Opening cast in Chasing Sorcery
Ruari MacBeth – At the start of the story Ruari is the deputy leader of the Rheged sept of the Knights of the Order of the Cross on that island. He has been overseas fighting on the great continent which lies to the east of the Islands. Out of nowhere raiders have attacked eastern Rheged and Ruari led most of the fighting force of the Knights in pursuit of them in support of the regular army of Rheged, led by his half-brother, Michael. Ruari is the illegitimate son of the previous Jarl of Rheged (a leader elected from among the Island’s nobility although it has become hereditary of late), and as such he agreed to go into service with the Knights to avoid any succession conflicts.
Jarl Michael – Ruari’s younger half-brother, being the son of the old Jarl’s second wife, and now the leader of Rheged, already dead by the opening of the story having been killed overseas.
Oswine – Michael’s older and only legitimate son. A spoilt child who hasn’t grown up despite now being of age by Island’s conventions.
Wistan – Eleven years’ old and Michael’s younger, and illegitimate, son by his mistress, Eleanor. Not strictly in the running to succeed to the Jarldom, nonetheless Wistan presents an opportunity for those opposed to Oswine’s succession to use him as a focus for rebellion.
Kenelm – the son of the old Jarl’s oldest son and heir Hubert – now deceased, but having been rendered mentally incapable of anything but the simplest of tasks by a head wound while in his teens, although still capable of fathering Kenelm. Kenelm is therefore half-cousin to both Wistan and Kenelm, and also Ruari’s half-nephew. With Michael already established as the Jarl’s heir by the time Kenelm was born, he was placed in the care of the monks at Maersk where he has remained under the watchful eye of the abbot.
Abbot Jaenberht – until recently abbot of Maersk but currently in the north of Rheged at Mailros. Jaenberht is a wily and highly intelligent man who has been close to the Jarl’s family for generations, but also has close links with the Knights and almost anyone else who matters in Rheged. A natural leader with strong moral convictions, but also capable of great compassion and sympathy.
Fulchere – archbishop of Rheged and therefore the head of the Church excluding the monastic order, and far from a shining light to guide the ordinary people! Has somewhat strange sexual preferences and is also power-hungry, making him easily subverted.
Father Walter – the former prior of Maersk Abbey under Abbot Jaenberht, and as good as Fulchere is warped. Now very old and retired, he nonetheless cannot sit by and let others suffer.
Andra – a monk from within the monastic order who has been brought to the Jarl’s court to tutor Wistan. Having been in the cloister since an infant, Andra finds the outside world more than a bit of a challenge! However he has great personal courage ( even if he hasn’t really tested it yet) and also cares deeply about what happens to his young charge.
Will ( William) Montrose – a general in the regular
army of Rheged, when Jarl Michael went to fight in the east Will was one of
those left to guard the Island in case the indigenous raiding people ( the
Attacotti) decided to take advantage of the Jarl’s absence. Hereditary lord of
Montrose castle also.
Matti ( Matilda) Montrose – Will’s wife, and at the beginning of the story somewhat estranged from him, given that they have led virtually separate lives for many years now. Matti has defied convention by not joining in social gatherings around the Jarl’s court and pursuing her own interests instead – her love of reading in particular is thought rather unbecoming for a woman of her station!
Edmund Praen – a cousin of Matti’s and friend of
Ruari’s, until recently he was a serving officer with Jarl Michael’s army until
being wounded and sent home. He was therefore not present when Michael died,
and since then has been in limbo as what regular army which remains in Rheged
has lacked an overall leader to get it fully functioning again. The Praen’s
hold lands near the capital, Earlskirk. Gerald of Urse – a former high ranking
officer in the regular army and a friend of Edmund and Ruari’s. Having been
wounded and taken off active service he now fulfils his family’s obligation to
look to the defence of Rheged in the north-west – not an arduous task! His
family home is Thorpness Castle where he lives happily with his wife, Rosin,
and several sons.
Osbern of Braose – another former soldier of the same rank as Gerard and Edmund and another friend of theirs and Ruari. Married to Ismay, their union is in stark contrast to Gerard and Rosin’s, in part due to Osbern’s devout beliefs which make him stern and uncompromising at times.
