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Adin knew that he was the one who must fill the medallions in the belt.

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Bern the Gifter
Biographical information

Oltan (presumably)


Young, exact age unknown (deceased)



Cause of death

Serpent fang through the neck

Physical description




Hair colour


Personal information



Nanion of Fleet

Weapon of choice

Scorch club

Chronological and political information

Gifter soldier


Leader/captain of Annoltis' Gifters



First appearance

The Golden Door

Bern was the leader of Chieftain Annoltis' Gifter soldiers. Although he was in a high position already, he craved more power and liked displaying it any chance he got. He finally met his demise at the end of Midsummer Eve, when he sat on Annoltis' collapsing serpent coil throne, after Annoltis had died, and its head fall onto Bern, its fangs burrowing into the back of his neck and killing him.[1]


The Golden Door[]

Bern was sent to the town of Fleet to track down two prisoners who had escaped from Chieftain Olt's fortress with the aid of rebels. There they met Nanion in a courtyard, who demanded to know why they had returned. Bern told Nanion that the prisoners had been freed from the fortress and reminded Nanion that the blood of seven was required for the Gifting. Nanion tauntingly said that they could take the prisoners' place, claiming that the Gifters would do everything to please Olt and simply bought their lives with the lives of others. Nanion claimed that there were nobody left in Fleet who would suit Olt's evil purpose. Bern showed Nanion a note from a girl named Faene to her lover Dirk which had been found in the coat of one of the rebels who had helped free the prisoners, torn off before he had escaped too. Nanion claimed that it must be years old, however Bern pointed out that the paper was crisp and white. In the middle of the courtyard was the grave of Ethena and Juste D'Or and their daughter Faene. Bern asked how a girl who had been dead for half a year would be able to write to her lover so recently.

Seeing that the part on the gravestone about Faene was newer than the rest of the text, Bern deduced that it was a false grave. He ordered two of his Gifters to open it and they fired red beams from their scorches at the stone, pushing the slab away to reveal Faene and the girl Sonia hiding inside. The two Gifters fired yellow beams at the females, paralysing them. Nanion furiously lunged forward, but Bern was quick to draw his scorch club and paralyse Nanion. One of the Gifters told him that he should have used the blue killing beam on Nanion, but Bern said that there would be time for it after Midsummer Eve, threatening to first burn Fleet to the ground, turn its people to beggars and steal their horses horses for Chieftain Olt. Bern was very thrilled when he saw Sonia's red hair, since it was a rare sight and considered a sign of special power since the Fellan had red hair. Bern and his Gifters then left Fleet with their prisoners and headed to Oltan.

When Been had returned to Oltan and delivered the two prisoners, Olt, suspecting a traitor in his service was helping the rebels, tasked Bern with replacing every regular soldier who guarded the fortress with a Gifter while the Gifting Ceremony was taking place. Olt had devised a plan to capture the rebels. Seven Gifters brought the prisoners from the holding pit up to his chamber. Then they took the prisoner's place in the pit and Olt magically disguised them as the prisoners they had replaced. A group of Gifters with no knowledge of the plan were then ordered to guard the pit.

Bern was summoned by Olt when the chieftain had felt a presence outside his chamber. Bern assured him that there was no one outside, but Olt insisted that he had felt someone. The presence that Olt had felt was Rye, who was sitting outside the room and watching them with the help of a magic crystal that gave him the ability to see through walls and Bern had not noticed Rye because he was that he was wearing a magic hood that made him invisible.

Olt was seated on the coiled body of a dead silver sea serpent, preserved by Olt's magic. Occasionally scales dropped from the serpent throne as Olt's strength were ebbing. Not far beyond Bern and Olt the seven prisoners for the Gifting lay in line, floating above the floor, three of them male, four, two of which were Sonia and Faene, female. Bern suggested that Olt might have felt Faene and Sonia waking from their paralysis and asked if he should give them a second scorching. Olt accused Bern of being too liberal with his scorch and noted that his eagerness had damaged one of the sacrifices, a little black-haired girl with tiny crooked teeth. The girl's hair was dull and lifeless and her eyes were veined with blue. Bern was starting to show fear as he explained that they had to shoot the girl a second time because she tried to escape when they removed her from the holding pit, but Olt believed she had been too heavily scorched when they first captured her. Bern explained to Olt that she had been hiding inside a goat house, and that several scorch beams meant for the animals hit her instead. He apologised for the error and assured Olt that the men responsible would be punished.

