a spy in the service of Persia
wizened old Nabatean, long ensconced in Rome, waiting for
the right day to arrive. A sorcerer more skilled than
powerful, with a long life of research and learning behind
him. Which is not to say that he does not use his power,
just that he is subtle.
eye disappeared and the door opened the rest of the way,
revealing a short, thin, man with a wisp of white hair
showing from underneath a small felt cap. The fellow was
dressed in a trailing robe of narrow blue and white stripes,
bound at his waist with a dark green sash.
a priest of the School of Pthames
of medium height, solid features but not fleshy or fat -
more ascetic looking, short black hair, smooth-shaven. Not
muscled, but fit from a long life out of doors. Carries a
staff with the markings of his order (Hermes Trismegistus).
reliable, loyal - an excellent teacher - until he loses his
head, his heart and his job. Then he gets down to business.
a woman of the Valach
rebellious Valach girl, who aspires to more than being the
servant of the Dark Queen. Not particularly pleasant,
particularly to other women.
girl rose, her dark robes falling around her like the wings
of night. It was the blonde one that had looked back over
her shoulder. Her hair was loose and very long, a shimmering
cascade down her back. The cloak covered her shoulders, but
her breasts, creamy white, threatened to spill out of the
tight leather bodice that contained them in criss-crossed
leather ties. She bowed deeply as he entered, allowing her
dress to slither away from a long smooth thigh and firm
calf. Her sandal straps oozed up and around her leg almost
to her knee, snug to the flesh. Her eyes were a tremendously
deep blue, a clear winter sky over bare trees and fallen
a dead Macedonian
young strong man with golden curly hair. Once had great
success in politics, war and business. Now somewhat at loose
coffin had folded away. A man sat up from a bed of linen, a
strong hand, burned almost bronze by some ancient sun,
rubbed a face of noble proportions. He was naked, not a tall
man, but well made. His limbs were long and clean, with
sharply defined muscles. His hair was long and golden,
falling in a wave of curls over his shoulders and broadly
muscled back. The man looked around, his blue eyes narrowed
d'Orelio: Duchess of Parma, spymaster
of the Western Empire
tall woman stood on the topmost step, her raven-dark hair
spilling down her back in a glorious cascade of loose curls.
Tiny golden pins glittered like stars against the firmament
of her hair. A shimmering deep-blue-black dress of silk
clung eagerly to her figure. Thin necklaces of pearl and raw
red gold plunged from her neck to vanish in the soft
darkness between her breasts. Thyatis suppressed a momentary
urge to gape in awe at the expense of such a garment. The
raw silk alone would have done to purchase the province of
Pannonia. The lush red lips quirked in amusement, and
Thyatis struggled to keep her composure as she realized that
her opinion was all too clear to the pair of deep violet
eyes that surveyed her from beneath eyelids lightly dusted
: Caesar of the Western Roman Empire
and cheerful, Aurelian is a horse-loving, stocky cavalryman.
Broad shoulders, thick wrists, a bushy red beard. Wears his
hair short and his beard (though it is constantly striving
to escape) clipped short. He also loves all kinds of gadgets
and machines, even those forbidden by the Augustan Edicts,
and shows his native intellect in the physical world by
making marvelous devices.
no time for anything but food (the spicer the better!),
horses (the faster the better), his Legion duties and
mechanical devices. A particular patron of the Sarmatian
heavy horse used by the Western Legions to support their
II Aparvez: "The
Victorious", Shahanshah of Persia
curly brown hair, thick curled beard. Face disfigured by a
fire, so he wears a golden mask fashioned after the great
Persian emperor Xerxes. Powerful torso, arms, an
accomplished swordsman, rider, general. Getting a little out
of control following the death of his wife Maria in the fire
that destroyed his face.
yabghu of the T'u-chueh, exiled prince
their head, a chief rode – marked by the ermine fur cloak
he wore and the glitter of iron mail at his chest. Too, he
rode a barrel-chested roan stallion with a fey look in its
eye. Even Khadames, who felt nothing but hatred for the Hun,
noticed the noble breeding of the horse. The man was swarthy
and strong-featured, with the slanted eyes and sallow skin
of the eastern Turk, and he wore his mustaches very long and
waxed with grease. His coal-black hair hung over his
shoulder in many small braids, each twisted with the
knucklebones of dead enemies.
exile from the lands under the Rampart of Heaven, where the
T'u-chüeh rule. Once a great war-leader and prince, now
disgraced and exiled by his great enemy, the boy Shih-kuei
and his Chin masters.
