The Seven Heroes
Gorm Ingerson is a Dwarf of the Khazad'im Clan. Long ago, he was a well-known professional hero and berserker nicknamed Pyrebeard. Then he disgraced himself by running from a quest, with his career taking a nosedive.
- The Atoner: In the second book, Gorm seeks to atone for unintentionally causing the Guz'Varda Tribe to be nearly wiped out by professional heroes.
- An Axe to Grind: Gorm's preferred weapon is a simple axe of Dwarven manufacture. Nothing fancy, but it's well-balanced and sturdy. And while he wouldn't mind upgrading to a Cool Sword, they're just way too expensive for him, so he usually settles for getting enchantments for the axe, which are a lot cheaper. At Bloodroot, he purchases an even better made Orcish axe, but keeps his other axe on his belt as a backup, in case he has to throw his main one.
- The Berserker: Gorm used to be one. Berserkers are elite Dwarven warriors, who fly into a fury during a battle and become nigh-unstoppable. According to Gorm, the key is to have something worth fighting for.
- Celibate Hero: Justified, since Dwarves are a One-Gender Race and tend to be notoriously tight-lipped about how they reproduce. In fact, like most Dwarves, he tends to get grossed out by how open the other races are about their romantic feelings for one another.
- The Exile: Gorm's shame has resulted in him being exiled from the Khazad'im Clan.
- Fallen Hero: Gorm used to be well-known among the professional heroes. Then he ran from a quest, which ended his career and got him exiled from his clan.
- I Am X, Son of Y: Based on the fact that Niln refers to him several times as "Gorm, son of Inger, son of Hruxo" in his writing, we can surmise that "Ingerson" is more of a patronymic than a surname. By that token, his father was likely named Inger Hruxoson.
- The Leader: Gorm's role on the team, even though officially, Niln is the leader. After a while, though, Niln admits that he's tired of pretending to be a leader and just has Gorm do it full-time.
- Secret Keeper: Keeps Thane's secret and grudgingly allows the Troll to discreetly follow the party.
Gleebek is a Goblin and the last survivor of his family, after they were slaughtered by professional heroes. He only survived because of Gorm, who then took Gleebek under his wing and made him his squire. His real name is revealed to be Tib'rin of the River Turtle Clan.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Gorm leaves Tib'rin in Bloodroot, figuring he'd be safer among the Orcs than in the company of a professional hero. When Gorm returns to Bloodroot, he finds Tib'rin's body, as professional heroes have sacked Bloodroot.
- The Squire: That's Gleebek's job, although Gorm admits he's a terrible squire and even gets worse with time. Gorm ends up having to take care of his gear himself.
Kaitha te'Althuanasa Malaheasi Leelana Ter'ethe...Liliea Musanatila Bae Iluvia...Yi'Nailn Loela Toranga Migracie...Asanti Tilalala nil Tyrieth is a legendary Elven ranger, once known as the Jade Wind. She is also a former princess of House Tyrieth.
- The Alcoholic: Kaitha has become this decades ago and has spent the last 40 years at the bottom of a bottle. She's also addicted to healing salves.
- Archer Archetype: Kaitha's weapon of choice is a bow. She is deadly precise with it. She acquires a Poor Man's Quiver in a shop, so now she never runs out of enchanted arrows.
- Forest Ranger: Kaitha is an experienced Elven ranger and can read tracks as if they were an open book.
- Really 700 Years Old: While her age is never specified, Gorm mentions that she once saved his grandfather Hruxo, when Hruxo was still a little boy. Given that Elves are The Ageless, she could be many centuries old.
- Self-Harm: Being a salve-head, Kaitha regularly cuts herself and then drink a healing potion to experience the intoxicating effect of her body regenerating.
Heraldin Strummons is the party's bard, although he's actually fleeing his former career as a thie- eh, acquisition specialist. He becomes close friends with Gaist and is able to understand him, despite Gaist being an Elective Mute.
- All Men Are Perverts: Well, Heraldin is, constantly hitting on any female he encounters. Broken fingers and burned eyebrows have taught him to avoid trying anything with Kaitha and Laruna, respectively.
- And I Must Scream: When Heraldin was host to Benny Hookhand, Benny controlled his body, with Heraldin unable to do anything.
- The Bard: Heraldin has become a bard only recently and doesn't do much singing. He does reveal, though, that he has always wanted to be one and only became a thief in order to pay for "bard school". He knows plenty of songs, he just doesn't sing them.
- Impossible Thief: The others can only stare in awe as Heraldin opens complex locks with barely a touch, bypassing mechanical and magical traps with practiced ease.
- Reformed Criminal: Heraldin claims to be done with thievery. He even takes some convincing to use his considerable lockpicking skills, as the act is incredibly addicting. But mostly he's afraid of a certain Benny Hookhand.
- Royal Rapier: Heraldin's weapon of choice.
Gaist is a tall, swarthy man from the Southern Empire, who used to be known as Iheen the Red. Since the same incident that caused Gorm to flee, Gaist has not spoken a word to anyone and has thrown himself into the most dangerous quests.