Olt told Bern that the girl was not worth taking in the first place, calling her a miserable specimen, ill bred and undergrown and added that with her heart strained from scorching she would be of little use to him. He told Bern that if there was time he would demand a replacement, which made Bern worry, however Olt thought that the two new prisoners Bern had brought from Fleet would make up for the weakness of the girl, especially Sonia whom the chieftain noted was very strong. Olt noted that it was strange that they had not discovered her before now. Olt insisted that he could feel a presence and ordered Bern to look outside again. He obeyed Olt, then assured him that there was no one outside. Bern told Olt that he should go, noting that controlling the prisoners, while holding the disguise spell over the decoys in the holding pit was draining Olt's strength. Olt expressed that the plan must be kept secret, and Bern assured him that only themselves and the seven Gifters who had replaced the prisoners knew of it. He told Olt that the decoys did die fighting the rebels they could do without them since the decoys were his best men and they were fully armed. Satisfied Olt allowed Bern to go.

Bern quickly backed out of the chamber, keeping his head low until the iron door had shut behind him. He straightened, but he was strained and sweating from the audience with Olt. Bern hurried down to the dungeons below the fortress. He was in a gallery that overlooked the stone holding pit. The pit was ringed with blazing torches and Gifter guards lay on the floor around the pit, knocked unconscious by rebels. Bern stood hidden in shadows, smiling as he waited for the rebels to reach the bottom of the pit by ropes secured above with iron spikes. Below in the pit the Gifters magically disguised as prisoners were waiting. The figures below seemed to waver, as if seen through a mist, but the rebels did not notice it. The disguise spell was dropped the moment the rebels' feet hit the bottom of the pit, the Gifters drew their scorches and fired yellow and blue beams at the shocked rebels, including the man named Dirk. The rebels fell on the ground.

Relieved Bern leaned back against the wall of the gallery and laughed. Then a cry sounded next to him and shocked he spun around and fired blue beams from his scorch wildly towards the source of the sound, but only hit the wall. There was no one to be seen. The person to scream that been Rye, still made invisible by magic. He had followed Bern down to the dungeons. During the struggle the Gifters in the pit had managed to capture Dirk. To punish him, Olt freed the little black-haired girl and put Dirk in her place.

On Midsummer Eve Bern and his Gifters were to guard Oltan bay where the Gifting would take place. The bay was lined with a recently built metal fence beyond which stood the citizens of Oltan. A recently built wooden walkway stretched from the fortress to a square viewing platform just above the beach, then ran on, sloping more steeply, to the top of a flat-topped rock. Iron rings were hammered into the flat rock. A great bell had begun to toll, calling the citizens to the Gifting. The Gifters had lined the walkway on both sides, all the way down to the rock. The torches set around the walkway burst into life. Bern stepped out of the courtyard with his helmet under his arm, stood aside and held his head high as Olt on his sea serpent throne came gliding out of the courtyard, floating above the ground. The serpent were mottled with black where its scales had fallen off and Olt looked shrivelled and blotched like a corpse. A small child screamed in terror at the ghastly face, but Bern quickly signaled to the Gifters who began to cheer, drowning the child's scream. The crowd behind the fence followed the Gifters' example and roared, waving flags. The people behind the crowd, who were not as trusting in the chieftain, cheered too out of fear.

Bern and Olt had reached the platform. The chieftain was still seated on his throne which faced the rock, and Bern stood at his side with a dagger in his hand. Behind them seven Gifters were exited the fortress gates looking proud, each one leading a prisoner in chains. Sonia was the first in line and Faene was the second to last, and Dirk made up the rear. On the platform the prisoners were forced to kneel in a semi-circle before Olt's throne. Dirk was feebly resisting being pushed down. Olt bared his teeth and flicked a finger at Dirk whose body jerked and sank to the ground.

Bern looked over the prisoners with his dagger held. He then slashed down the dagger and the sound of the bell ended. The crowd behind the fence became silent as well. Bern addressed the citizens and welcomed them to the Gifting. Bern spoke highly of Chieftain Olt and claimed that Olt grieved that he must sacrifice young lives in order to live himself. He said that it must be done because the Chieftain protects Dorne with a circle of magic which is the only thing that keeps an ancient enemy of theirs from invading the island.

Bern drew blood from Sonia's index finger, causing the crowd to cheer. With the blood he smeared a line on Olt's forehead, while the chieftain began to mutter indistinguishable words. Bern moved onto the rest of the prisoners and took blood from each one, smearing Olt's forehead until he had gone through all seven prisoners. Each time the ritual was completed the chieftain muttered silently and kindled and sat a little more straight. When the last blood had been taken, Bern bowed low to Olt and returned to stand behind the throne. The seven Gifters dragged the prisoners down the walkway and onto the rock where they were forced again to kneel in line, while the chains that bound their ankles were looped through the iron rings on the surface rock and locked. Then the seven Gifters straightened up and gazed uneasily at the horizon. Suddenly the crowd shouted and pointed out to the sea where the sun was setting and a mass of glittering silver sea serpents had emerged from the ocean and was making their way to the shore. The Gifters lining the lower half of the walkway retreated to higher ground. The prisoners screamed in terror and the Gifters turned and ran up the walkway to the viewing platform.

