Alyss Mainwaring was an Araluen diplomat.


Often considered beautiful, Alyss was tall and graceful[3], though she was also noted to be solemn-looking[4]. She had grey eyes[5], a straight nose[6], full mouth[6], and firm chin[6]. Her voice was low-pitched yet feminine[7], and she spoke in a quiet, level voice[4]. Alyss had straight, shoulder-length ash blonde hair[6] and fair skin[8].

Due to her calm and collected nature, she was often considered to be a natural diplomat. Lady Pauline noted that she had an air of self-confidence and poise that made her well suited to the Diplomatic Corps[4]. Occasionally, though, this bearing slipped and tension emerged, like her jealousy of Cassandra in EoNJ.

Alyss often wore her Courier uniform--a simple but elegant white gown with a bronze laurel branch pin fastening a short blue cape at the right shoulder[9].


Alyss was an orphan, having been raised in the ward in Castle Redmont. Her father had been a cavalry lieutenant who had died in the battle at Hackham Heath, and her mother succumbed to a fever weeks after giving birth[10]. Although Alyss had never known her parents, she knew others who had know them, and could tell her about them[11].

As her and Will were the originally the only two wards in their year[10], the two developed a close friendship. She was promised an apprenticeship by Lady Pauline prior to the start of the series[3].

The Ruins of Gorlan

The night before Choosing Day, Alyss comforted Will, noting that they would be stupid not to be nervous. After Will fled into the yard, Alyss attempted to follow him, but quickly gave up.

On Choosing Day, Alyss was the first to walk into the room and was immediately accepted to become a courier.

On Harvest Day, she met up with Will, Jenny, and George, as all apprentices were traditionally given the day off. Despite her usually unreadable, calm, visage, even she was eager to try one of Jenny's famed pies. When Horace Altman arrived late and started a fight with Will, she was puzzled by his irritable behavior.

At the end of the book, her relationship with Will deepened when she told him how proud she was of him, following a dinner celebrating Will's victory. She gave him a soft kiss on the lips, surprising Will, though he enjoyed it all the same.

The Burning Bridge

Alyss was sent on her first diplomatic mission as a Courier, escorted by Halt. Her mission was to send a message to Cobram Keep about the false reading of a treaty that led to the Keep's refusal to make alliance with Castle Redmont, even though it was inside the boundaries of Redmont Fief.

Upon arrival, despite being there on official business, Sir Montague kept her waiting for over an hour. Frustrated, Alyss slammed her credentials onto the desk and announced the reason for her presence. Sir Montague, however, remained belligerent, refusing to follow proper protocol and insulting both Baron Arald and Lady Pauline. When Alyss remained steadfast, he began insulting her as well.

After Alyss demanded respect, he destroyed her credentials, a crime which warranted a jail term. Fed up, Halt grabbed Montague and threw him out a window into the moat. In the end, Montague did sign an acceptance of alliance to Redmont. On the way back, Alyss gave Halt two kisses on the cheek, one for Will, and one for him.

The Sorcerer in the North

Alyss traveled to Seacliff Fief to deliver instructions to Will, directing him to the Gathering Grounds, where Halt and Crowley were waiting. While the two were talking, Will realized that John Buttle, a local thug, was eavesdropping. Alyss distracted him with her dagger, allowing Will to knock him unconscious and tie him up. Unsure of what else to do, Alyss suggested killing him, but Will instead decided to give him to the visiting Skandians as a slave.

Before Alyss left, the two shared a gentle kiss.

She later posed as Lady Gwendolyn in order to act as Will's contact in Norgate Fief. Together, the two investigated Grimsdell Forest and discussed their theories on the Night Warrior.

After Will and Orman escaped from the castle, her cover was blown when Buttle, who had escaped from the Skandian wolfship, recognized her. She was imprisoned in Castle Macindaw's tower by Sir Keren.

Keren interrogated her using a crystal that hypnotized her, attempting to find out who her and Will were and what they were planning. Although initially able to resist, she succumbed to subsequent attempts.

Will launched a rescue attempt, climbing up the tower and taking the window bars off using acid. Before they're able to complete the process, Keren arrived and Will was forced to climb down alone. Keren hypnotized Alyss again and, unable to resist, she told him what Will was doing. Although Keren sliced through the rope, Will had already climbed off. Overwhelmed, Alyss fainted, leaving Keren unable to interrogate her further. The Ranger retreated back to the forest to rethink his plan.

The Siege of Macindaw

She was able to contact Will by signaling with a lantern from her window using the Courier's Code. With help from Malcolm, he sends her a small pebble, which Malcolm claimed was stellatite. In actuality, it was just a regular river pebble. By focusing on the pebble, Alyss would be able to resist Keren's mind control.

Unsure of what else to do, she had continued to break through the bars with the acid left behind from the first escape attempt.

Later, Keren proposed to Alyss, but she immediately declined the offer and instead tried and failed to persuade Keren to stop what he was doing.

