Lord Alfred and Lady Penelope de Alicorn
Celeste's adoptive parents; once respected nobility, they are now fugitives alongside their daughter
A well-presented middle-aged couple who carry themselves with an air of nobility, though their faces are careworn
Alfred and Penelope both came from prestigious bloodlines without the wealth to match. After their marriage and the arrival of Celeste into their lives, Alfred soon realised that he couldn't afford to maintain the family estate in the wealth-drenched Old Quarter. He conceived of a plan to reinvigorate the family's fortunes by investing in a novice Delver who showed great promise. Initially things went very well: the Delver made many lucrative runs and Alfred duly received his cut. But then disaster struck. The Delver claimed he had discovered the location of a mother-lode of ancient artifice, and asked Alfred for a vast sum to finance an expedition to retrieve it. Alfred complied, placing the family in great debt. The Delver disappeared shortly thereafter. To this day, Alfred is uncertain whether the Delver stole the money, whether his team was killed in the Delve, or something else entirely.
Alfred and Penelope were paupered. They were forced to sell the estate and most of their possessions, and move to a dingy apartment in the Warrens, where Alfred worked as a clerk for several small businesses, while Penelope spent her time helping out at the orphanage. There they remained for over a decade.
Alfred is a broken man, as he feels he has failed his wife, his daughter and his entire bloodline. Penelope has reconciled herself fairly well to their change in circumstances; she enjoys the fulfilment of helping needy children, but despairs of the ever-present threat of violence to herself and her family. They remain devoted parents to Celeste, and are in a state of permanent anxiety about her safety as a pretty noble girl living in the slums. Their fears might have been alleviated if they knew of her channelling capabilities, but Celeste initially elected not to tell them, as they had both expressed quite emphatically their disapproval of witches and malefactors.
As the Slum Witches engaged in ever more risky and high-profile endeavours, particularly their participation in the local gladiatorial games, Penelope started to hear rumours of her daughter being more than she seemed. Rather than try to reconcile these rumours with other obvious clues – she had been told of Cat's and Dain's powers by Sister Prudence – she remained in a state of denial.
Then the sinister Inquisitor Tobias forced Celeste's hand. Tobias, who understood that Celeste had been keeping her powers secret from her parents, made a thinly veiled threat to her in front of her mother that Alfred and Penelope would become targets of the templars unless she handed herself into their custody. Instead, hoping for the best, Celeste revealed her secret to her parents.
Despite their previous professed disapproval of witches, their daughter's uncharacteristically emotional and heartfelt plea moved them greatly. Alfred declared his unswerving love and loyalty to Celeste on the spot, while a considerably more apprehensive and ambivalent Penelope soon followed her heart and did the same.
For better or worse, Lord Alfred and Lady Penelope de Alicorn have tied themselves to the fates of Celeste and her friends, wherever that journey may take them.