The writhing mass of sea serpents were very near now. The beasts would reach the shore right after the next wave of water hit the land. The glittering silver head of a serpent burst through the churning water, twisting into the air in an explosion of spray. The serpent made a harsh hooting sound. The crowd suddenly roared when one of the prisoners, a curly-haired boy, staggered to his feet, having gotten free from his chain, and lurched from the rock and up the walkway. There was a cry from above. Olt staggered from his failing serpent throne. He ordered the Gifters to stop the boy and stun him.

Bern ran to the top of the walkway and shot the boy in the chest with a yellow beam from his scorch. The boy dropped and rolled back down the ramp to the rock. Olt ordered the seven Gifters to take the boy back and check if the rest of the prisoners were still secured. The Gifters hesitated and Olt threatened to kill them if they did not obey. Suddenly more prisoners were free and scrambled up the rock, using the walkway for cover. The only remaining prisoners were Faene and Dirk. A riot suddenly started at the section of the metal fence that was closest to the rock. People were banging on the fence and shouting defiantly at Olt. The fence bulged as the crowd tried to push through it. Another wave crashed onto the shore and drowned all sounds. Suddenly Faene was free too. She climbed over the rock to the side facing the fortress and disappeared over the edge.

Suddenly Bern witnessed the prisoners' liberator, Rye, appear out of nowhere on the rock, having removed his hood of concealment. A wave of water crashed over the rock, dragging Rye back with it. Sonia, with one leg through Faene's iron, were gripping Rye's wrist. Sonia had stayed to help Rye. She lay face-down on the rock now, gasping. She got up on her feet and pulled Rye up with her. Suddenly a sea serpent was looming above her and Rye, gaping its jaws. It looked directly at Rye, in a striking position, but did not move, repelled by something. Rye slid a wooden stick from his belt and raised it high. He held his hand up too. The serpent suddenly recoiled. Then a blue-black sea serpent rose beside the silver one. The silver serpent hissed warningly, its eyes still fixed on Rye. The blue-black serpent drew back its head and froze. Many more sea serpents of the colours green, yellow, blue and black rose before Rye and froze, as if in a trance.

The sun disappeared below the horizon. Then a howl sounded from the viewing platform as the metal fence got pushed over and fell and the crowd rushed across towards the rock. Olt staggered alone down the walkway to the rock, the seven Gifters lying on the platform behind him, their bodies twisted and burned, having paid with their lives for their cowardice. Bern alone had survived, and was crouching behind Olt's serpent throne with his scorch in hand, watching Olt stumble down on the rock. The crowd, seeing Olt with his burning eyes and outstretched, clutching hands, stopped short.

Olt ordered the sea serpents to kill Sonia, Rye and Dirk. The silver serpent looked at Olt, who had reached the paralysed body of the curly-haired boy, and who kicked it. Olt again ordered the serpents to kill them, greedily ordering that he must live. He questioned the serpents' loyalty to him, and then the silver serpent suddenly arched its body over the rock and caught Olt. The chieftain shrieked as his blood splattered down on the flat rock. The silver serpent's body flowed over the three people's heads and dived into the sea. Where Olt stood were a small scattering of silver scales.

Several fisher folk in the crowd rolled dozens of barrels of sea serpent repellant into the waters besides the rock. Cheering people rushed through the ruined section of the metal fence, but suddenly Bern yelled for them to halt and they stopped. He ordered the Gifters to draw their weapons. The Gifters higher on the walkway laughed and pointed their scorches at the crowd. Bern sat down on the serpent throne and proclaimed that with Olt dead he would be their chieftain. The crowd was silently watching the serpent throne. When Olt died the magic that preserved the dead sea serpent had died with him. Only the crowd saw that the head of the serpent were slowly and silently tilting downwards over Bern's head. As he began to speak, the arching upper body of the serpent gave way and its head plunged down over Bern, burrowing its fangs into his head and killing Bern.[1]

Physical appearance[]

Bern is described as having brown close-cropped hair and a shrewd, narrow face. He often wore a Gifter's uniform which consisted of a black helmet that conceals all but his eyes and mouth, black boots, black leggings, and a scarlet tunic embroidered in gold with Chieftain Annoltis' crest, a large "O" formed by a sea serpent swallowing its own tail. He also wears a belt that holds his scorch club.[1]


Bern was a very arrogant and proud person. He took joy in displaying the power he had been given by his master, Chieftain Annoltis. Despite this he was very fearful of his master.[1]







The Three Doors[]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Rodda, Emily. The Golden Door. Omnibus Books, an imprint of Scholastic Australia. January 1, 2011.

See also[]