Jael Furyck has had a sword in her hand since she was 10-years-old.
Daughter of the King of Brekka, she grew up believing that she would be his heir,
only to discover after his death that he had chosen her younger, inexperienced
brother instead. Full of fire and fury, they call her Furia’s daughter, the only female
born into the noble line of Furycks, stretching all the way back to Furia, the
Goddess of War. Sent away from Brekka, and forced into a marriage she does
not want, she is determined to escape her husband and reclaim everything she loves.
Eadmund Skalleson is trapped in an endless cycle of broken-hearted self-pity
and drinking. After losing his first wife, he lost himself, and, after seven long years,
he is far removed from the man they once called Eadmund the Bold. But an
unwelcome marriage to Jael Furyck, and pressure from his father, the King of Oss,
force him to face the ghosts of his past and decide on the future he wants for himself
and his people. In order to become the heir his father so desperately needs, Eadmund
must turn away from the past, towards his new wife.
A Brekkan warrior of the highest order, Aleksander Lehr is shell-shocked when
his best friend and lover, Jael Furyck, is ripped away from him and sent to Oss to
marry another man. Unable to accept that Jael and Eadmund are meant to be,
Aleksander seeks advice from the mysterious Widow, hoping that she can show
him a future where he is together with Jael again. But his desperation to find a way
back to Jael opens the door to dark memories he wishes he’d kept closed.
Eadmund’s best friend since they were in swaddling cloths, Thorgils Svanter
is a big-hearted barrel-chested tree of a man whose cheery humour hides
his own heartbreak. His spends all his time trying to keep Eadmund out of
trouble which is just how he likes it, as it takes his mind off how lonely he is.
It also helps to keep him away from the miserable little shrew that is his mother
who someone managed to raise a happy go lucky giant.
Edela Saeveld is Brekka’s dreamer and healer. Originally from Tuura,
she made her home in Andala when her eldest daughter, Gisila, married
Ranuf Furyck. Her small cottage has been a place for all Brekkans to
come for many years, to seek general advice and help, but recently
her dreams have become ominous, terrorising her with strange visions
about the Darkness, and a prophecy, warning of the danger to come
Evaine Gallas has obsessively tried to make Eadmund hers since she was
a child. At 17-years-old, she is hardly much more than a child now, but she has
Eadmund all to herself and is already making plans for their wedding when she
discovers that he is to be married to Jael Furyck. Horrified and heartbroken,
she will do anything in her power to destroy their marriage and bring
Eadmund back to her.
Born a slave, Eirik Skalleson killed his tyrannical slaver father and made
himself a king. Now, he knows that the gods are coming for him, and he is
desperate to ensure that his kingdom has a future. He wants his son,
Eadmund, to be his heir but he has been a drunken wreck for so many
years now that Eirik is losing the belief that anything can turn him around.
Finally deciding that he must take matters into his own hands, he makes
an alliance with Lothar Furyck of Brekka in the hopes of saving both
his son and his kingdom.
Living in the shadow of his older brother, Ranuf, didn’t suit Lothar
Furyck. He left Andala as a young man and made his life in Iskavall, only
returning once his brother, the king, had died, quickly forcing his way
onto the Brekkan throne, at the expense of Ranuf’s son, Axl. Greedy,
ambitious, vain and foolish, Lothar has no interest in anyone but himself.
Desperate to claim more land, more power, more wealth and his brother’s
wife, he will go to any length to get what he wants, including sending his niece,
Brekka’s best warrior, away to marry the drunken Prince of Oss.
Daughter of King Eirik and his third wife, a Tuuran dreamer, Eydis Skalleson
has been blind since birth. Now, 13-years-old, she is desperate to learn
how to use her gifts as a dreamer, but Eirik is both so reliant upon her and
protective of her, that he will not let her go to Tuura, where the dreamers
are taught in the temple. So, she must be content to remain on Oss, worrying
about both her father, who she believes will die soon and her brother, who
she is desperate to rescue from his own pit of despair before it’s too late.
Biddy Halvor has been with Jael since she was born. She was Jael’s
wet nurse and raised both her, Axl, and Aleksander when he was
brought into the family after the death of his parents. She’s never left
Jael’s side and has endured her moods and her tantrums and her
insistence on getting into more trouble than anyone she knows. Always
ready with a hot cup of steaming tea and a big bowl of soup, Biddy is
the heart of whichever house she’s in.
Axl Furcyk was supposed to become King of Brekka after the death
of his father, Ranuf, but he was an inexperienced boy, an untested warrior,
put aside in favour of his uncle, Lothar. And he has spent every moment
since then trying to work his way back to the throne. Growing up in the
long shadows of both his father and his sister, Jael, Axl has always
struggled to believe in himself, but he has the Furyck temper and the
Furyck fire and the Furyck determination to protect his family at all costs.
Fyn Gallas grew up terrorised by his younger sister, Evaine, and
dominated by his cold, disinterested father, Morac. The only
member of his family he cares about is his mother, Runa, and he
will do anything in his power to protect her. Finding himself taken
under Jael’s wing, he gets the chance to build up his confidence
and become the warrior he had always wanted to be, despite
his bullying father’s insistence that he was worthless.
Osbert Furyck is merely biding his time, waiting for his father, Lothar, to die,
knowing that soon it will be his turn to sit upon the Brekkan throne. He pacifies
and placates his bumbling father, watching as he puts himself first, destroying his
kingdom in the process. Osbert doesn’t care though. Whatever mess Lothar makes,
Osbert is sure he will be able to clean it up once he is king, after he has destroyed
his enemies, including his cousin, Jael, who he despises most of all. She humiliated
him by rejecting his proposal of marriage, and he is determined to make her pay for that.
