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Characters of Dan Abnett's Ravenor trilogy and associated tropes

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Ravenor and his retinue

    Inquisitor Ravenor 

Inquisitor Gideon Ravenor

The eponymous Inquisitor, Ravenor was Eisenhorn's Interrogator until an event called the Thracian Atrocity left him a shadow of his former self. Ravenor was left to a life largely of contemplation and passive investigation. In spite of his injuries, and even a little bit because of them, he had become a successful Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos, and one of the Imperium's most highly regarded authors to boot.
  • The Ace: Before becoming a burnt husk, Ravenor was quite the skilled individual who excelled at everything he tried. He was also quite handsome, as well. Eisenhorn thought he would make an excellent addition to the Inquisition, and while he was right, he mourned Ravenor's life altering injuries.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Ravenor’s chair has built-in psy-amplifiers that augment his psychic powers. With them, he can project his consciousness across interplanetary distances and scan the minds of an entire city.
  • Astral Projection: Ravenor can project his mind out of his body. Other psykers can do this as well, and he often has to fight them in astral combat. He rarely wins these fights without outside intervention.
  • Body Horror: We finally get a description of Ravenor's living body inside the chair in Ravenor Rogue, when he needs a life-saving surgery. Apparently, a lifetime of disuse has caused his already mangled body to shrivel up into a mere sack of organs devoid of limbs and extremities. Even his head has sunken into his torso, leaving only a distorted, vestigial face. Ravenor, observing himself through his surgeon's eyes, is dismayed by how pitiful he looks.
  • Body Surf: Often how his mind reading works. More than once, he exploits this by hiding in the minds of civilians to evade hostile psykers, temporarily losing himself in their identities to throw off the scent.
  • Destructive Saviour: Ravenor’s efforts to stop the trilogy’s villains often cause tremendous collateral damage. In Ravenor Returned, thwarting the Secretists' plan to reconstruct Enuncia triggers an series of explosions that devastate most of Petropolis, killing thousands and plunging the entire subsector into twenty years’ worth of anarchy and civil unrest. In Ravenor Rogue, the ritual he performs to banish Slyte obliterates an entire mountain range in a populous province of Gudrun. His superiors in the Inquisition do not approve of either event, and the trilogy ends with him being put on trial for the destruction he’s caused.
  • Disability Superpower: Ravenor's psychic potential was already impressive before becoming crippled; it has only increased after he went into the chair, which is equipped with potent psi-boosters.
  • Dream Walker: Ravenor’s psychic powers let him enter people’s dreams, and he can take a dreaming person with him into another person’s dream. He visits most of his companions this way near the start of the second book in order to ask them an important question.
  • Genius Cripple: He was already a genius, but being confined to his force chair made him turn to contemplation more than before.
  • Handicapped Badass: He's permanently on life support, but with his Psychic Powers and the technology in his force chair, he's far from helpless.
  • Machine Monotone: He can speak to people in their minds using his psyker abilities, but his force chair is equipped with a voice box for normal communications, or for use with someone he can't communicate with psychically. He rather hates being forced to use it, since it renders his voice in a flat, emotionless monotone.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: Ravenor was trained as an inquisitor by Gregor Eisenhorn, and in turn, he trains Carl Thonius.
  • Mind over Matter: His psychic powers include telekinesis. His applications for it can be subtle enough to stop a nut from falling into an uncooperative person’s mouth, or brutal enough to turn a man into a red smear on a bulkhead wall.
  • Mind Rape:
    • Ravenor is capable of this, and won't hesitate, particularly in interrogations where he can easily read somebody's mind (provided they don't know ways to block him out). Forcefully enough to do some permanent damage or destroy their sanity if he is so inclined — likely due to a failed attempt at blocking the probe. Also see the People Puppets entry.
    • At one point he's forced to "ware" Angharad and has no time to ask her permission, and she accuses him of Mind Rape, using exactly those words.
  • Mission Control: He regularly uses his psychic powers to observe and coordinate his team from afar, sometimes even while joining them in the field.
  • People Puppets: "Waring" is basically possessing somebody and overriding their mental control, and also apparently a more refined and elegant method than simply bodyjacking somebody with brute psychic power. It's perhaps Ravenor's trademark ability. It's handy when somebody needs to take a few levels in badass on the fly, and Ravenor can do it to several people at once.
  • Psychic Powers: Ravenor is in the upper tiers in terms of psychic power, and like most sufficiently powerful psykers in the 40k literature, his power includes Astral Projection, telekinesis, and telepathy. He's strong enough to telekinetically crush a person (presumably with little effort) or read the minds of an entire city.
  • Rogue Agent: In Ravenor Rogue, he goes rogue in order to bring down Molotch once and for all. His superiors put him on trial for it at the end of the novel.
  • Sense Loss Sadness: Despite the fact that his psychic power more than compensates, Ravenor often laments how he isn't able to feel with his own senses any more. It becomes barely suppressed anger when Harlon Nayl sleeps with someone greatly resembling his ex.
  • Shoulder Cannon: Before he went in the chair, Ravenor wore a psycannon on his shoulder.
  • State Sec: Naturally, as a member of the Inquisition.
  • Super Hoverchair: Ravenor's force chair is basically what's keeping him alive, and is completely self-sufficient unless damaged. Beside that, it has an impressive array of sensors, an electronic voice box, armor like a tank, a number of items he can use to interact with machines, and a pair of psycannons. Also, it floats.
  • Turn in Your Badge: What he's afraid of happening to him after the end of Ravenor Rogue. He's not incarcerated or executed, because he did manage to prevent an attack the Imperium, but he had to destroy a large area of Gudrun to do it, not to mention going rogue. He also had to give up using the majority of his psychic powers, save for what he needs to operate his forcechair. He later spends his time writing and gets relegated to a desk job for a while. In "Perihelion", one of the short stories preceding the Eisenhorn novel The Magos, he admits to Eisenhorn that the Inquisition gave him a choice: remain without his psychic powers, or hunt down Eisenhorn, whom the Inquisition considered a heretic. By Pariah, he has largely resolved these issues by choosing the latter.
  • The Worf Effect: Ravenor is shown and stated to be a very powerful psyker, but the enemy psykers he goes up against are always just as strong as he is if not stronger. He rarely wins a straight psychic fight without outside intervention.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Ravenor loses his first psychic battle against Kinsky partially because he’s projecting his mind from orbit and using a lot of his power to do so. Their second fight is more evenly matched because Ravenor doesn’t have to project himself so far away from his body this time, letting him bring his full might to bear. Even then, he still would have lost without Frauka’s intervention.
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    Harlon Nayl 

