Deathbringer, known as Murderbasket by Wren, is an adult male NightWing and the main protagonist of Assassin. He was apprentice and son to Quickstrike, and formerly served as an assassin for the NightWings. He has since relocated to the Rainforest Kingdom and is currently in a relationship with Glory and is also her personal, self-appointed bodyguard.
Deathbringer has black scales, eyes, and wings with a glittering spray of scattered, sparkling, silver scales underneath that catch the morning light like trapped stars. He is a lot younger and smaller than Morrowseer, and only a bit larger than Starflight. He is strong and astonishingly fast. He has a rakish, cheeky grin, and is wiry and graceful in his movements, even when he is startled. He previously wore a black pouch around his neck, where he kept several silver throwing blades. He is larger and heavier than Winter and has clearly been trained to fight based on the way he stands and assesses others.
When he was a young dragonet, Deathbringer followed orders, no questions asked. Even when he was tasked to kill a MudWing prisoner, he did not ask questions, but killed him as cleanly and quickly as possible. He is thoughtful, impatient, intelligent, and trustworthy, and he was determined to follow orders no matter what. He can keep his emotions under control. He does not typically worry, and he is confident and talented. He felt guilt after killing Tempest, but ordered himself to feel otherwise. Since Quickstrike's death, he vowed that the dragons he love will come before any mission.
He was described by Glory to be an "overenthusiastic bodyguard." He looked amused rather than repentant after attacking Winter, and Glory mentioned that if Deathbringer turned out to be correct, it would make him insufferable. He is clever, and brags about it on more than one occasion, sometimes bringing it up when he flirts with Glory. He enjoys annoying the RainWing, and they seem to mutually enjoy their banter and conflicts. Despite his confidence, he acts uncomfortable around scavengers.
The Dragonet Prophecy
|The Lost Heir|
|Deathbringer was indirectly mentioned by Morrowseer, saying that they had dragons working on killing the dragonets.|
|The Hidden Kingdom|
|Deathbringer was sent to kill off a few of the original dragonets of destiny as part of Morrowseer and Queen Battlewinner's plan to promote Blister as the new queen of the SandWings. This step was necessary for the NightWings to replace the given with the false dragonets. He met Glory, who at the time was camouflaged to look like an IceWing, as she had disguised herself as one when they first met in the Ice Kingdom. He flirted with her and offered to take her on a date, showing that he really must have liked her, despite the fact that NightWings usually hated IceWings. She learned that he was there to kill the dragonets because they were "insufficient" for the prophecy. Later, when he finds Glory with Clay, Sunny, Starflight, Tsunami, and Blaze, he takes advantage of the situation and tries to assassinate Blaze so as to get him out of trouble for refusing to kill Glory. He threw several sharp silver discs at Blaze in an attempt to try and kill her. One disc landed in the SandWing's neck (however, it did not hit her main artery), while the other slashed through one of Tsunami's wings as she leaped in front of Blaze. Before he could do anything else, however, Glory sliced the sack off from around his neck and held a silver disc to his throat threateningly, while Clay tied a camel blanket around Blaze's neck to prevent the bleeding. At this point, Deathbringer promised Glory that he would let all of the dragonets escape if she allowed him to kill Blaze. His bargain, however, was interrupted as Queen Glacier approached them from the sky, and he was forced to flee before he was caught by the IceWings. Back in the Rainforest Kingdom, Deathbringer was found by Tsunami and Glory as he entered the rainforest through the tunnel from the SandWing territory as a way to stop an attempt to kidnap more RainWings. The dragonets captured him by tying him up with thick vines, as Glory insisted that they trap him but not kill him. When Glory left Clay to watch Deathbringer and make sure he did not try to escape, Glory herself was eventually captured by another NightWing, Vengeance. Deathbringer, who escaped the vines after convincing Clay to let him go because he said Glory was in danger, later helped Glory and Kinkajou break away from the NightWing prison, with the support of Clay.|
|The Dark Secret|