In Will's second rescue attempt, Karen compelled her to attack Will. Will was able to break the hypnosis by confessing his love to her. Shocked at finding herself posed to kill him, she fell to the floor crying. Instead of fleeing as Will ordered her to, she grabbed the vial of acid and threw it in Keren's face. Keren lost his balance and fell on the weakened bars, causing them to break and Keren to fall to his death.

At first, she couldn't remember what Will said or what had happened in the tower, but she had dreams of what happened and told Horace, who told her that they might not be dreams, but memories. She wrote to Will, confessing her feelings. Will immediately left Seacliff Fief to see her and to tell her he loves her.

Erak's Ransom

Alyss was Lady Pauline's bridesmaid during her and Halt's wedding. She was a joint bridesmaid with Jenny and wore a light-blue dress.

When the time came for the bridal dance, Alyss unsuccessfully tried to teach Will to dance, as he hadn't realized beforehand that they would have to dance. The two left the floor when Alyss spotted Svengal, who came charging through the door with news that Erak had been captured.

She stayed behind at Redmont when Will left for Arridi with Gilan, Halt, Cassandra, Horace, and the Skandians. Though slightly sad at staying behind and letting Will go off with Cassandra, she was comforted by Pauline, who pointed out that a Ranger and the future queen of Araluen could never get married, as their two stations were so far removed from one another.

The Emperor of Nihon-Ja

She, Halt, and Will were in Toscana with Selethen, overseeing a treaty being forged between Arridi and Toscana. She was startled and somewhat annoyed when Cassandra turned up, as Alyss was jealous of her relationship with Will. Alyss agreed to go with Cassandra, Halt, and Will to Nihon-Ja to help Horace and George, revealing that she can speak Nihon-Jan.

On board the ship, things became tense between the two girls, especially during their sparring sessions.

In Nihon-Ja, Alyss cut and dyed her hair as well as stained her skin in an effort to blend in more with the locals, who were somewhat hostile to foreigners.

She later traveled with Cassandra across the Great Lake in northern Nihon-Ja to enlist help the Hassanu. They traveled across by kayak, and though the atmosphere between them was often tense, they started to thaw to one another.

When the two girls met Lord Nimatsu, he told them he was unable to enlist the Hassanu to help. He explained that the forest through which the men would have to travel to get to Ran-Koshi was inhabited by a man-eating creature called the Kyofu, or the Terror. Alyss and Cassandra, seeing no other way, agreed to kill it.

After the first attempt, which used a young pig as bait, failed, Alyss concluded that it was only interested in humans. As such, the second attempted had Alyss staying on the ground with a shield, whilst Cassandra waited on a platform. Cassandra used her sling to try and kill the creature, but it took both her and Alyss together to kill it with both sling and dagger. The Kyofu was revealed to be a giant snow tiger.

Later, Cassandra and Alyss finally resolved their differences after an exasperated Cassandra explained that she was interested in Horace, not Will. Cassandra asked Alyss to be her bridesmaid at her and Horace's future wedding.

Will asked her to marry him after Horace proposed to Cassandra. Due to his clumsy delivery (stating "we should do something like that"), Alyss marched away in mock indignation. Unbeknownst to him, she was grinning widely.

The Lost Stories

Death of a Hero

Alyss was only mentioned briefly when Halt wondered what he should do with the recently-orphaned Will.

The Roamers

In Will's absence, Alyss was looking after Ebony whilst he and Halt were away on a mission. When the two came back, she told Will that Ebony was missing, presumably taken by a band of travelers called the Roamers who had been staying nearby. They quickly set out after the travelers under the guise of brother and sister.

After tracking down the Roamers, Will set out on a mission to find Ebony, accompanied by Alyss. At first unhappy with the decision, the courier soon changed his mind. She was able to infiltrate the camp by disguising herself as an old woman named Hilde. She was able to trick Petulengo and Jerome into revealing the dogs' location to her.

When Jerome was distracted by Ebony's reaction to Alyss, Demon Tooth wrestled loose from him and attacked the pair. At the last moment, Will shot Demon Tooth, who in turn killed Jerome before being shot again.

Together, the three returned to the Roamer encampment, and Will announced Jerome's and Demon Tooth's deaths. He instructed the Roamers to leave not only Redmont Fief, but Araluen as a whole. Before they leave, Alyss gave Petulengo a bloody nose as payment for his treatment of her as Hilde.

The Bridal Dance

Alyss was bridesmaid to Cassandra at her and Horace's wedding. She wore a dress, made in the Courier style, and Will noticed how beautiful she looked.

The next day, after Will foiled the Genovesan's plot to kill Cassandra, Alyss took him aside and told as he had missed dancing with her at both Pauline and Halt's wedding and now Horace and Cassandra's, he'd better be there for their wedding.

And About Time, Too...

Alyss and Will finally got married at a small ceremony surrounded by close friends.

Cassandra was the matron of honor and Horace the best man. Alyss was given away by Halt; Baron Arald preformed the ceremony, marrying the couple.

A New Beginning

Eighteen months prior to the book, Alyss was coming back from a mission when she saw an inn set on fire by Jory Ruhl. She went into the fire to save a five-year-old girl, and managed to save her by tossing her out a window into the arms of waiting guards. Tragically, the inn then collapsed, killing her. Her body was never found.

