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Jacob's Bell Powers

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Thorburn Family

    General Tropes 

  • A House Divided: Into many, many plots, counter-plots and shifting factions. Unity? Ha! Only if they have a single target or threat to attack together.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: The Thorburn family are among if not the most hated beings in Jacob's Bell due to their history of generally being bastards and diabolists by other practitioners, and by the rest of the town due to all the land they own preventing expansion.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: As shown in Family Disunion and Kissing Cousins below. There are an awful lot of Thorburns who don't get along.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Oh, yes. Even among Thorburns who do kind of get along (ish), you'll find a little of this going on.
  • Consummate Liar: All of the ones capable of speaking, even the twelve-year old, are adept at lying and seeing through them.
    Six adults and seven children who were so versed in the lies and deception that they could all manage to avoid reacting in surprise.
  • The Dark Arts: The Thorburns are traditionally a cabal of diabolists, practitioners who deal with demons.
  • Determinator: There are very blurry lines between being a stubborn git, an outright jerk, a borderline personality and this trope. When Thorburns put their best feet forward, they're this... even if it usually hides. When they don't put their best feet forward, see the previous jerkass allusions. Found in almost each, single Thorburn. However it comes out.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The Thorburns as a whole have... issues. Lots and lots of issues besides even their inherited Bad Karma Syndrome. Most of their interpersonal ones stem from their shared well of bloody-minded stubbornness and greed, however and in what proportions they get expressed in each individual. As a result, the various personalities don't mix easily or well. Various forms of abuse crop up in the family, ranging from emotional to financial and even physical. Unsurprisingly, messy divorces and second marriages happen. Just to complicate the family tree more.
  • Enemy Mine: Are willing to put their mutual enmity with one another aside if they think another family member is getting too close to the inheritance. Then you see them working like a well-oiled machine of malevolent intent. It's scary.
  • Feuding Families: With the Behaims and Duchamps, the latter having been the case since before the 1930s.
  • Family Disunion: Happens in the first chapter, when the Thorburn family gathers at Hillsglade House to hear who Grandma's heir will be and fight amongst themselves. Rosalyn's death sets in motion events that lead to Molly's death and threaten Blake's life and the lives of everyone in line for her inheritance. Even before this they had trouble getting along, even amongst the siblings, with the feud between them descending into outright violence.
  • Gaslighting: The go-to tactic used by all those caught up in the race to be the Thorburn heir. Even Rose and Paige took part in Rose's memories. However, some took part more enthusiastically than others. Isn't that right, Ellie? None of the parents were particularly adverse to various forms of this, either.
  • Greed: That inheritance looks really tempting, and most of them would rather like to get their hands on it. The various manoeuvrings they've all made in trying to either get it or avoid being steamrollered by those who do have twisted and poisoned what little of a healthy set-up the family had before Grandma declared the race open.
  • Insanity Immunity: A good number of them have some resistance to Choir of Madness demons because they're slightly unhinged.
  • Jerkass: A common family theme. They grow them well in and around Jacob's Bell.
  • Jerk Justifications: The entire family is (arguably) the way it is because Rose Senior made them fight each other for the inheritance. Her children trained their children to attack, manipulate, and lie in order to sabotage the others. There's also the fact that Jacob's Bell hasn't been a wonderful place for them to grow up in.
  • Karma Houdini: They were successfully this for seven generations of diabolism. Of course, that just means...
    • Karma Houdini Warranty:...that the current heirs have to work even harder to avoid death by karmic backlash thanks to the accumulated debt (with interest) landing on their doorsteps in red-lettered envelopes.
  • Kissing Cousins: Apparently Blake's great-grandparents happened to be related.
    • Also, Grandma's advice on finding husbands? Find a bastard (meaning "SOBs") with the subtext being "of Thorburn or practitioner bloodlines far enough from the family not to have grown up with the issues, but close enough to ensure passing along the power to your kids if you can manage it". Yeah.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Due to Rosalyn Thorburn accidentally making a vow not to make her children practitioners, the two generations of Thorburns after her have no idea of their true heritage, up until Molly and later Blake inherit the Thorburn house. Paige becomes the only other one who knows something of what is going on by her own actions, but takes a rather different path getting there.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: When Blake rallies all the Thorburn cousins except James, Paige, and Rose to help retake the house from the witch hunters. It was either that, or die.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Irony, sarcasm, brutally backhanded compliments, passive-aggressive none-statements, outright trolling and (should poor, old honesty show up) cutting truths: these are the usual modes of Thorburn familial communication. To the point where when anybody, family or not, tries to use kind words and sympathy quite legitimately even on the kids... it broadly doesn't compute as most Thorburns automatically try working out what your game is, where the knife could be, how thick you seem to be and how easy it would be to use your naivety, if that's your problem.
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: They can't help but try dragging each other down.
  • Thicker Than Water: The Duress Arc shows that despite not being the nicest people in the world, in the end they're willing to stick their necks out for each other if need be.
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    Blake 

Blake Thorburn

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/blake_10.png
Blake and Evan

The twenty year old protagonist of the story, who is abruptly dragged into the events that unfold from his grandmother's death, with just about everyone in Jacob's Bell set against him. He gets his connections cut by Ur at the end of the Void arc and falls into the Drains. He manages to claw his way back to reality but in the doing comes to the realization that he was actually a vestige all along, created by his grandmother complete with false memories to shield Rose half of another Thorburn that grandmother had split into two beings, Rose and Blake, to make her perfect heir, free of petty things like friends or personal connections. Still the protagonist despite now being "the Thorburn Boogeyman".


