Kushiel's Legacy/Characters

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

The series has Loads and Loads of Characters. Here are some of them.

Phedre's trilogy


Includes the novels Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen and Kushiel's Avatar

Phedre no Delaunay

"That which yields is not always weak."

The heroine and narrator of the first three books, her most distinguishing feature is a scarlet mote in her eye. Phedre is sold into indentured servitude as a child and her bond is eventually purchased by Anafiel Delaunay. Delaunay recognizes what the scarlet mote in her eye means: Phedre is an anguisette, one who is cursed to experience pain and pleasure as one. He teaches her how to listen and observe as well as the "arts of the bedchamber." Phedre frequently uses her skills as both courtesan and spy to save Terre d'Ange from various deadly plots.

Anafiel Delaunay

"All knowledge is worth having."

Phedre's mentor. Delaunay is a nobleman with a mysterious past and an important mission. He adopts Phedre into his household, trains her, and uses her to spy on his enemies. Eventually it is revealed that Delaunay was once the consort of long-dead Prince Rolande. He swore a vow to protect Rolande's daughter Ysandre, the Dauphine. His choice to honor this vow leads to his death on Isidore d'Aiglemort's orders.

Alcuin no Delaunay

Alcuin is Delaunay's other pupil. As with Phedre, he teaches Alcuin to listen and observe and uses him to spy on his enemies. But unlike Phedre, Alcuin hates working as a courtesan and does it all out of love for Delaunay. He and Delaunay become a couple once Alcuin has made his marque.

Joscelin Verreuil

"In Cassiel's name, I protect and serve."

Joscelin is a member of the Cassiline Brotherhood, a celibate order of warrior-priests, who is hired by Delaunay to protect Phedre on her assignations. At first Joscelin is very prudish and uptight, but he gradually relaxes. He and Phedre dislike each other initially, but they eventually fall in love. He is one of the most skilled and dangerous warriors in the series.


A Tsingano (Roma) who is Phedre's oldest and dearest friend. Hyacinthe and Phedre meet as children and stay friends well into adulthood. Hyacinthe has the ability to see the future (called the dromonde), which his mother taught him despite it being forbidden to men by Tsingano law. Towards the end of Dart, Hyacinthe takes Phedre's place to become the new Master of the Straits so that the Alban army can reach Terre d'Ange. Phedre spends the next two books searching for a way to free him from his curse, which she eventually does in what is both a Crowning Moment of Awesome and a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.

Melisande Shahrizai

"Elua cared naught for mortal politics, nor did Kushiel."

The main villainess of the series. Melisande is ambitious, sadistic, and utterly lacking in any sort of conscience. Her great ambition is to be queen, and so she concocts several Machiavellian plots to help her achieve this. She becomes a patron of Phedre's, and Phedre falls in love with her. Phedre, as an anguisette, is the perfect outlet for her sadistic desires.

Imriel is her son.

Ysandre de la Courcel

"Steel beneath a fragile bloom."

Queen of Terre d'Ange, daughter of Prince Rolande de la Courcel and Isabel L'Envers. Both of her parents die when she is very young, and she inherits the throne after her grandfather's death. She has to deal with numerous plots to overthrow her (mostly orchestrated by Melisande) and family members who want to take her place. Ysandre is a lot tougher than she appears, which frequently causes people to underestimate her. She marries Drustan mab Necthana, the Cruarch of Alba, and they have two daughters: Sidonie and Alais.

Drustan mab Necthana

Drustan is the Cruarch of Alba and husband of Ysandre. In Kushiel's Dart, his throne is usurped and he fights to regain it. Afterward, he leads an army to Terre d'Ange to fight the Skaldi. His army, along with Isidore d'Aiglemort's, breaks the siege of Troyes-le-Mont and defeats the Skaldi. He typically spends half the year in Alba and half in Terre d'Ange. He and Ysandre have two daughters: Sidonie and Alais.

Barquiel L'Envers

"Didn't you enjoy my largesse in the Khalif's court? I heard I sent you to Khebbel-im-Akkad after paying you to betray your master."

Duc of the province of Namarre and maternal uncle of Ysandre. He is both a shrewd politician and a feared warrior and general. He and Delaunay were old enemies due to a poem Delaunay wrote implicating his sister Isabel in the death of Edmee de Rocaille. He appears as both antagonist and reluctant ally at different times throughout the series, but he is always loyal to Ysandre.

