Info & Stats

The Imperial and Royal Households

Most staff are never named, except for [the clone] Sar Tan. She is a Lady in Waiting, and features, when the plot to murder the Empress is unraveled.

Otherwise, the reader should presume the functions of household and court are all attended by servants. The only other main servant named is Bu Te, under chef of the Royal Forest Meade kitchen, who becomes Jack's main chef of the Outlands.

This implies the depth of friendship that develops between the King and Jack, as no ruler would normally give up the rising star of his kitchens so easily.

Image: Ræm, daughter of Jinnie and Jack - Click to enlarge

Jinnie gifts her a rare name, one from pre-history. Empress Zhao Ræm met Taris when her people fled south and east, and was persuaded to take her people to the Island for protection.

As a mark of deep respect, the name was rarely used in subsequent generations. However, Jinnie and Jack believe their daughter will become an even greater ruler, so thus she was named.

The author remarks, "The implication is that Ræm will once more complete a circle, and as Empress, lead her people out of the Island, and possibly away from Gaia."

The King Stats

Sex: Male.
Born: 1972.
Eyes: Black.
Hair: Long, black.
Height: 528".
Marital status: Married.

The King Info

Although not rebellious, the King of Forest Meade is a free thinker.

Learning of the Guardians return, he is thrilled and eager to restore the old ways. This puts him at odds with the Empress and his wife, so he keeps his views secret from all but his most trusted, and acts a part.

Princess Siu Mooyi Stats

Sex: Female.
Born: 1996.
Eyes: Black.
Hair: Long, black, usually worn in a ponytail.
Height: 4'10".
Marital status: Marries the Prince of Forest Meade.

Princess Siu Mooyi Info

Her marriage to the Prince of Forest Meade was again a political alliance, although in this case the pair had already been courting.

Doubtless Jien Noi and the King had encouraged the relationship, thereby cementing their view of how the Island would develop.

Prince Dai Lo Stats

Sex: Male.
Born: 1994.
Eyes: Black.
Hair: Long, black.
Height: 5'1".
Marital status: Marries the Princess of Soi Long.

Prince Dai Lo Info

Raised in the repressive court atmosphere, Dai Lo finds new purpose to his life when erecting a home for his betrothed. He is assisted by Dan Sing, the builder from Soi Long.

However, it is Jack that influences him most, showing him different ways of doing things, and he grows as a person.


Feature: The Second


Minor Characters - Royalty


Imperial and Royal Houses
The line of the Empress has remained unbroken for over thirty thousand years, and since before the Second fled to the Island. The Imperial House in named Zhao, Cantonese for Zhou, the first Chinese Dynasty before Empire. Zhao Jien Noi (Jinnie) is the Empress Elect at the beginning of Book One.

Her mother was an authoritarian, but good ruler, well liked by her people until her latter years, when she was systematically poisoned with mercury by Sar Tan. This resonates with the first ever Chinese Emperor (227 BC), Qin Shi Huang, who took mercury for many years, believing it to be the tonic of the gods. He was driven insane, echoed in Book One, where Sar Tan plots to have Jien Noi executed, and install herself as Empress, after completing the poisoning of the by then terminally insane Empress.


Empress Zhao Jien Noi
Image: Empress and Gatekeeper Jien Noi - Click to enlarge

The Old Empress
Jien Noi's mother is never named, although it would be correct to call her Empress Zhao. She was brought up with court and the affairs of state, and was a dedicated ruler. At age sixteen, she married the younger brother of the King of Forest Meade, who was a gifted orator, diplomat, and good at the minutia of government. This was a political alliance, as Forest Meade had become semiautonomous under her mother's rule.

The marriage worked extremely well, and was supported by her younger sister marrying the elder brother, who had been trained from birth to become the next king. Thus the two Houses were aligned in one cause, which brought cohesion to the peasant lifestyle and almost feudal governance of the land.