Sgt. Iago – a former enlisted man from the ranks of the Knights and known to Ruari. Wounded in the east, Iago came back in the same evacuation as Edmund, but currently lives as part of the monastic community at Allerford.
Elidyr – one of the few Foresters on Rheged, and as such accompanied Ruari’s force to the east.
Ivain – the young king who took over from his grandfather, King Mordred. His long minority allowed the nobility to take most of the power into their own hands, and so although he is now of age to rule in his own right, he finds it extraordinarily hard to make his presence felt.
Gillies – Ivain’s mother and widow to Crown Prince Geraint, the oldest son of King Mordred, Gillies comes from the leading family of Rathlin and as such was not considered a suitable match for Geraint. That they married for love is widely thought to have been not Geraint’s best decision – especially by those who know that Gillies previous suitor was the Attacotti leader Mad Magnus.
Alaiz – the young queen, married to Ivain when they were both small children in order to seal a political union between Prydein and its neighbour Kittermere, largely because the leaders of Prydein felt they needed a buffer zone between them and Rathlin once Rathlin fell to the rebel Attacotti. Alaiz is now orphaned and feels friendless within the Prydein court, except for Gillies who might be her mother-in-law but is also the only mother she has ever known.
Turstin – Alaiz’s older surviving brother and nominally the nearest thing Kittermere has as a ruler. Self-serving and ruthless, he sees only the chance of more wealth and glory by allying himself with rebels against Ivain, rather than siding with his sister.
Gorm – Alaiz and Turstin’s younger brother, Gorm is always in Turstin’s shadow and easily led, not being the brightest member of the family!
Brion – Ivain’s cousin by virtue of being the legitimate son of King Mordred’s second son. Brion feels that life has cheated him of his rightful place as Prydein’s king, and that Ivain has been stupid in not promoting his own personal power. Therefore he has begun a rebellion against Ivain with a view to seizing the throne for himself, at which point he intends to show the folk of Prydein that he is the true heir of Mordred in spirit and in actions.
Hugh de Burh – the supposedly retired Grand Master of the Prydein sept of the Knights. However, in reality Hugh is still very active, having taken on the burden of dealing with the loss of the information and manpower caused by the destruction of the covert Brethren’s network within New Lochlainn after the Battle of Gavra Pass. Hugh has moved his personal headquarters to Quies Castle on the north Brychan coast to be away from the prying eyes of the court. Hugh is one of two surviving leaders from the major battle of Moytirra twenty-six years ago when the DeÁine were defeated.
Amalric de Loges – supposedly the current Grand Master of Prydein. Unfortunately Amalric is all too aware that in many respects he is head in name only, and it rankles! Half the problem is that the other leading Knights have fought alongside Hugh in the past, whereas Amalric has almost no experience in the field. Hugh pushed Amalric forward as his replacement because he felt that what was needed was someone who could protect the interests of the Order against the political avarice of the court, never anticipating that they would need to fight on a grand scale again.
Oliver Aleyn – a young captain with the Knights.
Hamelin – a Knight who came to the Order somewhat later than most and as a result tends to be the more sober and responsible one of his friends, who include Oliver. Hamelin has a half-brother, Lucas, who is mentally disabled and who, although the true heir to the estate on which Hamelin’s family lives, actually works as the blacksmith to the village. Lucas is physically very similar to Ivain.
Pauli – a Knight and friend of Oliver and Hamelin’s.
Bertrand – a Knight and friend of Oliver and Hamelin’s.
Friedl – a Knight and friend of Oliver and Hamelin’s.
Theo – a Knight and friend of Oliver and Hamelin’s.
Squiers of Bittern – the ealdorman in charge of the north-western castle of Bittern.
Dabhi – Squiers’ second-in-command at Bittern.
Haply – a captain with the Knights assigned to watch over King Ivain.
Grimston – a captain with the Knights, also assigned to Ivain’s personal guard and friend of Haply’s.
