Merad Reed grew up in the isolated village of Jaelem, a small jumble of wattle huts on the great southern plains of Arelium. Looking for some sense of purpose, he is persuaded to join the Old Guard, the bedraggled remains of an ancient band of watchers tasked with guarding an enormous crater known as the Pit. For years Reed patrolled the walls surrounding the Pit, maintaining the signal fires and training new recruits. Disillusioned by the monotonous reality of the Guard, he begins to hope for something, anything, to give his life new meaning.
Jelaïa del Arelium
Heiress to one of the richest of the nine Baronies, Jelaïa del Arelium spends her days preparing for the inevitable burden of rulership. Smart and resourceful, but introverted and anxious, she is plagued with constant self-doubt about her ability to fill her father's shoes. Her overly-protective family rarely allow her to travel out of the inner keep unaccompanied. As such, she spent most of her childhood surrounded by the children of other knights and vassals. She was especially close to Nidore del Conte, although recently they have grown further apart.
Aldarin, Knight of the Twelve
The Knights of the Twelve are a secretive order of warriors created over three hundred years ago by the Twelve themselves. They were once hundreds strong, with garrisons throughout the nine Baronies. Then, without warning, they disappeared. Rumours tell of a hidden threat, a soft voice on the wind, strange sounds heard in the night. Now Aldarin travels to the Pit, and what he will find there will have far-reaching, irredeemable consequences.
Praxis, Steward of Arelium
A Baron cannot rule alone. The role of a steward is to deal with the everyday running of the fiefdom: securing trade deals, balancing the books, and advising the Baron about everything from which prisoners to execute to which hounds to take out on the hunt. Praxis has held the role of steward for the last ten years, slowly gaining the Baron's trust and even friendship through a series of lucrative guild contracts that have made Arelium richer and stronger than ever before. Handsome, well-dressed, and with an easy smile, Praxis is relentlessly pursued by the courtesans of the Baron's court.
Baron Listus del Arelium
Baron Listus de Arelium is one of the most powerful men in the nine Baronies. A veteran of a hundred battles, he is now in his early sixties, and still rules Arelium with a firm hand. Sociable and affable, albeit somewhat arrogant, he has managed to keep his lands safe and prosperous.