|Deathbringer is imprisoned for helping Glory and Clay escape and is thrown in the dungeon in the NightWing Fortress. Flame, one of the false dragonets, later questions Deathbringer of what it is like to kill without remorse, seeing that Deathbringer was an assassin. Deathbringer tells him to only kill dragons if he is going to stay fully committed to that decision. He also tells Flame to be "his own dragon" and make decisions for himself, not always from others, implying Deathbringer's own refusal to assassinate any of the dragonets of destiny, especially Glory. He also tells Flame "avoid talking to your targets, in case you find out they are beautiful, sarcastic, and fascinating. For instance." Starflight and Fatespeaker also asked Deathbringer about the queen, with which Deathbringer has little knowledge about, but he tells them where the throne room is so they could try finding her. Later, when the volcano erupts, Glory and Starflight rescue him and Splendor. According to Starflight, Glory and Deathbringer exchanged a look that said: "thank you, and a whole lot more." Even as the volcano starts erupting heavily, Glory sticks to the job of finding the right key to unlock his cage.|
|The Brightest Night|
|When Fierceteeth, Strongwings, and Preyhunter kidnaped Sunny, they talked about how Deathbringer was a traitor to the NightWings by siding with Glory. Later, when Sunny and her friends discussed how to end the war, Deathbringer acts as Glory's bodyguard, claiming that there were three assassination attempts and that he had stopped them. Glory does not believe him, claiming that they were "alleged assassination attempts," but it is clear that she trusts him more than the other NightWings, as shown how Deathbringer was told the location of the RainWing village and was allowed to wander around it freely. He and Glory were also seen comparing how many times each dragon had saved the other, and Glory said that the assassination attempts were just to make his list longer. He later claims that he is not afraid of scavengers, but they 'give him the heebie-jeebies. With their eyes and … faces.'
Deathbringer went with Glory and her friends to Burn's stronghold at the end of the book. He was also allowed to choose a few of the most trustworthy NightWings to bring along so the tribe was represented. Deathbringer was also one of the dragons who helped hold Clay down while Peril burned out the poison from his leg.In the epilogue, he was seen with the dragonets of destiny, and Sunny wondered what Glory and his dragonets would look like if they had them in the future.
The Jade Mountain Prophecy
|He was mentioned in Sunny's mind as part of the backup coming in to organize the chaos after the explosion in the History Cave and to also help guide students home. Later, when Darkstalker shows Moonwatcher his vision of the good future of Jade Mountain Academy, she sees a dragonet, Firefly, who potentially is the offspring of Deathbringer and Glory.|
|When Winter entered the NightWing village, he was intercepted and sat on by Deathbringer, who accused him of planning to assassinate Glory and stated that he is under arrest. Deathbringer claimed that Winter sounded "murder-y" and that a dangerous IceWing had been reported to be on the loose (later turned out to be Icicle), and so he kept Winter immobilized until he received further instructions. Moonwatcher, Kinkajou, and Qibli attempted to convince him to let Winter go, but with no success, until Glory arrives on the scene a bit later. Glory scolded Deathbringer for arresting the wrong IceWing-"Deathbringer, I am seriously going to fire you as my bodyguard if you can not tell the difference between a male IceWing traveling with my friends Moon and Kinkajou and a lone female IceWing out to get me"—and claimed to punish him "creatively and firmly." He later accompanied Glory and the others when they flew to the royal pavilion. Then, when Glory, Winter, and Qibli went off without Deathbringer, he was outraged, because he thought that Glory would be at risk from an assassination, despite her invisible royal guards following her, Moon, Qibli, and Winter.
Later, when the dragonets discovered Icicle on the abandoned NightWing island, Glory, Deathbringer, and other RainWings arrive at the scene, and Glory shoots a tranquilizer dart at Icicle when she is about to kill Kinkajou. When she falls asleep, Glory and the RainWings carry her off to the healers' pavilion, while Deathbringer is sent to make sure no NightWing looks for her.Then, after Moon sketched a picture of the mountain range that Scarlet was at in the dream Icicle had, the dragonets ask Deathbringer if he recognized it. Deathbringer said that it was unfamiliar to him but suggested that the Talons of Peace might know something about it. Deathbringer then directed them to the scavenger den where they contact the Talons.
