Warning: Spoilers Ahead! Seriously!
No, seriously. This is a listing of some of the major characters in the Ancient Dreams trilogy, and some of the information, while primarily background explaining how they got to the point where they’re introduced to the story, is potentially heavily spoiler-laden. So forge ahead at your own risk.
Race: Dungeon/Tree (Apparently Willow)
Age: Unknown (12,000 + years)
Description: This is a tough one, thus, I’m only writing up Sistina’s dryad and tree appearances.
As a dryad, Sistina is approximately six feet (182 cm) in height, and has pale, wood-grain patterned skin. She is voluptuous, as one of her previous lives was a succubus, and she has green eyes the color of newly budded leaves. Her hair falls almost to her knees, and is a deep golden blond, while her lips are a burnished gold.
As a tree, Sistina is approximately 200 feet (61 meters) tall at the moment, with pale, smooth white bark. Her branches extend outward and drape like those of a weeping willow, and all across the bark flicker motes of pale light that waver and move. Clustered among the leaves are ruby ‘berries’ that have formed after Sistina recovered the ruby in which she was imprisoned for millennia.
History: Sistina was once a succubus named Avendrial, and was a being of great power. She was imprisoned in a soul stone by the human summoner Gauros, which he enchanted to hide every hint of her presence within it, drawing on her magical power, and eventually on her memories and very soul in order to destroy her utterly. Her soulstone was acquired by the elven noble Sistina Constella, whom she came to treasure the company of. After centuries of accompanying the noblewoman, she was buried in Sistina’s tomb.
After untold millennia, Sistina’s tomb was robbed, and the raider slain by a trap. The soulstone was cracked by the trap, and her escaping soul energy nurtured a seed that finished destroying her prison. The seed merges with her soul just before she’s dragged back to the abyss, reincarnating her as a tree. She finds herself in an underground cavern, where the graveyard had been buried by an unknown cataclysm. Over centuries of growing, she linked to a ley line node of earth and a ley line node of water, while expanding an aura of mana which is her domain, where she can also utilize her mana to change reality to a limited extent.
Phynis Constella, Crown Princess of Sifaren
Race: Dusk Elf
Description: Phynis is approximately five foot seven inches tall (170 cm), has light brown skin and bright blue eyes. Her hair is naturally silver, but she dyes it a light pink. Curvy for an elf, Phynis has what most humans would consider an attractive, if petite, figure. Phynis favors simple dresses, but wears trousers and simpler clothing as needed for travel.
History: Phynis is the eldest daughter of Queen Calath Iris Constella, and as such was raised to rule the elven nation. She has three younger siblings, while her father died when she was young in a rare frost drake attack. Phynis, as the heir, has primarily focused on learning how to rule, while her skill at arms or magic has languished due to the elven tendency to believe that she had plenty of time to learn in the future. She has been popular among the common folk, while many nobles are ambivalent about her as a ruler for varying reasons, but she was hardly hated.
Due to the war with Kelvanis, Phynis eventually visited the border barony of Galthor to reassure the baron of Her Majesty’s support and to examine the defenses he had put into place in the case of a full-scale war with Kelvanis. On her trip back, she and her all-female guards were ambushed deep behind Sifaren’s border by agents of Kelvanis, and her entire company was captured and taken to the border fortress of Grayhold. There she was branded with a royal blue slave brand, called a ‘royal crest’, and implanted with a mindshard that she was kept unaware of the existence of. Along with other captives, Phynis was sent in a caravan to the western stronghold of Kelvanis, Westgate, where she was to be teleported to their capital of Kelvanath. Instead her under-guarded caravan was ambushed by an infiltrating group of Sifaren scouts lead by Captain Vendis, who detaches a group of scouts as a diversion before leading Phynis and the other rescued elves toward the Godsrage Mountains, to take a hidden pass in their escape.
Jared Falgrave, Adjudicator of Western Kelvanis
Description: Somehow, I appear to have gone through all of Ancient Ruins without ever describing Jared. I am somewhat embarrassed. Next time I revise the book I’m going to have to fix this. Probably describe him from Topaz’s perspective.
Jared is a fairly tall man, standing five foot eleven inches (180 cm) and with short brown hair that he keeps neat. He keeps clean-shaven and has calm brown eyes, and is fairly handsome with something of a lantern jaw. Jared favors simple clothing for the most part, though he takes care to ensure it is well-maintained.
