Billy-Ray Sanguine, full name William Raymond Sanguine, is a Texan hitman who first appears in Playing With Fire and is a recurring villain, whose allegiance changes towards the end of the first series of books.
Sanguine has sandy blonde hair and no eyes, which he uses sunglasses to cover. It is never revealed how he came to lose his eyes but is mentioned that he "scooped them out" himself.
Sanguine is a hitman, he considers himself a hitman deluxe, who kills people for fun as well as for money. According to himself, Sanguine used to be a detective, giving up soon after as he kept killing his clients due to boredom. He also states that he has only solved one case, but considers it 'cheating', since he was the murderer. In the fourth book it is revealed that his father is Dreylan Scarab, who was Mevolent's best assassin before being framed for the murder of Esryn Vanguard and arrested. He also has a crush on Tanith Low and when she is possessed by a Remnant, she becomes romantically involved with him. Although she later on states that being a psychopath she is unable to reciprocate his feelings. Then at the end of The Maleficent Seven, they get engaged.
Working for Baron Vengeous
He is first seen with the Vampire, Dusk. On his orders, he tries to stop China Sorrows from getting away, when Valkyrie Cain turns up. When Valkyrie is losing the battle, Tanith Low comes along and tries to save her. It is revealed he can tunnel through the ground at his command. Sanguine starts off by joking about fighting, but ends up losing his razor to Valkyrie, and she and Tanith speed off on a motorbike.
When Valkyrie is at the church, she is kidnapped by Billy-Ray who tunnels through the ground with her. He jokes about leaving her behind while they are underground. She is taken to an altar where Baron Vengeous awaits her. The evil sorcerer cuts the palm of Valkyrie's hand with Billy-Ray's razor, and spills some of her blood into the Grotesquery's body which mingles with its blood. Skulduggery Pleasant arrives to rescue Valkyrie.
Valkyrie, when being chased by Dusk the Vampire, uses Billy-Ray's razor to cut his face. It is later revealed that scars from Billy-Ray's razor do not heal. This causes Dusk to hold a grudge against Valkyrie.
Billy-Ray is then seen meeting with a Mysterious Master who reveals that he had never expected the Grotesquery to succeed, but he knew that when it was defeated, the beast's dying scream would alert the Faceless Ones about the whereabouts of the Earth, meaning that all he has to do now is open the door. The mysterious man then pays Sanguine and takes his leave.
Return of the Diablerie
Sanguine first appears trying to abduct the TeleporterFletcher Renn. He fights Skulduggery and gets his sunglasses knocked off. Fletcher sees that he has no eyes, as well as Skulduggery being a skeleton. Fletcher then teleports away after being offered money and answers by Sanguine. Sanguine then gets his straight razor under Valkyrie's throat. She then burns him and holds the razor away from her while Skulduggery attacks Sanguine. Sanguine pushes Valkyrie into Skulduggery and sinks into the earth while saying "I really hate you guys".
He is also seen stealing the Grotesquery with Gruesome Krav. He punches Valkyrie and knocks out a tooth before being shot by Skulduggery and then leaving.
Sanguine later appears at the Battle of Aranmore Farm and gets his stomach cut open by Valkyrie using Tanith's sword. He screams "What have you done?" before disappearing into the earth. This injury later causes him pain when tunnelling and reduces the speed and distance of his ability.
The Revengers' Club
In the fourth book it is revealed that his full name is William Raymond Sanguine, and that his father is Dreylan Scarab who was Mevolent's top assassin before being framed for a murder and arrested. Scarab is released in the fourth book and he and Sanguine start a "Revengers' Club" consisting of themselves, Springheeled Jack, Dusk, Remus Crux, and Vaurien Scapegrace. Sanguine kills Scapegrace early on but Scarab brings him back to life as a Zombie to form a Zombie Horde. Sanguine steals the Soul Catcher from the Necromancers, traps a Remnant inside it and helps with kidnapping Kenspeckle Grouse. At the end of the book, Valkyrie goes to fight him alone and he tells her that he's changed his mind about killing her because "it'll be more fun to leave her alive". This is because apparently Valkyrie is going to be fighting some evil thing and Sanguine wants to watch her suffer. He then salutes Valkyrie and dives down to the ground.
The Remnant Outbreak
In the fifth book, Sanguine switches sides and helps Skulduggery and friends and, despite still being injured, travels underground at some points to save Valkyrie. This however appears to cause him great pain. He also tells Valkyrie that he has a crush on Tanith. Shortly after this when the group arrives at the location of the Receptacle, he is shot by Burgundy Dalrymple but manages to carry on. When China Sorrows is possessed, he attacks her, and steals the key to the Receptacle back off her. He is last seen at the end of the book dating the Remnant possessed Tanith, much to Valkyrie's horror.
Sanguine and the Remnant-possessed Tanith are living a life as assassins-for-hire, killing Christophe Nocturnal early in the book in an effort to retrieve a mysterious dagger and help Eliza Scorn gain strength as the leader of the Church if the Faceless. They also visit Nye in the Sanctuary so that he can fix Sanguine's injuries that limit his tunnelling abilities. While hidden in Nye's lab, Sanguine encounters Vaurien Scapegrace, currently living as a head in a jar. Later, he helps Tanith break into Strom's cell so she may dispose of him.
