|“||We are the Thirteen, from now until the darkness claims us.||”|
Asterin Blackbeak was an Ironteeth witch of the Blackbeak Clan and Manon Blackbeak's cousin. For a century she held the position of Second in Manon's coven, the Thirteen, and was Manon's most trusted.
Some time before the series began, Asterin joined The Thirteen.
Asterin is introduced as Manon Blackbeak's second-in-command. The Thirteen are training at the Ferian Gap with the rest of the Ironteeth witches. In reflecting on the tensions between the Ironteeth Clans in such close quarters, Manon recalls having to separate Asterin and a Yellowlegs witch when the two got into an altercation; afterward, Manon disciplined Asterin, breaking her nose in the process. Asterin wears her broken nose with pride now. Vesta and Asterin have been chatting with the other witches to gather information about Baba Yellowlegs's death but have found nothing.
Asterin, along with the rest of the Thirteen, accompanies the group of Ironteeth witches to the wyvern training pits, where she vigilantly guards Manon.
As Manon and Iskra Yellowlegs trade barbs in the mess hall, Asterin laughs, then flippantly bows her head to the Yellowlegs heir as she passes. Later that day, the Thirteen head to the Gap to fly on wyverns for the first time. Asterin is clearly undaunted and eager to fly. When Iskra arrives with her coven, Asterin quietly calls her a bitch. After the Thirteen take flight, Manon swears that she spots tears welling in Asterin's eyes. Asterin asks what to do now, and Manon replies that they should test out the wyverns.
During a meeting with her granddaughter, the Mother Blackbeak admonishes Manon to ensure that Asterin guards her closely, perhaps unaware that Manon has already stationed her Second outside the Matron's room.
Asterin chooses Narene, a sky-blue mare with strength in stealth, as her wyvern mount, to aid in Asterin's scouting duties. No one challenges Asterin for Narene out of fear of the Blackbeak Second. Petrah Blueblood approaches Manon, eliciting a soft snarl from Asterin. When Iskra shoves Manon into the pit during Titus's fight with Abraxos, Asterin screams and tackles Iskra; she is still holding her when Manon emerges from the pit. Mother Blackbeak orders Asterin to be punished for allowing Manon to "fall" into the pit and ignores her granddaughter's request to wield the whip herself, instead of delegating the task to Iskra. Through the ordeal, Asterin refuses to cry out.
Asterin sticks closely to Manon's side when her commander goes to see Abraxos in the warrens.
Manon orders Asterin to occupy the Thirteen for the day so she can train with Abraxos, whose wings are weak from lack of flight and injuries in the fighting pit. Since the Matron threatened to gut her should she let Manon out of her sight again, Asterin hesitates. Manon questions her allegiances—whether she swears fealty to Manon or is Mother Blackbeak's spy—Asterin insists that she serves Manon, who then fleetingly wonders if she truly deserves this sort of loyalty. Manon asserts that she will be Wing Leader, and Asterin smiles and says that they know. The Blackbeak heir instructs her to add tumbling to the Thirteen's training repertoire and, when she can handle Narene by herself, to take to the skies when the Yellowlegs are flying. Asterin assures her that she has already commanded the Shadows to tail the Yellowlegs in the dining hall.
After winning the War Games, Manon and the Thirteen are sent with half the Ironteeth witches to Morath to assist Duke Perrington. After four weeks in Morath, Manon and the Thirteen become suspicious of the strange goings-on and are grating against Duke Perrington’s orders. Asterin accompanies Manon to a meeting with the duke in his council room. On his order, Manon takes her Thirteen hunting for people living in areas new Morath.
When Manon follows Duke Perrington's order to choose a clan to be implanted with Valg stones, Asterin questions Manon's choices and strongly argues against it. Manon demotes Asterin to Third, and replaces her with Sorrel as Second as a result.
Asterin is the one who tells Elide Lochan that she has Ironteeth blood in her veins, as it's passed down through the mother's line. Asterin insinuates to Elide that her uncle, Lord Vernon, knows this about her. Elide attempts to steal coins from Manon, who leaves them out in the open, but Asterin catches her. This at least confirms to Asterin and Manon that Elide is not a spy for her uncle.
After Manon's discussion with Duke Perrington at the war camp, Manon tells Sorrel and Asterin to ensure there is constant surveillance of the Blackbeak witches. Asterin wants to let the Yellowlegs and Bluebloods know about the danger, but Manon tells her they can only "tug so much at the leash." Asterin continues to push Manon.
Asterin is with Manon and Sorrel when Elide reports what is happening to the Yellowlegs. The witches are horrified by what Elide has seen. Asterin attacks Manon for giving the duke the Yellowlegs witches. Manon demotes her to Fourth, making Vesta Third. Sorrel is unwillingly prepared to kill Asterin if Manon orders it. Asterin is furious that Manon won't stand up to the Matron.