Mad Magnus – charismatic leader of the Attacotti rebels and former lover of Gillies. Magnus seeks to break the Islanders’ hold over Rathlin and all other territories which by rights he sees as belonging to the Attacotti. The Attacotti are actually the indigenous folk of the Islands who, in most cases, intermarried with the in-comers from the east ( who came over a thousand years ago) and who now form the majority of the Islands’ population.
Edward of Mar – king of Brychan. Successor to Lothar as king although in reality only the illegitimate son of Edward, earl of Mar. By his mother he has an older illegitimate half-brother, and a younger half-brother and his two sisters. By his father he is half-brother to Richert of Mar.
Richert of Mar – second son of Edward of Mar by his wife, and therefore the true heir although not recognised as such. Richert is married to a cousin but lives a totally separate life to her.
Other members of the house of Mar are: Carloman ( dec) earl of Mar who was succeeded by his son Lothar who died without heirs. Edward earl of Mar ( dec) father of Edward the current king and Richert. Urwith (dec), a cousin of Edward earl of Mar and also Lothar’s, who is unimportant except that his two sons, Uriah and Godber, have been conned by Edward into thinking that they might become his nominated heirs, and are at court attempting to ingratiate themselves with him by being even more perverted and perverse than he is. Seebold, like Urwith, is unimportant himself but has twin sons, Lethi and Wicga, who also aspire to be King Edward’s heirs, and are also suspected of murdering their younger siblings to prevent any competition for Edward’s affections.
Cwen – daughter of Roger and Jane, the landlord and landlady of The Brace of Brachets inn in Radport. Cwen is Earl Richert’s mistress of several years and utterly devoted to him. She had two older brothers Giles and Gus, with Gus being married to Yvette, then two younger brothers, Jes and Eli, who still live at the inn.
Swein – one of King Edward’s lover/companions, framed for the supposed murder of the king. He is estranged from his own family and has no true friends until he meets Cwen.
Berengar – ealdorman in charge of the castle of Vellyn and its associated territories in northern Brychan. An experienced and honourable man, Berengar is liked and respected by his colleagues. As far as he knows, he has a younger half-brother, Ben, and two half-sisters, Heledd and Breizh by his mother.
Esclados of Rhue – veteran Knight and lifelong friend of Berengar’s, who serves with him at Vellyn. Many years ago Esclados fell in love with a young DeÁine woman but lost her in the chaos of war. Only later did he discover that she had his child, but he has no idea what happened to his son or daughter.
Jacinto – a squire with the Knights at Vellyn and a constant headache for Berengar and Esclados as he resists all efforts to train him to the Knights standards.
Maelbrigt – a former Commander with the Foresters, but after the Celidon sept ceased to be viable took temporary retirement and was granted a small castle and its holdings as a living. Partner to Taise, a former DeÁine acolyte now in hiding in Celidon.
Labhran – formerly a captain within the Covert Brethren and a trained assassin. Currently lives in isolation deep in the Celidon mountains with only his friend and fellow former spy, Sioncaet, for company.
Kayna – like a younger sister to Maelbrigt, she resents not being able to be a Knight. She had something of an infatuation with Talorcan when she was younger.
Brego – Grand Master of Ergardia and overall Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of the Cross. Along with Hugh from Prydein he was one of the leaders at the battle of Moytirra and as such has enormous experience when it comes to fighting the DeÁine. Like Hugh, Brego is capable of great compassion and empathy but is not a man to et on the wrong side of!
Angus – Brego’s loyal personal servant. Some think Angus taciturn and unfriendly, but he keeps confidences and cares deeply about protecting those who need shielding from evil.
Talorcan – a headstrong Knight with a very personal
hatred of the DeÁine having been born to a DeÁine mother and an Islander father
and having suffered terribly for it as a child brought up amongst the DeÁine.
He was the bait dangled before the DeÁine to lure them out at Gavra, and his
personal courage is exceptional. Unfortunately he isn’t always understanding of
those who don’t possess his own courage and resolution.
Sgt. Barcwith – the leader of Talorcan’s own lance. Barcwith’s wife was killed on Rathlin by the DeÁine and he carries as much of a personal hatred as Talorcan does.
Galey – Barcwith’s brother-in-law and also a widower, his wife having been killed in the same raid as her sister, Barcwith’s wife.
