Margus, the Darak Or, is human, born beyond this realm. When his world’s sun loses its life-giving properties, everything is plunged into gloom and horror. Nothing grows and survivors turn on each other to eat, degenerating eventually into mindless creatures. He survives by reaching for immortality, but loses his sanity.
With all hope lost and no means of ever restoring what was once a wholesome way of life, boredom and a desire to avenge himself on those who know the light, has him collecting souls from the miserable creatures populating his world. Finally he has an army, and he has every intention of using each ‘soldier’.
Despite the darkness in his soul, Margus desires a world with a benign sun and will do anything to secure it. Valaris is the prize.
As a character, Margus is the worst of the worst. He has no conscience and nothing in all realms will sway him, and yet, as we discover his past and the horror that befell him, an odd sort of compassion for this son of darkness will be yours.
Is empathy enough, though, to overlook the slaughter of so many?
INFINITY! Infinity, the blue-skinned dara-witch who forms part of the title for THE INFINITY MANTLE, has no conscience. The only person she ever cares for is her son Drasso, and his demise at Taranis’ hand on Valaris sets her on a path to vengeance. It doesn’t occur to her that Drasso needed to be stopped, just as it will never occur to her that she cannot be allowed to reach her goal. As darak fallen, she is blinkered.
She finds the Arcana of legend – a legendary tale of a race so evil that to allow them in is to submit eternally to darkness and chaos – beyond a Rift and thereby disproves the legend. The Arcana are real, and they are as terrifying as the tales tell.
Infinity promises to deliver to the Arcana Vannis of Valaris. Her machinations has uncovered that Vannis lives still despite millennia of absence, and Vannis, if ever there was one who knew of hate and revenge, utterly abhors humankind. He is the kind of man she can use. Valaris, a human world, will suffer not only under the Arcana, but also when Vannis is freed from his tomb.
To that end, she devises a game. Yes, a game. Her version of cosmic chess. She is the Queen, the Arcana her pawns, Vannis her Knight … oh, indeed, she will play to win. Her game will unleash Vannis and then the endgame will see her victorious.
Wearing nothing but her own allure, she strides naked upon Valaris and commences her manipulation. It begins in Farinwood, where the children are twisted into rabid beings …
GLINT is of the Sagorin, a green-skinned giant with a heart of gold. The Sagorin have a long history, which includes losing everything, even to the point of abandoning their homeworld. Glint’s heart is almost broken when Valarians begin dying; he sees parallels in the annihilation of Valaris to what happened to his people and world and does all in his power to aid them.
This man is a gentle giant, compassionate, easy-going and liberal-minded, but in battle he gives no quarter.
BELUN is of the Centuar (a deliberate spelling – thus not the Centaur of legend) and Belun will have your hide if you dare point out it is incorrect). Belun chooses a humanoid glamour for most of the tale in order to appear inconspicuous, and also to use his speaking voice (Centuar mindspeak in true form). He is, however, a bit of a showman and therefore stands out anyway. Belun is highly protective over Taranis, regarding his leader of millennia as a youngling, and fiercely protective of the Sylmer, believing those ethereal personalities are in need of a strong arm.
Rayne’s presence at the gathering at the Well of Crystal Sound has him suspicious of the man, but fortunately Belun also possesses an open mind and won’t simply judge on first impressions.
Belun of the Centuar is a flamboyant character and his voice will never be stilled.
LLETTYNN, leader of the Siric in the Dome, is a dour, emotionless man. Small, humanoid and colourless in appearance, Siric seem harmless. Only a fool dares make that assumption.
And one’s breath is snatched away in awe when Siric unveil their wings; all beauty, colour and nuance is contained there, spectacularly. Llettynn is master of arcane sorcery, and it is to him the Guardians turn for major feats. One of the Siric’s greatest talents lie in the ability to tell truth from lie, even in obscure ‘what-if’ statements.
Llettynn is ambivalent over Rayne. Highly suspicious of the man, he also senses in him great power, as if Rayne is ages old, this before anything of Rayne’s ancestry is revealed. Llettynn will not balk at removing him from the field of play, if Rayne is perceived as dangerous. The Siric, however, isn’t narrow-minded and is prepared to view the other side of the coin, so to speak.
I like this character, for he takes no nonsense and is a truth-teller, always.
MCSEE chooses to study the theory of sorcery on Valaris where magic is anathema and is a member of the Society of Sorcerers based in Gasmoor. Of course, as with the Mantle, this society is a secret and few know of it. He is a big man with fiery red hair and beard, and never stands aside in a brawl, and yet he is envious when he realises what Rayne is capable of (born, after all, to the same conditioning) and this escalates when it is revealed Taranis, Guardian, is Valarian also. McSee has the theory of magic, but has never put it into practice, and thus feels unworthy … and envious.
As Rayne arrives in Farinwood in search of Aven, so does McSee in search of Rayne. They meet, and from then on travel together, but it’s a prickly situation.
AVEN is a self-styled sorcerer living in Farinwood when The Infinity Mantle commences. It is to Aven that Rayne goes, hoping for insight into the threat Infinity presents to Valaris. Aven brought Rayne into the Mantle as a boy and trained him in sorcery. Rayne calls him stubborn and tough and they have issues, but also love each other. Aven is an old man now, but follows Rayne to the meeting in the Great Forest, because he dare not leave Averroes alone. Averroes is his ward and he loves her as much as he does Rayne, but in his opinion she needs protecting.
Over the course of the four Lore of Arcana books, Aven is instrumental in bringing the hidden truth about the Valleur to light, and he, along with others from the Mantle, sets up a Relief Centre in Galilan after their world suffers calamity.
He is an opinionated old coot and will make you smile more than once!
AVERROES is a shy young woman. Much trauma lies in her past, trauma she has suppressed to the degree that she remembers only finding herself in a dilapidated room as a child and knowing she needed to escape from there immediately. During that escape she finds a medallion at the foot of the stairs, and later this shiny coin will come to mean much. She is rescued as a teenager from the terror on the streets of Galilan by Aven, and in his care begins to blossom.
We meet her in Farinwood in Aven’s home and she still has the medallion. She becomes part of the mission because of it.
Averroes is central to the longer story. She nearly drowns when a ship sinks. She dreams of a throne and a golden man. In time she walks the corridors of an underground habitat and discovers her past there, and that leads to massive change. She is also connected to Rayne in a manner that will certainly impact the future for everyone.
While I would love to tell you what happens to Averroes, doing so will spoil the surprises, but writing about this broken girl becoming a strong woman was a treat. I am sure you will like her as much as I do!