chars_smSebaste Stamaria-under-Baptist (b. 3163 AD, age 52) is a district priest in the 7th prefecture of the Province of Three Sails, a scholar of St Sawlon and St Agathon, ecclesiastical representative of his Province at the Unifying Council of the Ecumene, and a fair number of other titles. Before all else, however, he’s a historian and an antiquarian, and his passion lies with 20th century Rome, or the State as it was then known, an enemy of all true faith.

His life’s ambition was to prove that Mary — the legendary ruler of the State, who with centuries became a demonic figure of folklore — was a plain old human, and this he did with immense amounts of ancient birth and death certificates, family trees, and more exciting archival finds. This triumph of data entry blew up in his face however when the zealots in modern-day Rome used his thesis (and so displayed a surprising literacy) to track down the remaining descendants of Mary’s line, which they achieved with gruesome results.

Since Rome — potentially the Ecumene’s largest but also poorest and most isolated province — is about to be offered to the highest foreign bidder in an attempt to civilise it through joint forces, Sebaste finds himself sought after, though not necessarily in ways he’d hope for.


Gloriamundi Stoteleimon-under-Anand (b. 3165 AD, age 51) is Sebaste’s childhood friend, fellow student, fellow academic, and finally his secretary rather than a fellow cleric, because thirty centuries on the Ecumene is still happy to ignore half of its intellectual force. In spite of this she’s built herself a reputation that at times eclipses Sebaste’s when it comes to academic vigor and a gift for languages, and is something of an unofficial leader when it comes to the clergy of the 7th prefecture, particularly when they need herding around.

Mundi was in fact the driving force in researching Mary but found that there were uses after all to not having your name associated with a book, especially if your war on superstition comes across a formidable and bloodthirsty enemy. Not that any of it stopped her; living incognito has its uses too, and she might soon add spying to her list of skills. That is, unless her loyalties are put to the test when she starts spending time with the same community she’d almost had wiped out.

Her greatest worry is a boring life, so she’s quite lucky there.