Ergyfel, First Advisor to the King of Lyonesse, is also King William‘s cousin.
Ergyfel is the primary antagonist of the Jester King series. While many of his early actions happen “off-stage”, his presence is felt throughout the story and throughout the kingdom. The nobles and commoners of Nyraval call him (the) Magister, for fear of actually speaking his name. He is suspected (and rightly so) of practicing the Black Arts. He is also suspected by some of using his magic to influence, if not outright control, the king. On a larger scale, his powers and political influence are responsible for many evils in the land, from raising taxes and bandits on the kingdom’s roads, to awakening a deadly forest dragon and several assassinations. This makes Ergyfel the enemy of any in Lyonesse who protect the weak, fight for right and believe in justice. Sir Hugh and Lady Myrredith of Cyndyn Hall, stalwart allies of the people, pose serious opposition to Ergyfel, doing whatever they can to protect their king and thwart Ergyfel’s evil ambitions, but their hands are tied without proof of Ergyfel’s nefarious deeds.
Ergyfel machinations in the king’s court employ his network of spies, led by his brother Sygeon, who is a ruthless villain in his own right. Ergyfel is also an accomplished alchemist and frequently depends on potions and poisons to bolster his magic powers and eliminate his rivals. All together, Ergyfel poses a deadly threat to anyone who would dares to stand in his way of claiming King William’s throne, a position the Magister covets above all things. This includes Princess Kathryn and Prince Gaelyn, who fall victim to his murderous schemes when King William names them his heirs. When Billy appears in Castle Orgulous, he soon becomes the target of Ergyfel’s wicked interest, as Billy is (secretly) the true heir to King William’s throne. This places Billy and he on a collision course as the story advances.
By the time our story reaches The Prince (third book in the Jester King series), Ergyfel has made himself King of Lyonesse. His goal in this part of the story has shifted only slightly from wanting the throne of Lyonesse to doing whatever it takes to keep it. Throughout this book, the reader gets a much closer look at our villain, seeing a “back-stage” view of all his plans and schemes. He is much more active and opposes Billy’s quest with some very powerful spells and magically summoned creatures. This together with the power of the crown, makes him more dangerous than ever.
An interesting subplot of this story is Ergyfel’s love interest. At the beginning of this book, he has taken the Lady Maeven as his consort. He later marries her and makes her his queen. But they do not get a happily-ever-after ending.