Here is a list of characters and character tropes appearing in [[Literature/CiaphasCain the Cain Archive]], broken down into folders for ease of use.

Note that the article contains '''unmarked spoilers'''. Even the name of one of the folders is a notable spoiler for one of the books. %%Inquisitor Amberly Vail's Crew, to be more precise%%

!The Imperium of Man

[[folder:Commissar Ciaphas Cain, '''HERO OF THE IMPERIUM''']]

Ciaphas Cain is a man of questionable origin - he is commonly believed to be a Hiveworlder, yet no one knows where exactly his birthplace is, maybe not even himself - tall, imposing stature, handsome, charming, and a pathological liar. He was enrolled in the Schola Progenium, where he acquired his commissarial sash despite middling-low performance in academics, excelling only in sports, combat training and discipline [[note]]A word which here means "not getting caught"[[/note]]. Shortly thereafter he was assigned to the Valhallan 12th Field Artillery unit, the beginning of a positively ludicrous series of heroic exploits. There's no doubt that his actions on the battlefield were decisive, and they usually directly led to glorious victories of various degrees.

However, the reasoning behind them is in the eye of the beholder. According to those he had risked his life to save, he's Cain the Liberator, Cain the Hero, slayer of daemons and leader of men whose biographies verge on canonization. (In fact, one obscure Tallarn cult views him as a living embodiment of the God-Emperor's will.) According to his own secret memoirs, he is a poor, pathetic coward concerned solely with his well-being and escaping responsibility, his every heroic, selfless, or even considerate action taken solely to manipulate others into aiding him.

What is he really? That's left for the readers to decide.