  • Action Survivor: Blake just wanted to live his life, preferably without interacting with his family ever again, and get to a place where he felt all right with himself. Instead, he now fights monsters. This turns out to be one of the issues he has to face in the Drains.
  • Advice Backfire: Tells Paige to get the hell out of the events he was going through and away from them, she jumps right into the sphinx's paws when he has Rose press the point by breaking the television.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: Averted. Blake notes that he doesn't see his sexuality as an important aspect of his identity, and turns down an offer from a friend to be Friends with Benefits.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Loses his hand to Barbatorem.
  • An Axe to Grind: Wields a hatchet bound with the ghost of June Burlinson, who died of hypothermia, until it broke.
  • An Ice Person: Thanks to the aforementioned hatchet. And, only while in possession of it.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Birds, specifically his bird tattoos and the fact that his familiar Evan takes on the form of a sparrow. Also, when he's weakened, he starts bleeding feathers.
    • After he takes on his Other form, his wounds are filled with spirits that manifest as birds.
    • At the end of the story, he's even turned into a bird.
  • And I Must Scream: Barely Averted. The Abyss rooted his body to the ground intent only tormenting him by having him only able to look on and constantly hear the bell ringing so that he would be angered into being a Gate Guardian. Rose finds a loophole for him through possessing her.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: He displays this mindset when he agrees with Fell's proposal to kill him rather than die or surrender to Conquest or his champions. Doubles as I Die Free, as he specifically requests that Fell work something with his soul to keep it out of the grasp of Conquest.
  • Book Dumb: In comparison to Rose, yes. She stuck it out in school and actually could sit still for ten minutes at a stretch even while in it. Blake...well, not so much. He's a fidgeter, better using his hands and learning through doing rather than through theory.
  • Broken Bird: Thanks to his experiences both with his family and as a runaway, which he notes have given him keen instincts but have not made him stronger as a whole. He admits, when facing Conquest, that he doesn't consider himself much of a "man," and that if Conquest gets too close he'll lose all thought and attack until he escapes or is brought down-probably the latter. Even worse, Grandma Rose programmed this backstory into him as a means of protection not just for his wraith-vestige self, but Rose as well. This automatic panic reaction almost backfired on both of them. Figuring this out breaks Blake a little as it is "for real", as such, even while he keeps the backstory as a part of him.
    • Maybe. Later on we find out that much of his backstory, probably including his time homeless, was an actual experience of the "original" that he and Rose were split off from.
  • Catchphrase: "Damn me, damn them, damn it all."
    Damn me, I thought, not for the first or second time.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Very nearly the first thing he does once he's in a space with some breathing room and nobody immediately trying to kill or use him is to begin to compose a plan of attack on the factory demon, which was no threat to him until he sought it out to kill, but remained a threat to others who carelessly blundered into the factory. Isadora comments that, as someone who has experienced both great good and great evil, he's driven to do good-especially knowing that he's not long for this world, and his oath to Evan (to fight the monsters) is a strong component of his thinking.
  • Companion Cube: His motorbike, until his trip to the Drains forces him to give it up.
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: When he's cornered by Conquest, Blake notes that his experiences noted under Broken Bird, above, make him likely to lash out mindlessly and then shut down. This tendency led to him killing Laird and nearly being forsworn.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Due to the sheer amount of bad karma incurred by his ancestors (nearly seven lifetimes worth in fact), anything that can go wrong in Blake's life will go wrong.
  • Cruel Mercy: His solution to Mara? He essentially had her foreswear herself, knowing she would lie, while her house burned down and she was unaware. The methods she used to survive would be impossible since Peter and Roxanne have burned down her home, meaning that the ritual she went by daily would no longer have any effect and her current life would be her last one.
  • Cultural Posturing: Likes to take the occasional potshot at the United States over the course of the story.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: His time living on the streets was unpleasant, to say the least.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Demon summoning in general, as far as Blake's concerned. If he chose to he could unleash some really nasty creatures on his enemies, up to and including Ornias, but he considers the cost too high to be worth paying.
  • Dead Man Switch: When Blake dies, Rose would be released from the mirror world. While he doesn't die, losing his connections did the trick with a few complications.
  • Death Seeker: Rose hypothesizes that he is this by design, if not consciously, given his actions in Toronto where he picks fights and doesn't stop picking fights until something finally manages to kill him.
  • Debt Detester: Not a particularly antagonistic example, but he hates having to owe people, and the fact that he owes Alexis a debt he feels he can never repay is something that weighs heavily on him.
  • Determinator: Despite the crap he goes through during the story, and the reveal of his true nature as a vestige-wraith-remnants-whatever, Blake never gives up.
  • Deadpan Snarker: To the extent that, as he's not allowed to lie, he has to consciously clamp down on the sarcasm.
  • Deal with the Devil: Avoided for the most part. Blake doesn't feel comfortable with calling on Mann, Levinn, and Lewis, for anything unless the circumstances really call for it. When he's trapped in the Drains, he attempts to call on them one last time, only to be told "No. Too late."
  • Didn't Think This Through: Blake often gets in trouble because he tends to be a short term thinker who makes plans mostly for the moment. He occasionally describes himself as "the warrior" in contrast to Rose's "the thinker." He gets better at thinking later on after he realizes this.
  • Domain Holder: He realizes after he and Rose switch places that since the mirror world is his domain, he can control what enters it, binding circle or not.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: He feels this way about an event in his past, where he begged for forgiveness to someone he considered a cult leader, commenting that he can't help but think that people who know think less of him.
  • Ear Ache: Blake ends up getting his ear bitten by rodents while trying to escape following Pauz's binding in Collateral 4.8. He uses Glamour Ink to repair it, but once he falls into the Drains it goes back to how it was.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After everything he's gone through, the fact that he's turned into a bird similar to Evan is a blessing. He can fly around the country with Evan and they still hangout with Green Eyes.
  • Empathic Weapon: His Frost Hatchet that contains June Burlison's ghost is sentient to a degree that Rose considers it half-implement and half-familiar. It was destroyed to stall Conquest.
  • The Empath: As part of his Emotion Eater powerset, he can sense fear.
  • Emotion Eater: Blake, as a Bogeyman, can sense when he instills fear into someone and it feeds his new nature, allowing him to draw strength from it.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Blake knows he's likely going to die soon, but hasn't succumbed to despair. He ultimately gets around it after becoming a Bogeyman. If he's strong enough he can come back as many times as he wants.
  • Family of Choice: A big proponent of this. He rejects his biological family's toxic environment in favor of his group of friends, although he remains attached to his family-his inability to detach from his family is what kicks off the plot.
  • Fake Memories: Blake is actually a vestige created to buy time for Rose, and there is a large possibility that all of his memories prior to the dream scene in Pact 1.1 were created. Turns out to be greatly subverted: his memories are broadly real — or, at least, based on real events and patched together to make sense. So are Rose's memories, as they both come from the same Barbered person. Neither is actually "more valid" than the other.
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: His experiences with Carl's cult, where sex and intimacy was used as a tool of control have left him with a fear of intimacy.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Starts off as a random handyman hanging on the fringes of a bunch of artists in Toronto. Spends a good portion of the final act being a horror movie monster, by his own description.
  • Gate Guardian: The Abyss wants him to guard one of the exits to the Library in order for the rest to escape. He's forced to leave his body behind, but his spirit-heart is allowed to possess Rose.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Some of the beatings he gets after becoming a bogeyman would be fatal if he couldn't.
  • Handyman: After running away from home he or rather his progenitor became this for his artist friends.
  • Hates Being Touched: Consistently reacts negatively or even violently to anyone touching him without his consent, and is hesitant about engaging in physical contact such as hugs. This appears to be a product of his experiences while homeless. He later concludes that this was a deliberate part of his design, as touching other people caused him to decay, meaning that his grandmother deliberately wrote his backstory to be as traumatic as possible without making him useless to her goals.
  • Heroic Host: Blake can use the spirits that have taken up residence in his body to do basic magic.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: He wields the broken Hyena as a weapon, since it usually leaves a Wound That Will Not Heal.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: A very literal example. Blake loses most of his humanity in the Drains after fighting Ur, leaving him a construct of bone and dead wood, filled with spirits. He keeps to his oath to fight monsters, but eventually amends it to note that not all monsters are Others.
  • Homeless Pigeon Person: He was apparently this before he got an apartment, and Joel got him to stop feeding the birds at his window.
  • Honor Before Reason: At times. For example, when Rose asks why he trusted Maggie with an important task despite knowing that something was off.
    Blake: Because nothing’s suggested she’s not on our side. I like to give people the benefit of a doubt until they give me reason to do otherwise.
    Rose: Noble. Stupid as fuck, but noble.
    Blake: Not arguing that.
  • The Idealist: In spite of everything that he's been through and seen, he firmly believes in the inherent goodness of humanity and wants to do good. That being said, his opinions on humanity do vary when it comes to certain individuals... like his family or, when he comes into enough contact with them, most practitioners of a certain age and station.
  • Indy Ploy: Very much tends to make his plans on the fly. However, he has shown moments of trying out Xanatos Speed Chess with actual longer-term goals to vaguely shoot for. The problems those face come down to 1) a lack of resources including time and 2) that Karmic Debt loading him down with almost instant fails and random Spanners which necessitate going for Indies with no warning. When he loses the debt thanks to Rose getting stuck with it all, his goals have an actual chance (however remote) to get worked towards, rather than having everything blow up in his face on almost first-contact.
  • I Owe You My Life: He has this feeling towards Alexis, who got him off the streets.
  • It's All My Fault: He inadvertently turns Toronto into a magical warzone in order to keep himself and Rose free from Conquest, and feels guilty about every resulting death.
  • Kids Are Cruel: He expresses a view that teenagers are just old enough to have an adult body, but lack the ability to make adult judgement calls, which is why he doesn't blame the gang of kids that beat on him when he was homeless, the Behaim and Duchamp children that have attacked him, or Maggie for murdering Molly.
  • Lightning Bruiser: After becoming a bogeyman. You wouldn't think someone made of wood and bone carrying a giant broken sword could move so fast, but apparently he's actually really light in spite of his inhuman durability and strength.
  • Literal Split Personality: He and Rose are one to whoever their progenitor was, with each getting portions of the original life.
  • Mirror Monster: Whatever flavor of Other he might actually be, until he move himself to an effigy Blake was the kickass bogeyman in the mirror—armed with a dangerous broken sword he can threaten the world outside with, no less. He even gained the Nickname Bloody Marv.
  • Meaningful Name: Blake's name can mean both "The pale, blond one" and "black" according to Isadora, which serves as an indicator that It's not his original name, which he speculates to have been some masculine form of Rose.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: He doesn't have a reflection because Rose is bound in its place. Afterwards he's the one in the mirror.
  • Morphic Resonance: His glamour forms always keep his tattoos as an anchor.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: See It's All My Fault, as he didn't realize the sheer collateral damage that Conquest was willing to cause in order to win.
  • Not Quite Flight: After making a deal with the Abyss in Sine Die Blake gains wings, but they can't generate lift on their own, only glide. To get higher he needs either Evan or hot air (since it rises) in order to keep himself aloft for prolonged periods.
  • Not So Different: He gets really annoyed with Rose when she starts summoning dangerous things behind his back when he's out for the count and gets a taste of his own impulsive medicine as a result. This only increases when he gets hits the Drains and comes back actually in the mirror-world. Note that both are as stubborn as each other and just as determined to do what they set their minds to, regardless of any other differences. Because they come from the same origins.
  • Only Friend: Signature 8.1 reveals that Blake pretty much is Maggie's only friend in Jacob's Bell. In turn she's the only one who remembers him completely rather than bits and pieces.
  • Rage Breaking Point: The moment after Conquest summons his ghosts and uses them against him, Blake drops all pretenses of trying to win without killing and stabs Laird, who was trying to hold him in place, in the throat.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Is the red to Rose's blue, being rather impulsive and acting on instinct while Rose is much calmer and more methodical.
  • Revenge Before Reason: While he's idealistic and genuinely wants to make the world a better place, one of Blake's less obvious flaws is his spitefulness—he'll go out of his way to hurt those that he feels have wronged him, if it's at all feasible, as seen when he sets a goblin loose on an otherwise uninvolved Behaim woman's library, or when he places Laird in a situation meant to psychologically torment him. He tries to rein this in once he realizes his nature as an Other since going by his instinct and lashing out in revenge at a slight would more than likely get him killed before he accomplishes his goal.
  • The Runaway: Blake was one before returning.
  • Sanity Slippage: After becoming a bogeyman, his anger and rage is a very strong component of his thinking, and others express doubt that they can trust his decisions. For the most part he tries very hard to keep it in check to avoid losing what little humanity he has left.
  • Scars Are Forever: He has several old scars on his body, some of which he erases with the glamour ink, only for them to come back later on.
  • Screw Destiny: When his connections are severed by Ur and he falls into the Drains, he defeats his fate of eventually dying by becoming a bogeyman.
  • Sins of the Father: As mentioned in Cosmic Plaything above, Blake's troubles boil down to his ancestor's actions.
  • The Soulless: There was only one soul to go around when the original child of Blake's parents was split in two, and Rose got it for the most part. It wasn't a flawless process, which is why they both are vulnerable to possession, with Blake's being arguably greater.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Derails the Toronto Powers plays regarding Conquest by dragging them into war.
    • Meant to die all along? Comes back as the Thorburn Bogeyman.
  • Spear Counterpart: As much as Rose is a reflection of him, he reflects her. They can, and do, both bounce off each other or wind up at loggerheads as a result. It's brought up more than once. Turns out they are part of a single individual and conflict between them is instigated by the separation.
  • The Symbiote: After giving the last of his humanity to Rose, he becomes a pair of wings that attach to her back and allow her to fly, and a wooden gauntlet that lets her wield the Hyena without getting hurt.
  • Sympathetic Magic: After his transformation into a bogeyman this is the one type of magic he's still capable of using his own personal spirits.
  • Tarot Motifs: The Fool on the right and the High Priestess on the left. More commonly compared to the Fool, though. Which is quite fitting: the more he relies on Indy Ploys, the more uncomfortable he manages to make it for others—even if it does come with personal risk.
    • Note that Fools in games of tarot are the sacrificial trump—they trump the suit-cards, but are the lowest of the low when it comes to the rest. There's a catch to that, however. Jokers are the standard, international card deck's equivalent to Fools or Jacks in Euchre, there are specific times when they can out-trump most of the other cards. If you use them wisely.
  • Tarot Troubles: Alister Behaim tries to put him in it in a version of Practitioner Top Trumps, somewhat forgetful of the fact he'd picked the Fool as Blake's sign at the start while trying to force him into a situation where he'd lose thanks to ignorance of the subject and forcing him off that cliff.
  • Terrible Artist: The only art he's ever made was stick figures. The original was an artist, but Rose got that talent. Blake just got the part that actually wanted to make art.
  • Tired of Running: He declares, as he rips his body to pieces to escape the mirror, that he's done with waiting for people to come after him.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: In Null 9.4, he realizes that he, not Rose, is the Vestige of the true Thorburn heir, a warrior created to buy her time to learn of the world that she'd be thrust into. And, worse: he learns she actively botched her awaking ceremony to lie to him (even if she had her reasons). At the end of the chapter, he chooses to embrace becoming an Other. However, this gets ziggzagged much later: he wasn't "just" a Vestige. It was much, much worse than that: both he and Rose are the remains of a Thorburn who got Barbered. Neither are the original, yet both contain parts of him — and their relative humanness was designed to be switch-able from the get-go. He didn't have to become an Other. Nor, did Rose have to be the Heir and accept that identity. Even if those were the roles chosen out for them by Rosalyn.
  • Tragic Hero: Over the course of the story, Blake loses his home, his possessions, his body, his connections to the world, and his very humanity.
  • Tranquil Fury: Relies on this to help him function, fueling it from any number of sources.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback:
    • Conquest forces him to flash back to two of his most traumatic experiences on the streets in Void 7.5 using the ghosts that those experiences created.
    • In Null 9.4, he goes through a full flashback, though he describes it as more of a play than a memory.
  • Trauma Button: Being touched, having his personal space invaded, or seeing himself as being surrounded or helpless. Duncan Behaim takes advantage of this, invading his personal space when Blake is locked in an interrogation room with him in order to put him off balance.
  • Unperson: Ur, the Abstract Demon, did this to him by erasing the connections to the world he had. Only three beings have any idea who he was initially, and only two of them can remember his real name.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Ms. Lewis reveals that he was more or less this to Rosalyn Thorburn in Null 9.3.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Via Glamour ink.
  • Was Once a Man: Starts the story as a man, gradually becomes a boogeyman as the story progresses and he gives up more of himself to survive.
  • Weapon of Choice: Broken Swords like the Hyena and a broken machete.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Referenced by Rose about Blake in Toronto. He was made to be a warrior, to not back down if pressed and to fight and fight, meaning that even when things are peaceful he would seek out a fight. When things settled down in Toronto he went to fight with the demon that was already secure for a time in the factory and it got him sent to "The Drains".
  • When Trees Attack: Blake's looking more and more like a tree as things go on.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Upon managing to defeat Ur and returning to his apartment only to find that his life has been torn to pieces, Blake realizes that he can only move towards the future.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Blake was fated to die eventually, at which point Rose takes his place as the Thorburn heir. He somewhat mitigates this by falling into the Drains, making it not as clean a process.

    Rose 

Rose Thorburn

A Vestige of Blake with her own set of altered memories, their lives are tied together. She takes Blake's place once he falls into the Drains. It appeared for a time that she was the actual Thorburn heir, and Blake was created to serve as a sacrificial shield. However, it is eventually revealed that both Blake and Rose were created from the same person, who was split into two by the demon Barbatorem following instructions given by their grandmother Rosalyn Thorburn. Rose was given the parts of that person that made her into an "ideal" heir, while Blake got the rest.


