they once felt.
- Action Girl: Qualified as a knight by the demanding standards of the PPA, and a reasonably good archer as well.
- Daddy's Girl: Close to her father, with whom she shares a faith as well as character traits.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Heuradys d'Ath.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Like both of her parents. She has travelled to many areas in her realm and is familiar with how they live and what they do. She also proves herself capable of organizing and leading an expedition.
John Arminger Mackenzie
Second child and older son of Rudi and Mathilda. As the latter's first male child, he is the heir to the PPA throne. Knows he really has no choice but to become Lord Protector, but honestly? He'd rather be a troubadour.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: To Orlaith.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Quite capable of figuring out an intricate plot or clever cipher, or of drawing the correct inferences from limited information. Just not particularly interested unless he sees a good reason to be.
- Happily Married: To Pip as of the end of The Sea Peoples.
- Real Men Love Jesus: A devout Catholic, although he's willing to admit he's not perfect (see Really Gets Around below).
- Really Gets Around: John is quite the ladies' man, although he sees this as a spiritual weakness and recognizes it can have political implications for him and he settles down once he marries.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: John appears to have inherited his grandmother's skill at behind-the-scenes maneuvering, as he is the one who brokers funding and transport for the expedition to recover the Grass-Cutting Sword without his mother finding out until after the fact.
- Warrior Poet: A poet before his adventures began, he hones his craft during The Desert and the Blade. By Prince of Outcasts he's showing more confidence, able to coordinate with allies to take down an enemy stronghold equivalent to a large PPA castle by force, something which had never been done in Montival even during the war with the CUT. If he's not already, John is a Four-Star Badass in the making, albeit reluctantly.
Founder and first ruler of the Portland Protective Association. Before the Change he was a history professor and a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, both of which give him the skills he needs to shape his country in the image of a Norman (pun almost certainly intended) kingdom. Styles himself as the "Lord Protector."
- Badass Bookworm: Before the Change he was a history professor and SCA dork. He used both to his advantage and became a ruthlessly effective leader.
- Big Bad: His role in the first trilogy
- Card-Carrying Villain: When you choose the Lidless Eye of Mordor as the symbol for yourself and your House, safe to say you're sending certain signals. Mike Havel likens him to a Dungeons & Dragons player who enjoys playing evil characters.
- Crazy-Prepared: Uses the contacts he made with local street gangs while doing research for a book to assemble his initial core of enforcers.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He's a Happily Married man, and a father who loves his daughter.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: We're talking about a guy who started out as an undistinguished history professor and SCAdian and ended up as the Evil Overlord of the Portland Protective Association (for which, in his era, read "protection racket").
- Our Founder: One of the major 3 in the series, and the most ruthless of them. He founded the Portland Protective Association.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Among other things (such as building a kingdom and a government from scratch), he's his own top war leader.
- Unholy Matrimony: With Sandra. Both are twisted and power hungry, and completely devoted to each other.
- Visionary Villain: Invoked and discussed. Unlike the other leaders in the early Emberverse, who are either trying to salvage what's left of civilization or making up things as they go along, Arminger had secretly fantasized about turning the Portland metro area into a medieval kingdom for some time and had been drawing plans for his Evil Tower of Ominousness even before the Change.
Wife of Norman and mother of Mathilda. Usually the smartest person in any room, and quite aware of it, she's the real brains behind the PPA. Unlike her husband, she is patient, methodical, and pragmatic. After Norman's death, she serves as Lady Regent and de-facto ruler of the PPA until her daughter comes of age.
- Badass Bureaucrat: The information she has in her files can topple kingdoms and make strong men weep.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Has no qualms about describing herself as an "evil bitch."
- The Chessmaster: Boy, is she ever!
- Deadpan Snarker: Often in a rather disturbing way.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She very much loves her husband, her daughter, and eventually her grandchildren.
- Signe Havel: My husband was a good man.Sandra Arminger: Mine was a monster. But don't think for one minute that I loved mine any less than you loved yours.
- Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Despite her own moral lacking Sandra went out of her way to make sure Mathilda got a religious and moral upbringing, and is genuinely proud of how she turned out.
- Magnificent Bitch: In-universe recognized as such. Best example of this type of character in the Emberverse; she is a cool customer and a manipulator without compare.
- Mama Bear: If you hurt her daughter, she may not come after you with a sword, but you'd better believe she will make you sorry. When Mathilda is being held by the Mackenzies, the Consort comes very close to abandoning her Pragmatic Villainy, wanting to make Juniper suffer for keeping her child from her. Lawrence Thurston, President-General of Boise, recognizes this quality in Sandra: when the members of the Quest show up in his region, his first thought is to send them back, lest Sandra think he is holding her daughter hostage and get pissed off at him.
- The Mentor: To Katrina and Tiphaine. In a different way, also to Mathilda, and to a lesser extent, Rudi.
- Only Sane Woman: As an atheist, she considers herself this in the early years after the Change, manipulating religious believers to her own ends. She eventually comes to realize that religion has a much greater, and more tangible, validity in the post-Change world than it did before the Change.
- Pragmatic Villainy: All part of the above mentioned Chessmaster status. She is careful to maintain her public image and avoid being seen as a God Save Us from the Queen!.
- The Red Baron: "The Spider," or "the Spider of the Silver Tower."
- Right-Hand Cat: She likes Persian cats, and in The Golden Princess, Orlaith recalls her saying it's best to be holding one when trying to come up with a good evil scheme.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Besides being the Consort, and later the Lady Regent, she's essentially the head of Portland's intelligence service.
- Sneaky Spider: A cunning, cruel and highly intelligent woman whose adeptness at manipulating the politics and schemes of her nation has earned her the nickname of the Spider.
- Token Evil Teammate: to the council working to establish Montival. None of the others really trust her, but her intelligence information, her shrewdness, and her wealth are so useful....
- Unholy Matrimony: With Norman. Both are twisted and power hungry, and completely devoted to each other.
Tiphaine D'Ath (Nee Colette Rutherton)
A pre-Change Girl Scout (really!) who manages to make her way into the Arminger castle along with her friend, and later lover, Katrina Georges. Taken under the wing of an amused and impressed Sandra Arminger, she's trained as an assassin, and eventually becomes the finest warrior in the PPA. Like Sandra, she is clever and pragmatic.
