A server at the Harp & Trumpet Saloon, Alays is a foundling who grew up on the streets of Sherbourg. Her mother was a doxy who died of disease when Alays was 8 years old. Her mother claimed that Alays was sired by a sage at the University of Sherbourg but couldn't provide proof or a name. Alays believes it to be true, and eagerly absorbs tales, trivia, and stories because she dreams of becoming a scribe.
Bertrande Grusseau is perhaps the most renowned alchemist in Sherbourg and a guild officer in the Order of the Erudite. She is a stern, non-nonsense woman who is proud of her accomplishments and certain of her rights and privileges. Unlike some alchemists who view themselves as philosophers, she crafts alchemical goods for sale. She is also willing to create saltpeter (a smelly and filthy process) and is one of the leading suppliers of gunpowder to the city.
Bertrande lives in the Overlook, but her laboratory is on the outskirts of town because of the smell and the significant risk of fire and explosions. She has been a widow since her husband was killed while adventuring in the Lakelands more than twenty years ago. Of her five children, one died in childbirth, a second was lost at sea, and the other three still live in Aradie. Her eldest daughter is married to a prominent guilder, her eldest surviving son is a habitant, and her youngest son embraced the life of a voyageur. She is a bit disappointed that none of her children were capable of following in her footsteps as an alchemist.
Cienan yr Tuathal is a conundrum to most people in Sherbourg. He is not Saronnan, but hails from Garthmoor - a large island off the northwest coast of Japethe. His wealth has given him significant status in the town, but no one is sure of the source of that wealth. He calls himself a gentleman collector. He buys rare treasures and artwork from the natives and explorers, which he then sells to rich patrons in Saronne and elsewhere in Japethe. He is well mannered and well dressed at all times and can move among the upper levels of society. Yet he also has myriad ties to the rooks of Riverside and sometimes deals in dangerous or stolen goods.
Cienan lives alone in a townhouse in the Heavens. He has had relationships with a number of fine ladies since arriving in Sherbourg more than a decade ago. None of these courtships developed into anything serious, and he remains a bachelor. Cienan keeps a single maid to care for his household. He changes maids every couple of years, and those that leave his employ invariably do very well for themselves, making the position much sought after. Rumors persist that he has had liaisons with many of his maids, but all the maids deny this and there is no evidence to support the gossip.
Claude Amaury is a journeyman alchemist who works for the master alchemist Bertrande Grusseau. He is an even-tempered, patient man, who weathers the exacting demands of his master without complaint. He has a passion for his work and willingly puts in the long hours required by Bertrande. His social life is nearly nonexistent, but he finds satisfaction in his craft and does not feel that he is missing anything.
Claude is a younger son of Louis-Odet Amaury, a seigneur in Aradie and a veteran of the Nine Years' War. Without any opportunities for inheritance, Claude had to look elsewhere for his fortune. He had little fondness for the rigors of the military campaign or adventuring into the interior of Everique. Instead, he attended the University of Sherbourg, where he flourished in the practical application of experimental philosophy (another term for alchemy). He was fortunate to find a position with Bertrande and has served her for the past seven years.
A young silversmith who recently obtained the rank of Master in the Blazoners' Guild, Claudine just opened her own shop in the Overlook District and is quickly making a name for herself due to her work ethic and attention to detail. She pays off the local thieves to ensure her goods don't wander. She is unmarried. Her success has attracted several suitors, but her quick fuse and high standards tend to quickly drive them off.
Pénélope Gâteau is the latest in the long line of maids in the employ of Cienan yr Tuathal. She is a quick-witted teenager with a mischievous streak. Pénélope is the granddaughter of a voyageur and an Elakanois woman. Her father inherited the grandfather's fortune and the Elakanois' weakness for firewater. The money is all gone now, lost at the gambling tables on Iniquity Row, but the weakness to alcohol remains. Her father appears in her life from time to time to demand money. Having been raised in extreme poverty, Pénélope considers it a stroke of fantastic good fortune to have the opportunity to work for Cienan, and she is intensely loyal to the gentleman collector. Pénélope avoids drinking anything alcoholic, fearing that she might develop her father's cravings.