History: Born thirty years after Archon Ulvian Sorvos took control of Kelvanis, Jared was born to House Falgrave, a failing merchant house on the edge of the realm. He grew up watching his family’s fortunes dwindle as the family was forced to sell off the slaves that tended their fields. As a last, failing gasp for power, his father apprenticed Jared to Master Elrod Caspian, a powerful mage in Kelvanath. Unfortunately for his family, while Jared had truly immense mana reserves, he was utterly unsuited for the intricacies of spellcraft, and they fell into financial ruin shortly thereafter, as his father committed suicide.
Jared joined the government, determined to gain a position by his own merit, as frustrated as he was by his lack of magical talent. He first became a scribe, then an assistant to a Lower Justicar. Eventually he became a Lower Justicar himself, and trained with the army. Jared participated in some of the final conquests of the territory that now became Western Kelvanis, and garnered the attention of Ulvian Sorvos when one of his superiors tried to take credit for Jared’s leadership. Impressed by his record, Ulvian apprenticed Jared to an Adjudicator for a year, then gave him command of Western Kelvanis as Adjudicator (equivalent to a duke) when his predecessor was assassinated. Under Jared’s leadership, the attempts of Sifaren and Yisara to raid Kelvanis’ new territory has diminished markedly.
Lily of Vernglade
Race: Dawn Elf
Description: Lily is relatively short, at five foot four inches (162 cm) in height. She has blue eyes, blonde hair, and fair skin. Slender and petite by the standards of humans, she is prettier than average, and tends to wear simple clothing or jewelry, to the point of nearly abhorring more complex garments.
History: Lily was born in the town of Vernglade, and had nothing of particular note happening around her as she grew up. She had a particular talent at gardening, and with her relative beauty in the small town, she was expected to marry the mayor’s son in a decade or two. Never one with particular ambitions, Lily would have done so had Vernglade not been raided by Kelvanis.
After being enslaved by Kelvanis, Lily was just pretty enough to avoid the slave legions, but not beautiful enough to be sent to the brothels. She was purchased by Baroness Diane Tanna, a noble living in Westgate who enjoyed occasionally dallying with the help, where Lily was a gardener for the noblewoman. Due to a badly expressed order by the baroness, Lily was able to escape, and fled west toward the mountains, hoping to lose any pursuit in the foothills.
Side Notes: Lily is in an odd position for a character. Her role in Ancient Ruins has changed more than any other character, without me expecting it. Originally I intended her to match up with Phynis and form an odd peasant and royalty pairing, yet I quickly realized that Lily simply would never dare contemplate such a possibility. The match quickly began growing more and more unlikely…and then, when I didn’t intend it to happen, Lily ended up in a happy relationship with someone else in the story. Thus ended my intention to have Lily be the primary love interest for Phynis. Even so, I adore this character due to her being the most normal individual caught up heavily in the story.
Archon Ulvian Sorvos of Kelvanis
Description: Ulvian is somewhat taller than most humans, standing just over six feet in height (~190 cm), and has olive-toned skin. His age is hard to determine, as he has a seemingly ageless quality about him, and he has black, shoulder-length hair that he normally keeps slicked back, and he has piercing blue eyes. He normally wears purple robes over a lean but strong body.
History: Ulvian Sorvos was born in Kelvanis to a merchant family, and showed a talent for magic when he was young. Apprenticed to a mage who worked for the family, he traveled much of the region before turning twenty, eventually migrating with his family to the trade city of Dragon’s Gift, then joining the Southern Adventuring Guild. Ambitious and powerful, he quickly worked his way up the ranks of the guild and began delving into dark magic as well.
In his research, Ulvian came across mentions of Irethiel, the Demon Queen of Chains, and grew obsessed with her. His research became more and more fervent, but in the end it might have amounted to nothing if it hadn’t been for his adventuring group deciding to challenge the notoriously lethal dungeon named the Road to Hell, to attempt to kill it and gain the immense rewards offered for the dungeon’s destruction. In less than a day, three of their number were dead, leaving only Ulvian, Ivan Hall, and Elissa of Silence huddling in a tiny safe zone as the dungeon’s monsters tried to find and consume them. In desperation Ulvian risked ripping open a portal to Irethiel’s domain.
Ulvian nearly was enslaved and thrown into the demon pits by Irethiel, but in desperation he offered to create a nation of slavery dedicated to Irethiel, and to figure out a way to use her demonic slave brands on unwilling mortals on the mortal plane, if she would give him the chance to court her. She agreed, but not before branding him and his companions as insurance. Returning to the mortal world, he and his companions retired from the Adventuring Guild, and Elissa split ways with Ulvian as he performed his research and looked for an ideal nation to target.
