Raised my John, a brave and kindly innkeeper (and widower) in the remote Valley of the Yew, Billy knows little of what goes on in Lyonesse (King Williams kingdom) aside from what news and rumors he overhears from guests at his father’s inn (The Valley’s Finest).
At 15, Billy is half boy and half man, but also half-human and half-faerie through his mother, Eleanor, Queen of the faerie kingdom of Tirn Aill. His fey nature generally reveals itself in his child-like, sometimes mischievous behavior and light-hearted humor. He is a kind, gentle soul and a social chameleon, with no social ambitions or biases, who quickly wins the hearts of commoners and nobles alike. Two such persons of significance are Myrredith, the Lady of Cyndyn Hall, who becomes Billy’s patron, and (Sir) Hugh, the King’s Champion, who saves Billy from a forest dragon; an act that binds their lives and fates together! By the early chapters of The Prince (3rd book in the series), it is clear that Billy’s unusually small stature is due (at least in part) to a powerful and complicated enchantment his mother cast upon him for protection (also see Eleanor’s Enchantment).
Billy is also quite quick to learn new skills, excelling at juggling, singing, and playing the lute in record time. His genuine smile and skill at entertaining makes him a welcome guest nearly everywhere he goes and eventually lands him the job of King’s Musician (to his ailing father, King William) in Castle Orgulous. Billy can be clumsy on occasion, which causes some courtiers to dub him the King’s Jester (the impetus for the first book’s title).
Billy is also the possessor and wielder of Eleanor’s Ring, a powerful and mysterious magic item. Billy inherited the ring through his surrogate father, John, who received it from two nobles (Sir Sedgemore & Lady Enaid) who were attempting to get Billy out of Lyonesse. Eleanor trusted them with Billy’s life when she sent him away (as an infant) to hide him from an assassination plot – the same plot that took her life and the lives of Billy’s two protectors.