"May I call you... "mind slave?""
Strengths: Getting Paid, Shrewd Dealing, Knowing Things, Pulling G Strings
Weaknesses: Bad Reputation, Underestimating Opponents, Acting Like A Bastard, Opposed by all Thinkamancers
Charlie is the Ruler of Charlescomm, a Side in Erfworld. Charlie is not Royal, so he is an Overlord. The following is known from the decrypted Archons: Charlescomm is the only city possessed by Charlie's side and is level 5; Charlie pops only Archons, of which he had just over 600 at the time of TBfGK; the only other units who are permanently on his side are golems, of which there were about 700 at the time of TBfGK; Charlie often hires casters from the Magic Kingdom for specific jobs, though he does not pop them.
He was once known as the wizard and ruler of el-Efbaum, the strongest side of its time. For a long time, el-Efbaum had been at war with two sides named Easteros and Westeregg. In spite of the enemy sides' enormous advantage in the form of the Arkentools, Charlie managed to hold them in a stalemate for a very long time. Olive Branch, his daughter, was a Florist, and her Flower Power was a crucial part of his strategy.
An expanding side named Haffaton eventually came into conflict with these two enemy sides as well. Seeing an opportunity, Charlie created an alliance with Haffaton and pooled their casters to produce the Summon Perfect Warlord Spell. The spell was a success and croaked the ruler of Easteros outright. The warlord the spell summoned, Judy Gale, managed to croak the ruler of Westeregg as well.
As per Charlie's agreement with Haffaton, el-Efbaum received the Arkendish and Haffaton received the Arkenshoes from the defeated sides. He used the Arkendish to perform caster links with his daughter, Olive Branch. This opened Olive's mind into new insights, expanding her Flower Power to emulate other disciplines. She stumbled upon ways to use Flower Power as a form of mind control. At some point, Olive also linked up with Maxwell and Tina, and produced what came to be known as heroine buds.
Attuning to the Arkendish changed Charlie. Time and time again, Charlie had managed to hold off the two enemy sides, but now, he had lost the will to fight. Irritated at this pacifist attitude, Olive Branch tried to influence him with her Flower Power, including the heroine buds. When this mostly failed, she tried to poison him instead. Charlie cheated death thanks to Carnymancy, but at a terrible price.
Fleeing to Haffaton, Olive Branch used Lex Doothis, who was under the sway of her Flower Power, to attack el-Efbaum. Several archons from a far off side carried him off, and Judy Gale let him go because she appreciated his charm. He would continue on to found Charlescomm. Charlie remained addicted to the heroine buds, but found a way to survive it.
He apparently never leaves the main tower of Charlescomm, where he lives with a personal guard of Archons who are rarely seen by any of Charlescomm's normal soldiers. All communication with Archons or clients is done through the Arkendish, where Charlie only manifests as a "calm male voice" sometimes accompanied with "a slowly changing pattern of soothing colors." Erf-b1.5-p041 All existing Charlescomm units have popped during Charlie's rule, and none of them know where Charlie came from beforehand or where he acquired the Arkendish from. Charlie does not permit questions about himself, from either his units or clients. summer-updates-–-046 When events beyond his control lead to such information leaking, Charlie is willing to make very good offers for their silence, though he enforces the bargain with a nearly unbreakable spell to prevent them from speaking the information.
The Archons in Charlie's employ have to follow a set of rules. They are somewhat reminiscent of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition though, given Rule #3, not quite as extreme. The comparison is loose, at best, and there has been no in comic comparison by Parson yet. It is possible that there is a combination of the Rules of Acquisition and the natural tendency of Carnymancy to 'rig the game' to rig the 'game' of war in Erfworld to sow additional conflict which Charlie can be hired to solve. The following rules are known:
- Charlie's Rule #3: We are in the business of solving problems for our clients. Corollary: Creating problems for our clients creates business.
- Charlie's Rule #9: If they swing, make 'em miss. If they flee, make 'em run somewhere worse. But if they just stand there, pull the rug out from under 'em.
