List of Old Kingdom characters
This is a list of characters from The Old Kingdom Trilogy, a set of novels by Australian author Garth Nix. The series comprises three novels: Sabriel (1995), Lirael (2001) and Abhorsen (2003). In 2006, Across the Wall: A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories was released, which contained the novella "The Creature in the Case", which was set after Abhorsen.
Chlorr of the Mask
A powerful necromancer and later one of the Greater Dead. At the beginning of Lirael, she approaches antagonist Hedge at the Red Lake; but falls under his control. She wears a bronze mask over her face, giving her the name.
Toward the end of Abhorsen, Mogget remarks "Chlorr was always reckless, even when she was an A--alive", presumably to indicate "Abhorsen" or "Abhorsen-in-waiting". Mogget also calls Chlorr "Chlorr No-Face", which may have significant meaning. Her story may be further developed in Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen (presumably her former identity).
Though unseen throughout the series, many references are made to Corolini in Lirael and Abhorsen. A populist and a nationalist, Corolini is the leader of the extremist 'Our Country' Party, which holds the balance of power in Ancelstierre. He accepts huge sums of Old Kingdom gold to use his party's influence to send 200,000 Southerling refugees across the Wall, to death and certain enslavement by Hedge. Corolini also orchestrates the assassination attempt on King Touchstone and Abhorsen Sabriel. After this, he launches a coup; but fails to gain control over the Hereditary Arbiter (the Ancelstierran ceremonial head of state, similar to the Queen of England). After Orannis is bound again, Corolini is presumably thwarted, as his government has ceased to exist by the events of Creature in the Case.
The Disreputable Dog
The Disreputable Dog is a remnant of the immortal Kibeth; but refuses until the end of the story to identify herself as such. She is Lirael's constant companion throughout two of the three initial books. At intervals she changes her size and physique to suit the environment, or assumes various attributes (adhesive pads; enlarged teeth; or wings) to achieve the immediate need. Additionally she has the ability to cast Charter and Free Magic spells by barking, mostly to produce the involuntary movement of the subject. In Abhorsen she uses this power to make Lirael and Sameth run away from Astarael. During the second binding of Orannis, the Disreputable Dog re-asserts her ancient role to achieve the same; then sacrifices herself to save Lirael. Abhorsen ends with her sending the recently-dead Nicholas back to Life, while the Dog trots away along the border of Life and Death.
Hedge is a necromancer in service of Orannis, who supplies Nicholas Sayre (in mistake for Prince Sameth) as the latter's avatar. He is roughly 100 years old. Motivated by an all-consuming desire for immortality, he believes that if he frees Orannis, he will become viceroy over the Dead; but fails when tricked into passing the Ninth Gate. It is suggested (in the prologue of Lirael; later in Abhorsen; and once in Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case) that Hedge was once a member of the Crossing Point Scouts preventing Dead creatures from entering Ancelstierre, and a necromancer thereafter.
In Life named Rogir or Rogirek, the son of the previous Queen of the Old Kingdom, half-brother of Touchstone/Torrigan. During his youth, he tried to make use of Free Magic, but was consumed by it and became the Greater Dead Kerrigor, a near- reversal of his given name. Desirous of power, he attempts to destroy the Charter (killing most of his family in the process) and causes a long interregnum; but is ultimately placed in suspended animation (as a black cat similar to Mogget) by Sabriel.
Lirael is Abhorsen-in-Waiting, a Daughter of the Clayr, and the first Remembrancer in several hundred years. She, alone in the entire history of the Clayr, has not received the Sight. At fourteen, she is several years older than most of those who are without the Sight. This sends her into a deep depression, once leading her to a suicide attempt. When she is on the cliff she was about to throw herself off, she is found by many high-ranking Clayr. In order to assuage this sorrow, she is given a job as an Assistant Librarian in the Great Library of the Clayr. While exploring in the Library, she discovers a soapstone carving of a dog. Unfortunately this results in setting free a very powerful free magic creature called a Stilken, which she later defeats using the chief librarian's sword. She tries to make a sending using the carving as the inspiration, but the stone is consumed in the making, and a real dog, the Disreputable Dog, is created in place of a sending. She refers to the Dog as her best friend and greatest companion.
Several years later, Lirael goes exploring and discovers a cave that a long-ago Clayr created for her. Within the chamber, she discovers the Book of Remembrance and Forgetting, which is similar to the Abhorsens' Book of the Dead, as well as the accompanying Dark Mirror and pipes, the tools of a Remembrancer. She is again found by many important Clayr, who have finally been able to See a specific area of the Old Kingdom they have been trying to See for years. In addition, this is the first time in recorded history that Lirael has ever been Seen. They Saw Lirael on a boat on the Red Lake in midsummer with a boy (Nicholas Sayre). She goes south, so that she may get to the Red Lake and make this prophecy true. The Dog joins her.