The Thirteen take Kaltain Rompier, Duke Perrington, and his men to a tribe in the White Fang Mountains where Kaltain tortures them with her shadowfire. Duke Perrington then has the Thirteen slaughter the tribe.
The Thirteen are meeting when they're interrupted by a man with a Valg inside him. He attacks them with darkness and mental pain. Manon kills him while the human trapped inside, Roland Havilliard, begs for death. Manon looks on in horror at the effect that the Valg powers have on those among the Thirteen without golden eyes. Because Asterin has gold in her eyes, she is among those unaffected.
The Thirteen meet the King of Adarlan, Dorian Havilliard, and the Blackbeak Matron in Oakwald Forest. During the fight between Aelin and Manon that follows the meeting, Asterin cries out for Manon when she is almost killed. She also shoots an arrow that was meant for Aelin, but that Rowan takes for her.
When the Thirteen return to Morath, Asterin asks for a private meeting Manon and tells her a secret from eighty years ago. She fell in love with a mortal man and got pregnant. She carried the baby full-term, which is rare for witches. But the baby was stillborn. Manon’s grandmother was furious and beat her, branded her with the words “unclean,” and cast her out of Blackbeak Keep. Asterin was heartbroken, but Sorrel and Vesta helped save her life and come back stronger than ever. Asterin begs Manon to disobey her grandmother and that Thirteen understand the risks of doing so. Manon is heartbroken at Asterin’s pain and furious at her grandmother’s lies. Manon feels a thread of compulsion pulling her to Rifthold. She and Asterin head there and leave a message for Aelin. They leave a coded message written in Valg blood informing Aelin that Dorian still has some human inside of him. On the way back to Morath, Manon and Asterin feel the return of magic. Morath is in chaos at magic’s return.
Manon, Sorrel, Asterin, Vesta, Fallon, and Faline rescue Elide. The Thirteen barely escape the explosion caused by Kaltain that destroys one-third of Morath, which includes the destruction of the evidence of the Thirteen’s actions. The Thirteen drop Elide off in the Oakwald Forest and send her on way before returning to Morath. The Thirteen decide to stay at Morath until the Matron arrives and then they will decide what to do.
Asterin is with Manon and the Thirteen when they tensely greet the Blackbeak Matron and her coven at Morath. She attends the meeting with Manon, the Blackbeak Matron, and her Second when Erawan reveals himself to be Duke Perrington.
The Thirteen are sent on a mission to take control of Rifthold and bring Dorian Havilliard, now king, to Erawan if he survives. They are also ordered to destroy the glass wall Aelin Galathynius made surrounding the palace. Before leaving for Rifthold, Manon tells the Thirteen not to let anyone kill Dorian. Asterin is with Manon when she asks Ghislaine to quickly tell her a brief history of who Erawan is. She then participates in the sacking of the city.
Manon's grandmother declares the result of Manon's trial for allowing five Yellowlegs witches to die to be the death of Asterin. Asterin is taken to the dungeons where the Matron allows Iskra Yellowlegs to beat and whip her. At sunrise the witch killing ceremony starts. Manon is enraged when she sees what was done to Asterin. The Matron claims it was twelve blows, three for each dead Yellowlegs witch, but it is clear that is had been many more than that. Asterin has accepted her fate and only whispers to Manon to please bury her body at the cabin where the hunter she loved lived. She, along with the rest of the Thirteen, give Manon the gesture to honor a Witch Queen. When Manon refuses to kill her, Asterin is able to escape with the Thirteen on their wyverns while Manon fights with her grandmother.
The Thirteen arrive at the beach in Eyllwe and join in the battle against Maeve's armada. They help Rowan and the group win the battle. The Thirteen is reunited with Manon afterwards. Manon asks them if they heard the truth about her parentage and if they will still follow her. Asterin tells her that they will, and once again the Thirteen give her the gesture honoring a Witch Queen. Manon declares that they must become better than their foremothers. Manon, the Thirteen, and Dorian promise the group that they will find the third Wyrdkey and the Crochan witches to unite them to fight with Aelin.
For the past two months Manon, the Thirteen, and Dorian Havilliard have been hunting for the Crochan witches. They are currently in the White Fang Mountains. Manon is worried that Dorian might have to be the sacrifice to forge a new Lock.
The next day the group is preparing to move on when Manon is attacked by a mighty, white bear. Dorian freezes the creature with his magic and it shape-shifts into a Stygian spider. The spider is Cyrene, the spider who Manon encountered to get spidersilk for Abraxos’ wings. She tells Manon that she tracked her scent using her belongings left at Morath. She says that there are Crochan witches nearby.