  • Badass
  • Badass Decay: Happens to him in Scion and Justice, but he recovers in Mercy.
  • Badass Grandpa: He is this in later books, once he has grandchildren.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Joscelin is about to mercifully end his and Phedre's lives when Barquiel charges out of besieged Troyes-le-Mont at the last minute to rescue them.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: Has a few, most notably the one mentioned under Big Damn Heroes, but also:
    • Seizing the throne in Ysandre's name and holding the City of Elua against Percy de Somerville in Chosen.
    • Keeping the country together along with Alais when Ysandre was under Carthage's spell in Mercy.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: The moment when he finally accepts Imriel.
    • Becoming oathsworn protector of Imriel and Sidonie's firstborn.
  • Dead Little Sister: Isabel L'Envers. Delaunay uses the identity of Isabel's poisoner to make peace with him.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Enemy Mine: He agrees to make peace with Delaunay for the sake of protecting Ysandre. Also, he and Imriel work together to defeat the Carthaginians in Mercy.
  • Evil Uncle: Appears to be this, but is actually a subversion.
  • A Friend in Need: Phedre bids him to hold the City of Elua against the traitors using the password of House L'Envers.
  • Going Native: He does this during his time as ambassador to Khebbel-im-Akkad. He is frequently seen in a turban or burnouse and is quite fond of Akkadian furnishings.
  • Hero Antagonist: In the 2nd trilogy. His hatred of Imriel comes from a fear that he is involved in his mother's plots & wants to steal the throne.
  • Hidden Depths: On the surface he appears to be a coldly ambitious snarky jerkass, but there are moments throughout the series which hint there's more to him than that. This is especially apparent in Mercy, for instance when he squeezes Alais's hand to give her reassurance.
  • Horse Archer: Barquiel loves these, and is one himself.
  • I Will Protect Her: He became the oathsworn protector of Imriel and Sidonie's firstborn.
  • Jerkass: Especially to Imriel.
  • Magnificent Bastard: He is one of very few people Melisande is wary of and views as a threat to her plans.
  • Master Swordsman: He impressed the Proud Warrior Race Akkadians with his skills.
  • Only Sane Man: He is the only great lord who isn't in the City of Elua when the Carthaginians put their spell on the city.
  • Parental Substitute: To Ysandre.
  • Purple Eyes
  • Revenge: Once he finds out who poisoned his sister, he has him assassinated.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Delaunay in Dart and then again with Imriel in Mercy. He comes to respect Imriel during their time working together and realizes he misjudged him.

Nicola L'Envers y Aragon

Cousin of Ysandre and Barquiel. Nicola is married to an Aragonian nobleman, but she frequently visits the court of Terre d'Ange. She becomes a patron of Phedre's, and they have a Friends with Benefits sort of relationship.

Isidore d'Aiglemort

Duc of the province of Camlach and a skilled warrior. He plots with Melisande to betray Terre d'Ange to the Skaldi by letting them in the mountain passes of Camlach. He learns that Melisande double crossed him, and joins up with the Alban army to defeat the Skaldi and get back at Melisande. He slays Waldemar Selig in battle, but dies shortly afterward, thereby redeeming himself.

Waldemar Selig

A Skaldi warlord who is able to unite all of the various Skaldi tribes under him. In addition to being a fearsome warrior, he is also a cunning leader. He tries to invade Terre d'Ange. It doesn't go well.

The Mahrkagir

"Ill thoughts, ill words, ill deeds."

The ruler of Drujan, the Mahrkagir is extremely sadistic and completely evil. Imriel is sold to him, and he subjects the boy to horrific abuse. Phedre comes to save him, and the Mahrkagir ends up falling in love with her (although his definition of love is rather different from most people's). She kills him with a hairpin.

Thelesis de Mornay

The former King's Poet to Ysandre's grandfather, King Ganelon, now Queen's Poet to Queen Ysandre. She has a beautiful voice and her poetry is famed throughout Terre d'Ange.

  • Always Someone Better: Despite being seen as the most skilled poet across the kingdom (and possibly in-universe too) she is said to have always thought that Anafiel Delaunay was the better poet.
  • Ill Girl
  • Mrs Exposition
  • Odd Friendship: She becomes one of Phedre's closest allies after the events of Dart.
  • Plain Jane: One of the very few examples in the whole of Terre d'Ange. Phedre notes that her voice however makes up for her lack of beauty.

Imriel's trilogy


Includes the novels Kushiel's Scion, Kushiel's Mercy and Kushiel's Justice

Imriel de la Courcel

"I will try to be good."