  • Ambiguously Human: She doesn't breathe or have a heartbeat, her awakening as a practitioner didn't give her the standard practitioner skillset (instead she got the Thorburn voice), she can break glass and other fragile reflective surfaces at will, and when she's cut, instead of a normal wound, she gets a fracture along her chest that bleeds. In Null 9.4, however, these turn out to be red herrings; as the true heir she was Human All Along. The reason she didn't have full practitioner powers? She intentionally botched the ritual so that she would be able to lie and prevent Blake from realizing his true nature. However, this gets zigzagged yet again: she may be currently more human, but both she and Blake are parts of (and the remains of) somebody who existed before either of them came onto the scene: neither is the original and both contain aspects and memories of that person.
  • Arranged Marriage: Alister Behaim proposes to her at the end of arc 12, following through on her grandmother's plans, and she accepts.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: While probably the nicer of the two Thorburns (most of the time), in some instances Rose can be a lot more ruthless than Blake as she is more aware of how things need to be handled. For example, it was her idea to bind June the ghost to Blake's hatchet in a constant state of suffering and she's the one who suggested burning down a warehouse to lure out a demon. She's also more willing to quickly escalate in firepower and brutality, including deliberately setting Bloody Mary on her enemies-albeit with orders not to kill.
  • Blank Slate: She lacks a lot of Blake's experiences and connections, being mostly the traits that Rosalyn felt were essential in an heir, along with the heart and soul of their progenitor.
  • Broken Bird: As with Blake, but with subtly different reasons and effects—as she was raised as a potential heir, she learned to distrust everyone to deal with her family's increasingly toxic environment instead of running away like Blake did.
    “The enemy of my enemy-“
    “Is still a damned enemy!” Rose said. “The sooner you realize there is no such thing as a true ally, the better off we’ll be.”
  • The Chessmaster: By instinct, she's one of these. She utterly hates having to make things up on the fly (although she can do it) and prefers to have people, plans and contingencies in place well ahead of meeting trouble. And, she would happily strangle Blake every time he goes on an Indy Ploy binge, given the chance to.
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: After two weeks of being trapped in a mirror world without human contact, and then being interrogated by Conquest, she resorts to summoning things like Midge in order to give herself agency. It's later suggested that Conquest tainted her in a manner similar to demonic corruption.
  • The Corruption: Conquest attempts to do this to her, but she's aware of it, and rather than cutting the connection, decides to take the power and use it, preventing it from getting too much of a hold on her.
  • The Cynic: In comparison to Blake she tends to be a bit more cynical.
  • Damsel in Distress: Pauz does this to her to keep her out of the way when contracting with Blake, doing something to the connection between them such that she was drained of power, until Blake broke the effect using his blood.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When she feels up to it, she can produce zingers. Unlike Blake, though, she doesn't make a habit of it as stress-relief and chooses to stick to Brutal Honesty or Exact Words as primary weapons almost from the start. Which means rather less danger of inadvertent fallout.
  • Dead Man Switch: Rose slightly breaks Barbatorem's bindings such that if she can't regularly repair them (such as when dead) it will go free.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Following Blake falling into the Drains she starts caring a lot more about other people.
  • Determinator: Although, it takes her a while to realise and accept that she is one. But, when she puts her mind to implementing a plan, she can be just as bull-headed pushing it through as Blake can.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Rose is a female version of Blake that can normally only interact with him through reflective surfaces such as mirrors. They switch places later on.
  • Doomed Protagonist: As a vestige, she's running on a limited amount of power, and when it runs out she'll fade away. This is a major source of depression, though Blake has promised to help her. Reversed in that she eventually takes his place in the material world.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Betrays Blake by helping Jeremy bind him, and leaving him bound, unwilling to trust his bogeyman nature. He gets out anyway once things get bad enough.
  • Fake Memories: Zigzagged so much, you can get whiplash. Initially, when she's to all appearances a Vestige stuck in a mirror, it's theorised that her memories were moulded to be that of a sort of Alternate Universe Blake who was born a female potential heiress. As it turns out she might well have quite a bit of fake in there to make any gaps consistent, but she's not fake nor a vestige — and was probably lying to Blake for a while about all that. Then it turns out that neither she nor Blake are fake after more of Grandma Rosalyn's diary is read and analysed, even if both have some fake and some real memories. But, her being the female one suggests she's got more faking in the memory department to make things consistent for her, for all she's now got the bulk of what was the "Ross Thorburn" identity package before the Barber got busy. Blake punches through her insistence that she's the "more real" of the two when he points out how much of a Blank Slate she actually is—being only those bits Grandmother thought were important to have as Heir, not what made them them-when-they-were-whole: the bad stuff, Toronto and the human connections that were made outside Jacob's Bell are as important to them as the name and identity are.
  • Friendless Background: She's envious of Blake's friends, as she had none of her own. Blake had Molly and Paige as friends during childhood family gatherings, but to Rose they were just rival potential heirs. This turns out to be deliberate on her grandmother's part, and a large clue as to what's really going on-she had friends, it's just that they were Blake's friends. He inherited the friendships with Molly and Paige as well as his friends in Toronto, and Rose got nothing at all-Blake makes references to numerous high school friends that she never had.
  • Gender-Restricted Ability: As all the Thorburn practitioners prior to Blake were women, simple-minded and older Others will only respond to Rose's voice. Blake handles the physical things and pays the costs for power instead.
  • Human All Along: Subverted. While Rose is considered the true Thorburn heir and Blake the vestige, both are actually creations of Barbatorem due to another Thorburn being cut by its shears.
  • It's All My Fault: After Conquest forces her to divulge everything that she knew or speculated about that could be used to hurt Blake, she naturally blames herself for every tactic that Conquest subsequently uses against them.
  • Literal Split Personality: To whoever the original child of her parents was, along with Blake. She suspects that she's the more whole of the two, but acknowledges that neither of them is a complete person.
  • The Minion Master: During the war with Conquest, she falls back upon the long lists of Others that her grandmother contracted with in the various parts of Limbo, binding them into service to provide manpower for the fight. She keeps this up afterwards.
    • Shoot the Dangerous Minion: More like Banish the Dangerous Minion back to Limbo, but if one minion is just a little too dangerous or she can't trust them they go straight back. Midge and John Pica being the main two, with good reason.
  • Mind over Matter: She can shatter and to a limited extent manipulate glass that she is reflected in. Prior to returning to human anyway. She later is able to move objects using Sympathetic Magic.
  • Mirror Self: Exists in mirrors near Blake and in the Thorburn house, taking the place of Blake's reflection. At least until she was freed from the mirror.
  • Not Good with People: She doesn't really have much practice making or keeping friends, even though she's not bad with the concept of dealing with people (she did get training in being a Manipulative Bitch). She's not horrible at friendship, either; just very unsure about the whole process and constantly on eggshells, for all she finds it a remarkable experience once she actually does get some. There turns out to be a very good reason for all that: Blake got all the experience and memories of ever having had any friends. Including within the family. Rose was robbed of this section of their life: all that envy was probably realising this on some level.
  • Not So Different: Rose doesn't react well when stuck in a corner just like Blake. And, just like Blake, she can weasel her way around you with words, given the chance to—in fact, she's slightly better at it. In some ways, her embracing Conquest could be seen as her trying to make herself more dynamic and less passive, seeing as it tended to work for Blake.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: She gets very irritated when Blake acts without consulting her beforehand. Because she's trapped in a mirror most of the time, she's found some purpose in being Blake's guide, so when he ignores her advice it becomes an issue. Especially since while she was out of action Blake ended up getting a Familiar and making three of his friends into practitioners, which Rose wasn't pleased about at all. Later on she flat-out doesn't trust him because they're supposed to replace one another and by holding more advantages she remains human, otherwise he'll regain everything he lost. Once they make up it's slightly better.
  • Outdated Outfit: Is forced to wear her grandmother's old early 20th century clothing, but she appears to have grown into it since she continues wearing it even after she gets freed from the mirror. It also helps that her own possessions mysteriously disappeared in an arson aka never existed in the first place.
  • Pent-Up Power Peril: She has to quickly spend what she gets from Conquest, to prevent it from becoming The Corruption.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Averted—she tells her Cabal about her being influenced by Conquest and they work out a plan together to deal with it.
  • Powers via Possession: Being possessed by Conquest enables her to compel others with greater ease, as well as act as a power source.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Gives one to Blake in Subordination 6.5 regarding how he's been keeping her out of the loop and disregarding her input.
    • She also ends up giving one to their parents regarding their parenting in Null 9.5.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Is the blue to Blake red, as she's the calmer of the two, and the one that follows a more methodical, scientific approach.
  • The Sleepless: She doesn't need to sleep while in the mirror world-the only time that she's unconscious is when she's been drained of power and needs to recharge.
  • Spirit Advisor: To Blake, in theory-though at first she doesn't know anything more than he does.
  • Summon Magic: Her specialty as a practitioner since she can't interact directly with the world. It remains so after she's freed of the mirror and, as she becomes a Scourge, it is her main magic.
  • Supernormal Bindings: During the Toronto arc, Conquest places a manacle on her wrist which allows him to bring her to him at any time.
  • Tarot Motifs: The Hanged Man on the right and the Chariot on the left. To summarize, sacrifice in exchange for knowledge (it can be empty knowledge and a very real sacrifice; or a small sacrifice for great knowledge), patience/ caution/ things held in suspension, a degree of trickery and cunning learned and the potential for change once suspense ends; forward momentum (or, you know, bulldozing—this can bite the hand that feeds it), willpower, impulsiveness, increased energy and conquest. On the face of it, they're opposites, but then so are reflections.
    • Side-note: Sphinxes. In the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, the Chariot is pulled by a black sphinx and a white sphinx. We've met at least one sphinx who likes to balance karma, so it might be related to karma, bad and good.
  • The Only One I Trust: She trusts Blake to keep his promise to help her, it seems mostly because he's laid out the reasoning for why he needs her alive than because he considers her family. After the Toronto Arc this is a Subverted Trope and he's the one thing she will never trust.... and then they make up enough that she willingly let's him possess her.
  • Thicker Than Water: She has this view of family, having stuck it out despite the toxic environment, as opposed to Blake, who ran away. That being said, she doesn't trust any of them... with very, very good reason.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: She has a moment like this when she realizes that neither she nor Blake are fully real, so much as fragments of the original person mauled and separated by Barbatorem. It's followed up upon when Blake points out that they were probably originally male and not the female she kept insisting they had to have been. Worse, she had been consoling herself on having the soul, the name and the identity of the original, so "getting rid" of the few remnants Blake represented was just a thing that had to happen for her own safety. Until he points out that from a name like "Ross" or "Russ" to "Rose" isn't that great a shift—and, even their parents wouldn't be tacky enough to use the same phonetic trick on Ivy, while still keeping the theme (and hint) going. Oh, and everything he remembered having that she didn't, including the flat in Toronto? Was actually theirs, and no fake. Including the friends and independence she so envied him for having: those memories just hadn't been handed to her because Grandma didn't consider them or Toronto as being important for the Heir to have. This really does floor her.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Due to Conquest's taint affecting her, she starts becoming a lot more ruthless.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Once Blake possesses her and gives her his memories, she becomes noticeably more considerate to her friends and family.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: As a vestige, she and Blake initially come to the conclusion that she'll fade away eventually, due to her incomplete nature. Except this wasn't actually the case, as she was a human trapped in a mirror world, and Blake was the vestige sacrifice.

    Molly 

Molly Walker

The original inheritor of the Thorburn house, her death kicks off the plot. And then she becomes a Wraith bent on vengeance.


  • Action Survivor: She managed on her own for four months practically barricaded in Hillsglade House, under constant attack with her only likely sources of vaguely-safe contact being the Lawyers. Which she probably didn't use much or at all. She didn't have a vestige or anything to act as a shield or backup, yet worked out how to avoid diabolism to take up barrier and binding magic starting from a normal position. The worst karmic debt known to man was likely behind her critical slip-up, more than anything else. She might have looked less-than-capable, but she actually had tenacity to survive as long as she did.
  • A God Am I: In her own words:
    "Sometimes, in the right time or place, an idea can become a spirit, and a spirit can become a god."
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Blake mentions that she wasn't very popular while alive.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: To survive alone, she had to have something. Her wraith is more than making up for lost time, after her death.
  • Create Your Own Villain: If the Behaims and Duchamps hadn't murdered her, then they wouldn't have to deal with her vengeful wraith. Furthermore, they only fed her more with their squabbling over the leadership of the town, since she feeds on negativity.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Getting beaten to death by goblins was likely not very pleasant. Molly's ghost mentions that they tore her apart using corkscrews and needles and that the the search party that came across her corpse thought it was an animal carcass at first.
  • Foil: To Maggie Holt, since she's constantly fighting whereas in both life and death Molly focused mainly on defensive magic.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The reserved murder victim becomes a wraith powerful enough to drive every Other in town to attack indiscriminately.
  • Hate Plague: Her wraith uses a ringing church bell that drives Others to attack.
  • Living Memory: Signature 8.1 reveals that Maggie's been keeping her ghost around as a form of penance for her involvement in Molly's murder. As of Mala Fide, she's gained an increased amount of awareness and becomes a wraith powerful enough to draw the attention of the Jacob's Bell council.
  • Posthumous Character: She gets more character development after her death, including descriptions of her methods as a practitioner, than she got in the one chapter for which she was alive.
  • Sacrificial Lamb/Stuffed into the Fridge: Dies in the first chapter, just to make it clear to Blake how high the stakes are.
  • Shrinking Violet: Is described as being rather timid in life.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Has a very high chance of turning into a dirty-blonde version of this, now that she's a wraith on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: See above.
  • Unfinished Business: Her murder was explicitly never going to be solved, as far as the local police chief was concerned. Making Jacob's Bell pay for this is the cornerstone of her existence as a wraith.
  • Unwitting Pawn: It's hinted in Mala Fide 10.4 that Rosalyn Thorburn was also using her as a sacrificial pawn in her schemes.

    Rosalyn D. Thorburn 

Blake's grandmother, and the original owner of the house before it got passed down to Molly, and later, Blake.


