Geiléis, primarily known as the amhaín, is the sidhe's sole portal adept. (The sidhe, also known as 'elves' thanks to Tolkien, are a humanoid immortal race who live in a parallel universe we call the Otherworld.) She alone possesses the ability to create, maintain, or close the sidhe's conduits to Earth. Currently, she and her brother Faonaín are the two estranged siblings who rule over the sidhe in the Otherworld. Three thousand years ago, following the death of their father, Faonaín forced his sister to abdicate in favor of serving as his adept, by holding her son Tíereachán hostage. Faonaín's brutal stance regarding the treatment of humans and the amhaín's escape from his tender care eventually led to the sidhe's Rift War. After many battles and countless lives lost, the amhaín forced her brother's hand by closing nearly all of his gateways and threatening to do the same to his remaining conduits. Since the conduits provide the magic potential necessary for his people's survival, the move brought about the Compact and the tenuous peace that now exists between the estranged siblings and their kingdoms. The amhaín is Queen of Thìr na Soréidh, the territory she sealed off from the rest of the Otherworld about twelve hundred years ago.
I first came face-to-face with the archdemon Azazel in Invisius Verso's basement when a group of us discovered the demonic gateway the corrupt telepathic elders had summoned. The demon's preferred form seems to be that of an eight-foot leviathan with thick, leathery brown skin that covers its entire body, including its genitals. More disturbing, though, are the six-inch-long black talons it brandishes instead of fingers and its exceedingly creepy, pitch black eyes. Although humanoid in its appearance, with a sure-footed stance on two massive legs, its muscular arms are long enough to run on all fours. Over a thousand years ago, Tíereachán traded Azazel his soul to free Princess Maeve from its grasp, only afterward learning it had been a ploy. Maeve had been in cahoots with the demon the whole time.
Brassal is a sidhe of some stature in King Faonaín's retinue. Through his soulbond with Kim Pratchett, he provides an invaluable means of communication to the king's subjects on Earth. I've only spoken to Brassal through Kim, but I'm curious to meet him in person. Brassal and Kieran are best friends and share a residence in the Otherworld.
Brian Stalzing, the Circle Murderer
Brian was a telepath, member of Invisius Verso, and a power-hungry, serial-killing psycho. In his mad attempt to wrest control away from Invisius' elders, Brian murdered four psychics (including my college sweetheart) by using a summoned demon to steal their powers for himself. The arrogant ass then kidnapped me, along with my business partner Jack, and might have succeeded in murdering both of us if he hadn't lost control of his summoned demon Paimon. Instead, the demon turned on Brian, killing him.
The Circle Murderer's Victims: Nick Coulter, Jason Warner, Trinity Wilson, Patty Schaeffer
All four of the Circle Murderer's victims had been psychics, but Nick Coulter was the only one who I'd known personally. Nick had been my college sweetheart, a fellow clairvoyant, and the first man I'd been able to touch without the protection of a skin-suit. We broke up, after just a year, but remained close friends until his death. His murder drove me to aid the police by performing a psychic reading on the three other victims' remains. Not something I'd normally do—nor would any clairvoyant in their right frigging mind!—but Nick's murder had left me angry and feeling more than a little reckless. What I didn't know at the time, what none of us knew, was the murderer had been working with a demon to siphon each of his victim's psychic powers using an ancient spell. When I touched their remains, the residual magic from that spell reacted with my clairvoyance and transferred their talents to me. From Jason Warner, I received telekinesis; from Trinity Wilson, cryokinesis; and from Patty Schaeffer, pyrokinesis. Out of the three gifts, I struggled with Patty's fire the most. Patty had been an evil individual in life and I found it difficult, if not impossible, to separate her vile memories from the magic that bubbled to the surface all too readily when I was angry.
I met Claude at our apartment building's first community mixer, six years ago. With his shoulder-length blond hair, GQ-good looks, and swoon-inducing French accent, the Rowan warlock has no shortage of admiring women vying for his attention. So it surprised me when he spent a majority of the party focused solely on me, especially since my clairvoyance prohibits anything more serious than egregious flirting. Since then, I've discovered that there's so much more to Claude than irresistible rake with commitment issues. He's intelligent, perceptive, and a steadfast friend. Even though we're both around thirty, he seems to possess a soul as old as mine. I acquired my own abiding insight after years of ingesting the memories of countless individuals through my psychic readings. How he came by his sagacity is a story I've yet to hear, but I suspect it has something to do with his childhood and family he almost never talks about.
Clotilde 'Lire' Marie Devon (me!)