|The smile Qibli gave Moonwatcher reminded Peril of the NightWing that always follows Queen Glory around, Deathbringer.|
|Talons of Power|
|Once Darkstalker arrived at the NightWing village, Deathbringer could be seen protecting Glory and defending her spot on the throne. When Turtle went to talk with Glory, he yelled "Halt!", making Glory state that she thought he sounded ridiculous which then demonstrated more affection between Glory and Deathbringer. Deathbringer and Glory both admit they like Darkstalker. Later, Fierceteeth and others were on their way to assassinate Glory, and Deathbringer said he can easily stop the assassins. Darkstalker said he sees the future and saw Deathbringer getting stabbed by a SandWing tail. Darkstalker created a prison for the RainWings and told Deathbringer and Glory to wait near the prison until the assassins arrived. Deathbringer was one of the many dragons to fall under Darkstalker's spell, although he and Glory both had a feeling that they were making the wrong decisions.|
|Darkness of Dragons|
|Deathbringer appeared in the epilogue eyeing the NightWing village suspiciously.|
|When Wren comes across him before he goes to the Ice Kingdom, she mistranslates his name to Murderbasket. Despite thinking that Wren is a dream until she stabs him, Deathbringer then flies her to Burn's stronghold so she can save Sky. She may also be the reason why he is scared of scavengers.|
|When Deathbringer was four, Quickstrike, his mother, tells him to spy on the queen while she talks to Princess Greatness in one hour. While spying, Deathbringer finds out that Quickstrike is going to the continent, and wants to bring Deathbringer with her to train in the real world. To prove his abilities, Deathbringer is challenged to kill either Slaughter or Vengeance during the night. Deathbringer quickly completes the task while Slaughter was being saved by Morrowseer. Worried that they may be stopped, Quickstrike and Deathbringer quickly set off for the continent. He has nightmares of black wings descending from the sky, talons holding a scroll that commanded his return so that he could be punished for murder.
While on their first task to kill a SeaWing commander, Commander Tempest, Quickstrike is struck by lightning and loses consciousness. Despite his best efforts, Deathbringer could not wake Quickstrike up. He kills Commander Tempest by himself. While the SeaWing army (Commander Tempest, Gill, Commander Piranha), Blister, and the MudWing army (Swamp) are gathered on the beach, Deathbringer sees her and is immediately intimidated, thinking, "Holy mother of lava, I'm supposed to kill THAT?"
Tempest asks all the dragons on the beach to lay down their weapons. The troops follow her command, but Deathbringer manages to snatch a MudWing spear. He throws it at her heart, and it hits, giving the unsuspecting Tempest mere moments to live. She utters her last words, "Well, son of a starfish," and hits the beach "like a slow avalanche."
Despite all of the panic going on, Blister is described as calm and orders her troops to search the island. During the search, Quickstrike is found and probably killed. In his sorrow, Deathbringer tells himself that he followed the orders. Then he vows, "But this will never happen again. If I ever find someone else to care about, I will not let my mission come first. I will break my order. I'll endanger my own tribe if I ever have to." From these lines, we can infer that this is the reason for Deathbringer's inability to follow Battlewinner's orders, and why he did not kill Glory or the other prophesied dragonets, as he found "someone else to care about," that dragon mostly believed to be Glory, and he did "not let his mission come first."At the end of the book, Morrowseer and Deathbringer meet. Unaware of Quickstrike's death, Morrowseer is led to believe by Deathbringer that Quickstrike sent Deathbringer alone. Morrowseer gives Deathbringer his new order to kill General Six-Claws with three month's time to complete it. The last line of the book reads: For now … let's see how creative I can get with these orders.
|After Six-Claws, who was Burn's general at the time, came back from the Ice Kingdom, he encountered a NightWing who is presumed to be Deathbringer hiding in the shadows. Deathbringer found a loophole in his orders and attempted to convince him not to be loyal to Burn and to go to the Scorpion Den instead. Although at first Deathbringer did not succeed, Burn's brutal treatment of Dune caused Six-Claws to abandon his post, fulfilling Deathbringer's mission without any loss of life.|
Similar to Sunny and Deathbringer's relationship, Clay and Deathbringer seem to be good friends. For a short amount of time while Glory was a prisoner in a NightWing lab, Deathbringer was Clay's prisoner in the rainforest. Deathbringer somehow convinced Clay to let him go and to go with him to the NightWings' island to save Glory. Although it does not show his direct feelings on the matter, Clay presumably does not object to Deathbringer loving Glory, like Sunny.
Glory is his love interest and it seems that the two return feelings for one another. Deathbringer volunteered to be her bodyguard, most likely so that he could protect her and be close to her at all times. Deathbringer is stated constantly throughout the series to care for her and finds little things to protect her from. In almost every book that he appears in, he and Glory flirt with one another between times of the books.