* AccidentalHero: Lots and lots of times. He invariably tries to put himself out of harm's way only to inadvertently wind up in an even bigger mess than the one he was trying to avoid, and ends up having to solve the plot to save his own neck.
* ActionSurvivor
* AlliterativeName: Commissar Ciaphas Cain.[[note]]Three hard 'C's in case you're wondering, and a long "i" sound in "Ciaphas". Also, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM.[[/note]]
* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: Skillfully invoked. If you examine what Cain actually ''does'' without his inevitable 5-page pooh-pooh explanation, he's the biggest damn hero in the entire universe, just one with a perverse sense of humility. On the other hand, accepting his explanation that he's "just lucky/unlucky" and that somehow ''every single'' allegedly self-serving and cowardly act he does accidentally results in him saving people's lives and looking good at it would make him even more of an aberration in the Warhammer 40K universe. [[ShrugOfGod Even the author isn't sure which interpretation is true.]]
** In ''Caves of Ice'', there's a passage where he muses sadly about all the brave men and women he's seen die, and thinks he's probably the last man alive who even remembers them. Then, in ''Cain's Last Stand'', he feels a pang to realize he can't recall the face of a man who died in ''Death or Glory'' some seventy years before. Yeah, he seems '''really''' self-centered, doesn't he?
** And when you think about it, he shows a lot of courage at times. In situations of extreme danger and terror, he somewhat calmly analyzes his chances and opts for reasonable courses of action. It is fueled by his wish for survival, but he still shows admirable nerve. Though in at least one situation, Cain admits he has no idea why he did something incontrovertibly, dangerously heroic - and halfway admits he did it simply because Amberley's life was in danger.
** Cain's disgust for what he calls 'Emperor-botherers,' taking a more practical approach to faith and only showing faith in the Emperor because that's what Imperials do, and it seems to be more of an 'on general principle' kind of thing. One troper from the Tabletop Games page of Alternate Character Interpretation, however, has thought Cain to be the most pious Commissar in the history of the Imperium, considering how much he talks about "Emperor-botherers" and how The Emperor has much better things to do than keep an eye on him, and so he should do as much as he can to ensure his survival to allow The Emperor to focus His attention elsewhere, where it's needed.
** It's also thought among fans that he actually was a DirtyCoward at the beginning of the series, and by sometime in the middle of the series he becomes brave and heroic and ''thinks'' he's still a DirtyCoward. It is very doubtful that if he was [[TheSoCalledCoward as big a coward as he claims]], he could undertake actions as awesome as assembling a RagtagBunchOfMisfits to take back Perlia or [[spoiler: shoot a daemoness in the face with a [[{{BFG}} Meltagun]], duel [[TheLegionsOfHell two Chaos Space Marines]] with his chainsword, or kick a Chaos Warmaster off a roof.]]
** Adding more fuel to the fire is that his every explanation of how what he does is either for his own benefit, or just the only reasonable courses of action under the circumstances ''make sense.'' It's not even a ''stretch'' for him to be honest about these things, it's ''completely plausible'', which makes the entire series a deconstruction of "heroism" in general.
** In a spectacular case of LeaningOnTheFourthWall, Amberley Vail notes in the foreword to ''The Emperor's Finest'' that the above debate also occurs InUniverse among her readers in the Inquisition.
---> '''Amberley:''' ... A reputation, which, true to form, he continues to insist throughout the current extract is completely undeserved. Many of my readers have taken this claim at face value, and many others have construed it as a rather engaging blindness to his own virtues. Having known him personally, I tend to the view that the truth is a little more complicated than either postulation.
* AntiHero: Where he is on the scale is intentionally left to the reader. The "he thinks he's worse than he actually is" theory believes he is generally a type 2/3. The "Character development theory" believes he eventually becomes a Type II.
* ArtificialLimbs: Cain has two augmetic fingers, replacing those lost to a glancing hit from a Necron Gauss Flayer.
* AwesomeByAnalysis: His ingenuity and cunning tend to save his life and end those of his enemies.
* {{Badass}}:
** BadassBureaucrat: As a commissar, this is literally part of Cain's job description. Cain tries to avoid the more onerous aspects of the "bureaucrat" part, foisting most of the day-to-day trivialities and paperwork on Jurgen. In a pinch, however, he can and will use his commissarial privileges, the weight of his reputation, and outright LoopholeAbuse to cut through mountains of red tape.
** BadassNormal: Despite being an essentially unmodified human with basic Guard-issue weapons, Cain has managed to defeat or at least hold his own against [[SuperSoldier Space Marines]], Daemons, a horribly mutated Chaos Warlord, a Broodlord, and a gigantic Ork Warboss.
*** Last Ditch adds a MAWLOC to his one on one records. And a Tervigon of all things with merelya over strength squad and a lone Valyrie fighter jet as backup!
** BadassUnintentional: Very much so.
** RetiredBadass -- Cain in ''Cain's Last Stand'', along with all the other schola instructors. Let that sink in: he's so badass, he's managed what is a nigh-impossible feat in the ''Warhammer 40K'' universe: he REACHED RETIREMENT.
* BadBoss: Averted and deconstructed. Cain makes plenty of threats, but he's a reasonable man and the only times he's ever executed troopers on-screen were practically MercyKill justified cases (or in one case, for trying to kill him). He'd rather earn his soldiers' trust so they're more inclined to protect him in battle and avoid UnfriendlyFire, as tends to happen with unpopular commissars. He and Amberley remind the reader frequently that a commissar's responsibility is maintaining morale, and summary execution is an extreme means of doing so best reserved for desperate cases. (Plus, executions mean more paperwork all around, and Cain's nothing if not averse to that.)
** Both Cain's notable assignments were also situations where the more stereotypical commissar would be unnecessary and counterproductive. The 12th Valhallan was an artillery unit that had few discipline problems and largely fired on distant targets with other Guard units in support. The 597th Valhallan had high morale, high resistance to Chaotic or alien taint, and exceptional supplies. However, the 597th only had high morale as a direct result of Cain's intervention, and in particular due to his reluctance to simply execute a tenth of the regiment to show the rest what happens when you step out of line.
** However, ''The Greater Good'' gives us the line "In the Guard people were executed for less [than incompetence]. And some of them by me." Which means that he can be a BadBoss, should the situation be severe enough. Justified in that he is talking about incompetence that got people killed.
* BattleCouple: [[HeterosexualLifePartners Platonically]] with [[HypercompetentSidekick Jurgen]], [[LoveInterest romantically]] with [[BadassBookworm Inquisitor]] [[BadassAdorable Amberley Vail]].
* BecomingTheMask: If Cain shows any CharacterDevelopment over his career, this is likely the cause. The "mask" he wears is one of a [[ThinkNothingOfIt humble hero]], always eager to put himself InHarmsWay. Underneath that mask, he is primarily interested in [[ItsAllAboutMe self-preservation, having a good time, and avoiding work]]. However, as he is cast into ever more dire and important situations, his heroic ''actions'' become increasingly genuine, even if his ''thoughts'' remain selfish. His increasing confidence in his own abilities allows him to consider even relatively dangerous situations "safe" in ways he would not have as a younger man, and his view of self-interest becomes more long-term the more experienced he gets. In his own words:
-->I'd spent so long hiding behind masks I was no longer sure there was a genuine Ciaphas underneath them any more.
* BeneathTheMask: The novels' keystone premise is that Cain is a very different person from how he is portrayed by Imperial propaganda.
* BoringButPractical: He could easily get his hands on a powerful bolt-pistol, but he'd never forgo his handy laspistol. As unassuming as it is, it's got far higher ammo count and accuracy than the other weapons (especially since Cain mastered the art of firing one from the hip) and both have saved his life in many fights. Oddly enough, he also forgoes getting a Hel-pistol, a stronger variant of the laspistol as he fears the heavier weight will throw off his aim despite having plenty of time to practice.
* BornLucky[=/=]TheChewToy: Cain is dogged by extremely good ''and'' bad luck ... and sometimes both at the same time. To everyone else, all reputation boosts seem to be a good thing, but Cain knows that every boost to his reputation eventually leads to him being put into even more dangerous situations.
* BrokenAce: On the outside, he's a charming, charismatic leader of soldiers who is capable of going toe-to-toe with some of humanity's worst enemies. On the inside, he's a psychological wreck plagued with feelings of inadequacy and an inability to recognize his own selflessness. [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation Or just]] a ManipulativeBastard, exactly as he claims. Then again, BrokenAce and ManipulativeBastard are not mutually exclusive although somewhat contradictory.
* CaptainObvious: During his time with the Reclaimers as whatever illuminating conclusions he'd draw from a situation when around the Space Marines were recognized by them much quicker, though they chose not to vocalize them unless Cain did.
* TheCasanova: He mentions several "non-regulation" relationships he has with a number of women who are invariably quite attractive, and a few more had been implied. His relationships with women were wide rather than deep, at least until he met Amberley.
* CharacterDevelopment: [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation One interpretation:]] The young Cain is concerned only with saving his own life; he performs heroic deeds just to keep up appearances and avoid UnfriendlyFire. However, as he survives ever more dangerous situations and matures, his actions become increasingly selfless and genuinely heroic, most obviously in his defense of Perlia during the Second Siege. Cain himself does not seem to realize that this has happened, and still considers himself to be the selfish DirtyCoward of his youth.
* TheCharmer: According to Vail's footnotes, Cain is one of these. She notes that a certain kind of woman would be easily drawn to his charms, and one who was not too bright to begin with could find herself soon broken hearted. Cain's offhand references to finding himself spending pleasant time in the company of the young daughters of noble families after attending various official functions seem to back this up.
** [[ Artist's rendition of Cain's heroic adventures]]
* ChivalrousPervert: Despite his amorous adventures (prior to meeting Amberley at least), he never seems to have gotten in trouble for them; the one time he describes meeting an old flame, she certainly shows no sign of heartbreak. The one woman who's hacked off at him for dumping her (by way of a laspistol shot to the chest; ItMakesSenseInContext) [[spoiler:gives him nightmares for years, and eventually becomes a daemon princess]].
* ConsummateLiar: Even before he knew about Jurgen, and afterward when he's not around, Cain was confident in his ability to fool ''mind readers'' - mostly by controlling stray thoughts. It is implied that he couldn't have defended himself from an actual investigation and is lucky that his memory has never been scanned before. But then again, Inquisitor Amberley Vail is the first human being in his life whom he cannot fool no matter how hard he tried, and she's not even a psyker.
* ConvenientlyAnOrphan: Cain himself notes that orphans from well-off Hive World families are often shipped off to Schola.
* CoolTeacher: Cain appears to have become one prior to the events of Cain's Last Stand (or at least he claims to be more relaxed, to the irritation of his colleagues).
* CosmicPlaything: Cain repeatedly comments that if the Emperor is actually watching him, He has a sick sense of humor.
* CowardlyLion: Cain is a near-textbook example; a guy with little courage that nonetheless achieves feats of great daring.
* {{Cyborg}}: Cain has two augmetic fingers, and in ''Caves of Ice'' he mentions that they're the only parts of his body that don't feel cold when he's out in the freezing arctic wind.
* DeadpanSnarker: Best exemplified in ''The Traitor's Hand'', where he never once lets a "'''[[LargeHam BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!]]'''" pass unmocked.
* DesignatedHero: Cain considers ''himself'' to be one, InUniverse. He doesn't think he's TheHero of this story, he doesn't even think he's ''a''' hero. He's just a guy in the wrong place at the wrong time who coincidentally saves the day while trying to save his own skin and nothing else.
* DestructiveSaviour: Cain has favored this approach on at least five distinct separate occasions. Granted, all of them crossed the GodzillaThreshold. In his own words, no machinery can cost as much as a life of a single soldier (especially if the soldier in question is him).
** In ''Caves of Ice'', he blows up the very promethium refinery his regiment was sent to defend [[spoiler:in order to destroy the Necron tomb and active Warp portal located beneath it]].
** In the short story "The Beguiling," he calls down artillery fire on his own position [[spoiler:in order to destroy a Chaos coven and the daemonhost it was in the process of summoning]].
** In ''Death or Glory'' he blows up a major hydroelectric dam [[spoiler:to drown an approaching Ork army that would otherwise have slaughtered his band of refugees]].
** In ''Cain's Last Stand'' he tries to blow up another dam [[spoiler:(well, technically it's the same one...) to prevent the Necrons from getting their hands on a potent Warp artifact. Unfortunately, they jam the detonation signal and escape]].
** In ''The Last Ditch'' he blows up a geothermal power plant (and the city it's in) [[spoiler:in order to destroy a crash-landed Tyranid Bio-Ship buried underneath it.]]
* DirtyBusiness: There are numerous clues that Cain feels the sacrifices he makes more keenly than he lets on.
** In the short story "Sector 13," he discovers a genestealer cult. At the end of the story, amid general celebration, he's trying (unsuccessfully) to avoid thinking about all the Imperial subjects and guardsmen who're being executed because, despite being loyal, they '''are''' infected and there's no way to save them.
** In the first novel, ''For the Emperor'', Cain is forced to gun down a squad of loyal PDF at a checkpoint in order to keep his own mission (escorting Tau diplomats back to their enclave) a secret. Cain finds himself disgusted by it, and has difficulty working out what to say to his troopers. He finally tells the sergeant to tell them that he appreciated what they did. The sergeant says he will, with obvious sympathy, and Cain realizes it was the right line.
* DirtyCoward: Played with. Cain sees himself as this, and a lot of his comments do give that impression, but Cain's actions throughout the books (as Amberley notes frequently) make him out to be cowardly only in his own mind.
* DrinkOrder: Just about any time Cain mentions drinking something, it's credits to carrots that it's either (alcoholic) amasec or (non-alcoholic) tanna tea or recaff if there is no tanna around. He's a honorary Valhallan, after all, and no Valhallan could imagine a life without tea. This reaches borderline obsessive levels in ''Death or Glory'' where the lack of tanna, and Cain asking hopefully, "I don't suppose you've got any," becomes something of a RunningGag. Considering that these novels are British in origin, the 40k setting is British in origin, the Schola Progenium where he was educated is depicted by Cain as being akin to a [[BoardingSchool British Public school]], the Valhallans are heavily based [[FantasyCounterpartCulture on Russians]], and Britain and Russia are noted for being [[SpotOfTea tea-drinking countries]], this shouldn't come as a surprise.
* ExactWords: Often invokes this to tell a technical truth while sounding like something else. Regarding the necessity of blowing up the promethium refinery in ''Caves of Ice'', he states that "As far as I'm concerned, it's not worth the life of a single soldier". The soldier he is referring to, of course, is himself.
* FakeUltimateHero: [[RunningGag of the IMPERIUM!]]
* AFatherToHisMen: Cain invokes this trope wherever possible, because appearing to care for soldiers under his command means those same soldiers will go the extra mile to protect ''him'' from harm. It is perhaps telling, however, that there are numerous occasions where Cain could have sacrificed his Guardsmen's lives to keep himself out of harm's way but chose not to.
* FirstPersonSmartass: Even when he's "in-character", he's prone to making a few offhand wisecracks.
* TheFool: Cain himself, although not as nice or lighthearted as most examples. He goes into situations with minimal knowledge of what is going on and only his quick thinking and a healthy helping of luck see him through each conflict intact.
* GenerationXerox: Comes up once he's a CoolTeacher, in the form of Donal (who's just too much like Cain himself at that age). The kid even makes Commissar [[spoiler: (as an ItHasBeenAnHonor Battlefield Promotion.]], which kinda spoils it).
* GenreSavvy: Subverted in ''For the Emperor''. While talking to the singer at the governor's fete [[spoiler:(Vail in disguise)]], Cain jokingly guesses that a conspicuous rogue trader is an inquisitor because, supposedly, ''all'' inquisitors use that disguise. Needless to say, [[spoiler:he gets that one wrong...although the trader does indeed have a connection to the Inquisition, and Vail does comment that Cain's assumption ''was'' usually correct, Inquisitors do use a certain disguise far too much.]] Otherwise, Cain is usually right in his guesses and assumptions. Furthermore, he's fully aware of the reputation most commissars have (and their [[UnfriendlyFire usual fates]]) and does everything in his power to subvert these expectations.
* GoingNative: Whilst living with the Valhallans for an astounding amount of time Cain took some of their customs, such as slang words, usual room temperature to adjust to (even if he still finds it chilling when it's warm for them), and a taste for tanna, a kind of tea which most non-Valhallans find disgusting.
* GuileHero: Albeit one who gets thrust into potentially lethal physical confrontations far more often than is comfortable.
