ROBERT AND THOMAS LONESCO: Married alphas of Clan Rat. Second only to the wolves in numbers, the rats are excellent scouts and spies. The Lonescos feel undervalued and distrusted by Jim, the Pack’s head of security.
CHRISTOPHER: Once a favorite in Roland’s court, Christopher was given to Hugh d’Ambray, who punished him for some unknown transgression by slowly starving him to near death. By the time Kate rescues him in Magic Rises, months of being kept captive in a cage by Hugh d’Ambray have left Christopher a shattered shell of his former self. Christopher seems to have a tenuous grasp on reality and sometimes believes he can fly but has simply forgotten how to do so. He is utterly devoted to Kate for freeing him and believes Barabas, his de facto handler, to be an angel.
TED MOYNOHAN: Caucasian male, late fifties. Heavily built like an aging boxer or football player, Ted is 5'10" and weighs well over two hundred pounds. As knight-protector, Ted oversees Atlanta’s chapter of the Order of Merciful Aid, and as such, he’s also Kate and Andrea’s old boss. Ted is a fanatic who distrusts and despises the shapeshifters and the People equally. He was once seen as a major player within the Order, but his star was tarnished when the Order’s offices were attacked and burned by one of Kate’s late aunt Erra’s henchmen; Ted’s plan to stop Erra backfired and resulted in dozens of civilian casualties (see Magic Bleeds). His subsequent handling of the Andrea Nash situation further damaged his reputation. He is now seen as more of an aging embarrassment, but because of his long service the Order is unable to force him into retirement unless he makes a colossal mistake. Ted is determined to go out with a bang, not a whimper.
MAXINE: Powerful telepath and longtime secretary and gatekeeper of the Order. A noncombatant, Maxine refers to everyone as “Dear.” She is fond of Kate in spite of Ted’s animosity toward her.
MAURO: Hulking Samoan knight of the Order, Mauro is the last of Ted’s old guard, the rest having transferred after or perished during the attack on the Order in Magic Bleeds. Mauro is a gentle giant, intelligent and slow to anger with a massive 6'8" three-hundred-plus-pound frame and is covered in tattoos that glow when he is using his power to redirect fire.
The People (Pilots of the Undead)
GHASTEK: Thin and dark, age undetermined, could be late thirties or early forties. A powerful Master of the Dead, Ghastek is locked in a power struggle with Mulradin Grant to fill the power vacuum left by the recent and unexplained disappearance of Nataraja, Atlanta’s former head necromancer. Ghastek senses that there is more to Kate than meets the eye and wants to know who she really is. He is very intelligent and gifted, and he knows it, which occasionally causes him to make mistakes out of arrogance.
MULRADIN GRANT: Ghastek’s main rival for power in Atlanta’s chapter of the People. The Pack knows little of Mulradin beyond his reputation as a solid family man.
The Bad Guys
HUGH D’AMBRAY: Roland’s warlord; he hunted down and killed Voron nearly a decade ago. He discovered Kate’s identity and is determined to present her to her father. Kate presents an irresistible prize for him: she’s the daughter of Roland and she had been trained by Voron, just like Hugh himself. His hatred for Curran is matched only by his determination to overcome Kate’s resistance. He’s determined to make her submit to his will even if he has to burn Atlanta to the ground or drown it in shapeshifter blood. He doesn’t really care if she comes to him of her own free will or is dragged to him in chains. Hugh is a superb strategist and an exceptional medmage. He is also the preceptor of the Order of Iron Dogs, the elite unit of the military arm of Roland’s forces.
HIBLA: Female, origin unknown. Hibla is one of Hugh’s Iron Dogs. A shapeshifter and expert with a blade, Hibla is directly responsible for the death of Aunt B, and Kate has been looking for some payback since the end of Magic Rises.
ROLAND: Kate’s father is a mythical figure whose origins lie somewhere between fact and fable. He is the Builder of Towers. He slept for centuries but now the reemergence of magic has ended his long absence from the world of man. Roland possesses a nearly godlike power.
FROM THE JOURNAL OF BARABAS GILLIAM
MY NAME IS Barabas. I was named that because my mother was ambitious. It could be worse. One of my cousins is named Lucifer. I once asked my aunt why and she said, “Because I wanted him to be beautiful and to think for himself.” Boudas, or werehyenas as most people know us, have an interesting perspective on the world. Technically, I’m not a bouda. I’m a weremongoose, but my mother is a bouda and I grew up among them.
At the time of writing this, I’m twenty-nine years old. I have a law degree from the University of Virginia and I currently reside in Atlanta. I’m employed as a Pack lawyer, which is to say I’m a member of the largest shapeshifter organization in the South and second largest on the continent of North America. I also work for the Consort of the Pack as a special advisor. The Consort refers to me as her nanny occasionally, and I find that term uniquely accurate. I would put one of those hideous child leashes on her if I could, except I’m reasonably sure she would cut my arm off.
I find myself in a strange moment in time. Something momentous is taking place right in front of me, something that I suspect will drastically alter the future of not just the Pack, not just my generation, but generations to come. I have a front-row seat. I’m in the middle of it. Yet nobody around me seems to realize that years from now our descendants will look back on this moment and wonder how it all happened. Someone must document it. After all, history is written by and for the survivors, and right now I’m not sure who those survivors will be. Don’t take me wrong, I don’t intend to roll over and fade into the night. I will rage with the best of them, just like Dylan Thomas’s poem advises. But on the off chance we don’t prevail, there must be a record of how hard we fought. It looks like I’ll be the one making that record, since nobody else can be bothered. Funny how it always turns out that way.
So, I suppose, I’ll begin at the beginning. The world has suffered a magic apocalypse. As expected, it was completely our own damn fault.
In ancient times, technology and magic existed in perfect balance, but then came the human race. They built a civilization based on magic. Creatures of terror and beauty roamed the land. Wizards with godlike power built entire cities overnight and rained winged snakes and molten metal on their enemies. (As an aside, that age must’ve been a nightmare. Concentrating that much power in the hands of individual human beings? Why, that could never go wrong or lead to horrible atrocities. Just read the Bible.) Finally the balance between magic and technology became so disrupted that magic receded. The cities wrought by magic crumbled, their wonders turned to dust, and their beasts became myth.