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Basta was Capricorn's old knife-wielder and most loyal henchman from the Inkworld. Also he was Capricorn's ex fire-wielder.


Basta was read out of Inkheart by Mortimer Folchart, along with Dustfinger and his master, Capricorn. He, along with Cockerell and Flatnose, were the ones who raided Elinor Loredan's library and burned her most prized books in her garden. He repeatedly threatened people with his blood-ridden knife, his favorite weapon.

Basta is the one who gave Dustfinger the three scars on his face, as retribution for Dustfinger not giving Basta his wife, a woman named Roxane.[citation needed]

Basta was imprisioned by Capricorn to be killed by the Shadow, but survived and escaped to live another day.[1]

Basta killed Cloud-Dancer (in Fenoglio's house) in addition to Farid and was later stabbed and killed by Mo.[2]

After Basta's death, he returned to the Inkworld as a Night-Mare, the very same Night-Mare from Jacopo's book which was read by Orpheus. When Dustfinger faced the Night-Mare, he noticed that it retreated from his fire, just as Basta would. Dustfinger called Basta's name and the Night-Mare was destroyed.[3]



Basta is known to be extremely superstitious. He is also afraid of fire, after being burned right up to the shoulders when he burned down the house of a man who dared to refuse his daughter to Capricorn.  

He is described as ruthless and cunning. Basta is bloodthirsty and adores his knife. He is also exceedingly persistent. 

Basta was very loyal towards Capricorn and would do anything for him. The reason for this being that Capricorn took him in at a very young age and Basta therefore views him as a father figure.[citation needed]

Physical attributes[]

Basta is in his late twenties or early thirties, with a rasping voice and greasy black hair. Throughout the first novel, he is shown to be wearing a black jacket like the rest of Capricorn's men, with a white shirt underneath it. However, in the second book, he abandons the jacket for the Adderhead's silver cloak. Basta prefers to keep his arms covered due to the severe burn scars on them which he received when he was trying to burn down a house (thus his fear of fire) and therefore only wears long sleeves. He always chews peppermint leaves, after being told by a girl he fancied that he had bad breath.


Basta is devilishly good with a knife. Like all of Capricorn's men, he is skilled in the arts of killing, manipulation, and intimidation, and acts with blind loyalty toward his master. As Capricorn's ex fire-raiser he should have also been skilled in controlling fire, if it weren't for his accident and extreme fear of the flames.



Basta always carries either a small knife or a dagger. On several occasions Dustfinger swipes this from him, but he quickly replaces it with a new knife, showing his partiality toward that particular weapon. When Basta first came into the real world, he also carried a sword at his belt.



Oh, I know you, Basta. I know that you were younger than Meggie when his men picked you up, and ever since you've loved him like a father. But shall I tell you something? Capricorn despises you, all his black-clad sons, and wouldn't hesitate to set the police upon one of you if it were to his advantage.
Fenoglio, Inkheart, Ch. 30 - Talkative Pippo

According to Fenoglio, Capricorn meant a great deal to Basta, but the feeling was not mutual in return.[4]


Basta is known to have held feelings for Roxane, Dustfinger's wife, but she preferred Dustfinger to him. He took his revenge by cutting three lines onto Dustfinger's face. The scars were healed by fairies, that Dustfinger had befriended, but would remain for years as three pale scars.[citation needed]


  • Basta can only write his name, shown in Inkheart, on a dresser after kidnapping Meggie and Fenoglio. He wrote it like 'BASTA'.
  • Basta is known to keep a very tidy home. Due to this fact some readers believe that he may have OCD tendencies.
  • Basta was extremely supersitious, and afraid of fire, despite having been Capricorn's chief fire-raiser for many years.


  1. Inkheart, Ch. needing specification
  2. Inkspell, Ch. needing specification
  3. Inkdeath, Ch. needing specification
  4. Inkheart, Ch. 30 - Talkative Pippo