- "No, it could not be happening. Not this! Anything but this..."
- —Rook Barkwater
Rook Barkwater was the son of Keris and Shem Barkwater, the husband of Magda Burlix, and the grandson of Twig. He was one of the Immortals, and the subject of the Rook trilogy. In the language of the banderbears, he was known as Uralowa, meaning "He Who Took The Poison Stick."
Before the Rook Trilogy
- "[Keris and Shem] had a child. A beautiful little boy. Dark, curly hair. He was about four years old when they decided to take him to see his slaughterer relatives in their village."
- —Tem Barkwater
Rook was born in the Free Glades. At the age of four, Rook left with Keris and Shem to pay a visit to his slaughterer relatives. The group was attacked by slavers on the way, and Rook's parents were killed, leaving him stranded in the Deepwoods. Rook was rescued by a banderbear, who took care of him in its nest. Varis Lodd discovered Rook in the banderbear's nest while on her first treatise voyage, and brought him back to the librarians' headquarters in Undertown. He became an under-librarian, and spent many years in the Great Storm Chamber Library. His thirst for knowledge often got him into trouble, and he was sometimes caught reading the library treatises, which were off-limits to under-librarians. An old librarian professor named Alquix Venvax took him under his wing, often getting him out of trouble and imparting within him a hunger for knowledge.
Role in The Last of the Sky Pirates
- "I've had my eye on you for some while now, Rook. Your perseverance and rigour have impressed me greatly"
- —Tallus Penitax
When the latest Announcement Ceremony came around, Rook was certain that his best friend, Felix Lodd, would be chosen as a Librarian Knight Elect. However, to his and everyone else's astonishment, Rook himself was chosen, along with Magda Burlix and Stob Lummus. A Guardian of Night named Xanth Filatine followed them as they journeyed from the Undertown sewers to the Free Glades, where he pretended to be the only surviving member of another party of librarian knights elect. Rook, Stob, Magda, and Xanth received training as Librarian Knights in the Free Glades. Rook built his own skycraft, the Stormhornet. He grew very proficient at sailing his skycraft and was said to have 'the Touch'. Roughly a year later, Rook, Knuckle, and Varis flew to the Foundry Glades to rescue a group of enslaved banderbears. Rook saved Varis's life, and took a poisoned arrow for one of the banderbears. As Rook was recovering from a violent fever brought on by the poison, Xanth's treachery was revealed, but by this point he realized how evil the Guardians of Night were, and only returned to them because he worried what the Guardians would do to him if he remained in the Free Glades.
Soon after, Rook journeyed off to write a treatise on banderbears, titled An Eyewitness Account of the Mythical Great Convocation of Banderbears. He stumbled upon their sacred convocation, and ran into his grandfather, Captain Twig. Twig mourned over the loss of his friend, Cowlquape, but Rook told him that Cowlquape was still alive, remembering this from Xanth. When Twig learned this, he and Rook stormed the Tower of Night to save Cowlquape in the Second Attack on the Tower of Night. Twig was mortally wounded and carried to Riverrise by the Caterbird, but the mission was successful and Cowlquape was rescued.
Role in Vox
Rook's skycraft was shot down over Screetown while he was on patrol. He was then attcked by a rubble ghoul and swallowed whole, but was saved by his hover worm tincture. He then met Felix Lodd, his old friend, and made their way towards the sunken palace There he found the portrait of the Verginix family. He travelled on back to Undertown by swimming across the edgewater river and his legs were swallowed by oozefish. He was then scented by woodwolves and bolted away from them, but they had already spotted him and gave chase. They chased him all the way to the central fountain and climbed down a drain. Unfortunatley for him, he fell into a goblin trap with Gilda, a young Gnokgoblin. Rook then fought the two goblin slavers and allowed Gilda to escape, but was hit over the head brutaly by a tufted goblin and knocked unconcious. He was then taken to the slave market, with a gash across his forehead and with a terrible headache from where the tufted gobling smacked his head. A shryke matron was about to buy him but proclaimed he was too expensive, then, to his dismay, he was almost bought by a guardian of night, planning to take him to Orbix Xaxis and sacrifice him to the rock demons. Finally, he was bought by Hestera Spikesap, who worked for Vox Verlix in the Palace of Statues. While there, he saved Vox's life. Cowlquape came to the Palace of Statues at Vox's request, and found Rook. Vox warned the pair of a terrible storm that was to soon take place. The Librarians concocted an elaborate plan to get their enemies out of the way and depart from Undertown. While the plans were under way, Rook discovered that Vox actually planned to cause the storm he has forecast, and Rook attempted to stop him, but unwittingly triggered the storm himself. Undertown, New Sanctaphrax, and the Great Mire Road were destroyed in the storm, but the Librarians managed to escape and set off for the Free Glades.