- Action Girl
- Badass Gay
- Badass Normal
- Big Damn Heroes: Several times. She leads a company of heavy cavalry to rescue her nemesis, Astrid Larsson, after a botched black ops raid. Later, she also leads her personal guard to rescue the combined leadership of Montival from assassins.
- Butch Lesbian: To her lover Delia, Countess-Consort of Campscabell and Baroness of Forest Grove.
- Determinator: She is Tiphaine d'Ath, and you are in her way. (And delightfully, in Lord of Mountains she even says so!)
- The Dragon: to Sandra Arminger.
- Foil: To Astrid Larsson. Both are the finest swordsmen in the area, both are highly skilled commandos, and both hate each other with a fiery passion - but Tiphaine lacks Astrid's thirst for glory, love of drama and flair, and is altogether far more grounded.
- Four-Star Badass: First as Grand Constable of the Portland Protective Association, then as Marshal-Commander of the High King's Hosts.
- HeelFace Turn: Gradually over the course of the series, eventually becoming a full-fledged protagonist, although she frequently reminds the reader that Good Is Not Nice.
- Kicked Upstairs: Promoted to Marshal-Commander after her first serious injury in combat-sometime in her early fifties.
- The Lad-ette: Drinks, Swears, and is the best fighter of her generation in all the PPA.
- Little Miss Badass: Sandra had her trained as her personal assassin and Mathilda's personal bodyguard. She made her first kill at the age of fifteen.
- Master Swordswoman: Best swordfighter in all of the Portland Protective Association.
- And one of the best in all of Montival. She trained Rudi and Mathilda in fencing, and Rudi himself notes her skill twice. He notes when he first sees her in action that only Astrid Larsson and Mike Havel are on her level; later, when he's in his early twenties, he states that she, at thirty-six years old, is still able to beat him as often as not.
- And she continues to prove it decades later. The first serious injury she ever receives in combat is from a duel she fights against a male knight. She was forty-six, and he was twenty-five - and she still killed him.
- McNinja: In her earlier years. Lampshaded in A Meeting at Corvallis.
- It continues through that book as well. She assassinates a heavily-guarded prisoner in the middle of neutral territory and escapes from four of the best Rangers in the book. Later, she carries off a raid in the heart of Mackenzie territory and rescues Princess Mathilda, captures Rudi Mackenzie, and personally kills both of his hand-picked bodyguards effortlessly.
- The Mentor: To Rudi, Mathilda, her squire Lioncel, and later, her daughter Heuradys.
- More Deadly Than the Male: According to her, because she can skip the posturing and flourishing male nobles are fond of, and get straight to the hacking and slashing.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Despite being The Dragon, she's basically a decent person who happens to be on the wrong side at first. While she's absolutely devoted to Sandra, she privately thinks Norman's more than a little foolish. She knows that squeezing her tenants too hard and forcing them to work under poor conditions is a bad idea, and not ensuring her men-at-arms are physically capable of doing their jobs is an even worse idea. Tiphaine also takes defending a hostage left in her care very seriously. See also Reasonable Authority Figure below.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Treats her peasantry and personal retinue fairly and absolutely will not tolerate ill-treatment of peasants or refugees. When she takes control of her estate and notices that her people do not have adequate clothing, one of her first orders is to ensure that every family has good clothing made within the estate...which leads to her clamping down on her household steward's skimming money from the proceeds of wool sales.
- The Red Baron: "Lady Death"
- The Rival: to Astrid Larson, though they never actually get to duel.
- Sympathetic P.O.V.: Even before she begins her HeelFace Turn.
Delia Mercer de Stafford
A former seamstress who becomes the Chatelaine and longtime partner of Tiphaine d'Ath. Married to Rigobert de Stafford as a political maneuver to ennoble her and provide legal cover for him, herself, and Tiphaine in the homophobic PPA. She bears him four children (with the help of a turkey baster), who become the heirs of Stafford and Ath.
- All Lesbians Want Kids: She loves being pregnant and being a mother, even prevailing on her partner for a fourth child when Tiphaine was ready to draw the line at three. Though turkey basters are commonly a joke for this trope, not so much in Delia's case — she's no more interested in men than her husband is in women, and all of their children really are engendered in this way.
- The Beard: She and her husband Rigobert are this to one another. Her longtime love is actually Tiphaine d'Ath, to whom she is Chatelaine.
- The Fashionista: Pretty and with a natural eye for style, she's a fashion trend-setter in the PPA.
- Lipstick Lesbian: The very feminine counterpart to her Butch Lesbian partner, Tiphaine.
Rigobert de Stafford
Husband of Delia, he is an extremely capable war leader in the PPA, and plays a significant role in the war against the CUT.
- Badass Gay: He can kill you with a sword or a war hammer. So you might want to hold off on the gay-bashing.
- The Beard: He and his legal wife, Delia, are this to one another; she even refers to him as "my dear beard" in Tears of the Sun. The true state of their relationship, however, is pretty much an Open Secret.
- The Dandy: He's a snappy dresser, and knows what looks good on him. His wife Delia is also a lover of fashion.
- Four-Star Badass: One of the PPA's best field commanders as well as a lethal one-on-one combatant.
- Gay Guy Seeks Popular Jock: Inverted; he claims that in high school the popular jocks all wanted to sleep with him.
- Genius Bruiser: Forest Grove, his estate, hosts the PPA's largest university.
- Government Agency of Fiction: Rigobert is implied to have been an intelligence operative pre-Change, something which helped him survive as a gay man in the extremely homophobic PPA.
- Manly Gay
- Nobody Over Fifty Is Gay: Averted in the later volumes
- Odd Friendship: With Tiphaine. In addition to their political alliance, and his fathering (via turkey baster) her heirs, the two are the only ones in their immediate circle who have meaningful memories of pre-Change life (Rigobert was an adult and Tiphaine in her early teens in 1998).
- Reasonable Authority Figure: More humane toward his peasants than most other PPA nobility. Succeeds Tiphaine as Grand Constable because of his ability to defuse conflicts peacefully.
- Visual Pun: His coat of arms (a lion embracing a tower with a round dome on top) is noted by other characters to be read as "hung like a lion". Counts as Getting Crap Past the Radar in the very conservative environment of the PPA.
An SCA member and a friend of Norman and Sandra Arminger pre-Change, he's their first and most trusted supporter when they establish the PPA. A capable and pragmatic war leader with a snarky sense of humor and a decent head for politics.
- Badass Bureaucrat: He's the one who actually keeps Norman's fantasy kingdom running on a practical basis.