  • Abusive Parents:
    • Both abused by her father and the abuser later in life. Rose and Blake suspect that she used at least one of her children as bait to lure in Barbatorem, by placing them on top of a pile of festering boar carcasses when they were one year old.
    • She set up two of her grandchildren to die so her ideal heir was brought into the world. Said ideal heir being the result of having a demon spiritually mutilate one of her grandchildren to split them into two people.
    • Judgement reveals that she only viewed her children as an obligation.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Aimon says that she embraced diabolism as a method of protecting others, but it's pretty obvious that she had a ruthless streak a mile wide, particularly when it came to matters of the inheritance.
  • Berserk Button: The only time she shows anger during her meeting with Blake is when he calls her a liar.
  • Evil Matriarch: She plays the family against each other for the inheritance, and set Blake and Molly up to die, creating both Blake and Rose from whichever Thorburn they had been before that for this purpose.
  • Foreseeing My Death: She calls the family together to inform them that she is dying, hands off the inheritance to Molly, and then dies on the stroke of midnight. Aimon Behaim's Histories chapters suggests that she arranged this by having her time artificially extended.
  • Genre Savvy: Knew enough to avoid getting ensnared by the lawyers, placed a mole, and even manipulated things so that they'd get nothing.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Appears to have been this at some point in her life, as Aimon Behaim claims in his Histories chapter that she "embraced diabolism as a way to protect others."
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Subverted. At first it appears that she considers her children this, which is why the grandchildren are first in line for the inheritance. Later it is revealed that in a moment of angry argument with her father, she swore an oath to never make her children go through the experience of being a practitioner. All oaths made by practitioners are binding, so she could not reveal the existence of anything magical to her offspring. She made no such oath about her grandchildren, however.
  • Not Good with People: Got along better with Others than humans.
  • Offing the Offspring: When Blake discovers that he's likely always been intended to die by her plan for Rose, he reflects that she's effectively murdering her own grandson, posthumously, no less. Worse: Molly seems to have also been planned to die to set everything up, as well. She may not be a direct killer, but... she certainly put the pieces in place with a pretty unavoidable outcome looming for them. It's suspected she intended to kill off her entire bloodline to stop them from using demons.
  • One Thing Led to Another: After a brawl between a young Rosalyn Thorburn and Aimon Behaim.
  • Passed-Over Inheritance: What she pulls on her children and grandchildren. Of course, part of this was kicked off because of an accidentally binding oath she made to never teach her children the family trade even before she was a teen... She broke a couple of eggs before she realized she might need to make an omelette to correct a few things.
  • Posthumous Character: After her death in the first chapter, more of her character is developed through insights left in her house (her massive collection of self-published diabolic texts and her notes) and through appearances in interludes
  • Right-Hand Cat: Had one which was most likely her Familiar, since it died the same time she did.
  • Thanatos Gambit: She cooperated with the Behaims, deliberately sabotaging her own heirs, in order to set something in motion after her death. How much is going according to plan is up for debate. And, what, exactly, she set up? More debate.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: Wrote many of those, with titles like "Fiends and Darker Beings". They're of course part of the inheritance.
  • Training from Hell: Quite literally. Her teaching style involved summoning improperly bound demons in front of the student for the first lesson.
  • We Win... Because You Didn't: This is what she's running on the lawyers, or so Blake theorizes. Molly was the sacrificial lamb necessary to power Blake and Rose's separation. Neither Blake nor Rose has both the ability to create children and the desire (Blake's traumas preclude having sex, and while we don't know what RDT did to Rose, it would be child's play to make her barren). Kathryn's only child is male. Ellie is highly immature, and would probably get killed. Roxanne is nine, Ivy younger still, meaning they'd meet with a similar fate. And last but not least, Paige is a lesbian. What do these heirs have in common? None of them will survive long enough to produce an heir of their own. And the lawyers are none the wiser.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: She and her cat died at exactly midnight.
  • 0% Approval Rating: She appears to have been hated and feared even more than usual for a Thorburn by the entirety of Jacob's Bell.

    Ivy 

Ivy Thorburn

Blake's younger sister of about one and a half years old, who was born during the time period that he was a runaway.


  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Has a scream that would fit easily in any given slasher flick. Mind you, seeing Blake did give her just cause to let loose.
  • Invisible to Adults: Due to being an innocent she can see Blake as a bogeyman without being awakened.
  • Replacement Goldfish: She was born about a year and a half after Blake ran away, and Blake thinks of her as being this for him to his parents-the girl they always wanted.
  • Meaningful Name/Foreshadowing: Ivy's (lack of a) meaningful name was taken by both Rose and Blake as a clue that Rose was the real heir rather than Blake, as Rose was named such as an attempt to flatter Grandma Thornburn. Had Blake been the real first child, Ivy would have been named Rose. Until Blake bursts that bubble and points out that "Ross", "Russ", "Russell" or *shudder* "Bud" also sound like the kind of things their parents would do to flatter Grandma before they learned about the female-only clause... if the original had been male. "Ivy" would still be keeping to the theme... just not quite so tackily as repeating some derivation of "Rose" twice.
  • Mercy Kill: Malcom Fell offers to do this to Ivy in the event that Blake dies in Toronto — all to prevent her having to face potentially inheriting the family curses. That, or denying her her birthright by making sure she gets brought up as a Muggle. The first offer was for a quick bullet, though.
  • Spare to the Throne: From Rose's perspective, it's fairly suspicious that her little sister gets born just a bit after her parents might have concluded that having a young, cute, backup horse in the race might be wise, thanks to the family infighting doing a number on her reputation. Just in case she couldn't top Paige.
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    Blake's Parents 

Blake's parents, with whom he's estranged.


  • Abusive Parents: From what Blake and Rose have said, their childhood included a lot of lessons in how to manipulate others, and it was bad enough that Blake ended up running away.
  • For Want of a Nail: When Blake bitterly notes that it sounds like they grew up with different parents, Rose corrects him to call them the same people, just from different angles.
  • Manipulative Bastards: Both are as bad as the other and they both forced Rose and Blake to take lessons. Reading about their trying to manoeuvre Rose into being declared insane as a well-oiled machine is quite something.
  • No Name Given: We know Blake's father is named Bradley, but we never learn his mother's name over the course of the story.
  • Tough Love: Apparently, all Thorburn parenting contains at least some amount of this. Encouragement to man up and take responsibility is to be expected, regardless of gender.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: In Blake's case: "Why couldn't you be born a girl?". In Rose's: "Why can't you be better?". Net result: equally awful parenting, if in slightly different ways.

    Callan 

Callan Walker

The eldest son of Blake's Aunt Irene. Molly's older brother.


  • Be Careful What You Wish For: He wanted to find out what Molly had gone through and why she died...
  • Big Brother Instinct: His loyalty to his younger siblings, Molly and Christoff, is one of his few redeeming qualities.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Gets his throat slashed by the Bane, and then gets eaten alive by the Homonculi.
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: When he realizes he's got no hope of surviving a really nasty injury, he charges his killers full-on in a bid to create an opening for his brother and the rest to act on. Give him his due—when he can be convinced to switch gears from Jerkass to Determined, he really doesn't stint.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first thing he does upon seeing his runaway cousin for the first time in years is to berate him on his wardrobe.
  • Eaten Alive: After the Bane slashes his throat, he gets eaten alive by homunculi.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Well, Callan's just a jerk, but he did seem truly distraught about Molly's death, and cared enough about Christoff to sacrifice his life against the Bane.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Knowing that he's going to die from the Bane's necrotic slash, he manages to hold on to the robotic zeitgeist's ankle to prevent it from getting inside.
  • Jerkass: To everyone around him that isn't one of his immediate family members. Blake describes him as a blindsider — he went to Paige's teachers to sabotage her chance at getting into a US college, and was behind Kathryn's restaurant being vandalized.
  • The Load: His major contribution to events, most of the time. You could replace him with a sack of barley for the same effect on the plot... until he decides to pull a Heroic Sacrifice, that is.
  • Not So Different: To the nice, relatively fluffy Molly: both start out looking to be rather-less-than-impressive as individuals, if for rather different reasons. But, to protect others of their immediate family from clear and present danger? They both dug around and found grit. And, both died very similar, very gruesomely prolonged deaths for pretty much the same set of reasons and thanks to a blank refusal to easily give up, however terrified and knowingly doomed.
  • Oblivious to Hints: Isn't good at picking up on Blake's mood in the beginning, and continues to be resistant to others' opinions, words, outright statements and hints when we meet him later, too. His stubbornness, as one of the oldest Thorburn cousins, seems to be a learned trait.
  • The Reliable One: To Molly. He backed her all the way during the fight for the house, and if she hadn't been unwilling to bring her family into it, would probably have done so in the supernatural nastiness that followed.
  • Self-Destructive Charge: His Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Slashed Throat: The Bane slashes his throat and kills him with its necrotic effect.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: No, Callan, sorry; you're more in a Horror movie, than not-in-an-Action one. If you're going to deny the absurd nature of everything, do try to get the genre right, at least. In the main, he's not the best picker-upper of atmospheres.

    Paige 

Paige Thorburn

The last in line for the inheritance if all the other heirs die, and Blake's favorite living cousin. Daughter of Paul Thorburn and his first wife, Stephanie.


  • The Ace: Blake thinks of Paige as the hardest-working and, overall, most naturally talented of all his cousins. As well as enjoying the fact that she's nice.
  • Don't Split Us Up: Happened to Paige and her twin brother, Peter, after their parents' messy divorce. They got split up, regardless. Twin Desynch happened as they each got brought up separately. Much to Paige's surprise, he chose to side with their sister Ellie over her in the whole Family Disunion scene. It's strongly suggested that he narced on her being a lesbian to Grandma for points.
  • Familiar: She is this to Isadora, and can draw on Isadora's power to do karmic-related workings.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Has interest in women only, which is why she's the last heir rather than higher on the list, unfortunately. Guaranteed continuation of the line trumped likely natural ability in Grandma's eyes.
  • Only Sane Man: Is one of the few Thorburns who isn't a massive jerk. She's still relatively obsessed with the inheritance, which is quite understandable given the amount of money involved.
  • Take a Third Option: It's very risky to be adopted by a Sphinx. But, arguably, quite a bit less risky than trying to deal with the Thorburn karma alone, without the family library, Hillsglade House, the inherited "perks" of being heir or any hope of any other backup in the world of practitioners.
  • Too Clever by Half: Much to Blake's chagrin, she's so clever she managed to get in the middle of the things he wanted to keep her away from and earned Isadora's attention.

    Ellie 

Ellie Thorburn

Paige's sister and rival in the heir race. Few of her cousins regard her highly. Daughter of Paul Thorburn and his first wife, Stephanie.


  • Allergic to Routine: Is always fiddling with something electronic when she's not front-and-centre in every scene we've seen her in. No matter where she is. Granted, hanging around while all the politics happens can get pretty dull.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: She mentions to Tiffany that things finally started to make sense for her when she was diagnosed with a learning disorder shortly before she dropped out of high school.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: She takes on Eva to save Peter. And afterwards reiterates to him that she's going to hit him five times for every time Eva hit her. Later, when she's presented with the chance to get out of Jacob's Bell, she decides to stay because Peter is staying.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Like her brother. She'd much rather not fight, as it risks her skin. But, when she does, it's uncompromising, no holds barred (including the use of well-targeted psychological warfare) and any weapon goes. Including using a syringe full of something and Eva's sibling loyalty against her after having deliberately taken knocks to get close enough to use it on Andy. Awesomely nasty.
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: When Peter is about to be killed and Eva is holding the only object that could save him, Ellie overcomes her usual cowardice and poisons Andy, taking a beating from Eva in the process.
  • Cowardly Lion: Blake outright calls her a coward in his narration, but when the chips are down she's willing to go on the line for her brother.
  • The Cynic: Years of dealing with her family have left her with the impression that there's no real way for her to get ahead without somebody taking advantage of her. She figures that her best shot is to lose in a way that hurts them or to drop out entirely. She's practically "chosen" Peter because she trusts him slightly more than others.
  • Delinquents: She's known to be into drugs, drink, petty vandalism, theft and violence with a rap-sheet that's quite long. Also happens to have a number of tattoos. Unsurprisingly, few in the family actually like her or want her to win Hillsglade House. Except for those who think they can use her to get a foot in the door. Like, say, Peter. And her father.
  • Jerkass: She'll bicker just to bicker. She'll strenuously object, probably to make sure you don't forget she's in the room, and then suddenly back down for no reason. She'll ask questions she doesn't care about on top of ones she does... just to waste your time and see steam jut out your ears. She'll nick your stuff if you're not looking (or even if you are). She'll prank you nastily if she can get away with it. She'll mooch off unless you keep an eye on her. And, she'll even do most of these things to her own brother (who she actually quite likes). Yeah: she's not exactly nice. But, heaven help you if she decides it's worth it to her to really come at you rather than just annoy you...
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Yes, there is a lot of Duchamp emotional manipulation about. But, nobody in the restaurant was the least bit surprised when Mags easily got her to lash out as part of a gambit. Kind of hints that she goes off pop fairly regularly, that.
  • Made of Iron: Underplayed. However, she can take surprising amounts of damage, seen when she wilfully takes punishment from Eva both to distract and misdirect, considering she loathes having to do so as a general rule. Part of it may be down to just known how to avoid the worst effects of it, though. Roll with the punches, indeed.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Has had lessons in this from her mother. Which she mainly uses to keep her criminal record as short as possible by talking her way out of trouble with the police, as she doesn't have the patience for more involved schemes. However, she can use it more practically when needed.
  • Smarter Than You Look: She might look like a delinquent waste of space, but when it comes to picking up on mood-shifts and other people's Berserk Buttons, she's actually not bad. At all. Particularly if they both somehow touch on the topic of saving her own skin.
  • Sticky Fingers: Gotta pick a dresser or two...

