The Lace tribe give their children names that are not so much words as imitations of natural sounds. After all, who knows when you may need to search for a missing child on the slopes of the volcano? If you are calling out an ordinary name, the volcano may hear you and be angry. But if the name you call sounds like the whistling of the wind or the call of a bird, perhaps the mountain will not notice you…
(Name sounds like call of owl)
Thirteen-year-old Arilou is a celebrity, known for being one of the famed 'Lost' who can send their senses out of their bodies to travel around at will. She is said to be the first Lost to be born to the despised Lace tribe in over fifty years. Thanks to the tourists who come to see her and the money they bring, the little fishing village where she lives has been saved from starvation. But is she really one of Lost, or just a backwards child? Are her wits wandering or lost altogether?
(Name imitates the sound of dust settling)
Arilou's younger sister, not to mention her attendant, translator and dogsbody. You have met her, or someone very like her, and you cannot remember her at all.
(Name like cry of sea bird hunting)
Eiven is the older sister of Arilou and Hathin, and the best diver and pearlfisher in the village. She is notoriously fearless and strongwilled, and willing to take action in emergency.
(Name like the croak of a summer frog)
The mother of Eiven, Arilou and Hathin, and the head of their family. Mother Govrie is the most influential of the gaggle of mothers and grandmothers who run the village. She is stubborn and warm in her way, but practical to the point of ruthlessness.
(Name sounds like wave receding)
Grey-haired and half-blind, Larsh is custodian of another of the village's secrets. He is a craftsman of unmatched skill, but must spend most of his time working away at night in a secret cave, ruining his eyes by candlelight.
(Name suggests wave surging onto shore)
The second-best pearl-fisher in the village, Whish has become embittered since the death of her young daughter and the departure of her eldest son Therrot on a quest to avenge her. It was Eiven who persuaded Therrot to take up the quest, and Whish has never forgiven her.
(Name imitates the sob of a dropping breeze)
Whish's youngest son seems to make a point of mocking Hathin, but his reasons are difficult to read. There may be hidden depths behind his self-possessed air.
(Not an ordinary Lace name)
Now almost a figure from legend, Dance was the leader of the infamous 'Reckoning', a league of Lace who had taken up revenge quests, and who joined forces to assist one another. Of course everybody agrees that Dance is dead now, and that the Reckoning no longer exists… but everybody can be mistaken.
(Name imitates popping of bubble in hot mud pool)
Whish's impulsive and hot-headed eldest son left his home village to pursue the murderer of his younger sister. He has not been seen since. Mind you, nobody has heard reports of his death either.
(Name like the hiss of wind through stiff grasses)
Once an apprentice to a shipping clerk, Jaze gave up his old life to pursue revenge. Since then he has acquired a talent for it – perhaps even a taste for it.
(Name copies the throb and squeak of a burrowing bird's cry)
Although sunny-natured and laid-back, fourteen-year-old Tomki has set his heart on joining the Reckoning. Now, if he could only get himself 'wronged' so that he has something to avenge…
A member of the powerful Lost, Inspector Skein has been sent to test Arilou and judge the extent of her powers. The village is thrown into confusion by his arrival, desperate to conceal their secrets. But Raglan Skein has secrets and an agenda of his own.
Raglan's Skein's personal aide Prox is harassed and out of his depth, but not unkind. Soon he will be caught up helplessly by the current of events that he does not understand, and become the accidental victim of others' schemes. A lot of people will have very good reason to regret this.
Everybody's favourite travelling dentist, Jimboly has the loudest, warmest laugh on the island, and a mile-wide multi-coloured grin. But has she come to the village for more than just teeth? Is it coincidence that rumour seems to spread wherever she walks?
One of the much-feared Ashwalkers, bounty-hunters who are willing to hunt criminals to death, and who ask only the pyre ash of their victims as pay. The ash is mixed into the indigo dye that stains his clothes and face. It is said that thus he binds the souls of his victims into his clothing, and forces them to provide him with magical powers. In pursuit he is untiring, unrelenting and all but unstoppable.
The Superior of Jealousy
As if ruling the city of Jealousy was not enough, the Superior has responsibility for the upkeep and worship of all his ancestors. Since he comes from a noble and extensive family, he has a lot of ancestors, and is kept so busy looking after them that he has little time for the living, let alone himself.
Think of the person you passed earlier in the street, without glancing at them, because you were concentrating on something more important. He looks like that. Think of those conversations where something important was said, but afterwards you could not remember exactly who said it. He sounds like that.