Harlon Nayl

Former bounty hunter from Loki with a considerable arsenal. Previously employed by Eisenhorn.
  • Badass Normal: He managed to go most of his career without ever needing augmetics digits or limbs, at least until he loses a finger protecting Zael.
  • Bald of Awesome: He’s shaven-headed, and he’s a skilled fighter who can take out a roomful of thugs by himself in seconds.
  • Bounty Hunter: Nayl used to work as a bounty hunter before being recruited by Eisenhorn, and he worked in the same circles as Lucius Worna.
  • Fingore: He loses a finger while saving Zael from an underhive thug. He takes it more or less in stride.
  • Hand Cannon: He favors big handguns with a lot of kick and stopping power, like the Hecuter 10.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Nayl’s a big, strong, muscular guy, and he also happens to be light on his feet.
  • Older Than They Look: Nayl’s just over a hundred years old, but he looks like he’s in his late thirties thanks to juvenat treatments.

    Patience Kys 
Telekinetic assassin from Sameter.
  • Catholic School Girls Rule: Her scholam uniform in Playing Patience, which describes her backstory.
  • Ice Queen: A cold-blooded, albeit humorous assassin. Later becomes a case of Defrosting Ice Queen.
  • Femme Fatale: One in the vein of Good Is Not Nice. Patience is arguably Ravenor's deadliest agent, and she'll exploit her good looks without hesitation, but not without reservation.
  • Honey Trap: She infiltrated Molotch’s party prior to the first book’s prologue and is implied to have slept with him as part of the deception.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Her trademark weapon are kineblades: six-inch, handleless blades alternately described as needles or as knives, designed to be wielded telekinetically.
  • The Lancer: The most dangerous character of Ravenor's retinue.
  • Meaningful Rename: We know that she was given the name "Patience" when she and her sisters were taken in by a local scholam (the Imperium's equivalent of an orphanage and boarding school), the "Kindred Youth Scholam", and her last name was taken from its abbreviation. She never reveals to her friends what her real name was.
  • Nothing Up My Sleeve: When she isn’t wearing her kineblades in her hair, she’s hiding them up her sleeve or in the ribbing of her bodice.
  • Only Known By Her Alias: Patience keeps her birth name as a personal secret, from almost everyone including the reader. Ravenor knows, but he isn't telling either.
  • Psychic Powers: A very capable telekine who, as the title suggests, specializes in telekinesis. She's particularly fond of using double-ended "kineblades" as short-range weapons. Also good at "feeling" her surroundings for a considerable distance.
  • Sensual Spandex: She's almost never seen without a revealingly tight bodyglove.
  • Waif-Fu: While tall, Patience is a slight, physically unimposing woman, yet fully capable of killing a trained soldier barehanded without using her Psychic Powers. The narration introduced her along with the line: "Anyone shy of an Adeptus Astartes in full Terminator plate was a pussy compared to Patience Kys."

    Kara Swole 

Kara Swole

Former dancer and circus acrobat from Bonaventure. Previously employed by Eisenhorn.
  • Ascended Extra: Kara was introduced as one of Eisenhorn’s many operatives in Hereticus, where she didn’t get much focus or characterization beyond calling people she doesn’t like “ninkers”. She gets significantly more focus and character development here.
  • Boobs of Steel: Unlike Patience Kys, Kara is, and looks, very strong due to her former occupation as an acrobat. She is also curvy enough that her speed and agility surprise some people. The fact that she has a heavier build than the average acrobat is lampshaded when she infiltrates the Carnivora in the guise of a performer.
  • The Combat Pragmatist: Kara avoids flashy moves and any sense of fair play, in favour of unexpected strikes and quick takedowns.
  • Contortionist: Kara has some skill as a contortionist. She infiltrates Bonner’s Reach by tightly packing herself into a food casket, needing to pop her shoulders back into place when she crawls out.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: She forms a romantic relationship with Belknap after he treats her life-threatening injuries.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: In Ravenor Rogue, Carl suppresses her memories of the fact that he’s possessed by Slyte so she can’t tell Ravenor. She eventually remembers, when Orfeo Culzean uses an arcane device to painfully remove the mental block, but by that point it’s too late to do anything about it.
  • Secret Keeper: Kara learns that Carl is the host of Slyte, and she reluctantly agrees to keep his secret after he cures her cancer using his daemonic powers. When she starts having second thoughts, he inflicts Laser-Guided Amnesia on her to keep her quiet. The fact that she kept this secret lands her in hot water with the Inquisition after the truth comes out.
  • Secretly Dying: Ravenor Returned reveals that Kara’s heroic spacewalk in the first book gave her cancer due to the faulty spacesuit she wore, and she only has a few months left to live. She asks Belknap to keep her condition a secret so as not to worry her teammates. It then becomes a moot point when Carl uses his daemonic powers to cure her cancer.
  • She-Fu: She’s a former circus acrobat, so naturally she does a lot of flips and handsprings during combat.