* TheHero: Both subverted and played straight; Cain spends a good chunk of his memoirs talking of his baser motivations and cowardice while everyone around him praises him as a great hero, due to the ''results'' of his selfish and cowardly actions.
* HeroicBuild: Going by the cover illustrations, though they are definitely intended to be overblown and not entirely truthful. However, his combat ability and years of practice would make a fit build of some kind to be fairly logical and he's definitely also said to be rather tall in the stories themselves.
* HeroicSelfDeprecation: In spades. To give some perspective: If there is a heroic aspect that Cain [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation may or may not have]], he has probably belittled it, claimed that it doesn't exist, or given a selfish reason for it. For example, there's his reason for why he does not fit the stereotypical trigger-happy taskmaster, which boils down to: "Soldiers who hate and fear me will be less likely to aim at me! I will be nice to them, therefore I won't get killed by my own troops!" while conveniently ignoring (or invoking) that this is, you know, a genuinely moral thing to do. He has also downplayed numerous accomplishments that are apparently astounding, such as when he casually mentions that he, the Commissar, is close to the commanding officers and present at the briefings. Note that Amberley claims that this is an extremely rare occurrence, with commissars often being seen as an annoying third wheel in briefings. It's best summed up in this quote, when getting an after-action report from Jenit Sulla she mentions that she thought, "What would Cain do?"
--> '''Cain:''' And then did the opposite, I hope.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: With his [[HypercompetentSidekick aide]], [[AlmightyJanitor Jurgen]]. See his entry below.
* HumbleHero: Part of his reputation, much cultivated. Also he frequently fits the part without even noticing it.
* HypocriticalHumor: Rather an inversion of the usual sort. In ''Duty Calls'', Cain is part of a meeting that gets some '''very''' scary news. While most of those around him panic, Cain controls his own terror and plans with Colonel Kasteen the actions they'll have to take to deal with the danger. Then he raises his voice to ask a question of the briefer, and notes that his "fraudulent reputation for remaining calm and decisive in a crisis" probably helps settle everyone else down.
** "I only did [heroic thing x] to support my fraudulent reputation for [x]" is practically a catchphrase.
* IndyPloy: Cain always has a plan... which promptly goes out the window as soon as an unexpected threat shows up. Once this happens, he usually has to think on his feet and come up with a crazy plan to get him (and his soldiers incidentally) out of the situation.
* InformedFlaw: It becomes increasingly hard to believe Cain's really a coward, since we never see him do anything a sensible hero wouldn't do. He says he needs to maintain his reputation so that his allies would make good {{Human Shield}}s... every time he has to choose between using them as such and risking his own life for theirs.
* InHarmsWay: Inverted. Cain has to maintain the appearance of this trope to keep his reputation intact.
* InvincibleIncompetent: A dark and dramatic take on a protagonist who attempts to run away from the action yet always ends up winning.
* LanternJawOfJustice: Depicted with one rivaling [[GearsOfWar Marcus' Fenix's]] jaw, which his entry on the character sheet has described as "About a third of his face."
* TheLeader: His men see him as a bold and charismatic man of action who cares about each and every one of them. Cain himself would say he's the opposite but invokes this so they will protect him.
* LoveAtFirstSight: Cain has never believed in this; though he can remember every detail of the first time he ever saw Amberley. [[SceneryPorn And proceeds to describe it for us.]]
* TheMagnificent: Cain is known as "the Liberator" on Perlia for saving the planet from Ork domination.
* MasterSwordsman: Cain is incredibly skilled with his chainsword, and Amberly posits that he's one of the best in the sector. Regardless of which sector he's in.
* MeaningfulName: Mixed in with a bit of FridgeBrilliance. His first name was that of [[ the rabbi who condemned Jesus]], referring to Cain being his own greatest critic, despite how much of a genuine hero he eventually becomes. Not to mention the biblical Caiaphas is condemned in ''Literature/TheDivineComedy'' as a ''hypocrite'' (which is more or less what Cain considers himself). [[SandyMitchell The author]] even mentions that his name was a biblical reference, but without saying what to.
* MistakenForBadass: Just mention any of his major exploits to him and this is the explanation you'll get from Cain.
* MotivationalLie: As a commissar these are often necessary. Cain himself is a master of these, showing in his internal narration that he can read people very well and quickly choose the appropriate tone and words that would gain him favor or convince them to do what he needs.
* MultipleChoicePast: All that can be determined for certain before Cain was accepted into the Schola Progenium was that he spent his early youth on the lower to mid levels of a hive city. The name of the hive city and the world on which it was located remain unknown, as does Cain's parentage. The fact that he was in the Schola means that he was orphaned, and tends to suggest that his parents were loyal Imperial servants, (In contrast, Cain described them as cowards on par with his him.) but Vail has revealed no records that say for certain. Cain seems to use this when meeting new people, adjusting the backstory he tells them to his advantage. As a result, Vail [[LampshadeHanging advises the readers]] to take anything Cain says about his past [[UnreliableNarrator with a grain of salt]].
* TheMusketeer: Cain is demonstrably proficient with both his chainsword and his laspistol.
* NervesOfSteel: Subverted, [[InvokedTrope he appears this way very intentionally]], but even as he deals with terrible danger in an unflappable demeanor, inside he's quivering and panicking like anyone else would.
** Played with: While he always expresses fear, he almost never outright panics and can measure his best options for survival in situations that reduce trained, battle hardened soldiers to terror stricken hysteria.
* NiceHat: He ''is'' a [[CommissarCap commissar]], after all. He'd prefer an actual helmet, though.
* ObliviousToLove: This is the case for Cain, but [[PlayingWithATrope played with]] interestingly in that he is oblivious to ''all'' positive feelings toward him including friendship and admiration, not just romantic ones. He never lets his guard down with anyone, and while he does spend mutually enjoyable time in other's company he sees it as just an entertaining diversion or keeping up appearances rather than a moment of bonding. FridgeBrilliance comes in when one realizes that keeping other people's spirits up is his job, and he never seems to allow himself to break from it. As a result, if anyone goes out of their way to do Cain a favor or support him, he attributes their motivation to his "[[FakeUltimateHero undeserved reputation]]" or his authority as a Commissar and never considers that they might actually ''like'' him.
* OpportunisticBastard: Cain rarely goes into a situation with a concrete plan for how to tackle it (or even, at times, a complete picture of what he's actually getting into), but he has a remarkable tendency to find and exploit any advantage that could possibly give him an edge when he's in the thick of things. Interestingly, he's one of the rare few examples of this trope who's self-aware enough of just how shallow his motives run and who has enough of a conscience to actually beat himself up over it in quieter moments (that is, if we take his own account at face value).
* OvershadowedByAwesome: During the seventh book in both a physical and metaphorical sense as Cain is usually one of the tallest and most skilled combatants in a group with a keen analytical mind that allows him to notice things that may escape the attentions of those around him. The Space Marines dwarf him in stature and fighting ability and are just as perceptive as he is if not more so. This is due to Cain being in a relatively early (if eventful) part of his career and the fact that the Reclaimers are, well, The Emperor's Finest.
* PapaWolf: Shows shades of this as a CoolTeacher, not even trying to justify with cowardice just how much he cares for his little class of Commissar cadets. A RunningGag throughout the series is his attempts to teach them how not to fall victim to Friendly Fire, and he uses all of his experience to [[PassingTheTorch make them as effective as possible.]] Bonus points for actually referring to them as "pups" and featuring Donal as a GenerationXerox (before Cain has to spectacularly [[spoiler: [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome avenge him]]]], [[CharacterDevelopment fully reaching this trope)]].
* ParentalAbandonment: Prerequisite for becoming a commissar. Vail does wonder how true his story is, though, as Cain is a (self-admitted) nearly pathological liar prone to manipulating others.
* ReallyGetsAround: Has had enough sexual relations across the Imperium that it is probably littered with his bastard children.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Cain plays with this up and down the scale. He's gained a reputation for being a relatively fair-minded commissar by being willing to listen to other people's concerns, but it's mostly in the interest of saving his own skin. However, when he ''does'' investigate the lead everyone else is ignoring, he inevitably ends up uncovering (and defeating) something far more sinister than the original threat. He also mentions repeatedly (and demonstrates it in ''Cain's Last Stand'') that he's trying to instill this approach in the commissar cadets he teaches in ''40k's'' present day.
* RightPlaceRightTimeWrongReason: He owes his entire career to this trope. The Emperor appears to have it in for him because almost every act of intended cowardice, self-preservation/gratification or caution on his part ends up being turned on its head and landing him smack dab in the middle of another life-threatening situation. Then again he always manages to survive it with flying colours, so the Emperor might just be doing it because he knows he can take it.
* SelectiveObliviousness: Cain is often a very sharp man, picking up on clues and making connections no one else seems to. However, at other times he can be incredibly dense, missing things which are obvious to the reader. Amberly is quick to point out such times in footnotes, [[LampshadeHanging Lampshading]] when Cain really ought to have seen something coming.
** Usually his [[CharacterTics itching palms]] will clue him into direct physical danger, but when the danger is [[ObliviousToLove more subtle]] they tend not to trigger. It just goes to show how much Cain depends on his instincts to see him through.
** Cain's own SelfDeprecation gets in the way of him realizing his own importance in a situation. Amberly points out how ignorant he seems of his own positive effect on the morale of guardsmen in the present theater, always worried about failing to live up to that reputation.
* ShellShockedVeteran: Cain has numerous nightmares over barely surviving his first experience against Necrons. Amberley also states he is plagued by nightmare for other less specific reasons, doubtlessly reasons tending toward this trope.
* ShroudedInMyth: Cain is one of these in the ''Warhammer 40K'' world; whenever he downplays his accomplishments, most people think that it's out of modesty. One religious sect has even proclaimed him to be ''a physical manifestation of the God-Emperor's Divine Will''. Vail playfully points out that Cain would be absolutely ''horrified'' if he ever learned about said religious sect.
** The people of Perlia have elevated Cain so high on the hero scale that they actually built a gigantic (and hideous) mechanical clock in the planetary capital that tells time by having a commissar appear and lop off the heads of a number of orks equal to the hour. When the capital is bombarded, Cain asks hopefully if the clock has been destroyed.
** Despite frequent mention of his childhood being spent in a Hiveworld, no one actually knows where Cain was born or anything significant about his past prior to becoming a Commissar. He claims at one point that Kroot killed his parents, but Vail points out inconsistencies in his statement and then points out he is, by his own admission, a pathological liar.
* SlaveToPR: Heroic example. No matter what he manages to accomplish, the main reason he doesn't run like hell from the opposite direction of danger at first chance is because it would destroy his indispensably useful heroic image. He keeps digging a deeper hole for himself as his deeds cause his reputation to grow, which in turns increases people's expectations of him, which requires that he keeps charging forward into increasingly worse situations, then when he actually accomplishes more impressive deeds...
* TheSoCalledCoward: Maybe. Before this goes in YMMV, though, remember the massive entry for AlternateCharacterInterpretation up above? It could go either way.
* SoldiersAtTheRear: What he was hoping for when he pulled some cleverly-attained strings to get assigned to a Vahallan artillery division. [[TheCallKnowsWhereYouLive Everyone knows how well THAT worked out.]]
* StepfordSmiler
--> "You could just try being yourself, you know."\\
The thought was terrifying. I'd spent so long hiding behind masks I was no longer sure there was a genuine Ciaphas underneath them any more, just a quivering little bundle of self-interest.
* StiffUpperLip: Cain manages to successfully convince others he has this.
* TakingYouWithMe: When apparently completely and totally overwhelmed by enemies with zero chance of escape or survival Cain will default to this sentiment and attempt to kill as many of his foes as possible before his death.
* TooCleverByHalf: Once in a while his smooth-talking and rhetoric will come around to bite him in the ass, such as when he realizes that his explanations for his current course of action leads to him talking himself into a corner (the corner being effectively volunteering himself for a suicide mission).
* UnreliableNarrator: Cain tends to leave out anything that doesn't directly affect him, so Vail has to use other sources, including (much to her annoyance) the memoirs of Jenit Sulla. Many readers, both real and in-universe, seem to think he overstates his own cowardice. Cain also makes several minor errors of fact which are pointed out and corrected by Vail's [[FootnoteFever notes]].
* UnluckilyLucky: Every dangerous situation he gets into is a result of him trying to avoid one that sounds more dangerous on paper, only making it out through luck and foiling an enemy plot in the process. For example, instead of joining the frontline against an ork horde, he attaches himself to a search party investigating tunnels the orks might be able to use, and finds Necrons instead, and only escapes due to Jurgen's AntiMagic properties. In another, he goes away from the main battle with Chaos forces to an out-of-the-way dredger where there might be a demon summoning taking place. As he'd fervently hoped against, there was.
* WalkingDisasterArea: On a few occasions, Cain has actually managed to avoid getting assigned to the more harrowing warzones and found himself in a fairly laid-back posting. Inevitably, ''something'' manages to show up and ruin the party. Particularly notable instances include his first field posting to the Valhallan 12th Artillery and his retirement to the schola on Perlia.
* WeakButSkilled: While he's certainly no slouch by comparison to other humans, Cain is still only a bog-standard human himself (aside from a couple of augmetic fingers). Nevertheless, he has a preternatural ability to manipulate the situation to his advantage when he needs to. He's also one of the best chainswordsman in the galaxy, able to match and occasionally best Space Marine commanders... in an honorable duel, that is; in a life-or-death fight they would just stomp on him.
* WeDoTheImpossible: Cain's specialty, and the point of the series. His life is an endless cycle of being sent to a new assignment, finding some way to get out of that assignment while still looking like he's doing something meaningful, accidentally stumbling onto the ''real'' problem because everyone else was too focused on what was in front of their eyes to investigate, and then throwing every resource at his disposal at that problem because any other option will get him killed. This inevitably inflates his reputation as a resilient, perceptive hero who Gets Things Done, which in turn gets him sent on more of these assignments...
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes: Cain is absolutely ''terrified'' of the [[KillerRobot Necrons]]. This is due to his first encounter with them, which resulted in the entire squad he was with being killed, [[SoleSurvivor save him]], plus two of his fingers being shot off. The experience was so traumatizing for him that even over eighty years later in ''Cain's Last Stand'' he admits that he still has nightmares about that mission, and spends most of the book ignoring the clues pointing to their presence because he ''doesn't want them to be real.''
* WorthyOpponent: The Tau see him as one, taking his reputation at face value after their representatives witness several acts of heroism on his part. His dedication to the greater good of the Imperium impresses them greatly.
* WrongGenreSavvy: Cain regularly manages to outthink himself, to the point that you can almost set your watch by it. You'd think by now he'd stop trying to come up with contrived "vitally important missions" to send himself on in order to avoid a bigger battle after ''every time'' it turns out the trivial distraction he's talked up into a dangerous matter of great importance turns out to actually ''be'' highly dangerous and very important. He does it 3 times in the first 3 books alone: first he ducks out of the attack on the rebels in the Heights only to find himself driving into a burning building to rescue Amberley and her party; then he volunteers to lead the team that investigates the ice caves in order to avoid the battle with the orks, only end up walking through a Necron tomb; THEN he volunteers to lead the assault on a fancy brothel in search of heretics rather than going after their supposed main hideout by arguing that he has a feeling that the brothel is the real centre of cultist activity, only to turn out to be 100% correct. Unless this is one of the most prominent instances of his tendency to undervalue himself, in which case he's heading directly toward what seems to be a safe location precisely because he knows it'll be the center of the action.