(Azi Tohak), the Lord of the Ten
Serpents, the Destroyer
other man was well built too, ... he seemed a sapling to an
ancient oak. ... this one was dressed in a flowing black
robe of some shining material, with dark cotton trousers and
arms graced by many bands of dark gold and red and amber. He
too had dark hair, but it hung long and straight on his
back, bound back by a silver fillet. His face, too, was long
and straight, with arching eyebrows and a sharp nose. He was
clean-shaven, without even the shadow of a beard. This one
was cold and distant, like the ice on a mountaintop. Looking
upon him Dwyrin met his eyes for an instant and quailed
away. They were deep pools of darkness, filled with horror
ancient incalculable evil wearing the shape of a Persian
prince, the younger brother of Chrosoes.
(Stephen Berry), lower:
Queen: the bidalaksha 'virazhoi
woman was tall, almost as tall as Maxian, with pale ivory
skin and deep red hair, almost black, that fell behind her
to her waist. A delicate net of silver held back the hair
from her high forehead, and shining drops of ruby glittered
at her ears. Her cloak and hood fell back from smooth white
shoulders and revealed a black silk gown with buttons of
white bone. She was as thin as a reed. Her lips were pale
rose, and the beauty of her face was the more striking for
the strength of her features. The prince met her gaze and
saw that her tilted eyes were so pale a blue that the iris
was almost invisible in the white.
ruler of the Valach, though she is not of the cat-tribe
herself, in the city of Constantinople. Very old, perhaps
older than man. Displeased that her world is now overrun by
these daywalker children.
MacDonald: student at the school of
is a sixteen year old Hibernian (Irish) boy. At the
beginning of Shadow, he is a lowly apprentice in the School
of Pthames in Egypt, where he is learning to be a wizard.
His parents are poor (and barbarians, no less, living beyond
the edge of the civilized world), but his talents were
discovered by roving Imperial Witchfinders.
Julius : a dead Roman Senator
old patrician, with a winning smile, thinning hair and a
taste for the good things in life. Wiry, doesn't look
particularly strong, a consummate politician and plotter.
Should have been a theatre manager, for he loves shows and
games and plays more than almost anything. Always dresses in
an old, archaic style - but it looks good on him.
Atreus : Emperor of the Western Roman
Heraclius is outgoing and sometimes emotional, his Western
counterpart is thin, brown-haired, nervous, with intelligent
eyes and a high forehead. Galen is an intellectual Emperor,
leading from experience and wisdom rather than physical
strength and courage. His lank brown hair is constantly
falling in front of his face, to the dismay of his wife, who
wishes he would pay more attention to his dress.
well read and possessed of a fabulous memory.
brothers looked up; Galen thin and wiry, clean-shaven, with
his short-cut dark hair thinning at the temples, Aurelian
tall and broad, with a full dark red beard. Galen grimaced
at the sight of his missing sibling and shook his head.
Aurelian turned, his light brown eyes sparkling with
surprise and delight.
Empress of the Western Roman Empire
graceful, elegant woman notable for the sharpness of her wit
and her voluminous correspondence. More than a match,
intellectually, for the Emperor Galen, who is more than a
little afraid of her (if the truth were told). Short curly
black hair, dark brown eyes. Well cultivated skin.
sat, brushing away a few narrow leaves that had fallen from
the willows that shrouded the bench. As befitted a lady of
the city, she was wearing a conservative dress and tunic,
with a light lace scarf covering the sleek line of her hair.
In defiance of usual fashion, her hair only fell to her
shoulders. Like many in the city, she wore somber colors and
very little jewelry. Of course, with the resources at her
command, the bracelets on her left arm had come from distant
Taprobane and blazed with rubies set in white gold. Sitting,
she sighed gently, leaning on one hand.
Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire
and commanding, Heraclius is young, in his thirties, with a
powerful physique, golden hair and a short-clipped beard. A
man of moods, anger and mirth come to him in equal measure.
Though cunning, he lacks the administrative genius that
marks his fellow Emperor, Galen.
lord of Persia, general in the armies
very tired man, with a short-clipped beard and thinning
hair. Usually sporting a worried expression and bags under
his eyes. Classical Aryan features - strong nose and
al'Walid: the Young Eagle
cheerful, cunning youth of the Mekkan tribe. Very handsome,
with striking features. Lithe and wiry, an excellent
swordsman and rider. Captain of a band of renegades,
bandits, thieves and outcasts. Served for a time in the army
of the Great Prince Shahin of Persia.