I adopted the name 'Lire' when I was twelve and it's stuck with me ever since. Pronounced 'lear,' it means read in French. The nickname seemed appropriate since my father was French and, as a clairvoyant, that's what I do, I read things. Besides, by the time I'd reached seventh grade, I'd heard 'Clit-tilde' one too many times. (I discovered early that teenage boys are genetically programmed to be a pain in the ass.) I'm thirty years old, five-foot-seven-inches tall, and reluctantly athletic. I inherited my dark-red hair from Grandpa Giordano, jade-green eyes from Dad, and smattering of freckles from God knows where. Except for my years at Coventry Academy and then NYU, I've lived in Seattle, with my familiar Red, for most of my life. I discovered I was a clairvoyant when I was three and a half. My life has always been somewhat complicated, but about a month ago, I managed to acquire three additional 'gifts'—telekinesis, pyrokinesis, and cryokinesis. Making matters worse, every sidhe I meet thinks I'm an adept—someone capable of opening and closing portals between worlds. Me? I'm not sure what to think, but with the way my life's been going lately, it's probably true. It might not be so bad if every Tom, Dick, and Psycho didn't want to get their hands on my particular brand of power. Thankfully, I have Kieran at my side to keep the monsters at bay. Meeting him is the one good thing that's happened after all of my recent troubles.
Daniel was my first love. We met in first grade at Coventry Academy and fast became friends. He was the one person at school who never shied away from me and my gloves, probably because he was another mind psychic, a telepath. Our 'psi battles' are why my shielding ability is as strong as it is today. We shared our first kiss under the library stairwell when we were thirteen, just before Invisius Verso stole him away to attend their secret school. Two months ago, after not seeing him for seventeen years, Daniel strode back into my life when the Invisius Verso elders used him as their messenger, hoping to force me into removing myself as a police consultant on the Circle Murder investigation. Daniel risked his life to help me, telling me about a divination that predicted I would reorder Invisius, something the elders sought to counter by any means necessary. Using his influence, Daniel steered Invisius away from voting to mind wipe me. Just a few weeks later, he died at the claws of the archdemon Azazel when a group of us stormed the Invisius headquarters to finally deal with the organization's corrupt elders. If I'd known how to close a demonic gateway sooner, I might have saved him. It's a frequent recrimination that will no doubt haunt me for the rest of my life.
Fellow clairvoyant and high school alumni, Diedra and I became BFFs from her first day at Coventry Academy, partway into our junior year. She turned what had mostly been a trying school experience into something easier to bear. Anyone who takes stock of Diedra's petite frame, fine features, and porcelain skin and jumps to the conclusion that she's a soft-spoken, demure, Japanese-princess type is in for a big surprise. Next to Julie, Diedra tips the charts at being the most outgoing, fun-loving person I've ever met. She also isn't shy about expressing her opinions, and if you piss her off … look out. She works for a strigoi clutch as their primary administrator and even migrates with them—six months in Patagonia and six months in Iceland.
The leader of the United Convocation of Strigoi (vampires) is a figure veiled by mystery, wrapped in a thick layer of urban legend, whose identity is zealously guarded by the far-reaching influence of the strigoi PR machine. Even the domn's gender is unknown. It is widely believed that the domn's power over each strigoi is nothing short of omniscient, as each strigoi is bound by blood to their supreme ruler. The domn's absolute authority and unwavering enforcement of their strict laws enabled the strigoi to remain hidden for many centuries until their recognition as a minority group in the mid-1960s. As magically cursed individuals, they are protected by the 1995 Paranormal Rights Act, along with psychics and magic users, due in no small part to the domn's considerable influence.
Duran is everything you'd expect in a Glindarian witch if all you had for reference was the good witch from The Wizard of Oz. She's a dark blonde beauty with flawless skin, blue eyes, and a trim figure, but that's where the similarities end. She likes to socialize, questions everything, and is so direct, if not for her humor and tenderheartedness, she'd border on bossy. She's a powerful healer and has come to my rescue more than once. She also makes a mean chocolatini.
I don't know much about this female sidhe. According to Kieran, she controls the only Earthbound gateway that lies outside of the amhaín's domain. The gateway's access point on Earth is somewhere in Ireland. A few weeks ago, Maeve negotiated a treaty with Evgrenya, which allowed Lorcán, Maeve's second in command, to travel to Earth for the purpose of claiming me.
