Characters from The Dresden Files, the Denarians.
WARNING! Due to the books relying heavily on mystery and surprise, the pages would be virtually unreadable with excessive spoiler tags. Therefore, all spoilers except for the most recent novel (Skin Game) are UNMARKED. Tread carefully.
- Harry and Harry's Household
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- The Fae
- The Fomor
- The Kemmlerites
- Chicago Mafia
- Chicago Police and FBI
- Other Powerful Entities
- Ordinary People and Badass Normals
The Order of the Blackened Denarius
- Artifact of Doom: The coin each Denarian carries contains the essence of the Fallen inside, and making skin contact with it will implant either the Fallen itself or a copy of that Fallen's essence into the victim's mind.
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: The Shadows of the Fallen operate on this view. They need a willing person to accept the Coin to allow the Fallen an opening onto Earth and have more fun. Dead men cannot accept anything. So, while they will lie, torment, or otherwise screw with the Host's mind to get them to accepting the Coin, they will not, as Lasciel's Shadow notes, make the Host not see on-coming traffic and be hit by a car when they cross the street or convince them the room is on fire and there is a fire escape out the window when, in truth, the room is fine and there is no safe escape out that window.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: A weakness of the Shadows, if one goes by Lash's binding by Harry. The Shadows are imprinted onto the mind of the Host and a copy of the Fallen in every way, but if the Host has enough mental strength and discipline, as the owner of the mind, then the Host can bind and gag the Shadow. It explains why so many Shadows seek a quick turn around on their Hosts as any who realize they have more power than the Shadow could turn the tables on the Shadow quickly.
- Deal with the Devil: Part and parcel of their ways. The Fallen can only fully emerge with a conscious choice by the host to embrace the Fallen. The Shadows of the Fallen may be meticulous and patient, while others just beat their host into giving up just to end the torment the Shadow is putting them through. The meticulous ones would examine the host and seek out the perfect offering, a need or a want that cannot be obtained in any other fashion save for taking up the coin.
- Determinator: It is revealed some Denarians are called by the host's name and others by the name of the Fallen. This is because those who break under the power of the Fallen likely won't be coming back. They become the puppet of the Fallen. Those who endure are this trope, and will be called by the host's name.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Harry deliberately gives them these, in order to make them less scary — which has actual weight in a world where fear and belief are empowering forces. "Nicodemus Archleone and the Knights of the Blackened Denarius" sounds quite a bit scarier than "Nicky and the Nickelheads", which is exactly why Harry and Michael call them by the latter in every appearance.
- Fallen Angel: Each and every member is a carrier to one of thirty Fallen Angels.
- For the Evulz: The Denarians' entire purpose is to inflict as much pain to humanity as they can.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Going off the evidence of how Lash reacts when he walks into a church, Harry postulates to Michael that the reason the Fallen Angels avoid churches isn't because Good Hurts Evil and just standing there is uncomfortable because of the holy environment hurting them (as Michael suspects), but because it makes them feel and remember what they have lost. They question their choices, and after a million years or more of steadfast belief you were right, regret is not fun.
- Pride: Each of the Fallen have this in spades. They believe completely in the righteousness of their mission.Butcher: [Y]ou don't get to be a fallen angel without having a certain amount of irrational egotism and pride.
- Public Domain Artifact:
- The Thirty Pieces of Silver are the vessels of the Fallen.
- The noose Judas hung himself with is worn by Nick.
- Reality Warper: Speculated by Harry who fears even sealed in their Coins, the Fallen can produce a Murphy's Luck and just happen to fall out of a gloved hand and role away, or bounce right at a human host.
- Time Abyss: In Small Favor when Harry is describing the advantages the Denarians have, beyond the super strength, shapeshifting, and powerful magic, he considers the Fallen Angels themselves the strongest advantage for this trope. Not only do they likely predate the Creation of the Universe, they have had 2000 years living in a human mind and knowing how it ticks. They would know all the ways to tempt a person and what pains to make them feel, all in the name of converting someone to their cause. And then once they have a partner, they can give this wisdom to them and make the host a truly terrifying force.
- We ARE Struggling Together:
- Word of Jim is that Lucifer selected these thirty because he feared they would try a coup against him one day, so best put them in a place of use and far from him.
- The various factions of Denarians rarely work together, and even when they do, they spend quite a bit of time backstabbing each other. Even within factions they're rarely what you'd call a happy family.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: If Deirdre in Skin Game is to be believed, they are trying to save the world.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Near-immortality, power and abilities beyond the likes mere mortals can dream of, those Denarians who have the strong enough will to not break under the weight of the power of the Fallen tend to end up the most dangerous but also insane in their own way.
- Your Heart's Desire: One of the Shadow's tactics in turning people into accepting the Coin. The less brute-like Fallen will observe their Host and tempt them with this idea. When Thomas notes to Harry he has lived with one demon in his head already and could resist another, Harry quickly counters the Fallen would likely offer Thomas a means of touching the woman he loves without fear of being harmed again by her love for him. Thomas only goes silent as he recognizes the effectiveness of this tactic.
For Sanya, see his entry under the Church.
The leader of the Order of the Blackened Denarius. One of the most dangerous foes that Harry has ever faced. While most Denarians force their hosts into servitude, Nicodemus is actually in a partnership with his fallen angel. Wears the rope that Judas hung himself with as a necktie, and it grants him Nigh Invulnerability. No one knows all that much about Nicodemus, as he makes it a point to find and destroy the church's records on him every couple hundred years.
- Achilles' Heel: The noose can kill Nicodemus, just as it grants him instant healing.
- Affably Evil: He tries, and usually puts on a good show. But when pushed, he flips straight to Faux Affably Evil.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: His primary outfit is a silk shirt and trousers.
- Badass Longcoat: Tends to wear them. Harry calls him on the "Bogart" look when they first meet.
- Berserk Button: After sacrificing Deirdre, he's understandably very touchy about it. Harry doesn't so much press his Berserk Button as jump up and down on it with big stompy boots.
- Big Bad: He is one of the heavyweights in Harry's Rogues Gallery, which makes him the Big Bad in a few stories. Chiefly, he's the Big Bad in the ongoing struggle between the Denarians and the Church with their Knights of the Cross.