- Charlie's Rule #15: Some things are more important than money. Corollary: Most things are not more important than money.
- Charlie's Rule #17: Don't bet on the lame runner, unless you know you can shoot the healthy one. Corollary: Betting on the healthy runner and shooting the lame one is the better bet.
- Charlie's Rule #19: Charlie's rules need to be bent sometimes. (Presumed Corollary: Most of the time Charlie's rules do not need to be bent. Alternate corollary: Other rules need to be bent most of the time.)
The Magic Kingdom
Charlie maintains an excellent reputation as an employer with most of the inhabitants of The Magic Kingdom.summer-updates-–-046 It is not widely known in the Magic Kingdom that Charlie is a Carnymancer. Several Carnymancers who are currently working for Charlie against Parson may be aware of this.
However, the Thinkamancers of the Magic Kingdom , led by The Great Minds that Think Alike, oppose Charlie. Isaac's research into the relationship between Thinkamancy and the related disciplines of Lookamancy and Foolamancy suggests that Charlie's attunement to the Arkendish has very disturbing implications. Because of this, the Thinkamancers helped create the Summon Perfect Warlord Spell used to summon Parson as part of their plan to eliminate Charlie.
Wanda's attunement to the Arkenpliers poses a very serious threat to Charlie's existence. As long as War is simply a matter of different sides competing for economic resources, then most Royals will not hesitate to hire a non-royal Mercenary like Charlie, if it seems profitable to do so. But by allowing Ansom to spread the idea that there is an inherent ideological conflict between Royals and Units attuned to the Arkentools, Wanda damaged Charlie's ability to persuade Royals to hire him.
Charlie's primary objective at the Assault on Jetstone was to have Wanda croaked, in order to discredit Toolism. But Jillian's revelation that Wanda does not hate Charlie and would probably even be willing to work for him could dramatically change Charlie's relationship with Wanda.
The two initially seem to like each other, despite being adversarial. It is likely that the two enjoy having an intellectual equal. On Parson's side, Charlie is independent and one of the only characters who always seems to understand what Parson is saying, whether real world references or leetspeak is used. On Charlie's side, although Parson holds duty to Gobwin Knob, he is not bogged down by any of the prejudices Erfworlders generally have and has an out of the box method of thinking that Charlie can appreciate.
That said, however, considering the potential damage that Parson could do to him, having an intellectual equal is a "pleasure" which Charlie would forgo if he could. Charlie has informed Jillian that he's very concerned that his secrets have been compromised. The most damaging of the secrets about Charlie which Parson has learned so far would probably include:
1: One of Charlie's Rules instructs his Archons to make trouble for their own clients, in order to create new employment opportunities.
2: Charlie has no Warlords or Casters (or at least, none that the Archons know about).
3: Charlie never leaves the central tower of his city, which means potential assassins don't need to search the rest of the city to find him.
Fortunately for Charlie, Parson has yet to learn one of Charlie's most dangerous secrets; He is addicted to heroine buds and has been forced to use magical means to survive.
Charlie will certainly wonder how Parson could have survived the volcano. If he discovers that Parson entered the Magic Kingdom, he may suspect that Parson is a caster. Charlie appears to have discovered this by the time he briefs Tramennis in LIAB 43. He does not yet know Parson's discipline, suggesting to Tramennis that Parson is a Mathamancer, but he also confirmed to Parson himself that he can use scrolls.
By the Siege of Spacerock, it is revealed that Charlie is terrified of Parson. As the inventor of the very Summon Perfect Warlord Spell that summoned Parson in the first place, he is one of the few people capable of truly appreciating just how dangerous Parson actually is. There is a prophecy suggesting that Parson is Fated to defeat Charlie, and Charlie is thus determined to get Parson out of Erfworld by any means. Charlie arranges for Jojo to give Parson a scroll so that Parson can leave Erfworld peacefully but is ready to kill Parson if Parson refuses to leave. But as a last resort, he is willing to spend hundreds of millions of schmuckers and even to destroy his relationship with the Magic Kingdom if necessary to capture or croak him.
