Dramatis Personae for "Points of Brilliance" and "Lighting Candles in the Dark"
Thurmananthalas (pronounced thur-man-AN-tha-las) stands about six and a half feet tall, with long black hair usually caught in a pony tail. His features are angular, and his ears have the points indicative of an elf. His eyes are a piercing violet. (He looks a bit like Adrian Paul, especially when disguised as a human.) Thurmananthalas' preferred mode of dress is dark clothing, with a black leather longcoat, no matter what sort of plane he is in. He goes by the name Miles Thurmond often when in human disguise.
Thurmananthalas specializes in black and white magic, although he is versed in all the colors. His personal symbol is a feather, which came to him in a dream at the start of his apprenticeship, before he was introduced to black magic. He sometimes regrets dealing with the dark arts, but somehow feels that he was forced into it by certain outside forces.
Little has been revealed about the plane that Thurmananthalas is from, which apparently is not well-known. (For example, he claims that in that plane, elves and the faerie are not related.) Allegedly, his original last name was "Stormwind", but it changed sometime after he became a mage, possibly in reference to his chosen specialty colors of magic.
Thurmananthalas has lived in the plane of Scintilla for about 200 years. His home there is called Sablemorn. Recently (for him, at least), he met and fell in love with Ariel Bernard, a human native of Scintilla.
"Points of Brilliance" is his recollections of the past as told to an interviewer of some sort.
Ariel Bernard is Thurmananthas' love. She is a native of Scintilla, and is a college student at Beaumont University there, pursuing a general computer degree (with sights on specializing in her graduate work). Thurmananthalas is training her in the magical arts, and also trying to "spark" her into becoming a planewalker. As far as he knows, it is a natural occurance, and does not know a way to force it. (He wants it to happen because a (planewalker-style; there are other kinds, depending on a particular plane's "World Laws") mage is severely hampered in what she can draw on for mana if she is not a planewalker; namely just the land that she is standing on, plus artifact mana in her possession. And also because planewalkers are a lot harder to kill and live a lot longer.) Ariel seems to be specialized in red magic so far. The only spells that she has been seen to cast in the stories are Lightning Bolt and a goblin.
She stands about 5'9", with long wavy red hair and green eyes. She prefers to wear t-shirts and blue jeans, and hasn't been off-plane yet to decide what she would wear while travelling the planes. (I'm tempted to say that she looks a bit like Eiko Megami, but that's not all that descriptive, really.)
Melissa MastersMelissa is Ariel's cousin. Her late father, Theodore Masters, was Ariel's mother's (Clarissa Bernard nee Masters) older brother. She has some small magical power, mainly in the sensing of the auras of living beings. Currently, she attends Beaumont University in Providence, pursuing a political science degree.
Melissa is about 5'10", with shoulder-length auburn hair. She looks a bit like Gillian Anderson.
Selina is the unofficial head of a small group of magically aware college students at Providence's Beaumont University. The group includes Ariel, Melissa and Sandy. She can sense auras, and cast some spells with great difficulty.Selina is about 5'6", oriental, with long black hair. She is known to always dress well, often elegantly. (No blue jeans, etc.)
Sandy (Sandra Lee) Milliken
Sandy is a friend of Ariel's from Beaumont University. Her defining interests seem to lie in drinking Qwirki Cola, and chasing males.
Sandy is about 5'2", with shoulder-length curly brown hair.
Father Tobias Rothwell
Father Tobias is the pastor of St. Angus church in Providence. His religion's name is unrevealed, but it seems to be similar to Roman Catholicism. [Editor's note: It's not the same; one of the major differences is that the theological balance is much more even than on Earth, and a Ragnarok-like battle at the end of the world will take place between the forces of "good" and "evil". (The Creator and Deceiver, that is.) That's not to say that followers of the Deceiver are common. They were driven underground sometime in the past. ] Tobias was tricked by the planewalker Tandalus Zivo into thinking that Thurmananthalas was a servant of the Deceiver. He followed Thurmananthalas to Sablemorn and attempted to kill him there, but was dissuaded and the two parted on civil terms.
