The Undying Ones:
- The images called the Undying Ones are magical images of the real Undying Ones, who are immortal spirits of the land. They are not gods, but the human claim that they are gods is how they came to be "bound".
- The One (also called Adon, Amil, Oreth, Grand Father, Adon Amil, Orethan the Unbound), is the Undying One who made the river when he was bound by magic, long ago, by a woman named Cenblith.
- The One is put in the fire every year because each year his bonds are weakened by the fire. When he turns gold, it is a sign that his bonds may be broken.
- The Young One is Tanamil (Tan Adon, Tanoreth, the Red One, the Piper), is the Undying One who made the tributary river when he was bound by Cenblith. We are told that he was even more unwilling than the One.
- The images of the One and the Young One were made long ago, when both of them were bound by Cenblith.
- The Lady is Anoreth, the River itself, who is also the mother of Tanaqui and her siblings. Against the will of her father, she married Closti the Clam
- Because of her father's displeasure, she was forbidden to speak of certain things; this is why the siblings do not know their heritage.
- She was the woman who haunted the old mill across the river from Shelling, in the days before she married Closti; the mill was forbidden by the One because of his anger at their marriage.
- Zwitt and Zara hate the siblings partly because Closti was supposed to marry Zwitt's sister.
- Anoreth had Closti make the image of the Lady to hold her soul when she died, because her soul was "forbidden to go".
The siblings all pass into legend:
- Robin briefly and unwillingly marries the King (who is killed) and then marries Tanamil. She has the gift of instinctive magical knowledge, which is probably the origin of a Dalemark tradition that a robin can answer the questions of those in need.
- Gull, whose body and soul was put into an image for safety by Tanamil, meets Tanaqui in the river of spirits; he is returned to the human world, body and soul, but not near his siblings, lest Hern's destiny be jeopardized. Tanaqui and Duck go in search of him after the book ends. He apparently becomes a great hero, known to later generations as Gann, a hero of the South.
- Hern inherits the kingdom from the two rival kings simultaneously, after they are both killed in the same battle:
- He is the legal heir of his King, who married Robin
- The King of the Heathen, Kars Adon, names Hern as his heir because of the strong affinity they have.
- Hern thus becomes the first king to rule the united peoples of Dalemark; as such, he is known to later generations as Kern Adon, the first king of Dalemark.
- Tanaqui, too, becomes a figure of legend; she goes in search of Gull, and is mostly remembered in the South, by the name Cennoreth (which may mean "river daughter" or "woman of the north") and by the title "Weaver of Spells."
- Duck becomes a legendary mage, known as "Tanamoril," which means "youngest brother." Like Tanamil, he is known as a magician and piper.
Kankredin, like the siblings, is an heir of the power of the Undying Ones. He, too, passes into legend; a tidal wave on the river Aden is called a credin.