Residents of Minnow’s Beck
Adriana Albarandes – When Adri and Eriqwyn’s father died, and their mother’s mind subsequently broke from the loss of her husband, Adri, being the eldest of the two sisters, became the leader of the Minnow’s Beck community, ruling the village in her mother’s stead and taking the title of Lady. Adri’s lineage is the most noble of the survivors of those who fled the blight, although there may be one or two villagers who are secretly the Albarandes’ peers.
Adri is rarely called by her full name, Adriana, since most of the villagers respectfully call her Lady. She and her sister were thrust into their roles at early ages and they have dedicated their lives to those roles, leaving them without husbands or children; this is more understandable in Eriqwyn’s case, given how she denied her sexuality after her younger years, but Adri ought to consider trying for a child if she wants her family to stay in prominence – although the traditions of Minnow’s Beck may be shaken up after the tentative forming of a union with Lachyla.
Amiryn – Amiryn is the Priestess Superior of Minnow’s Beck and a prominent member of the village council. She claimed to have foreseen the arrival of the outlanders, declaring herself the ‘mortal voice of the goddess, Morta’Valsana’. If any of the villagers had knowledge of Clear Sight (which they don’t), they would very much doubt that Amiryn possesses it; the villagers never talk of feyborns and likely have no educated knowledge of them. The Priestess Superior is certainly not a feyborn, but she is too revered for any to dare suggest she is a charlatan.
Blachord – Blachord is one of several farmers of Minnow’s Beck. His farm and fields are the eastern outskirts of the village. It is on his farm that Lingrey spent his adult life working for Blachord and Blachord’s father before him. Blachord represents the farmers on the village council.
Caneli Hauverydh – Caneli is the head physician of Minnow’s Beck. When Cleve Hauverydh visits the village, he informs Caneli that she is his descendant. With a more than deserving seat on the village council, Caneli has a high moral standing and is quite outspoken.
Dal Ebran – Dal is the father of the blacksmith, Tan. Along with many of his fellow villagers, he sought vengeance for the death of the First Warder and for his son going missing in the Forbidden Place. Dal was one of few who survived the fight against Ellidar and the freeblades in the stronghold of Caer Valekha. In return for sparing his life, and Ellidar’s promise to help him locate his son, Dal agreed to return with the knight and carry his body the rest of the way when Ellidar fell during the journey back to Lachyla, which he inevitably would.
Demelza – Demelza is a girl in her mid teens from Minnow’s Beck. Her mother died during childbirth and Demelza was raised by old “Ma” Ina until Ina died when Demelza was ten years old. After that, her life in the village became a miserable one, but she learned to fend for her herself and continued to live alone in Ina’s shack. Most of the village folk don’t much like her (though few could say why) and several even saw her as an easy target – something Wayland nipped in the bud once he learned of it.
Demelza can start fires by manipulating the elements, but it’s a skill she rarely uses when in company. Because of this, the villagers (including Adri) presume that Demelza’s ability to catch animals is due only to her developing hunting skills, when secretly it’s because she heats the blood in the creatures’ hearts.
Wayland once affectionately called her Dee, and so later she asked Jalis and Oriken to do likewise. Jalis recognised her to be a feyborn and explained about the temples in the Arkh where Demelza could train her skills and meet others with similar talents. Demelza cautiously agreed to visit such a temple. If she does, hopefully she’ll also receive some elocution lessons – a task which she has already given herself (although, if she heard the word elocution she’d probably be tempted to call it something like ‘ello cushion.)
Eriqwyn Albarandes – For the last seven years of her life, Eriqwyn was the First Warder of Minnow’s Beck. She had been a Warder for five years prior to that, and a regular hunter since the age of fifteen. Eriqwyn lived with her sister Adri and their mother in Albarandes Manor. She had no time for Demelza, and harboured a strong dislike for Shade. Eriqwyn’s closest friends were Wayland and Linisa, both of whom were Warders under her command. Her sister and some of the villagers occasionally called her Eri, while Wayland affectionately called her Queenie when no one was in earshot.
