THE CAST OF CHARACTERS
Larsen Vale – the blond, 5'10" heroine of The Dark Gate is a Washington, D.C. lawyer specializing in the defense of women abused by their high-profile husbands. She lives on a houseboat docked at the Top Sail Marina on the Potomac River. Larsen has developed a reputation for being an ice bitch – cold and calculating in the courtroom, cold to men outside the courtroom, though her female clients adore her. She’s not cold at all, but instead hides a terrible secret that forces her to keep others at a distance. With her beauty-queen looks, she’s found the only way to keep men at bay is to act cold as ice.
Larsen’s Backstory – Spoiler Alert!
Jack Hallihan – The dark-haired, blue-eyed hero of The Dark Gate, Jack is a detective with Washington, D.C.’s MPD (Metropolitan Police Department). Jack hears voices in his head, unintelligible voices that haunt him night and day. He believes he suffers from the same madness that drove his cop father to alcohol, then finally suicide. He’s determined to make up for the mess his dad made with his life, by doing as much good as he can with his own in the short time he has before the madness destroys him, too. Then he meets a woman, Larsen Vale, whose touch makes the voices fall silent. But when the world starts to crumble around him, he begins to wonder if Larsen’s his salvation...or his doom.
Jack’s Backstory – Spoiler Alert
Autumn McGinn – Autumn, the heroine of Dark Deceiver (coming June 2008) was Larsen’s roommate in college. She’s a curator at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. and a crack researcher. When Larsen is looking for information on the stolen Stone of Ezrie in The Dark Gate, Autumn’s the one she asks. Autumn helps the Sitheen in any way she can, though she’s not Sitheen herself—a fact she sorely regrets. When a tall, dark stranger seeks her out, claiming he’s been having dreams of Larsen Vale and a dangerous, white-skinned man, Autumn thinks he’s Sitheen and just might be her in with the group. But the man, Kade, is not who...or what...she thinks.
Autumn’s Backstory – Spoiler Alert
Kade (Kaderil the Dark) – Kaderil is the dark-haired Esri sent to the human realm by the king of the Esri to infiltrate and destroy the Sitheen resistance and retrieve the draggon stone, the key to the gates of Esria. Called a ‘dark blood’ by his own people because of his partly-human heritage, Kaderil has always been something of an outcast. So when the opportunity to perform a service of real value arises, he’s determined to succeed. Until he meets Autumn McGinn.
Kade's Backstory – Spoiler Alert
Charlie Rand – Charlie is an ex-Navy SEAL who works for a civilian agency doing much the same covert ops work he did with the SEALs, without the political red tape. Charlie, a confirmed bachelor, is full of passion and life, always seeking the next great adventure. His emotions tend to ride the surface of his personality. He doesn’t allow them to get any deeper.
Harrison Rand – the older of the two Rand brothers is the CEO of a small computer company in the D.C. area. He’s been divorced for several years and has two children, Michael (8), and Stephie (6). Harrison is cool, assessing, and outwardly unemotional. But after what Baleris did to Stephie in The Dark Gate, his hatred for the Esri is terrible.
Tarrys – The pretty, violet-eyed Tarrys is from Esria, but is not herself, Esri. Bald and a petite five feet tall, she’s Marceil, one of the slave race of Esria. She comes to the human realm as one of two slaves of Baleris. While a human under enchantment is controlled mind and body and has no recollection of what he’s been forced to do, a Marceil’s mind cannot be dominated. Only her body. And her every action. Tarrys always knows precisely what she’s been made to do, though she has little or no ability to fight it.
Larsen grew up in a middle class home in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. At age eight, her world shattered when she had a terrible dream—a dream of an out-of-control dump truck hurtling toward the car in which her mom and older brother, Kevin, were riding. A silent dream of crumpling metal, shattering glass, and blood. The next day, as Larsen played at the neighbor’s, her nightmare came true when a dump truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and hit the family car head-on as her mom drove Kevin to swim practice. With the self-centered logic of an eight-year-old, Larsen thought that by dreaming the accident, she’d caused it. She blamed herself for their deaths and never told her father, fearing he’d blame her, too.
When she was thirteen, as her Algebra teacher did problems on the classroom chalkboard, Larsen had a waking dream of her grandfather tumbling down the stairs of his home. She lay in bed shaking that night, unable to sleep, certain she’d killed her beloved grandparent. The next day her father informed her that her grandfather had, in fact, died just as she’d foreseen. Still, she told no one.
Larsen, a Sitheen, has the Esri-gift of premonition. She gets premonitions of the deaths of other Sitheen, but only those she’s recently been in close contact with. That trace of Esri blood is inherited, running through family lines, though many never know they’re different. Many Sitheen have no gifts at all.
