HILO TAMARAND is in the shit. Saddled with an ancient magic armor, being one of the few survivors of a catastrophic war and tasked with an almost impossible world saving mission that she can’t turn her back on she also has to contend with the icy wrath of her lover who she had been separated from for the past five years…and her new husband.
Personal problems are going to have to take a back seat to the more pressing matter of the strange beasts and sickness that are beginning to creep up from the depths of the earth however. The undying echo of an old civilization is calling for blood and that’s not going to wait for romance.
ELLETTE VELDMARK is a rock, a solid foundation. In addition to a formidable build she is steadfast and has an unwavering sense of duty and loyalty. For all of her life she lived and smithed in the scummy Rift City of Gosstlet Ahn until her lover, Hilo, vanished during what was supposed to be a routine deep rift expedition. Grief stricken, Ellette left her home and eventually settled in the sprawling multicultural Benga Loa, one of the largest of the Rift Cities. She spent some time as a mercenary and eventually found a place with the cities Watchmen.
She’s pretty raw when Hilo has the nerve to show up, not only not dead, but in the process of being arrested.
BISMUTH BEGORAH is a Snake Eater, a member of the secret police employed by the ruling patrician of Benga Loa. As a very young man he volunteered for service in their elite ranks and proved himself an unshakable recruit. His devotion to Benga Loa is whole identity and after witnessing a bloody riot as a child that stretched from The Throat to the Shipping Quarter he understands the necessity of unsavory measures.
Bismuth is a brilliant marksman. His skills made him eligible for a rare procedure. His right hand is suffused with treated solanite granting him uncanny power.
He lives in the Watch Barracks in the upper district of Benga Loa with his wife, Ellette, a woman he wasn’t exactly expecting to fall in love with. While she is aware of his position as a Snake Eater due to the circumstances of their meeting back when she was a sad, wandering drunk his job necessitates a certain amount of secrecy. There are things he keeps close to his chest.
**`~*“ (YAMHILL) hails from the roosts of the heavily forested western rifts. Yamhill is his Trade name as no one other race can truly form the Sky Tongue of the Upsheer and the crane men prize their names to have it butchered by Thick Tongues.
After the slaughter of nestmate and hachlings by the ravening Boneblack monsters Yamhill found himself drawn into the world changing conflict at the borders of civilization. Despite their enormous differences in race and culture, Yamhill looks on Hilo as a daughter. After a devastating engagement in the West he accompanies her back to Gosstlet Ahn in search of her lover Ellette and then beyond to Benga Loa for the next piece in the puzzle of halting the Boneblack.
Yamhill has a difficult time in the cradles of civilization that are made up of the Thick Tongue races. It wasn’t too long ago that the Upsheer were thought dumb animals and hunted for their meat and feathers. However, anyone ignorant enough to pick a fight with Yamhill will have to contend with his sharp beak and lightning quick movements.
HAVEN ADALSON is the youngest daughter of a respectable Eidlemark family. Both beloved and black sheep, the hooved beauty turned her back on a prestigious career as a physician in the Wide Heart Academy of Medicine. Its rare for any of the Bengan Eidlemark to refuse acclaim by attending the school carved into the rift face, but Havens heart burns for the pursuit of truth. She works as a journalist for one of the many papers that circulate through Benga Loa. Something is going on in the city, something big and Haven is going to find out what it is even if it kills her.
And it very well might.
MARMONT SETLEBRANC: Marmont is one of the descendants of the ancient underground kingdoms called the Engine Children. Centuries of intermarrying and cultural blending with the Kef have eroded much of the Engine Childrens cultural history, not to mention the ocean of time and the trauma of the cataclysm that split the earth apart. Very few of the Children could be called “pure blooded” and even less have the tattered knowledge of what their people were like before hand.
But the ones who are and do sometimes join the Buried Sons. Marmont Settlebranc is counted among their vaunted number.
The Buried Sons are one part sophisticated mining guild, one part religious order and one part keepers of history. They are experts at caving and the handling of volatile materials, some even claim they can smell the differences in seams of mineral deposits. They are exceptionally resilient and can survive long periods underground without going mad or succumbing to the terrifying new sickness, Boneblack.
Marmont is slightly less zealous about cultural purity than some of his other brothers and sisters in the Sons. Still he is devout, keeping his personal tools in perfect order and covered in the traditional miners tattoos that provide luck, protection, or homage to ancient gods of this dangerous trade. Marmont is a man with a deep sense of responsibility and once his word is given he will never go back on it. It’s only since contracting with the Tiro family that he has loosened up somewhat and come to understand the value of selective flexibility.
JUON TIRO: The Tiros are masters of balance. They hold wealth and power, much of which couldn’t possibly have been obtained legally. And that’s true- not that the city watch could ever prove it. The Tiro family have been working in Benga Loa so long they could be called a dynasty and have the purse strings of many highly regulated business such as mining, ore refinement and even prostitution. The eldest daughter, Carissi, runs the most successful brothel in the entire city, Raw House. They operate at every level of Bengan society, from the respectable to the shadowed.
Juon is the youngest son in the family. Charming and quick spoken he is the face of his family’s mercantile efforts. He maintains a personable and professional face to the city watch while maintaining the Tiro stranglehold on black market shipments of outlawed ores and dangerous artifacts. Almost nothing goes on in the rift cities without Juon Tiro knowing about it.
Juon may as well be smoke on the wind when it comes to catching him in the act of suspect dealings. He presents an attitude of a man unused to physical confrontation. This is only a half truth though. Juon is a brilliant and creative artificer and more than one business rival has come for a meeting only to meet their end at one of Juons cleverly designed traps.
Not that you could prove it was a trap though. Accidents can happen anywhere and people can be so careless sometimes.