Sanguine is a member of the group led by Tanith Low to secure and destroy the four God-Killer weapons. It is revealed at the end of the novel that he had Sabine charge a second pair of forgeries, his reason being "there wasn't a lot of point in helping someone you love bring about the end of the world, if the end of the world meant you couldn't be with the one you love." He then stated that if the original copies could fool experts for a few days, he saw no reason why these forgeries couldn't fool Tanith while they melted for a few seconds. The book ends with him realising that having the God-Killer weapons makes him near unstoppable.
He and Tanith free Dexter Vex from his prison, and offers their services to Skulduggery and co. Sanguine is later assigned to disable the Midnight Hotel, and he succeeds in his task. Unfortunately, he is captured by the enemy, and Tanith has to come to his rescue. Once he was freed, he aids Aurora Jane to make her escape with Tanith.
The next time he appears, he gets into a scuffle with Ghastly. After Stephanie makes her appearance, he and Tanith leave the group and are not mentioned later.
Sanguine is first seen watching Darquesse in the safe house he and Tanith are currently inhabiting, wondering whether he can get away with killing Darquesse right there and then to avert the apocalypse. He decides to bide his time, as he doesn't want to face Tanith's wrath.
When Skulduggery and Stephanie discover his place in town, he gifts them three of the God-Killer weapons as a show of faith, and offers to be their man on the inside. He chose to help them as he has no desire to see the world burn, as he was looking forward to a nice long married life with Tanith.
After Darquesse removes the Remnant from Tanith, he frees Tanith so she can escape the place alive. He lies to Darquesse that he will be on her side all the way, and later reports her plan to Skulduggery and the others. He helps with the first assault on Darquesse by leaving her stuck knee-deep in the ground.
Sanguine later aid's Tanith in her attempt to take on the Black Cleaver, showing great skill while fighting with the God-Killer Dagger. Both fighters initially appear evenly matched but Sanguine slowly gains the upper hand. The Black Cleaver realising he's outmatched attempts to move towards Tanith and kill her instead. As The Black Cleaver gets within striking distance of Tanith, Sanguine leaps from a wall attempting to tackle him. Sanguine takes an elbow to the face for his efforts and ends up dropping the dagger. Tanith shouts a warning at the momentarily disorientated Sanguine and The Black Cleaver moves in for the kill, scythe swinging for neck. Sanguine, however, has one last trick up his sleeve. Ducking the killing blow he dives straight through The Black Cleavers body, ruining flesh and armour as The Black Cleavers torso is now rent asunder. Hitting the ground behind his now seemingly defeated foe Sanguine rolled to his feet, cocky and sure that he had dealt the decisive blow, finally killing The Black Cleaver. He was still grinning when The Black Cleaver's scythe opened his throat. He had forgotten that The Black Cleaver was undead and couldn't be killed via ordinary means. A mistake that ultimately proved fatal
Sanguine's passing was not in vain however as the anger Tanith felt at his death granted her the motivation to continue fighting in his stead. It allowed her to regain her footing in the fight as she eventually beats The Black Cleaver ultimately avenging them both.
After Valkyrie is buried by the surviving members of the Order of the Void in Greymire Asylum, a version of Sanguine‘s soul comes to her and tells her that the dead are her family and that they were waiting for her, and asks her what happened to the girl that was unbeatable. Sanguine gives Valkyrie confidence to come back from the dead. He tunnels her back to her home.
Powers and abilities
Sanguine's magic discipline is Adept due to his specialization on earth magic. However, he can use some general Elemental magic, though not as well. He shows no effort for his talent of sinking into the ground and travelling at high speeds. The earth seems to just open up in front of him and close behind him as he passes. In The Maleficent Seven, he describes it as having even tiny particles and specks of dust parting for him as he moves through the ground. He is immune to all known forms of magic-binding. His straight razor is also magical and anything it cuts leaves scars that never heal.
In the fourth book, his magic has been reduced drastically because of the incident where Valkyrie cut his stomach open in the third book. Solid objects still open for him, but he can't travel through as he now feels as though every time he does his "insides are on fire". However after he is shot by a man, the group give him some anaesthetic in the form of a leaf, which he chews and now uses to cope with the pain from his stomach injury. He no longer suffers from the pain after Nye re-performs the operation.
Sanguine is also shown to be proficient in hand-to-hand combat, although he doesn't use any particular style. As a hitman he is a proficient killer and is especially skilled in using his straight razor.
Sanguine has very laid back, witty personality. Most of the time he is relatively polite to people when talking to them, though this mainly only to female characters, calling them Miss or in most cases lil' darlin. There are also some that warrant nicknames from Sanguine, such is the case of Skulduggery Pleasant whom Sanguine calls 'Mr. Funnybones' or sometimes just "Bones". He often finds pleasure in flirting with other female characters while fighting them, most notably Tanith Low, and sometimes claims that all the threats she gives him is actually flirting. He wears a brown suit and scuffed cowboy boots and also a pair of sunglasses to hide his eyes which are empty sockets; despite his lack of eyes he can in fact see better than people with eyes. He also has a tendency to hold vendettas against people, such as Valkyrie after she stole his beloved straight razor on two separate occasions and when she cut him with Tanith's sword, causing him to become unable to use his magic effectively. He is disgusted by Mages who work for mortals as shown by his dislike of the NecromancerKaiven.
Before his death, Billy-Ray was in a relationship with the remnant possessed Tanith Low. While they were bitter enemies when they first met, Billy Ray soon developed a perverse crush on her. After her possession by the Remnant, they began travelling together. At the end of The Maleficent Seven he proposes with Tanith saying yes, but dies before they get beyond engagement.