Ian Johns is the founder of the postal system in the land of Liberty. Twice widowed, he has three sons, all half-brothers, and the boys don’t get along. In order to help them bond, Ian plans a tour of the countryside in the hopes that travel will bring his sons closer together. Somehow, the plan is twisted around, and the trip becomes a race.
■ There’s magic in the Johns bloodline, traced back to Ian’s great-grandfather, who is said to have married a woodland fairy. Ian is a Changer who can take the form of a golden eagle. His father could take the form of a lion. His grandfather, a griffin.
■ Ian John’s home is quirky house with lots of turrets and chimneys called the Eyrie (pronounced EYE-ree), which is another name for an eagle’s nest.
■ Amber eyes are a Johns family trait. Ian, Ewan, Jovan, and Ganix all have eyes of this same light, honey-brown color.
■ Ian has silver hair now, but when he was younger, it was the same golden brown as Ewan’s. People say Ewan is the spitting image of his father.
■ Each of Ian’s sons have inherited a part of their father’s personality. He’s protective of his men, a trait Ewan shares. Ian is thoughtful in small, unspoken ways, and so is Zane. And Ian is as cheerful and outgoing as Ganix, who also makes friends easily.
Laurel Johns is Ian’s third wife. She’s sweet and petite, gentle and generous … and much stronger than she looks. Her life took an unexpected turn when Ian’s family hired her to cook, clean, and look after Zane, who was just a tiny baby when his mother died. Neither Ian or Laurel expected to fall in love, but that’s another story. : )
■ Laurel loves the color blue.
■ Uncle Vanek hired Laurel to work the Eyrie because Ian needed someone to look after baby Zane.
■ When Laurel saw Ian Johns for the first time, he was in eagle form. She thought he was a bird … not her boss.
■ Even though her marriage to Ian made her the lady of a fine house, Laurel insists on doing all the cooking for her husband and sons.
■ Ganix inherited his mother’s curly hair and freckles.
Vanek Johns became Ian’s partner in establishing the postal system that serves Liberty’s people. He’s very wise when it comes to helping young ones grow up.
■ Like most of the Johns’ family members, Vanek has amber eyes. His golden-brown hair has turned gray.
■ Vanek’s wife is named Odessa. Their children all live in various parts of the western colonies.
■ Uncle Vanek did a lot of traveling in his youth, when he worked as a Ranger. (They’re a little like knights and act as Liberty’s police officers.) Vanek has good connections with people in many cities and colonies that help keep the postal company running smoothly.
■ Family ties: He’s Ian’s father’s brother (that makes him Ian’s uncle), and he’s Jovan’s grandfather.
■ He’s also a Changer and can take on the form of a bear
Ewan Johns is a slow and steady young man—law-abiding, honorable, polite, and really rather shy. He works as a bookkeeper in his father’s company and is called boring by his youngest brother. Ewan has artistic talent and dreams of being a mapmaker one day.
■ Ewan inherited his father’s looks—tall and slender with a beaky nose. He also has the Johns family eyes and hair.
■ His mother’s name was Frederica, and Ewan is like her in ways that you can’t see, like his shyness and artistic talent. The silk lining in Ewan’s cloak is purple because it was his mother’s favorite color.
■ There’s magic in his blood. He’s a Changer who can take the form of an elk.
■ Ewan never goes anywhere without his journal, which is filled with both words and sketches. He often adds drawings to the postcards he sends home.
■ Carving is one of Ewan’s hobbies. He used his skills to make gifts for his family. Ian, Zane, Jovan, and Ganix all carry seals carved from elk horn.
Tamaqua & Juniata are sisters, aged seven and four. In Ewan’s first solo adventure (Book #2), he discovers these stowaways aboard his train. The girls appear to have been abandoned, and they quickly become attached to their rescuer. When Ewan resumes his journey, he brings them along.
■ Tamaqua is the big sister—protective, bossy, and quite sure that Ewan belongs to her and Juniata.
■ The girls refer to their protector as “Mister Ewan.”
■ Each of the girls has a bracelet. They’re made from beads snipped from the worn-out shoes they were wearing when Ewan first found them.
■ Juniata likes hugs and being held. She’s a cuddler.
Zane Johns is the family rebel with a hot temper, a love for excitement, and a surprisingly noble ancestry (on his mother’s side). Zane intimidates people almost as much as he avoids them. Oddly enough, he’s the only brother with a best friend.