- The Dragon: Arminger's first supporter (other than Sandra), and his right-hand man.
- First-Name Basis: With the Lord Protector and the Consort, known to him as "Norman" and "Sandra." At least once, Arminger tries to stand on his title with Conrad, but Conrad isn't having any.
- Four-Star Badass: Widely considered to be a more capable commander than his own boss, and a formidable hand-to-hand combatant as well.
- Genius Bruiser: Maybe not a genius, per se, but smarter than most people who see his looks and his muscular build will give him credit for. An accountant pre-Change, he's the one who figures out how to make post-Change Portland's economy work and is Norman's chief economic planner.
- Handicapped Badass: Has been seen leading a battle from a wheelchair.
- Happily Married: To a minor holder whom he keeps well-insulated from the court at Castle Todenangst, for the sake of his marriage and her peace of mind.
- Honest Advisor: One of the few with the nerve, and the license, to tell Arminger when he's wrong.
- Arminger: That's my lord when you address me.Renfrew: No, here with just us three it's Norman from me to you, Norman. Look, I've been carrying water for you since the the day of the Change, ever since you and Sandra came bopping in and talked me around. You didn't make me Grand Constable because I was a complete fucking idiot, did you? So try listening to me for once.(proceeds to outline to Arminger exactly where and when his advice to Arminger was ignored, and the results)
- Kicked Upstairs: Becomes Chancellor when he's deemed too old for an active battlefield command.
- Perilous Old Fool: He is seen as such because he is still trying to take an active role in combat as an old man even by pre-Change standards.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Doesn't necessarily like Norman's brutality but sees few other alternatives in the near-term. Once Norman is out of the picture Conrad performs a HeelFace Turn and as Chancellor is a Reasonable Authority Figure. Word of God is that Conrad would have eventually become fed up with Norman had Norman not died at Mike Havel's hands.
- Red Right Hand: Badly scarred due to burns received in a pre-Change car accident and subsequent failed skin grafts; his appearance contributes to his intimidation factor.
- Retired Badass: And if only he'd had the sense to stay retired, he might have kept his ass in one piece.
The White Sheep son of Eddie and Mary Lui, he is a sincere believer in the knightly virtues, but not above looking out for his own advancement. He holds the rank of count, and is ruler of Gervais.
- Battlecry: "Face Gervais, face death!"
- Big Brother Instinct: Goes out of his way to ensure his younger brother Huon is assigned as a page to another household to continue his education. A good thing, too, as Huon is insulated from Mary's treachery later on as a result. Huon himself is grateful as he was getting bored and restless with no meaningful activity due to Mary's neglect.
- Courtly Love: A firm believer.
- The Dandy: Known for his love of fashionable clothes. The other men on the Quest tease that not being able to wash his hair for a time was a real crisis for him.
- Dysfunctional Family: Odard frequently had to work around his mother in order to keep the estate functioning even before he was of age to assume the full duties of his title. He eventually exiled his own mother because of her ties with the CUT, which only drove her further into their arms.
- I Am Not My Mother: Becomes entangled (without his knowledge) in his mother Mary's failed power grab; sees the Quest as a way to redeem the family name.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Comes off as extremely overbearing but ultimately does the right thing.
- Knight in Shining Armor: How he sees himself.
- No Hero to His Valet: Played horribly straight. His valet, Alex, sells out the Quest to the CUT on Mary's orders.
- Peerless Love Interest: Mathilda is his. Subverted, in that Odard might have had a shot if it weren't for Rudi (and his own pushiness).
- You Shall Not Pass!: How Odard ultimately meets his fate, guarding Rudi's flank against an attacking force.
Born to Rigobert de Stafford and his legal wife Delia Mercer de Stafford, she was primarily reared by Delia and her long-time lover Tiphaine d'Ath; d'Ath later adopted her for inheritance purposes. Trained by her father and her adoptive mother, she's one of the better knights of the Association, and is said to be as quick as Tiphaine was in her legendary prime. She swore allegiance to Orlaith Arminger Mackenzie (something she had intended to do since the two were girls growing up together), and serves as her most trusted aide.
- Action Girl: Duh. She's a knight of the Association.
- Girly Bruiser: But when she's off-duty, she delights in fashion and other feminine pursuits.
- Cool Aunt: Heuradys's nieces and nephews are always glad, and excited, to see their adventurous and indulgent aunt.
- Has Two Mommies: Literally, since her biological mother's longtime partner legally adopted her.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Orlaith.
- The Lancer: Again, for Orlaith.
- Mistaken for Gay: Between being in an extremely male-dominant profession, sometimes wearing what the PPA considers male attire, and being the daughter of two lesbian mothers (one her natural mother, the other her adoptive mother) and a gay dad, Heuradys runs into this with some frequency. One particularly memorable incident took place at the Corvallis tavern "The Hopping Toad."
- Heuradys (irritably): It's not hereditary!
A Marine and a bush pilot pre-Change, after the Change he forms and leads the group that becomes known as the Bearkillers. Like the group he leads, he is pragmatic and no-nonsense, with a heroic streak and a strong sense of justice. Prior to his marriage to Signe (nee Larsson), he fathers Rudi Mackenzie during a one-night stand of Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex with Juniper.
- Ace Pilot: The series opens with Mike working as a bush pilot, flying the Larssens to their property in Oregon. Once the Change renders his airplane an inert piece of metal Mike still manages to bring it down safely and save his own life and those of his passengers.
- Battlecry: " "Hakkaa päälle!" ("Hack them down!")
- Berserk Button: Mistreating children seems to be a big issue with Mike. Upon seeing a family of refugees (and noting the parents were well-fed while the kids were going hungry) Mike offered a bowl of soup for the children, making a mental note to stand watch over them to ensure they (and not their parents) actually got to eat it. Mike later delivers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to the same father for further abusing his kids. When a member of his A-List attempted to abandon his pregnant girlfriend, Mike in turn threatened to levy one-third of the man's earnings for 18 years as child support.
- Big Damn Heroes: How he meets Juniper: riding in just as she and her friends are in danger of being overwhelmed by a gang of Eaters.
- Boxing Lessons for Superman: When confronted with a history professor as an opponent, Mike (who only has a high school education) reaches out to members of his party like Kenneth Larson and Aaron Rothman who have college degrees and have taken at least general education requirements in history to gain insight into Arminger's modus operandi.