    Carl Thonius 

Interrogator Carl Thonius

Ravenor's interrogator, a foppish computer expert with a dislike of fighting.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Thonius never shows obvious attraction to anyone, but his companions occasionally joke that he is attracted to men, and his emphatic disinterest in women points at either homosexuality or asexuality.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Midway through the first book Carl's right arm gets hacked off with a chainsword during a mission gone wrong. It gets reattached, but the loss of perfect motor control (which makes the stuff he normally does with ease much more difficult) drives him to depression and flect use. And by extension, his possession.
  • The Apprentice: As an interrogator, Carl is a future inquisitor-in-training. His service under Ravenor is meant to teach him the skills he’ll need as an inquisitor.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Carl tries desperately to invoke this after getting possessed, seeing the powers this grants him as a boon to the Imperium. He fails.
  • Badass Bookworm: Carl predominantly acts as a hacker and researcher. He’s also a skilled martial artist who can kill a man with his bare hands.
  • Body Horror: Whenever Carl draws upon Slyte's power, his body lights up from within with a hellish glow so that his skeleton is visible, the flesh of his right arm peels back up to the elbow to expose the bones, and the fingers of his fleshless right hand elongate into razor-sharp talons.
  • The Dandy: Carl is always poised, well-groomed and impeccably dressed, and even his dreams are filled with endless racks of fine clothing. He dislikes going on missions where his clothes might get dirty.
  • Demonic Possession: He becomes the host of Slyte, an incredibly powerful daemon.
  • Evil Hand: Perhaps due to its role in causing his possession, Carl's surgically-reattached right forearm becomes the focus of his daemonic powers; the many rings he wears on his right hand melt and break whenever his daemonic nature manifests, and his Game Face form burns away the flesh of the arm down to the blackened bones.
  • Evil Makeover: Carl starts wearing less foppish clothing after getting possessed, to the point that he's dyed his normally blonde hair black by the start of Ravenor Rogue. In particular, he starts wearing a ridiculous number of rings on his right hand — sometimes thirty at once. To Ravenor and those unaware of the true cause, it seems like an Adrenaline Makeover instead.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue to Eisenhorn mentions Ravenor defeating "the Heretic Thonius Slyte". Suffice to say, poor Carl's fate was sealed the moment he appeared in the first book...
  • Hand Cannon: Carl carries a Hecuter 6, a pistol which packs enough punch to fling its target four of five metres back.
  • It Was a Gift: Carl’s Hecuter 6 autopistol was a gift from the late Will Tallowhand, given to him when Carl achieved the rank of interrogator.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: After getting possessed, Carl can make people ignore the things he says or does. At one point he murders an innocent man and compels Maud to put a gun to her own head, doing both things right in front of Ravenor. Neither Maud nor Ravenor notice anything amiss.
  • Kick the Dog: In Ravenor Rogue, he kills an innocent man by phasing him through a window to be torn apart by a blizzard, and at the same time he compels Maud to put a gun to her own head. He does both things simply to test the limits of his abilities, and to see how much he can cloud Ravenor's perception.
  • Phrase Catcher: People tend to quip “The stuff you know” whenever Carl brings up pieces of trivia.
  • Powers via Possession: Carl gains various supernatural abilities after being possessed by Slyte. These include superhuman durability, telekinesis, mind control, and the ability to cure cancer, amongst others.
  • Red Right Hand: His right hand is severed and reattached partway through the first book. The narrative frequently draws attention to it afterword, and Carl even begins to dress in ways that emphasize its strangeness, such as coating the fingers in dozens of rings. When he's possessed by Slyte, it becomes an Evil Hand and the focus of Carl's daemonic powers.
  • Skewed Priorities: Carl’s desire to look fashionable sometimes eclipses his survival instincts and common sense. When Nayl tackles Carl into cover to save him from getting shot, Carl complains that his jacket might have been deformed. When the team launches a raid on a money launderer’s hideout, Carl insists on dressing to the nines when everyone else is wearing bodygloves and armour.
  • The Smart Guy: Thonius isn't a particularly skilled combatant or a psyker, but he serves the team through his skill with electronics and computer hacking — He even has a sophisticated personal cogitator that neatly folds into a leather-bound carrying case.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: After getting possessed, Carl starts acting far more aggressive, slovenly and condescending towards his compatriots than the meek dandy he usually is. Ravenor, his mentor, is understandably surprised by the change, but writes it off as Carl finally growing the backbone an Inquisitor needs.
  • Waif-Fu: An unusual male example. Thonius is extremely thin, and looks weak, but is frighteningly capable in unarmed combat.
  • Walking Spoiler: Something happens to him halfway through the second book, which turns the plot of the trilogy on its ear. It’s difficult to talk about the second half of the trilogy without mentioning how this event affected Carl.