Charlie, initially, did not work against Parson directly, instead striking against Gobwin Knob's interests via proxies, such as Faq, Haggar, and Jetstone, likely to avoid the cataclysmic damage Parson could unleash if things escalate too much. He eventually reveals himself to Parson at the Siege of Spacerock, taunting him and telling Parson to "GTFO" (use the Dismiss Perfect Warlord scroll Jojo gave him to leave Erfworld) or "DIAF" (die in a fire--specifically, the inferno consuming Spacerock)
After this incident, Parson feels similarly about Charlie and has allied with the Great Minds with the explicit goal of killing him.
Charlie and Jillian are both mercenaries, and they both tend to honor the letter of their contracts, while breaking the spirit of said contracts when it is in their interest to do so. One of Charlie's Rules reminds his Archons that by making trouble for their clients, they also make more business for Charlie.
As a former mercenary, Jillian probably understands Charlie's mercenary mindset better than any other Royal, which may be why she doesn't assume that Charlie and Stanley would become allies based on a common anti-Royal ideology. As a former Barbarian, she is also much more willing to take calculated risks than most other Royals, and so is willing to risk dealing with Charlie. She's confident enough to believe she has a good chance of benefiting from the association.
Jillian has long resented Charlie as her greatest competitor for mercenary contracts. At one time, she regarded Charlie as evil, especially because he had been trying to tempt her into signing a contract with the heroine buds. Jillian eventually agreed to sign the contract in exchange for saving Wanda. Charlie then violated the spirit, though probably not the letter, of their contract by destroying the section of Jillian's personality that manifested itself as the Jester. Charlie also erased most of what Jillian knew about him, including the fact that he had altered her personality. If Jillian ever learns what Charlie did, it is likely that she will become his implacable enemy. Jillian may have fought against Archons on occasion, before the Battle of Gobwin Knob, and may have sometimes fought alongside them, if her clients ever hired both her and Charlie. Given their sides' extremely different approaches to mercenary work (Charlie is very well known and works hard to further his reputation; Faq had a history of being veiled and took steps to have no local reputation at all), it is unclear how often they competed for the same contracts or were hired by opposing clients. However, Jillian worked far afield when Faq was still standing (to protect the side's anonymity), and Charlie deals with sides both near and distant, so the two of them are probably the most "worldly" participants in the conflict with Gobwin Knob, at least among non-Casters.
After the destruction of the first Royal Crown Coalition and the recreation of Faq, Charlie contacted her and they agreed to a deal. While we don't know its exact wording, it seems that he agreed to aid Jillian in return for her help in dealing with the threat posed by Wanda. Because all of the other members of the Royal Crown Coalition II refused to deal with him, Charlie needed Jillian badly. He helped build up Faq's power, presumably so as to be able to influence the decisions of the RCC II and create a viable proxy to attack Gobwin Knob, since he doesn't dare move against Parson directly. Fortunately, Jillian is willing to try Charlie's unconventional ideas, such as persuading the Western Giants to switch their loyalties from Jitterati to Faq. Charlie probably knows that Faq obtained much of its income from doing mercenary work, and may be concerned that it could eventually become a competitor once again, but given the magnitude of the crisis he faces, that possibility is likely to be of comparatively small importance.
Jillian never came to trust Charlie, but did talk to him often enough to make taking his calls habitual.
Charlie expected Jillian to croak Wanda, but Jillian tried instead to persuade Wanda to break with Stanley and join her. While having Jillian and Wanda join forces would not have been what Charlie or Don King had in mind when they decided to help Jillian, Jillian could argue that recruiting Wanda would have made Wanda less of a threat to Charlie, and would have done a great deal to weaken Gobwin Knob, which were the main goals they had in mind when they decided to help her.