Though she remained premonition-free after her grandfather’s death until Baleris came through the gate, Larsen never lost her fear of accidentally causing the death of someone else she loved. She learned to keep others at bay, refusing to love anyone ever again. As she grew older, she began to consider the possibility that she’d merely foreseen the deaths, not caused them. But the underlying fear persisted along with the very real fear that if anyone knew how different she was, they’d reject her anyway.
In high school, she had casual friends and dated, but never let anyone get too close emotionally. By the time college started, she’d lost the last of her girlish awkwardness and had landed fully in the camp of knock-outs. She met Nate and dated him for nearly six months when she realized she was falling in love with him. The old fear rose, the fear that because she loved him she would dream his death and he, too, would die. She broke up with him. He didn’t understand why and she was afraid to tell him, so she withdrew into herself and shut him out. She shut them all out, for the guys were falling all over themselves to get her attention, earning herself a reputation as the Ice Bitch. And confining herself to a life of loneliness.
In The Dark Gate, her visions of death return with a strange and terrifying twist. Salvation and true love finally arrive in the form of D.C. cop Jack Hallihan, a man with a past and secrets as dark as her own.
As a boy, Jack Hallihan dreamed of being a NASCAR driver, or a pirate. The only child of a D.C. cop and a second grade school teacher, Jack was a personable, adventurous kid who longed for excitement. Even as a child, he had voices in his head, though the noise was little more than static in the background of his thoughts. When he mentioned the voices at the dinner table one night when he was seven, his father went into a tirade and told him to never, never, talk about the sounds in his head again. “This is why I never wanted kids!” he’d yelled before storming out of the room.
Not until he was in high school did Jack mention them again. The noise had leaped in volume and begun to distinguish itself as individual voices talking in a language he didn’t understand. He confronted his dad, demanding to know if the voices meant he was going crazy. His father, drunk at the time, said yes.
Handling the revelation poorly, Jack went a little wild. He started skipping school, drinking, and getting into minor trouble until his dad got kicked off the police force for accidentally shooting a man. Jack soon learned his father’s mistake was just the last in a string of incidents that had earned his dad a reputation for being a screw-up and a drunk.
A couple months later, halfway through Jack’s junior year in high school, the family moved from the only home Jack had ever known to a tiny townhouse in the distant Maryland suburbs where they could afford to live on his mom’s salary. Jack was furious with his dad for ruining his life and told him so. Two weeks later, he came home to find blood everywhere. While he was at school, his father had put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.
Over the next couple of months, watching what his mom went through, knowing what the madness had cost them all, Jack made two vows to himself. The first was, he was never getting married and never having kids. Not only wouldn’t he put a family through the hell his dad had, but he refused to pass the madness onto another generation. Second, he wasn’t going to end up like his father. When he finished school, he was going back to D.C. to be the cop his dad should have been.
Jack’s father wasn’t crazy any more than Jack is. Both inherited a gift from a long ago Esri ancestor—the ability to speak with, and receive advice from, their ancestors. But the gift requires the young Sitheen to be brought into his voices through the Ritual of Understanding. If the ritual isn’t performed by puberty, the gift becomes a curse and the voices grow louder and more frantic until they become unbearable. Unfortunately for the Hallihans, the ancestor that last knew the ritual died in childbirth more than a hundred years ago without ever passing it on to her children.
When Jack meets Larsen Vale, a Sitheen cursed with visions, Jack’s ancestors recognize a woman they might be able to communicate with. The voices of Jack’s ancestors grow quiet when Jack touches her, and slowly reveal to her the way to lead Jack out of the darkness of his curse.
Autumn McGinn grew up the second of three girls in a middle class home in Bellefontaine, Ohio, the daughter of a red-headed giant of an auto mechanic and a petite blond ballet teacher. While her sisters inherited their mother’s beauty and grace, Autumn took after her dad, much to her chagrin. While she did try basketball, at the urging of her dad and everyone she knew, she quickly discovered height was pretty useless without an ounce of athletic ability to go with it.
But Autumn had a good childhood and was a happy kid. Her parents loved her and encouraged her, and she was well-liked with lots of friends. Romance was the stuff of dreams and never a reality for her, though. At 6’4”, she found few boys who weren’t intimidated by her height. She had plenty of guy friends, but no true boyfriends.
She loved to read, hang out with her friends, and surf the internet, researching anything and everything that caught her interest. A great fan of history, she attended the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, the very university founded by Thomas Jefferson. There, she became roommates with Larsen Vale. Autumn majored in history and went to work for the Smithsonian after college.
