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.