- A subversion occurs in Small Favor when Harry hints at the Black Council, and Nick finds out that he isn't the Big Bad of the series. The thought that a force he doesn't understand is working against him, using his own people against him, and is entirely orthogonal to the axis between God and Satan troubles him deeply. This in turn influences his actions in Skin Game, where his sacrifice of Deirdre seems to be designed, in part, to keep her safe from Nemesis.
- Brought Down to Badass: Briefly during Skin Game. He gives up his Coin and the Noose, losing his supernatural powers. He then fights Murphy, equipped with a Sword, in hand-to-hand. He wins. Decisively.
- Break the Haughty: Skin Game turns into this for him. In sum: His daughter/lieutenant/lover is dead by his hand (and it VERY clearly affected him), his political power and reputation are destroyed, his tongueless Mooks witnessed him flee and are possibly on the path of redemption. Furthermore, the Coins of two of his most most powerful allies are lost, locked away in Hades' vault. The only bright side (for him anyway), is that he retrieved the Holy Grail and knows of Dresden's daughter.
- The Caper: Plans on robbing Hades' Vault in Skin Game.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Freely admits that one of his goals is to bring about the apocalypse. He also calls himself a sociopath.
- The Chessmaster: His favorite gambits are manipulating people into where he wants them and to do what he expects them to do. He also has no qualms waiting 5, maybe 20 years for something to play out. Such as tossing the coin of Lasciel at the feet of the toddler Harry Carpenter, which would result in turning Harry or turning the child of a Knight of the Cross into a Denarian.
- Classic Villain: Pride is his bed and butter and contrasts greatly with Harry. As seen in Pride's and I Regret Nothing's bullets below, the man is so enveloped in his own greatness and brilliance, he sees no flaws within himself. Harry, by contrast, holds himself to the ideal that "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" that his failings in never coming out perfect, that there has always been some collateral damage, someone he failed to save, sees little else but his flaws and failings. By Skin Game Harry has an emotional breakdown at the most recent failure.
- Combat Pragmatist: For all his swordfighting skill, he has nothing against controlling people with his shadows or pulling guns during a swordfight.
- Didn't See That Coming: Quite a few times Harry is this to Nick.
- In Death Masks Harry having the Eureka Moment that the Noose would fail to protect Nic from itself allows Harry to give an attack that surprises Nic and throws him off balance enough for Harry to run.
- Harry outwitted him in Small Favor
- By setting up two exits to the island, one a gunship help and the other the Water Beetle.
- Realizing Nicodemus' show on the island is meant to push Harry's anger so much he would break his word, and thus depowering Fidelacchius. Harry knew this would happen with his experience with Lea and Amoracchius in Grave Peril.
- Lastly, that Harry managed to remove the Shadow of Lasciel from inside of him. Extra points for that one; as of the end of her life, Lash was a discrete being from Lasciel by that point, and in all likelihood owed more loyalty to Harry than the Denarians.
- Even before Harry and co went to the island, however, he was pretty clearly very shocked when Harry told him that Arctis Tor was attacked by someone wielding Hellfire, going still and silent for several seconds before giving a Flat "What".
- In Skin Game, the biggest thing Harry does is securing Grey's allegiance before Nicodemus hires him, meaning that while Grey was working for Nicodemus, he was just waiting for Harry's order to swap sides.
- Also in Skin Game, Harry points out something Nicodemus never considered, and which utterly blindsided him, due to his obsession with Hell and Nemesis: letting Deidre die in Hades' realm means that now her soul belongs to Hades... and the Greek gods make their eternal punishments personal. That realization leaves Nicodemus stunned in horror.
- The Dreaded: He is this for most people aware of his name and reputation. He is one of the most vile and dangerous humans alive. If you say no to his deals, he will kill you quickly and efficiently. He might make you suffer if he has time, but is keen on keeping to the plan. And Nicodemus fears Harry Dresden.
- The End of the World as We Know It: In his own words, the apocalypse is not an "event" so much as it is a "frame of mind."
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He does, in fact, care deeply about his daughter Deirdre. It's likely he cared about Lartessa at some point, but they had been... estranged spouses even before the events of Skin Game.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In Small Favor as part of his speech to recruit Harry, he considers the Red Court a parasite on the world that will need to be purged eventually.
- Evil Counterpart: The author has stated that Nicodemus is essentially the opposite of Michael Carpenter.
- Evil Is Petty: Nick makes some racist comments regarding Shiro, particularly since its clear that Nick's afraid of him due to Shiro besting him the last time they met.
- Evil Laugh: Subverted. Harry notes it isn't like that but a deep, rich laughter of one who is supremely confident.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Described as such in Small Favor. In Skin Game, it's gone to Guttural Growler levels because of the damage Harry inflicted on Nick's throat in their last fight.
- Evil Sounds Raspy: Courtesy of Harry giving him a good strangling with Judas's noose in Small Favor.
- Eviler Than Thou: Nicodemus is one of the few, and possibly the only, Denarian who is more human than demon. This is because the demon admires the human.
- Possible subversion. Michael believes that Anduriel is just that good at manipulating Nicodemus, Nicodemus doesn't know he's been had. Nicodemus himself, of course, doesn't believe a word of that. See Pride below.
- Faux Affably Evil: Polite, friendly, and civil. Even when he's about to cut your throat.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: [[WMG Theories floating around]] hold that he was the same Nicodemus from The Bible, the member of the Sanhedrin who favored Jesus during the latter's trial and later helped prepare Jesus for burial. Word of Jim states that Dresden's Nicodemus was a tax collector during Jesus's time, basically barely more than a civilian.
- Genre Savvy: Oh GOD yes. Harry thinks he's read the Evil Overlord List. Well, up until a little logistical problem in Small Favor.note
- Greed: He cannot help himself when he's given an offer too good to be true. In Death Masks he agrees to trade the apparently relatively unimportant Harry Dresden for the chance to kill his arch-nemesis Shiro for good. This not only gives Harry the chance to escape and ends up screwing up that plan, but, unbeknownst to Nicodemus, Shiro was already dying of cancer and Nick could have been rid of him just by waiting a bit longer. Then in Small Favor he has exactly what he needed. He admits he doesn't need the coins Harry was offering to save a life of one of Harry's friends, but when Harry adds Fidelacchius to the pot, he gives in and agrees to make the trade. Note that this was a deal where both parties had taken it for granted they were going to be betrayed, and it came down to a matter of who was going to be Out-Gambitted. Harry beats him again.
