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"I'm having a delightful outing."
―Desdemona, describing a day of sinking ships and burning down large portions of a town[src]

Desdemona was the name Penric kin Jurald gave to his demon (short form, Des). At the time of Penric's adventures, she was old and powerful, having had many riders. Until Penric, all of the riders had been female. In order from most recent, those riders were:

  • Penric kin Jurald
  • Ruchia - sorceress-divine of the Bastard's Order, she had been a foundling of the order, and took up spy-work rather than become a physician. She never married.
  • Helvia - physician-surgeon of the Mother’s Order in Liest. Fond of babies.
  • Amberein - physician-surgeon of the Mother’s Order in the Temple school in Saone. Married but beyond child-bearing years when she acquired Desdemona.
  • Aulia of Brajar - a good Temple-woman who spoke no Wealdean. Widowed before she acquired Desdemona.
  • Umelan - a Roknari who learned that her people would not help her deal with her new possession of a demon, instead tried to kill her. Many bad experiences led her to a hatred of men.
  • Mira of Adria - a famous courtesan from Lodi, she was the only poetess among Desdemona's group. She never married.
  • Rogaska - a serving-woman in the court of the Duke of Orbas. Never married.
  • Vasia of Patos in Cedonia. Widowed before she acquired Desdemona. She was the first to do so intentionally.
  • Litikone - a goodwife of the Cedonian northern provinces. Her husband left her soon after she acquired Desdemona. Fond of babies.
  • Sugane - a village woman from the northern mountains of Cedonia. She died from a fall, leading to Desdemona acquiring a fear of heights. Never married, she preferred women. She slew the lioness with a rusty spear.
  • a lioness
  • a wild mare