■ His mother’s name was Christiana, and she was a princess. Her family rules over a tiny island kingdom in the north sea.
■ Like the nobles in the north, Zane has fair hair and blue eyes.
■ Because Zane hates staying indoors, his skin is darkly tanned, and his hair is sun-bleached.
■ The only obvious thing Zane inherited from his father is the magic in his blood. Zane is a Changer who can take the form of a wolf.
■ He’s a loner who avoids crowded places.
■ Zane’s idea of fun usually has some danger mixed in. He’s daring, and he loves a challenge.
■ Although he hides it very well, Zane can be thoughtful. His step-mother Laurel probably knows this better than anybody.
Jovan Johns is mild-mannered, bookish, peace-loving, and musical. Nobody understands why Jovan is best friends with Zane, but these cousins have been inseparable since childhood.
■ Jovan is Zane’s cousin. If you’re very good at figuring out the branches on a family tree, you’d discover that they’re second cousins.
■ Like all the Johns family men, Jovan is tall with golden-brown hair and amber eyes. But after years of watching and waiting, everyone gave up on Jovan showing any signs of magic.
■ He’s a real bookworm. Jovan always has a book in his pocket. When he packed for this trip, his bag was so heavy because he crammed in so many books.
■ Jovan has taken music lessons almost all his life. He plays the viola.
■ Zane may be snarly enough to scare off strangers, but Jovan is a good diplomat. He’s the one who sends updates home to Uncle Ian and Aunt Laurel at each waypoint.
■ Jovan may be the only person who can tell Zane what to do.
Brielle Trenton joins the team during Zane’s first solo adventure (Book #3). Rumors of a blacksmith who wants to head West lead him and Jovan to the Trenton Forge. Bree is confident, skilled, outspoken, and more than a match for Zane.
■ Brielle (or Bree for short) is the baby of her family. Her big, burly brothers are Logan, Newton, and Quinton.
■ Women in the land of Liberty usually wear outfits with long, full skirts, but Bree dresses like a blacksmith. Her breeches get strange looks from other women.
■ She has her own wagon, a tiny house on wheels that doubles as her workshop. Whenever she’s in a mood, Bree repaints it. Her color choices are sometimes crazy.
■ Bree owns four horses of her own. Pilgrim and Patriot usually pull the wagon. Hobo and Honey Bee are on loan to Zane and Jovan.
■ Shopping for souvenirs is Bree’s favorite hobby.
■ Like Zane, Bree has a sweet tooth. Nothing improves her mood more quickly than cookies, pastries, or candies.
Ganix Johns is a little too curious for his own good. He’s a born mischief-maker with a talent for getting into trouble. Ganix is always ready for a good time or a good meal, and everywhere he goes, he makes friends.
■ Ganix has curly hair, but it’s the same color as his father’s. He also has the Johns’ amber eyes.
■ He’s inherited magic. Ganix is a Changer who can take the form of a raccoon.
■ This youngest brother is an avid letter-writer. He enjoys staying in touch with his many friends by sending mail.
■ Ganix is know for being lucky. According to his mother, it’s because a ladybug landed on his nose the day he was born and blessed it.
Hurlock has been a slave all his life. He has a gentle nature and a tender heart. When Hurlock uses fire magic, his emotions show up in the color of the flames. For instance, we learn early on that purple fire means that he’s sad.
■ Hurlock spends his days putting on magic shows in the marketplace in order to earn coins for his owner.
■ This enslaved magician can use fire magic, which is considered both rare and useful. It’s a dynasty level talent.
■ Hurlock has dragon tattoos on both his arms, coiling from his shoulders to the back of his hands. When he creates flames, the dragons look like they’re spewing fire.
■ He’s a big fella, nearly seven feet tall. And strong!
Galena is Hurlock’s pretty young wife. She served as a lady’s maid in a wealthy household. Although she was forced into servitude at a very young age, Galena has some serious spunk. In many ways, she’s braver than her husband.
■ Galena is expecting a baby. If she and her husband can stay ahead of the Chasers until their child is born, they’ll become free citizens of Liberty.
■ She was brought as a child from Arundel, an island kingdom far to the south. Memories of her former home sometimes make her sad.
■ Her personal seal is an oyster with a pearl, hinting at the precious life she’s carrying.
■ Galena’s marriage to Hurlock was arranged by their owner.