- In the latter case, however, the motive is less greed than fear, as Harry points out that even if he does get his 'Neo-Dark Age', the Swords are just going to find new wielders, and plays on his fears of one day being killed.
- Healing Factor: The noose gives Nicodemus one that Wolverine would be proud of. It allows him to almost instantly heal from injuries that would kill any other Denarian, the vast majority of which are Made of Iron with a Healing Factor of their own. Fire, magical assaults, close-range assault fire, explosions - none of it can really harm Nicodemus to any meaningful degree. The best one can do is briefly stun or drive him off. Only wounds done by the noose seem to remain well after they were sustained, like his raspy voice.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The Noose he wears that grants him an incredible healing factor will not protect Nicodemus from being strangled by it. Harry nearly kills the man in Small Favor by strangling him. Harry is interrupted but he got to the point of permanently damaging Nicodemus' throat, making his voice a lot rougher than before.
- I Gave My Word: While he is a sociopath who does evil things, one doesn't live long in the Supernatural world without at least honoring one's deals. So he keeps the wording of his deals to the letter of the deal and will pay those who work with him what he promises - as long as there's no way to weasel out of things without anybody finding out. Getting him to visibly break his word, ruining his reputation, is key to Mab's revenge against the man.
- Immortals Fear Death: He's almost impossible to kill, thanks to the Noose, and he is a deadly dangerous fighter, treating Michael as a light challenge in Death Masks and as he demonstrates in Skin Game, even without it and his Coin, he can go hand to hand with Murphy and win while she's armed and he's not, first disarming her, then crippling her. But there are a very few people who really scare him: Shiro and, after figuring out the secret of the Noose, Harry. And the reason they scare him is that unlike almost anyone else, they can actually kill him, something Harry needles him about.
- Immune to Bullets: Even more so than most Denarians. Thanks to the noose, bullets alone aren't enough to stop Nicodemus. Assault-rifle and other heavy rounds can stun, disorient, or briefly drive him off, but handgun rounds just seem to startle him at best and annoy him at worst. And regardless, he heals the damage almost instantly.
- I Regret Nothing: When Harry got winged by the light of Uriel's halo in Skin Game, he saw every bad thing he'd ever done in his entire life and how incredibly, unbelievably easy it would've been for him to have made another choice and done the right thing. It crippled him with guilt. Nicodemus, who got the full blast head-on and has two thousand years of unspeakable depravity behind him, laughed in the archangel's face and mocked him for "judging" a mortal. Averted at the very end of the book though: some part of him does regret what he does to his daughter, and Harry repeatedly pressing that chink in the man's otherwise-impenetrable mental armor is enough to make Nic flip out, break the deal, and try killing everyone, something that more-or-less directly leads to him losing virtually everything he has left.
- Ironic Name: Nicodemus is also the name of a character from The Four Gospels; a Pharisee who became one of Jesus' followers. He helped prepare Jesus for burial after his death. Considering what this Nicodemus is like, and how in his first appearance he's after the Shroud of Turin, it's a somewhat unusual name to choose. See Meaningful Name, below, for justification. And of course, for all we know, that's his actual name...
- Knight of Cerebus: Takes turns playing this with the Red Court.
- Living Shadow: He can use his shadow to fly. And strangle people. And all sorts of other crazy things. And we've probably only barely seen the basics. This seems to be because the shadow actually is a manifestation of his Fallen, Anduriel. In Small Favor it whispers to him at times, and actually screams when one of the Swords lights up. And in Skin Game we discover that, unless you are being specially shielded from it, it has the ability to listen in on anyone from their shadow.
- Logical Weakness: Judas' noose makes Nicodemus virtually impervious to harm. Except from the noose itself.
- Manipulative Bastard: He knows how to with the best of them.
- Master Swordsman:
- He's had two thousand years to refine his swordfighting. Michael is a highly-skilled swordsman, but he's little more than a speedbump for Nicodemus. Shiro is apparently the only one who could stand against him.
- Skin Game reveals that he's not completely infallible. When Murphy beats him, he's baiting her so he can destroy Fidelacchius. It doesn't stick, but when Michael goes all out, he beats Nicodemus, forcing him to cut and run. Michael notes, slightly dazed, that he's never done that. It does help that Anduriel was occupied fighting Harry and a well aimed ice-cannonball by Harry caved in part of his torso, on top of his obvious mental trauma that Harry just played on, so he's not quite fighting at full speed throughout.
- Meaningful Name:
- His last name, Archleone, means "Great Lion". Lampshaded by Harry.
- Nicodemus means "Conqueror".
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Giving Harry Lasciel's coin saved Harry's bacon on several occasions. Of course, Nick really wasn't expecting Harry to subvert the Shadow's loyalty, causing it to perform a Heroic Sacrifice for him.
- No-Nonsense Nemesis: Lampshaded when Nicky captures him in Death Masks, noting that Nicodemus is the kind of person who, when he says "join me or die", will do the "or die" part quickly, cleanly, with no gloating and a minimum of fuss.
- Offing the Offspring: To bypass Hades' Gate of Blood in Skin Game, Nicodemus murders his daughter Deirdre, as he was sure no one else's ghost would remain loyal enough to activate the Gate's lever for him.
- Parental Incest: Is in a sexual relationship with Deirdre, much to Harry's (and the readers') intense discomfort. Creepier still, they genuinely love each other as father and daughter at the same time.
- He believes himself to be simply better than everyone else. Two thousand years of besting the best of God's followers, being a partner to one of the Fallen and not one of their servants, and generally never losing control would do that to a person. This is no more better illustrated than in Skin Game:Nicodemus: I do not dance to the Fallen's tune, Knight. We may move together, but I play the music. I set the beat. For nearly two thousand years I followed my path, through every treacherous bend and twist, through every temptation to turn aside, and after centuries of effort and study and planning and victory, they follow my leadership. Not the other way around. Turn aside from my path? I have blazed it through ages of humanity, through centuries of war and plague and madness and havoc and devotion. I am my path and it is me. There is no turning aside.