!! The Valhallan 597th
The Guard regiment Cain spends most of his career with, made up of survivors of the Valhallan 296th and 301st, which both suffered massive casualties in a campaign against the Tyranids on Corania. Natives of planet Valhalla, a vicious ice world[[note]]Also a Russian / Scandinavian counterpart culture[[/note]], are real Vikings in all but the name, providing steady reinforcements for the Imperial Guard. They love snow and tanna - a Valhallan considers it balmy if there's just frost on the windows- and they hate orks with a ferocious intensity. Most of Cain's commissarial career revolved around serving with Valhallans even though he isn't a native; consequently, he picked up quite a few of their habits (although he never did quite get around to being accustomed to cold showers).

In contrast to the stereotype sometimes shown in the main ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' universe, where Valhallans fight with human-wave tactics reminiscent of the Great Patriotic War at its bloodiest, the Valhallans of the Cain-version of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' are extraordinarily proficient and professional soldiers and almost unmatched in arctic environments.

[[folder:Gunner Ferik Jurgen]]
Ferik Jurgen is Cain's personal aide. He has the following notable qualities: his foul smell and general disregard of any sort of personal hygiene; his complete devotion to Cain and strong faith in the Emperor; his overwhelming heroism and courage; and, finally, the fact that he is a blank - capable of completely shutting down any sorcery or psychic effects within certain radius. Cain's closest friend, consistently accompanying him throughout his adventures; the two are both inseparable and deadly together.

Understandably but unfortunately, Jurgen is almost universally left out of every story and tall tale about Cain except for his own - all his many achievements are usually credited to Cain, when in reality the two of them tend to work in tandem. Even Jenit Sulla, who obviously enjoyed the esteem and respect of her soldiers, barely noticed Jurgen throughout her career. As Amberley puts it, with the best will in the galaxy, he's hardly the sort of person you want cluttering up a heroic legend.

* AchievementsInIgnorance: Cain frequently wonders if Jurgen's life-saving feats are part of a calculated well-hidden genius or if he operates on gut instinct, being unaware that his actions are extremely improbable.
* ADateWithRosiePalms: He really, really likes porno slates.
* AlmightyJanitor: Justified. Being able to boss admirals and generals around when they bother Cain is a surprising ability to someone whose rank is the lowest possible in the Imperial Guard, but he's technically assigned to the Commissariat as Cain's personal aide and, since the Commissariat is outside the Guard's rank structure, he claims that his position places him outside it as well. Unless there's something to be gained by claiming to still be inside the Guard's structure, in which case he does that instead.
** Cain himself sort of jokingly lampshades this by referring to him as "Gunner-''in-Chief''" (a rank he made up himself) rather than a mere "Gunner."
* AntiMagic: Part of being a blank.
* BadassBeard: Jurgen's waived from shaving, ostensibly for medical reasons but presumably because Cain doesn't want to know what lies underneath his permanent unkempt stubble.
* BadassDriver: [[DrivesLikeCrazy Driving like crazy]] isn't a bad thing when there are plenty of enemies to run over.
* BadassGrandpa: During ''Cain's Last Stand''. Juvenat treatments are one perk of being friends with an Inquisitor.
* BattleButler: Though he reaches it from the opposite end of the spectrum than most other examples of this trope.
* BerserkButton: He's not too fond of treachery. Unfortunately his going berserk actually makes him less effective as a soldier.
* BodyguardingABadass: Cain trusts Jurgen to watch his back because of his unwavering loyalty. He's also a crack shot (with a melta, an [[{{BFG}} anti-armor weapon]] designed for short-range use, to boot) and capable of neutralizing Warp powers, both of which come in handy when the two of them are in a pinch.
* BookDumb: The more charitable interpretation of Jurgen, who shows both insight and practical wisdom even despite his ignorance and supposed lack of intelligence. He is, however, clearly socially stunted, probably because of the unfortunate side effects of being a blank.
* ChekhovsBoomerang: Jurgen's melta gun and blank abilities save the day at least several times each ''per novel''.
* CovertPervert: On the one hand, his "nests" often involve [[PornStash several porno slates]]. On the other, he never mentions this, and [[LonersAreFreaks certainly never acts on it.]]
* CrazyPrepared: Cain describes him as being constantly clad in assault webbing with numerous bags and pouches attached in which he holds everything he thinks he might need. On a couple of occasions he is seen as pulling out something he thought might be useful, such as an extra pair of snow goggles for Cain, or some sandwiches he brought on the chance that Cain might be hungry. Of course, one of those sandwiches got mislaid in the tangle until and forgotten until much later, as in a different book.
* CursedWithAwesome: Being a blank makes him a social pariah and incapable of making real bonds with people (besides Cain)... but the ability to frazzle Warp-based powers has saved his and Cain's bacon ''many'' times.
* DisneyDeath: In ''For the Emperor'' he's shot in the head with a bolter. Miraculously, his helmet took the brunt of the blow.
* DrivesLikeCrazy: But with extraordinary proficiency.
* DudeWheresMyRespect: He's either perfectly fine or ignorant with subtle acts of derision and disgust towards him but becomes quite indignant when he is blatantly being insulted though it's implied that it's because he sees that such disrespect extends to Cain as well since he is after all his aide.
* DumbIsGood: Jurgen seems to be this at first glance, but he's remarkably insightful, has an amazing knack for scrounging, and is extremely diligent and thorough. What intelligence he may lack is made up for by unyielding faith in the Emperor's will and a pragmatic outlook along the lines of "The Commissar is always right."
** ''Caves of Ice'' even has a scene where he thinks so far ahead that he actually saved Cain's life by bringing along an extra pair of snow goggles, reasoning that Cain would forget them himself.
* EmpoweredBadassNormal: Already an enormously competent soldier, the discovery that he was a blank was the icing on the cake.
* {{Hammerspace}}: Downplayed. Jurgen carries so much useful stuff in pockets/belts/bandoleers that Cain wonders how he manages to lug his weapons around and still have enough room for ammo.
* HardHead: He survives a ''bolter shot'' to the head. True, he's wearing a helmet, but bolters are described as bursting human torsos on a regular basis, and it had just killed another soldier.
* HeroOfAnotherStory: The author has stated that Jurgen has a good claim to being the real hero of the stories, "if anyone ever noticed him."
* HeterosexualLifePartners: With Cain, as is more and more obvious over the course of the books. Although Cain makes fun of Jurgen frequently in his narration, the two of them are very close -- Cain describes Jurgen as the only man he ever really trusted, is crushed when he thinks Jurgen's dead, and is probably Jurgen's only friend even though Jurgen's blank status effectively makes him ''supernaturally unlikable''. Jurgen, for his part, serves Cain with unfailing loyalty and fellowship, is always ready to assist Cain in any capacity, and repeatedly dares almost certain death purely for the sake of companionship.
* HypercompetentSidekick: He was initially introduced as a BumblingSidekick, but rapidly became an elite (if still immensely dirty) soldier who sticks with Cain for practically his entire, insanely dangerous, career. Although Cain is actually a fantastic warrior and leader, Jurgen saves his life as many times (if not more) than Cain saves his and Cain is under no illusions that Jurgen (as a blank) is more valuable to Amberley than he is.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: In ''The Emperor's Finest'' Cain has Jurgen take a shot at a fuel tank too far for him to hit himself. Jurgen has to try a few times, but then it's revealed he was actually aiming for ''the release valve'', assuming that was what Cain meant.
* IOweYouMyLife: It's never explicitly mentioned, but this may be one reason why Jurgen sticks so close to Cain. See the [[Fridge/CiaphasCain Fridge Brilliance]] section for details.
* KillItWithFire: Jurgen's Meltagun has saved him and Cain a number of times.
* LiteralMinded: He occasionally has trouble with parsing metaphors, leading to a few amusing incidents.
* LonersAreFreaks: In Jurgen's case, though, it's the freakishness which causes the social isolation. Most other people find blanks to be subtly unsettling and thus look down on them with contempt. The fact that Cain still treats Jurgen like a human being ought to is yet another sign that some readers use to claim that Cain has [[HiddenDepths hidden strength of character]].
* MageKiller: Cain expects Vail to make him one of those, although she decides not to, as having a covert ops blank is indispensable. He still functions as one whenever Cain encounters an enemy with Warp powers.
* NoHeroToHisValet: For all of Cain's posturing in an attempt to keep Jurgen sufficiently impressed by him, Jurgen is under no illusion that Cain is invincible or infallible often revealing to his companion's relief precautions he himself has taken in lieu of the latter's carelessness and vulnerabilities. However, unlike most examples of this trope, he nonetheless regards Cain as worthy of his loyalty and respect.
* ThePigpen: Exaggerated. Jurgen's body odour and grime is mentioned constantly. He is exempt from standard Guard cleaning regulations due to his variety of skin conditions. It's suggested that this is supernatural in origin - as a blank, Jurgen doesn't connect spiritually to other people like normal humans do, as interpersonal interactions have an underlying psychic component. It's almost like a really dirty, stinky version of the UncannyValley. At one point, the next day after bathing even longer than Cain, Jurgen is described as looking almost as dirty as he was beforehand already. As a blank, he may simply have stopped caring about hygiene and etiquette when he realized nothing he did would make most people like him.
** In fact, it's suggested that Jurgen's body odor is directly connected to the radius of his blank abilities - Cain smelling Jurgen and the anti-psyker effects manifesting are always linked.
** Cain often mentions that he quickly turns any quarters assigned to him into a complete mess.
* PowerNullifier: As a [[AntiMagic blank]], Jurgen often serves this role.
* TheReliableOne: Jurgen never fails to be a constant help to Cain in his endlessly dangerous life, sticking with him through everything, saving his life repeatedly and [[CrazyPrepared thinking to lug around various things he'd imagine could have been useful]].
* RulesLawyer: As a Gunner, Jurgen is a member of the Guard. As Cain's aide, he is technically seconded to the Commissariat. He tends to ignore the legal snarls about his precise status unless he absolutely has to, at which point he chooses whichever side brings him advantage at the moment.
* TheScrounger: Another indication that Jurgen's smarter than he lets on, though the proxy use of Cain's commissarial authority helps. Cain finds this talent to be quite useful, and admits that he doesn't ask questions about Jurgen's methods to avoid knowing anything incriminating.
* {{Sidekick}}: Even if every history about Cain's adventures but his own leaves him out entirely. A fact which Cain reputedly hated, as evidenced by his disdain for the [[ShoutOut holodrama]] ''[[Series/HogansHeroes Cain's Heroes]]'', about his adventures in ''Death Or Glory'', which left Jurgen and several other vital characters out completely.
* SidekickExMachina: The "Jurgen ex machina" is notorious among fans of ''Literature/CiaphasCain''. He's almost always what allows Ciaphas to execute the killing blow. When he doesn't simply pull his melta and do it himself.
* SpannerInTheWorks: Nobody ever expects Jurgen, and it tends to be the downfall of anything even remotely psychic.
* TheStoic: Cain frequently describes his general attitude as "phlegmatic." There's remarkably little that fazes or flusters him (and having traveled alongside Cain as his aide, he's seen almost everything the universe could throw at an Imperial Guardsman and lived to tell the tale).
** NotSoStoic: When it comes to orks (like all Valhallans, he ''despises'' orks) or, more amusingly, other helpstaff. In the latter case, Jurgen turns outright ''snarky''.
* TooDumbToFool: In one instance in ''For the Emperor'', Cain and company are trying to work out how to get the Tau ambassadors they're escorting through a hostile mob. Jurgen's solution? Get the ambassadors to ask the crowd to let them through, as the crowd is made up of Tau sympathizers. It works.
* {{Understatement}}: Espouses a lot of these though it's debatable if they're further indication of his simplicity or the subtle hinting of snark.
* TheWatson: If it doesn't have anything to do with Orks, combat or his duties as an aide, Jurgen's quite fine with taking things at face value which only provokes Cain into even higher bouts of paranoid (and eventually justified) analysis.
* WeaponOfChoice: The trusty [[{{BFG}} meltagun]], which also works as a ChekhovsBoomerang. If a melta isn't available, he's quite proficient with that old Guard standby, the lasgun.

