Some two hundred characters inhabit the contrasting environments and time periods of the three novels. Below are some of the primary individuals and families that I’ve got to know and love, and in some cases, dislike.
The Rift – main characters
Caia is a central character and to me, Enrique Meseguer captured her perfectly in the amazing image above. Starting out as a rebel unable to accept the strict traditions and taboos of her people, Caia longs for adventure and romance. She possesses powers that surpass any dragon-witch that has gone before, soul-bonded with the mighty Firestorm. Only Caia can summon the ‘Giant Tree’ – a green one-eyed giant who lives below the ground. The three novels see Caia experience great changes, from rebel to mother and leader, falling in love with a blind outcast from the city and facing impossible choices. At the very end, she is once more alone but greatly loved.
Caia’s twin sister has always seen herself as the lesser. Robin is the source of this jealousy, perhaps detecting that Caia will be the dragon-witch, something denied Aina. Secretly obsessed with her sister, Aina seeks solace by spending much time alone and shunning company.
Leah inherits her mother’s impetuousness and her father Lucas’s survival instincts. She too is a rebel, this time challenging Caia and her father. Leah bonds with the terrifying ghost dragon Whiteflame. A jealous child, her childhood is marred by a quick temper. As a child, Leah helped in the destruction of Rax, leaving her with a deep fear of fire and a hatred of war. She grows into a passionate yet thoughtful person. Addicted to chan (similar to cannabis, but stronger) and often seeking escape through mind-joining with birds and animals, Leah’s journey into the past changes her.
She shares the life and loves of fighter-pilot Leanne Fon, who died 17,000 years earlier. At the end, Leah Esvane will be the only person alive who knows what life was once like when the planet was dying. Whilst Caia awakened Squadron-Leader John Mack from stasis, Leah will meet him in the past whilst sharing Leanne’s final weeks, and eventually gives birth to his child, completing the circle represented by Ouroboros.
Asha is Leah’s younger sister, born in the second novel. She is as strong-willed as her sister, loving excitement. Whilst Leah excels at mind-joining, Asha possesses the power of fire, and is able to destroy land-ships during the conflict of Ouroboros. She connects to Firestorm and learns the arts of a dragon-witch.
An ancient dragon-witch, Aris has power over ‘scuttly things’.These are creatures of the soil, and insects including the giant mantis, and the monstrous worms that hunt at night. Aris teaches Caia, supporting her as she becomes leader of her people. The old dragon-rider dies during the defeat of City 5, but Caia is able to summon her spirit. Aris Dol accompanies Leah when she travels back through time to the first Scitha invasion. She will not return from the past and is not seen again.
Robin is Rift Shaman. He is a pompous and arrogant man who believes himself to be superior to others. He also cares deeply for his people and ultimately sacrifices himself for them. Many fear and dislike him, but Robin maintains the traditions and beliefs. Robin also insists they pass down the generations. Robin raises Caia and her sister Aina as his own, but knows their biological father is the dragon-rider Muin Longmane.
The mysterious death of Robin’s wife Hanna and his bitterness from the betrayal leads to an obsessive hatred of dragon kind and their riders. He banishes dragons from Eco, and drives the riders away from the Rift, resulting in several deaths.
Outlanders – main characters
Unlike the Rift, the Outlands are arid and riven by many ravines. Sporadic and dangerous ice-storms bring water and help support life. Almost devoid of vegetation, life in the Outlands comprises competing carnivores that roam the land or live below the surface. Outlanders co-exist with reptyl, with whom they have a special bond. This symbiosis increases both their chances of survival but is not taken for granted. Living alongside and often sheltering in the abandoned Machines from the first Scitha invasion, Outlanders also possess limited powers of mind-join.
Darius is Caia’s older brother, and Robin Esvane’s son. Robin abandoned Darius in the Outlands because he knew the truth about Muin Longmane and was angry at his father. Darius is a true Outlander, knowing how to survive in the arid, dangerous land. Like other Outlanders, he resents Rift dwellers and wants to reclaim what should be his. Even at the end of the third novel, Darius prefers to live in the Outlands.