After meeting Sameth and Mogget on the way, the four arrive at the House of the Abhorsen on the river Ratterlin. She discovers, when the Sendings of the House give her a surcoat emblazoned with the Star of the Clayr and the key of the Abhorsen, that she, not Sameth, is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting.
When the foursome finally reaches the Lightning Farm and the bound Orannis in Abhorsen, she travels to the Ninth Precinct of Death in order to use the Dark Mirror to see back to the Beginning to discover how Orannis was bound. While here, she battles Hedge who is defeated and passes the Ninth Gate. When the new Seven, with the help of Yrael (Mogget), bind Orannis again, she wields Astarael. Part of the Binding is that whomever splits the hemisphere binding Orannis must be sacrificed; however, the Dog bites her hand off when she uses Nehima (which was imbued with the blood of the Seven "stand-ins" and the metal from her Remembrancer panpipes) on the sphere. Sameth later crafts Lirael a new, golden hand, which Kibeth (the Disreputable Dog) foresaw, possibly because she is the Third Bright Shiner.
The identity of Yrael, called Mogget, remains ambiguous until the third book, in which he is established as the Eighth Bright Shiner, an immortal originally neutral to the struggle of Orannis against the Seven, and therefore punished (details unknown) by the Seven and later forced to serve the Abhorsen lineage, typically as advisor or moral-support. Until the end of the initial series, he resents this control and if freed attempts to kill the current Abhorsen, but is usually confined anew. When confined he resembles a white cat, unless permitted by his current superior to assume a humanoid form; whereas the confinement itself appears as a collar or belt of red leather, distinguished by a bell (Saraneth originally, and Ranna in the second and third books) whose influence maintains his servitude. Throughout the story his role is largely the provision of wry or sometimes snide comments on the present situation. At the climax of the third book he assumes his true form and assists the imprisonment of Orannis; but is again seen as a cat in the epilogue, suggesting a new and voluntary servitude to the Charter. As Yrael he appears as a vaguely-humanoid plume of blue-white, possibly electromagnetic energy. The nickname 'Mogget' is not identified; but may be traced to an Australian informality meaning 'Cat'.
Nicholas is the nephew of the Chief Minister of Ancelstierre. Several months after being unknowingly invaded by a sliver of Orannis, Nicholas goes to visit Sameth in the Old Kingdom. He hires Hedge, believing him to be an innocent Old Kingdom expatriate, to guide him. But Hedge diverts Nicholas from visiting Sameth to looking at a phenomenon near the Red Lake: a hill that is struck by lightning rather often. In truth, this is the hill under which the hemispheres of Orannis have been buried. Hedge convinces Nicholas to help him dig the hemispheres up, and transport it back to Ancelstierre, so that the lightning may be harnessed for power.
Nicholas is an unwitting participant in the scheme to release Orannis, having been possessed by Orannis himself. When Lirael and the Dog attempt to rescue him from Hedge, and he and Lirael end up on a boat in the middle of the Red Lake (thus fulfilling the Clayr's prophecy), his mind is cleared by Lirael's magic, and he promises to try to fight the Destroyer.
He dies toward the end of Abhorsen after he is rescued by Mogget while the hemispheres were being joined. He is, however, restored to Life by the Disreputable Dog in the epilogue. The dog baptizes Nicholas in the Charter to balance the free magic that is now part of Nick after his hosting part of Orannis.
In the novella, Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case, he has acquired an appreciation for Old Kingdom magic, and battles Department 13 in their efforts to resurrect an ancient and vicious Free Magic creature from the Old Kingdom, a Nightmare creature that Lirael reveals to be a rare creature called 'Hrule.' From this creature Nicholas learns that his blood is filled with the power of the Nine Bright Shiners, highest of the high. He is even almost tempted to shed his flesh and fly with the creature back over the wall, but ultimately he chooses to trick the monster which gives Lirael enough time to make her entrance and seal the creature back into the earth for the time being. It's speculated that because the Disreputable Dog bathed him in the Charter magic and gave him the charter mark on his forehead that he would be Kibeth's successor and gained a lot of power from the dog, as even the strongest binding spells from Charter mages heal him instead of stopping him dead in his tracks. However, this seems unlikely because the Dog is still alive (and not in an incapacitated state like Astarael, who barely exists anymore and only appears under certain conditions), and so would not need to choose a descendant. However, this does not prevent the possibility that the Dog gave him some power anyway.