[[folder:Toren Divas]]
Lieutenant (later Major) of the Valhallan 12th Artillery Regiment, and the closest thing Cain has ever had to the best friend. Overly aggressive and rash, but reliable and decent despite that. A big drinker and rumormonger, providing Cain with useful gossip, but also...well, let's face it, he's not very bright.
* {{Foil}}: Divas is ''very'' enthusiastic about engaging the enemy personally and thus hates the artillery because it shoots everything from miles away... which is why Cain joined it at the first place.
* LeeroyJenkins: A big fan of charging the enemy head-on.
* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: He always finds some way to get Cain in trouble (accidentally getting him stuck on the wrong side of some doors or nearly getting him beaten to death by angry Tau sympathisers for example) without meaning to.
* VitriolicBestBuds: Cain's best friend he may be, but that doesn't mean the descriptions of him are too flattering.

[[folder:Colonel Regina Kasteen]]
Former commander of 296th Valhallan Regiment, now commander of 597th Valhallan Regiment. During the Battle for Corania prior to Cain's arrival, both the all-female 296th and the all-male 301st were decimated in combat against the Tyranids. The two units ended up being amalgamated into a single combined regiment and immediately began going at one another's throats, creating a discipline problem that eventually required High Command to send a commissar. They were lucky to get Cain; any other commissar probably would have [[BadBoss decimated the regiment]].

As the 296th had been a rear-echelon regiment for most of its history, the newly-promoted Colonel Kasteen felt an immense need to prove herself to the more experienced veterans of the 301st, particularly her newfound subordinate Major Broklaw. She acquitted herself admirably during the 597th's first battle as a unified whole at Gravalax and has since served with distinction.

* ColonelBadass: She's more than capable of holding her own in a firefight.
* DeskJockey: Holds a bit of a grudge over how she can't kill enemies personally now. When given the chance to butcher heretics on Adumbria, she reacts like a kid in a candy store.
* HandCannon: Favors a bolt pistol as her sidearm.
* HeroesWantRedheads: Cain prefers blondes, but finds Kasteen attractive. He doesn't make anything of it, though, because that would overcomplicate their relationships, and because Amberly would kill him -- literally.
* MsFanservice: Her military uniform has a cleavage, and around half the male characters blatantly admire her looks[[note]]Everyone else does that subtly[[/note]].
* RedOniBlueOni: With Broklaw; Kasteen is the more passionate and aggressive of the two, fitting the "red ''oni''" personality.

[[folder:Major Ruput Broklaw]]
Former commander of 301st Valhallan Regiment, now second-in-command of the 597th Valhallan Regiment. During the Battle for Corania prior to Cain's arrival, both the all-male 301st and the all-female 296th were decimated in combat against the Tyranids. The two units ended up being amalgamated into a single combined regiment and immediately began going at one another's throats, creating a discipline problem that eventually required High Command to send a commissar. The 301st had been a frontline combat unit with decades of service and experience; as such, Broklaw initially resented being junior to a relatively green commander like Kasteen, especially since she got promoted to the colonelcy by virtue of about five minutes' seniority.

Through Cain's manipulations, however, the pair became FireForgedFriends over the course of the Gravalax Campaign. Broklaw and Kasteen have effectively become the command equivalent of a BattleCouple, functioning more like equals than as commander and subordinate and sharing the regiment's leadership burdens.

* FirstNameBasis: Lets a "Regina" slip through to his C.O. on occasion.
* GrayEyes: One of the first indicators of his steely demeanor.
* HypercompetentSidekick: in his own mind just after the amalgamation, as he was a front-line soldier and the 296th had been a rear-echelon unit.
* MajorlyAwesome: Had frontline experience before the [=597th's=] formation as an amalgamated regiment, and puts it to good use in the firefights we see him in.
* PercussiveMaintenance: Whenever the hololith malfunctions, he's usually the one to give it a whack if there are no techpriests around.
* RedOniBlueOni: With Kasteen. Broklaw is the more cold and calculating of the two, fitting the "blue ''oni''" personality. He's also brusque and doesn't care overmuch for fools.

[[folder:Jenit Sulla]]
A former quartermaster officer of Valhallan 296 all-female regiment, she initially hated the merging between 296th and 301st regiments and, by proxy Ciaphas Cain himself, but grew up to respect the new traditions and genuinely admire Cain, seeing him as somewhat a mentor figure. She basically is what Cain is believed to be, perhaps to the extreme. As her patriotic fervor and hastiness verge on LeeroyJenkins levels, all her colleagues view her as something of a liability and predict that she'll either be sidelined or get herself killed in an impetuous charge.

In fact no one guessed correctly, and Sulla's meteoric advance ended with her at the rank of Lady General[[note]]Female version of Lord General[[/note]], the ''highest rank'' in the Imperial military outside of the high command, and the '''only''' Lady General in history of the Imperium. She was even popular enough to publish successful memoirs, although Amberley describes them as a "one-woman assault on the Gothic language."

Amusingly, Sulla appears to have taken Cain's public persona at face value, and clearly considered him a mentor at the very least.
* AnimalMotifs: Cain regularly compares her to a pony.
* BloodKnight: She's actually a very good officer, with solid tactics, a can-do attitude, and an inspirational and morale-boosting personality. Unfortunately, in the universe she inhabits, it leads to her and her squads charging blood-crazed genetically engineering killing machines (Orks, Tyranids, Chaos Space Marines...) with flak jackets and a laser gun with a knife on the end of it. [[TheCuckoolanderWasRight And winning.]]
* BunnyEarsLawyer:
** Her personality is quirky at best and she is a lousy writer, but she is an exceptional quartermaster, she is very responsible, and going from a simple officer without connections to Lady General means her tactics must have eventually evolved way beyond screaming and charging.
** Her skills as a quartermaster really shine in ''The Last Ditch'', where she completely decimates the local planet's Admistratium to gain access to some orbital shuttles that were 'overlooked'. Cain tagged along to try and add his weight to the discussion, but readily admits he ended up just watching Sulla bowl over the bureaucratic interference like a Baneblade through a horde of Gretchin.
* FatherToHisMen: Sulla's intense pride and faith in her soldiers shines through her horrifically purple prose, and probably explains her popularity with same.
* GiftedlyBad: Aforementioned memoirs contain [[PurpleProse insanely overcomplicated and frilly language]] to the point of being [[StylisticSuck utterly unreadable]], and [[RunningGag Amberly keeps apologizing about including it]].
* IgnoredEnamoredUnderling: Downplayed in that it's only platonic, but it's clear from the excerpts from Sulla's memoirs that she has a major case of hero worship for Cain... while at the same time, it's clear from ''his'' accounts that he regards her as both an unappealing person and a rash commander (though he does grow to appreciate her talents as the series unfolds).
* {{Tsundere}}: Sulla initially disliked Cain rather strongly, but quickly shifted to inordinately gushing hero-worship verging on a crush.
* UpThroughTheRanks: {{Exaggerated|Trope}}. Started as an enlisted quartermaster, and makes it to first lieutenant, then captain on-screen. Off-screen, she became the only Lady General in the Imperium's history.
* WhatWouldXDo: Asks herself this about Cain.
-->'''Cain:''' And then did the opposite, I hope.

