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Ashok Vadal

Protector, Twenty-year Senior

  • Applied Phlebotinum: the hints of a sci-fi setting to the world indicate that the Heart of the Mountain, the artifact by which the Protectors recieve their Nigh-Invulnerability, is this.
  • Badass Boast: Ashok makes them without even trying. At one point, when offering to hunt some game for their camp:
    Thera: "You know how to use a bow?"
    Ashok: "If it's a weapon and can be used to kill people, I've been trained how to use it."
    • Or, in another instance:
    Thera: "Keta tells stories of Ramrowan, the greatest warrior ever to live."
    Ashok: "Keta has not seen me fight."
    Ashok: "It's not boasting if you can perform on demand."
  • The Comically Serious: Ashok lets people wonder if he's serious or not about some of the more outlandish things he says, such as pointing out that it would look suspicious if he had to pull the fugitives' heavily-laden wagons into town himself.
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  • Death Seeker: Jagdish points out that his voice is wistful whenever he speculates about how or when he is going to die.
  • The Dreaded: Ashok, plus Angruvadal, are directly credited to the Protector Order's current prestige.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Ashok's Tranquil Fury against Bidaya is fueled by realizing that his mother was murdered on Bidaya's orders to keep his heritage secret.
  • Extreme Doormat: to the Law. as a result of magical coersion.
  • Good Is Not Soft: In House of Assassins, Ashok and company try to extract some information from another individual. Having gotten it, they are then discussing what to do with the person who has given it to them: on the one hand, he has given them correct information; on the other, if they turn him loose, he'll betray them. Ashok listens to both arguments, and then snaps the man's neck with his bare hands.
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  • How Much More Can He Take?
  • The Juggernaut
  • Meaningful Name: possibly. "Ashok" means "Without Sorrow", and may refer to the legendary King Ashoka, who converted to Buddhism, renounced violence, and established new laws.
  • One-Man Army
  • Out of the Inferno: Being set on fire won't stop him.
  • Papa Wolf: What pushes him to finally ignore the Law is protecting a couple of casteless children from being murdered by their overseer.
  • Sentient Weapon: Angruvadal.
  • Super Senses: the Heart of the Mountain can increase strength, heighten reaction times, sharpen the senses, or preserve life through mortal wounds—but only one at a time.
  • Tranquil Fury: at Bidaya's party.
  • The Unfettered: Ashok's belief in the Law makes him this—someone who will execute offenders without even the slightest hint of mercy, because he believes he is doing them a service by doing so.
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  • The Unsmile: At one point, Ashok tries to smile while diplomatically defusing a tense situation:
    From Keta and Thera's reactions, it had actually made things worse, so he stopped.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie

Keta

Keeper of Names
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: in House of Assassins this is revealed to be the case.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Keta keeps a book of the names of the casteless.
  • Exact Words: While still enslaved, Keta assures himself and his supervisor that the butcher's cleaver he carries isn't a weapon, it's a tool. The spears, knives, and clubs he's been stockpiling underneath the barracks, were also just tools. His mind was the weapon.
  • The Fundamentalist: Is perceived as this due to his belief in the Forgotten.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Keta rouses up his House's casteless to revolt...and gets them all brutally slaughtered by a Protector.
  • Sole Survivor: of a casteless rebellion.

Thera

Radamantha

  • Nerds Are Sexy: An impossibly-bookwormish librarian, who nevertheless scores Devedas.
  • Mega Nekko: possibly. She wears glasses only to read, since they're really expensive.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Since she spends most of her time reading, her plans tend to be culled from books. Unfortunately, her plan to get in to see the Head of the Protector's Order came from a romance novel.

Jagdish

Commander of Coldstream Prison.

Protectors

Devedas

Protector, twenty-two year Senior

Mindarin

Protector, Senior Instructor

Ratul

  • Broken Pedestal
  • Big Good: In a fashion not exactly appreciated by the other characters: he realized the truth about the casteless the legends of Ramrowan, and the demons; and was instrumental in setting up the rebellion.
  • Heel–Faith Turn
  • Heel Realization: The Testimony of the Traitor Ratul reveals that his was triggered by reading a prophecy in a recently-executed heretic's holy book...about a man who was soulless enough to sit down at a dead man's table and read the books on his shelf.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Is killed while confronting Devedas, allowing Keta to escape.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: To Ashok, and the other Protector acolytes. Devedas, who was then fourteen years old, would have died if he hadn't drawn attention to himself by collapsing. also to Thera.
  • Stealth Mentor: To Keta.

Others

Gutch

Mother Dawn

An old woman whom the casteless heed.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Ashok brings the casteless children to her, she asks him why.
  • Blank White Eyes: when Ashok meets her, he notes that she has cataracts.
  • More Than Meets the Eye: House of Assassins and The Testimony of the Trator Ratul reveals that Mother Dawn, besides being a title, is not merely a human.

Antagonists

Omand

The Grand Inquisitor

Nadan Somsak

Sikasso

Head of the Lost House of wizards.

The Village Demons

Inquisitor Javed

  • Shapeshifter Baggage: can turn into a tiger.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: is able to charm Artya del Zarger into sleeping with him, despite the difference in their stations.
  • The Sociopath: He's an Inquisitor who can out-murder the Assassins. He's also so nonchalant and charismatic that even Omand is slightly put off.
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