    Charles 

Charles Thorburn

The firstborn child of Rosalyn Thorburn.


  • The Bait: Rosalyn used him as bait in order to lure in Barbatorem by leaving him on top of a pile of festering boar carcasses.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Hasn't appeared in-story.
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    Roxanne 

Roxanne Thorburn

Another cousin in the running. Aged twelve, and already an accomplished schemer. Paul Thorburn's second child with Jessica, his second wife.


  • Annoying Younger Sibling: To her half-siblings Kathryn, Ellie, Paige, and Peter, and probably to her full sibling, James.
  • Break the Haughty: Where Andy and Eva couldn't, the Abyss most certainly could.
  • Crazy-Prepared: After her trip to the Abyss she starts carrying around knives and basically anything that could be used to kill monsters. Blake included.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: The threat of her screaming is bad enough that she can use it as a bargaining chip against Kathryn.
  • Ditto Fighter: Not necessarily a combat version. Peter's analysis of her suggests that her main defense mechanism is emulating the most successful person around her, as seen when she picks up witch hunter tactics after their attack on Hillsglade House.
  • Enfante Terrible: She's 12 years old, and Blake thinks that there's something distinctly off about her. It's pretty much stated she goes for the jugular when things don't go her way, and that means potentially lethal options.
  • Genre Savvy: When she has a chance to ask questions, the only thing she asks about is to confirm that practitioners Cannot Tell a Lie.
  • Groin Attack: Does this (with a purloined letter-opener acting as a knife) to Andy. He wore a cup.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: Her reaction to Andy and Eva after Eva kicked her repeatedly in the head after incapacitating all the other Thorburns?
    I think I want to be them. Then I want to find them, and pay them back.
  • Little Miss Badass: She goes about secretly armed with a letter opener when possible, and proved herself rather quick and dangerous thanks to managing to take the vastly more experienced Andy by complete surprise with her attack on him. Pity for her that Eva is part of that particular package deal, as it cost her quite the painful loss. But, still pretty badass for a twiggy, twelve-year-old girl who wouldn't have been expected to have those two land on her when she woke up that day.
  • Little Miss Con Artist: Apparently, she's very good at getting people into trouble.
  • Made of Iron: She's the one who gets her head repeatedly kicked in, has what has to be concussion, a possibly broken jaw and nose, a wonderfully developing cauliflower ear, as well as likely kicked-in ribs and defensive wounds to her hands and arms. Yet, she's moving about, is fairly lucid and is as ready for pay-back as she can be, if rather creakily. Contrast with Callan-dropped-like-a-sack-of-potatoes-with-one-hit-and-out-for-the-count. Girl's pretty damn tough.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Already has levels in this, according to both Rose and Blake. Peter also seems to be a bit wary of her.
  • No-Sell: When the group is attacked by a demon of the choir of Madness, Rose notes that she's one of the least affected because she's already unhinged.
  • The Sociopath: Blake considers her a budding one. Her actions do rather back this assessment up. Also in the midst of the siege of Hillsglade (where her life and the lives of her immediate family are in danger), her only question is whether she would really need to give up her ability to lie. She grows markedly more hesitant than she had been to become a practitioner when she learns the answer. This implies that she relies on, or at least enjoys, her ability to lie to the extent that she considers foregoing magical power to keep it. In case it needs to be said this is NOT normal for a minor.
  • The Stoic: Doesn't seem to have the usual startle-function or natural reactions to shocks. Even her attacking Andy didn't come across as particularly anger-driven, but more like "we're under attack: OK — attack in kind".
    • Not So Stoic: It can happen. It just takes something rather extreme like a quick trip to the Abyss and its Mind Games to pull it off. Mind you, having said that, she can be talked down surprisingly easily, considering.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Basically everything she does.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Or in this case magical insects of horrendous, skin-burrowing yickness.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Or, at least, has the adult filters in place a lot younger than usual. That's actually a bit creepy.

    Peter 

Peter Thorburn

One of Blake's cousins and Paige's fraternal twin about one year older than him. Son of Paul Thorburn and his first wife, Stephanie.Several lines of his in later chapters hint that he has some intact memories of Blake, referring to his friendship with Molly and Paige(he himself called Rose a friendless loser) and expressing jealousy that he managed to call Rosalyn senoir a C-word.


  • Academic Alpha Bitch: In school he coasted by on his intelligence and Blake describes him as mean enough to make his teachers cry.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He's not too big on fair fights. And, he will use anything he can think of to tip the scales if running is not an option.
    Peter: Lesson numero uno for Thorburns. Go for the jugular.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Has wit and knows how to cut with it, does our Peter. He can also use it to snap somebody out of a funk, too, with a one-two combo with Brutal Honesty... if only out of a renewed wish to strangle him.
  • Genre Savvy: Much like his sister he's clever-when he's told that in Jacob's Bell live the children of a professional killer, one of whom specializes in explosives, he believes it.
  • The Heart: Strangely enough, starts stepping up to act as this almost from the moment things take a dive southwards. He backs Blake up (or anybody else who says something that sounds like it might remotely pan out as a survive-the-next-few-minutes idea), ruthlessly puts down less-than-stellar input, contributes as best he can (given his total Fish out of Water status when it comes to things that go bump), bucks spirits up when others start to fray and manages to help keep the group focused on surviving from moment to moment. He... just takes a rather different tack from normal, though: as Hearts go, he's quite dark. He uses spite, irritation and pushing your triggers to keep you going. However, he's rather careful in not pushing those particular buttons when it comes to Blake and keeping it lightly snarky at most. Almost goes under the radar until you sit back and look at it again.
  • Hyper-Awareness: When most of the family are focused on digging at Rose, he's the one noting such things as chalk sigils in odd corners and hidden behind things. He's also amongst the quickest to realise that those in the room actually mean what they say about the dangers within Jacob's Bell. However absurd it may sound on the surface.
  • If You Die, I Call Your Stuff: When he's about to be killed by the Bane, he has the following exchange with Ellie:
    Peter: If you make it out of this, you can have my stuff.
    Ellie: Fuck you, I don’t want your stuff.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Granted, it's not a big heart and one would have to ask questions about the actual value of the gold. There is also an awful lot of Thorburn jerktasticness to dig through to find it, as well: but, he can actually find it in himself to care beyond what would be strictly necessary for personal survival, only. He's... still rather the sarcastic and cutting jerk when he does so, though.
  • Jumped at the Call: His response to finding out about the supernatural is to quote Harry Potter and the Matrix before extracting a promise from Blake to tell him everything. While practically giddy.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Has had lessons in this in the care of his mother. And it shows.
  • Ship Tease: A little bit with Ainsley Behaim of all people in the Possession arc. Alister doesn't exactly approve.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Does this to Barbatorem possessing Johannes in Judgement 16.10, noting that even if things are horrible now he would always push forward to tomorrow.
  • The Smart Guy: As far as Ellie is concerned, letting him do the thinking most of the time is standard procedure.
  • Tough Love: Displays this in his pep talks to the younger Thorburns, telling Roxanne that it's okay that she's never going to be okay, because, as a Thorburn, she was never going to be okay anyway and telling Christoff that deliberately sacrificing his humanity to get away from life won't help.
  • Welcomed to the Masquerade: By Blake, to fight the witch hunters. He takes it pretty well, up until he realizes that Karma exists.

    James 

James Thorburn

One of the younger cousins at 14. Paul Thorburn's first child with Jessica, his second wife.


  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Wears glasses and happens to be kind of a jerk, having been involved in sprees of vandalism and hanging out with other hoodlums.
  • Invisible to Adults: Seems to be able to see Others to some degree. He spotted Blake in the TV's reflection and even tried to react. He's perhaps not as quick to as Ivy is, but he's still got it.
  • Younger Than They Look: He's 14 and not the sweetest lad you'll ever meet; however, he still has the protections and abilities of a more innocent child. Given that he's a Thorburn, it's quite the achievement to stave off early-onset cynicism while starting to go off the rails.

    Kathryn 

Kathryn Thorburn

The oldest of the Thorburn cousins. A chef and former businesswoman. Paul Thorburn's first child with Stephanie.

  • A Fate Worse Than Death: Gets taken by the Abyss during the Possession arc.
  • Almighty Mom: The only Thorburn cousin to have a child. She's described as a "mother bear" and a "tyrant."
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Her primary tactic. She's a bulldog who doesn't let up. If she runs into a wall, she'll just undermine it and keep attacking.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: She orders Blake to save Roxanne instead of her when it looks like only one of them can make it out.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: She dresses to give this impression, by contrast to her cousins. In a courtroom, she'd be a terror. When she beats a clockwork robot with a chair, it's this.
  • Exotic Eye Designs: When the Abyss takes her, her eyes are overwritten with crayon scribbles.
  • I Have a Family: She briefly cites her son, and others who depend on her, when she's trying to rationalize away the horde of Others trying to kill the cousins.
  • Improvised Weapon: She beats the Behaim's clockwork robot with a chair, which proves effective as the splinters jam up the gears.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down:
    • When her arm is dislocated in the Tenements, a mostly vertical space where you need to climb to move around, she instructs Blake to get Roxanne to safety instead of helping her. Blake refuses to leave her behind.
    • In Possession 15.1 she tells them to leave her once again out of despair, and this time they're forced to do exactly that.
  • Never My Fault: Blake suggests this about her, that she has always had someone to take the fall for her.
  • The Scrappy: In universe at very least, Blake thinks that even if the Thorburn family hadn't been pitted against one another by Rose Sr. that he would still have heavily disliked her. Even if it was intentionally only showing her the worst and most depressing things about her the book she reads in the Abyss hints that her closer family don't like or care for her much either, with her feeling the same loathing for herself as they do.
  • Was Once a Man: Becomes a boogeyman in the Abyss.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Gives Blake this for taking them all to the Drains and nearly getting Roxanne killed.

    Cristoff 

Christoff Walker

Callan and Molly's younger brother, who was often bullied by a Behaim. The third child of Blake's Aunt Irene.

  • Children Are Innocent: The closest to blameless of all the Thorburn cousins. He's still comfortable with stirring up trouble, though.
  • Harmful to Minors: He has to watch his brother die.
  • Revenge: Following Callan's death, he desires revenge on the Behaims and Duchamps.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: His interest in throwing away his humanity to get his revenge makes Peter, of all people, slap him with a very pointed one of these.

    Spoiler Character 

The Unknown Thorburn

A major spoiler character, one of the driving questions of Pact is answered by this character's very existence. Or lack thereof. The original version of Rose and Blake before they were split by the Barber to create Rosalyn Senior's perfect heirs.