Faonaín, King of the Sidhe
I've never met King Faonaín, ruler of the sidhe, and never will if I have anything to do with it. From what I've heard, he has zero regard for humankind and would be tickled pink if our species went extinct. From what I've been told, only the Compact—the agreement between the king, the amhaín, and the Invisius telepaths—keeps the king from resuming his extermination efforts. Ever since his sister, the amhaín, slipped through his fingers almost two thousand years ago, he's been obsessed with finding his own adept to keep his kingdom flush with potential from Earth.
Giselle Devon Stafford
Giselle is my only sibling, older by four years. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two kids. We were estranged for most of our lives, but we reconciled just before our mother's death.
I met Glen, last year, at one of Julie and Steven's parties and we hit it off. We dated for almost seven months until one night he dropped the bombshell that he was sick of wearing "a full body condom" every time he wanted to have sex with me and had no desire to commit to a lifetime of such a nuisance. We broke up that night. Not twenty-four hours later, Julie saw him having dinner with a pretty blonde. (Actually, Julie didn't say pretty. She said something far more unflattering, but it's not the blonde's fault that Glen is a tactless jerk.)
By all accounts, the Chief of the North American Rout (werewolves) is a hard-working, all-around nice guy who hails from the wilds of Montana. I don't necessarily buy into the every-man's-man-helluva-guy narrative, though. I've spent time with werewolves. Is he a good guy? Maybe. But I'd bet my left big toe that anyone who rises to a level of power in their ranks must be one tough hombre and clever as hell to boot.
I've known Jack since my freshman year at NYU when we lived in the same dorm. Even though he doesn't have a scrap of magic in his five-foot-six-inch Bowflex body, he convinced me to partner with him in opening Supernatural Talent and Company, a paranormal consulting agency, not long after college graduation. The saying 'opposites attract' must apply to friendship too because, between his outgoing, near-manic personality and my organized, button-down nature, we've stuck together to build our business into the success it is today.
Jackie is a Rowan witch, in her early thirties if I had to guess. She's brash, confident, doesn't pull any punches, and would do anything for her partners Kim and Brassal. She has chin-length brown hair, brown eyes, and a demeanor as no-nonsense as her wardrobe of jeans and button down shirts. With Jackie, what you see is what you get. She's high on my list of favorite people. The sidhe only allow two individuals to bind their souls, but if I ever get into a position of influence (however unlikely that might be), you can bet that's the first stupid rule I'd change. The fact that Jackie ages—while Kim and Brassal stay youthful by virtue of their bond—is a tragedy in the making.
Fisk was first introduced to me as Agent Fisk—as in FBI Agent Fisk. I've since learned that he's also one of the amhaín's part-blood (part human, part sidhe) liaisons. About a month ago, I had my first run-in with Agent Fisk when he asked for my expertise to read a necklace that belonged to a murder suspect. After I refused, he found a way to sneak the necklace into a group of items I was slated to read for a cable television show. The necklace turned out to be tainted by the demon Azazel and if not for Kieran's help in breaking its spell, I might have succumbed to the demon's nefarious magic. Fisk's trickery, combined with his caustic personality, has landed him squarely on my personal shit list. As a result, our relationship is what you might call 'cantankerous.' I'll admit, like all the part-bloods I've encountered thus far, Fisk is off-the-charts in the looks department with his squared jaw, clear amber gaze, and muscular physique. For all that, though, the guy's personality leaves a lot to be desired.
John 'Red' Redborn
Red is my best friend, my constant companion. Technically, he's my familiar, bound to me by magic just as his soul is bound to his current form—a stuffed, nine-inch black teddy bear. But Red is no animated toy. He's human—or was. In the late 1600s, Red was a necromancer who had the misfortune of coming to the attention of the Court of Oyer and Terminer during the Salem Witch Trials. When he was executed, a local witch coven cast a spell of soulbinding, which he accepted. Red's had several owners during the last three centuries before my father acquired him for me. Dad knew that, as a clairvoyant, I'd be unable to endure skin contact and worried my life would be devoid of human companionship. I was five years old and thrilled beyond measure at his huggable gift. In spite of my early manhandling and countless teddy bear tea parties, Red's blessed me with a lifelong friendship that's helped mold me into the woman I am today. I owe him more than I could ever hope to repay and love him to the depth of my soul. There's almost nothing I wouldn't do for him.
See The Circle Murderer's Victims.