- And Harry hammers it in by making the ultimate comparison:Harry: The shadow at his feet seemed to darken as he spoke, to throb in time with his voice, and I shuddered at the sight, at the pride in his bearing, the clarity in his eyes, and the absolute, serene certainty in his voice. Lucifer must have looked exactly like that, right before things went to Hell.
- He believes himself to be simply better than everyone else. Two thousand years of besting the best of God's followers, being a partner to one of the Fallen and not one of their servants, and generally never losing control would do that to a person. This is no more better illustrated than in Skin Game:
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Not as hammy as most examples, but very effective nonetheless. After Harry has just mentioned that Arctis Tor was attacked by someone wielding Hellfire . . .Nicodemus.
- Rage Breaking Point: Harry induces this in him in Skin Game in order to break his word and tarnish his name in the supernatural community. Of course this cuts both ways, since he goes into Tranquil Fury and stages an attack to try and kill Harry and Michael's loved ones.
- Really 700 Years Old: Rumoured to have been around when Jesus was a local.
- Revenge Before Reason: Has a really bad habit of giving up on sure-to-succeed plans for revenge against someone (or something) that has wronged him. He let Harry go in Death Masks when Shiro gave himself up for Harry, resulting in Harry buggering up Nicodemus's plan, gives Dresden and company a chance to rescue the Archive when faced with an opportunity to get rid of Fidelacchius (though that one had a degree of logic, since while Harry was manipulating him, he was entirely correct when he said that the swords wouldn't just lie around doing nothing once Nicodemus unleashed his apocalypse, and they'd go straight for him), and then lets Murphy and Harry go on the promise of revenge against Michael in Skin Game.
- Skunk Stripe: Has a grey streak in his otherwise dark hair. This is the only indicator of his age.
- Smug Snake: A rather understated version and he is genuinely competent and dangerous, but he has an unfortunate tendency to forget that he isn't perfect which.
- The Sociopath: Self-admitted in Skin Game.
- The Spymaster: Nicodemus always seems to know a lot about his enemies and their current plans. This is because Anduriel is the spymaster. He can listen to any conversation held within reach of a living being's shadow. Sometimes he can even see through the shadows too. However, he cannot listen when purposefully blocked by sufficient power, such as Mab, the Carpenter house, or Demonreach, and he must purposefully focus on a shadow to listen through or it would be just noise among the rest.
- Synchronization: When Anduriel and Nicodemus are fighting independently in Skin Game and the former is wounded by one of the Swords, Nicodemus senses his Fallen partner's pain and stumbles.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Nicodemus shows this skill in Skin Game. Harry muses the man probably spends a lazy afternoon every decade or so practicing the skill. After being around for over a thousand years, he knows what he's doing to hit his target with ease.
- Unholy Matrimony: In Small Favor we learn that he's married to Tessa, "not that it seems to mean very much to either of them".
- Villainous Friendship:
- He seems to get along quite well with Anduriel.
- He may also have had a rather twisted version of this with Quintus Cassius, judging by his explanation for why he left him to die:Nicodemus: Depending on the largesse of others is nothing but parasitism. I respected Cassius too much to let him devolve to that.
- Villainous Incest: He has a sexual relationship with his daughter, Deirdre.
- Weapon of Choice: Swords in general. Doesn't matter what kind; after two thousand years' worth of experience using them, one doesn't stick to one type.
- Wicked Cultured: Though he isn't fully versed in the most recent developments in psychology, not many psychologists know how to drive chariots, so it evens out.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Nicodemus plays a mean game.
Nicodemus's daughter (and lover). His favorite subordinate, she's a powerful Denarian who takes the form of a scaly, feminine monster with long, flexible metal blades for hair that she can move at will. While she's nowhere near as smart as her dad or as psychotically, destructively violent as her mother Tessa, she's plenty scary in her own right.
- Bizarre Alien Locomotion: Her prehensile hair/blades allow her to scuttle like a spider, lift or lower herself through air ducts, or form a giant shark-like metal tail to swim.
- Combat Tentacles: In her Fallen form, her hair turns into thin, prehensile blades that look like they were cut from sheet metal.
- Dark Action Girl: Her role in the Denarians.
- Daddy's Little Villain: She is Nicodemus' blood child and just as evil as he is.
- Day in the Limelight: Skin Game, to an extent, in that for the first time we actually see her when she isn't murdering, trying to murder, or about to try and murder someone, for more than five seconds and get an idea of what she's like and what drives her.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She and Nicodemus genuinely love each other.
- Face Death with Dignity: When Nicodemus stabs her, she doesn't cry out. She merely kisses her father and tells him she loves him.
- I'm a Humanitarian: She eats the tongues of those cult members in her service.
- Ironic Hell: Being killed in the underworld of Greek mythology meant no Biblical heaven or hell, and Nicodemus comforted her about being safe from the Enemy - which could be taken to mean either God or Nemesis. But as Dresden reminds Nicodemus, unlike in Hell, her afterlife would be specifically tailored to torment her in the way most appropriate to her sins.
- Mundane Utility: Her prehensile metal hair can shred her enemies... or be woven into a platform to give somebody a boost.
- Prehensile Hair: Thanks to her Fallen.
- Really 700 Years Old: In Skin Game Tessa states that she has spent about 1500 years raising her. As it was said in an emotional moment, there is likely truth to this statement.
- Sacrificial Lion: Almost literally. She sacrifices herself by letting Nick stab her by his own hand to open the Gate of Blood to access Hades' vault.
- Undying Loyalty: To her father, Nicodemus. Quite literally. She was the only one that Nick was absolutely sure would serve him and activate the Gate of Blood even after he killed her.
- Villain Ball: She grabs it in Death Masks when she describes the bowl they plan to collect Harry's blood in as a silver bowl. This keys Harry into what sort of ritual they would be doing with his blood, and later when Shiro switches places with him, what Shrio's blood would be used for.