  • The Ace: Rose and Blake are both more than formidable on their own, and they're less than half of the original Thorburn heir each.
    • Although Rose and Blake being so effective in their respective elements(direct fights and tenacity for Blake, analytical thought and diplomacy for Rose) may be because Rose senior made them "optimized builds" by ensuring to separating antagonistic traits that could hold the original back. A scrappy fighting nature wont get you far if you overanalyze yourself out of ever using it, or are too impulsive to thoroughly think out a strategy you would be capable of creating with a clearer head.
      • She could also have ensured that the parts lost of the original Thorburn(it's stated that the Barber's shears destroy at least a small part of you permanently when the cut you) was the superfluous or even negative character traits that wouldn't benefit either half (e.g laziness and procrastination)
  • Broken Ace: Blake realizes, when he has access to both his and Rose's fears, that their progenitor not only had his severe PTSD but also Rose's deep paranoia about others, meaning that they would have been even more broken than Blake and Rose.
  • Not So Different: Shares one more thing with Evan than previously known, both of their potentials were cut short due to Others. Evan's resourcefulness, morals and intelligence would have made him an exemplary adult (at least in Blake's eyes) if he hadn't been hounded by the Hyena until he died of exposure.
  • Take Away Their Name: Their name was cut away to form Rose's name. Blake occasionally calls them "Rusty," while Rose favors something like "Ross" or "Russel."
  • Terrible Artist: Not him. But, both Rose and Blake can never excel because his existing talent was smashed to pieces and partially portioned out when they were created. Rose got a truncated version of his skills (enough to draw diagrams well and visualise problems in the abstract) and Blake got his actual urge to create art with some very basic drafting skill and technical vocabulary, but little else. Blake's memories of aiding other artists in Toronto are likely misleading: Rus— was very likely also exhibiting and/or learning the ropes or getting a discount on supplies and workspace by helping out. After all, to get two people able to draw and conceptualize complex magical diagrams, the guy must have been pretty bloody good at more than the carpentry.

Behaim Circle

    General Tropes 

  • Bequeathed Power: They've done this for generations, storing vast reserves of time for later use. The family elders forced their children to swear oaths not to use it, but Laird, among others, has no such restriction and can access the power freely.
  • Decapitated Army: Subverted when Blake kills Laird. While the family as a whole is united behind Laird, when he dies, Duncan takes over seamlessly, and continues the plan to seize the lordship of Jacob's Bell.
  • The Family That Slays Together: Laird has no problem calling upon the other family members to assist his plans, regardless of age-Blake is sickened to see that none of the Behaims sent after him in Toronto besides Duncan are older than twenty.
  • Fat Bastard: From Blake's perspective, since they've tried to cut access to the manor and Laird and Duncan have both tried to kill him.
  • Feuding Families: With the Thorburns due to their rivalry with the Duchamps who they are allied to, but beforehand they merely kept their distance from the family of diabolists.
  • It's Personal: Blake killing Laird turns their enmity not only to him as a Thorburn and diabolist, but towards him personally.
  • Never My Fault: Both the Behaims and the Duchamps seem to operate off a morality system where they can never possibly be in the wrong. Given that both families more or less qualify as cults and the convoluted way karma works in Pact, it borders on Blue and Orange Morality.
  • Ring of Power: The Behaim power can only be accessed through a special ring, whose enchantments make it so that its connections will always lead it back to the Behaims if lost. Alister Behaim is the first heir in generations to be able to wear the thing due to the rest of his family having fingers too big to wear it, forcing them to wear it as a necklace instead.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Blake notes they all have the same dark haired, square faced, heavyset if not outright fat look.
  • Time Master: The Behaim Circle specializes in chronomancy, the manipulation of time. Or, more accurately, the manipulation of other peoples perception of time, though tapping into the Behaim power reserves does grant true time manipulation abilities. As a result they often use zeitgeists (time spirits) as familiars or attack dogs as well as great men from history.
  • Time Stands Still: An expensive trick, but one that they can still perform. More accurately, it's making the people they use it on think that time is standing still, while they're unaffected.

    Laird 

Laird Behaim

The police chief of Jacob's Bell, head of the Behaim Circle, and a major thorn in Blake's side. Killed by Blake in Void 7.7


  • Badass Longcoat: Wears one when he shows up in Toronto to bail Duncan out after his failure to stop Blake.
  • Blatant Lies: Proclaims that he's sworn to not harm others directly in Bonds 1.5, only to kick Blake in the face in Subordination 6.12.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: He tells Blake in Subordination 6.12 that he needs him alive at least a little longer for the sake of his plans.
  • The Dark Arts: It's revealed in Aimon's Histories that Rosalyn Thorburn trained him in diabolism, explaining why he knows so much about defending against demons.
  • Death Seeker: Sandra suggests that his unconscious goal in Toronto was to give himself over to Conquest, and that he had previously set his affairs in order. Blake killing him, though, was not apparently part of the plan.
  • Dirty Cop: Is papering over the circumstances of Molly Walker's death to cover up the magical aspects and the fact that he's the one who orchestrated the murder. Why this doesn't interfere with his cop oath is currently up for debate.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Showing up at Blake's door, presenting himself as the better option in comparison to the unsympathetic Mounty he has with him, then taking Blake out for a walk to explain the situation before Rules Lawyering his way out of his promise to keep Blake safe while he was out of the house.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Played with with his backstory; while Aimon clearly placed his hopes and dreams in Laird, his hope wasn't for Laird to follow him but to surpass him, hence Aimon did not force Laird to swear to protect and not to use the vast Behaim power that he inherited.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: When Blake stabs Laird, it's the result of Laird holding him in place so that Conquest could force him to relive a moment of weakness he wasn't proud of. Previously, Blake had had Laird in his clutches and refused to kill him, instead imprisoning him. It was Laird's actions that turned Blake into a Cornered Rattlesnake.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: Blake stabs him in the throat with a splinter from the factory that the Abstract Demon dwelled in Void 7.6. He chokes to death on his own blood in Void 7.7.
  • Jerkass:
    • As he states to Blake, "Oh, I'm a little bit of a bastard.", and takes pleasure in screwing him over at every turn.
    • Briar Girl also backs that statement up.
    • He tends to be nicer to those within the family though.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • He is introduced by freely giving out information regarding the world that Blake's found himself in-then leaving him vulnerable to its dangers.
    • He brings discord into the budding alliance between Blake, Rose, and Maggie by revealing that she killed Molly., as well as manipulating Maggie into doing it in the first place.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Averts this when Blake goes to great lengths to foil his plan and get him arrested by his own policemen. The reader assumes the menace has been dealt with at least temporarily, but Laird immediately gets out of trouble and starts the ritual again within the hour.
  • Rules Lawyer: As part of his Manipulative Bastard skillset. It's also noted that he specifically stores up good Karma so that he can freely do harm to others if necessary without going into karmic debt.
  • Stepford Smiler: While he acts the image of the professional practitioner and aspires to be Lord of Jacob's Bell, he's playing a part in schemes that were set in place some time before his birth, and Sandra suspects that inside he's screaming.
  • The Unchosen One: He was raised as the unspecified culmination of his father and Rosalyn Thorburn's plans, given every privilege, and generally was treated as if he was The Chosen One. He had no choice in the matter. Is it any wonder he ended up a Stepford Smiler willing to sacrifice his self in order to break free?

    Aimon 

Aimon Behaim

The former patriarch of the Behaim Circle, and one of Rosalyn Thorburn's few allies in Jacob's Bell. He was also a trained soldier during WWII fighting Axis practitioners.


  • Determinator: During his brawl with Rosalyn Thorburn he didn't give up even when she had Arsepint grab his rifle before pointing it at his head.
  • Doting Parent: Rosalyn predicts in his Histories chapter that he'll be one to Laird, in order to avoid being the disciplinarian his father was.
  • Handicapped Badass: His arm was crippled due to a ghoul attack, leaving it a necrotized ruin.
  • Military Mage: Was a soldier during WWII who fought Axis practitioners.
  • Posthumous Character: Is long dead by the events of the story, but is the focus character of the sixth Histories chapter.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: After coming home from the war he comments that it changed him in a lot of ways, since as a practitioner he had to be on-guard against Axis practitioners at all times.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: With Rosalyn Thorburn as mentioned above.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: After coming home from the war maimed, he considers going to work in an office "a quiet sort of hell."
  • Would Hit a Girl: Had no issues fighting Rosalyn Thorburn.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: His ghoul bite never truly healed, leaving his arm permanently damaged.

    Duncan 

Duncan Behaim

A police officer in Toronto, and Laird's nephew.


  • Anti-Villain: Type IV, verging into Hero Antagonist. He honestly sympathizes with Evan's situation and considers what happened to him a tragedy, and steadfastly believes that he is neither evil nor doing evil by framing an innocent man for murder. He also considers Blake dangerous and believes that reducing him to something "smaller" is in the best interests of everyone.
  • Bullet Time: He can duplicate this effect with chronomancy.
  • Dragon Ascendant: After Laird's death, he assumes control of the Behaim attempt to gain lordship over Jacob's Bell, leading his younger cousins.
  • Frame-Up: Frames Blake for Evan's murder.
  • Fingore: Blake cuts at one of his hands with June in Void 7.6, seemingly severing the tendons.
  • Five-Finger Discount: He's skilled at sleight of hand. Blake suspects that he abuses this skill to slip incriminating evidence onto the persons of the criminals he arrests.
  • Happily Married: Appears to have a good relationship with his fiancee Joanna.
  • Just Between You and Me: Is kind enough to take the time to explain to Blake just how badly outmaneuvered he's been while he has Blake locked in an interrogation room with no witnesses.
  • Lawman Gone Bad: From Blake's perspective, and from the perspective of the other cops once he opens fire on an unarmed prisoner in the middle of the station.
  • Police are Useless: Expresses a view that the average cop is pretty good, but that by "average" he is saying that half of them are below that standard, and that even the good ones get tired, cut corners, and make mistakes.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: He has nothing against Blake personally, but he's doing what he can to further his family's interests. Averted after Laird's death, as he does indeed have a personal grudge against Blake now.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Once Blake damages his reputation for the third time, he starts shooting to kill. That's not the breakdown, though-the breakdown comes when he realizes that Evan has stolen the power source he needs to rewind time and undo the above, leaving him trapped in a timeline where he opened fire on an unarmed, restrained prisoner in front of a room full of police officers.
    Duncan: Blake Thorburn!
    Officer: Dunc, stop. You're not doing yourself any favors.
    Duncan: Thorburn! You took something from me! Give it back!
    Blake: *smirks* Good job Evan.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Ends up throwing hot coffee at and pistol whipping Maggie Holt during their scuffle following her holding him up with Fell's gun. While it's actually Padraic, he didn't know that so he wouldn't acted the same as if it was Maggie there.
  • You Have No Chance to Survive: Both before and after he's revealed as a practitioner, he lays out for Blake how he's been trapped, mentioning offhandedly that if Blake tries to summon any demons he'll kill him, let his family take care of the resulting disturbance, and walk away with a clean conscience.

    Craig 

Craig Behaim

Laird's son, who is one of the children sent after Blake in Toronto.


  • Child Prodigy: According to Ainsley he became a practitioner at a very young age and is very skilled as a result.
  • In the Blood: According to Ainsley he takes after his father in ruthlessness.
  • Paper Talisman: Uses sticky notes covered in runes.
  • You Killed My Father: Desires revenge on Blake for killing Laird.

    Ainsley 

Ainsley Behaim

One of the Behaim children after Blake, and the oldest girl. She specializes in the use of candles and pins for binding.


  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The responsible to Alister's foolish, though they're cousins, not siblings.
  • Humiliation Conga: Gets slashed by Mary, covered in Hyena breath, and then gets pissed on by Screwloose.
  • Moral Myopia: Proclaims that she's a better person than Blake even if she let a hundred people die due to Blake being a diabolist who destroyed a Behaim study. This ignores the fact that he was acting in self-defense due to her family's attempts to murder him. Blake's attempts to get her to see how ridiculous that is are met with denial, even after he saves her life.
  • Nice Girl: Despite her first meeting with Thorburns getting off of the wrong foot, she does seem to be a genuinely decent person.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Alister describes her as wearing less than flattering clothing due to her parent's influence, and laments that if their older cousins were any indication she'd gain the generic Behaim body type upon reaching 18.
  • Team Mom: Takes this role amongst the Behaim cousins and to Alister in particular, much to his annoyance.

    Owen 

Owen Behaim

One of the Behaim children after Blake, identified by his sunglasses.


    Tandy 

Tandy Behaim

Another of the Behaim children after Blake, and the youngest girl.


    Benjamin 

Benjamin Behaim

An older, retired member of the Behaim family.

  • Appeal to Tradition: He feels that the family, and the world as a whole, has been becoming increasingly dishonest, and thinks that the universe is punishing them for it.
  • Grumpy Old Man: If a reasonably polite one. He's quite open about what he sees as the moral decay of the world, with people becoming better and better at lying to each other and themselves.
  • Honesty Is the Best Policy: He doesn't believe in the Literal Genie antics of his younger family members, believing that it biases the universe against them.
  • Rambling Old Man Monologue: He gives one about how he thinks the world has become fundamentally dishonest, and how he doesn't want that to be the foundation for Jacob's Bell.
  • The Teetotaler: He doesn't drink, or even take medication that might impair his thought process.

    Alister 

Alister Behaim

A younger member of the Behaim family, but talented, and a candidate for Lordship once Blake kills Laird.