- Death Seeker: Gaist seeks to die, but he's just too good with a sword and throwing knives to go down easily.
- Elective Mute: Gaist doesn't say a single word and mostly just stares into distance.
- Master Swords Man: Gaist is a sixth rank weaponsmaster and is equally skilled with a broadsword and a dagger.
- Meaningful Name: A "gaist" is an Orcish death mask. An apt name for a Death Seeker.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Gaist is revealed to be a Doppelganger in book 2. The original Iheen the Red was killed in Az'Anon's dungeon. Gaist was Iheen's friend, who took on his appearance and made it seem as if Iheen was in two places at the same time. After Iheen's death, Gaist became a Death Seeker and stopped speaking. Gorm speculates that, without Iheen to remind him, Gaist forgot what Iheen's voice sounds like.
Jynn Ur'Gored is a high-ranking Ruskan noctomancer and High Councilor of the Circle of the Red Hawk, the youngest person to ever be on the council. He is a master spell-weaver.
- Blackmail: The reason Jynn joined the Al'Matran quest.
- Cover-Blowing Superpower: In book 2, when Laruna is dying of poison, Jynn uses his omnimancy powers to heal her, something only solamancers are normally able to do.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Jynn does his best to keep the fact that he's Detarr Ur'Mayan's son a secret. Gorm later learns that Niln has known all along, and that Flinn and Brunt used the knowledge to blackmail Jynn into joining. In book 2, it's further revealed that he's secretly an omnimancer.
- Rank Up: Near the end of book 2, Jynn gains a new resolve and absorbs the magic from a Sten artifact, granting him unprecedented power. He becomes the first omnimancy archmage in millennia and defeats his liche father.
- Skeletal Appendage: His use of solamancy on Laruna sears the flesh from his left hand, the bones of which he animates with noctamancy and covers with a glove. Detarr tries to use it to claim they're Not So Different.
- Walking Spoiler: He has a lot of secrets.
- Weak, but Skilled: Jynn admits to Laruna that his power reserves are actually pretty low by mage standards, so he learned to compensate by mastering his weaves to perfection.
Laruna Trullon is an apprentice solamancer with a fiery temper. She frequently snaps and produces raw fire energy of incredible power.
- Kill It with Fire: Laruna is very good at producing and controlling powerful flames.
- Rank Up: When Jynn sees Laruna solve a magical problem in a way he never would have thought to do, he admits she's ready and grants her the rank of a full mage. Her enchanted robes instantly change to reflect the new status.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Laruna has incredible reserves of raw magical power, but she has trouble learning to weave complex spells, preferring to unleash fire at every problem. She gets a little better under Jynn's tutelage.
Niln il'Devin is one of the high scribes of the Temple of Al'Matra. He receives frequent divine inspiration from the All Mother, which he writes down into a collection of scriptures that will eventually become the Book of Niln. His scriptures make significantly more sense than the random ramblings of other high scribes, making his writings suspect.
- Character Death: Niln is murdered by Flinn near the end of book 1.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Niln's parents are likely an Elf and a Gnome, but unions of different races of Man always produce 100% human children, with only heterochromia to hint at their parentage.
- Mismatched Eyes: Niln's eyes are of different colors, which is an indication that his parents were of different races, likely an Elf and a Gnome.
Thane is a Troll, who secretly joins the party in Mirewood, as he is smitten with Kaitha but is afraid to reveal himself to her for fear of rejection.
- Token Heroic Orc: Thane is very much unlike a typical Troll. He doesn't like hurting people and would much rather help them, but he has learned to do it without letting himself be seen, as his ape-like visage would frighten people, and he would do anything to avoid seeing "that face".
Burtrek ("Burt" for short) is a Kobold, who works as a "purse Kobold" during the first book but then joins the party at the end, becoming a full member throughout book 2.
- Ascended Extra: Burt appears in only three scenes in book 1 but becomes a regular party member in book 2.
Johan the Mighty is a famous professional hero and champion of Tandos. He is famous for slaying Az'Anon the Spider King and Detarr Ur'Mayan, as well as rescuing Princess Marja from the clutches of Detarr.
- It's Personal: Johan takes Detarr Ur'Mayan coming back as a liche personally.
- Klingon Promotion: played with. In book 2, Johan throws King Handor off a giant eagle. The undead are blamed for his death. He then provides solace and comfort to the grieving Queen Marja and almost immediately offers to marry her. She accepts, and he becomes the new king.
- The Paladin: Johan is the champion of Tandos, the leader of the Fantasy Pantheon. When he kills King Handor, the undead are unable to reanimate him, as anyone killed by a paladin is protected from the undead curse by divine power.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Johan's fame is unparalleled in the Freedlands. He also turns out to be in large part responsible for everything that happens in book 1.
Duine Poldo is a Scribkin Gnome, who has worked at Goldson Baggs Group, Inc., for over a century.
- Ascended Extra: Poldo is only mentioned a few times in book 1, while becoming a key POV character in book 2.