- Clothes Make the Legend: Invoked. Mike resists wearing the skin of the bear he saved Astrid from, until he recognizes its value as a symbol. He becomes less shy about invoking it as his segment of the series progresses, and ultimately embraces his role:"My children will have ancestors. I am an ancestor!"
- Genre Blindness: Mike wants to set up the Bearkillers as a democracy, but the social structure he has set up almost exactly replicates feudalism even if the names are changed and his version of nobility is nominally open. Kenneth Larson points out to Mike that Mike has subverted his own vision for the group by establishing an elite with the wealth to perpetuate their status through generations, not unlike the feudal manor system of the Middle Ages. Although anyone can train to become an A-lister and will be accepted regardless of their background, not everyone will have the opportunity or means to do so and those who are on the A-list will form their own alliances to ensure their children can maintain their status. No sooner than Kenneth points this out than Signe calls Mike out on Rudi, whose existence poses a threat to the inheritance of Mike and Signe's children. Although Rudi never once even considers a claim on the Havel estate, being firmly entrenched with the Mackenzies and later the PPA, and eventually becoming High King over all the realms, and his half-siblings remain on very good terms with him.
- Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: After his Big Damn Heroes rescue of Juniper and her friends, Mike and Juniper have this. Which is how Rudi gets started.
- The Mentor: To Eric Larsson after a few early misunderstandings were worked out.
- Nemean Skinning: Skins and tans the grizzly bear he killed. Subverted in that he only did it because he hates waste, and he only goes along with it because it was Astrid's idea.
- Only Sane Man: Continually expresses skepticism at the notions of prophecy and witchcraft that the other main characters around him are buying into, and never quite adapts his world view to the post-Change world. This doesn't make him a Flat-Earth Atheist, though: he dies while things are still at the Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane stage.
- Our Founder: One of the major 3 of the series, he is the founder of the Bearkillers.
- The Red Baron: "Lord Bear."
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Does not feel comfortable as an Ultimate Authority Mayor and ensures everyone gets a fair hearing when a complaint is brought to him.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Besides everything he does to form the Bearkillers into a viable group, he's a capable war leader and tactician.
- Semper Fi: Was a former U.S. Marine.
- Sympathetic P.O.V.
- Underestimating Badassery: What gets him killed at the end of A Meeting at Corvallis.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He knows full-well that he may not be able to best Norman in single combat, but at the same time knows the idea will appeal to the Lord Protector and uses the duel to stop bloodshed on a much larger scale.
- Do Not Go Gentle
- Taking You with Me: Norman also underestimated him in that duel, and paid accordingly.
An executive in an engineering firm pre-Change, post-Change he brings much-needed engineering skills to the nascent Bearkillers. He is the father of Signe, Eric, and Astrid, as well as several much-younger children from his second marriage.
- Cool Old Guy
- The Engineer: His profession pre-Change, making life a lot easier for the Bearkillers in the early days.
- Happily Married: Although his second marriage appears to have gone much better than his first.
- Honest Advisor: Mike's first and closest, for both personal and practical matters.
- Non-Action Guy: In his sixties and seventies, and more effective behind the scenes than as an actual combatant, although he carries himself pretty well when put in charge of Bearkiller artillery (trebuchets and hand-pumped flamethrowers) against a river-borne incursion by the PPA.
A veterinarian employed by the San Diego Zoo pre-Change who was traveling through Idaho when the Change came. She eventually marries Kenneth Larson, whose wife was killed shortly after the Change.
- Action Girl
- Closest Thing We Got: The Bearkillers' top medical professional until Aaron Rothman joins the group; she still continues to treat both humans and animals even afterward.
- Happily Married: To Kenneth Larson
- Master Swordswoman: A skilled fencer and medieval reenactor during her college days; she teaches the rest of the group (including Astrid before she left to found the Rangers) swordsmanship.
- MayDecember Romance: In her early thirties when she marries Kenneth, who is in his late fifties.
Something of a Granola Girl pre-Change, she takes several levels in badass afterward, becoming a capable warrior and post-Change-style politician. She marries Mike Havel, and becomes the mother of Mary, Ritva, and Mike Havel Jr. Becomes a co-leader for the group after Mike's death.
- Action Girl
- Four-Star Badass: Becomes co-leader of the Bearkillers as regent for her son.
- Granola Girl: Before the Change she was one, but the post-Change conditions quickly made that impractical.
- Iron Lady: Still intimidating hardened men even into her sixties.
- Mama Bear: Fiercely protective of her children.
- Pregnant Badass
- The Resenter/Sins of Our Fathers: Not on the best of terms with either Rudi or Juniper Mackenzie because of Mike's night with Juniper that resulted in Rudi. Never mind that this was before Mike and Signe were married. While Signe is pragmatic enough not to let this interfere with combat operations, peacetime politics are a bit dicey because of it. Even her own children by Mike find it to be a bit much. Also, she never quite forgives Mathilda for the fact that Mathilda's father killed her husband, even though Mathilda a) was only a child at the time, and b) is a far more moral and upright person than her father ever dreamed of being. It probably doesn't help when Mathilda marries Rudi....
- Take Up My Sword
- Took a Level in Badass: From immature Granola Girl when the Change first hit, to Action Girl leader of the Bearkillers' intelligence operation.
- Widow Woman: after Mike Havel's death.
A professional horse wrangler pre-Change, Will and his family join the Bearkillers after Mike Havel and Eric Larsson rescue them from a gang of white supremacists. Mike values Will not only for his skill with horses, but also for his even temperament and solidly practical advice. He and his wife Anjelica have one daughter, Luanne.
- Action Survivor: Rescued by Mike from a group of white supremacists in the immediate aftermath of the Change.
- Born in the Saddle/Veteran Instructor: A rodeo cowboy and horse wrangler pre-Change; teaches the rest of the Bearkillers horsemanship.
- Honest Advisor: One of Mike's first trusted confidants as he sets up the Bearkillers.
- The Lancer: Both figuratively and literally; Mike's second-in-command throughout the early trilogy.
- Scary Black Man: The first major black character seen in the series, Will is more than capable of handling himself in a fight on or off horseback.
- Cool Old Guy
- Four-Star Badass: The other co-leader of the Bearkillers after Mike Havel's Death
- Handicapped Badass: Loses a hand in battle, but that doesn't stop him one bit.
- Jerk Jock: How Eric comes off as a teenager prior to the Change. A few rough lessons from Mike sets him straight (see Funny Moments entry for this page).