  • An Arm and a Leg: Loses a hand to the Barber in Possession 15.3, which unfortunately happened to be the one carrying the Behaim ring.
  • Arranged Marriage: He's betrothed to Rose.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Through use of the Tarot, Alister can determine past and future events and get a good read on the personality of his opponents, but he has to interpret the cards. The catch to that is obvious: if he doesn't have enough background to interpret what he sees correctly, the wheels can fall off.
  • Big Brother Instinct: While they're cousins instead of siblings, he feels this way towards Ainsley, noting to Rose that despite her fussy nature she still displays a fair bit of naivete regarding men.
  • Child Prodigy: He's no older than eighteen, but he led several attacks on Hillsglade House, and immediately after meeting Blake flat-out tells him what Blake's about to do without any qualifiers to allay against the consequences of a failed prediction. In his own Histories chapter, he claims (and Laird confirms) that he's much more talented than his older cousins only a year after awakening.
  • The Dark Arts: His Histories chapter reveals that much like Laird Rosalyn Thorburn trained him in diabolism.
  • Double-Edged Answer: The main flaw with Alister's use of the Tarot in that he has to interpret the cards correctly, and if he's not careful the effects of the cards can be turned back on him by a clever opponent.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The foolish one to Ainsley's responsible, though they're cousins, not siblings.
    Alister: Ah, Ainsley. You always play by the rules. We’d all be happier if you didn’t.
  • Healing Hands: He can spend power to briefly reverse time and undo recent injuries.
  • Insufferable Genius: He knows what he's doing and, during his fight with Blake to a draw, only briefly does he stop smiling that smug little smile. Made all the more galling as he would have lost outright if not for last second intervention from Sandra Duchamp.
  • Marionette Master: When he gains control of the Behaim family, he receives a weapon in the form of a large suit of armor, which he can control with his ring. It's Nigh Invulnerable and can Flash Step using chronomancy.
  • Mundane Utility: Uses Chronomancy to speed through classes by sacrificing that time.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: After he becomes the leader of his family he focuses on the issue of Jacob's Bell sinking into the Abyss by trying to keep the peace between Blake and Rose.
  • Reset Button: See Healing Hands, above. At one point he uses a more powerful version to save a Behaim whose throat had just been slit.
  • Seers: He can make prophecies, and they tend to come true.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: He pulls this on Blake to get him to stop attacking by placing the key to the Behaim power reserves in his hands without a fight. Blake is flummoxed enough that he actually stops long enough to hear him out.
  • Stepford Smiler: It's revealed in Histories 12 that his smugness is mainly a defense mechanism due to the pressure he's under.
  • TarotCards: His Implement is a Tarot Deck given to him by Laird Behaim, and with it he can view present, past, and future through the medium of the cards.
  • Time Master: Moreso than most of his relatives-his access to the store of Behaim power lets him actually manipulate time, instead of just perception of it.
  • Vain Sorcerer: Well, Vain Chronomancer in his case, but he spends needed power just to undo minor scratches in the middle of a fight just so he can show off. Although given how much he relied on swaying the opinion of spirits during his duel with Blake he may be keeping up appearances for them (look unharmed and confident and the spirits will treat you accordingly).

Duchamp Coven

    General Tropes 

  • Arranged Marriage: Duchamp women end up getting placed in arranged marriages for power, as was the case with Sandra Duchamp. Not all of their husbands are as nice as Jeremy.
  • Behind Every Great Man: In marriages they play to their husband's strengths, or shore them up if they're lacking in some quality.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Duchamps purposely lie through the truth to their children in order to ensnare them into practicing, and when they have children they repeat the cycle. In Jeremy Meath's words they also more or less whore out their daughters to other practitioners for power. This ultimately leads to them breaking apart during the Lordship battle because Sandra wouldn't change the system despite all of them believing it.
  • Feuding Families: Also with the Thorburns.
  • Emotion Control: A coven of enchantresses.
  • Never My Fault: Both the Behaims and the Duchamps seem to operate off a morality system where they can never possibly be in the wrong. Given that both families more or less qualify as cults and the convoluted way karma works in Pact, it borders on Blue and Orange Morality.
  • One-Gender Race: Any Duchamp children will be girls, and will only give birth to girls due to ancient magic, though there are ways of overriding that rule, such as the will of a god.
  • Take Over the World: Their ultimate goal through marrying their daughters off to powerful practitioners.
  • Thicker Than Water: Despite any issues that come about due to the Big, Screwed-Up Family, they are extremely close knit. About the only time a Duchamp will think about revolting from the norm is when they're in their mid- to late-teens or as late as their early twenties. In a kind of heart-warming way, most of the ones we've seen that have an against-the-grain mindset usually have it on the behalf of another Duchamp they've seen being given a particularly harsh match-up, rather than just as an ego-trip.
  • Yokai: The Duchamps have ties to Japanese practitioners and Others of that region.

Duchamps

    Sandra 

Sandra Duchamp

The current head of the Duchamp family, who has a troll familiar named Hildr who takes the form of a stoat.


  • Alpha Bitch: Blake describes her in his words as being similar to the kind of woman who was queen bitch at PTA meetings.
  • Amicable Exes: She and her husband, Jeremy, don't talk much, but remain on good terms-he's the first one that she calls when she needs to ensure that Blake Thorburn never returns to Jacob's Bell.
  • Anti-Villain: Despite being a major antagonist to Blake, she's not all evil. For instance, she saves Maggie's life for nothing in return.
  • Arranged Marriage: With Jeremy, a devotee of Dionysius. They separated after his god caused her to conceive a son, against her family's magic and intentions.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Saves Maggie Holt in Signature 8.3 from a pack of goblins by threatening to have Hildr eat them all.
  • Evil Matriarch: From Blake's POV, as she's essentially spearheading the campaign to have him killed or removed.
  • Familiar: Hildr, a troll from Scandinavia that took her almost a year to find and bind. It takes the form of a stoat when not needed.
  • Iron Lady: Calmly tortures a Faerie ambassador to ensure that he wasn't planning something tricky (he was). Her familiar is a troll, rather than the minor Faerie courtier of her sister and nieces.
  • Love Cannot Overcome: Her relationship with Jeremy did not survive his god forcing her to conceive a son.
  • Love Hurts: She and Jeremy love one another, but their respective responsibilities damaged their relationship sorely.
  • Manipulative Bitch: She pushed Laird to go to Toronto, knowing that he was unlikely to return, as part of her own ambitions to rule Jacob's Bell.
  • Mind over Matter: She can achieve this with rapid enchanting, by altering the connections of objects in motion.
  • Pet the Dog: She saves Maggie after Padraic steals her name, citing "frustrated maternal instinct," and asks for nothing in return.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Her family ideal is this, the power behind the throne. She herself is very ruthless when it's called for, but her personal ambitions are to hold power more publicly-specifically, she wants to be Lord of Jacob's Bell.

    Joanna 

Joanna Duchamp

Younger sister of Penelope.


  • Changeling Tale: Padraic replaced her on her tenth birthday, letting one of his friends or himself take on her guise. Nobody has noticed.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. She shares her name with Duncan Behaim's fiance.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: She didn't have anything against Blake when she sent Letita after him, but did so because her mother said to attack him if spotted.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: Should she ever manage to get out of the Fairy House this will be the situation she finds herself in. Years have passed since she went in and yet the house doesn't keep time.

    Penny 

Penelope "Penny" Duchamp

Older sister of Joanna.


  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Her implement is thought to be a small golden shield Blake noticed.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Same as her sister above. It got her grounded for half-a-month for letting him go.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • At least compared to the other Duchamp and Behaim kids, as she wasn't particularly rude or condescending to Maggie while trying to make a deal with her. She at least hears Blake out when he calls a meeting.
    • That being said, others have called her out because she occasionally has some control issues.

    Lola 

Lola Duchamp

One of the teenage Duchamps, a senior about a year older than Maggie, who attends St. Sebastian's alongside her.


  • Arranged Marriage: Despite her efforts she's been forced into one with a man ten years her senior so her family can have a little more power. She hates it, but if it earns the lordship for her family she'd do it.
  • Mommy Issues: With her mother, Joyce. They love each other, but Lola isn't exactly happy about a lot of things.
  • Necessarily Evil: While she felt that Molly's death was indeed necessary, she still found it horrible and as such she dislikes Maggie for it.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: By "Pulling" along a connection, she can teleport people. Though the effort leaves her completely drained.
  • Thicker Than Water: Believes that her Aunt Sandra knows what she's doing and will make things better, making her willing to go through with the marriage.

Husbands

    Crooked Hat 

A Scourge that married into the Duchamp family and was among those brought to Jacob's Bell for the battle for Lordship. Killed by Blake in Execution 12.5.


  • Ambiguously Evil: He's not noted as evil per se, but his paranoia was having a negative effect on his family, sealing his fate.
  • Classy Cane: Has one.
  • The Cynic: His experiences involving the Abyss have made him so, and he sees no difference between it and the world.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Is killed by his own bound Other upon Evan managing to free it.
  • Nice Hat: His probable Implement and/or demesne is a worn, bent top hat that serves as a portal to the Abyss.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Blake notes that his outfit looks like a mess.

    Gudbrand 

A Valkalla whose father remarried a Duchamp and is allied to the family. Killed by Blake in Execution 13.5.


  • Generation Xerox: According to Joyce he's not all that much different from his father, though it's possible her views may have been skewed by the high amount of bad karma he likely had.
  • Not So Different: Blake notes after killing him that they both suffered on account of their ancestor's sins.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Essentially this is the reason that he gets put on the hit list. His father decided to use his newborn siblings to fuel his craft.
  • Sword and Gun: Wields a shortsword in one hand, and a pistol in the other.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: He uses the souls of newborn babies to empower his equipment and allow him to autoparry any attacks.

    Carter 

A career criminal and pyromancer who married into the Duchamps and got his wife hooked on drugs. Killed by Blake in Execution 13.6.


    Hal Spikedick 

A goblin king affiliated with the Duchamps who was summoned for the lordship contest.


Unaffiliated Practitioners

    Johannes 

Johannes Lillegard

A sorcerer who isn't tied to any family in particular, he dwells in the North End.


  • Affably Evil: Is polite and friendly to Blake, offering advice and not attempting to deceive him. Maggie notes that his territory looks like the bad old days before the Seal of Solomon. When Maggie comes to him for help, he's kind and courteous, offering her a position as The Dragon for him when he takes over Jacob's Bell, and requests that she not interfere with the group of child vestiges who he's filled with rats and mice after auctioning their torment off to various Others.
  • Animal Motifs: Rats, due to his heavy Pied Piper motif.
  • Dark World: He has created one in his domain in the form of a huge Vestige, allowing Others to prey on the humans within.
  • Evil Cripple/Genius Cripple: He's noted to not only be powerful, but wise and arrogant in Rosalyn's notes despite lacking the use of an eye, arm, and leg. Histories 14 reveals that he got that way due to being beat up by goblins during his attempts to build a demesne.
  • Eye Scream: Histories 14 reveals that he lost his eye to a goblin queen turned partially goblin herself.
  • Familiar: His is an angel and Gatekeeper of the Seventh Ring named "Faysal Anwar" that takes the form of an Afghan hound.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sacrifices himself to make sure the Barber is sealed within the Abyss. It works, but then the lawyers get involved...
  • The Idealist: He believes that in spite of everything, the world is a better place with magic in it.
  • Magical Flutist: His magic pipes, which serve as his Implement.
  • Man in White: Dresses in a white outfit.
  • Musical Assassin: His implement is a set of pipes, which plays into his heavy Pied Piper theme. He's seen on screen using them to control some of the child vestiges he created. They were used by various people who really should not have been around children before he claimed them, and he suggests that they might even be the ones from the old tales.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Johannes performs the ultimate sacrifice, allowing Barbatorem to possess him in order to seal the demon in the Abyss. Unfortunately, the lawyers pull Barbatorem out. Since the Barber is still possessing Johannes, it gains control over Faysal by using Johannes's pipes.
  • Nouveau Riche: As far as practitioners are concerned, as he became very powerful in a short amount of time without being part of one of the old families, though he was descended from practitioners.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: He gives one to Maggie about how humanity is winning, in the long run, against the supernatural by virtue of Humans Advance Swiftly.
  • Post-Modern Magik: How he claimed his demesne. He claimed everything within the reach of his voice, but he set up speakers to play his statement in areas across town, so quietly and so far apart that only a few beings of note heard him. When he had emerged victorious, he claimed not just those areas where his voice was heard, but everything between them.
  • Pride: Has shades of this. He's very powerful, talented, and charismatic, but he totally misjudged his position in his familiar bond with Faysal.
  • The Red Mage: He's a Sorcerer, meaning doesn't exclusively work with anything in particular and has multiple skill sets according to Maggie.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!: Is powerful enough to do pretty much whatever he wants.
  • Space Master: He favors space manipulation, evidenced in his domain.
  • Totalitarian Utilitarian: Of the Powered by a Forsaken Child variety. He is of the opinion that the vestiges he's created suffer in the place of normal humans, and therefore his demesne is of a net benefit to the world by drawing the attention of those that would otherwise be looking for loopholes and victims. This backfires on him when Faysal Anwar decides that Johannes is an acceptable loss for the greater good.
  • Uniqueness Value: He doesn't seem to care in the slightest about the suffering of the vestiges he created, many of which are taken from children who pass through his territory on their way to middle school.
  • Visionary Villain: He firmly believes that humanity is winning the war against the Others, and wants to get in on the cusp of this change, setting an example that other Lords will follow in order to reduce the damage that the Others do to humanity even further and preventing a potentially devastating conflict with the more powerful ones. Mags compares him, obliquely, to Lucifer.
    Johannes: Ouch.
    Scarf Girl: Just saying.
  • Vow of Celibacy: Takes one as he stakes his demesne, stating that once he dies his demesne will disappear.
  • We Can Rule Together: Tries getting Maggie to join him during her focus chapter, but she refuses.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He wants to make what he's done in his domain a model for the rest of the world to follow in order to prevent some of the more powerful Others from acting against their oncoming obsolescence, and doesn't seem to mind that the vestiges that he creates for the process feel and react exactly like the children that he copied them from.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He tore spiritual pieces out of the children in his territory and then charged Others for the thrill of hunting the vestiges he made for them. When they decay, he fills them with rats and mice. Maggie notes that he preys on the local middle-schoolers who pass through his territory.