- The Atoner: In book 2, after he encounters Mrs. Hrurk, Poldo realizes how many people he's indirectly hurt while working for Goldson Baggs. At first, he invites Mrs. Hrurk and her three cubs to live with him, and then he uses the money he starts raking in from his company to establish affordable housing for Shadowkin and monsters, and even some impoverished Lightlings.
- Firing Day: Poldo is fired by Goldson and Baggs at the end of the first book for "being too pessimistic" about the company's financial forecasts.
- Start My Own: After being fired from Goldson Baggs, Poldo starts his own investment company, Silver Guard Securities. By the end of book 2, he's forced to sell the company to Goldson Baggs.
Garold Flinn is a Tinderkin Gnome, a high-ranking mercenary of the Silver Talons. Never goes anywhere without Brunt the Ogre in book 1. Becomes an assassin in book 2.
- Red Right Hand: After Gorm chops his hand in half in book 1 he comes back with a wicked-looking clawed prosthetic, which gets dismantled by Benny Hookhand when he attaches himself to him.
- Self-Made Orphan: According to Flinn, he killed his own mother for over a thousand giltin and doesn't regret it one bit.
Fenrir Goldson and Bolbi Baggs are a Dwarf and a Halfling, who own one of the largest investment companies in the Freedlands or, indeed, on all of Arth - Goldson Baggs Group, Inc.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Money is everything to Goldson and Baggs, and they will go to any lengths to ensure a steady profit for themselves and their investors.
Other Shadowkin and Monsters
Zurthraka is the chief of the Guz'Varda Tribe of Orcs. He is determined to ensure the survival and prosperity of his tribe by turning from their warlike old ways to the new ways of manufacture and business.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Zurthraka is one of the largest Orcs encountered by the party. When his eldest son Char challenges him for leadership, Zurthraka handily thrashes his son and then teaches him a lesson in humility by cutting off his beard, a symbol of maturity. It's stated that it's pretty common for Orcish chiefs to be challenged, and thus a chief must be both strong and popular to stay in power.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Friendly once you get to know him and a decent businessman. He has a plan to ensure that the tribe's children don't have to die at the hands of the goldhounds (what the Shadowkin call professional heroes), and that involves securing the tribe's financial future and independence.
- Taking You with Me: Zurthraka takes down dozens of attacking professional heroes, before finally going down.
Asherzu is Zurthraka's eldest daughter and second child. She is also the wisest of all his children and is determined to keep the Guz'Varda Tribe on the path of the "aggressive seller".
- Women Are Wiser: Asherzu is definitely wiser than both her brothers, and they're usually smart enough to acknowledge it. She successfully challenges her younger brother Darak for leadership, forcing him to choose between killing his sister and stepping down. Then, when Asherzu herself is challenged by Grignot, the humbled Darak steps up to be her champion and easily kills Grignot, cementing Asherzu's claim. Also, when she is convinced that Gorm and his party are innocent of the slaughter of her people, she accepts their offer to become Dwarven citizens and save Andarun from an undead invasion.
Brunt is an Ogre mercenary, working for the Silver Talons, while also representing the interest of the Heroes' Guild. He frequently acts as the muscle of the Flinn-Brunt duo.
- The Big Guy: Being an Ogre, Brunt is naturally larger than most people he encounters, including his Tinderkin partner Flinn.
- Demoted to Extra: Brunt appears in only two scenes in book 2, while playing a larger role in book 1.
- Ret Irony: Brunt was planning on retiring two weeks before his Curb-Stomp Battle with Gorm that left him near death.
The Mask is a Doppelganger, able to change his appearance to that of pretty much anyone. An old acquaintance of Gorm's.
Detarr Ur'Mayan was a powerful noctomancer and necromancer, before he was slain by Johan the Mighty. However, Detarr has since come back as an undead liche with the power to raise and control the dead.
- Abusive Parents: Even before realizing he came back as a liche the memory of his "lessons" was enough to leave Jynn stuttering.
- Chewing the Scenery: Tremble Mortal! Dread lord Detarr Ur'Mayan, Kind of the Dead, comes for your soul! Eternal Torment Awaits.
- Losing Your Head: He died by decapitation. After becoming a liche getting his skull knocked off is reduced to an inconvenience.
Tyren Ur'Thos is a Ruskan knight-commander, who is killed during the undead attack on his town and is brought back as a revenant, becoming one of the high-ranking commanders of Detarr Ur'Mayan's undead army.
- Dem Bones: After dying, Tyren comes back as a skeleton, but still clad in his ornate armor. He's initially assumed to be a skeleton (only those, who lead blameless lives, come back as skeletons). Later they figure out hes a Death Knight.
- Dragon Ascendant: After Detarr's defeat, Tyren becomes the new leader of the undead, leading them to his ancestral castle in a remote part of Ruskan. One of the epilogues has him receiving a letter from his daughter and writing back, while at the castle.
- Fatal Family Photo: He grabs a woodcut of his estranged family before deserting, and the narration makes note of the spell that kills him destroying it.
- Fighting from the Inside: After Detarr suppresses his will with the Crown of Iron Thorns he quietly does the minimum required of him. Until he encounters his daughter and holds back until the liches defeat.