Not long after Zhao came to power, the Seer, Won Long, told her the ancient prophesy would be fulfilled in her lifetime; the Outlander would bring dramatic change to their society and return many lost skills, and the old ways. Under advice from her cousin Sar Tan, later revealed to be an Ogre clone, she saw this as a threat to her power, and acting in the best interests of her people, decreed never to allow it to happen. As a result, Won Long was banished, and Jack arrested when he first arrived in the Capital.

By the time of Jien Noi's execution, and the declaration of Sar Tan as the Empress Elect, Empress Zhao 's mind had virtually been lost. Once declared the new leader, Sar Tan gave her a large draught of mercury, and the Empress died a most horrific and painful death; she was conscious of what had been done to her.

The Emperor
The Emperor, like all royalty, is never named personally. These are all supporting characters, of which he and his elder brother are foremost. He is several years younger than the Empress, but extremely good at public speaking, having an ebullient and commanding air. The people love him and respond to his theatre during public announcements.

His role is that of being the public face of the Empress on a daily basis, she looking over the whole of the realm on a longer term brief. He grows into this role with gusto, and is virtually running the kingdom during his wife's latter years and illness. However, he does see Sar Tan as a threat, but it is too late before he realises just how big a threat the usurper has become.

After Zhao dies, he continues in his role as Emperor, running the kingdom in Jien Noi's absence; she being more effective at a skill nobody else possesses: Gatekeeper. He fully supports her, and marvels as the old ways are returned to their culture; fire, the wheel, and many others. This causes him problems, because he supported his wife in opposing change, but he sees the changes are extremely beneficial. This leads him to a quandary of times passed, one he privately never escapes from.

As he ages, especially in Book Three, his other children the Prince Dai Lo, and second daughter Siu Mooyi, take over more affairs of running the state. Jien Noi also takes more daily control of the realm, and Jack steps up into his rightful role of Emperor as seldom as he can get away with.

Like most Islanders, he refuses regeneration treatment at the spaceship's medical unit, and although his life was prolonged, he dies peacefully in Book Three.

The King of Forest Meade
He is more independent that his younger brother, and well suited to ruling the Second town of the nation. He married for political reasons, and otherwise lives his life the way he wants to. His relationship with the Queen, his immediate ruler, is respectful, but that is about as far as it goes. They neither love nor hate each other, just get on with their roles in life as separately as possible.

The King loves to enjoy life, and when not on official duty, behaves like anybody else, although respect for his status is required.

His wife and ruler, the Queen, is not disposed to the pleasures of life, and is seemingly distracted by her duties. Neither does she appear to notice the few courtesans at court, although Xi Xah in particular is outgoing, sometimes loud, and hard to miss. The Queen sees it as her duty to bring children into the world, and physical union with her husband was a chore she only indulged in when necessary. For his part, the King was always discreet about his female companions, usually waiting until; his wife was away in the capital.

The King is the first person of authority Jack encounters, and they get along very well. In Jack he senses a personal freedom denied him, and once checked out by n'Gnung and Xi Xah, he has a problem. While he does not openly oppose the Empress and his wife's concerns regarding the return of the old ways, he is hamstrung to do much about the situation.

Early in Book One, Lo Si confirms Jack is the prophesied Guardian, and the King tries to support the Outlander as best he is able. With Lo Si, he works on a ruse to keep Jack safe, entrusting but a few people to ensure Jack lives; n'Gnung becomes Jack's personal protector. Without the King's intervention, Jack would ultimately have been killed.

The King
This expression always refers to the King of Forest Meade. Other Kings are always referred to by title, such as The King of Soi Long, the most important King, of the largest and leading Island town.

The third King is of Gu Long Dux, and has stronger ties with Forest Meade than the capital. Jack becomes the fourth King when he is given the Outlands to administer. A fifth King is created in Book Three, on to administer Grimwaldi Rinns. In each case, it is of course the Queen that retains ultimate power, but beneath that of the Empress.

The Imperial Princess, Siu Mooyi
Siu Mooyi is an anglicisation of Mainland Cantonese, meaning 'little girl', specifically 'our personal daughter'; in this case referring to her parents, and also the people.

