Tall and handsome, fair haired with hazel eyes and of a quiet nature and disposition. Intellectually sharp, inquisitive and very much into the arts and architecture. Placed honour, truth and justice above all things. Paul sought answers as to why and what his real surname meant and why it was changed. Paul fell deeply in love with Alisha despite the many warnings he should not. His mother died giving birth to him.
Slender and tall with long dark silky hair, she was elegant and beautiful with a mesmerising smile. Her eyes were blue but had what looked like silver and gold flecks that would momentarily glint in Sunlight. Morally courageous and full of spirit she had always loved Paul for as long as she could remember. Intelligent and witty and not afraid to speak her mind for which her father was always chastising her for. Her mother had also died giving birth to her.
A Muslim merchant, but formerly a Faris knight who served under Nur al Din, then as an Ashashin before being captured. He became the best friend and business partner of Paul’s father Philip having fought each other many times on the field of battle. He had two children, Taqi his eldest son and Alisha his only daughter. Fiercely protective of his family, he was a natural diplomat and knew many influential people in the Levant, many, both Christian and Muslim alike counting him as a close personal friend. He was known for his kindness and compassion.
Alisha al Komaty
Firgani’s son. Taqi was the best friend of Paul and they grew up almost together spending many summers in La Rochelle. Tall and with long dark curly hair and deep light brown eyes, he was also loyal and placed honour, truth and justice above all else just like Paul as their father’s had instilled within them. Full of a sense of adventure and travel and after learning that his father was once a knight, he too longed to become one; especially as their fathers had told him and Paul that they could actually work together for a better cause... but that was a secret they would both have to learn if it was God’s will and that they would hopefully never fight against each other if they did learn a secret.
Taqi al Komaty
Sister of Firgany. She was a beautiful and educated Muslim woman but one with a hidden past. Widowed early in life, she remained single. She helped Firgany to raise Alisha more as a mother than an aunt. She was aware of many secrets relating to both Paul and Alisha that she was reluctant to share.
65 Years of age he was a wise esoteric maverick recluse who helped Paul. With a great sense of humour he wore an old habit and was rather pale looking and his weight often fluctuated between being thin to rather rotund, not fat as he would often argue. Incredibly wise and insightful he imparted much of his knowledge and wisdom he had gained over many years from many schools including Sufi mysticism and secrets of the Magi to Paul. He had a mysterious past he kept close to his chest. His black sense of humour always came to the fore when he was in dire trouble with many funny comments and observations being made by him. Always calm and utterly unflappable.
In her mid 60’s she had been widowed early in life, after which she became a Nun who helped to raise Paul and Stewart as well as educate them. She was the first to admit she was a somewhat unorthodox nun with a fiery temperament coupled with a fierce scowl, she solicited absolute respect. Spoke her mind and stood for no nonsense. Theodoric was the only true love of her life, as was she to him.
Brave Templar Knight. Knew and understood a lot about Muslims in the area and openly admitted his admiration for their culture but always refused to convert to Islam despite many arguments with his friends Baldwin, Raulfus and Laudoicus. Inspired his fellow knights always leading from the front and by example. He had little respect for either Gerard or Reynald but did honour their respective rank and positions. Fiercely loyal to his Order he never doubted his cause or that of Christianity.
A quiet but insightful Knight Templar trusted by all who met him. Courageous with a fatalistic philosophy to life, he rose within the Templar order despite his wish not to. A reluctant leader he never the less rose to the challenges set before him. Loved Princess Stephanie from afar.
Nicholas of Blancofort
A master sea farer and naval navigator from Japan. Well travelled and highly skilled in the art of war, he was powerfully built and 6’5 tall. Always fierce looking and never seen to smile and always ever vigilant. Never appeared to sleep. He was a very deep thinker but a man pained and haunted by his past. He had a soft side to his nature and despite his fighting prowess and skills, favoured peace first always.
A senior Knight Templar whose main job was the protection and escort of Princess Stephanie. A seasoned veteran of many battles he had little time for others outside the Order. Ever watchful and with a sharp eye, he missed very little. Politically astute he understood the workings of court protocols and the many machinations behind the scenes. Guarded he was a difficult individual to get to know.
Salah al Din Yusif ibn Ayyub but known to his Muslim contemporaries as Nasi, but to the West simply as Saladin. His family came from the Ayyubids of Kurdish origin. He served under Nur al Din the Turkish Ruler of Syria and northern Iraq and was educated and given military training in the cultivated surroundings of a Turkish court in Arabian Syria. But it was in Egypt that he rose to power. He listened to advice, particularly on political matters and made use of existing military structures and tactics as well as new ideas. With a humane forgiving nature, piety, love of justice, generous and courageous, Saladin made a profound impact on those around him. Even Christians trusted his honour. But he was no military innocent thrust into warfare against his will as some commentators argue. He had considerable experience as a staff officer under Nur al Din and fought in several battles before taking over as Vizier (Chief Minister) of Egypt in 1169. Saladin didn’t become the official ruler until 1171 but even then theoretically remained part of Nur al Dins realm until Nur al Dins death in 1173. Saladin was willing to take major risks as a commander and had a clear understanding of broad strategy. However he did later make mistakes such as after Hattin allowing resistance to grow at Tyre (Sur). His greatness was such that many Latin’s could not accept that he was a mere Saracen so legends grew claiming he was the grandson of a beautiful French Princess forced to marry a valiant Turk named Malakin, whom it is said lived long and tenderly with his wife. Neither were they childless, for of this lady, who was called the ‘Fair captive’, was born the mother of that courteous Turk, the Sultan Saladin, an honourable, a wise and a conquering hero.
