The Obsidian Tower
You can use this guide to refresh yourself on all the various names from The Obsidian Tower—who these people are, what was going on with them, why they were important to the story. If you read them all, you basically get a summary of the important things that happened in The Obsidian Tower as well. I’ve also included a short reminder of where we left off!
WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS!!! Absolutely DO NOT read any further if you have not read The Obsidian Tower. I mean it! There are surprises all the way up to the last pages of that book. Don’t spoil them! If you haven’t read the first book, STOP NOW!!!
Got it? Got it.
Okay, here we go.
Where We Left Off at the End of The Obsidian Tower
When we last left the Rookery, Ryx had joined them at Castle Ilseine after being thrown out of Morgrain by her newly demonic grandmother. Though the Rookery safely sealed the gate to the Nine Hells—at least for now—the Demon of Hunger is still at large in Aurelio’s body, the Demon of Discord is merged with Ryx’s grandmother and ruling Morgrain…And Ryx has just learned that Whisper is a demon, too.
What Is this Name Again and What Was Going On with Them?
Alevar: A domain that borders on Morgrain to the north. Ruled by the Shrike Lord, Severin’s twin.
Ardith: A child of the Fox Lord, often sent to do his business and that of the unofficial alliance that backs the Rookery and manipulates world affairs to promote peace and stability between Vaskandar and the Serene Empire. Ryx’s friend, but not always purely an ally.
Ashe: A member of the Rookery, specialized in the sword. She used to be the sole non-mage member of the chimera-hunters known as the Furies. Currently in a relationship with Kessa. Has an enchanted sword called Answer.
Aurelio: Ryx’s friend since childhood, one of the very few she has, and a member of the Zenith Society. Tried to murder Ryx at the behest of the Zenith Society to clear the way for them to gain control of the gate; successfully murdered Ryx’s Aunt Karrigan. Voluntarily became the host of the Demon of Hunger in order to gain a powerful ally for the Zenith Society.
Bastian: The Rookery’s alchemist and scholar, knowledgable in the magical sciences. He’s also secretly a chimera with the chameleon-like ability to make himself nearly invisible and other enhancements. He was made a chimera against his will by the Zenith Society when an old mentor betrayed him; Kessa and Foxglove know, but Ashe doesn’t.
Castle Ilseine: An imperial fortress on the border of Morgrain that houses the Rookery headquarters. It’s located in the imperial client-state of Loreice.
The Crow Lord: An influential Witch Lord and one of the founders of the Rookery; the authority to whom the Rookery reports on the Vaskandran side.
The Dark Days: A period in Eruvian history four thousand years ago when the Nine Demons came through from the Hells, plunging the world into a time of suffering and horror during which human civilization was essentially destroyed. The Dark Days are cloaked in legend, and not much is known about what truly happened.
Demons: The Nine Demons are regarded as evil, all-powerful, terrifying beings in story and legend, and the villains of imperial religion. Currently three known demons are present in the mortal world: the Demon of Discord, who has merged with Ryx’s grandmother, the Demon of Hunger, who Aurelio is voluntarily hosting, and Whisper, whose true identity is unknown. No one is sure whether any other demons came through the gate during the brief times it was open.
Foxglove: The leader of the Rookery field team. A Raverran artificer and a former imperial assassin.
The Gate: A tear in the fabric of reality that leads to the Nine Hells, located in the Black Tower, which was built around it to seal and contain it. A black obelisk at the center of the tower seals the gate and can act as a portal to open it in a controlled fashion.
Gloamingard: The sprawling, ancient castle of which Ryx is Warden. Contains the Black Tower; carved through with the Gloaming Lore.
Gloaming Lore: The ancient snippets of poetry and warnings passed down through Ryx’s family, mostly centered around not opening the Door in the Black Tower.
The Graces: Central figures of imperial religion, each embodying a virtue, ideal, or strength of humanity. Imperial myths say that the Nine Graces defeated the Nine Demons during the Dark Days and banished them back to the Hells they came from. Vaskandran legends do not acknowledge the Graces, saying instead that powerful mages or human heroes defeated the Nine Demons, though the stories are otherwise generally similar. Imperial religion is vague on where the Graces came from and whether they were originally human or not, with theologians having various competing theories.
Kessa: A member of the Rookery; a vivomancer and former spy. Her brother was murdered by the Zenith society. Currently in a relationship with Ashe. As the one who put Ryx’s jess on, can seal and unseal Ryx’s magic.
Lady Cornaro: A member of the ruling Council of Nine in Raverra and the authority to whom the Rookery reports on the imperial side. (Note for Swords & Fire readers: As Rooks & Ruin takes place 150 years later, she is Amalia’s descendant.)
The Lady of Owls: Ryx’s grandmother, the Witch Lord of Morgrain. Currently merged with the Demon of Discord, who attempted to possess her and accidentally became one with her instead. Has magical power over every living thing born in Morgrain, Ryx included, as well as whatever unknown demon powers she now possesses.
Loreice: An imperial client-state, part of the Serene Empire, that lies on the border of Morgrain. One of the most powerful, large, and important imperial client-states.
Morgrain: Ryx’s home domain. She has a deep magical connection to all life in the land there. Ruled over by Ryx’s grandmother, the Lady of Owls.
Raverra: The city-state that controls and rules the Serene Empire. Ryx’s mother is Raverran and used to be a Raverran diplomat working in Vaskandar before she married Ryx’s father and settled in Vaskandar permanently.
The Rookery: An international magic troubleshooting squad that solves difficult magical problems and also the equally difficult diplomatic issues that arise around them. The current field team includes Kessa, Ashe, Bastian, and Foxglove (their leader); Ryx is an associate member.
Ryx (Ryxander): The Warden of Gloamingard and an atheling (royal with an inherited magical connection to the land) of Morgrain. Her magic is broken due to a childhood illness and entropically unravels/disrupts things, especially complex things like life or magic. Without her jess, she kills everything she touches. She’s currently exiled from Morgrain by her grandmother, the Lady of Owls, after their confrontation when the Rookery sealed the gate to the Hells against her.
The Serene Empire: One of the two major powers in Eruvia; a sprawling empire consisting of many smaller client states ruled by the city-state of Raverra. The empire is an oligarchical republic ruled by an elected doge, the Council of Nine, and a general Assembly. Has a history of conflict with Vaskandar. Currently extremely concerned about the newly discovered existence of the gate to the Nine Hells and the fact that a demon is now ruling Morgrain.
Severin: Heir to the Shrike Lord and an atheling of Alevar. Currently staying with the Rookery because he has no place else to go since his brother exiled him from Alevar for helping Ryx escape.
The Shrike Lord: The Witch Lord of Alevar. Held Ryx responsible for Lamiel’s death and tried to execute her. In their final confrontation as Ryx and Severin fled his castle, told Severin not to come back to Alevar.
Vaskandar: One of the two major powers in Eruvia; the loose collection of domains of which Morgrain is a part. Ruled by the Witch Lords, who gather as the Conclave to make decisions that affect the whole nation. Has a history of conflict with the Serene Empire. Currently extremely concerned about the newly discovered existence of the gate to the Nine Hells and the fact that a demon is now ruling Morgrain.
Whisper: Ryx’s chimera friend, who she figured out at the end of The Obsidian Tower is actually a demon.
Zenith Society: A Raverran magical research society and political faction that seeks to achieve unanswerable magical military superiority for the Serene Empire in order to end the threat of Vaskandran invasion forever. The Rookery has a history of enmity with them. They tried to seize control of the gate and are now working with the Demon of Hunger. Ryx’s treacherous former friend Aurelio is a member.