Polonius "Tessa" Lartessa
More commonly referred to as "Tessa", she is also a leader for the Denarians. As Nicodemus' wife, she and her Fallen, Imariel, are stated as the second-eldest of the Denarians. Generally, she is a rival to her husband, though they do work together to accomplish a similar goal- the last time they were said to have worked together, the Black Plague spread across Europe. She chooses bearers for coins based upon willingness to take a coin, not talent; Fallen who serve Imariel (and Tessa) go through bearers quickly. Tessa is concerned with short-term views, while Nicodemus is focused with the bigger picture and long-term issues. Tessa is also shown to be an exceedingly capable sorceress. Harry notes that she is a "big-leaguer" and "White Council material".
- Axe-Crazy: She loves bloodshed, without a doubt.
- Batman Gambit: It's implied that she is running one of this, managing to play both Harry and Nicodemus like a fiddle. Her capture of the Archive was a rather beautiful one itself.
- Break the Cutie: What she did to Ivy; presumably, what was done to her as a slave.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Does this to Ivy.
- Cute Bruiser: A pretty, apparently young woman who packs a BIG punch.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Not that it's hard in comparison to Nicodemus, but even she considers Nicodemus' plan to sacrifice their daughter to the Greek Underworld beyond the pale.
- Evil Counterpart: To Charity. Both are fiercely protective of their children and both have less respect for Harry than their respective husbands. Oh, and both can / could use magic, unlike their husbands.
- Freudian Excuse: It's mentioned that her own father sold her to work at the temple of Isis in Thessalonica to save his failing business. And by "work" we mean "sacred" prostitution.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: She started out as an underage hooker (though she wasn't underage by the standards of Roman Greece). Now she's a powerful mage responsible for some of the most abominable crimes in human history.
- Green Eyes: Harry takes a moment to take notice of her "huge and gorgeous green eyes" in her human form.
- Mama Bear: She's shown to be violently protective of her daughter Deidre, and tries to prevent Nicodemus' plans in Skin Game in order to keep her alive.
- Made a Slave: She was sold into a life of prostitution by her own father.
- Out with a Bang: Harry Dresden actually bursts out laughing after she tries to trade sex for prisoners, pointing out that everyone with half a brain knows what female mantises do to their male counterparts after mating, and that assuming he wouldn't is a tacit insult.
- Really 700 Years Old: She looks about fifteen except for her short, gray hair... and was a slave in ancient Greece before she met Nicodemus.
- Slaying Mantis: Tessa's alternate form is essentially a demonic praying mantis, and she's up for whatever causes the maximum amount of chaos and suffering for humanity. She can also be split into thousands of miniature versions of her demon form, which can torment the people they land upon.
- The Sociopath: She is responsible for many of the most horrific wars and ethnic cleansing's in human history.
- Shock and Awe: Her preferred style of magic.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Tessa prefers recruits who are readily susceptible to the Fallen's temptations over recruits with intelligence or specialist skills. As a result, Tessa's minions tend to be more numerous than Nicodemus', but less formidable individually and far less capable. Naturally, this leads to Tessa periodically complaining about her peons' incompetence.
- The Vamp: More than willing to try and seduce Harry and offer herself sexually to him in exchange for Gard and Hendricks.
- Unholy Matrimony: Nicodemus took her away from her life as a child prostitute and apparently married her, but they both seem to loathe each other and only cooperate on special projects.
- Weak, but Skilled: In magical terms. Being alive for two thousand years with a Fallen giving one lessons lets even someone with a very modest talent for magic develop it into something very, very powerful, with Dresden reckoning that she's got at least Council level game.
Tessa's second, Rosanna is able to assume the form of a classic demon: batwinged, leathery skin, red eyes, and so on. She was the one who corrupted Sanya into taking Magog's coin when he was a younger man. Older and more dangerous than she seems, Rosanna is an expert at temptation and manipulation.
- The Dragon: Rosanna is Tessa's second-in-command.
- Horny Devils: Technically, she's not a succubus, but she seems to be the basis for the classic concept.
- Kill It with Fire: Her magic of choice.
- Magic Knight: She's equally comfortable mixing it up in physical combat and hurling spells.
- Manipulative Bastard: She's able to feign the "scared girl who is in over her head" act so effectively that Sanya, who knows what she is, is still affected by it. When Harry calls her on this, pointing out that if she really wanted to quit she would have done it any time, both Rosanna and her Fallen partner seem impressed.
- Older Than They Look: At least several centuries old, but like all Denarians she looks a lot younger than she actually is.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Tries to act like this, but Harry sees through the facade, pointing out that she wouldn't have survived as long as she has if she were really that conflicted.
- The Vamp: She was Sanya's handler while he was Magog's host. He left the Denarians when he discovered how she actually felt about him.
The fourth of Nicodemus' usual crew of Denarians, Cassius is a wizard with an emphasis on snakes. Unsurprisingly, takes on the shape of a humanlike snake in his Denarian combat form. At the end of Death Masks, he gives up his coin, as he expects that Nicodemus will help him. He is disappointed, and returns in Dead Beat, working with Grevane under the agreement that the necromancer will help him take down Harry and seize Lasciel's coin.
- Badass Grandpa: Cassius is no slouch even when he's suffering advanced age and has no Fallen to give him immortality.
- Card-Carrying Villain: He's evil and he knows it.
- Dirty Coward: Surrenders to the Knights and Harry, fully expecting mercy and fully intending to go back to Nicodemus afterward. The Knights can't touch him, but Harry can, and does so with a baseball bat to the knees and arms.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He absolutely can't believe that anyone would refuse the temptation of the Fallen and not take up the coin, so he automatically believes that Harry has to have Lasciel's coin on him or (unfortunately for Harry) inside him somewhere.
- Evil Cripple: Not entirely, but he mentions that his joints haven't quite been the same after Harry went to work on him during their first meeting.
- I Surrender, Suckers: See Dirty Coward.
- Nightmare Fuel: His death curse, "Die Alone", is this to Harry In-Universe.
- Rapid Aging: Once he loses his coin, he ages from an adult to near-geriatric in just a few years. It left him unrecognizable for the majority of Dead Beat.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: in Dead Beat, he comes after Harry for payback.