Despite finding Deathbringer's need to protect her sometimes exhausting, Glory seems to care for him as well, even to the point of talking to him affectionately. She does not speak very highly of him in front of other dragons—even though it is obvious that the insults they give each other are hollow, she often tries to make others assume that his status is just bodyguard to the queen. This often fails to Deathbringer's flirting; Glory also trusts Deathbringer more than the majority of the other NightWings — this can be emphasized by how she once saved Deathbringer from a dungeon in a volcano, while Deathbringer saved Glory from the NightWing prison. Deathbringer mentioned that he was half a dragon before he met Glory, and that he would be even less if he lost her after meeting her. He stated that he could not live without her.
Another reason why Deathbringer is so loving of Glory can be shown on the night Blister sent his mother to be executed. Young Deathbringer vowed that if he ever found a dragon to love and care for again, he would make sure to do everything he could to not lose that dragon like how he lost his mother. In the epilogue of The Brightest Night, Sunny wondered if Glory and Deathbringer would ever have dragonets together. A dragonet called Firefly in Moon and Darkstalker's vision in Moon Rising is the possible daughter of Deathbringer and Glory. He smiles at her like he loves her, and always follows her around.
Greatness and Deathbringer seem to be friends since she was upset to find out that he failed his mission. She also chose to spare his life. He is mentioned by Vengeance to be "her pet assassin."
Deathbringer and Kinkajou appear to be friends. When they first meet, Deathbringer rescues both Glory and Kinkajou, much to Kinkajou's relief. When talking to Qibli, she lists Deathbringer as one of the NightWings she considers trustworthy, claiming "he is usually pretty great." She seems to be mad at him when he attacks and sits on Winter. She may have forgiven him after the events of Winter Turning.
Moon and Deathbringer seem to know each other, as in Winter Turning he and Moon have a more or less friendly conversation while he is sitting on Winter, which consists of her trying to reason with him. In another part of the book, Moon suggests that they "Try Deathbringer" to see if he knows where a certain mountain is that will help them find Hailstorm.
Starflight and Deathbringer have a slightly complicated relationship. They had their first real conversation when Deathbringer was in the dungeon and Starflight was asking him questions from outside the bars. Starflight seemed to know that Deathbringer loved Glory. Starflight tried to stop Glory from going into an erupting volcano to get Deathbringer at first, as it would result in putting their lives at extreme risk—Starflight was very surprised that that was even on her agenda, let alone something she would risk entering an exploding volcano for. Despite objecting, he reluctantly went with her and assisted in his breakout. Presently, Starflight presumably does not quite think of him as a friend, but seems to respect Deathbringer's profession and also has some respect for him.
After Glory, Sunny seems to be the closest to Deathbringer. Sunny knows that Deathbringer loves Glory, but she does not object to it in any way. She even once imagined what would happen if they got married and had eggs, and whether other dragons would object to her marrying a NightWing rather than another RainWing. Sunny does not trust Deathbringer as much as Glory does, and she does not quite seem to understand why Glory trusts him so much. However, it seems as if Sunny thinks of Deathbringer as a friend. She and Clay also seem to hold almost no grudge for their attempted murder by him.
Although Deathbringer and Tsunami do not interact much, Tsunami expresses a strong distaste for Deathbringer. Out of all the dragonets of destiny, Tsunami seems to like Deathbringer the least, once openly stating to Sunny that she does not trust nor like him. Unlike the other dragonets, Tsunami does not quite seem to approve of Deathbringer's love for Glory. She does not like that Glory loves him, too, since he once specifically tried to assassinate her. Tsunami once tried to convince Glory to kill him when they captured him in the rainforest. Tsunami does not like how he helps them and follows them as if he is one of the dragonets of destiny. Presumably, she may also hold a grudge against Deathbringer because he accidentally cut her wing once when he tried to kill Blaze, although it was her who leaped forward.
Deathbringer and Winter dislike each other. Deathbringer sits on Winter when he goes to the rainforest, claiming that Winter is a threat to Queen Glory. Winter demands that Deathbringer deserved to be punished and Queen Glory says he will be. It is unknown if Deathbringer ever was, and whether Glory was joking or serious about the issue.
Deathbringer seemed to think of Wren to be a dream or illusion at first, and later seemed somewhat curious about her ability to speak Dragon. She managed to cut him in the spot between his claws two times, which amused him. He mentioned that "No one [had] managed to draw [his] blood in years … And now [she'd] done it twice." He also seemed to be somewhat embarrassed by this, offering that they should both keep the situation secret. Deathbringer from Wren's perspective in Dragonslayer is called Murderbasket, as she could not translate his name correctly.