Fehr from The Mummy.
leader, whose sleek black mare was still eager to run,
pirouetted his mount in a circle and then back again. He was
tall, with a strong olive face and a neatly trimmed black
beard. Uri raised an eyebrow – the chieftain of these
rascals was young, too, barely twenty if a day.
construction of the Walach sorcerer Bygar Dracul. A creature
stitched together from the bodies of the dead and given life
by ancient sorcery. Fine stitches hold the homunculus
together, binding flesh to his limbs. Has a repellent,
slave girl in the house d'Orelio
curly very dark brown hair (to mid-back), very tan. Dark
eyes, no chest to speak of. Bangles on wrists, no collar. Of
Sicilian origin. Very fit, due to Thiran martial-arts
sharp-tongued, very forward and self-assured. Well, all
right, she's a snip.
Empress of the Eastern Roman Empire
young niece and wife of the Emperor Heraclius, cheerful and
somewhat naive, unused to the harsh realities of Imperial
life. Trying to keep out of trouble by working on a
voluminous history of the city of Constantinople.
the bank, clad in a simple white gown and half-cloak of pale
green, a young woman was clapping her hands in delight.
well done!" she called out, shading her eyes with one
pale white hand. Dwyrin flushed and, remembering his
manners, bowed. The woman bowed back, but then sat down
heavily. Dwyrin splashed through the stream, weaving his way
amongst the rocks, to the bank. The lady, for the quality of
her bracelets and hair-pins marked her as one, was a little
pale. The Hibernian could see, too, that she was very
Caesar (Prince) of the Western Roman
height Latin youth of twenty-odd years, long dark brown
hair, wears a lot of black and gray, which matches his mood.
Thin features, like his brothers. A priest of the temple of
Asklepios (god of healing), so wears the caduceus with
intertwining snakes to show the favor of Apollo. Born in
southern Gaul (France) in the Narbonensis.
happy-go-lucky kind of young man, without any real
responsibilities, until he discovers something truly
teacher of the Open Hand Way
was very thin, even lighter than Shirin who was not heavy at
all. The little woman was a swordblade, balanced and
whip-thin, with a core of steel. An enormous amount of
pitch-black hair was curled up on Mikele’s head, held in
place by silver combs and tiny golden pins. She wore a plain
cotton shirt, without even embroidery, with a round-notched
collar and Persian-style pants with wide bottoms. Her face
was serene and elegant, marked by high cheekbones and those
slightly slanted eyes. Shirin knew, looking upon her, that
in her youth the little woman had been surpassingly pretty.
But now, age had peeled away everything but a clear beauty
that shone from her eyes more than the appearance of her
face. Her lips were thin, but creased at the corners by a
constant smile. Every thing about her spoke of balance and
restraint, nothing hinted at the effortless speed of her
she's Michelle Yeoh. Sue me.
merchant of the Quryash
traveler out of the south, stocky and fit, with a neatly
trimmed black beard. Classic Arab features, weathered by
years in the saddle and out-of-doors. Driven by curiosity
and an odd feeling of emptiness. Cannot abide staying home
agent of the Eastern Empire
man in his middle thirties, proud of a pair of sharp-pointed
mustaches, dark brown hair, odd violet eyes. Trim and fit,
carries a Scandian longsword named Brunhilde that is close
to his heart. Cheerful seeming, though he has a sharp tongue
and a taste for garlic.
as a slave by the Stormlords of the Dannmark, though from
his face and build, its clear he was born a Latin.
sharp Italianate features, a medium height, the trim waist
and broad shoulders and the jutting points of waxed
(Bill Payne) lower: (Johanna
agent of the Western Empire
bald, clean-shaven Illyrian with a wrestlers physique. Very
strong, though his body shows the effects of years of
service in the Office of Barbarians. Really a very cheerful
fellow, he spends a lot of time practicing being grim and
second in command.
noble of Palmyra, sorcerer
likeable young man with even features. Also enrolled in the
Legion's thaumaturgic corps. The cousin of Zoe. A little
reserved, but cheerful if pressed.
his left a short, tan, black-haired boy with a long face and
thin nose, dressed in plain white shirt and trousers was
staring at him with guarded dark eyes.