Even her death and resurrection didn’t rid Eriqwyn of her repressed sexuality, although admittedly she never had much free time to come to terms with it while serving as First Warder. Some might see Eriqwyn as hard-hearted and unlikeable, but her role was to shield the weak, and her life was a product of survival. Every decision she made was for the protection of her village. Somewhere along the line, Eriqwyn forgot the first rule of a hunter – to know your opponent; if she had cared to learn more about the freeblades, she might never have become the catalyst for her own death and the deaths of many of her fellow villagers.
Fahrein – Fahrein is the senior metalmith of Minnow’s Beck and is on the village council. It is he who suggests that his subordinate, Tan, be considered to join Eriqwyn’s mission to the Forbidden Place. It’s probable that Tan’s father, Dal, will be wanting to have some strong words with Fahrein upon Dal’s return to the village – possibly more than that if Tan turns up undead and confined to Lachyla.
Ina – Ina is an old woman who lived in a shack in Minnow’s Beck and raised Demelza from a baby after the girl’s mother died during childbirth. Ina herself died when Demelza was ten years old, but for that decade she loved the girl as her own and cannot be held posthumously accountable for the misery Demelza suffered during the six years between Ina’s death and Demelza leaving Minnow’s Beck for good.
Jessa – A young woman from Minnow’s Beck who recently gave birth to a bouncing bairn, which isn’t a bad thing considering that the population of the village has somewhat dwindled recently.
Kerysa – Kerysa is the senior woodworker of Minnow’s Beck and is on the village council. She doesn’t like Onwin at all, and says that the hunter acts like he owns the village. The mere sight of a deadstone made Kerysa leave the council longhall to vomit outside; the woodworker delegate may be a master craftswoman, but she clearly does not possess much intestinal fortitude.
Laulani – Laulani, often merely called Lani, is the twin sister of Linisa. She is happily married, although her husband certainly doesn’t wear the trousers in the relationship. She is slightly taller than her sister and her yellow hair is longer, usually spilling about her shoulders except when she ties it back in preparation to get her hands dirty (even if her offer of help is not always taken).
Lingrey – A weathered old farmhand from Minnow’s Beck with his own particular linguistic idiosyncracies. Ayup! Lingrey laboured long days under the employ of Blachord, and was perhaps the most hard-working farmer the Beck has ever known. He loved carrying his trusted pitchfork almost everywhere, a tool which shared his secret past, his ill-fated death in the hands of a horde of ghouls, and whatever the future holds for both farmhand and pitchfork in their new home of Lachyla.
Linisa – Linisa is a Warder. She is a close friend of Eriqwyn, and it’s no secret that she favours the company of women (but not exclusively), one of whom many years ago was Eriqwyn herself. Linisa’s flaxen hair is shorn at the rear, and looks to Eriqwyn a little like a birds nest. Linisa often wears a green blush around her eyes, and sometimes black dye on her lips; the pigments are gifted to her by some of the miners in attempts to court her, but such attempts rarely succeed. Linisa’s closeness with her sister Laulani, whose name is shortened to Lani, is reflected in Linisa’s name being similarly shortened to Lini.
Linisa was more than prepared to enter the Forbidden Place along with Eriqwyn and Wayland, but the village needed a Warder to remain behind. If she had gone instead of Wayland, perhaps it would be her who turned undead, and Wayland who became First Warder, but that mantle fell on her shoulders when Eriqwyn died and the undead Wayland chose to live in Lachyla.
Onwin – Onwin is a hunter from Minnow’s Beck with a strong delusion of grandeur; that fact, along with his many years as a hunter, is probably what got him the seat on the village council but is also what stopped him from ever being chosen as a Warder.
When Onwin stirred the ghouls in the Gardens of the Dead, Eriqwyn presumed he fell to the horde, but after she reached the comparative safety of the battlements she spotted him along the ramparts. He climbed into the city and wasn’t seen again until the battle was over and one of the cityfolk presented him to Gorven. Onwin was thrown to the ground beside the already dead and reanimated Eriqwyn and Wayland, but not before Oriken had a chance to punch the hunter in the face.