The hero and narrator of the second trilogy. Son of Prince Benedicte de la Courcel and Melisande Shahrizai, the realm's most infamous traitors. Imriel spends his childhood innocent and unaware of his parentage until he is kidnapped by slave traders and sold to the Mahrkagir. Imriel suffers all sorts of horrific abuse until he is rescued by Phedre and Joscelin. They take him back to Terre d'Ange and adopt him into their household. Imriel's trilogy focuses on his struggles to accept his own nature, his attempts to find a place for himself, and his forbidden romance with Sidonie de la Courcel, Ysandre's daughter and heir.

Sidonie de la Courcel


Daughter of Queen Ysandre and Drustan mab Necthana, Dauphine of Terre d'Ange. Sidonie first appears to be very haughty and unlikable. However, she gradually becomes more likable and less haughty as Imriel starts to fall for her. Once they are no longer able to hold back their feelings for each other, she and Imriel begin a relationship. Together they struggle to win her parents' approval.

Alais de la Courcel

Younger daughter of Queen Ysandre and Drustan mab Necthana. Alais and Imriel become close as children and remain so as they get older. She feels more of a connection to her Alban heritage than her D'Angeline heritage. At the end of series, she announces that she wants to stay in Alba and become an ollamh.

Maslin de Lombelon

Bastard son of Isidore d'Aiglemort, who dies before he can acknowledge him. Maslin serves as a sort of foil to Imriel, since they are both sons of traitors but they are treated very differently. Because of this, Maslin holds a lot of resentment toward Imriel. They eventually do become friends when he shows up in Vralia to rescue Imriel during Kushiel's Justice.

Mavros Shahrizai

Imriel's other foil, Mavros is a Shahrizai, and is utterly unapologetic of this fact, and the ramifications and desires that come with it. While Imriel's past experiences initially cause difficulties with their relationship, as he becomes more comfortable with his sexuality, they bond. Mavros eventually fills a roll somewhere between Imriel's at-home Lancer, and a big brother figure, providing advice and support about both politics and relations. He has a rather one-sided infatuation with Sidonie's lady-in-waiting.

Moirin's trilogy


Includes the books Naamah's Kiss, Naamah's Curse, Naamah's Blessing

This trilogy takes place 100 years after the events of the first two trilogies.

Moirin mac Fainche

The protagonist of the third trilogy. She begins the story as something of a Feral Child, living with her Alban mother in the wilderness. She discovers that she is half Alban and half d'Angeline and that her heritage has given her access to powers outside of the Maghuin Donn. In the first book she travels to Terre d'Ange to find her father and as a result finds herself torn between her desires and her duty.

  • Babies Ever After
  • Bi the Way: Most of her relationships in the Naamah novels involve women but her two most recurring paramours are both men.
  • Feral Child: At the beginning of the first book.
  • Fish Out of Water: Her status during Kiss.
  • Green Eyes: Inherited from her father.
  • Green Thumb: One of the abilities her bloodline gives her is the ability to talk to plants and make them grow.
  • Halfbreed: Half Alban and half D'Angeline.
  • Hot Mom: Becomes this at the end of Blessing.
  • Les Yay: Most of her relationships in the Naamah novels involve women.
  • Lineage Comes From the Father: Inverted. In Alban custom children inherit through the female line. This is why her surname is mac Fainche, meaning "from Fainche".
  • Love You and Everybody: What her powers from Naamah give her. Every time she feels the pull of her diadh-anam towards a certain person she will end up having sex with them.
  • Magical Girl: Compared to Phedre at least. Moirin has a lot more access to magic than the former.
  • Mary Sue: The character often gets accused of being this.
  • My Diadh-Anam Made Me Do It: This is often the reason for starting a quest.
  • Naive Newcomer: When she leaves Alba for Terre d'Ange to find her father in Kiss, she's bewildered by d'Angeline customs and almost makes a fool of herself at court.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Her looks are commented on as "exotic" by the d'Angelines and supernatural by the Albans, due to her mixed blood status.
  • Really Gets Around: And how. Lets put it this way. Phedre and Imriel from the first two trilogies were either a magically induced to enjoy pain courtesan or an issue-ridden, angsty prince. Both encountered problems directly related to their attitudes about sex (more on Imriel's side). Moirin has no such hang ups. She may possibly be the protagonist that has the most sex of the three. Judging by the theme of Moirin's trilogy this is probably because her gifts come from Naamah rather than Kushiel.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Her relationship with Jehane develops into this by the last third of Naamah's Kiss.
  • Superpower Lottery: Her mother's line is descended from Princess Alais of the second trilogy, giving her the powers of an ollamh a type of combined seer and priestess. On that note, she also has descent from fallen angels Elua and Naamah through Princess Alais' own combined Courcel/L'Envers heritage. Her father's line is descended from Anael, the fallen angel who gave d'Angelines their farming skills. This gives Moirin the power to turn herself invisible, talk to plants, incite lust in other characters and access the powers of the Maghuin Donn or "bear-witch" in the Alban language.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Readers often accuse Moirin of being this for Phedre.
  • Yuri Genre


The apprentice to Master Lo Feng and a former slave. He and Moirin do not get along at first and he spends the first book being a Jerkass. Later on readers learn his tragic backstory and he becomes more sympathetic. Serves as Moirin's protector and later her lover throughout the Naamah trilogy.