Became the Grand Master of the Knights Templar. When taken seriously ill and about to die, he took his vows and became a Templar but then made a miraculous recovery. He saw that as a sign from God that he had work for him to do. He was a passionate and fearless Knight but often went against the orders given to him by the Prieure de Sion Grand Master, mainly because he was unduly heavily influenced by Reynald de Chatillon. Gerard was confident to the point of arrogance. Easily agitated he was known for his temper but he presented himself as a formidable character both on and off the field of battle. He would have a profound and major impact upon Paul and Alisha as their paths crossed.
None were more colourful than Reynald. He was often portrayed as recklessly brave and handsome but also as an undisciplined adventurer who came to the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1153 without wealth or followers yet won the hand of the young Princess Constance of Antioch. Unscrupulous and brutal he had an astonishing grasp of geopolitical strategy. Unfortunately for the Kingdom of Jerusalem his vision outstripped the military or economic capabilities of the Latin states. Unlike Raymond III of Tripoli, Reynald also spent years as a prisoner in Aleppo from 1161 – 1175 which had left him with a burning hatred for Islam, though with a great knowledge of its geography and he emerged as a fanatical crusader. The Muslims in turn knew him as Arnat as they called him, as their most dedicated foe. By the time of his release his wife Constance had died. But without delay he married the heiress to Krac (Kerak) and thus became master of the great Seigneurie of Oultrejordan...Princess Stephanie. Here he built up a state within a state hoping it would become one day like County of Tripoli or Principality of Antioch.
Reynald de Chatillon
(Known as the Red Wolf of Kerak).
Countess (Princess) Stephanie of Oultrejordain
A major character within Outremer, she was the wife of Reynald de Chatillon. Very astute, politically aware and intelligent she was a strong-willed woman. Charismatic and beautiful many were drawn towards her natural warmth and beauty. Utterly fearless and totally honourable she outclassed her less than noble male counterparts often. She educated Paul much on the ways of Outremer and its political set up and shared a deep spiritual connection with him. Utterly selfless in her service to others.
Philip Plantavalu (Pauls father)
In his mid 60’s he stood tall and proud with a full head of hair only just beginning to turn grey. He had been offered a place as a hereditary member from his father’s side onto the council of the Prieure de Sion but turned it down after wishing to be a writer and teacher of their secrets instead. He compiled many esoteric and allegorical stories, mainly Holy Grail related. He had 81 days to decide but did not so his family lost the right of hereditary membership. He was a knight himself but after many tours in the Holy Land and his friendship for Firgany and in order to raise his sons Stewart and Paul he resigned his position and all titles.
Queen Tamar (Co-regent) of Georgia
In her late twenties, she came to be co-regent queen alongside her father, of Georgia. Very intelligent she dealt with the men of her court on the same terms as they tried to use against her. Beautiful with blue eyes and dark hair, she was striking in her resemblance to Alisha. She was no fool and would often wear her crown rather unceremoniously on purpose.
Elder brother of Paul and a Templar Knight. Arrogant and overconfident, but not as smart as he liked to portray himself. Short tempered he was often too quick to anger and struggled to control his emotions. He also loved Alisha despite her Muslim background and said he would give up his knighthood for her. He became the main Gonfanier (standard bearer carrying the black and white Beauseant banner) for the Templar's under Gerard de Ridefort.
A tall Knight in his early 50’s who had served in both the Hospitaller’s and Knights Templar. Both Orders not being able to contain his character and attitude. A true maverick at heart, he suffered fools badly. He was outspoken and openly defied protocols and people regardless of rank or position. Utterly fearless and calm he never the less solicited a serious, if at times menacing presence. His pale blue eyes unnerved many who upset him just by his cold hard stare.
A veteran knight of northern European origin with thick blonde hair. Descendant of a Viking bloodline he spent nearly two decades in the Holy land with his fellow knights all seeking knowledge and wisdom. Served only those he felt compelled to serve under, both Christian and Muslim alike. Deeply spiritual but an utterly professional soldier.
Queen Sibylla of Jerusalem
She was the wife of King Guy. Stunning in her appearance and looking far younger than her real years, she was a quiet woman but highly intelligent and it was she who urged Balian to defend Jerusalem along with Countess (Princess) Stephanie despite Balian’s promise to Saladin never to take up arms against him. Often distanced from King Guy she understood full well-unrequited love and the loneliness of a cold loveless marriage. She was often accused of being manipulative and calculating, but in her position, she needed to be.