    Zeph Mathuin 

Zeph Mathuin

Former bounty hunter. Due to an apparent natural affinity, Ravenor prefers to "ware" Zeph out of all of his associates whenever he needs to appear "in person".
  • An Arm and a Leg: He lost his left arm at some point, replacing it with an augmetic prosthetic. The second book shows that this left deep psychological scars: when Ravenor visits Zeph in his dreams, he finds Zeph roaming a beach littered with millions of severed left hands, trying them on one at a time while muttering that he can’t find the original.
  • BFG: His rotator cannon is as long as a man’s arm, and is so heavy that Zeph needs to wear a special support frame to act as a counterweight.
  • The Big Guy: Zeph is the muscle of Ravenor’s team and a clear example of the tough guy type: he’s muscular, withdrawn, and lugs around the biggest gun.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Gets run through by Culzean's Brass Thief daemon in Ravenor Returned, being the first member of the retinue to die amid the immediate events of the story.
  • Bounty Hunter: Like Nayl, Zeph used to work as a bounty hunter before Ravenor recruited him.
  • Cyborg: Mathuin has red artificial eyes and a mechanical arm that can interface directly with his favourite gun.
  • Dreadlock Warrior: Zeph is a stone cold bounty hunter with a muscular build and a preference for big guns, and he has lengthy dreadlocks.
  • Electronic Eyes: His eyes are augmetic, and they glow red. They allow him to see in the dark.
  • Gatling Good: Zeph’s weapon of choice is a six-barreled rotator cannon. Nayl refers to it as a “bullet hose” at one point.
  • The Quiet One: Zeph doesn’t talk much, and doesn’t socialize with the other members of the team.
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    Wystan Frauka 

Wystan Frauka

A "blank" who naturally blocks psychic abilities.
  • Anti-Magic: Like all blanks, Frauka’s very presence suppresses psychic powers. He exploits this to shut down Kinsky’s Astral Projection before snapping the disoriented psyker’s neck at the climax of the first book.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Manages to save Ravenor from death at the hands of Kinsky by first turning off his limiter (yanking the psyker back into his body) and then snapping the man's neck.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Has this with a fellow blank who was under the employment of the drug barons hunting Patience. Said blank has Frauka and Carl at gunpoint, and after Frauka and the gunman identify one another as blanks, they have a very cordial conversation about their similar lines of work. The presence of the trope is justified by the simple fact that (as mentioned below) blanks are inherently disliked by those around them because of their natural abilities. The two know exactly what sort of life the other lived before finding a limiter and work. It doesn't stop Frauka from keeping him distracted long enough to be blindsided and killed.
  • Depower: Zael burns Frauka’s blankness out of him in the third book, allowing Zael to communicate with him through telepathy and ware him.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: At one point he complains that no one appreciates him, even though his utility as a blank has helped the crew countless times. Justified in that his main asset, being a psychic blank, inherently causes others to dislike him. Patience even remarks (albeit internally) that he was reasonably good looking, but the simple fact that he's a blank, even with his limiter, is too much to get past, especially since she's a psyker.
  • Inter Generational Friendship: With Zael.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: After barely surviving a shot through the chest in the final act of Ravenor, Frauka pauses to light an lho-stick. Upon noticing the smoke escaping through the hole, he reacts with only grim amusement.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: He regularly smokes and reads trashy pornography.
  • Must Have Nicotine: Constantly smokes lho-sticks, which, while they contain a low dose of a more powerful drug, are implied to also contain a significant proportion of tobacco.
  • Non-Action Guy: Very rarely goes out on missions. The main reason he's in Ravenor's crew is because he is a blank.
  • Power Limiter: He wears a limiter which suppresses his blankness, allowing Ravenor to freely use his psychic powers in Frauka’s vicinity. When he needs to hide his boss from prying eyes or shut down enemy psykers, he can just switch it off.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: In Ravenor Rogue, Frauka starts having a lot of nosebleeds as Zael gradually burns out his blankness.
  • The Stoic: Is usually calm and collected, offering the occasional snark.

    Zael Efernetti 

Zael Efernetti

A drug-addled street urchin that Ravenor picks up on Eustis Majoris in the first book. He has latent psychic abilities.
  • Addled Addict: Zayl’s flect addiction has left him so addled that he can’t remember his own age, and when his grandmother died, he didn’t notice until the Magistratum came to remove her decomposing body weeks later. Spending time with Ravenor’s group helps him to overcome the addiction.
  • Fish out of Water: The first time Zael finds himself onboard a spaceship, he's utterly blown away. He also needs to be explained what things like gravity are.
  • The Nicknamer: He refers to Nayl as "the guy" and Ravenor as "the Chair".
  • Orphan's Ordeal: Zael lost his parents to a plague in his early years, leaving him to be raised in near-poverty by his sister and his grandmother. His sister was "decruited" by the munitorum, and eventually got hooked on flects (and it was slightly implied she paid for them in the bedroom), and she died on a trip shortly thereafter. Zael got hooked on flects himself sometime before his grandmother, already long addicted to sniffing glue, drowned in her own vomit. Averted by the time Ravenor starts, as he was too strung out to care too much about being homeless in favor of when he could get his next flect.
  • Psychic Powers: Described as a 'mirror psyker', Zael has latent psychic abilities that grow more powerful over the course of the trilogy as he was exposed to more psychic abilities over time. In the first book, he's able to 'hear' Ravenor holding telepathic conversations with his team; by the second book, he's able to start his own telepathic conversations; and by the third, he can telepathically talk to and even ware Frauka, a Blank.
    • The Emperor's Gift elabourates that he isn't actually a true mirror psyker but his nascent powers parasitise other psykers powers. Once his powers are unlocked by the Grey Knights, he becomes adept of many different disciplines.
  • Red Herring: Serves as an in-universe one regarding the Divine Fratery's prophecy. First, Zael's surname on his mother's side turns out to be Sleet, one of the alternate proposed names for the daemon Slyte. Later, Zael is conveniently found in a comatose state in the same room as Slyte's real host, after the daemon's second manifestation. Then, throughout Ravenor Rogue, frightening psychic manifestations caused by Slyte (and a few others caused by Zael himself) haunt the Arethusa while Zael is onboard. Fortunately, Ravenor is Genre Savvy enough to realize that Zael being Slyte is a little too obvious, and resolves to hold off on killing the boy unless faced with irrefutable evidence.
  • Ridiculously Successful Future Self: After Ravenor's adventures in this trilogy, Zael is handed over to the rest of the Inquisition and eventually put on a Black Ship. He goes on to become one of the Grey Knights; specifically Hyperion, the protagonist of The Emperor's Gift.
  • Street Urchin: Zael’s been out on the streets since he was eleven, doing odd jobs for criminals to feed his crippling flect addiction. A chance encounter with Nayl brings him to Ravenor’s attention and gives him a new lease on life.
  • Tagalong Kid: Despite being a drug-addict and an orphan, Ravenor found him to be useful and his psychic powers made him a potential asset, thus getting inducted into Ravenor's retinue.