Master Lo Feng

Queen Jehanne

King Daniel's considerably younger second wife and step mother to Prince Thierry. She was once a famed courtesan in Cereus House before giving up her profession to become queen. At first at odds with Moirin due to a shared rivalry over Raphael de Mereliot, she later becomes a friend and trusted confidante as well as lover to Moirin.

Raphael de Mereliot

The Big Bad of the third trilogy and a former lover of both Jehanne and Moirin. He is a d'Angeline nobleman and the son of the current Lady of Marsilikos.

King Daniel de la Courcel

The king of Terre d'Ange at the beginning of the trilogy and a descendant of both Imriel and Sidonie de la Courcel from the previous trilogy.

  • Death by Despair
  • Driven to Suicide He was devastated by Jehanne's death and hearing a (false) rumour that his son had died drove him to commit suicide.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Supports his wife's extra-marital affairs by way of an agreement made before they married; that she could keep her lovers for the first few years of marriage until they both agree to have a child. He even comments that her relationship with Moirin made her a better ruler.
  • Second Love: Its stated that Jehanne is this for him after the death of his first wife and Thierry's mother. However he is still deeply in love with her and Thierry even notes that courting Jehanne helped bring him out of his depression in the years after his first wife died.

Thierry de la Courcel.

Son of Daniel de la Courcel and his first wife; he is the Dauphin to the throne of Terre d'Ange during Moirin's trilogy.

Duc Rogier de Barthelme

Snow Tiger

The daughter of the Ch'in Emperor who is believed to have been possessed by a supernatural creature. If she sees her reflection in anything she goes on a killing spree. On the day of her wedding to a Ch'in nobleman she went on a rampage and killed her betrothed and most of his party. Since then she has been locked away in a tower by her father in the hope of keeping her violent sprees under control.

The Rani Amrita

The Rani (aka queen) of Bhodistan. Moirin travels to meet her in Naamah's Curse.


A warrior from Terra Nova, (analogous to undiscovered North America)with whom Moirin meets during her travels in Blessing.


Balthasar Shahrizai

Phanuel Demarre

Moirin's father and a priest of Naamah. She gets her power to make plants grow from his side of her heritage.


Moirin's mother and a seer of the Maghuin Donn tribe of Alba.

Minor characters and organizations appearing throughout the various trilogies

Persia and Marmion Shahrizai

Brother and sister pair who help to bring Melisande to trial for treason at the end of Dart.

Rolande de la Courcel

Crown prince or dauphin to the throne of Terre d'Ange in Phedre's trilogy. He was killed during the war between Terre d'Ange and Skaldia. He was married to Isabel L'Envers and was the father of Ysandre. He was in a love triangle between Anafiel Delaunay and Isabel L'Envers.

Quintilius Rousse

Isabel L'Envers


Daughter of the head priestess of Naamah whom Mavros Shahrizai has an unrequited crush on. She is hired in the 2nd trilogy to teach Sidonie the arts of the bed chamber.

Gonzalo d'Escabar

Miriam Bouscevre

The Dowayne of Cereus House early on in Phedre's trilogy. It is she who introduces Phedre to Anafiel Delaunay.

Cecilie Laveau-Perrin

A widow and former adept of Cereus House and friend of Anafiel Delaunay. Anafiel hires her to teach Phedre and Alcuin how to be courtesans in the first trilogy.

Elua and his Companions










Favrielle no Eglantine

Dressmaker and designer. She fashions most of Phedre's clothes during Avatar and Imriel's trilogy. By the time of Moirin's trilogy her business Atelier Favrielle is the most popular dress maker in Terre d'Ange.

Leander Maignard

A kinsman of House Shahrizai, albeit a few generations removed. He is living with the rest of his family in Cythera with Melisande as her retainers. Imriel meets him in Kushiel's Justice.