In The Dark Gate, Larsen calls on Autumn’s expertise with research to help her and Jack figure out the villain, Baleris – a man who seems more than human. Autumn comes through for them. Being one of the few humans aware of the Esri invasion, she’s invited to attend the clandestine meetings of the small band of resistance fighters, the Sitheen. But without an ounce of Esri blood of her own, she can never truly be one of them. She believes herself destined to always be the odd man out. Until she meets Kade. A man who cherishes and admires her for who she is.
Even as he plots to use her to destroy her world.
Kade (Kaderil the Dark)
Kaderil the Dark was born fifteen centuries ago to two half-Esri, in what is now Scotland. His father, Malcolm, was mortal (a Sitheen) while his mother, Moira, was immortal (a dark blood). They mated and lived in the human realm. However, when the time came for Kaderil to be born, his mother had to return to Esria to give birth.
Unfortunately, Kaderil came into the world sooner than his mother had hoped, and she never made it to her own village. She gave birth among strangers where she learned of Zander’s plot to attack the human village she and Malcolm called home. At the next full moon, as Zander prepared to wage war, Moira left her newborn son with the woman who’d helped birth him, then hid in the shadows until the gate opened, intending to race through and reach her husband to warn him before Zander arrived.
But one of the Sitheen had foreseen the attack and the humans were waiting for the Esri to come through the gate. They destroyed Moira with fire and the death chant before she ever had a chance to explain she was not their enemy. The other Esri, including Zander, were forewarned and survived.
Malcolm learned of his mate’s death, for one of the Sitheen recognized her too late, but Malcolm had no way to reach the baby he’d never seen. (Mortals can’t travel through the gates unescorted.) Soon after, Princess Ilaria sealed the gates, and his son was lost to him for good. A few years later, Malcolm married a human and had several children by her, one of which became the ancestor of Jack Hallihan.
Kaderil grew up knowing nothing of his heritage other than the fact that some amount of human blood clearly ran through his veins, blood that had left him with dark hair, tan skin, and little of the magic of the true Esri. Esri children are rare and cherished, therefore the villagers fed and raised Kaderil despite his strangeness. But they showed him little kindness.
As he grew, the cruelty and bullying increased even though Kaderil had reached his full height, nearly a head taller than the other Esri. One day he’d had enough, lost his temper, and snapped the neck of the man tormenting him. The man healed within seconds, but never came near Kaderil again. Kaderil soon learned his great size and physical strength could be a powerful deterrent to further abuse. He built and cultivated a reputation for violence that largely protected him from the Esri who wielded magic instead of weapons, a magic he didn’t possess.
As King Rith was rising to power, he heard rumors of the fierceness of Kaderil the Dark, and enlisted him into his army. Kaderil was more than happy to have a place in the Esrian world at last, though his place meant terrifying others. He became known as the Punisher. None saw behind the fierceness he wore like armor until he traveled through the gate into the human realm and fell for a red-haired beauty named Autumn McGinn.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS:
(Beware, reading on will explain things that are revealed in the course of reading The Dark Gate)
Esria - a world that exists in Earth’s plane, and yet not. At one time, the two worlds opened to one another in eleven known places, or gates, at the midnight hour of a full moon. Centuries ago, in a traitorous burst of magic, the gates were closed, sealing the human world from the Esris’ greed. But there existed a twelfth gate, unsealed and unknown to the Esri. Until now…
The Esri - the dominant race of Esria. The Esri are immortal, able to control the minds of humans, and possess magic. Each Esri has a unique set of magical gifts and abilities.
Marceil - the slave race of Esria. Marceil are smaller in stature than the Esri, rarely topping five feet tall, and have little magic. While the Esri cannot control a Marceil’s mind as they can a human’s, through magic they can control a Marceil’s will.
Sitheen - a human descended from a long ago union between a human female and Esri male. Sitheen often possess one or more of their ancestor’s gifts of magic.
The Stone of Ezrie - an ancient amulet in the Smithsonian’s collection. A sky blue, teardrop-shaped gem with a seven-pointed star (pictured at right) etched on the surface. The legend: the Stone of Ezrie is the key that opens the gates between the worlds.
The Laws of the world: Part I
Pamela will update this list as information is revealed in future books, so be sure to check back.
» The dark gate in Washington D.C. is only one of twelve gates between the human world and Esria, and the only one left unsealed fifteen centuries ago. The other eleven are located throughout the Northern Hemisphere with the largest number in the British Isles.
» The gates only open for about an hour at midnight of a full moon.
» The Stone of Ezrie is the key that opens the gates. If it should pass through any of the gates, the seals on all will be broken.
» Humans cannot pass through the gates without an Esrian escort.