Later in The Brightest Night when Sunny returns to her friends and told her story, Deathbringer brought up that confronting scavengers gave him a shudder. Glory teased him that "The big bad assassin terrified of itty-bitty scavengers," to which he retorted by telling her to face a sword-waving scavenger. His fear of scavengers most likely comes from Wren, who was able to cut him twice which no one had done in years.
= Possible timeline
- "It will be Ice Kingdom territory one day. […] If Blaze wins the war, that is. She's promised Queen Glacier all the land you can see from here to the southern horizon — basically where the desert starts. […] I suppose you know all that. […] But it's interesting, isn't it? That's a lot of land Blaze is willing to hand over. But not exactly useful land to either tribe, so what would Queen Glacier want with it? Do you think there's treasure under these rocks? That would be my guess. A diamond mine, perhaps. Maybe you know. Maybe all the IceWings know and are wisely keeping it a secret from Blaze and her SandWings."
- ― to Glory (The Hidden Kingdom, page 115)
- "You feel sorry for the dragonets. […] That's interesting. I've seen a lot of that around Pyrrhia, actually. Everyone expects so much of them, but they also think it's a heavy burden for five young dragons. I wonder if the dragonets would be surprised by all the sympathy for them. […] You haven't seen any sign of them here, have you? Rumor has it they were headed for the Ice Kingdom next."
- ― to Glory (The Hidden Kingdom, page 117)
- "Is that an invitation? […] I probably have a day or two before the—before my work can begin. I wouldn't mind seeing the inside of an IceWing tavern, if you'll be there."
- ― to Glory, disguised as an IceWing (The Hidden Kingdom, page 118)
- "But maybe you could come back and see me sometime. I'll be here for a few more days at least, probably, and it's pretty boring just sitting here."
- ― to Glory (The Hidden Kingdom, page 119)
- "Why, hello, everyone. […] Isn't this a coincidence? I was just talking about you all this morning. […] Mystery dragon! Hmmm. There's something different about you. Did you get your claws trimmed? […] You could have told me you were one of the dragonets. […] I'd have asked for your autograph. I see now that you're a RainWing, so … Glory, right?"
- ― to the dragonets of destiny (The Hidden Kingdom, page 146)
- "You can express your undying gratitude to me later. I'll wait."
- ― to Glory (The Hidden Kingdom, page 198)
- "I don't know, he sounds kind of murder-y, Kinkajou. And we heard there's an extra-dangerous IceWing on the loose right now. So I'm going to keep sitting on him until I get further instructions."
- ― to Kinkajou (Winter Turning, page 48)
- "Loyal to what? Do you even know why you follow her anymore? She's not a good queen. You are helping a viper and making her stronger and more poisonous. Can't you see that? If you can't, you will soon, I'm afraid."
- ― to Six-Claws (Deserter)
- "You know, I've never understood what happened to Queen [Oasis], but now I see that scavengers are tiny ferocious mean little monsters, and it all makes sense."
- ― to Wren, after she stabs him (Dragonslayer, page 312)
- "No one had managed to draw my blood in years, and now a tiny scavenger has done it twice. I have this great idea: Let's both never, ever tell anyone about this."
- ― to Wren, after she stabs him again (Dragonslayer, page 338)
- "Breathe through it. Don't get caught. Don't do anything foolish. Don't let your rage be the queen of you. Don't let him win."
- ― to himself during his first assassination attempt (Assassin)
- "Don't be seen. Don't get caught. Never let anyone know the NightWings are meddling in the war."
- ― reciting the rules to Quickstrike (Assassin)
- "But this will never happen again. If I ever find someone else to care about, I will not let my mission come first. I will break any order. I'll endanger my own tribe if I have to. I will make up for this somehow. Someday."
- ― to himself (Assassin)
- "I'll make Morrowseer tell me everything one day. For now... let's see how creative I can get with these orders."
- ― to himself (Assassin)
- Deathbringer went on his first mission, to assassinate Tempest, when he was four years old.
- A monkey once climbed and rode on Deathbringer while he was on a mission in the Kingdom of the Sea.
- In Tui's letter in the beginning of the Winglets Flip book, she mistakenly refers to Deathbringer as a RainWing assassin instead of a NightWing assassin.
- Though in Assassin Deathbringer is stated to have hatched six years before the brightest night, he is mentioned to be a dragonet in The Dark Secret and "a few years older than Winter" in Winter Turning.
- Wren mistook Deathbringer's name for Murderbasket.