Since Wanda refused to change sides, Jillian had Vanna end Gobwin Knob's turn. Though unwilling to croak Wanda herself, Jillian believed that Wanda's doom had been sufficiently insured to in itself fulfill the terms of her agreement with Charlie and end the threat Wanda poses. At this point, she decided to perform acts that would strengthen Faq at Gobwin Knob's expense, such as capturing Ansom and sacking some of Gobwin Knob's cities, while avoiding those acts that would weaken Faq, such as launching a frontal attack against Wanda's superior forces.
Jillian's sudden decision to change their agreed upon plan at Jetstone and not attack Wanda placed some stress on Jillian's alliance with Charlie. Charlie did not think that Jillian had ended the threat posed by Wanda, because he, unlike Jillian, knows that Parson has the ability to find a way that Wanda can escape the trap Jillian placed her in. He pretended to consider Jillian's revelation that Wanda does not hate Charlie and would probably be willing to work for him, but in actuality, he tried to have Ansom croaked out of anger at her failure to croak Wanda personally. Alternatively he tried to croak Ansom so to remove Jillian's main goal of fixing her lover - in such situation that even angry at Charlie, Jillian would return to the battlefield to help her allies. Either way, as a result, Jillian wants nothing to do with a scheming manipulator like Charlie, while Charlie for his part has concluded that Jillian is too unreliable to work with. Charlie has told her to do as she likes, since she is now on her own.
Nevertheless, he will take any opportunities she offers to antagonize Gobwin Knob. He also considers it very important that she is kept out of Gobwin Knob's hands, which might have to do with her Fate.
Charlie sees Tramennis as someone he could potentially work with. He gave Tramennis most of the information he has on Parson for free, and offered a sufficiently large reward for croaking or capturing the Archons who were decrypted to allow Tramennis to become Jetstone's heir. By doing this he changed the objective of the battle to the recovery of a decrypted archon (benefitting him) as a means to allowing the side to survive in a form that he would find most useful as an ally. Tramennis later expresses distrust of Charlie, who ends up spending a calculation for the sake of a report to Tramennis that he hopes will convince Tramennis to continue the alliance.
The Arkendish gives him unmatched abilities in ThinkamancyErf-b1-p088, but the extent of these abilities is not described. It may explain his ability to hack into the supposedly secure Eyebooks.Erf-b1-p100 It may also explain his understanding of Parson's Real World leetspeak chat lingo in Eyebook messages, if its power extends to reading surface thoughts at long range, or through the Eyebook which already provides that function, though his largely unknown background from before his possession of the Arkendish might hold that explanation. If the Arkendish can intercept messages sent by other Thinkamancers, it would explain how he learned that Queen Jillian had rebuilt Faq.
It is possible that Charlie is actually from Parson's World. This would also explain his understanding of Parson's references. It would also explain his "playing style": a power-player with cheat codes (the Arkendish) creating an unbalanced side (Charlescomm, with no farms or mines or regular troops) and a highly-specialized unbalanced unit-class (the Archons).
Charlie was once known as the Wizard of Efbaum, known as the most powerful side of it's time, before it was conquered by Haffaton. Judy, the Overlady of Haffaton, indicates she is originally from our Earth (specifically Kansas). The numerous parallels to the story of the Wizard of Oz support the theory that Charlie also originates our world, much like the wizard in the story. This is further supported by the fact that he eventually equips a number of his Archons with M16 firearms for the upcoming war with Gobwin Knob.
Charlie is not a loyal person as the term is normally used, and is content to play just about all Sides so that he ends up maximizing his Side's gain during a negotiation. He claims to Parson that he will not break alliances outright, nor will he abandon an Alliance that has ended a contract, so as to protect his reputation. However, on at least one occasion, he has done exactly that, working for 3 different factions, all at war with one another, and downright betraying one of them, all at the same time. He has also been known to make his services prohibitively expensive, in order to avoid the appearance that he is contracting with the Side opposing a previous employer in a conflict. This is inconsistent with normal mercenary behavior, and may help explain the confusion other Erfworlders have concerning his reliability.