- Scaled Up: His Denarian form is that of a snake-man.
- Smug Snake: A literal example.
- Torture Technician: He thinks Lasciel's coin is on Harry, somewhere. Specifically, he knows the lengths some Denarians will go to in order to keep their coin on them, from swallowing the coin repeatedly to cutting open their flesh and hiding it inside, so he intends to look for Lasciel's coin on Harry, starting with a little bit of surgery."I'll go on a treasure hunt . . ."
- Trauma Conga Line: At the end of their first meeting, Harry was disgusted by Cassius's slimy ways and willingness to take advantage of the Knights' honor and conviction. Harry remedies the situation by having his coin taken and Cassius left behind. While it would have meant he would have been free to return to Nicodemus, Harry breaks his knees and arms, and leaves him a quarter to make a single call at a pay phone across some broken glass to either call for medical attention or Nicodemus. (Pay phones also need more than a quarter, and Harry knew this.)
- Villain Team-Up: He contracts with Grevane in Dead Beat since their both chasing after Harry for their own reasons.
- Weapon of Choice: During his second appearance, it was a Louisville Slugger.
One of Ursiel's many hosts.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: He took up one of the Fallen's coins, and as a result, he wound up crucified inside his own mind.
- Killed Off for Real: By the Knights.
- Laughing Mad: When Dresden soulgazes him, he finds the man a broken being who is constantly laughing.
- Prospector: While it's not explicitly confirmed that Rasmussen was one, we do know he was possessed by Ursiel in the 1840s while he was on his way to California, and he was likely heading there to find gold.
- Tragic Monster: The man only sought to be a gold prospector heading for California in 1849 when he came across Ursiel's coin. By the time Harry encounters him, Rasmussen is a broken and insane man whose mind has been shattered by Ursiel.
Lash, shadow of Lasciel
One of the Fallen Angels of the Blackened Denarii, known also as the Webweaver and the Temptress. Nicodemus offered her coin to Harry, who refused but was later tricked into touching it. Lasciel's Shadow, known as Lash to Harry, was a psychic duplicate who took up residence in Harry's head for some time. She first appeared to him in the guise of a bookstore employee named Shiela Starr before dropping the pretense, revealing who she really was, and striving to tempt him into taking up Lasciel's coin. She remained in Dresden's head during this process and her stay in his subconscious changed her significantly from the original, making her a separate and individual entity.
Tropes below apply only to Lash (tropes for Lasciel proper, who finally appears in Skin Game, is a separate entry).
- Affably Evil: She tries, anyway.
- Artifact of Doom: She came from one, like all the other Nickelheads.
- Combat Pragmatist: With temptation thrown in, no extra charge.
- Deal with the Devil: Harry refuses to sign, a source of much frustration to her.
- Demonic Possession: To Harry to save Michael's son Harry from the same fate.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: While the psychic attack wasn't perpetrated by Lasciel herself, Lash' death has the earmarks of this. Her original and sole purpose was convincing Harry to take up the coin of Lasciel. That is it. Instead, even after a long game played, when the final moments of Harry's life came, she not only failed to convince Harry one final time to take up the coin, Lash finally acknowledged she was more than her original purpose by saying, "she doesn't deserve you." In taking the assault for Harry and turning her back on Lasciel all together, she effectively gave her maker a middle finger.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Half the discussions are her asking why Harry does the things he does.
- Evil Feels Good: Her running argument for why Harry should join up.
- Expy: With the emphasis on sexuality, seduction and personal freedom, as well her increasingly ambiguous morality and having a child with Dresden, she heavily resembles certain depictions of Lilith.
- Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: The shadow looks like a beautiful woman, or other women Harry knows and is sexually attracted to, and uses them to try and get Harry to take up the coin.
- Faustian Rebellion: After a deep debate with Harry (and several years of his influence, including what is suggested to be his subconscious talking to her), what he convinces her to do, "the Devil" being True Lasciel.
- Hearing Voices: She causes them. She can create illusions before Harry's eyes that it takes his Sight to see through them.
- HeelFace Turn: Eventually, to the point that Lash actually sacrifices herself to save Harry.
- Hell-Fire: Gives Harry access to this.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Sacrifices herself to save Harry at the climax of White Night from a powerful mental attack. The act was actually such a moment of selfless love that, in effect, the act became a moment of pure creation that gave birth to a living entity of intellect carried in Harry's mind.
- Humanity Is Infectious: Lasciel realizes, after an argument with Harry in White Night, that as a Shadow imprint she is just as malleable as the material she is imprinted onto. As she acknowledged Harry could be turned evil, Harry replied she could be turned into something else too. And with her enduring over 3 years worth of humanity inside Harry Dresden, she finds herself thinking in different ways. According to Bob, by giving her a new Name, Harry infuses a part of his soul within her, truly infecting her with humanity and making her something more than just a Shadow.
- Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Does this a few times, sometimes with other women's forms.
- Master of Illusion: She makes an effective demonstration of it in Dead Beat where she shows Harry an illusion of a fire escape, then breaking it off a split second before he tries to step out on it.Lasciel: If I wished to kill you, my host, your blood would be seeping from your broken corpse and mixing with the rain on the sidewalk.
- Out-of-Character Alert: Once Harry gives her the name Lash, things start to change about her. Her appearance becomes more disheveled, from the proper woman in a toga to messy hair and the like. She even responds to Harry's thanks with a "You're Welcome." To solidify this, just before she dies, she calls Harry by his name, not "my host."
- Redemption Equals Death: While she did not return to serving Him in her final moments, Lash's final act of taking that psychic bullet for Harry were done not in service to Lasciel's wishes but the feelings that had grown for Harry.
- Significant Anagram: Not perfect, but phonetically one can get "Shiela."
- Someone to Remember Him By: Her final act was a moment of pure, selfless love for Harry. Love is a fundamental force of creation, and the result of mutual love created a spirit in intellect within Harry who was effectively their "child."
- Spirit Advisor: To Harry. She implies if she had survived the encounter which kills her, she would have gone away with treachery and become a good one for him.
- Taking the Bullet: She purposefully redirects the psychic assault on Harry's head into the regions she exists inside as she can better take the damage without causing Harry permanent damage.