- The Red Baron: "Eric Steelfist"
A doctor pre-Change. He joins the Bearkillers after a small band, led by Mike Havel, rescues him from a gang of cannibals. Urbane, a bit of a dandy, and a Deadpan Snarker, he becomes medico for the Bearkillers and forms the core of their medical establishment.
- Action Survivor: Rescued from a band of Eaters at the beginning of the series.
- Camp Gay: Invoked: one of several gay characters in the series, but the only one to act according to the stereotype. Mike thinks he's doing it deliberately to tweak the noses of the more conservative types in the PPA.
- Gay Guy Seeks Popular Jock: Has a huge, unrequited crush on Mike.
- Honest Advisor: A member of Mike's trusted inner circle almost from his introduction.
- The Medic: An MD before the Change, Aaron forms the core of the Bearkiller medical establishment and is directly responsible for saving the lives of several other characters.note
- Nobody Over Fifty Is Gay: As hard an aversion as possible.
- Non-Action Guy: As with Kenneth, Aaron's technical skill is far more valuable than his contribution on the battlefield.
Before the Change, Juniper is High Priestess of the Singing Moon Coven; after the Change, the group forms the nucleus of what becomes known (over her objections) as the Clan Mackenzie. She is referred to (again, over her objections!) as the Mackenzie. She has a great deal of charisma and compassion, combined with a strong core of practicality. When The Magic Comes Back, she is one of the first to be consciously aware of it, and becomes one of its more formidable practitioners. Her children include Eilir Mackenzie, Rudi Mackenzie, Maude Loring Mackenzie, and Fiorbhinn Loring Mackenzie.
- Action Girl: Not as much as other examples, but she made a good show of it early in the series.
- Closer to Earth
- Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: After Mike Havel pulls his Big Damn Heroes moment rescuing Juniper and friends from a band of Eaters, he and she have this, thereby starting Rudi.
- The Judge: She acts as the judge at a trial in the short story Pronouncing Doom. As they already have an Orgy of Evidence that he raped the woman in question (several witnesses, the mark of his ring on her body, a lot of previous and well-witnessed cases of sexual harassment towards her previously, him being seen fleeing the scene and no one else who could have done it), the trial is more of a formalized execution and she wryly calls herself a Hanging Judge.
- Our Founder: One of the major 3 in the series. The Founder of the Clan Mackenzie (which she didn't name, and only puts up with because her people insist).
- Pregnant Badass: Near the end of the first book she goes with the rest of her troops to the front lines despite being almost to term with Rudi. Slightly subverted in that she soon went into labor and missed the majority of the fight, but points for moxie.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Takes in as many people as her group can possibly support, but doesn't turn anyone away without telling them where they might be able to find help. When a large survivor group from a local fundamentalist church needs assistance, she is willing to work with their pastor (who had previously been antagonistic toward Juniper and her fellow Wiccans) and even admires his courage for confronting an armed group on horseback with only his Bible for protection. When the pastor falls in battle, Juniper takes the congregation into her own group, where they remain a Christian minority for some time.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: While she would take issue with being called a royal (she's an elected leader, thank you very much), she's best known as a leader who wouldn't make her people do anything she wouldn't do. She weaves, does farmwork, and serves with the Clan's armed forces, among other things.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Why she ultimately fell for Nigel Loring in A Meeting At Corvallis.
- Sympathetic P.O.V.
Formerly of the Blues and Royals, he, his son Alleyne, and John Hordle are forced to flee their native England after getting on the wrong side of a God Save Us from the Queen! After they end up in the Willamette Valley, Nigel proves himself a Guile Hero when he outwits his host, Norman Arminger, and escapes him. Ends up with the Clan Mackenzie, where he's especially valued for his skill as a strategist, and finds himself extremely drawn to his hostess, Juniper.
- Big Damn Heroes: Twice, once on behalf of the Crown Prince and the crew of the Cutty Sark, and once for Mike and Signe. Though the latter incident is debatable; they wouldn't have needed his help if he hadn't delayed the people who were supposed to be working backup.
- Colonel Bad Ass: This erstwhile officer of the Blues and Royals helps to save the Queen and the Royal Family, trains troops in the new fighting methods, protects the families of his soldiers, escapes royal custody, fights heroically in a battle at sea (where he's instrumental in saving the Crown Prince), and outwits the Lord Protector — all before he links up with the main plotline!
- A Father to His Men: While in England post-Change, he makes sure all of his old soldiers and their families are taken care of.
- Guile Hero: Successfully deceives Arminger and escapes his kingdom.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Pursues the ginger Juniper.
An ex-member of the SAS who once served under Nigel Loring, he's on a hunting trip in the Willamette when the Change hits. Trapped in place by an accident, he's fortuitously rescued by Juniper and friends, and becomes one of her most loyal adherents. While his military training proves valuable to the Mackenzies, his archery skills are even more so: it's his training that makes the Mackenzie archers legendary, and as a unit they're considered the finest of their type. He serves as the Clan's first First Armsman. His children include Edain.
- Archer Archetype: He doesn't just shoot with bows, he makes them as well. When we meet him, he had been on a solitary hunting trip, which also suits the trope.
- Badass in Distress: How Juniper came across him. He's more than a capable outdoorsman in his own right, but thanks to some bad luck fell down a small ravine and got his leg caught on a branch.
- Expecting Someone Taller: Given his outsized reputation, he gets this a lot.
- The Lancer: one of Juniper's right hand men pretty much from the moment she finds him stranded in the woods. His pre-Change experience as a member of SAS and an archery hobbyist made him invaluably useful to the Clan.
- Feeling Their Age: By The Golden Princess Sam has passed away. His grandchildren remember him only as "an old man nodding by the fire" implying that some form of advanced senility claimed him at the end.
Edain Aylward Mackenzie
Son of Sam Aylward and a childhood friend of Rudi Mackenzie, he's one of the original members of the Quest for the Sword. A highly-skilled archer and bow captain, he eventually becomes First Armsman of the Clan.
- Cool Old Guy: By the time of The Given Sacrifice Edain has become one.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Happily Married: To Asgerd Karlsdottir, whom he met when the Quest arrived in Kalkesthorpe (formerly northern Maine).
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Rudi.
- The Lancer: Rudi's right hand throughout his segment of the series.