Tamàs – one of the two archers with Talorcan’s lance. Tamàs was brought up in part of Brychan which is now under DeÁine rule. He is a deeply sympathetic person and has a talent for dealing with both animals and distraught people.
Decke – the second archer with Talorcan’s lance, Decke has a rather morbid turn of mind and is deeply religious, but is as loyal to Talorcan and the Order as the rest of the lance.
Ad – a young lad rescued by the lance and who now serves as Talorcan’s somewhat unofficial page.
Cast who arrive in the other books
Hereman – ealdorman in charge of Freton, the great training camp in south-west Prydein.
Breca – a commander and Hereman’s second-in-command. A very experienced fighter, especially in siege warfare after many years fighting the Attacotti on Kittermere.
Eremon – a captain leading the survivors after the slaughter at Haile.
Piran – ealdorman in charge of Rosco and the youngest of the Prydein ealdormen
Thorold – ealdorman in charge of Vellan in eastern Prydein. A veteran of the wars with the DeÁine and a long-standing friend and confident of Master Hugh’s.
Wulfric – ealdorman at Bera and another veteran leader.
Aeschere – a captain of the Foresters on Prydein. Very capable but because the Prydein Foresters are only a small part of the Knight’s force on this island, he lacks the experience of men like Maelbrigt, or even Elidyr.
Saeric & Nazar – twin brothers and both Foresters under Aeschere’s command.
Instone – a commander and second-in-command at Rosco under Piran.
Colm Ap’brien – an Attacotti clan leader.
Raghnall Friseal – another clan leader.
Tormod Ap’caoig – clan leader.
Greum Caimbeul – clan leader.
Rainer – Grand Master of the Brychan sept, based at Garway.
Warwick – head of the Foresters in Brychan and ealdorman of Laon, deep in the Brychan mountains.
MacSorley – Warwick’s second-in-command at Laon.
Hawise – MacSorley’s daughter and one of the first women to be allowed to join the Foresters, now a captain in charge of one of the women’s companies at Laon.
Anna – Hawise’s second-in-command
Elen – another female captain with the Foresters at Laon. Exceptionally competent and trustworthy.
Nettie – a very bright young female Knight with the Foresters at Laon, mostly working with MacSorley on research into the application of special incantations and devices.
Burgin – an invalided young Knight temporarily in command of Tarah Castle in
Emlyn- a captain formerly of Penbrook
Iolo – a captain formerly of Kiln
Along the Castles’ Roads:
Jonas – the commander in charge of Merbach Castle
Stefan – the commander in charge of Hirieth Castle
Herrin – the commander in charge of High Cross Castle Allainn – the ealdorman in charge of Blas Castle. The youngest ealdorman ever to hold that office and a personal friend of Berengar’s.
Lackland – one of Allainn’s commanders.
Ellis – another of Allainn’s commanders.
Eoghan – the ealdorman in charge of Wolfscar, the castle closest to the DeÁine and therefore chosen because he’s a steady man who doesn’t jump at shadows but can be trusted to use his initiative.
In the north:
Corin – the ealdorman in charge of Wynlas Castle.
Phineus – the ealdorman in charge at Peruga Castle.
Errol – the ealdorman in charge at Borth Castle, probably the most vulnerable place regarding the DeÁine because there’s little room for other ealdormen to bring up troops to support him.
Scully – a trustworthy young Knight based at Garway but who ends up guarding
Cwen with the following men:
Warren – a sergeant
Mutley – a sergeant.
Rolo – an archer.
Brock – an archer.
Heledd – sister to Ben and older sister to Breizh, younger half-sister to Berengar.
Breizh – sister to Heledd and Ben, youngest half-sister to Berengar.
Guthlaf – Knight and mountaineer, leads a lance of similarly trained climbers. His sergeant and man-at-arms die helping Maelbrigt in The Wild Thyme Unseen.
Ianto – Guthlaf’s archer.
Brun – his other archer.
Hrethel – another mountaineer Knight.