    Sholto Unwerth 

Captain Sholto Unwerth

The eccentric dwarf captain of the rogue trader Arethusa, with a tendency to mangle his words. He ends up working for Ravenor from the end of the first book onward.
  • Canine Companion: Has a very peculiar one in Fyflank, his pet "elquon manhound".
  • Chekhov's Gunman: He appears briefly in the first book to bother the heroes at Bonner's Reach. By the end of the book, Ravenor finds himself needing to contract Unwerth's services.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Suffers this at the hands of Bartol Siskind and Lucius Worna in Ravenor Returned.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: His mangling of Low Gothic must be seen to be believed.
    “Mistress, what say we chivvy us up some appendable tenders, attire ourselves some disgustable comestibles, and revive to a private booth for interculation?”
    “I miss nothing, eaves-wise. Ears as sharp as pencils, me. No, no. All fair. If Mistress Zeedmund here finds me an abject increment to her affiliations, and wants no more of me, all she has to overtake is a word in my general. A simple ingratitude from her, and I will be, so to speak, out of your air. Without any requisite for shoving, slapping, or harsh language. On the however hand, if what I have so far expleted trickles her fancy, I would be most oblate to dispel some more, at her total inconvenience, on the subject of what I have pertaining in my cargo hold.”
  • Drives Like Crazy: He is an insanely good pilot capable of driving a jet car at super sonic speeds at roof top level. He is such an insane driver that he terrified Kys! This is after the cold-blooded torture which included Fingore!
  • Hidden Depths: Sholto may be a physically unimposing fellow that gets on everybody's nerves with his constant malapropisms and tendency to get underfoot (to the point that even Ravenor himself wishes that Sholto was in fact the daemon Eisenhorn had warned about, so Ravenor could kill him without regret), but he's unwaveringly loyal to Ravenor and his people and is a damned good pilot.
  • Mythology Gag: Sholto reveals to Belknap that his family is rumored to trace its bloodline to a little-known race of abhumans called the Squats. The Squats were a faction in the early days of the Warhammer 40'000 tabletop wargame, analogous to fantasy dwarves, who ended up being retconned out of the setting.
  • Undying Loyalty: He is tortured horribly and has four fingers cut off. The first thing he says when seeing Kys again is to apologize for giving in to his captors and to tell her he isn't worthy of rescue. She saves him for his loyalty even though he had previously annoyed her greatly. Also, his man beast servant is stated by Ravenor to be many times more competent than Unwerth, but it's very loyal to Unwerth for reasons unknown.

     Patrik Belknap 

Patrik Belknap

A back alley doctor working in the slums of Petropolis that used to look out for Zael. He gets involved with the retinue in Ravenor Returned when Kara needs treatment for a grievous wound.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: His license was revoked. He claims it was for malpractice, but in reality it was because he committed fraud to make sure his department had enough medical supplies for the people who needed them, like children without registered parents.
  • Combat Medic: Belknap spent six years in the Imperial Guard before retiring to work as a civilian doctor. He may be a little rusty, but he knows how to handle himself in a firefight.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: He falls in love with Kara while treating her injuries, and they strike up a relationship.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: See Back-Alley Doctor, above.
  • Religious Bruiser: He’s a firm believer in the God-Emperor of Mankind and makes a point of attending mass on a regular basis. He’s also a veteran of the Imperial Guard and can handle himself in a firefight. His piety leads him to break up with Kara after he learns that she knew Thonius was Slyte’s host and never told anyone.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: He lost his medical license because he committed fraud — not to benefit himself, but to beef up his practice’s meager budget so his many patients could get the treatments they needed. He continues practicing as a back alley medicae to make sure that the people who fall through the cracks get the healthcare they need.

    Maud Plyton 

Maud Plyton

A junior marshal in the Petropolis Magistratum's Special Crimes unit. Her investigation of an archdeacon's death in Ravenor Returned leads her to get involved with Ravenor and his people.
  • Ascended Extra: First appears as a minor character in the first book, before graduating to a member of the main cast in Ravenor Returned.
  • Fair Cop: Downplayed. Maud is frequently described as having a pretty and youthful face, but she's otherwise built like a bruiser.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Her weapon of choice.
  • Sole Survivor: She becomes the last surviving member of the Special Crimes department after the Secretists purge it.
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    Angharad 

Angharad Esw Sweydyr

A Carthaen swordswoman and the niece of Ravenor's late lover, Arianhrod. Initially introduced as a member of Inquisitor Fenx's retinue in Ravenor Rogue, she joins Ravenor's crew after her entire team is wiped out in a raid gone wrong.
  • Bad Liar: Fenx certainly didn't recruit her for her quick wit. Case in point, when Nayl is trying to convince a Colonel of the Imperial Guard that they're escapees from a slaver ship:
    Nayl: "Look at her. Built for fighting. That's why the slavers chose her. Good breeding stock for the arenas."
    Angharad: "I am not good breeding stock for -"
    Ravenor: +Shut. Up. Angharad.+
    Angharad: "- But the slavers, they obviously saw that in me."
  • Barbarian Hero
  • Catchphrase: "Evisorex thirsts."
  • Eaten Alive: Devoured by Slyte in the climax of Ravenor Rogue.
  • Empathic Weapon: Her force sword, Evisorex.
  • Master Swordswoman
  • Spanner in the Works: Her dalliance with Nayl causes her to show up late to Fenx's raid on Molotch's hideout, letting her evade the massacre and rescue Ballack. This in turn leads to Ravenor learning that Molotch has survived yet again, and go after him.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: She is the spitting image of her late aunt, Arianhrod. This causes friction between Ravenor and Nayl when the latter strikes up a clandestine relationship with her.

