Cast of The Islands Quartet
Opening cast who appear 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.