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Ashok Vadal/Fall

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."
    • "Who will contend with me next?"
  • Back from the Dead:
    • in Son of the Black Sword, he's killed by Nandan Somsak and brought back by the shard of Angruvadal in his heart.
    • in House of Assassins, he's speared through the heart by a hook and brought back again.
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    • in Destroyer of Worlds, his throat is cut and he's thrown into an icy river. At this point, Ashok mentions that he's beginning to think he can't die.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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  • The Fettered: Once Ashok makes a vow it's final.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • 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


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.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: About Thera
  • 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 Vane

  • Action Girl: a low-key example, she relies more on her wits, knowledge, and surprise to get the drop on enemies.
  • Battle Cry: "Vane is here!"
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: in House of Assassins she is able to destroy the demon god, but absolutely wrecks her hands in the process.
  • Daddy's Girl: Thera was very close to her father (her mother died while she was still a child.)
  • The Chains of Commanding: Thera and Ashok have several conversations about abandoning the Rebellion and just taking off as the two of them. Neither of them think it's possible in the slightest.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Thera attempts a Screw This, I'm Outta Here! before the final battle. It doesn't work.
  • Can't Refuse the Call Anymore: by Destroyer, Thera has reluctantly accepted her place as leader of the faithful refugees.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Thera as Keta's bodyguard; she is actually (unwillingly) the Prophet of the Forgotten.
  • In the Hood: Always keeps her head covered, to hide a disfiguring cranial scar.
  • Knife Nut: Thera is extremely good at throwing knives—she can spear a running rat—and always has multiple concealed ones about her.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Thera has absolutely no belief in the Forgotten, and gives no credence to Keta's ideals. The revolution pays well, that's all.
  • Stealth Expert
  • Touch of the Monster: When she's taken by Sikasso's wizards, who knock her out and transform into giant eagles to carry her out of the village.
  • Waif Prophet: Due to the debilitating nature of her prophetic gift, rather than a lack of physical skill or prowess overall.


Ancestor sword of House Vadal. Although destroyed in the battle of Jharlang, part of it still lives on, embedded in Ashok Vadal's heart.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Ashok mentions he could slice all four legs off a galloping horse with it. Black steel is virtually the only thing capable of penetrating demon hide.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: no one knows how the ancestor swords chose their bearers. Anyone who is not chosen tends to die....messily.
  • Flaming Sword: Inverted. Ancestor swords have a negative, black glow that devours light and burns the eye.
  • Enigmatic Minion: In Destroyer of Worlds, it interferes in a duel to keep Ashok alive, but then also prevents him from killing Devedas.
  • Sentient Weapon / Empathic Weapon: It's unclear how, but it somehow has intelligence...and feelings. During Ashok and Devadas' duel as children, Angruvadal spared Devedas at Ashok's wishes.
  • Weapon Wields You: to a degree. Angruvadal gives the bearer access to the memories and instincts of forty generations of previous bearers, as well as heightened senses.


Senior Archivist of the Capitol Library
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Rada might not be a fighter, but she is willing to fight to protect people she considers friends, and stand up for what she knows to be right.
  • But I Read a Book About It: Rada doesn't have very much real world experience being a sheltered geeky aristocrat. But she has spent her entire life reading, and she takes book knowledge very seriously. Among the things she has read in books and used to help her in her adventure are; A romance about how to sneak into a fort. A book written by a master spy. A book written by a warrior scout. A book on the care of elephants. A romance about infiltrating the army of the Bandit King. And she has the ingenuity and guts to implement the knowledge, admittedly with varying degrees of success. Reading has also given her the necessary knowledge of history to be a very useful adviser to Harta Vadal.
  • Defector from Decadence: Rada doesn't have a high opinion of the majority of first caste young people who enjoy mostly parties and pretty clothing, and considered the backstabbing politics of the chamber of argument unclean.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: An impossibly-bookwormish librarian, who nevertheless scores Devedas.
  • MacGuffin Guardian: As of Destroyer of Worlds
  • Mega Nekko: possibly. She wears glasses only to read, since they're really expensive.
  • Lady of Adventure: Albeit unwillingly, Rada is ending up as a Spirited Young Lady who may be instrumental in the future plot. House of Assassins implies that Rada may become the keeper of a black steel artifact guarded by the Historians.
  • 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.