Before Eriqwyn even had the chance to slip into the true death, Onwin gathered a large group of hunters and other villagers to pursue the freeblades. Days later, they caught up with them in the fortress of Caer Valekha. With Henwyn and Maros injured in the initial flurry of arrows from the hunters, it seemed like it would be an easy victory for Onwin and his group, but the arrival of the knight-paladin Ellidar evened the odds with might if not with numbers. To the end of the skirmish, a fleeing Onwin was shot through the heart with an arrow fired by Demelza. Few will miss Onwin, because most of those who cared even a modicum for him died at Caer Valekha.
Shade Galialos – The lustrous seamstress of Minnow’s Beck knew exactly the effect the sight of her wearing her self-made garments – which often left little to the imagination – would have on the male population of the village, not to mention some of the women. From an early age, ever since her mother first took her to meet her family in House Galialos in Lachyla, Shade couldn’t wait to join them. The prospect of forever being beautiful and fulfilling her wanton desires allowed her to bide her time until she reached an age where her maturity was at its physical and sensual plateau before she finally entered the realm of undeath.
Shade never bore any children, which to some might have seemed surprising given her habitual enjoyment of sex with multiple partners over the years. There was speculation within the village that she was pregrant on a couple of occasions, but that the early-stage pregnancies mysteriously disappeared. Regardless, unlike her line of ancestors before her, Shade had no inclination for motherhood, not even to continue the Galialos tradition of each generation’s females waiting until they had children of their own before joining the rest of the family in the laughingly-named Forbidden Place.
In Shade’s earlier years, she managed to seduce an impressionable Eriqwyn into being her sexual partner. The two met in private frequently over the course of several years, which spanned the transition between Eriqwyn being a hunter and becoming a new Warder. Despite the dissipation of their secret relationship, Shade was still trying to entice Eriqwyn a decade after it had ended. When she heard that Eriqwyn was assembling a team to enter Lachyla, Shade saw it as an opportunity to kill Eriqwyn in order for the First Warder to become undead and remain in the city, to once again unlock Eriqwyn’s inner desires and allow Shade to enjoy her for eternity. But the plan backfired, mainly due to Eriqwyn being murderously annoyed with Shade killing her, so Shade fell back on luring the young blacksmith, Tan, into her aunt Elimae’s home as a second-choice present for joining her undead family. It was probably a good thing for Elimae that Shade brought the family lineage crashing to a halt, since House Galialos was on the verge of running out of unoccupied bedrooms.
Tanriel Ebran – Tanriel, known to everyone in Minnow’s Beck as Tan, is the younger of the village’s two blacksmiths. His fatal mistake was his attraction to Shade. It is perhaps best not to ponder over what became of Tan after he entered House Galialos and became the captive of a family of lustful, undead women, but given that Sabrian was freed of their clutches, Tan might also stand a chance; perhaps Ellidar’s promise to Tan’s father will lead to his rescue, or perhaps they will be too late and find Tan already succumbed to the blight.
Some years ago, Tan forged himself a replica gladius which he took to the Forbidden Place when he was enlisted to join Eriqwyn’s team. The gladius was taken from him by Shade after she knocked him unconscious and hid him in a secluded area away from the ghoul-infested Lachylan streets. The seamstress probably hid the weapon in her aunt Elimae’s house, with the intention of reuniting it with its owner after she and her family succeeded in enthralling Tan to submit to their lascivious desires.
Wayland – Wayland is the most veteran Warder of Minnow’s Beck, with almost as many years under his belt as Eriqwyn and Linisa combied. He owns an old but masterfully-crafted axe which is etched with ancient symbols. He was a good friend of Eriqwyn’s and perhaps knew her better than anyone, including Eriqwyn herself, although some of what he understood about her he would never voice to her face, aware that her subconscious was engaged in a permanent battle with itself. Demelza, unable to pronounce Wayland’s name correctly, referred to him as Waynan until Jalis instilled in her a desire to improve her speech.
Accepting of his inevitable turn to undeath, Wayland waited for Eriqwyn to pass into true death before he returned with Sabrian and Cleve to Lachyla. He will undoubtedly be relieved to hear that Demelza survived. He will probably also be accepting of the fact that she came under the protection of the freeblades, but will be sad to know he will never see her again.