The Outlander Blade found Darius when he was a child and raised him. One of the longest-surviving Outlanders, Robin Esvane banished Blade for stealing food. In the final novel, Blade gives his life for Darius.
Northerners – main characters
No-one is certain which area the Northerners originated from. Dark and taciturn, Northerners are not afraid of the sea and sail the ocean with well-crafted longboats to ply their trade. Unlike Rifters, Northerners embrace technology and are swift to innovate. There is an affinity between dragon-riders and Northerners, and many say they are the same peoples, both with a longing to travel by air and sea. Following their banishment, many dragon-riders joined the Northerners, adopting a life at sea as they waited to return.
This dour character is a sorcerer, with basic magical skills achieved through his crystal. Bjorn has worked for Arne for many years, effectively part of the family. He is a grizzled warrior who seems to have no fear, following Arne through the Dragonseal.
Arne and his family spend most of their lives at sea. He uses a traded Explorer (submarine) to mine gold from the sea floor, and is always looking for a new opportunity. Arne takes Hath Ban down to the city of Rax, bringing back the aquatic warrior Meena to the surface. Remaining behind the Dragonseal with Bjorn Narl in order to destroy it, he will never return.
Dragonkind – main characters
No one knows when dragons first came to Eco, but Aris Dol believes they came through the space-time tunnel opened by the Scitha during their first invasion, 17,000 years earlier. Where they lived before that, no one knows. Capable of travelling between dimensions, dragon-witches summon them, but they also come and go as they please. All fear and mistrust dragons, other than dragon-riders and dragon-witches. Songs and myths celebrate them, a popular chant being –
Starflight’s fastest, praise him and worship him
Whiteflame’s hottest, praise her and worship her
Greenfire’s brightest, praise him and worship him
Blackscale’s baddest, praise her and worship her
Firestorm’s bravest, praise him and worship him
Old Smokey’s smartest, praise her and worship her…
There are another ten verses at least.
Dragon-riders – main characters
Dragon-riders are born with the required skills and have a flame-shaped birthmark. Parents raise children with this mark differently from others. Dragon-riders and dragon-witches raise them alike, the dragons they will ride are the greatest teachers. Only the soul-bonded dragons will carry them, but riders will always take second place to a dragon-witch.
Muin is Caia and Aina’s true father, and a captain dragon-rider. He bonds with Starflight, who is one of the most beautiful dragons. Muin abandoned Caia and Aina when they were babies, fleeing after the mysterious death of their mother Hanna. He returns with the Northerners when the dragons return, after which he does his best to be a father to Caia. Finally, he and Starflight will die as they attack the Scitha Prime’s ship, to prevent it crashing on the Rift.
The several other Dragon Riders are important characters, but Muin is sufficient to represent their kind for now.
City 5 – main characters
Created to be based on a classical matriarchal, martial society, City 5 is home to over 10,000 people. Society divides between the physically enhanced Royals, the drones, and the blind feelers. Each has a sense of pride and place, but strange visions of an All-Seeing Eye possessed by a giant with willow-tree hair disrupts the order. City 5 is, in a sense, alive. It wa built using technology stolen from the first Scitha invaders, which allow inanimate materials to regenerate. Although a closely guarded secret, essence keeps Royals eternally young, but cannot address the problems from in-breeding. These are the most notable characters.
Lucas Venn – eventual partner to Caia and father to Leah and Asha
Lucas was a utility drone, but exceptional abilities resulted in his becoming a gladiator. Remarkably, he survived over 100 fights, and won Freedom of the City from Hedra Darke. He chose to become an Investigator, reporting directly to Hedra herself. At the start of Emergence, Lucas is already questioning himself. He is one of many who have been visited by the All-Seeing Eye, in fact a manifestation of the Great Tree and the embodiment of the magical planet. Lucas is eventually sold into slavery. He is destined to marry to Caia Esvane and father her two daughters. He does not live to see his grandson.