- The Lost Lenore: Rebecca Nystrop, whom he met and became infatuated with when the Quest passed through New Deseret territory. Edain wound up killing her when he was forced into an archery challenge as part of a Sadistic Choice imposed by CUT loyalists who had enslaved the women of her town.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Garbh, his hunting dog, even gets ballads written about her!
- Sergeant Rock: Even though his actual title is Bow Captain, functionally he's more like a senior noncom.
Chuck and Judy Barstow
Members of Juniper's original Singing Moon coven, they are part of the core group that forms what will become known as the Clan Mackenzie. (To Juniper's chagrin; the moniker is actually Chuck's idea/fault.) Chuck's skill as a gardener and Judy's as a nurse are invaluable to the Clan, especially in its early days. They are Happily Married throughout, and devoted parents to both their natural and their adopted offspring.
- Closest Thing We Got: Judy, a nurse/midwife, is drafted as the Mackenzie's doctor in the early days of the Change. Given the extremity of the challenges, and the dearth of materials, she is often frustrated.
- I Did What I Had to Do/Break Out the Museum Piece: In the first days of the Change they wrote checks that they knew would be useless to get supplies, and stole a living history exhibit for transport.
- Good Parents
- Happily Married: Well before the Change
- Took a Level in Badass: Despite not being noted for his fighting skills pre-Change, Chuck becomes capable enough to succeed Sam Aylward as First Armsman of the Clan.
At the time of the Change she was a young woman, something of a loner, with a passion for Tolkien and a gift for archery. After the Change (and an assault by a gang of thugs), her Tolkien passion develops into a religious reverence which will shape her life and color every aspect of the Dunedain Rangers, the group she founds. Believes The Lord of the Rings to represent actual history, and refers to Tolkien as "The Great Translator." She is, however, surprisingly competent at survival skills, tracking, swordsmanship, and archery, and the Rangers also share these qualities. A capable strategist. Very much sees herself as a hero. Pretty much is one, too.
- Archer Archetype: Reputedly either the best or else second-best person with a bow in the series, like the Archer Archetype she's also independent, a little haughty, stealthy, and graceful. She eventually takes up residence in the forest, which suits the type.
- Action Girl: Probably the biggest Action Girl in the series so far, which is saying a lot.
- Bow and Sword, in Accord
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: She's a Tolkien nut who decided the change was an opportunity to live the LARP, but damn if she isn't effective!
- Happily Married
- Heroic Sacrifice
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: with Eilir Mackenzie.
- Lady of War: What she grew into by A Meeting At Corvallis.
- Master Swordswoman: was actually compared in-universe to Miyamoto Musashi.
- McNinja: The direction she takes the Dunedain Rangers, as made abundantly clear from The Sunrise Lands on.
- Nerds Speak Klingon: She's the reason the Rangers use Sindarin as their main language.
- Our Founder: Arguably, she's one of four founders of the Rangers, but it's unquestionably her vision that shaped the group.
- The Rival: to Tiphaine D'Ath.
Astrid's more pragmatic second-in-command and Heterosexual Life-Partner. She's the daughter of Juniper Mackenzie, who taught her to be woods-wise at an early age.
- Action Girl
- Handicapped Badass: She was born deaf, but she's just as competent as anyone else on a stealth mission
- Happily Married
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: with Astrid Larson.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: She's hardly tiny, but nearly any woman would be compared to "Little" John Hordle.
Son of Nigel Loring and his first wife, Maude, Alleyne was an officer in the SAS both pre- and post-Change. Before the Change he was also a member of the SCA (from whom he learned swordsmanship) and a fan of Tolkien (which would enable him to bond with his future wife). Instrumental in his father's rescue from imprisonment in their native England, and joins him in the journey that eventually brings them to the Willamette. Becomes leader of the Dunedain after Astrid's death.
- Badass Bookworm: He was a SCAdian before the change, which came in handy when he was able to teach his father and others how to use a sword after. He's also a Tolkien fan.
- Big Guy, Little Guy: Arguably, the little guy to John Hordle's big guy. Alleyne tops six feet himself, but John is much bigger.
- Happily Married
- The Lancer: First to his father, later to his wife.
"Little" John Hordle
Served with the Lorings in the SAS. He assists in the rescue of Nigel from imprisonment, and joins the Lorings on their journey to the Willamette. Though he begins as very much the working-class to the Lorings' upper-class, their shared travails put him and Alleyne on much more of an equal footing. A capable combatant, legendary mostly for his size.
- Big Fun: Sanguine and cheerful, he enjoys the good things in life.
- Big Guy, Little Guy: The big guy to Alleyne Loring's little(r) guy.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Let's just say, he enjoys his work. And his work is beating on people.
- Happily Married
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Though his wife Eilir Mackenzie is only tiny compared to him.
- Sergeant Rock
President-General of the United States of Boise, which he and other natives of the region consider to be the rightful successor to the United States of America. A pre-Change Army captain, he uses his military and organizational skills to make Boise a not only a viable nation-state, but also a power to be reckoned with. Despite the number of hereditary clans and kingdoms around Boise, he is determined to re-establish elective democracy in his own area, and has aspirations to establishing it more generally. However, his son Martin has grown up with the idea that he is his father's rightful heir....
- Awesomeness Is a Force: Thurston himself is an extremely charismatic leader, but his use of the Roman legion as a pattern for the post-Change U.S. Army was as much based upon the legion's psychological effect (on both its members and its enemies) as upon its efficiency in pre-industrial warfare. Unlike Arminger turning post-Change Portland into a Norman kingdom, Thurston is not so much of a Roman Empire fanboy that he's trying to recreate the Empire itself. His son Martin, on the other hand...
- Badass Bookworm: Enough of a scholar to build an entire Roman legion accurate to the finest detail from the ground up; enough of a warrior to make that legion effective.
- Be All My Sins Remembered: On two points:
- Although he was trying to preserve the pre-Change United States, Thurston suspended elections until the end of the emergency. He was on the verge of reinstating democracy when he was assassinated.note He realizes too late that he had waited too long to hold a vote, as the post-Change generation has no experience of true democracy.
- By refusing to ally with New Deseret on the principle that the United States cannot ally itself with a theocracy, Thurston ensured the CUT a major early victory when in fact Boise and New Deseret together could have easily destroyed the CUT.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Although he has effective control over most of the state of Idaho and has kept the state government intact since the Change, other leaders on the continent insist that he's out of his mind by claiming to be the rightful successor to the United States government.