It is unknown if Alyss was killed by the actual fire, by falling objects, or by Jory Ruhl and/or his thugs. Whatever the case, she was almost certainly pinned down by one or more fallen objects, which would prevent her from escaping further harm. Another object could have crushed her head or chest, or Jory and/or his goons might have found her and knifed her. Or, as Jory personally assumed, she may have been burned alive.

Alyss' death sent Will into a tailspin; he hunted Jory Ruhl without success and was grim and unapproachable for a long time afterward.


  • Diplomat - as a diplomat Alyss is a natural, thus proving very talented at it. She takes after her mentor in manner and diplomacy.
  • Linguist - as a linguist Alyss is quite versatile, knowing Gallican and Nihon-Jan as well as presumably other languages.
  • Fighting - Alyss is reasonably talented as a fighter, though not exactly amazing. She carries around a dagger and is quite good at fighting with her saber, being quite coordinated with her strikes and parries. She can also use lightweight javelins and is able to defend herself in mild form of unarmed combat.
  • Disguise - Alyss is excellent at assuming disguises, first shown in the Sorcerer in the North where she becomes Lady Gwendolyn, copying her mannerisms. She demonstrates this again the Emperor of Nihon-Ja, dying her skin a darker color and coloring her hair black so that she blends in with the locals better. In the Lost Stories: The Roamers she pretends to be an old woman called Hilde who works in the Roamers camp. The disguise is so good that even Will is astonished.


Will Treaty

She and Will have been friends since childhood, and develop a deep bond, sharing their first kiss in The Ruins of Gorlan after Will defeats the Kalkara. After The Battle for Skandia the two become closer, Alyss sensing that Will needs someone by his side after the events at Castle Araluen when he gets back from Skandia.  In Erak's Ransom Alyss is upset and tense when Will travels off with Evanlyn to Arridi but Pauline points out that the two would never be able to be a couple due to their different roles in the Araluen society.  They confess that they love one another after initially being unsure where their relationship stood with regard to one another in The Siege of Macindaw and their relationship becomes more romantic.

In The Emperor of Nihon-Ja, Will proposes to her when they are travelling back to Araluen and she accepts though at first acts indignant at Will's very clumsy proposal but is really delighted. They are married in the short story And About Time, Too... in the Lost Stories.


Alyss initially was very hostile toward Evanlyn in jealousy over Will, realising that there was a special relationship between the two which she thought was romantic, it wasn't however and Cassandra was really in love with Horace.  Later, when Alyss realizes this, she starts anew with Evanlyn and apologizes for her previous behavior, this happens during course of the book: The Emperor of Nihon-Ja, and from then on the two are good friends and get along well.  Evanlyn asks Alyss to be her maid of honour at her wedding and in turn Evanlyn acts as Alyss' matron of honour at her and Will's wedding.

Horace Altman

Horace is like a brother to Alyss and both get along very well having grown up together in the ward at Castle Redmont. Alyss figures out that he is in love with Cassandra during The Emperor of Nihon-Ja and is delighted when the two become engaged and marry. In turn Horace, realised that she and Will were in love with one another during the events of books five and six but was unsure how to bring the two together. He does, albeit in a roundabout way at the end of The Siege of Macindaw by encouraging Alyss to write to Will explaining how she really feels about him. He is present at Will and Alyss's wedding with Cassandra.

Halt O'Carrick

She gets along well with Halt, being one of the few people capable of drawing a smile from the Ranger easily, and Halt looks upon her as a daughter.  They start to get along well in The Burning Bridge when Halt takes care of Alyss when she goes on a diplomatic mission.  Halt gets a little irritated at her behavious towards Cassandra and vice versa in The Emperor of Nihon-Ja and is pleased when they start to get along well.  He approves highly of her and Will's relationship and gives the bride away at her and Will's wedding in And About Time Too...  

Pauline DuLacy

The two are close having a strong master-student bond, Pauline being quite like the mother Alyss never had. Pauline often reassures and gives advice to her pupil and highly approves of her and Will's relationship. Pauline chose her at the job choosing ceremony.


  • It is said that Will and Alyss loved each other long before they started dating, but they were both too scared to admit it to one another.
  • She is apparently more beautiful than the princess Cassandra.


  1. As Alyss is 15 when Ruins of Gorlan takes place, meaning she was born in 628.
  2. Alyss is killed 18 months before A New Beginning, meaning she died in late winter of the previous year, 670.
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Ruins of Gorlan, chapter 1, page 6.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Ruins of Gorlan, chapter 3, page 21.
  5. The Ruins of Gorlan, chapter 31, page 236.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 The Sorcerer in the North, chapter 8, page 58.
  7. The Sorcerer in the North, chapter 8, page 57
  8. The Emperor of Nihon-Ja, chapter 23, page 174.
  9. The Ruins of Gorlan, chapter 12, page 89.
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Ruins of Gorlan, chapter 1, page 9.
  11. The Ruins of Gorlan, chapter 1, page 10.

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