  • Wild Mass Guessing : Fans theorised that Melisandre used a shapeshifting magic to use his form to go to Terre d'Ange and see Imriel (her son) get married, as she is in exile. Jacqueline Carey has flat out denied this on her blog, saying that it was "a good idea", but that " Melisande is the sort to see her games to the end and that she would rather show her face than hide in the shadows".

Liliane de Souverain and Pierre Cantrel

The biological parents of Phedre no Delaunay. Liliane de Souverain was part of a long line of women who served Naamah as adepts of the Night Court, namely Jasmine House. Due to the exotic tenets of Jasmine House, she is honey skinned, dark haired and black eyed. Pierre was the third son of a merchant of blond hair and blue eyed persuasion. Liliane ran away to elope with Pierre Cantrel because the Dowayne of the House forbade her marriage to Pierre on the basis that a child from their union would not fit the standards for Jasmine House and because Pierre could not afford to buy her marque. Phedre was born as a result of their union, but was "too pale for Jasmine House and too dark haired and dark eyed for Cereus House". Before the discovery of Kushiel's Dart, the mote in her eye is seen as a blemish and thus made Phedre unfit for any of the Houses in the Night Court. When the two are too poor to settle their debts, they sell Phedre as an indentured servant to the Dowayne of Cereus House.

  • Easily Forgiven: Averted. Phedre finds the fact that they never tried to claim her after the Bitterest Winter unforgivable and prefers to think that they just died during that period.
  • Hot Gypsy Woman: Liliane. One of the reasons Phedre as a child noticed Hyacinthe was because he resembled her mother complexion wise. Most adepts of Jasmine House are rumoured to have Bhodistani (analogous to Indian) ancestry in their heritage.
  • Parental Abandonment

Eamonn mac Grainne

Son of Grainne and Quintilius Rousse.

  • Boisterous Bruiser
  • I Will Find You: Falls in love with Brigitta, a Skaldic woman in Imriel's trilogy and after she leaves for Jutland with her father, Eamonn vows to find her.

Conor mac Graine

Son of Grainne with an unamed lover. The third trilogy reveals that he later married Alais de la Courcel and became Cruarch of Alba.

Grainne and Eamonn mac Conor of Eire

The twin rulers of the Dalriada, a tribe in Eire. They are allied with the Alban rebels and later help Phedre, Drustan and the d'Angelines against the Skaldi invasion.

Dorelei mab Bredaia

Drustan's niece and Imriel's later wife.


Sister of the former Cruarch and the mother of Drustan and his sisters.

Court of Night-Blooming Flowers

An elite cadre of prostitutes known as Servants of Naamah that are the highest ranked courtesans in Terre d'Ange. Prostitution is considered a religious act for adepts of the Court, as it is elsewhere in Terre d'Ange, and adepts make offerings to Naamah during their service. All thirteen houses are based in the City of Elua, the d'Angeline capital in the district known as Mont Nuit. Each house has its own motto which both serves to provide their unique theory as to why Naamah offered herself to the King of Persis in d'Angeline folklore and to describe the tenets conveyed by each house.

The Houses

Cereus House

Camellia House

Dahlia House

Heliotrope House

Jasmine House

Eglantine House

Balm House

Gentian House

Bryony House

Mandrake House

Orchis House



The Unseen Guild

The Guild does not directly appear in the novels, but references to them and members of the Guild turn up throughout the first two trilogies. They are based in Caerdicca Unitas and were the ones who taught both Anafiel Delaunay and Melisande Shahrizai their skills. Imriel encounters them in Kushiels Mercy and Kushiels Justice.

General Astegal

The Carthaginian general who tried to make Sidonie his wife via means of a magic spell cast over Terre d'Ange.

Ptolemy Solon aka The Wise Ape of Cythera

Melisande's lover and governor of the Hellene island of Cythera. Imriel travels to meet him in Kushiel's Mercy.
  • Chekovs Gunman: his study of magic is essential to Imriel being able to change his face to look like Leander Maignard and enter Terre d'Ange unknown.
  • Detractor Nickname: The Wise Ape
  • The Smart Guy
  • Ugly Guy Hot Consort Cytheran opinion of his relationship with Melisande, to the extent that they compare it with that of the [in-universe] Greek god Vulcan and his wife the Greek goddess Venus.

The Tsingani

Notable Tsingani:


Hyacinthe's mother, a former Tsingani princess who was cast out of the nation when her cousin Csavin gambled away her virginity to a D'Angeline nobleman when gambling in the Night Court. Hyacinthe was born as a result.

King Manoj


The Yeshuites

Notable Yeshuites:

Micah ben Ximon

Eleazar ben Enokh

Seth ben Yavin