Hath Ban and his brother Octo
The Ban brothers are waste disposal drones in City 5, but become central characters. Hath discovers that he is fact a hero, and will ultimately become a respected warrior. Octo is a complex character, devoted to his brother but also bitter at the world. Despite appearances, Octo is kind and willing to sacrifice himself for others. Hath will fall in love with Laura Zobe and both will survive.
Laura became a Tech Drone, having commenced her career in City 5 as a Sex Drone. As a result she is resourceful and capable of most things. Laura is a piebald, greatly prized by the ruling class. She was also with Lucas Venn when they travelled to the surface to discover an inhabited world. Condemned to death for her transgressions (she and Lucas ventured onto the land and swam in the sea), Laura escapes and encounters Caia.
Squadron Leader John Mack was never an inhabitant of City 5. He lived during the first Scitha Invasion, over 17,000 years earlier. During the final battle he went into stasis and remained frozen in his escape capsule until Caia Esvane discovered him. He was able to tell Hedra Darke, Empress of City 5, that the surface was habitable. Thus leading to the emergence. He died soon after. In a final twist, Leah Esvane was able to travel back in time in an attempt to stop emergence. Instead of killing John, she fell in love with him.
The artificial intelligence that runs the vital systems of City 5. C5 sees itself as the city, and regards the citizens as its subjects. C5 struggles to understand why it can’t be more human, and is deeply conflicted.
Hedra is queen of City 5. She is eternally beautiful and physically perfect, rejuvenated by essence. Essence also changes the nature of a person, making them increasingly callous. Hedra was a teenager when City 5 was created. She soon assumed power, once all opposition was eliminated. Hedra is calculating and very dangerous, but can also be compassionate. Possessing a deep affection for Lucas Venn, she truly falls in love with the Navigator Regis, who is unable to return her feelings.
Head of a rival dynasty, and equally calculating, but lacks diplomacy skills. Most notably, Rath’s skin is covered with diamonds, and she possesses both male and female organs. She is a rapacious lover, preying on sex drones. During Emergence, the sex drone Twenty will murder Rath and her family.
Rath’s son and displaying all the characteristics of the in-bred. Dasin has killed drones whilst amusing himself on the lower decks. Rath hopes that after Emergence, Dasin will possess his own kingdom, but it is not to be.
One of the scientists responsible for the creation of City 5, and synthesised essence. His sister Leanne became merged with Leah Esvane in Ouroboros. He was a brilliant scientist but resentful of the power-brokers. Verin will become Seer of City 5, allowing himself to finally grow old. At the very end, arthritic and senile, Verin realises the truth and immolates himself in front of his peers.
Another of the originals and leader of the team that created the survival cities. Cron and his sister Elgin both survive Emergence, and denied the use of essence, also age rapidly. Cron finds redemption by re-programming the EMP that stops the second Scitha invasion.
Hedra’s only child. Like many of the royals and centurions, she exhibits psychotic tendencies from in-breeding and exposure to essence – the mysterious substance used for rejuvenation. Initially despotic and cruel, Electra survives her encounter with Electra with the help of Den Zobe, with whom she has a child, Jacob. With Den’s help, Electra is visited by the All-Seeing Eye and is redeemed, devoting her life to the underprivileged. The striking image below from Mark Frost on Pixabay, is remarkably similar to the description of Electra in Emergence.
Waste-disposal drones, doing all the filthiest jobs in City 5, living in the ventilation shafts and lightless tunnels alongside the feelers. Hath had three years left to live at Emergence. He is destined to become a revered warrior, partnered with Laura Zobe.
Hath’s older brother. Afflicted with a stammer, Octo has an octopus tattooed on his face. This will save his life when confronted by a biosynth from the undersea city of Rath. As a waste disposal drone, Octo saw many terrible things which left their mark upon him.
