Here are summaries of the major characters from Between Darkness and Light. You’ll obviously have to read the stories to really get to know these folks.
(pronounced Awn-yeh, English equivalent is Anya)
Áine is one of the point of view characters and is the main protagonist of the series. She’s 20 years old when the books start and has been traveling for two years, ever since she graduated from university. Her relationship with her parents was never particularly good, but it gets worse when they arrange a marriage for her and she bails. She wants to become famous, since her parents value money and power. Maybe if she’s famous, they’ll finally value her, too. Resurrecting a lost art (dark magic) sounds like a recipe for fame to her.
She’s petite of frame, even though she’s just under five and a half feet tall, which makes it all the more surprising that she’s such a powerful magician. She’s smart, strong, intuitive, and has no problems using ethically questionable methods to fund her journey.
Garron is Áine’s older brother. He’s freakishly tall – six and a half feet – and pretty much all muscle. He’s 24, but he’s been traveling since he was 16, so he’s the most worldly of the bunch (other than Veldras). Since their parents never had much time for Áine, he has always been her surrogate parent. They had governesses and maids, but Garron has always tried to be her rock. When she goes on her quest, he takes it upon himself to go with her and protect her.
He was their parents’ favorite (their culture favors males), but their hopes for him dwindled when he displayed an utter lack of aptitude or interest in the scholarly arts. When your mother’s a historian and your father is a lawyer, scholarship matters. However, Garron demonstrated an incredible talent with a blade, so to sword school he went. He excelled and was soon transferred to a sword master for training. It didn’t take long for him to achieve sword master status for himself. His ruthlessness with a blade doesn’t mix well with his genial nature, a situation that has made him fond of drinking.
Lotham is Garron’s best friend. Since he’s estranged from his father and his mother is long dead, Garron and Áine are the closest thing he has to family, which is why he’s traveling with them. He’s tall (they make ’em taller in Orinnish) but not as tall as Garron. They make an imposing pair. He’s 23 when the book starts.
Lotham almost died when he was a teenager. A man insulted the mayor (Lotham’s father), and Lotham tried to defend his father’s honor. He lost miserably and fled into the woods. Garron finally found him, dying of infection from the wound where his eye had been, and Lotham felt he owed Garron a life-long debt.
Una is a light magician who encounters Áine’s group at the beginning of the series. She’s a shrine maiden, which means she’s in training to become a priestess. Or she was; she’s renounced her sect and is on her own at age 18. She’s trying to make the world a better place after losing her entire family. When she learns Áine insists on casting dark magic in spite of the consequences, she decides she needs to stay with them to keep another family from experiencing loss.
Una decided to leave her sect and shrine when her family died of infectious disease. The shrine wouldn’t let her go to her family when they were sick, nor would they release her to attend their memorial service. The injustice hurt Una deeply, and she realized that the sect wasn’t the haven of goodness she thought it was. She set out to bring help to those who needed it so other families didn’t have to feel the same grief.
Veldras is the other point of view character. He’s the minion of the dark god Xalsias, who enchanted him six hundred years before. He’s been stuck between life and death ever since. He has no memory of his life before Xalsias, although he has retained his general knowledge and skills.
Veldras is tasked with grooming Aine to become Xalias’ weapon. He’s patient, calm, and skilled at fighting with a quarterstaff. Six hundred years is plenty of time to learn a bit about nearly everything. His knowledge and his willingness to share it helps him for a bond with Áine.
The gods are not true deities, but are rather creatures from another plane of existence. They don’t have true gender (which is why I say “god” for all of them rather than calling them gods and goddesses). But they do pick a gender to emulate, to make them more palatable to humans, and also to make sure I can use pronouns other than “it” when I write about them. There are four gods left alive, but each of them wants to kill the rest. Regardless, they’re bad news for humanity.