"Does the walker choose the path, or the path choose the walker?"



Shoel's Story


Name: Shoel Devaut
Bond: Eshanath
Bonded At: Ring of Fire, The Flight of the Dead Clutch
Homeworld: Ancelstierre and the Old Kingdom
Species: Human necromancer
Age: 29
Sex: Female
Height: 5'10"
Hair: Black and thick, to her shoulder blades but nearly always bound
Skin: Very pale, leeched of color
Eyes: Very dark brown
Residence: Outside of Driolo, planet Atu; current at the Ring of Fire
People: Myokan Sarelle
Pet: Seth Tashat, "Finder"
Description: Shoel Devaut is not beautiful by a long shot, but neither is she entirely unattractive: at the very least, she certainly has character. She is tall and sturdily built, not overtly muscular but solid and strong, worn up from constant exercise to keep herself busy. She has very pale skin, almost entirely without color, and so whenever she must be out in the sun, she wears a floppy, wide-brimmed hat over her thick, black hair, just barely long enough to reach her shoulder blades and usually worn tied back and out of the way, for it can get quite messy if she lets it. Her eyes are deep and so brown as to look black, set close together in a thin, triangular face, over a strongly defined, aquiline nose and a stubborn mouth and chin that belies her generally quiet nature. She bears a circular mark on her forehead, a rune incomprehensible to anyone not from her own world. 

Though she cannot wear the distinctive key motif of an Abhorsen, the title of the official, good-aligned necromancer from her homeworld, everything else about Shoel's battle and travel garb is similar: including the same dark blue surcoat, long in the sleeve and covering her thighs and lined in silver. Usually she pairs these with a thin under-tunic of white, thick leggings in cool gray, and soft, knee-high boots in black. Though she doesn't own any of the lightweight plate armor of the Abhorsen and kingly lines, her own set of light ring mail works well enough-- or it would, if she ever wore it.

The only accessories Shoel bears are also essential to who she is: her bell bandolier, and her long sword. The bell bandolier is a wide length of deep gray leather worn from her right shoulder, across her breasts, and down around her left hip, suspended from which are seven black ebony handles attached to leather bindings, shrouding silver bells ranging in size from the size of a pillbox to the size of a jar. To those who can recognize it, they are powerfully magical. Her long sword, worn on her hip and of a very simple design, is equally magical, covered in runic markings etched into the central channel and, to those with sight for such things, flowing fluidly down the length of the blade and over the crosspiece.

Personality: More often than not, Shoel is a quiet person, content with a book, a garden, and a sword to practice with now and then, just to keep in shape. She isn't much of a people person, tending to make people uncomfortable, but she still craves the approval of people she respects, and affection, though she is really too distant from people to get much of that. When she needs it, she has a will of iron and a commanding bearing-- necessary in her line of magic-- and should she make use of a trained "sergeant's bark", she can actually be rather intimidating. For the most part, though, she prefers not to command living people, letting someone else give the orders while she advises. Or, better yet, she prefers being alone at home, perhaps with a friend or two, not having to be in battle or magical situations at all-- but duty and a burning desire to be useful keeps bringing her out of her safe haven in the desert.

Shoel's moods can run anywhere from quirky humor, to fierce determination, to quiet contemplation, to slow depression. She isn't a very cheerful person, not smiling much, but she can be very loyal once someone wins her trust. As long as you don't mind her being a bit quiet and focused-- and the occasional detour from plan to banish the undead-- she can be a very good friend.

For the past six years, Shoel has lived on the planet Atu, not far from the city of Driolo, and she lived on Star City for the better part of a year before that, until her Charter-magic began causing serious damage to the artificial environment and she was forced to move. She was exiled from her homeland at the age of nineteen for being a necromancer, one of the most feared mages of her home, the Old Kingdom. Though most necromancers were simply killed, banished beyond the Ninth Gate of Death, Shoel was spared. Though she can wield the bells of the necromancer and has read the Book of the Dead, she was not corrupted by them: she is not an evil necromancer, who raises the dead for her own power, but rather one who binds the undead and sends them where they belong. The Charter, the ordered, runic field of magic wrapped around the Old Kingdom, still accepted her and she was still loyal to it and her ruler.

Shoel is related to the official Kingdom necromancer, the Abhorsen, who had been the one to actually banish her rather than send her to Death. In the Old Kingdom, there can only be two crown-sanctioned necromancers: the Abhorsen, and the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, to take over once the Abhorsen finally dies, himself or herself. The balance of the Charter and the Kingdom was oddly out of balance with Shoel's presence, but no one could find the heart to kill the earnest young woman. Exile was the only option, and somehow, through the Charter and the river of Death, it became exile from her entire world rather than just the Kingdom. Shoel likes to think she was needed somewhere else, but deep down has always feared the strange situation was nothing more than an accident. 

Abilities: As a Charter mage, declared by the mark on her forehead, Shoel can work various types of magic through the use of Charter marks, or runic symbols. Far from her home and the magical field there, the Charter, such magic is sometimes unpredictable and requires quite a bit of effort to cast. While many mages might simply think of a mark or a string of marks for a spell, Shoel must actually draw or trace them with fingers, her sword point, or sounds, like whistling or stating the rune-marks' names. Thus, complicated spells take a lot of time, sometimes whole days, and she cannot cast even many simple spells in the heat of a battle, nor can she cast for very long.

Unaffected by distance from the Charter, however, are Shoel's bells. There are seven bells, each with its own name: Ranna the Sleeper, Mosrael the Waker, Kibeth the Walker, Dyrim the Speaker, Belgaer the Thinker, Saraneth the Binder, and Astarael the Weeper. Each has it's own specific power, and each must be rung in a certain way to access that power. Their names describe what they do: Ranna brings sleep; Mosrael wakes the dead or shatters bindings; Kibeth forces movement according to the ringer's will; Dyrim gives the power of speech to the dumb; Belgaer returns thoughts, memories, and patterns of a normal person to the dead or the bespelled; Saraneth binds the listener to the ringer's will; and Astarael sends all who hear it far into Death, usually permanently. The bells have a darker side, as well: Ranna can weaken the ringer's will with weariness; Mosrael can throw the ringer into Death even while the listener is brought out of it; Kibeth might trick the ringer into walking where he or she would not; Dyrim might still a tongue as readily as loose it; Belgaer has the power to erase thoughts and memories as well as return them; Saraneth wrong improperly is unpredictable, with various effects; and Astarael includes the ringer in those it kills.

Finally, Shoel has the ability to leave her body behind-- it gives the appearance of being literally frozen over-- and enter Death, a realm in which spirits of the dead and strange creatures might dwell, resisting the pull of the River which dominates it. There are nine precincts of Death divided by nine Gates, usually in the form of waterfalls; each precinct is more dangerous than the last, for the more powerful Dead creatures dwell further in. To pass beyond the Ninth and final Gate is to die permanently and go on to whatever awaits one there, with no chance of return whether as a ghost, an undead, or a summoning.

Theme: Kathy Mattea - All Roads to the River


Shoel's Story



Webpage Design by Terry

Shoel's abilities and homeworld are copyrighted to Garth Nix.

Quote borrowed from Garth Nix's book, Lirael, from The Book of the Dead.