Psychotic Centurion Commander of City 5 with a taste in raping and strangling young girls. In recognition of his work in supervising mass executions, and running a network of informants, Hol Xan secures rejuvenation and a new lease of life. He did not adapt well to Emergence, attempting to take control of the Outlands – an impossible task. Having survived one encounter with Lucas, Hol Xan also survives being blinded and strangled by Hedra, but finally dies at her hand.
A tech drone who has worked her way up from sex drone. One of the treasured piebalds, Laura has had to endure a life of abuse before Emergence. She faced the death penalty for her excursion to the surface with Lucas, before escaping and meeting Caia. She becomes an Outlander and a warrior, falling in love with Hath.
Laura’s older brother, and a devout feeler, blessed by the All-Seeing Eye and given the power of second sight. Den helps Caia give birth to Asha, deep in the forest. He is father to Electra’s son, and finally, becomes her life-long partner.
The Feeler King
Timor Rohan is a complex character with the ability to survive, mainly by running away. Timor saved the life of Lucas Venn, thereby changing history. Only in the novel Ouroboros does it become known that he was the rejected son of Rath Gore, left in a ventilation shaft because he was born blind. Timor claims to have been blessed, but this only happens at the very end.
Nivalus has always loved Lucas. One of the blessed, she faced death rather than take another life but was spared by Emergence. She lost her faith and wanted to kill Lucas, but was saved by him. Unable to express her love, Nivalus devoted her life to protecting Lucas, despite great suffering.
The city of Rax – main characters
Based on the marine ecosystem, Rax is open to the sea and its citizens take many physical forms – biosynths, aquats, makers, incubators, intels, concubines, pelagines. The mighty generals are the queen’s children. Essence has been freely used for biological engineering over many thousands of years, with astonishing results. Rax expounds that all citizens are free and equal, but this is far from the truth.
A pelagine warrior reporting directly to the monstrous General Hacker. She has been engineered at birth to appear attractive to land-dwellers, but this makes her freakish to her own kind. She is also Concubine to him, a great honour. Meena will eventually befriend Caia and reject her own people – mainly due to the death of her mother – and helps in the destruction of Rax.
Meena’s mother and supervises the incubation chambers where future generations are spawned and raised, before adaptation. Queen Nebularis is responsible for the loss of a generation from the chambers, but Symphony is blamed. After a rigged trial overseen by Hacker, she is found guilty and executed.
An overbearing, arrogant bully resembling a gigantic walrus. Insatiable, Meena is one of his many consorts. The General is also a magistrate and condemns Symphony to trial by essence. He defends Rax to the last, giving his life to save his queen.
The Rax queen takes the form of a gigantic octopus. Imbued with essence, she is able to communicate with her people over immense distances, and observes Meena’s experiences on land with great interest, confirming her suspicions that the land must be taken. She is immensely cunning, running her city efficiently but very liberal with the truth. At the end, she abandons Rax and saves herself.
The Scitha – main characters
The Scitha Prime
Essentially the control centre and mind of the Scitha race. Akin to social insects, the Secs and Tris obey her will and have little of their own. She was already old at the time of the first invasion, biding her time for the second, waiting for a signal that the planet is once more inhabitable. The home world of the Scitha is itself burned out, and they travel the galaxy in search of a new location where she can spawn.
Navigators – main characters
The navigators are a strange race forced into slavery by the Scitha. They live in groups of 12 which share a single mind, although notable individuals develop the ability to think for themselves. Navigators are pale giants who carry the words of their sacred books on their skin, sometimes betraying their thoughts. Lengthy exposure to the inhabitants of Eco, most notably Hedra Darke, creates a longing to return home.
The first rebel, abandoning his peers to live alone following the first unsuccessful invasion. Anestor is seen by many Navigators as a traitor, but navigator Dravi sees him as a hero, and abandons the Scitha during the second invasion to find him. At the end, she and Anestor will be the only ones to return home.
Regis is special. He is fascinated by Hedra and she grows to love him. Being in her company gradually uncovers his own identity and sense of self. He realises at the end of the second novel that he loves her, giving his life in an attempt to save her world.