"Six-Feathers," or tribal warlord of Zizumbir.  Adopted by the previous Six-Feathers, Kezkaramki, after being found as a child living with tigers in the wild.  Called "Kazhra" by those close to her. Her ultimate goal is to retire and spend her days carving wood on the beaches of her homeland in peace, but first she must deal with the Jaezians that treat Zizumbir as part of their own empire.

Crown Prince of Jaez and third-born son of the Emperor, Jintu was chosen as heir by the Imperial Council because of his temperament, good behavior, and intellect.  He is not interested in the arranged marriage that his father is convinced will bring peace between Jaez and Zizumbir.

The eldest of Kezkaramki's adopted children, Zusufula towers above normal men.  He is Kizarasunga's favorite brother and most trusted friend, often tasked with keeping her temper in check.  Despite his intimidating appearance he is actually rather sensitive.

Razendi Karzis is the picture of feminine grace and object of Jintu's affection since childhood. Unfortunately for Jintu, Razendi has some very discerning tastes of her own. Her clan is the most prosperous noble house in the Jaezian Empire and oversees the region between the desert and the Daraguna River that separates the Empire from Zizumbir.

Kentu is the second son of the Emperor. He is the smartest of his brothers but also the least sociable. His tutors could never entertain his precocious intelligence for long, but the other adults were too concerned with Rantu to pay him much attention. He took out his frustration on Jintu, finding particular delight in hiding spiders and scorpions in his bed. Kentu can read most books in a matter of minutes and retain the information therein with photographic memory. 

Rantu is the eldest son of the Emperor and was once the heir merely for being the only one of his brothers old enough to be considered for the role. Fell from his father's favor by trysting with the maids, a scandal hidden from even his own brothers. A natural socialite but prone to drunkenness, Rantu would love nothing more than to care for a vineyard someplace far, far away.

Khatilo Khotzu is the High General of Jaez, overseeing the entire Imperial Army. Originally a refugee from Kharnya in the north, Khatilo has spent his full adult life fighting for the Emperor. He was selected for his role specifically for his experience in dealing with Kizarasunga, having gone head-to-head with her for years as he guarded supply lines from her raiding parties. His wife ran away with a much more cheerful man, leaving Khatilo with nothing but his single cherished son.