- Determinator: Forces his way back into the chaos of post-Change Seattle to rescue his wife and baby son. Later holds the remnants of civil government together in Boise, and establishes it as a viable city-state, largely through his intelligence and the force of his will.
- A Father to His Men: Has the absolute loyalty of the army until the CUT begins wielding its influence.
- Four-Star Badass: Played with in that his official rank in the former U.S. Army was captain; he promoted himself when he seized control of Boise.
- Happily Married: To the devoted Cecile.
- Our Founder: Played with, in that Thurston doesn't perceive himself as founding anything so much as preserving it, but the nation he creates is as unique as any other in post-Change North America.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: One of the more sane leaders in the Pacific Northwest, and not as heavy-handed as most. The first action he considers in response to the Quest showing up in Boise territory is to send them right back, lest Sandra think he was trying to extract a ransom from the PPA and possibly start a war.
- The Unseen: Mentioned frequently but not actually a part of the plot until The Sunrise Lands when the reader learns for the first time he's a Scary Black Man.
Second son of Lawrence Thurston. Leaves Boise with the Quest after Martin kills their father. Becomes a trusted ally of Rudi, tasked with helping to bring Boise into the alliance against the CUT.
- Earn Your Happy Ending
- Happily Married: to Action Girl Virginia Kane
- Noble Fugitive: Joins the Quest out of fear for his life. With the aid of the new High Kingdom of Montival, assembles an army of Martin's disillusioned followers and others not content with the situation in Boise and not only deposes Martin but helps chase the CUT back to their base in Montana.
Eldest son of Lawrence Thurston. By the standards of many post-Change communities around Boise, he would be his father's heir as President-General, and he very much objects to his father's plan to make their country an elective democracy. Which is why he forms an alliance with the CUT, to enable him to kill his father and take over the government.
- Death Equals Redemption: After being killed by Rudi with the Sword of the Lady, Martin sees the error of his ways and thanks Rudi for setting him free from the CUT's influence.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Loves his wife and their baby son, and is determined to ensure his son's inheritance. When he shows signs of no longer feeling this, it's taken (correctly) as an indicator that he's no longer himself.
- Patricide: How he rises to the position of President-General. His mother Cecile suspects as much, but knows that if she speaks, he may choose to become a Self-Made Orphan.
- The Paragon Always Rebels: and starts a civil war in the process.
- Sibling Rivalry: Entirely one-sided. His brother Frederick believed in their father's vision and had no desire for power himself beyond what he could earn for himself. Martin (under the influence of the CUT) sees Frederick as a threat to his power and it is with extreme regret that Frederick opposes his brother.
Wife and First Lady of Lawrence, she is gracious and brave, doing her best to protect her daughters in Martin's kingdom.
- Cool Old Lady
- Determined Widow: Will do her best to help Fred restore Boise to the type of government her husband wanted it to have, and maintain it in a way of which he could be proud.
- Happily Married: Her husband forced his way back into a chaotic, dying city to rescue her and their baby son, and she never doubted that he would. When we meet them, well after that, their mutual devotion is clear.
Martin's ambitious wife, she encourages him in his hope of becoming his father's heir and successor.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Loves her son, and appears to love her husband as well; she's shocked and deeply hurt when it appears he no longer feels the same about her.
- It's All About Me: Martin's patricide, other murders, alliance with the CUT — those are okay. But then he hit her! Not okay!
- Token Evil Teammate: In the effort to bring Boise to Montival's side in the war against the CUT. Except for her own son (who's not more than five years old and thus cannot bring any influence to the table) none of the other Boiseans involved really like or trust her, but as Martin's wife and First Lady, her testimony against him is valuable.
SethazThe adopted son of the leader mentioned above and leader of the CUT during the second trilogy.
- Big Bad: Of the second trilogy
- Mouth of Sauron: The representative (read: puppet) of the Dark Aspect of the Powers
High Seeker DalanKidnapped as a child by the CUT and raised to become part of their priesthood, Dalan is deeply immersed in the darkness.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Dalan has been programmed from the age of five to serve the CUT
- Child Soldier: Recruited as one at the age of five. When Rudi releases him, his entire life from that point forward is erased, leaving him a five-year-old in a grown body.
- The Dark Arts: Both an expert practitioner and a victim. Dalan survived submerged under water in Lake Michigan for an hour in the winter.
- Good Hurts Evil: Released from the influence of the Powers by Rudi's Sword.
- Determinator: Pursues Rudi and the Quest across North America and lets nothing get in his way.
- Elite Mook: Tougher and more competent than most of the CUT troopers sent to stop the Quest.
- Four-Star Badass: Leads an army of CUT defectors against Sethaz's forces.
- HeelFace Turn: After Rudi convinces him to abandon Sethas; later appointed by King Artos to be governor of Nakamtu (formerly Montana) as it is incorporated into Montival after the war.
- Promotion to Parent: After a fashion when Rudi releases High Seeker Dalan from the influence of the Powers.
- Punch-Clock Villain/Even Mooks Have Loved Ones: For all that he's competent at his job, Peter would much rather be at home on his ranch with his family.
- Rank Up: Twice in the series; promoted from captain to major by Sethaz and later to rangeboss of the Montival Eastermark by Artos.
William KuttnerAn advance agent of the CUT who accompanies Ingolf Vogeler and his company to the east coast in the second trilogy.
- Deadly Decadent Court: Sets up the process by which the government of the Provisional Republic of Iowa becomes one. It was partly at his urging that the Governor sent him with Vogeler's Villains to Nantucket.
- Lured into a Trap: How the Villains are ultimately disposed of; Ingolf doesn't put all the pieces together until too late.
- The Mole
The Stoic is their cultural hat, and may be assumed for any given Nipponese unless otherwise indicated. As a society, they could be considered the Big Good for their major role in holding off the dominance of North Korea.
Her Majesty of Japan (aka Reiko)
Inherits the throne, and the quest for the legendary Grass-Cutting Sword, on her father's death. Around 20, she urgently seeks the resources and allies she will need to protect her empire and give it some hope of prosperity. Becomes a friend of Orlaith, who like her will be a young ruler.
- Action Girl: A capable fighter and field commander.
- Arranged Marriage: An unusual case in that she arranges her own marriage, to Egawa Noburu's son. Not in love with the younger Egawa, she makes the match primarily with an eye to its suitability.
- Parental Substitute: Becomes a mother-figure to Kiwako.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Leads the quest for the Grass-Cutting Sword, acts as a diplomat, and is already beginning to perform administrative duties appropriate to her role.