Cyrene leads the group to the Crochan witches who greet them with mistrust. Glennis Crochan introduces herself as Manon’s great-grandmother. When two Yellowlegs covens attack, Manon, the Thirteen, and Dorian, help the Crochans kill them, which gains them some trust. Dorian realizes that Manon deliberately attracted the Yellowlegs to try and gain the Crochans’ trust. Manon and Dorian explain that they are there to ask the Crochans to fight against the Ironteeth witches and Erawan’s army.
Glennis tells her that only a Crochan Queen can summon them to war, and Manon has not been accepted. She says that they are on their way to Eyllwe to answer a call for aid by the southern hearths. The group and the Crochans are delayed for a week while they heal from the Yellowlegs attack. Manon and Asterin talk to Karsyn Crochan about the wyverns. Karsyn tells them that their wyverns are mates, shocking them. When Dorian is able to change the color of his eyes, Vesta and Asterin tease him mercilessly. When the group is too late arrive in Eyllwe, Asterin helps bury the dead, earring some more respect from the Crochans.
When the Thirteen and Manon go to the Ferian Gap to speak to the witches under Petrah Blueblood's command, Asterin is there. She works to sway them to their side by sharing her story about what happened to her stillborn witchling. Back at the Crochan camp, a Crochan scout reports that Terrasen has sent out a call for aid. Manon, as the Queen of the Crochans, spreads the Flame of War to call all Crochan witches to aid Terrasen in the fight against Morath.
Orynth readies for battle as the Ironteeth aerial force approaches, 1,000 strong. Fortunately, Manon arrives at the same time with the Thirteen and 5,000 Crochan witches. The surprise buys them a day. The next day during the battle, Abraxos is hurt and Manon is unable to stop the Thirteen as they sacrifice themselves by performing the Yielding in order to bring down the final witch tower before it can destroy the castle. Before she leaves, Asterin tells Manon to live. Asterin is the last to go down, and she takes the Blackbeak Matron with her.
Wild and thrill-seeking, Asterin relished the wind in her face. Her temperament is often described as the fire to Manon's ice and balanced by Sorrel Blackbeak's stone. She grinned wickedly and roared while riding her wyvern, one of her few joys. Outspoken and opinionated, she was willing to stand up to her coven leader, Manon, regardless of any repercussions, but valued Manon and her safety above all else. She was brash and fierce, with a tender side reserved for those she loved. "Her wildness and untamed fierceness wasn't born of a free heart, but of one that had known despair so complete that living brightly, living violently, was the only way to outrun it."
Asterin was described as beautifully wild with golden hair, golden-tan skin, gold-flecked black eyes, heavy breasts, and a broken nose. While over a hundred years old, she appeared to only be in her mid-twenties. Additionally, she had sharp, retractable iron nails and teeth, common to Ironteeth witches. The word "UNCLEAN" was branded across her abdomen.
Skills and Abilities
- Ironteeth physiology: As an Ironteeth witch Asterin possessed sharp, retractable iron teeth and nails.
- Immortality: Asterin was immortal as a result of her witch heritage.
- Magic: Asterin had inherent magical power that could be released in the form of the Yielding.
- Flight: Asterin was capable of flight through riding her wyvern or her ironwood broomstick.
Asterin and Manon were cousins, both descending from the Blackbeak Matron's line. Fiercely devoted to Manon, Asterin served as her Second for one hundred years, defending her against other witches and even the Blackbeak Matron herself. Following Manon's rescue of Dorian Havilliard during the plundering of Rifthold, Asterin chose to sacrifice her own life rather than expose Manon's secrets to the Clans. However, Manon's love for her and the Thirteen prompted her to fight the Blackbeak Matron so that Asterin and the others could escape. As Second, Asterin was the only one of the Thirteen with any sort of right to question Manon, and even then, it was only in very limited circumstances.
While tracking Crochans to the west of the White Fangs, Asterin attempted to fly over a storm and subsequently fell off her broom, destroying her broom and gravely injuring herself. A passing hunter witnessed her fall from the stormy sky and, over the course of several months, nursed her back to health and fell in love with her. Following her summoning to Blackbeak Keep, Asterin soon realized she was pregnant and tried to return to the Hunter but was prohibited from doing so by the Blackbeak Matron. When she gave birth to a stillborn witchling, the Matron branded Asterin and brutally beat her to near death. Ashamed, Asterin could never bring herself to return to the Hunter, despite her promise to, in fear that he would not be able to understand what had happened during her absence. In the years to follow, she witnessed him age into an old man, watching the sky as if waiting for something. When he died, Asterin searched for his body but to no avail. Even after eighty years, Asterin never stopped loving her hunter.
- Queen of Shadows
- Kingdom of Ash