    Gall Ballack 

Interrogator Gall Ballack

One of the interrogators of Inquisitor Fenx and also a Cognitae mole. He joins Ravenor's team in Ravenor Rogue, after Fenx and his retinue are killed by Molotch, to whom he'd sold them out.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Angharad is forced to hack off his hand to save him from Molotch's trap.
  • Artificial Limbs: After losing his hand, he replaces it with a cybernetic prosthetic. Its revealed later that he keeps a single-charge holdout laspistol hidden inside his new wrist, which he uses to quickly dispose of a guard who corners him.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Molotch executes him this way unceremoniously.
  • Famous Last Words: Ballack is Killed Mid-Sentence while blurting out the Cognitae's formal code-greeting, in a final attempt to earn Molotch's mercy.
  • Revenge: His primary motivation for joining Ravenor. Ballack wants revenge on Molotch for leaving him to die in order to cover his own tracks.
  • Spanner in the Works: His survival clues Ravenor in to the fact that Molotch is still alive, setting the final book's plot in motion.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Ballack is a Cognitae agent who evaded the destruction of the organization by infiltrating the Inquisition. After selling out his master and team to try and join fellow Cognitae member Molotch, only to be betrayed and left for dead, Ballack joins Ravenor specifically to get back at Zygmunt for breaking his trust (while obviously keeping this secret from his new allies).
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Much mention is made of his white hair, and then there's the fact that he's a Cognitae mole in the Inquisition who coldly stood by and let his team get slaughtered by Molotch.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Ballack was on the receiving end of this when he sent his own team into a trap to be killed so that Molotch could fake his own death and get the Inquisition to stop breathing down his neck. Unfortunately for him, Molotch felt he was a loose end that needed to be tied up. He survived only due to Angharad's intervention.

The Secretists

    Jader Thrice 

Grand Provost Jader Trice

The Grand Provost of Eustis Majoris' Ministry of Sub-Sector Trade. Trice, a former member of the Cognitae, is the mastermind of a scheme to smuggle Chaos-corrupted cogitators onto Eustis Majoris in order to reconstruct Enuncia.
  • Demoted to Dragon: The entire scheme to reconstruct Enuncia and use it to attain absolute power was entirely Trice's idea, and he spent twenty years working on it by himself. Then the Diadochoi got involved five years before the events of Ravenor Returned and essentially took over the whole project. Trice still isn't happy about it, but is resigned to playing second-fiddle.
  • The Heavy: The Diadochoi is the Big Bad, but Thrice is the most visible antagonist of Ravenor Returned and handles most of the Secretists' affairs.
  • Lean and Mean: He's described as having a slender build.
  • A Man Of Wealth And Taste: He's well dressed, and well groomed to boot.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Jader Trice isn’t a fighter, and prefers leaving the violence to his right-hand man Toros Revoke.
  • Reduced to Dust: He crumbles into dust after Slyte’s touch turns him into a desiccated mummy.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: He resents how the Diadochoi hijacked his life's work, and is incensed by the former's flippancy towards his carefully-laid plans and ceremonies; particularly when the Diadochoi eventually insists on enacting the conspiracy's endgame ahead of schedule.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: He's a well-respected government official.
  • Villainous Breakdown: He's reduced to tears when Slyte rips apart his precious Enuncia lexicon, and desperately tries to gather up its shredded metal pages. Slyte kills him seconds later.

    The Diadochoi 

The Diadochoi, Lord-Governor Oska Ludolf Barazan / Zygmunt Molotch

The leader of the Secretist conspiracy, and the lord-governor of the entire sub-sector. In truth, he is the Cognitae agent Zygmunt Molotch under an assumed identity, hideously scarred beyond recognition after his supposed death.
  • Big Bad: Of Ravenor Returned.
  • Facial Horror: His face is described as resembling melted wax, due to the fiery near-death he experienced in the prologue of Ravenor.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: At the end of Ravenor Returned, the Diadochoi is revealed to be Zygmunt Molotch, an existing arch-nemesis of Ravenor and his team.
  • Near-Villain Victory: The Diadochoi succeeds in reconstructing Enuncia and launching a city-wide ritual to grant himself godlike power, healing his burn-scar deformities for good measure. By the time Ravenor's group intervenes, he's able to simply swat them aside with his voice alone. However, Carl manifests Slyte, and the daemon destroys the Enuncia lexicon, forcing him and Orfeo to retreat.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: The Diadochoi leaves most of the planning and command affairs to Jader Thrice, since his obligations as lord-governor take up so much of his time.
  • President Evil: His public identity is Oska Ludolf Barazan, the lord-governor of subsector Angelus. He's notable for having been elected to the position, which in most corners of the Imperium is hereditary.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: In his public guise as the lord governor subsector, the Diadochoi enjoys a reputation as a popular, forward-thinking reformist. Even Ravenor welcomed his election to office, calling it “a miracle of liberalism”.
  • Walking Spoiler: The reveal of his identity greatly broadens the scope of the plot.