Julie is my best friend. We met through my espresso addiction. She's my primary caffeine supplier and has been for the past seven years. She and her husband Steven own Peabody's Beans, the best coffee shop in Seattle and one of the first businesses to go entirely psi-free—selling goods that haven't been touched by human hands so misfits like me can enjoy them. Julie's a normal, but her brother Tom is a pyrokinetic. Julie has long, straight chestnut hair, big brown eyes, a contagious laugh, and a five-foot-five inch bod that says she works out but not obsessively. She dresses with an eclectic flair that I envy and is always up for trying new things. She's a hell of a lot of fun to be around and I love her to pieces.
Kieran is a twenty-seven-hundred-year-old sidhe who doesn't look older than my thirty. I met Kieran when my childhood friend Daniel set up a meet-and-greet between the sidhe and my almost-boyfriend-at-the-time Vince. To say things didn't go well would be a massive understatement. During that meeting, Kieran attempted to kidnap me. At the same time, his cousin, Princess Maeve, succeeded in abducting Vince and once she had him in the Otherworld, seduced him into becoming her soulmate. You'd think that would have put the kibosh on any possible relationship between Kieran and me, but after I spent time with him, fighting possessed telepaths and a demon incursion, I realized that Kieran's an amazing guy. And because the sidhe are immune to my clairvoyance, I can touch him without any protection. He is the epitome of tall, dark, and devastating—six feet four, angular features, keenly tapered brows, and long black hair. Of course, since my life is nothing if not complicated, this gorgeous sidhe doesn't come without baggage. Almost two thousand years ago, Kieran made a big mistake (see: Nuala) and now he's known as 'the Deceiver.' The sidhe border on zealotry when it comes to their honor, but I've made it my mission to convince him that he's so much more than a fallen sidhe.
Kim is currently King Faonaín's last remaining emissary. I met Kim when Kieran and I helped her and her partner Jackie fend off a demon attack at their home on Bainbridge Island. She's a twenty-something part-blood who looks more like a preschool teacher than a skilled magus—petite, pixie-short blonde hair, and a preference for cardigans and ballet flats. Through her soulmate connection with Brassal, she provides King Faonaín with his sole means of communication to his subjects on Earth. Kim and Jackie are house sitting across the hall from me while their house, which burned down following the demon attack, is being rebuilt. Kim might look unassuming, but she is a powerful magic user who can control lightning.
Princess Maeve's second in command, Lorcán, is another sidhe who I hope I never meet. Apparently, the guy is beauty incarnate and has a reputation for going to extremes in doing his part to help breed the king's part-blood army. (Impregnating as many human women as possible in order to create a magically inclined force to fight the demon invasion is the sidhe's brilliant plan to save Earth. Gee, thanks guys.) According to Kieran, unicorns weep and sirens sing odes for Lorcán's exquisite good looks … or something. As far as I'm concerned, nothing can mask a cruel heart, and from what I've heard, Lorcán is a bastard of the first order. He's so awful, his mate killed herself. And years ago, when Kieran was away on an errand for the king, Lorcán attempted to seduce Kieran's mate Nuala. If not for Brassal's timely interference, Lorcán might have raped her. The guy is a waste of air. If we ever meet, you can bet I won't be afraid to inflict some serious damage, especially since Maeve's last order was for Lorcán to glamour and claim me. Gives me the creeps just thinking about it.
See The Circle Murderer's Victims.
King Faonaín's daughter, Maeve, is a scheming, manipulative sidhe with the face and body of a goddess. I have fantasies about getting her alone in a dark alley and beating the tar out of her. And not just because she abducted and seduced Vince, my almost-boyfriend, into becoming her soulmate. She's done real damage to people I care about. In her selfish pursuit of the crown, Maeve is responsible for ruining both of her younger cousins' lives. Thanks to her machinations, Kieran is known as 'the Deceiver' and Tíereachán spent the last millennium enslaved to the archdemon Azazel. Can you honestly blame me for wanting to scrape her face across a gravel road a few dozen times?
Maya and Tanu
Maya and Tanu are Talisman Towers' house djinn. As a loft owner, I'm bound by blood covenant to these two alien, otherworldly entities, serving as their master. They use their unfathomable magic to protect our building and its occupants from harm, answering our call whenever needed. Their true form is that of a tumultuous grey mist with mercurial, swirling eyes, but as far as I know, they can appear in any form of their choosing and are often seen in their human guise, roaming the building as middle-aged male security guards.