Perkin – Hrethel’s sergeant
Lorn – archer
Simek – archer
Waeles – another mountaineer Knight
Dynevor – Sgt with Waeles’ lance
Malek – his man-at-arms
Chandos – his archer
Heuglin – his archer
Unferth – Knight
Haethcyn – Knight
Aldred – a veteran Forester Knight, specialist in lore and teaching.
Bosel – a veteran Forester Knight, specialist in assorted weaponry.
Raethun – a young Forester Knight, newly qualified when the Celidon sept was mothballed. Refuse the chance to relocate to Ergardia because he would have had to become an ordinary Knight and leave the Foresters.
Yaroman – a veteran Forester Knight. Eadgar – Maelbrigt’s veteran former sergeant. Loyal and often speaks his mind to Maelbrigt if he thinks other won’t speak up, very knowledgeable about battle wounds and field treatment of them.
Ewan – man-at-arms and a friend of Raethun’s.
Tobias – a young man-at-arms with the potential to become a Knight, quieter than Ewan and Raethun but a friend of theirs nonetheless.
Armstrong – a sergeant-farrier with the Knights, devote to the care of all animals.
Dana – the commander under Brego at Lorne Castle, the heart of the Order. Anywhere else Dana would hold the rank of ealdorman, but because Brego is technically the castellan at Lorne, Dana nominally holds the lower rank but it treated in all other respects as if he were an ealdorman.
Arsaidh – the truly ancient Grand Master of all the Foresters and of the Ergardian sept in particular. Many years ago Arsaidh served with his brother as the joint leaders of Ergardia, but since his brother’s death has focused on making sure the Foresters use all the information they can decipher from the archives of the ancients.
Sionnachan – the vigorous ealdorman who leads the Ergardian Foresters in the field and second-in-command to Arsaidh. The two have a respectful working relationship and compliment one another very well. Sionnachan is an old friend of Maelbrigt’s of many years.
Ulfhart – one of Sionnachan’s captains, young but with a lot of promise. He leads a very experienced lance of Foresters all older than him.
Mace – Ulfhart’s sergeant.
Anson – another of the lance.
McKinley – Forester and mountaineer, and a captain in charge of another lance of experienced men. He’s known Sionnachan since they were in training together.
Ergardian men travelling with Labhran:
Kym – a young Knight. He loses one of his archers in the disastrous wreck off Brychan.
Newt – his man-at-arms.
Busby – his other man-at-arms.
Toby – his surviving archer.
Lorcan – a more experienced Ergardian Knight who loses both of his archers in the wreck.
Evans – his sergeant and a very resourceful character not afraid to use unconventional means to get results!
‘Waza’ – man-at-arms.
Teryl – another young Knight with an experienced lance but with both men-at-arms lost in the wreck.
Cody – his archer.
Trip – his archer.
Regular men of Ergardia left without a lance after the wreck:
Topher – archer.
Mitch – archer.
Colum – archer.
‘Dusty’ – man-at-arms.
Jens – man-at-arms.
DeÁine society has several leading bodies – the Aberth who effective form the government and are made up of representatives of all of the pure born DeÁine families; the Donns who are specifically the military families who run the army; the Souk’ir, who are the traders and looked down upon by the others as not quite as pure genetically; the priests, who control the sacred temples and therefore the religious life of the DeÁine, and also have some substantial abilities with healing; and (most dangerous) the Abend, whose natural physical attributes have been enhanced and now have what most consider to be magical abilities. Formerly counsellors to the DeÁine emperor, they also once formed a mystical coterie around him when the DeÁine went into battle, and still have that element of being war leaders on a different level to the Donns. There are always only nine of the true Abend although they have many talented acolytes around them in training, and at any point, if one of the Abend is killed or dies, then another will be selected from within their ranks to be eleveated to the nine. The source of the Abend’s power ( and also the emperor’s) is the ability to tap into an elemental energy force they call the Power, which massively extends their life-span as a secondary effect, but primarily allows them to link telepathically and to also channel great quantities of this energy to both kill and control.
Quintillean – head of the Abend and the senior war-mage. He is also the
oldest of the nine, and with Masanae, Magda and Anarawd, can remember the Exile
from the DeÁine homeland by the emperor, but of the nine only he can remember
the actual occupation of the Islands 600 years ago.