- Treacherous Advisor: She can show Harry how to handle practically anything. And by a wacky coincidence, the solution just happens to involve the coin in his basement.
- Villainous Friendship: The Shadow heavily implies that this is what the relationship between Lasciel and Harry would have developed into had he taken up the coin. There are several indications that she is actually telling the truth in this matter (eg. Nicodemus' distaste for wasting talent would suggest that he wouldn't deliberately give the powerful, intelligent and strong-willed Harry a Fallen who would break him down into a beast), but anything she says should be taken with several pinches of salt. Although her original somewhat supports this would have been the case.
Lasciel, the Seducer
One of the Fallen Angels of the Blackened Denarii, known also as the Webweaver and the Temptress. Nicodemus offered her coin to Harry, who refused but was later coerced into touching it. While her shadow, Lash, attempted to coax him into taking the coin he refused and eventually handed it over to the Church.
- Horny Devils: Takes on the traditional shape when she confronts Harry.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Lasciel betrayed the Lord God in Lucifer's War for Heaven. She was able to be convinced, by stoking her pride, she could turn her back on Him and come out alright. Not only was this caught by Him in the end and she sent to Hell for this action, eons later her own shadow not only fails to seduce Harry into joining up, Harry was able to "seduce" this shadow onto his side, in part, by playing to the shadow's sense of ego and identity as a being who lived in his head for so long was far from the original essence of the shadow who first existed there.
- Light Feminine Dark Feminine: Lasciel goes both ways. When she appeared in Harry's mind she was sexy but in a dignified, somewhat enigmatic way. In the Sheila Starr persona she had more of an adorable nerd girl vibe. When she's possessing Hannah she's much more blatant, though it's tough to judge how much of this was coming from her host rather than the Fallen.
- Master of Illusion: Is capable of making illusions so real that it takes a Wizard's Sight to see through them.
- Meaningful Name: She has monikers like Seducer, Temptress, and Webweaver. Each one details a skilled manipulator preying on emotions or other vulnerabilities. If Lash's actions are her typical operation, such as Kiss Me, I'm Virtual, these are apt names.
- Playing Both Sides: At a 2016 convention, Jim Butcher reveals Lasciel was banished from Heaven not for siding with Lucifer in the War of Angels, but rather because she tried playing both sides. When things settled, God wasn't amused and kicked her out. One of the reasons for her anger is all her machinations fell through.
- Terms of Endangerment: Calls Harry "Lover" when addressing him.
- The Vamp: Acts this way towards Harry through Hannah.
- Woman Scorned: She's furious that Harry turned her away by refusing the Coin, stating she really liked him.
The Fallen within Nicodemus's coin.
- Casting a Shadow: Rather than allowing his host to shapeshift, he gives Nicodemus control over shadows, which allows him to cover and manipulate an area around him, and to create wings with which Nicodemus can fly.
- The Dragon: Was said to be one of Lucifer's direct lieutenants during the rebellion against heaven, and Lucifer seems to trust him enough to run the Denarians.
- Eviler Than Thou: On the lesser side of this trope, since he respects Nick enough to be in partnership rather than just as a host.
- The Ghost: Only speaks once, but his influence is felt in that he gives Nicodemus his shadow powers.
- The Spymaster: Described as such, based on his ability to gather information by seeing and hearing through people's shadows.
The Fallen within Tessa's coin.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Her natural demonic form is a gigantic praying mantis.
- Slaying Mantis: Her true form is a giant praying mantis, and she is a very effective killer in that form.
- The Worm That Walks: She has the power to break apart into thousands of beetles, roaches, and other creepy-crawlies to attack someone physically while letting Imariel whisper hateful knowledge at them to attack their mind. When she does it to Harry to get around the bars of a vault, Michael has to save him from being simultaneously eaten, crippled, and driven insane.
Big and brutal, Magog is the heavy hitter of Tessa's crew, resembling a monstrous gorilla. He's fast and tough and hits like a freight train, but is very unsubtle, and abuses his hosts viciously, to the point that they are just animals.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: Magog does not win points for being clever or quick-witted. His response to most threats, whether they be a Squishy Wizard or the most powerful assassin in Summer, is to charge straight at it and plow it under.
- The Brute: To Tessa.
- Lightning Bruiser: Harry notes that he moves fast, and his reaction time is "almost nothing".
- Mugging the Monster: In Small Favor's climax, Magog picks a fight with the eldest Billy Goat Gruff — Champion of Summer, the Leanansidhe's equal and opposite, and slayer of three Senior Council members in duels. Despite the Gruff's repeated insistence he's got no quarrel with Magog. It goes . . . poorly.
A particularly brutal Denarian who abuses his hosts, Ursiel is aggressive, violent, and psychotic. Taking on the form of a massive, six-legged bear, he serves as Nicodemus' heavy hitter.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: When he's possessing the Genoskwa, he transforms into a bear the size of a battle tank.
- Bears Are Bad News: Uses a giant, multi-limbed bear motif and so powerful that even powered just by a skinny gold prospector he takes all three Knights of the Cross plus Harry to bring him down.
- Genius Bruiser: Maybe not a genius, but he's certainly much smarter than his counterpart among Tessa's crew, Magog.
- The Heavy: To Nicodemus.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: When he transforms his hosts, they become a giant multi-limbed bear-beast. Grey first blinds the Genoskwa's eyes, which requires their using Ursiel's form, and as a result that larger, bulkier body doesn't move with the grace and swiftness the Genoskwa's body does. And the larger form makes it that much easier to be crushed by the grinders in the Gate of Ice.
- The Juggernaut: It takes three Knights plus Harry to put him down and when possessing the Genoskwa, he bulldozes through absolutely everything in his way.
- Off with His Head!: How the Knights of the Cross bring him down.
The demon possessing Quintus Cassius's coin.
A wizard working with Tessa's group, Thorned Namshiel looks like a human covered with a number of thorns, hence the name. Namshiel serves as Tessa's mastermind, and also took part in the attack on Arctis Tor, the capital of Winter Court.