Just after we'd been introduced, Michael, who's a powerful telepath, made the mistake of probing my mind in a secret attempt to test my psychic shield abilities. When I felt his unwanted intrusion, I pinned him and Daniel to the wall of my building's conference room and nearly lost control of my pyrokinesis. In spite of his misstep and my overreaction, we patched things up and have become good friends. Following an impulsive meeting of minds without the interference of our shields, I learned that he'd read my thoughts over a period of years, starting when I'd attended NYU, and, in the process, he'd fallen for me. Not that he was whiling away his days, forlorn with angst or anything. He'd gotten over it and learned an important lesson about keeping himself out of other people's heads over a long-term basis, taking special care around women who intrigue him. Michael is one of my most trusted friends, and I'm pretty sure he feels the same way about me. After the deaths of Daniel and the Invisius Verso elders, Michael took the reigns of the secret organization of telepaths. Along with the sidhe, we're working together to prepare for the coming demon invasion.
Monica is our administrative assistant at Supernatural Talent and Company. She greets our clients, schedules our appointments, and generally keeps things running smoothly.
Nuala was the amhaín's adept-in-training who, almost two thousand years ago, Kieran seduced into becoming his soulmate by pretending to be one of the amhaín's subjects. When Nuala discovered Kieran's deception (whose actions had been subtly instigated by Princess Maeve), Nuala withdrew from him. And even though Kieran had fallen in love with her, she never forgave him, never opened herself up to him, not in the near century they were mated, ending when she died in an earthquake. His mistake continues to haunt him, even after all this time, and it's why Kieran is known as 'the Deceiver.'
For more than five thousand years, the Oracle has been the sidhe's most revered prophesier. Supposedly, not a single one of her divinations has been wrong. I've never met her, but there are times when I wish I could give her a hard pinch on the ear.
See The Circle Murderer's Victims.
See John 'Red' Redborn.
When I first met Tíereachán, he'd been in his unknowing guise as the demon Paimon, summoned by Brian Stalzing, the Circle Murderer. After killing Brian, thereby saving me from becoming the serial killer's fifth victim, Paimon forced me into a one-sided blood pact and attempted to drag my soul to Hell. During my escape, my clairvoyance revealed that he wasn't thoroughly evil. In fact, over time, the power of my blood and our continued interaction revealed that Paimon wasn't a demon at all but a sidhe—the amhaín's only son—who'd been spelled into forgetting his past by his master, the archdemon Azazel. A thousand years ago, Tíereachán traded his soul to rescue his cousin Maeve from Azazel's clutches, only to learn that she and the archdemon were in cahoots together. A few weeks ago, I managed to steal Tíereachán away from Azazel by sidestepping the sidhe prince into a higher dimension before closing the demon's gateway. Although I go out of my way to avoid noticing, Tíereachán is the embodiment of a sidhe prince—defined physique, golden-blond hair, and graceful yet supremely masculine features. Truth be told, he checks every box on my Dream Guy Wish List, a fact I keep firmly under wraps. If he knew, I'd never hear the end of it.
See The Circle Murderer's Victims.
Detective Vince Vanelli
Vince was one of the two primary Chiliquitham police detectives assigned to the Circle Murder investigation. When I showed up as a consultant, Vince told me in no uncertain terms that they didn't need any 'magic mumbo jumbo' to help them solve the case. After just three minutes in his presence, I concluded he was a psi-phobic jackass. So, given my complicated life, is it really any wonder that he turned out to be the first normal I'd ever encountered who I could touch without the protection of a skin-suit? Later, after I figured out that Vince wasn't such a bad guy after all, we both learned that he's far from normal. The reason my clairvoyance doesn't work on him is because Vince is a part-blood sidhe. Despite the fact that we hadn't gone on an official date, I thought Vince had come to love me. At least, he said he did … once. But then, last month, during what was supposed to be a meet-and-greet with the sidhe, Princess Maeve glamoured Vince and took him back to the Otherworld, closing her temporary gateway before I could do anything about it. Next thing I knew, Vince and Maeve had become soulmates. And everyone knows, when it comes to matters of the soul, an individual can't be forced. Bottom line: Vince chose Maeve over me. The news stung at first, but I've moved on.
Wade is the amhaín's part-blood mate. We met in Invisius Verso's basement, the day Kieran, Jackie, Michael, Daniel, and I stormed the telepath's base of operations in our attempt to bring the wayward organization back under the king's control. Ever since that first meeting, I've wanted to ask Wade whether he's a Viking—like an honest-to-goodness raiding warrior from the ninth century. He sure looks the part. And since he's mated to a full-blooded sidhe, he doesn't age, so I suppose it's possible. One of these days, I'm going to work up the nerve to ask. Wade is a skilled healer, accomplished warrior, and a genuinely nice guy. He also shuts Fisk up whenever the guy starts acting like a douchebag, which always brightens my day.