King Guy King of Jerusalem
King from 1186 – 1192. Known as the ruler who lost Jerusalem to the Muslims. Guy and his French knights were disliked by local Latin aristocracy. Clearly handsome he won the heart of Queen Sibylla of Jerusalem. Though portrayed as weak and frivolous, he emerged as a far more decisive character after the battle of Hattin. Traditionally described as an ineffective Bailli (Regent) during the crisis of 1183 and as being tight with money even before he became king, he forced Saladin’s withdrawal under Count Raymond’s advice in 1183 but was prone to listen too much to friend’s advice and easily influenced; especially by the likes of Gerard de Ridefort and Reynald de Chatillon. Guy’s authority was weak as the laws of the Kingdom of Jerusalem reflected European ideals of a constitutional Feudal monarchy rather than the reality of conditions in the Latin states. His command of the army was mainly theoretical and he had to constantly consult his barons and military leaders before issuing an order. Confusion, resentment, jealousy and insubordination were rife throughout the kingdom and Guy could rarely impose effective discipline, though all his military decisions up to Hattin were fully in line with strategies and tactics of the time which had served the Latin’s well until then. Paul would have many run ins with him over the years.
Balian came from the most famous feudal family in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. His d’Iblin family had humble origins being part of new aristocracy carved out of early Kingdom. By 1180’s he had become one of the most respected local Barons and enjoyed semi-autonomous authority in southern Palestine. Trusted by all sides he had acted as an intermediary between Raymond and King Guy during their standoff and was also well known as a negotiator among Muslims and counted as a personal friend by Saladin. After Hattin he swore to never take up arms again against Saladin. When he went to collect his wife from Jerusalem the patriarch absolved him of this oath and he ended up defending city against Saladin. Showing enormous courage and determination the city still fell, but the great respect between Balian and Saladin had qualities that bridged the religious divide and Saladin understood why Balian had broken his oath and forgave him. Paul meets and befriends Balian and both greatly influence each others lives.
Master Jakelin de Mailly
He was an utterly reliable and honourable Knight Templar Marshal. Often in disagreement with Gerard de Ridefort he never the less honoured his orders. Keen to have Paul join their order he frequently encouraged him. Despite being a Templar he loved women and was often found in their company and quite the flirt. Did not however get involved intimately with them.
He was a tall powerfully built Knight Templar Seneschal. No one knew his real age but he had long blonde hair with a striking white-blonde beard to match. A veteran of at least thirty years recorded service within the Order, he had travelled extensively to the Middle East and Orient, as well as India. Totally believed in service to others rather than service to self.
Lord Conrad de Montferrat
He was a north Italian nobleman, who came to the Holy Land where he coveted designs on securing the crown of Jerusalem to become its King...by any means. He was a handsome man, with great personal courage and intelligence, and described in the Brevis Historia Occupationis et Amissionis Terræ Sanctæ (‘A Short History of the Occupation and Loss of the Holy Land’) as vigorous in arms, extremely clever both in natural mental ability and by learning, amiable in character and deed, endowed with all the human virtues, supreme in every council, the fair hope of his own side and a blazing lightning-bolt to the foe, capable of pretence and dissimulation in politics, educated in every language, in respect of which he was regarded by the less articulate to be extremely fluent. A very clever and cunning individual whom Paul had to deal with on several occasions. Conrad would ultimately have a massive impact upon Paul and Alisha’s lives and their family.
A Persian Sufi Mystic famed for his poems. Abū Ḥamīd bin Abū Bakr Ibrāhīm ابو حامد بن ابوبکر ابراهیم), better known by his pen-names Farīd ud-Dīn (فرید الدین) and ʿAṭṭār (عطار, Attar means apothecary. He was a poet, theoretician of Sufism, and hagiographer who had an immense and lasting influence on Persian poetry and Sufism. Manṭiq-uṭ-Ṭayr (The Conference of the Birds) and Ilāhī-Nāma are among his most famous works. Attar was the son of a wealthy chemist, receiving an excellent education in various fields. He initially practiced the profession of pharmacy and personally attended to a very large number of customers. The people he helped often confided their troubles in him which affected him deeply. Eventually, he abandoned his pharmacy store and travelled widely to Baghdad, Basra, Kufa, Mecca, Medina, Damascus, Khwarizm, Turkistan, and India, meeting with Sufi Shaykhs and returned promoting Sufi ideas. Had a major influence on Paul’s studies and guided him wisely.
He was a close friend of Thomas and trusted knight of Nordic origins. A veteran of the conflict in the Holy Land and Egypt he was utterly fearless to the point of being reckless, but he was none the less a thoroughly professional soldier first and foremost. Highly educated and well read. Taught many how to read, write and understand the ancient Elfdalian language, including Paul.