[[folder:Grifen's squad]]

The soldiers of Grifen's squad are a mixed squad of the Valhallan 597th. They include Sergeant Grifen, Corporal Mari Magot, Janny Drere, and Vorhees. Cain gained respect for them after the events of Simla Orichalcae: Grifen and Magot managed to survive where ''hardened stormtroopers'' did not.

* BattleCouple: Implied between Grifen and Magot.
* RedOniBlueOni: Grifen is blue.
* SergeantRock: Thanks to her leadership, her squad is consistently one of the toughest and most successful in the regiment.

!!!Mari Magot
* BerserkButton: Let's just say she has a few, but threatening Grifen is a big one. WouldntHitAGirl seems to be another big one. When a Tallarn squad refuses to participate in an athletic competition because the Valhallan 597th team has women on it, she tracks down the squad leader responsible and thrashes him. To quote Cain: "Knowing Magot, she undoubtedly threw the first punch. And probably the next couple too."
* BloodKnight: She relishes any chance she gets for a good fight.
* DrivesLikeCrazy: Remarked as being the only other driver in the regiment that's comparable to Jurgen. Cain can recognize when she's behind the wheel, even when he's not inside the vehicle. The following exchange takes place after a Chimera roars into a crowd of refugees and [[CarFu runs over a Tyranid Lictor]].
--> '''Cain''': "Nice driving, Magot."\\
'''Margot''': "You're welcome, commissar. How did you know it was me?"\\
'''Cain''': "Lucky guess."
* FieryRedHead: She has bright red hair, and her... exuberant personality definitely lives up to the fiery aspect -- as does her kill count.
* PsychoLesbian: A somewhat benevolent version, as most of her lethal instincts are channelled into fighting enemies of the Imperium.
* RedOniBlueOni: Very, very red with Grifen's blue.
* SociopathicSoldier: Cain describes Magot as "a cheerfully sociopathic young woman" who would probably have caused the civilian authorities plenty of trouble if the Imperial Guard hadn't channelled her energy towards the enemy.
* TradingBarsForStripes: Cain strongly suspects that this trope is how Magot got into the Guard in the first place.

!!! Janny Drere
* BattleCouple: With Vorhees.
* {{Cyborg}}: After needing an augmetic lung.
* VaderBreath: which can occasionally be heard.
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes: Understandably nervous about the prospect of ambulls, given the injuries they inflicted on her.

!!! Vorhees
* BattleCouple: With Drere.
* BerserkButton: Don't threaten Janny when he's around.
* ScreamingWarrior: Cain mentions that there was angry roaring going on when Drere was injured, but doesn't specify if it was Vorhees or the ambull. Amberly allows that "either or both" seemed reasonable.
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes: He's just as nervous around ambulls as Janny is.

[[folder:"Jinxie" Penlan]]

A sergeant in the Valhallan 597th, Penlan is noted for being very accident-prone, leading to her nickname "Jinxie".

* CursedWithAwesome: She causes accidents through her clumsiness every time she's mentioned. They all work out in her favour though, so it's something to laugh about. Also, her squad have heightened morale, as they trust her to be the resident WeirdnessMagnet.
* CuteClumsyGirl: She's quite accident-prone, but the fact that it generally works to her squad's advantage has made her into something of a combination mascot / good luck charm.
* EatingTheEyeCandy: In ''The Traitor's Hand'' she was almost jealous of a picture of Slaaneshi artwork in a sexual position she thought impossible. Cain assured her it wasn't possible, and that even if it was it would be against regulations.
* IJustShotMarvinInTheFace: In ''The Last Ditch'' she hits a heavy weapon with the butt of her lasgun, causing it to discharge. Fortunately, it hit an Ork pilot.
* LethalKlutz: Although fortunately for her and her squadmates, she hasn't caused any friendly fire incidents this way -- the only things killed in such incidents tend to be things the Valhallans are trying to kill in the first place.
* SergeantRock: It's sometimes lost under the focus her reputation for being a klutz gets, but she's an effective leader in her own fashion.
* UnluckilyLucky: Her clumsiness always causes problems, but they always end up working in her and her companions' favor. This actually improves her squad's morale since they trust her to be resident WeirdnessMagnet.
-->'''Cain:''' She's not nearly as accident-prone as she's supposed to be. I'll grant you she fell down an ambull tunnel once, and there was that incident with the frag grenade and the latrine trench, but things tend to work out for her. The orks on Kastafore was as surprised as she was when the floor in the factory collapsed, and we'd have walked into right into that hrud ambush on Skweki if she hadn't triggered the mine by chucking an empty food tin away...
** It's about this point Cain realizes what he's saying.


A sergeant in Sulla's platoon, who shows extreme professionalism in his job, something Cain appreciates when needing his back covered.

* ConsummateProfessional: Something Cain likes.
* FieldPromotion: Is bumped up to Lieutenant when Sulla is given a brevet Captaincy.
* {{Irony}}: Lustig was one of those "I work for a living" Guardsmen who disdained officers. His field promotion's irony was not lost on Cain.
* SergeantRock: For most of the series.
* UpThroughTheRanks: As above.


!! Amberley Vail and entourage
Whilst travelling around the galaxy aboard her personal yacht ''Exterminatus Externus'', Amberley Vail finds numerous persons whose talents she may put to good use. No one had denied her requests for help yet, because saying "No" to an inquisitor is usually suicidal at best. As such, she acquires a personal RagtagBunchOfMisfits to assist her on her missions. Their personality quirks are numerous to the point that Cain wonders if she specifically searches for {{Bunny Ears Lawyer}}s. (Amberley's footnote replies that she doesn't actually look for eccentrics, but she works in a strange business and the people involved are bound to be unusual.)

Although technically Cain and Jurgen work on her behalf, they are still active Guardsmen and as such don't count.

[[folder:Inquisitor Amberley Vail]]
An inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos, she's met Cain during his campaign of Gravalax, and he's remained her agent[[note]]And a lover[[/note]] ever since. Amberley appears to be unusually unaffected by her experiences and knowledge, able to face the universe with a smile and a quip, only occasionally allowing the strain to show to her closest allies. To most who meet her, she appears as a cheerful, slightly whimsical young woman about as far from the normal appearance of an Inquisitor as it is possible to be (which is, of course, the point).

She is also the editor of Cain's memoirs, cutting and cobbling them together from a stream-of-conciousness into something readable, providing footnotes and general overview of the current situation[[note]]and very likely editing personal commentaries about herself and other women Cain have known over the course of the series[[/note]]. Amberley is both Cain's critic and his ardent defender, as exhibited by her copious footnotes.

* TheAce: Some of this comes with the office: a successful Inquisitor must think fast and well, be a master of plots and deceptions, and fight at least decently. Massive resources and theoretically unlimited social/political power add to the impression as well. Still, Amberley's sheer unflappability and ability to be a step ahead of everyone make her an Ace among Aces.
* ActionGirl
* BadassAdorable
* BattleCouple: With [[LoveInterest Ciaphas]], at least once while she's wearing ''[[BlingOfWar Golden]] PowerArmor.''
* BlingOfWar: Amberley's powered armor is bright gold and covered in lots and lots of devotional icons.
* BondOneLiner
-->"Consider yourself relieved of your position."
* BunnyEarsLawyer: Invoked. Also possibly a straight example -- Cain points out she's using all of her elaborate disguises and personas because she's just having fun.
* TheChainsOfCommanding -- Amberley usually hides it behind her flippant, cheerful mask, but on several occasions she admits to Cain that it's hard for her to remain detached from the suffering caused by the intrigues it's her job to prevent.
* TheChanteuse: This is her cover in the first book. Cain specifically notes her sultry ''contralto'' singing voice when the two are first introduced.
* ClingyJealousGirl: Amberley shows signs of this in the footnotes whenever the young Cain has a new relationship with another woman. Also, in ''The Last Ditch'', when Cain expressly denies having any liaisons other than Amberley, her comment is as pointed as it is laconic: "So I would hope."
* DeadpanSnarker: Presumably, this is one reason she and [[FirstPersonSmartass Cain]] get along so famously.
* {{Foil}}: Again to Cain. Amberley shares his talents at manipulation, charisma, and snark, but is dedicated, courageous, and a pragmatic idealist of sorts where Cain's a deeply skeptical cynic. She's also ready to defend him when he's always ready to condemn himself.
* GenkiGirl
* HeroOfAnotherStory: There are just enough hints and passed-over {{Noodle Incident}}s in the footnotes to imply that Amberley has been involved in some interesting adventures herself when she's not working with Cain. Then again, she's an Inquisitor, so that's to be expected.
* IUhYouToo: Though nothing of the sort is ever said [[SexyDiscretionShot "on camera"]], Vail does at least admit in the footnotes that she and Cain were more comfortable around each other than around most others. Which would be cute enough, if it wasn't an ''Inquisitor'' talking.
* ManipulativeBastard: Not evil by any means, but like Cain, Amberley's very good at manipulating others' feelings.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: More like Obfuscating Eccentricity. She acts like a cheerfully whimsical woman, which belies how dangerous she really is.
* OlderThanTheyLook: Inquisitors have their secrets. She's apparently remained young for around fifty years at least.
* OnlySaneWoman: Amberley certainly believes ''herself'' to be among the less-crazy Inquisitors, with similar respect for Inquisitors of the Ordo Xenos in general. She has particularly obvious disdain for many of the Ordo Malleus, and unflattering descriptions of the more stereotypical Inquisitors of the 40k universe. Case in point: when Cain describes the Inquisition as "the Emperor's pet psychopaths," Amberley refers to it as "Not the most flattering description." In nine books and counting, she has never once denied that it was accurate.
* SpyCatsuit: Amberley is frequently described as wearing a "bodyglove," which is exactly what it sounds like. Sometimes it's because it's the suit she wears to interface with her powered armor, but she's also got a red one which she wears in social situations.
* TeamMom: To her retinue. Although she's rather blunt and doesn't waste time grieving when one of her aides dies, she's clearly fond of them and seems to treat them as friends.
* UnreliableNarrator: More subtly than Cain, but you'd be just as wise taking anything ''she'' claims in her editorial notes with a pinch of salt.
* WhenSheSmiles: She's charming enough in any case, but her laugh really turns it up.