    Maggie 

Maggie Holt/Mags

A newcomer to the scene of Jacob's Bell, she had no real knowledge prior to the scraps she had to barter for. As a Goblin Queen, she specializes in binding goblins to her service.


  • Action Girl: She's a sword wielding, gun toting, goblin summoning badass. Or not, since Padraic stole her name, but she still is pretty crafty.
  • All the Other Reindeer: Similarly to Blake, it's revealed in the Signature arc that she's not very popular in Jacob's Bell either, partially due to being a goblin queen who in Lola's words is, "doing the metaphorical equivalent of grubbing in the dirt for cockroaches" compared to the grander plans of the Behaims and Duchamps, and partially due to her goblins murdering Molly despite it being considered necessary by everyone else.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Describes herself as a "power hungry idiot" for having her goblins kill Molly in exchange for instruction and favors from the others in Jacob's Bell.
  • The Atoner: Wants to make amends for killing Blake's cousin Molly. As of Signature 8.1 it's revealed that she's been keeping around Molly's ghost as penance, unknown to either Blake or Rose.
  • Blood Knight: She's very at home in conflict. More than once, after Blake involves her in his war with Conquest, she indicates that she's enjoying herself-something he finds pretty disturbing. This is likely due to it actually being Padraic.
  • Broken Bird: In Signature 8.4 she notes that despite loving her parents she can't help but feel that her priorities are a bit skewed because her surrogate mother wasn't around enough and her dads aren't the most emotionally sensitive people. She also believes she's fated to die young. There's also the fact that she's wracked with guilt for her part in Molly Walker's death.
  • Bullet Dodges You: She can make bullets miss with a wave of her hand, though how she does this is unknown. It's likely a work of fairy magic by Padraic.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Goblins apparently killed most of the people where she used to live, though Maggie refuses to go into much detail about it.
  • Dissonant Serenity: To the extent that Blake is disturbed and suspicious by her chipper attitude during the Subordination Arc. of course, readers know that it's because she's glad to finally be getting the second round of blood and fire out of the way. Or they think they know, because she's actually a disguised Padraic.
  • Deal with the Devil: Made a deal with the ringleader of the goblins that wiped out her town to submit to a total of three rounds of "blood and darkness and fire" in order to get out alive with her family. Two apparently remain by the time the story starts.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The protagonist of a YA series published in the Wormverse.
  • Foil: To Molly Walker, as she constantly fights whereas Molly focused mainly on defense in both life and death as a ghost.
  • Genre Savvy: Cites reading fantasy novels as the reason that she didn't fall for Crone Mara's Wounded Gazelle Gambit using a young body.
  • Girl with Psycho Weapon: During the Void arc she or to be more exact Padraic starts wielding the Hyena in its bound form. She needs a specially made gauntlet just to hold the thing.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Maggie is forced to resort to this, much to her displeasure, after a deal with Others removed her ability to curse. It's later revealed in Signature 8.7 that the exact form of the deal was that she traded the ability to curse in order to gain the knowledge to bind superior goblins. After losing her name she can swear all she likes and exercises it when appropriate.
    Maggie: You’re leaving me hanging? If I could say anything crude, I’d say it now. I... can’t even allude to it. Blue. You’re leaving me blue.
    Rose: Sad?
    Maggie: *groans*
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Insists to Penelope Duchamp that she has no romantic interest in Blake, seeing him more as something akin to a friendly stray dog.
  • Hero of Another Story: Is the POV character of the Signature arc.
  • Has Two Mommies: Her father, and her father's husband, Chris. She also keeps in contact with her birth mother, who lives in Toronto.
  • Iconic Item: Her checkered scarf, which doubles as a Scarf Of Asskicking. It's iconic enough that after Padraic steals her name she's referred to as the girl with the checkered scarf.
  • Incompatible Orientation: States in Signature 8.4 that both of the guys she had serious crushes on turned out to be gay.
  • Interspecies Romance: In Signature 8.1 it's revealed that she had an attraction towards Padraic, but is well aware that he's very dangerous. Pretty sure that ended after what he did though considering she plans to go blood and fire on him.
  • Knife Nut: Her implement is an athame, noted for it's heavy use in Wicca. Maggie favors it because of its roots as a sacrificial blade. After Padraic steals her identity, she gets a stiletto from Sandra Duchamp.
  • Loss of Identity: In Signature 8.2, Padraic takes her name, and with it all her connections.
  • Meaningful Rename: To Mags following Padraic stealing her name.
  • Pinned to the Wall: Eva pins her by her scarf to the walls of her and Andy's house via crossbow bolt in Signature 8.5.
  • Powers via Possession: Blake suspects in Toronto that she's been possessed by something to give her the ability to fight toe to toe with Others. It turns out that Padraic was using glamour to disguise himself as her.
  • Precision F-Strike: After Padraic steals her identity, giving her back the ability to curse, she lets out a pointed "Fuck you."
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: As a side effect of losing her name to Padraic, she appears to be the only person who can remember Blake for who he was.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Starts wielding a pipe-shotgun in the Judgement arc.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Had quite a foul mouth before her deal with Others. It returns upon Padraic stealing her identity.
  • Skirt over Slacks: Wears a skirt over her jeans.
  • The Sleepless: In Toronto, Rose observes that instead of sleeping, she pretends to sleep, but she gets restless and often shifts around. Since she's actually Padraic under glamour, it's probably because Faerie don't sleep.
  • Summon Magic: Specializes in summoning goblins in particular.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Apparently she really likes salty foods.
  • True Neutral: Her role as Ambassador requires that she maintains neutrality to all parties, without regard to favoritism, and is enforced by the fact that if she gets called on it the title can be taken away, which would be an arguable Fate Worse than Death. invoked
  • Unwitting Pawn: Was one to Laird, as he had her summon goblins to kill Molly Walker.
  • Uncatty Resemblance: To Blake her unkempt appearance makes her look a lot like the goblins she summons, which is apparently very common amongst Goblin Kings/Queens.

    Mara 

Crone Mara/Mara Angnakak

A practitioner who appears to be a middle-aged aboriginal woman, she's older than she looks.


  • Ambiguously Human: Blake describes her as straddling the line between practitioner and Other. Tiffany later describes her as a "blood hag," a being with both practitioner and Other abilities.
  • And I Must Scream/Fate Worse than Death: She likes dishing these out to those who trespass. Being turned to mulch is the least of what happens: she can bind your still-aware spirit/soul to your physical remains until you do become compost over centuries. Now, think about her doll collection a bit...
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Disdains "the white man" and vows "never" to help Maggie.
    Crone Mara: Never. Not ever.
  • Deliberately Cute Child/Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Masquerades as a child enslaved by, well, herself, to lure Maggie into a verbal trap.
    Child!Mara: Will you help me, white girl? You can, if you act now.
    Maggie: I'm thinking.
    Child!Mara: Please tell me you will help me. Please. Just say it.
    Maggie: I-
    Child!Mara: Please!
    Maggie: I think that I've read too many fantasy novels to fall for this. Crone Mara.
  • Dodge the Bullet: She's fast enough to evade bullets from rifles that have been altered with runes to increase their accuracy.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: She lives in a cottage in the woods, where she's old enough to have cultivated the growth of every single tree in order to discourage visitors. She turns visitors into compost.
  • Domain Holder: In her woods, which she has shaped for all but a fraction of her incredibly long life. With that much time to work, challenging her there is pure madness, as she knows every inch and every part is a trap.
  • Feathered Fiend: She's trained Crows and Turkey Vultures to attack on command.
  • Grand Theft Me: How she maintains her youthful figure as a Blood Hag, taking over the bodies of her own daughters. She even tells Corvidae not to bother asking about where she finds the men, and she's done it so long that she's become numb to their deaths.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Hates every other practitioner in Jacob's Bell. About the only distinct individual she doesn't seem to mind acknowledging as something other than an object of hate? John Pica. Not encouraging.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: How Blake's Cruel Mercy would pan out. He appealed to her survival nature as her rituals had geared her to that. She's going to lie to them when they question her because she bitter towards white men, which costs her the hold she had on her forest, but they're going to make her take oaths to never practice again and she has to do it because she'd be killing herself not to since if she didn't one of the Knights of the Basements were going to kill her otherwise. The very rituals that made her powerful end up being her undoing.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Due to her straddling the line between practitioner and Other as a Blood Hag.
  • The Hecate Sisters: Mara takes this trope and batters it to pieces all in her own self. Her name tells you that she's mentally the Crone the vast majority of the time. Yet, she deliberately gives birth to daughters whose bodies she takes over and whose looks she uses in illusions whenever she pleases. For all she "Mothers" them, she doesn't really look after them that well; and, for all she looks like a Maiden whenever she chooses... she really, really isn't ever one in outlook.
  • Meaningful Name: Mara means "bitter" in Hebrew. Crone Mara is a very bitter person, understandably so.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: She loathes humanity with the kind of deep and bitter hatred that you can only get after living for untold millennia.
  • Never Learned to Read: At least Rosalyn Thorburn assumed that was the case.
  • Older Than They Look: When the colonists came to settle down, she was already there. She has to be well over three hundred years old simply by the records other local practitioners have access to, yet she looks like she's pushing 40, at best, the first time we see her. The key to her immortality is that steals her own children's bodies.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: See And I Must Scream, and the fact that after she tricked Blake into thinking she killed Alexis she considered his anguished expression delightful.
  • Time Abyss: Histories 12 states that she's been around longer than the Algonquin were a people, making her at least more than 2,000 years old. In Sine Die 14.6, she states that she has lived in the same place, and performed the same actions, for nine million days, making her the oldest character in the story by far save for Faysal Anwar-even Isadora is only in the four-digit years. (If you do the math, that makes her at least 24,657 years old.) She also implies that during the lifetime of her parents they migrated to the Americas from Eurasia, so she predates human civilization.

    The Briar Girl 

A teenage practitioner that desires the marsh and woodlands of the Thorburn family, she's not aligned to any side in particular and lives out in the forest. She specializes in the creation of Feorgbold.


  • Equivalent Exchange: She puts tireless effort into her creations rather than call forth a demon, which is why she isn't concerned with making a play for power like most of the others. In her words, what she does is "balanced" in terms of nature.
  • Hufflepuff House: Mentioned many times, but never contributes much to the plot. Though she does serve as an illustration of how the practitioner/familiar relationship can go bad.
  • Humble Goal: She doesn't really want power, unlike almost every other practitioner in the story, and is more concerned with balance than overthrowing the ruling families.
  • Lack of Empathy: Can't really relate with others due to her transformation.
  • Magic Enhancement: She's modified her body through the use of her magic to survive as she does.
  • Powers via Possession: She's almost completely controlled by her familiar.
  • Shapeshifter: Can take on a more human like form for interaction with non-practitioners.

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