    Toros Revoke 

Toros Revoke

A high-ranking member of the secretists, Toros Revoke is the right-hand man of Jader Trice. He handles things in the field, getting rid of anyone who learns too much about his master’s secret plans.
  • The Dragon: He’s Jader Trice’s right-hand man, and the most competent and dangerous member of the secretists. This effectively makes him The Dragon to another Dragon.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: His pupils are stale yellow, and he’s both a powerful psyker and a skilled user of Enuncia.
  • Words Can Break My Bones: He uses Enuncia to brutalize a hapless street thug near the beginning of the second book, breaking bones and bursting organs with every word.

    Kinsky, Madsen & Ahenobarb 

Kinsky, Madsen and Ahenobarb

Three agents of the Ministry for Sub-Sector Trade. They’re assigned to help Ravenor’s investigation into the flect trade, but it quickly becomes apparent that they have ulterior motives. Kinsky is a powerful psyker, Ahenobarb is his minder, and Madsen is a tech-adept and the team's leader.
  • The Cracker: Madsen is a tech-adept, and she uses her skills to seize control of the Hinterlight at the end of the second act.
  • The Heavy: They’re the most prominent villains in the first book, with Madsen being the architect of the plot to kill Ravenor and Kinsky posing the greatest threat to the team. With that said, they’re ultimately just minions of the real masterminds.
  • Hurl It into the Sun: Their plan is to trap all of Ravenor’s people aboard the Hinterlight and then send it hurtling into the local star on autopilot.
  • Hurl It into the Sun: Their plan to kill Ravenor entails trapping him and his people aboard the Hinterlight, then send it hurtling into the local star on autopilot.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: They couldn’t kill Ravenor on Eustis Majoris because that would have raised too many questions and drawn unwanted attention from the Inquisition. Instead they lead him on a wild goose chase out into the lawless frontier of Lucky Space, where his disappearance wouldn’t raise nearly as much scrutiny.
  • Neck Snap: Frauka kills Kinsky by snapping his neck.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Kinsky calls Ravenor a “frigging crip” at one point.
  • Slashed Throat: Patience kills Madsen by slitting her throat with some razor-sharp scales via telekinesis.
  • Starter Villain: They’re the first major antagonists that Ravenor’s team faces in the trilogy, and they’re all dead by the end of the first book.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: In terms of psychic ability, Kinsky lacks Ravenor’s finesse and training, but makes up for it by being much more powerful.

    Lucius Worna 

Lucius Worna

A bounty hunter and former associate of Nayl's from his pre-Inquisition days. Ends up working for the villains from Ravenor Returned onward.
  • Ascended Extra: Went from being an extremely minor character that only appeared for two pages in the first book to a recurring adversary from the second book onward.
  • Bounty Hunter: He’s been in the bounty hunting business for fifteen decades, and his first two scenes show him apprehending bounties at Bonner’s Reach.
  • The Brute: A big, physically-imposing thug who acts as the villains’ muscle.
  • Catchphrase: Whenever he wants to emphasize a point or let an enemy know that they're beaten, he'll say "End of story."
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: The man is strong enough to overpower and break the wrist of a cyborg who can punch craters in carapace armour. Due to absurd physical feats like this and his Made of Iron credentials, Worna is sometimes theorized to be a rogue Space Marine. Considering his size and what he's done, it wouldn't be too surprising.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He scoffs at the thought that Nayl is working for Ravenor out of genuine loyalty rather than for pay. He also seems to think that Nayl will gladly kill longstanding companions to save his own skin. This assumption gets Worna a lho-stick butt in the eye.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: His face is an almost solid mass of scar tissue.
  • I Owe You My Life: Worna owes Nayl for saving his life in the backstory. He tries to square that debt in the present by offering to spare Nayl—and only Nayl—after his team of bounty hunters captures Ravenor’s party. Unsurprisingly, Nayl rejects that offer.
  • Light Is Not Good: He has a shock of white hair and wears polished mother of pearl power armour. He's also a very unpleasant man; Nayl says Worna gives other bounty hunters a bad name, and he has no qualms whatsoever about brutalizing a helpless Sholto Unwerth.
  • Made of Iron: Worna is ridiculously tough, able to power through injuries that would have killed a lesser man and keep fighting. Reaches its zenith in the climax of Ravenor Rogue; see Rasputinian Death, below.
  • Only in It for the Money: Worna doesn’t care who he works for or what he’s asked to do, so long as the pay is good. He assumes that Nayl, being a fellow bounty hunter, thinks the same way. He’s wrong.
  • Rasputinian Death: First Nayl tags Worna with a magnetized grenade that sticks to his breastplate and blows up in his face, flinging him across the room and burning his face. He's able to get the upper hand over Nayl despite this. Then Kys impales him through an eye with one of her kineblades and stabs him in the chest with two more. He still hasn't gone down, so she starts choking him telekinetically and then lifts him out of a window into a raging storm, where he quickly gets struck by lightning three times. He still has enough strength left to taunt her, so she keeps him out there long enough for eight more bolts to hit him and finally set him on fire. Kys then flings him into the distance off a thousand-metre cliff. The text never states if he's actually dead.

The Divine Fratery

    Orfeo Culzean 

Orfeo Culzean

An antiquities dealer who uses his legitimate business to front his work as an "expeditor" employed by the Divine Fratery.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: With Molotch in Ravenor Rogue. Being a pair of highly-intelligent and assertive masterminds, their alliance is less than stable.
  • Collector of the Strange: He collects deodands, innocuous objects that have caused accidental deaths. His collection includes a key that a child choked on and a wet paving stone that a pilgrim slipped on, amongst other things.
  • Nerves of Steel: Orfeo is very good at keeping a level head in the face of danger, and maintains an outward façade of calm composure even when he’s sweating bullets internally. The only time his composure slips is when something really bad is happening, such as the sudden appearance of Slyte.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Culzean, by his own admission, has never personally killed anyone; he leaves that stuff to his underlings, like his assistant Leyla Slade or his pet Brass Thief.
  • Wicked Cultured: Orfeo is a well-spoken and sophisticated intellectual with an appreciation for philosophy. He’s also a heretic-for-hire who knowingly helps cults like the Divine Fratery bring death and destruction upon the Imperium.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Turns on Ravenor and Molotch at the climax of the third book when he learns that Thonius is the host of Slyte, believing that he can use the daemon's power to get whatever he wants. Unfortunately for him, Evil Is Not a Toy is in full effect...