Gant Olborn was Ranuf Furyck’s man. Friends since they were boys,
they were inseparable until Ranuf’s sudden death. Knowing that Axl
was too young and inexperienced to be king, Gant chose to support
Lothar’s claim to the throne, which he has regretted ever since. Feeling
the weight of that mistake, he does everything he can to watch over Axl,
Gisila, even Jael, hoping that one day he will get a chance to make things
right; trying to do whatever he can to keep them all safe.
Ivaar Skalleson is Eirik’s son from his first marriage. Banished from Oss
years ago for a crime he insisted he did not commit, Ivaar spends every
waking moment on his little island of Kalfa, imagining the day he will take his
revenge upon his father and his brother, Eadmund. He blames Eadmund for
everything that has gone wrong in his life, including the death of his mother,
who committed suicide when Eirik left her for Eadmund’s mother. He is
determined to become King of Oss when his father dies.
Taken away from her childhood sweetheart and forced to leave Oss
as Ivaar’s wife, Isaura Skalleson has had a miserable eight years.
Lady of the island of Kalfa, she has raised her four children beside
her moody, angry husband, dreaming of Oss and the man she left
behind. She exists from moment to moment, trying not to feel anything,
especially not hope. It has been too many years since she had any belief
that her situation would change.
Morac Gallas came to Oss with his sister, Morana, as a young orphan.
He quickly made friends with Eirik Skalleson and eventually helped him
to overthrow his evil father. Although Morac has stood loyally by Eirik’s
side ever since, helping to run the kingdom, he is bitter, unsatisfied with
his comfortable house and his comfortable life. He thinks that Eirik takes
advantage of him and does not appreciate how much he has done for him
over the years, and he is no longer prepared to simply wait in the shadows.
Runa Gallas stopped loving her husband, Morac, some time ago. She
imagines a day when he is gone, and she is free to be with her son, Fyn.
He is the only member of her family she truly cares about. Evaine terrorises
her, and Morac never comes to her defense, always siding with Evaine,
pandering to her violent tantrums. Runa could care less about her fine house.
She would much rather be far away from Oss with Fyn, free from both Morac
King of Hest, Haaron Dragos, rules from his enormous dragon throne,
plotting ways to attack his enemies and claim more of Osterland for his
own kingdom. He has spent most of his reign attacking Brekka, warring
with Ranuf Furyck and his daughter, Jael. But now he is an old man with
four sons, and a wife who despises him. He feels his mortality, like a
great, threatening shadow, worrying what will happen to both him and
the kingdom he wanted so much more for.
Bayla Dragos always wanted to be a queen, but she has grown bitter,
fed up with the disappointment her husband has become. Old age does
not suit him, and she is determined to ignore it altogether, choosing instead
to surround herself with her sons and their wives, and young lovers as well.
She wants power, wealth, status, and if Haaron is now too old to give them
to her, well, then she will have to put her support behind someone who can.
And for Bayla, that someone is her youngest son, Jaeger.
Jaeger Dragos hates his father, Haaron. He dreams of the day when he
will sit upon the dragon throne – his ultimate revenge upon the man who
has hated him since he was born. His mother’s favourite and his father’s
least favourite, Jaeger is a giant prince with a violent temper. He is the
youngest but most ambitious of the four Dragos brothers. Not content to
sit on the sidelines and watch Haegen simply rise to power once Haaron dies,
Jaeger is determined to become King of Hest one way or the other.
Berard Dragos is small and timid; not brave or fearless like his three
large brothers, who all tower over him, teasing and taunting him. He can
use a sword, but he would much rather use his smarts to get himself out
of trouble. Content to simply support and placate his brothers, Berard has
no grand ambitions for himself. He would like to have his own family one
day; to farm a plot of land, which, in a barren kingdom like Hest is a very
big dream indeed.
Karsten Dragos was always hot-tempered and quick to anger, but he became
even worse when Jael Furyck took his eye. He wears an eyepatch now,
fuming with rage, imagining all the ways he will make her pay for what she
has taken from him. He dreams of war and battles and defeating the Furycks,
wanting his father to be even more ambitious, wishing he hadn’t chosen his
even-tempered, less ambitious brother, Haegen to be the heir to Hest.
Haegen Dragos is content to follow his father, learning from him, watching
him, knowing that one day soon he will be King of Hest. He feels ready for
it, content with his life. He is happily married to Irenna, enjoying being a father
to their three young children, preparing for the day when they will rule the
kingdom together. As the eldest of four very different brothers, he needs to
keep a calm head and keep them all in line for one day he will be their king.
Varna Gallas has been in Hest with Haaron Dragos since he was a boy.
Old, and feeling death coming now, she is desperate to do anything she
can to keep him and his kingdom safe, worried about what will happen
to both of them after she is gone; fearing for the damage his youngest
son, the Bear, will cause. Family has never mattered to Varna. She gave
two of her children away for the cause. That is all that matters to her.
Morana Gallas, banished from Oss many years ago by Eirik Skalleson,
sits in her stinking, broken cottage and stews, planning her revenge against
him. And more besides. Morana is a dreamer of the Darkness. She knows
herbs and magic and uses them to hurt, not heal. She is foul-tempered
and impatient, desperate for time to hurry along, knowing that soon all
her dreams will come true.