[[folder: Caractacus Mott]]
Amberley's savant, a sage enhanced with an augmetic implant that gives him access to an enormous amount of information and considerable mathematical and analytical skill. Unfortunately, this also makes him ramble compulsively as his mind forms peculiar attachments. A decent guy, despite being often annoying, and apparently ''very'' helpful when it comes to gambling.

* ArtificialLimbs: Bionic legs in this case.
* AwesomeByAnalysis: Mott's nature as a Savant means that while he rambles excessively, he can be a massive help in certain situations. Of course, Cain fondly remembers the times that he and Mott [[MundaneUtility decimate any card games with that same ability to count cards.]]
* BadassGrandpa: Caractacus is an elderly sage in a robe. He's also regularly running through firefights with apparently little to no body armor, without hesitation. However, he is a mostly artificial cyborg.
* {{Cyborg}}: Mott is largely mechanical from the neck down. This gives him the speed and resilience implied above, as well as built-in skates.
* DeadpanSnarker
--> '''Mott''': Which reminds me, thank you for coming to our assistance. It was most timely.\\
'''Cain''': My pleasure.\\
'''Mott''': "Then you have an extremely perverse idea of what constitutes fun. You should get out more."
* {{Expy}}: Of Gregor Literature/{{Eisenhorn}}'s savant Uber Aemos. Mott is a bit more fortunate, though; he seems more just terribly ''fond'' of information rather than literally addicted, and his augmetics are of better quality.
* TheMadnessPlace[=/=]MotorMouth: Once Mott gets started rambling, it's very hard to stop him politely, since he has a compulsive need to keep working out his thoughts.
* NoSocialSkills: Unless he happens get sidetracked gushing about something he has an interest in and knows a great deal about (which is most things), Mott has a tendency to be blunt, abrasive, and to the point in conversation. Subtlety and tact are not his strengths.
* SherlockScan

Amberley's sanctioned psyker, Rakel is, by any conventional measure, quite insane. Although Amberley says she's not always that difficult (especially with the proper medication), Ciaphas is habitually wary of her, particularly since she tends to carry a laspistol. Rakel's reaction to Jurgen was how Amberley discovered the gunner was a blank.

* BigEater
* InnocentFanserviceGirl: Rakel's ignorance of, or contempt for, social norms includes wearing a dress that's rather too small for her. Although she's not a bad-looking woman, [[FanDisservice everyone else finds her madness too disturbing for it to be sexy]].
* {{Jerkass}}: Not really her fault; she's just crazy and hard to be around.
* MindProbe: Rakel's mostly used by Amberley as a living scrying device to find psychic phenomena. She's never demonstrated any active destructive powers on-screen.
* TheOphelia
* RecklessGunUsage: Who thought it was a good idea to give a clearly-unstable psyker a pistol? Granted, this is 40K, where half the setting revolves around giving clearly unstable people weapons and pointing them in the direction of whatever you want to die.
* TalkativeLoon
* {{Telepathy}}


A former Commissar who went off the deep end, Amberley picked him up from a Penal Legion where he had been fitted with a combat drug injector.

* TheBerserker: When his lasgun ran out of power he started using it as a bludgeon. Against ''[[BugWar Tyranids]]''.
* DrivenToMadness: While a Commissar, he succumbed to battle stress and ordered a squad executed for failing to salute a superior officer during an artillery barrage.
* HowTheMightyHaveFallen: Cain's reaction to learning Simeon was a former Commissar.
* ThePoliticalOfficer: Used to be his job.



A former member of the Adeptus Arbites, he was undercover in a cartel for so long his handlers thought he had gone over so they tried to pull him back in. Pelton, however, managed to cause the cartel to fracture under a civil war by a simple murder frame up. The Arbiters were going to execute him, but Amberley managed to attach him to her retinue.

* CowboyCop
* InSeriesNickname: "Flicker".
* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight: Instead of allowing himself to be brought in and let his work go to waste, he murdered a syndicate member and blamed another member for it. The resulting [[MobWar Mob]] CivilWar brought down the entire syndicate. Cain didn't see the problem with that.
* ShipTease: With Zemelda


[[folder: Yanbel]]

A techpriest, Yanbel serves both the Omnissiah and the Inquisition.

* {{Cyborg}}: He's a techpriest, it's a given.
* TheEngineer: Can be quite effective in a fight, but usually his role is to maintain Amberley's power armor and other equipment.


[[folder: Zemelda Cleat]]

A former fast-food worker on Periremunda who was caught in a genestealer assassination attempt on Cain, and actually managed to kill a few. Hired by Amberley, she soon showed that she was competent enough in a firefight, and also served to run errands for Amberley in her disguise.

* DareToBeBadass
* ShipTease: With Pelton
* UnusualEuphemism[=/=]TotallyRadical: Even Amberley never figured out half of what she was saying.


!!Imperial Guard

Members of the Imperial Guard outside of the Valhallans, including some of Cain's fellow Commissars.

[[folder:Lord General Zyvan]]

A Lord General of the Imperial Guard who oversaw operations which the Valhallans served in on Gravalax, Adumbria, and Periremunda, and also commanded the Guard on Quadravidia and Fecundia in ''The Greater Good''. He appreciated Cain's tactical insight and regarded Cain highly.

* TheBrigadier
* TheChainsOfCommanding: Cain often notes that he and Zyvan hit it off and became something of a friends because Ciaphas - as a Commissar, out of command structure - is the only person around whom Lord General can just be himself.
* AFatherToHisMen: Noted as having a genuine concern about the troops under his command.
* NoNameGiven: Zyvan's around for half the series but Ciaphas never does tell us what his first name is.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: In contrast to the frequent portrayal of Imperial Guard flag officers as {{General Failure}}s, {{Insane Admiral}}s, and/or {{General Ripper}}s, Zyvan pays close attention to his subordinates' input and makes an effort not to risk their lives needlessly.


[[folder: Tomas Beije]]

A fellow cadet at the Schola Progenium which Cain studied at. He is Commissar to the Tallarn 227th regiment.

* CruelMercy: After he finds himself being investigated on charges of gross incompetence for interfering with Cain's mission, Cain mentions that he intends to pull some strings to get Beije off the hook... in part because he knows that Beije will find being in Cain's debt absolutely intolerable.
* KnightTemplar
* LaserGuidedKarma: His attempt to arrest Cain on charges of desertion and cowardice get ''him'' charged with gross incompetence for interfering with Cain's mission by the Commissariat tribunal he called to charge Cain. Cain said he'd pull a few strings to help him out.
* HumiliationConga: ''Dear God.'' First, he comes to arrest Cain for cowardice and desertion, only to find out Cain has his hands trying to prevent a daemonic summoning. Then a (male) cultist kisses him as he tries to interrogate him. Then it turns out Cain was right, and is perfectly willing to talk back to a Greater Daemon. Then Cain defeats the daemon (Beije getting attacked in the process), earning the admiration and respect of the Emperor-botherers Beije had brought with him, undermining his authority further. Then, once Cain is put on trial, the jury not only clears Cain of all charges, but starts looking into charges of incompetence for Beije. And when they're out of the courtroom, Cain reminds Beije that they still have a duel to fight (Beije having referred to Kasteen as a "petticoat colonel"), so Beije is forced to hastily apologize to her. And finally (assuming he wasn't executed or transferred elsewhere), the Tallarns he was with have started a splinter cult ''worshipping'' Cain as the Emperor's will made manifest.
* LawfulStupid:
** Burned down a Chaos cult's ritual site before the Imperial Guard could investigate it and learn anything. Lord General Zyvan was ''not'' pleased.
** Also attempted to torture information out of a cultist. Someone who worships Slaanesh. The God of Pleasure. Whose followers take pleasure from doing literally ''anything,'' including having their own limbs chopped off. As is pointed out in the text, torturing masochists is [[TooKinkyToTorture at best counterproductive]].
* TheResenter: To Cain. And '''how'''. He's EXTREMELY jealous of Cain, because back at the Schola, Cain was... essentially, the same as he is now, but less restrained and probably still [[ReallyGetsAround really getting around]]. Cain became a '''HERO OF THE IMPERIUM''', being in frequent contact with a Lord General Militant, having constant praises and honors heaped on him, while by contrast Beije was stuck on Tallarn, with nowhere near a fraction of Cain's glory.
* TheRival: To Cain.


[[folder: Colonel Asmar]]

The Commander of the Tallarn 227th. He's very uptight.

* KnightTemplar
* LawfulStupid: See Beije's above mention for the info.
* SeriousBusiness: Everything he does.
* StayInTheKitchen: His attitude toward women is not very open, which is part of his problem with the Valhallan 597th.


!! Adeptus Mechanicus

Members of the Adeptus Mechanicus that Cain has come across in his lifetime.

A member of the mechanus who was assigned to their end of the investigation into the theft of the Shadowlight.

* CoolPlane: Well an Ornithopter anyway.


An Adept on Simia Orichalcae, who was noted as being more reasonable in solving disputes, but also got quite distracted by the Necron tomb on the planet.

* DidntThinkThisThrough: Went with a group of Mechanicus adepts to explore the Necron tomb, but they were all killed except for him.
* DrivenToMadness: Between awe at the Necrons' superior technology and PTSD from his comrades' slaughter at their hands, he cracks noticeably, alternating between referring to them worshipfully and bloody-minded vengefulness.
* MachineWorship
* ReassignmentBackfire: {{Implied|Trope}}. After the events on Simia Orichalcae, Amberley explains that Logash goes onto an unspectacular career as a Magos assigned to the Noctis Labyrinth on Mars. That's the resting place of the Void Dragon, one of the C'Tan who the Necrons worshipped (and is all but stated to be the Machine God the Adeptus Mechanicus worship).

[[folder: Felicia Tayber]]

An adept on Perlia, who worked with Cain during his trek across the planet after being separated from his regiment in ''Death or Glory''. She reappears in ''Cain's Last Stand'' as the Magos in charge of the Mechanicus research effort into the Shadowlight.

* ArtificialLimbs: Has a mechandrite that looks exactly like a tail. According to Ciaphas, it is actually attached directly to her tailbone (and Amberly wonders precisely ''how'' [[ReallyGetsAround he learned this]]).
* GenkiGirl: Highly unusual for the Mechanicus, who disdain emotions and try to rise above them. One of her teachers thought this would limit her prospects.
* IWasQuiteALooker: Unusually for this trope, we see Felicia both as a rather attractive young woman, and as a typically disturbing-looking tech-priestess as an older woman.
* MachineWorship: {{Downplayed|Trope}}, as she is noted to be more secular in her outlook than other tech-priests. She does however mourn the "death" of a servitor, and Cain suspects she never really forgave him for blowing up the Mechanicus Shrine Dam.
* PetTheDog: Surprisingly serves as this for [[ThePigPen Jur]][[AlmightyJanitor gen]]. Thanks him and compliments his cooking, calls him a cog (Mechanicus compliment for an unnoticed part that helps the whole function), recognises him the better part of a century later... It's about the nicest anyone ever is to the poor guy, short of [[HeterosexualLifePartners Cain himself]].
* RankUp: Made Magos between ''Death or Glory'' and ''Cain's Last Stand''.