    Leyla Slade 

Leyla Slade

Orfeo Culzean's right hand woman and bodyguard.
  • Abnormal Ammo: She's equipped with a magazine of handgun bullets that summon daemons.
  • Bodyguard Crush: She and Culzean are implied to have a relationship.
  • Bodyguard Babes: A no-nonsense female bodyguard to one of the main villains.
  • Dark Action Girl: The most prominent female villain in the trilogy, and a highly skilled fighter to boot. She battles Carl to a standstill in Ravenor Rogue.

    Brass Thief 

The Brass Thief

A daemonic assassin bound to a clockwork golem and directed by a psyker.
  • Dual Wielding: Wields "rhyming swords" that deploy from its forearms.
  • Hero Killer: Slays Zeph Mathuin during the attack on Ravenor's hab-stack hideout.
  • Implacable Man: It doesn't stop attacking until its clockwork body is completely ruined, or the psyker commanding it is slain.
  • Sinister Geometry: The Brass Thief is bound to a small pyramid wrought in gold and silver. When the daemon awakens, the pyramid unfolds and reshapes itself into an armoured body for it.

Other

    Zygmunt Molotch 

Zygmunt Molotch

A Cognitae agent and Ravenor's personal nemesis.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: Has this reaction when he believes that his trap successfully killed Ravenor near the end of Ravenor Rogue.
  • Arch-Nemesis: With Ravenor. The two of them have been trying to kill each other, on and off, for more than seventy years by the time the trilogy takes place.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Comes from his Cognitae training. He has Hyper-Awareness of his surroundings, and his mind is able to use that information to plot or react with inhuman speed.
  • Big Bad: He's the main villain of the trilogy overall, and anything that he isn't directly involved with can be traced back to him.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: With Orfeo Culzean in Ravenor Rogue, though their alliance is shaky at best. At several points Molotch even lampshades the fact that, because he and Culzean are both highly intelligent and charismatic villains, their partnership isn't going to last.
  • Compelling Voice: He can use what he calls 'the tone of command' to control people if he knows their names, or at least make them flinch if he knows part of it.
  • Enemy Mine: Ironically, he's forced to team up with Ravenor when Culzean turns against them at the climax of the third book.
  • Evil Genius: His most defining trait is his intelligence, and as an alumnus of the Cognitae school.
  • Evil Is Petty: Molotch, Culzean, and Ravenor concoct a plan to force Slyte through the tri-portal and thus back into the Warp. Molotch engraves the necessary runes into the door, but he then stands back and tells Ravenor to utter the blasphemous incantation to banish the daemon. He does this purely out of spite, all while a massive and hungry Eldritch Abomination is bearing down on them.
  • Expy: He is most definitely the Moriarty to Ravenor's Holmes, with all the grimdarkness added.
  • Fantastic Prejudice: Betrays one of his allies for being 3rd or 4th generation Cognitae because he is Incompletely Trained and "diluted". It ultimately gets him killed as the man brings Ravenor after him to get revenge.
  • The Heavy: Much of the plot of the trilogy revolves around the twists in the conspiracy he set into motion in the first prologue, which takes place a few years before the novels.
  • Hero Killer:
  • The Man Behind the Man: To Jader Trice in Ravenor and Ravenor Returned.
  • Posthumous Character: He's dead by chapter one. Subverted when Ravenor's agents discover that he is quite alive at the climax of Ravenor Returned.
  • Predecessor Villain: Between Majeskus and the long history shared with Ravenor, he's certainly Ravenor's nemesis, until he's dealt with in the prologue. Subverted, however.
  • President Evil: Under the assumed identity which he was elected as Lord of the entire Sector. This is notably quite an achievement as most Sector Lords are hereditary.
  • Sherlock Scan: Can figure out that a drunk man works for the plantery government by how he looks and that another man is a local young noble who's slumming it at a low end bar.
  • Starter Villain: In the context of the novels, he only appears in the first before getting burned alive. Until he makes his reappearance heavily disfigured but otherwise intact.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In Ravenor, he's brainy and evil, but almost a Non-Action Guy. In a flashback in Ravenor Rogue, and during that book, he displays many badass skills, and can hold his own in hand-to-hand with Throne Agents.
  • Two-Faced: Downplayed, his face is described as handsomeaj, but completely asymmetrical.
  • Villain Opening Scene: The trilogy starts with him at an archaeological dig-site digging up something undoubtedly heretical. Subversion, since it ends with his plane, and him, going down in flames. Double subversion, when he turns out to have survived, and is behind much of the of the plot until events at the end of Ravenor Returned forces him out of power.
  • Walking Spoiler: He's practically a Posthumous Character when the first novel proper starts, but it becomes clear that he has a greater influence over Ravenor and his team as the story progresses.

    Slyte 

Slyte/Sleet/Slight

A terrifyingly powerful daemon, prophesied to manifest in the physical world through Ravenor or one of his associates. Ravenor is first warned about its existence in the short story Thorn Wishes Talon. Carl Thonius ends up being its unfortunate vessel when he looks into the wrong flect at the wrong time in Ravenor Returned.
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