- The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: At first, she is somewhat uncertain in her role, but knows she must appear confident and in control.
Second-in-command and bodyguard to Reiko, as he was to her father before her. Intelligent and extremely loyal.
- Four-Star Badass
- Handicapped Badass: Loses a hand in Reiko's service.
- Hidden Depths: A fan of some of the classical Japanese poets, whose work he can recite.
- The Lancer: To Reiko, as he was to her father.
- The Mentor: He was her instructor as a child, and she relies on his advice now.
Captain of the ship that brought Reiko and the rest of the Nipponese to Montival.
- Father Neptune: An extremely skilled mariner who manages to outsail his enemies across the northern Pacific and survive a storm generated by the Grass-Cutting Sword that blew them from Montival all the way across the Pacific to what was Indonesia.
- Closest Thing We Got: Though he and his sailors are not fully-trained samurai, they acquit themselves well in fights against various opponents and fill out Her Majesty's personal bodyguard quite well at need.
A monk of the Shield-Order of St. Benedict, he's one of the original members of the Quest for the Sword. A skilled fighter and a trained healer, he also serves the Quest as confessor to the Catholics Mathilda and Odard. Rudi makes him The Good Chancellor for his intelligence, mental toughness, and unshakeable integrity. Ignatius is extremely devout, and on several occasions has visions of the Virgin Mary.
- Badass Bookworm: A scholar as well as a warrior.
- Badass Preacher: From the Order of the Shield of Saint Benedict, an entire order of warrior monks set up to oppose Antipope Leo during the early years of the Change.
- Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Doesn't have nearly enough staff to handle the tasks of setting up a new kingdom, but manages to pull off the job anyway, because he is also a Badass Bureaucrat.
- The Chosen One: Though it doesn't get nearly as many pages as Rudi's giftedness, Father Ignatius did directly confront and give "The Reason You Suck" Speech to one of the Powers controlling a CUT High Seeker just before killing the man. He received a vision from the Virgin Mary afterward.
- Combat Medic: Of those who went on the quest for the Sword, Ignatius had the most advanced medical training. He understands both pre-Change medicine and the lower-tech methods, and the good Father is quite willing to practice 'preventative medicine' with his sword.
- Confess in Confidence: Mathilda's confessor, although he also takes the confessions of Odard and Ingolf, and even Rudi will open up to him frequently.
- The Good Chancellor: Ignatius always is very frank about his opinions and is very loyal to his Earthly master.
- Honest Advisor: One of the few Rudi can trust consistently. Rudi picked Ignatius for the job not only for political balance but also because Ignatius knows what he's doing and won't hesitate to speak up if Rudi's going off the rails.
- The Paladin: Literally
- Reasonable Authority Figure
- Sympathetic P.O.V.
A member of "the Force" (formerly the Royal Canadian Mounted Police), he meets the members of the Quest as they are en route back to Montival. After fighting alongside Ritva Havel in a border conflict with the CUT, he ends up joining the companions, and becomes involved in the ongoing war against the CUT.
- Always Gets His Man: Makes his initial appearance as a member of 'the Force,' remnants of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who continue their mission to 'Protect the Right' decades after the Change. All tropes applicable to the RCMP apply to Kovalevsky.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Do not get on his bad side.
- Canada, Eh?: Comes from the Peace River area of Alberta
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Why Ritva Havel fell for him.
A military leader and a mercenary originally from Richland, Wisconsin. Ingolf kick-starts the second trilogy when he finds his way to the Willamette after a fateful encounter in Nantucket sends him to find the "Sword of the Lady" to undertake a quest for the Sword of the Lady. (It Makes Sense in Context, though it takes Ingolf himself a while to understand.) He becomes a member of, and a guide for, the Quest, and eventually a trusted advisor and officer for Rudi.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Due to having spent more time in Corwin than he would have liked
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Rudi and Edain.
- Four-Star Badass: His backstory (revealed during the Quest) includes his having had operational command of an entire army during a campaign against the Lakota; later he assumes command of the Richlander expeditionary force against the CUT.
- Happily Married: to Mary Havel.
- The Mentor: In many respects the Big Brother Mentor version to Rudi; later on to his very impressionable nephew who doesn't fully understand what he's getting into by joining the expedition against the CUT.
- Private Military Contractors: Left home to become a mercenary soldier and eventually became leader of his own mercenary outfit,Voegler's Villains. Treachery by a guide planted by the CUT destroyed the outfit, leaving only Voegler.
- Sibling Rivalry: Left his home in Wisconsin after a severe falling-out with his older brother, the Sheriff of Richland. The two are reconciled during the Quest, and Ingolf's brother becomes a key ally in the battle against the CUT.
- Walking the Earth: Travels across the North American continent three and a half times on foot or horseback, and was very well-traveled by post-Change standards before that. Referred to in later life as "Ingolf the Wanderer".
The Last Eagle Scout
As the name implies, he was an Eagle Scout prior to the Change who, along with members of his Boy Scout troop (and a few Girl Scouts who were along for the ride) survives when their plane crashes in Yellowstone National Park. With most of the adults having been killed, he ends up becoming the leader of his group and builds them into the Morrowlander Pack, a small community for the most part isolated from events in the larger world.
- Big Brother Mentor: In keeping with Scouting tradition, passed on his skills to his younger peers. The Morrowlander Pack is at least as proficient at fieldcraft and hand-to-hand combat as the Dunedain Rangers as a result.
- Hurting Hero: Lost an eye and was very badly burned in the plane crash that left the troop stranded; took several more injuries in the years afterward. By the time we see him in person he's an invalid on his deathbed despite only being in his forties.
- I Did What I Had to Do: At least one of the pack ends up working for the CUT, as part of a deal to keep the CUT from taking over. That said, the Morrowlanders are beyond glad that they can get the protection of Montival once the Quest arrives in their territory. Also, in the early days of the community he had to decide which children got fed and which did not when food was scarce in the winter months.
- Kid Hero/Growing Up Sucks: Becomes the youngest person known to have led a civilized community through the Change, but at the cost of his own adolescence.
- No Name Given: His actual name is never used or given in the narrative.
- Posthumous Character: Only just averted; Rudi and the Quest meet him on his deathbed.
- Promotion to Parent: Given the nature of his community, he became the de facto parent to a large group of younger boys and girls even as he lost his own parents.