- The Arch Mage: A villainous example. He's on a whole other level magic wise as compared to Harry, completely negating one of Harry's better force blasts (he actually eats the spell), imprisoning him and putting him at his mercy with a single spell, one which goes straight through Harry's shield and operates on multiple different magical frequencies, rendering him unable to use magic. If Uriel's Soulfire hadn't kicked in just then, Harry would have been dead.
- Berserk Button: Gets absolutely pissed when he sees Harry use Soulfire (the Fires of Creation)—partly because it's a mortal using "their" power, and partly because Harry's using it to pound his face in.
- Brainwashed: Circumstantial evidence suggests he's been influenced by Nemesis.
- The Chessmaster: He knows how to play a mean game. With Rosanna, he is one of the only intelligent Fallen working for Tessa.
- The Man Behind the Man: Implied to be this for Tessa.
- Off with His Head!: His fate.
- Razor Wire: Has a strangulation spell that he uses to get around Harry's shield, strangle him and pickpocket the remaining coins. According to Nicodemus, it isn't the first time he's done it.
- Squishy Wizard: The least-threatening physically of the Denarians, though getting beat about the head and shoulders by Harry's staff, followed by smashed repeatedly into pillars by a giant hand and burned by a column of Hellfire would ruin anyone's ambitions of being ambulatory.
In addition to Anduriel, Imariel, Magog, Thorned Namshiel, Deirdre's Fallen, and Rosanna's Fallen, at least twelve other Fallen were involved with the plots to abduct Marcone and Ivy. They include:
- Akariel. His host is killed by Thomas and Hendricks during an attack on one of Marcone's safe houses.
- Urumviel. Described as having "a lot of muscle and a ridge of leathery plates running down his spine". His host is killed by Dresden during the abduction of Ivy at the Shedd Aquarium.
- Varthiel. His host is shot to death by Kincaid during the Shedd Aquarium battle.
- Ordiel. His host is shot to death by Kincaid during the Shedd Aquarium battle.
- Tarsiel. His host is killed during the Shedd Aquarium battle.
- A Denarian described as "several hundred pounds of scales and fangs". His host is incinerated by Ivy during the Shedd Aquarium battle.
- A Denarian described as "an androgynous, naked, bald statue of obsidian" whom Dresden nicknames "Obsidian Statue". His host is shot to death by Kincaid during the Shedd Aquarium battle.
- A Denarian described as having "a shaggy coat of grey, dusty-looking feathers" and a face consisting of "a grey mass of fleshy, hanging tendrils" whom Dresden nicknames "Shaggy Feathers". His host is shot to death by Kincaid during the Shedd Aquarium battle.
- A Denarian described as a "wizened little thing" who looks like she's been carved from a tree root and whom Dresden nicknames "Tree Woman". Her host is killed during the Shedd Aquarium battle.
- Three other Denarians, all of whose hosts are killed during the Shedd Aquarium battle.
None of their hosts appear except as corpses, and only one is even named (McKullen, who is said to have been killed by Kincaid at the same time that he downed Varthiel and Ordiel). All of said hosts are killed during the events of the Small Favor case.
- Body Horror: Many of them. "Obsidian Statue" bleeds a black substance that reminds Dresden of asphalt, and Shaggy Feathers has a mass of tentacles for his head.
- Dumb Muscle: Dresden notes that a lot of them aren't very bright, observing that even in Hell it's probably easier to find strong backs than strong brains.
- The Ghost: Some of these Denarians are never even seen, such as Tarsiel, who is ordered to deal with Kincaid but never appears in person before somebody kills him.
- Gorn: All are killed, several in a very messy fashion. For example, when Harry sees the corpse of Akariel's host body, he notes that four-fifths of his head has been blasted off and his guts are strewn all over the place.
- Here We Go Again!: All of these Denarians lose their hosts, but except for Akariel (who was killed before the others), Thorned Namshiel picks the coins out of Dresden's pocket and gets them back into Denarian hands so they can find new hosts and continue on with their plans.
- Posthumous Character: Some of these Denarians, like Akariel, only appear in person after another character has already killed them.
- Put on a Bus: Their hosts are killed and their coins are secured by the church.
- Red Shirts: A rare villainous example.
- The Worf Effect: In their first appearance, Denarians are built up as incredibly hard to kill; it took three Knights of the Cross just to deal with one (Ursiel). The characters who mow down eleven of these Denarians during the Shedd Aquarium battle (such as Kincaid, who kills Obsidian Statue and Shaggy Feathers with a single bullet), thus look supremely badass.
- This is discussed, with Thomas noting that Akariel (who he gutted) didn't seem all that tough compared to the other bad guys out there, Dresden notes that this was because Thomas struck lucky in cutting the coin out of the host, meaning that the Healing Factor didn't kick in. It is also worth noting first that Kincaid is explicitly mentioned as having fought the Denarians before, as well as being Crazy-Prepared and having access to some ludicrously powerful weaponry, plus the only things that ever put them down for good are One-Hit Kill shots. Anything less and their Healing Factor will put them back together in short order.
- It's also noted that Ursiel was particularly powerful, while the relative weakness of the other, lesser Denarians was somewhat foreshadowed by Cassius/Saluriel, back in Death Masks: he was never much threat to anyone unless he caught them by surprise and got knocked out by the admittedly massive Sanya with a single length of 2 by 4.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Subverted. On a very-basic level, tongueless henchmen have a number of disadvantages in the coordination department... yet Michael goes into detail about why Nic keeps doing it after it screwed him over in Small Favor. Namely, a tongueless man can't talk with his friends, can't enjoy his food, can't do much of anything to help himself escape from the trap Nicodemus pulled him into.
- Cyanide Pill: They use these rather than let the Church capture them.
- The Squire: Once they have their tongues removed, they are called squires. This probably has something to do with the fact that Nicodemus is a Knight of the Blackened Denarius, and sometimes referred to as 'Sir' Nicodemus.
- Tongue Trauma: They all have their tongues removed to ensure they won't confess any dangerous secrets. Said tongues are removed via Deirdre ripping them out of the henchmens' mouths. With her teeth. And eating them.
- Undying Loyalty: Completely, fanatically devoted to their master Nicodemus. At least until Skin Game.
One of Nicodemus's squires.