The Royal Boar, general of the armies
first of the two men was large, taller than Khiron, with a
bristling beard and great whiskers. His black hair was
curled and fell in ringlets past his broad shoulders. His
arms were thick and corded with muscle. He was clad in heavy
woolen garments, like a merchant, but they sat uneasy upon
him. Dark piercing eyes scanned Dwyrin up and down, then the
chin lifted in appraisal, a hand adorned with many rings
stroking the lushness of his beard.
son of a border lord, Shahr-Baraz has never lost a fight in
single combat. A true hero, endowed with enormous physical
strength and a cunning military mind. The strong right hand
of Chrosoes. Fearless and confident. His nickname comes from
two huge jutting mustaches that look like boar's tusks.
Empress of Persia, princess of the
young wife of Chrosoes, seventeen or eighteen. The Emperor's
second wife, his true love. A princess of the Khazar nomads,
who dwell north of the Mare Caspium. Lithe, energetic,
brilliant smile. Mother of four uncontrollably cute
woman that had risen, sylph-like, from a pool of warm light
and linen pillows matched the room and made it complete. She
was of medium height, though her slimness made her seem
taller. Gorgeous brown eyes dominated a face of perfect
curves and planes. Sleek upswept eyebrows and long lashes
framed them. She smiled, her graceful dark lips suggesting
laughter and merriment. Wavy dark brown hair with russet
highlights cascaded over smooth olive shoulders and down her
back. A rich red gown with a scoop neckline that accentuated
her full breasts clung to her body. Thyatis felt a bright
spark of jealousy flare in her heart, but then it faded. The
woman that returned Jusuf’s bow, laughing, her eyes
sparkling with joy, could not be hated or reviled, only
Prince of the Eastern Roman Empire
proud young man, with redder hair than his brother
Heraclius, a bluff, open face and a strong young body that
will go to fat as soon as it can. Wears his hair and beard
short, aping the Western military style.
agent of the Western Empire
broad-shouldered Latin woman, eighteen years old, very fit.
Curly red-gold hair, sort-of-tan skin. Sea-gray eyes. Hard,
flat muscle from endless training. Very strong. Favors the
gladius (a Roman short-sword), until she gets a particularly
nice Indian-steel (damascene) longsword while in Persia.
Usually wears armor under her clothes. Scars and calluses on
her hands and forearms from weapons practice and battle.
grim woman, since she's never had the chance to be anything
more than a killer.
(Bill Payne) middle: (Dan
Smith), lower (Bill Payne)
hulking man with a shaggy head of black hair, a broken nose
and a face only a mother could love. Powerfully muscled and
skilled with any kind of weapon known to man. The bodyguard
of the Duchess Anastasia.
a refugee Valach nobleman
and dark, with rich black hair and a pale complexion. A
sturdy fellow, well-muscled. Keeps to himself, save for his
friends Nicholas and Dwyrin.
soldier swung up onto the bulwark and pulled himself to the
rail. Nicholas nodded politely at him, hiding a frown. The
man was stocky and of middling height, with thick black hair
hanging heavily around his head and shoulders. Unlike most
of the men on the ship, he was not wearing a helmet. Bushy
eyebrows crowded over his muddy brown eyes and, though his
skin was fair and even pale, he seemed a dark and brooding
said the fellow, his dark eyes idly drifting over Nick's
clothing, armor, weapons, hands. “I am Vladimir of
Carpathos – and you?”
Queen of Palmyra
of the Hellenic kings of Palmyra, a fabulously wealthy city
on the trade routes from Persia to Rome. Cloud of dark hair,
electric blue eyes, short, well-built. Very pale
(aristocratic) skin, oval face. Tremendously charismatic.
plenty of jewelry - rings, bracelets, earrings. Not an
idiot, so often wears a shirt of close-linked chainmail
under her gown. Being Queen is no easy business.
woman stood behind him, her hand on his shoulder. At first,
all that he was aware of were her eyes – a cobalt bluer
than the open sky – with heavy dark lashes in a delicate
oval face. They smiled at him and he felt the shock of that
personality all the way to his stomach. She pressed him
gently aside with a murmured, “your pardon, holy one”,
and he had a blurred impression of a cloud of lustrous black
curls ornamenting a graceful alabaster neck.
princess of Palmyra, sorceress
young woman, a sorceress in the Legion, the niece of
Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra and her heir.
up." she hissed. Her hair was dark and thick as pitch
and tied back in a dull red fillet around her head. Her
face, like that of the boy on the left, was thin and lean.
Her eyes were a dark brown, with graceful black eyebrows
above. She shook him again, her white shift falling back
from a firm tan arm, and pushed his head back against the
edge of the frame.
you squeal like a pig, Celt, I'll make sure you never have a
moments peace here, see? You're in our five now, and if you
make us look bad, I'll skin you myself."