Cody Conmar – 12-year-old girl living in the sleepy Cheshire village of Clayton Bar. She has no memory of her life before three years ago when she and her family moved to the village, but she has dreams about someone named Lucian (who is her lost twin). Cody is very special – she is an Eloin, a unique kind of being, the next stage in human evolution, and she is protected from dark forces of the Shadow Wars that have raged for centuries, unrecognised by humanity at large.
Mary and Teddy Conmar – Cody’s Mum and Dad in Clayton Bar. Teddy Conmar is a joiner and furniture maker for Albion markets countywide, and also a volunteer fireman dealing with outbreaks of Bloom in the county. Both of these human parents are actually Cody’s Sufinam guardians. [Sufinam – see Concepts Index]
Bron – a close friend of Cody’s in the village.
Enwyn Carter – a Sufinam guardian based in Clayton Bar for Cody’s protection. Looks 16–17 years old but is actually much older. A highly competent, athletic young woman. Runs the local Chester martial arts club alongside another Sufinam, Beowulf Clark. The club is a cover for Sufinam training.
Peter Loren – an official Census Investigator based in Recovering Chester. He is actually an undercover operative for Mainland Protectorate covert operations based in London and reports back to Section Chief Edwin Kanulf via Amuna Jensen. Loren is a kendo martial arts practitioner and was a pilot in the early Recovery & Resettlement Programme immediately after the Bloom and Ice Event. 27 years old.
Edwin Kanulf – godfather to Cody and a rare visitor to Clayton Bar. He heads the Mainland Protectorate from London and is responsible for national security. He runs the Black Set, a special ops elite corps within the Protectorate. A 55–60-year-old warrior Eloin in his full power.
Lucian – Cody’s lost twin brother. Cody is only peripherally aware that she even has a brother, but her dreams are constantly filled by a face that she knows is someone of importance in her life. Lucian is being kept imprisoned by Chameleon Cartier Jerphanion and there are very few clues as to his whereabouts.
Amuna Shree Jensen – Peter Loren’s direct supervisor in the National Census Office of the Isles based in London, but actually running Loren for the Mainland Protectorate. She is an androgynous hunchback of childlike proportions and walks with a stick. Her face is always covered in surgical dressing and her eyes are hidden behind opaque goggles. Companion to Edwin Kanulf from a long time ago. Amuna’s exact past and origins are a mystery.
Cas Winters – a Census Officer in Lancaster and good friend of Loren’s. Like Loren, she is a trained microlite pilot and they met whilst flying missions as part of the post-Event Recovery & Resettlement Programme. They were part of a team of official Salvagers before that task was subcontracted out to freelance microlite teams. Age 26.
Bella Dixon – a travelling fortune reader and healer seen regularly at Albion fayres. Her appearance is carefully tailored to suggest an Earth-mother type. In actuality she is a Chameleon harvester and her purpose in touring the fayres is to abduct youngsters as part of the Chameleon breeding programme. She is lorded over by a terrifying Chameleon elite named Cartier Jerphanion, whom she loathes. Keeps her eyes hidden behind green tinted spectacles.
Garatunde – a chameleon predator based in the Lake District. Having no lower limbs, his body is supported on a tripod of a stumpy body pole and crutches. Like all Chameleons, he is a thoroughly terrifying and a nasty piece of work with no redeeming qualities. However repulsive this degenerate is, he is also not too bright and lives in terror of Bella.
Cartier Jerphanion – a high-ranking Chameleon Predator and controller of the insidious breeding programme which produces hideous abominations, living weapons, to be used in the Shadow Wars. He and his mortal enemy, Edwin Kanulf, have been trying to eliminate each other since the days of WWI and WWII. He holds Lucian, Cody’s brother, captive and is intent on transforming him into a living weapon against the Eloin and humanity at large.
Cullie Brown – author of ‘New Albion Legends’ and a writer of articles on legends of the mythical Aelim–Chameleon wars. It is difficult to know whether she really believes everything that she writes, but in most of her surmises she is terrifyingly close to the truth of the Shadow Wars. An expert in ancient languages, she translated the controversial Peaks Engravings which she claims contains parts of a script called Quenellan, thought to be the written form of an angelic spoken language, Caebimhir.
Working to create characters and monsters
Every character’s existence – whether hero, villain, or monstrosity – begins with a name. The moment the name appears they seem to arrive complete in almost every detail. This includes not just their personalities and behavioural characteristics, but also their physical appearance. It’s as if the names are a delivery system with all the details neatly packaged. And if the names are right, then the characters will work. This does not mean that individuals are unchanging. Inevitably every character is going to transform as the story elements make demands on them. In fact, you can bet good money that no one is what they first appear to be in The Shadow Histories. You need to watch your back.
As a writer, I am constantly uncovering parts of a character’s past histories, those secret moments that have made them what they are. It is an unending journey of discovery, and it is repeatedly made clear that I’m not the one in charge. One of the major delights of writing is the way characters will ambush you with something unexpected. They will ignore your carefully laid plans and insist on heading off on their own missions because of things you haven’t yet learned about them. If allowed to, every character you write can, and probably will, leave you scrabbling to catch up as they try to hijack your story. This is true of heroes and villains alike.
The villains of the Shadow Histories are not always as easy to identify as would at first appear. No one can be taken for granted. All the characters have complex and often damaged backgrounds, so the best advice is to trust no one until you see how their actions play out. A key motto with The Shadow Histories is Aeo ver i muahen – QUESTION EVERYTHING.
As for the monsters in The Shadow Histories... well, their appearances will generally confirm your worst fears about them. They are gruesome, lethal, and as hideous as you could wish for. Steer well clear of them all – or at least make sure you give your heroes a fighting chance. Consider some as-yet-unrevealed overwhelming advantage or incredibly potent arcane weaponry. That often works.