The antagonist Orannis, called the Destroyer, is a malevolent, interplanetary immortal referred to as the "Ninth Bright Shiner" desirous to destroy the biosphere of any planet it encounters, but eventually imprisoned by 7 of its 8 cohorts. In the novels Lirael and Abhorsen, it attempts self-resurrection aided by human agents, but is imprisoned again by the leading characters. When briefly free, it emits a series of 'manifestations', whereof the second resembles an atomic explosion; and when imprisoned, is confined in two immense metallic 'hemispheres', each containing half of its constitution, and further held by 7 apotropaic materials.
Sabriel is the protagonist of the first novel. Sabriel's mother died shortly after birth, but her father, the Abhorsen Terciel, retrieved Sabriel from the hands of the Greater Dead Kerrigor in Death. By her father's wishes, Sabriel grew up in Ancelstierre after living a few years in the Old Kingdom with her father. Shortly before she was to graduate from her school, Wyverley College in Ancelstierre, a Dead servant of her father's gave her his bells and his sword. She interprets this to mean that her father is trapped deep in Death. She returns to the Old Kingdom to save her father. She soon finds that she is not nearly skillful enough with magic or knowledgeable enough about her homeland. At the Abhorsen's house, she meets Mogget, and it is only then that she learns that there has been no king in two hundred years.
The house is besieged by dead. Sabriel escapes by calling a flood and flying away with Mogget on a kind of magical airplane, a paperwing. The paperwing crashes, and Sabriel finds herself in the graveyard of the royal house, where she frees Touchstone from imprisonment as a figurehead of a ship. They continue to the former royal city, where they find Sabriel's father's body. She brings him back to life, but he says that he will not be able to stay long and she must be Abhorsen.
Nineteen years after the events of Sabriel, she has married Touchstone, and after he was restored as the King of the Old Kingdom, she became his Queen of the Old Kingdom. During Lirael, she is rarely in the palace or with her children Ellimere and Sameth; her duties as an Abhorsen correcting the two hundred years of the interregnum keep her busy. She is very rarely seen during most of Lirael and Abhorsen.
At the end of Abhorsen, she is one of the Eight who bind Orannis; she wields the bell Saraneth the Binder (the preferred bell of Abhorsens).
Sameth is the son and younger child of Sabriel and Touchstone. It is believed in the Kingdom that since Ellimere will become Queen, he must fulfill the other Bloodline and become the Abhorsen. However, after encountering Hedge in Death, he is extremely afraid of becoming the Abhorsen. He is too afraid even to open the Book of the Dead. He is extremely relieved when he finds out that Lirael is to be the Abhorsen.
The one thing that Sameth has always truly enjoyed is making things. When Lirael finds out that she is the Abhorsen-in-waiting, Sameth, in the same way, is informed that he is the heir of the Wallmakers. Therefore, he is able to craft the sword needed to split the sphere in the binding of Orannis out of the pipes, Nehima, and the blood of the new Seven. In the binding, he wielded Belgaer.
Touchstone (formerly Torrigan) is the illegitimate son of the previous Queen of the Old Kingdom and an unnamed nobleman. He served as a member of the Royal Guard when Kerrigor betrayed the family and murdered them. After the betrayal, Touchstone entered a state of berserker-like rage and the then-Abhorsen bound Touchstone in a figurehead of a ship in Holehallow, the Royal Tombs. When Sabriel entered the tomb, she released him from this bond. He claimed amnesia of the past, because he felt guilty about not protecting the Queen and princesses. While on the Sea, however, he tells Sabriel what happened when the Royal Family was murdered. Nearing the end of Sabriel, he realizes that he had fallen in love with Sabriel and the feeling is returned. The two are later married and he becomes the King of the Old Kingdom. During the years between Sabriel and Lirael, he restored many of the Charter Stones that had been broken, including the Great Stones. He too is mostly absent from Lirael and Abhorsen. When he participates in the Binding at the end of Abhorsen, he revealed that his true name was Torrigan; he wielded Ranna.
The name Touchstone might have come from Shakespeare's play As You Like It where the character Touchstone is described as "a wise fool who acts as a kind of guide or point of reference throughout the play, putting everyone, including himself, to the comic test". Sabriel says to Touchstone upon hearing his decided name, "You know, there is a tradition of a wise fool..." indicating the connection.
The older sister of Sameth, and oldest child of King Touchstone and Abhorsen, named after a school friend of Sabriel who is killed in the battle against Kerrigor. She is destined to be the next ruler of the old kingdom. She is thought to be rather bossy by Sameth, though he admires her actions at the end of Abhorsen. She wields Dyrim in the second binding of the destroyer.