Role in Freeglader
The Librarians, along with the Undertowners, journeyed through the Mire, the Edgelands, and the Deepwoods to get to the Free Glades. Rook and Xanth were separated from the group in the Edgelands, and Rook was caught in a Sepia Storm, nearly falling off the Edge itself. Xanth pulled him to safety, but the Sepia Storm robbed Rook of his recent memories. He forgot about Xanth's courageous actions and noble heart, only remembering that he was a spy for the Guardians of Night, and thus unable to voice support for Xanth at a time when he was deeply mistrusted and hated. Rook's memory did not return until Cancaresse probed his mind and unlocked the forgotten events.
After Xanth's trial, Hemuel Spume and the Goblin Nations launched a massive attack on the Free Glades, attempting to enslave them all in the Foundry Glades. Rook, lacking a skycraft and emotionally incapable of building a new one, joined the Freeglade Lancers and defended the Free Glades, mounted on a faithful prowlgrin named Chinquix. After a massive battle, the Free Glades were victorious. Rook then met Tem Barkwater, his great-uncle, who told him about his relation to Captain Twig and Quint.
After the Rook Trilogy
When Rook was older, he became a commander of the Freeglade Lancers. He and Rufus Filatine attacked the Phrax Glade to stop the evil plans of Lentil Spume. The Freeglade Lancers were ultimately victorious, and the explosive devices Lentil Spume was creating inspired Xanth Filatine to invent phraxships, thus establishing the Third Age of Flight.
In the meantime, Rook and Magda were married, and they had five children. They lived happily together for many years. Eventually Magda died, and Xanth died a year later. With so many of his friends gone, Rook turned his attention to the burning question of what had become of Twig when the Caterbird took him to Riverrise. He left to try and rediscover Riverrise and find Twig, accompanied by Cancaresse. Cancaresse died at the end of the journey, and as Rook stepped into the Garden of Life, Golderayce shot him in the back with a dart. Before he lost consciousness, Rook fired a crossbow bolt in the direction of the shot, and put out one of Golderayce's eyes. As punishment, Golderayce decided to imprison Rook in the Garden of Life for eternity, just as he had imprisoned Twig.
Hundreds of years later, Nate Quarter journeyed to the Garden of Life, and found Rook and Twig in the Garden of Life, kept alive by the water from the Riverrise pool. After Rook and Twig talked to Nate and explained their life stories, a Great Storm swept over Riverrise and claimed the two of them.
Soon after this encounter, Nate and his friends journeyed to the Edge, to find that the Old Sanctaphrax rock had been blown back and was hovering over the Stone Gardens. At first, the city seemed perfectly preserved and even inhabited by ancient academics, but Nate soon discovered that, in its absence, it had actually become a breeding ground for Gloamglozers, and that the demons had only created an illusion that the city was pristine and inviting. Just when all seemed lost, Rook, along with Quint and Twig, appeared out of the Mother Storm as an echo of his youth, and the three Immortals battled the Gloamglozers. After the battle, Twig, Quint, and Rook transformed into Glisters to begin life anew.
As with all three of the Immortals, Rook possessed a courageous and brave heart, always willing to put his own life on the line to save those he cared about. Additionally, Rook always nurtured a great thirst for knowledge, a trait that made him an ideal Librarian Knight and Freeglade Lancer.