Charlie provides his employees with significant freedom in providing their services to clients. Employees are permitted to provide freebies or not, at their own discretion.
Charlie seems to be pretty good at remembering his underlings' names, as opposed to Stanley, at least when remembering his archons' names.
After the Battle of Gobwin Knob, most of the members of the Royal Crown Coalition believe he is working with Stanley and refuse to deal with him. However, he has managed to form a tentative alliance with Queen Jillian.
Parson suspects that Charlie is directly behind the gobwins being missing from Gobwin Knob. This might be a form of psychological subterfuge to undermine Parson's role in GK's affairs, as Charlie and Parson are intellectual adversaries, while Ansom, the then chief warlord was more of a nuisance. Given Stanley the Tool's responses, this seems the most likely explanation.
If there are any male Archons in Charlie's service, then one of them may be named Bosley.
Though Charlie is universally referred to by male pronouns, it may be that "he" is in fact female. In Book 2 Text Update 18, the video Thinkagram shown to Prince Sammy flickers to a "ghostly female face" before settling on the city of Haggar. Since Charlie communicates directly via the Arkendish and not through a Thinkamancer unit, there should be no one else in the Thinkagram circuit, so it is plausible that this female face belonged to Charlie. (Hiding even gender, as a detail of personal identity, would be very much in character for Charlie.) Alternatively, it could have just been the Archon spying on Haggar's capital — Charlie called the Archon (causing her face to appear briefly for the outgoing thinkagram) and asked her to open a thinkagram to him so that he could relay what she was seeing to Prince Sammy "live". [This doesn't rule out Charlie being female of course but this particular piece of evidence is not very strong.]
Charlie may have spies in the Magic Kingdom. The dossier on Parson that Charlie gave to Prince Tramennis spoke of Parson entering the Magic Kingdom. The only way he could have acquired this information is if someone in the Magic Kingdom told him. (That same briefing spoke of Parson as being a Mathamancer, making no mention of Parson's Bracer. It's possible that Charlie still has plans to steal the Bracer for himself, or simply doesn't want Tramennis or his side knowing about the bracer.)
Wanda's creation was said to have created an enormous Fate debt, which required payment to maintain equilibrium. Charlie is very old by Erfworld standards, the world's strongest Carnymancer, and said to have paid a terrible price to preserve his life after Olive tried to poison him. It may well be that Charlie's life hinges on an astronomically high Fate debt, and the unusual strategy of his side is to avoid giving Fate any conventional opportunities to recollect it. If this is the case, then that might mean that the increasingly cataclysmic War of the Arkentools is partially the result of Fate being thrown completely out of balance by Charlie's debt and resorting to radical means to end him.
Real World References
Charlie and Charlie's Archons are references to a television series Charlie's Angels featuring 3 young women working as private investigators for their boss, Charlie, whose face is never seen on screen. If this homage continues, we will never see Charlie's face, though we may catch sight of extremities or a silhouette.
The Archon Rules of Behaviour established by Charlie are reminiscent of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition.
When Parson first contacts Charlie via ThinkamancyErf-b1-p088, the mental picture in Parson's head (red jumpsuit, black background) is a duplicate of the "telepathy" used in the television series Mork & Mindy, when Mork is conversing with his superior, Orson.
In that same episode, Parson sarcastically compares Charlie to Charlie the Tuna.
His original title, the Wizard of Efbaum, is a reference to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The fact that he is a Carnymancer is a reference to how The Wizard of Oz was a circus performer and con man.
Charlie's appearance in LIAB Epilogue 24 may be a reference to the Wizard of Oz as he appeared in the 1939 film, or to Charles de Gaulle, the Free French general and future president of France as he appeared during WWII.
|Ruler of el-Efbaum||Succeeded by:|
None, Side destroyed
Unknown, may have founded the Side
|Ruler of Charlescomm||Succeeded by:|