Tancostyl – probably the most talented of the war-mages but inclined to make impetuous and ill-considered decisions.
Eliavres – a war-mage but more inclined to take a broader viewpoint than Tancostyl. Formerly a novice under Magda’s guidance.
Calatin – the fourth war-mage and the most eccentric of the Abend, often being so inscrutible that even the other Abend can’t fathom out what he’s up to!
Anarawd – the fifth male meber of the Abend but with no warlike talents. He’s known as the political schemer amongst them, but nine years before the start of our story he made a bad miscalculation and has been in bad odour with the rest of the Abend since then for dragging their reputation into disrepute!
Masanae – the leading witch amongst the Abend and often Quintillean’s partner, both in schemes and in bed. Cold and controlling, she is the intellectual of the current Abend.
Magda – once Masanae’s equal in many respects, although always more intuitive, Magda of late has become unstable and the others of the Abend wonder if she is sliding into senility.
Helga – Masanae’s former protégé, Helga is equally as calculating. The Abend’s most enthusiastic torturer, Helga is also bringing on an acolyte of her own ( Dagma) whom she one day hopes to supplant Geitla with.
Geitla – the fourth female member of the Abend, Geitla is also the most promiscuous of the nine, but also the least intelligent, even though of the female members she can wield the strongest sendings of the Power.
Ushant – deceased. Calatin’s predecessor in the Abend and Quintillean’s immediate predecessor as its head.
Alvares – deceased. Eliavres’ predecessor in the Abend and its leader before Ushant. He was forced to step down as leader during the first occupation of the Islands after attempting to use the Power to subdue Ergardia. Quite what happened he was never able to explain, but only the support and protection of the Arberth and the Donns kept him from being forcibly removed from the nine during their time in Sinut.
Taise – a former acolyte of the Abend’s. She and others of her coterie came under suspicion when Anarawd’s scheme to take over eastern Brychan was foiled at the battle at Gavra Pass, nearly nine years before the current events. Taken and tortured, she managed to escape and is now living in hiding from all other DeÁine on Celidon. Sithfrey – another former acolyte, and part of the same coterie as Taise. Not so lucky as Taise, Sithfrey’s persecution went on much longer and has warped his view of the world, although he was always by nature a rather pessimistic person.
Sioncaet ap Dadera – currently also living in hiding on Celidon in a cottage next to Labhran. Formerly he was jester and minstrel to the DeÁine king, Nuadu, but used his ability to move freely within the DeÁine court to aid the espionage branch of the Knights, the Covert Brethren. He helped place Labhran in a position within the court and to get information out. However, in the confusion of the DeÁine mobilisation to march to Gavra and the battle there, Sioncaet helped assassinate Nuadu, but then had to fake his own death in order to escape before the Abend found him.
DeÁine in the subsequent books:
Othinn – a former acolyte of Magda’s and her lover who went insane. He now
exists in a non-corporeal state within the Power and thinks he is the Islands’
semi-deity Jolnir, a figure from legend reputed to ride with the Wild Hunt and
harvest the souls of the dying at his passing.
Barrax – an acolyte elevated to the Abend.
Laufrey – an acolyte elevated to the Abend.
Nicos – an acolyte with the rare talent known as Spirit-walking which involves talking to the dead – a talent which tends to make such acolytes mentally unstable!
Eriu – the late king, Nuadu’s concubine and mother to the current DeÁine king, Ruarden.
The Donn families are: The Monreux, Veroon, Telesco, Corainne and five others not named here.
The Propp, Tomasch, Buelna and the Barthees are all very minor families who have to ally themselve to the royal family to survive.
The Kolacz, Deipner, Dzoshun and Norainne are slightly more powerful and have more choice as to where they place their allegiances, but still have to be careful not to get caught between the great families feuds.
The Souk’ir – the great trading families living in the south of the Islands.
Despite not being the most pure in terms of their pedigrees these families
wield huge amounts of power within DeÁine society because they provide the
slaves for the others, and also the raw recruits who are trained by the Donns
to form the DeÁine army.
They are: the Dracma, Tabor, Cowlai, Indiera, Bernien.