Her character appears at odd times throughout the trilogy, as she is not one for the hassles of court, although acts as Empress Regent, a role she grows into with the passing of time. When her father dies, she becomes Queen of Grimwaldi Rinns, her brother becoming the first King of the city. These are virtually a continuation of their previous roles, allowing the Empress and Jack as Emperor, the freedom from court to deal with matters affecting the entirety of the realm.

However, she is very interested in animals, and especially plants, and has great knowledge of the latter. This brings her into the story at certain points, like when she becomes the first for ten thousand years to gather coffee beans and cotton bolls. At age sixteen, she marries the Prince of Forest Meade.

The Imperial Prince, Dai Lo
Dai Lo means 'Big [or Number One] Brother' in Cantonese. He acts like a General or Duke in running the realm, and marries the elder Princess from the largest town, Soi Long, in Book One. This was again a political alliance, although the two already knew each other well and welcomed the marriage.

Apart from Book One, Dai Lo takes little part in the plot, although in Book Three, he is made King of the capital city, Grimwaldi Rinns, a position of governance created by Jinnie and Jack. His title is for life, and will be taken by Siu Mooyi's daughter's husband in due course.

Other Royalty
The Royal Houses of Soi Long and Gu Long Dux play little part in the story. The latter is the smallest town, and has little direct contact with Grimwaldi Rinns. Most commerce travels to the capital via Soi Long. However, politically and from times past, they are more aligned with Forest Meade, both considered outposts of society. This in mentioned in Book Three, where we learn the ancient Guardian came from Gu Long Dux, and his family intermarried with a clan from Forest Meade; n'Gnung and Gung Loi are both directly related to the original Guardian line.

Jack becomes the newest King, being granted the title King of the Outlands, an honour he does accept. In time his second daughter, Mai Li (Cantonese, meaning '[very] beautiful girl'), will inherit the throne, in keeping with the people's matriarchal society.

Info & stats

Sar Tan

Image: Sar Tan - Click to enlarge

A malevolent being, cloned by the Great Ogre, and programmed to murder the Empress, allowing him access to the Island.

When children, and before Sar Tan was cloned, Sar Tan and the Empress then Elect were best friends. The Empress when in power, never forgot this, and was easily duped by the clone, whom she trusted implicitly.

Empress Zhao Stats

Sex: Female.
Born: 1974.
Eyes: Black.
Hair: Long, black.
Height: 4'11".
Marital status: Married.

Empress Zhao Info

Empress Zhao was a wise and noble monarch, but of the old school. Without the influence of Sar Tan, she would have welcomed Jack's arrival as the new Guardian.

As it was, upon hearing of the outlanders arrival, she sent word to lesser royalty, to beware the intruder. This in turn explains the secretive actions of the King of Forest Meade; the rest is history.

The Emperor Stats

Sex: Male.
Born: 1976.
Eyes: Black.
Hair: Long, black.
Height: 5'1".
Marital status: Married.

The Emperor Info

The Emperor is the daily face of power, and especially good at commanding the people, who throng into the square when he makes an announcement.

The Emperor

shows his devilish side when Jack, exhausted, has all but completed the Trials of Passage. He offers Jack the final test, to drink a tumbler of their lethal Island spirit without spilling a drop, or making one cough.

The Queen Stats

Sex: Female.
Born: 1976.
Eyes: Black.
Hair: Long, black.
Height: 5'0".
Marital status: Married.

The Queen Info

She is the devoted younger sister of Empress Zhao, and did not want to marry the King of Forest Meade, finding him uncouth.But for reasons of unity of the realm, she agreed when her mother pronounced on the matter. Regardless, it was impossible for her to refuse.

Gung Loi

Image: Gung Loi - Click to enlarge

When the Islanders mobilise to repel Quinn's invasion, Dai Lo is one of the first to sign up, encouraging the people to do likewise.

He joins Gung Loi's forces, and proves himself. When planning an assault on a key position, Gung Loi asked Dai Lo if he would prefer to drop back. He refused, proving his mettle in the battle to come.

On ability he is promoted to platoon commander, and later, Captain.

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