Some two hundred characters inhabit the contrasting environments of the undersea survival cities City 5 and Rax, and edenic Rift and savage Outlands. 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 wyvern-witch that has gone before, soul-bonded with the mighty wyvern Firestorm. Only Caia can summon the ‘Giant Tree’ – a mystical 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 wyvern-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 also is a rebel, challenging Caia. Leah bonds with the terrifying ghost wyvern 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), Leah often seeking escape through mind-joining with birds and animals.
Asha is Leah’s younger sister, born in the novel 2 of the trilogy, ‘Second Dawn’. Asha is as strong-willed as her sister, loving excitement. Whilst Leah excels at mind-joining, Asha possesses the power of fire. She connects to the wyvern king, Firestorm.
An ancient 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 wyvern-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.
Non-biological Father of Caia Esvane, 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 as his own, but knows her biological father is the wyvern-rider Muin Longmane.
The mysterious death of Robin’s wife Hanna and his bitterness from the betrayal leads to an obsessive hatred of wyvern kind and their riders. He banishes them from Eco, with terrible consequences for his people.
Outlanders – main characters
Unlike the Rift, the Outlands are arid and riven by many ravines. Sporadic and dangerous ice-storms also 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 this ecosystem. Living alongside and often sheltering in the abandoned Machines from the first Scitha invasion, Outlanders also possess 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 wyvern-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 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 Wyvern Seal.
Arne and his family spend most of their lives at sea. He uses a traded Explorer (small 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 Wyvern Seal with Bjorn Narl in order to destroy it, he will never return.
Wyvern kind – main characters
No one knows when wyverns first came to Eco, but Aris Dol believes they entered 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. Wyvern-witches summon them, but wyverns come and go as they please. Most fear and mistrust them, other than the riders. 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.
Wyvern-riders – main characters
Riders are born with many of the required skills and have a flame-shaped birthmark. Children with this mark are raised differently from others. Riders and witches raise them alike, but the wyverns they will ride are the greatest teachers. Only the soul-bonded wyverns will carry them, but riders will always take second place to a witch.
Muin is Caia and Aina’s biological father, and captain of the riders. He is bonded with Starflight, the most beautiful of her kind. 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 wyverns 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 (alien invaders making a return to the planet), to prevent it crashing on the Rift.
There are other 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 30,000 people. Society divides between the physically enhanced Royals, the drones, and the blind feelers who dwell in the ventilation systems and sewers. 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, this ‘essence’ keeps Royals eternally young, but cannot address the problems from in-breeding.
Lucas Venn – eventual partner to Caia Esvane and father to Leah and Asha Esvane
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 the Elsinor Prime Hedra Darke. He chose to become a Lawkeeper, reporting directly to Hedra. At the start of Emergence, Lucas is already questioning himself. He’s one of many who have been visited by the All-Seeing Eye, in fact a manifestation of the Great Tree that watches over the Rift, and the embodiment of the magical planet. Following his disobedience, Lucas is sold into slavery and is blinded, but will lead the rebellion when City 5 lands. 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 ex-drone and warrior Laura Zobe, and both will survive.
Laura became a tech drone, having commenced her short career in City 5 as a sex drone. As a result, she is resourceful and capable of most things. Laura is also piebald, greatly prized by the ruling class. She accompanies Lucas Venn to the surface of the ocean 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 and fought the invaders whilst the survival cities sought refuge on the ocean floor. During the final battle, John 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, daughter of Caia, travelled back in time in an attempt to stop the city’s emergence from happening. Instead of killing John, Leah falls in love with him.
Hedra is Elsinor Prime and supreme ruler 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 troubled 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. The striking image below from Mark Frost on Pixabay, is remarkably similar to the description of Electra in Emergence.
Commander Hol Xan
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.
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 Venn. 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 (‘People of White’) – 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 white giants who carry thoughts on their skin. 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 Darke, 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.