In the end Ulvian chose Kelvanis for several reasons. The monarchy of the kingdom was on the verge of collapse, the entire region was considered a backwater with weak spellcasters, and he knew from his youth that slavery was a common punishment there. He and Ivan returned to Kelvanis and gathered a group of like-minded, ruthless allies, and carried out a bloody, sudden coup, justifying it with framed ‘evidence’ that the King had been going mad. Once in power he began to reform the nation into a more militant power, all the while ensuring that trade and security increased for the populace, while allies among the assassins dealt with many dissidents.
The slave brands were first introduced as a way to keep criminals who’d been enslaved from escaping or disobeying orders, and Ulvian began to spread them through Kelvanis’ society, trying to always frame them as something done when someone was an enemy of the country. Some people objected, but most of those were killed or enslaved themselves, or driven from the country as Ulvian reshaped the nation in his image. After fifty years of consolidating power and convincing most citizens of Kelvanis that what had happened was acceptable, Ulvian initiated the invasion of the lightly-populated border regions of the two elven nations of Sifaren and Yisara. As he’d expected, making the majority of slaves those of other races caused less of an outcry, and he confidently continued his campaign in the name of Irethiel, determined to win her hand and consolidate his own power.
Side Notes: Ulvian is a psychotic jackass of epic proportions, and no matter what people may think, I don’t actually like him. He isn’t even the worst villain I can conceive of, but he’s damned close. When I wrote him up, though, I wanted him to be… faintly realistic, though, however evil he might be. In his own bizarre way, he’s doing everything he’s done out of love. That doesn’t make it right, and it makes it worse in some ways.
Queen Diane Yisara
Race: Dawn Elf
Description: Diane stands about five feet and six inches tall (~167 cm) and has wavy golden hair down to the base of her spine. Like most dawn elves she has somewhat gold-tinged skin. She has a slightly hooked nose and is considered merely pretty for her people, with a dusting of freckles. Her eyes are heterochromatic, with a blue left eye and green right, and is fairly thin, almost frail-looking.
History: Born to rule Yisara, Diane has had a surprisingly uneventful life until Kelvanis invaded. She associated a great deal with Princess Calath Constella as she grew up, and competed with her fellow princess for the hand of her eventual husband, Torkal. They originally intended to merge their nations by marrying their eldest children together, but the two both had daughters as heirs, which caused the possibility to be set aside.
Since the invasion of Kelvanis, Diane has marshaled everything she could to defend Yisara, but the greater numbers of the human host, as well as their orc mercenaries has proven too much for her to defeat, even with an alliance with Sifaren. In recent years she has found her hopes of making it to her 300th birthday dwindling, when traditionally the reigning monarch steps down from the throne to allow their heir to rule.
Desa Iceheart, Royal Guard of Sifaren
Race: Dusk Elf
Description: Standing about five feet, eight inches in height (~172 cm), Desa is of slightly above-average height for a dusk elf. She has white hair and modestly brown skin, as well as light blue eyes that make her close to the epitome of a dusk elf, though she’s a fair bit prettier than most of them. As a soldier she has an athletically toned physique, though as a mage she isn’t as strong or fast as some of her fellow soldiers.
History: Born of a family of career soldiers that lived in Western Sifaren near the Godsrage Mountains, it was almost expected that Desa would join the military. From an early age she had a fascination with ice and snow, and her magical talent was found shortly after she turned ten. While her lessons on magic didn’t begin until she reached puberty, Desa knew what she wanted from that moment on.
Desa spent decades honing her magic and working her way up through the ranks of Sifaren’s small army. She proved herself as a member of the hunting parties that defended Sifaren from monsters straying from the mountains on several occasions, and was eventually tapped to join the Royal Guard. She managed to attain the rank of Sergeant by the time she was forty-five, and when Princess Phynis turned five she was selected to head the princess’ Royal Guard, to become her closest friend and confidante.
Performing well in her duties, Desa grew into her role well, proving to be one of the most loyal soldiers of Sifaren, and more than skilled enough to protect the princess. Her guard detail was reinforced after the invasion by Kelvanis, and with it she did her best to protect Phynis. Unfortunately, Kelvanis’ ambush was too sudden and overwhelming for even her precautions.