Tobias is about 6', cleanshaven, with lightly graying curly brown hair. He usually wears clerical garb.
Matthew Wilcox is the CEO of Starbright Electronics Corporation, one of the largest megacorps in Scintilla. He encountered a wounded Tandalus Zivo after his duel with Thurmananthalas and healed him. They struck a deal, and later they cooperated on an attack on Thurmananthalas. Zivo showed evidence he was going to betray Wilcox, and the two parted on incendiary terms.
Wilcox is about 6', with salt and pepper hair. He usually wears expensive business suits, and is never without his Lynx pistol. He has some cyberware, including an adrenal booster and mental connections to the AI of the Starbright Tower, which is named Aster.
Tandalus Zivo followed Thurmananthalas to Scintilla, winning his way past the ward protecting it. He attacked Thurmananthalas immediately, and was beaten back, losing a hand in the process. After striking a deal with Matthew Wilcox, he healed at the Starbright Tower for a week and then attacked Thurmananthalas again. He was beaten off-plane, with a possibly mortal wound.
Zivo has Nordic features, with bright blue eyes and short blond hair. He stands just over 6' tall, and is currently missing his right hand. His primary colors of magic seem to be blue and red, with some black. Zivo's point of origin and reasons for attacking Thurmananthalas are as yet unrevealed. (You have to keep reading the series! )
After discovering Scintilla, and finding that it suited my disposition, I had worked (and my minions had labored) to create an architectural masterpiece. When it was complete, I named it Sablemorn, after a city of power from my home plane lost in the mists of time. I imbued it with much power, and set guards to protect it. It is an edifice of wood and stone, glass and steel that sometimes looks as if it grew there on the low hill, menacing those who dare to approach it. Some might call it an architectural nightmare, because it does not show any recognizable pattern in its forms, as if the architect was mad. One of those native to Scintilla would find forms from many different periods and cultures of that plane, and quite a few that were unrecognizable. It does fit strongly in the mold of what is called a "haunted house," one dark and mysterious, supposedly inhabited by monsters and the spirits of the dead. There are buildings larger, and buildings more attractive, and those stronger, but I have never seen one quite as unique as Sablemorn. It is as much its own as it is mine, for I sometimes touch an alien intelligence as I quietly ponder there, as if my effort created something akin to life. Certainly, it can defend itself.
It has demonstrated the ability to change form:
Soon, I came to the large room used for "physical exertions." It is not something I specifically designed in to Sablemorn, but it sort of grew there, a fulfillment of my subconscious wishes. Sablemorn, as I have said, took on a life of its own during construction, and I have not really been its master since. I sometimes feel that it tolerates me only out of a small appreciation for giving it life. There is no real communication, just certain instinctual behavior. Like this room.
- "Costs of Life and Death"
Further abilities have not been seen yet in the stories.
Scintilla is the dark plane that seemed to call to Thurmananthalas when he visited it. To him, it mirrored his condition: mostly dark, with points of brightness in it:
I spend a bit of my time in a plane called Scintilla, which is a plane of darkness, of both the luminary and moral kind, pierced with the occasional bright light. It is a plane that I believe the brothers would like, as machines similar to their clockworks have taken over the world. Steel wagons cross the countryside on roads made by pouring fluid on the ground. Huge buildings in which more clockworks are made belch vast quantities of smoke into the air, obscuring the sun. The machines are brought to such a high level of sophistication that some people replace portions of their bodies with them. Like I said, the brothers would love this place. This is what would have occurred in Argoth if the brothers would have been more complete in their destruction, if the Dark Ages would have lasted. In all, an unpleasant place to be, unless you wish to pursue the call of Black magic.
- "Points of Brilliance"
Scintilla seems to be a cyberpunk-like world, from the reference to replacing parts of bodies with metal, and also the despair that Thurmananthalas describes as woven deeply into the plane. As well as the following quote:
It is said that those who stalk the night can gain or lose everything in a single night. There are those who pay the stalkers very well for the information that runs like veins of gold in those tall, dark buildings. The pursuit of knowledge I can certainly understand.
- "Costs of Life and Death"