So who exactly are the people who populate the world of Crowflight? What’s their deal? Here I offer some answers, while keeping things as spoiler-free as possible.
Turn: The protagonist of the book, a young woman of the Crow tribe who is preparing to take her place as a Psychopomp – a guide of souls across the space between the worlds to the lands beyond death. She is skilled, competent, and as the story begins, optimistic about her future. However, that all changes rather quickly, and she’s thrown into fear and uncertainty. She’s brave, as far as it goes, but she’s also reluctant to shoulder responsibility after it backfires on her so extravagantly. The book is at least in part the story of her struggling to accept the responsibilities thrust upon her, even if she never becomes entirely comfortable with them.
I often pick names with some meaning behind them, and Turn’s name was chosen based on the role she has to play in the larger story – that of a catalyst for change, of pushes forward and u-turns back toward what’s come before alike.
Sene: Turn’s lover, and also her emotional support. They haven’t been together long, but their bond is strong, and they both believe that they have a promising future with each other. Sene is a skilled artist, a painter of murals for the wealthy of the Crow city of Lune, and while he isn’t wealthy himself, his talent allows him to scrape by. A fiercely loyal partner, Sene admires Turn as much as he loves her, and wants to do all he can to help her succeed in her chosen vocation. But when Turn’s life is thrown into upheaval, their bond will be tested, perhaps beyond what it can bear.
Corvi: A master Psychopomp and Turn’s mentor. Corvi is old beyond reckoning and extremely wise, though also possessed of a healthy sense of mischief. She rarely does things the conventional way, though she also takes great care to protect and guide the students under her tutelage. But even she may not be able to shield Turn from the chaos to come, and good intentions sometimes have terrible consequences.
Gen: Turn’s best friend – one of her few – and a fellow student. Gen is boisterous and good-natured, outwardly a little shallow and over-focused on gossip and romance but also intelligent, brave and loyal. When the world appears set against Turn, she is one of the few who stands by her, and proves willing to go to great lengths to help her.
Ava: A member of the Raven tribe, Ava is a mysterious figure, though a powerful ally to those with whom they choose to align themselves. They are possessed of significant magic in their own right, though they are uninterested in using it for any personal gain. They know the Shadowlands well, and can travel swiftly even across dangerous terrain. They are one of a large minority of the Raven tribe who are of neither wholly masculine nor wholly feminine gender, and accordingly they prefer ungendered pronouns.
Mori: A leader of the small group of Ravens of which Ava is a member. Mori is steadfast and strong-willed, as well as kind, even to outsiders. He takes his position as (unofficial) leader of his caravan very seriously, but also feels an obligation toward the Carrion Kind as a whole, and when they are threatened, he is will to do whatever is necessary to eliminate the threat.
Yavon: A sorceress of the Ravens, skilled in all forms of magic, Yavon also possesses a sharply cheerful sense of humor and a great pride in her work. She is a teacher of other Ravens, and enjoys guiding them toward a greater understanding of their own power. Like Mori, she feels a deep commitment to the protection of all the Carrion Kind, despite the mistrust that the Crows and Rooks feel for her people.
Renna: Chief Minister Renna of the Rock is the leader of Lune, and a hero to its people. When the Calamity of the Split Earth nearly destroyed the Crows, she held the city together in the aftermath, restoring order and providing for the injured and suffering. While she is generally a just and fair leader and determined to do anything she has to do for her tribe, she is also extremely proud and not especially merciful to those she deems undeserving. To many, she appears cold and aloof, but most feel that this is an unfortunately necessary part of the strength she has to show as ruler.
Joran: One of the most senior Psychopomps, despite his relative youth, Joran is Renna’s most prized student from her days as a mentor. His attractiveness and charisma, as well as his skill as a Psychopomp, make him something of a celebrity in Lune. While he isn’t stupid by any means, all of this attention has gone to his head somewhat, and he tends to be arrogant and boastful. He is also absolutely loyal to Renna and eagerly does whatever is asked of him – no matter how questionable it might be.
That’s the cast – roughly. There are many other characters, enemies and friends Turn encounters on her way, people she’ll love and hate and some of whom she’ll lose in the end. I hope you enjoy them all as much as I did writing them.
And a reminder: you can enter to win a free copy of the book over here until the 13th!