Risaldar, Commander of Coldstream Prison
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Honor Before Reason: Seems this way—except that he does have a reason for it, even if it's a left-field one.
  • I Owe You My Life : To Rada after she talks Harta out of killing him
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: While the prison commander.
  • Nay-Theist: Jagdish maintains his skepticism about the gods and the chosen Prophet, even after hearing the Voice speak through Thera.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Despite it being a deliberate insult to marry him to a lower-caste woman. And also despite the fact that she snores.
  • The Lost Lenore: Pakpa dies in childbirth while Jagdish is away.
  • Mother Dies Blame The Child: Jagdish can't help but feel this way towards his daughter, although he does realize he's misdirecting the guilt he feels towards himself.
  • Undying Loyalty: to House Vadal. Jagdish's only plan, once he's avenged the Coldstream massacre and restored his honor, is to return there and help maintain his house's glorious reputation.



Protector, twenty-two year Senior

Karno Uttara

Protector, eighteen year Senior
  • The Big Guy
  • Living Lie Detector
  • Bad Liar
  • Brutal Honesty: called Blunt Karno for a reason, even among the Protectors, who are generally very straightforward Karno Uttara is considered a straight shooter.
  • Declaration of Protection: To the Inquisitors about Rada
  • Dropthe Hammer
  • Genius Bruiser: Is known for two things, solving crimes, and bashing the wrongdoers with his hammer. Despite being huge and shaggy, Karno is remarkably perseptive, enough so that Devedas hopes to keep him away from the Capitol so he doesn't discover his schemes. Little does he realize that guarding Rada will bring Karno right into them.
  • Papa Wolf Takes his duty to protect Rada very, very seriously. Although there is nothing paternal about the relationship.


Protector, Senior Instructor
  • Broken Pedestal
  • Blue Oni, Red Oni: with Ratul. Before the latter ran off, Ratul was gruff and a harsh teacher, while Mindarin known for his skill as an orator, and taught by explaining rather then punishing.


  • 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.



Mother Dawn

An old woman whom the casteless heed. As do many others. She has been setting people and preparations in place across the entire continent of Lok, in accordance with The Plan.
  • 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.



The Grand Inquisitor
  • A God Am I: Although only small hints have been given as to his true goal, he mentions things like immortality and not minding making Devedas a king, because he intends to become a god. Omand doesn't believe the old gods were real, but he believes that their power is.
  • Affably Evil
  • The Chessmaster
  • Corrupt Bureaucrat
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: And not just for his Obligation as Inquisitor. He likes pleasure women that no one will miss to do with as he likes.
  • Evil Chancellor: What he wishes to become with Devedas as king. Even in the present he is not a judge, so he can not officially make the Law, but he owns so many judges through blackmail, bribery, and his conspiracy, that he is much more powerful then the actual Law makers.
  • The Faceless: Like all Inquisitors. They hide their face with a leering fanged mask, and take off the mask when they want to go incognito.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist
  • Smug Snake: Ormand spends quite a lot of time congratulating himself on how well he's prepared things.
  • Villainwith Good Publicity

Nadan Somsak


Head of the Lost House of wizards.

The Sea Demons

  • Always Chaotic Evil: Its unclear just how they think, but they love to devour living creatures, especially humans and destroy everything in their path.
  • Starter Villain: The first enemy fought in the series.
  • Heaven Versus Hell: How Demons landed on Lok according to the illegal legends.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Thus far, most Demons we have seen are somewhat man shaped, but its said that truly vast creatures have been seen in the ocean, where they live.
  • Sentient Phlebotinum: Wizards use pieces of Demon to do magic.

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.
  • The Mole

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