A renegade member of the Adeptus Mechanicus who stole the Shadowlight from Perlia with the help of Ernst Killian. He and Killian hoped to use the Shadowlight to awaken the psychic powers of humanity to battle Chaos.

* ForScience: His whole reason for stealing the Shadowlight.
* MachineWorship
* MadScientist


A Magos supervising the archaeotech dig that turned into Cain's first encounter with Necrons, in "Echoes of the Tomb." Dies jumping in front of a gauss flayer to save Cain's life. The ironic coincidence of his name's with the villain from ''Duty Calls'' is never examined.

* NiceGuy
* TakingTheBullet: The gauss flayer blast.
* TooDumbToLive: Fixed a Necron scout machine.


Senior Magos Biologis on Fecundia, engaged in research on the Tyranid hivemind.

* DyingAsYourself[=/=]IKnowYoureInThereSomewhereFight: [[spoiler:Cain and the Reclaimers realize that Kildhar was infected by genestealers aboard the ''Spawn of Damnation'', explaining her counterproductive actions through most of the book. Cain and Sholer present her with the evidence and after hitting her with the ArmorPiercingQuestion of when the last time she had herself fitted with new tech was, the genestealer takes over and Cain is forced to fatally shoot her. Her last words are that she was last upgraded 65 years ago, before the ''Spawn of Damnation'', and to use her remains for research.]]
* ForScience: Entirely willing to toss caution (and what passes for ethics among the Mechanicus) to the wind and run a ''genestealer breeding program'', something that visibly shocks even the deeply pragmatic (and pokerfaced) Tau emissary at first. In addition to that, [[spoiler:her last words are a request to use her remains as research material rather than destroy them]].
* ManchurianAgent: [[spoiler:Was implanted by genestealers over 60 years ago. The broodmind never took direct control of her actions but has been subconsciously "nudging" her towards a disastrous course ever since.]]

!! The Administratum

Members of the Administratum, the bureaucracy of the Imperium.


A scrivener who served on Simia Orichale, who was rather reasonable for a Adept of the Administratum.

* HeroesWantRedheads: His notes on meetings showed he was more interested in Kasteen than what was going on.
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: Subverted, as he was quite reasonable.



A scrivener of the Administratum on Perlia, he helped managed the logistics of Cain's ragtag army cut off from the Imperial Guard.

* ObstructiveBureaucrat: Averted. His experience in the Imperial bureaucracy proved quite an asset to Cain.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure



The Administratum adept assigned as bursar to the Schola Cain teaches at in ''Cain's Last Stand''.

* ObfuscatingStupidity
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: Subverted. He initially looks like one, but proves effective at working the bureaucracy to gather information and coordinate logistics.


!! The Inquisition

[[folder: Ernest Stavros Killian]]

A Radical Inquisitor who stole the Shadowlight from Perlia, using a group of Battle-Sisters.

* BigBad: Of ''Duty Calls''.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Thought Cain had some sort of device which cancelled the Shadowlight's abilities. In fact it was Jurgen, and the minute he got out of Jurgen's AntiMagic field the Shadowlight came back on, killing him.
* MeaningfulName: His first and middle names are clearly a reference to Franchise/JamesBond's early nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld, and he has several traits of Bond villains.
* StateSec
* WellIntentionedExtremist: How Radical Xanthians are usually portrayed. Killian doesn't come off so well.
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: To the Sisters of Battle.


!! Adepta Sororitas

Members of the Adepta Sororitas (namely, the Sisters of Battle, their Orders Militant) that Cain came across in his time during the Commissariat. Cain mostly feels them to be a collection of tactically useless {{Leeroy Jenkins}}es.


The Canoness of the Adepta Sororitas on Periremunda, she was used by Inquisitor Ernest Killian to retrieve the Shadowlight.

* TheAtoner: For being led astray by Killian
* DeathEqualsRedemption: After being led astray by Killian, she concludes that she and her order can only recieve absolution through dying against the tyranids.
* TheFundamentalist



The Sister Superior of a squad of Celestians who Cain encountered during the Battle of Periremunda.

* TheAtoner: For leaving the Emperor's Temple undefended.
* {{Badass}}: Non-badasses don't get to ''join'' Celestian squads, let alone ''lead'' them, and she is shown to be Badass even by the standards of her order: She racks up a huge body count in the battle for Aceralbaterra and is last seen giving a pretty good account of herself against a Genestealer Broodlord.
* DeathEqualsRedemption: Saw fighting to the death against the tyranids as atonement for being led astray by Inquisitor Killian.
* KnightTemplar: Was so carried away by bloodlust that Cain had to remind her that there were civilians in the Emperor's Temple who needed protection, pulling her back to reality.



Head of the Sororitas at Schola Progenium on Perlia Cain teaches at.

* ChainsawGood: Naturally, she has a chainsword.
* ItsPersonal: With the Necrons, over Sanctuary 101.
* TheLadette[=/=]StereotypeFlip: And gets along with the "Emperor-botherer"-disliking Cain quite well because of it. This is a Sister of Battle who drinks, gambles proficiently, and is romantically involved with the schola's bursar.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: She's essentially Cain's DistaffCounterpart, appearing to be teaching her Sororitas initiates to value people, not just litanies.


!!The Reclaimers
[[caption-width-right:250:Cain and the Reclaimers aboard the ''Spawn of Damnation''.]]
The Reclaimers are a loyalist Adeptus Astartes chapter with close ties to the Adeptus Mechanicus. Cain was the Imperial Guard liaison officer to them during the Viridia and Serendipita campaigns (''The Emperor's Finest''), and they were later deployed along with the Swords of the Emperor chapter to relieve the Guard, including the two regiments that would later become the 597th Valhallan, on Corania (just prior to ''For the Emperor''). A small detachment also made an appearance in ''The Greater Good''.

The Reclaimers are one of the ''Astartes Praeses'', a group of twenty Space Marine chapters originally created to guard the Eye of Terror (seventeen remain, one having been destroyed and two others declared ''Excommunicate Traitoris''). Their progenitor chapter is not stated, but organizationally they have similarities to the Iron Hands. As a whole they're one of the kindlier chapters but almost as tech-obsessed as the techpriests. Due to their ties to the Mechanicus they have better tech than usual for the space marines, as well as a higher-than-normal complement of Techmarines.

[[folder:Brother-Captain Gries]]
Leader of the Reclaimers expeditionary force dispatched to quell the rebellion on Viridia.

* BadassBaritone: A common trait of the Adeptus Astartes.
* TheCaptain: To avoid confusion, aboard the Strike Cruiser ''Revenant'' Gries is addressed as "captain" and the actual captain of the ship has the title "shipmaster."

A senior Techmarine who sparred with Cain several times while the ''Revenant'' tracked the ''Spawn of Damnation''. Crafted Cain's augmetic fingers.

* NiceGuy: The other Reclaimers, while courteous to Cain, are still somewhat aloof. Drumon is much friendlier and Cain considered their sparring sessions one of the highlights of his time aboard the ''Revenant''.
* PutOnABus: Or rather Put On A Space Hulk. Volunteered to remain behind on the ''Spawn of Damnation'' as it returned to the Warp at some point after the events of "The Emperor's Finest" and hasn't rejoined the Chapter as of ''The Greater Good'', set 65 years after ''The Emperor's Finest''. Given what [[HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace tends to happen]] to those who spend too long in the warp, it might count as a BusCrash.
* SwordAndGun: Plasma pistol and power sword. Outright compared to Cain's own (less powerful but similar in function) favoured weapons.


A senior Apothecary. First encountered in ''The Emperor's Finest'', where he is the one to attach Cain's augmetic fingers, then returns in ''The Greater Good'' as part of a joint Reclaimers/Mechanicus research project.

* EveryoneHasStandards: While a bit too excited at the prospect of studying live Tyranids, he absolutely refuses to go with Kildhar's plan of allowing recently captured gaunts to join the ones they already had. When Kildhar does this without informing him or Cain, he hits the button to close the gate so hard he ''breaks it''.
* NiceGuy: Like Drumon, he comes across as a lot more personable than most Astartes.
* ForScience: Like his Mechanicus counterpart, he is a bit too excited about the potential revelations to fully consider the risk inherent in experimenting on live Tyranids.



!!The Tau Empire
A federation of a half-dozen alien species on the Eastern Fringe of the Imperium of Man, the Tau Empire arrived on the galactic stage relatively recently. Spared by a warp storm from Imperial extermination in the 36th Millennium, the tau began annexing Imperial planets in the Damocles Gulf (where the ''Cain'' novels take place) in the 8th century M41. The Imperium retaliated, launching the Damocles Gulf Crusade to reclaim its lost territory and wipe out the xenos, but quickly found that the tau, in Cain's words, "know how to put on a good war."

In the wake of the Crusade, for the next 200 years until the series the Tau Empire has maintained hostilities with the much larger Imperium at the level of a SpaceColdWar: duking it out over the odd planet here and there but never committing to full-scale war because neither side can afford it:
* If humanity brought all its force to bear on the tau, the tau would lose, guaranteed, but the force required would allow threats elsewhere in the galaxy to gain a foothold.
* Conversely the tau can't antagonize the Imperium ''too much'' or else the humans might take the risk and worry about the cleanup later.

The tau and many of the local human commanders, among them Cain and Lord General Zyvan, are also pragmatic enough to [[EnemyMine work together against greater threats]] such as the tyranids, who care nothing for flags or national borders.

A tau diplomat and a member of the Water Caste, he serves as ambassador to the Imperium in ''For the Emperor'' and ''The Greater Good''.

* LimitedAdvancementOpportunities: Under tau {{Fantastic Naming Convention}}s the "El'" part of his name denotes his rank in the Water Caste. He hasn't gotten a promotion in 61 years. That said, it is the second-highest rank a tau can achieve, and few ever get as far as he has.
* OddFriendship: Cain saved his life back in ''For the Emperor''. Sixty-one years later in ''The Greater Good'', he seeks out Cain as his opposite number in the face of Hive Fleet Kraken's invasion, and the two strike up something of a friendship.