Character list for the Cosmic Horror Story webcomic, Soul to Call.
Avril:An athletic girl who arms herself with blunt objects and snark. She's not afraid to use force as a solution to the problems that face her.
- Action Girl: This is a given.
- Badass Normal: No special super-powers or species traits, but she kicks a lot of ass.
- Charles Atlas Super Power: She ripped apart the leather restraints holding her to a chair, twice. Unfortunately, it was too late to stop the ritual that marked her to be The Shadow's sacrifice. She's also agile enough to jump off a moving train without receiving injury, and she's both scaled and jumped over rather large, sturdy barriers with ease.
- Combat Pragmatist: She will do whatever it takes to win a fight. Justified as losing usually means death, or worse.
- Crime of Self-Defense: (Whistles) Perhaps the worst case in fiction as it's combined with Written by the Winners. As Avril is reviewing her official file, as presented by Tiffany, the narrative calls her a discipline issue for getting into fights. Her flashback, on the other-hand, has her being viciously attacked and then getting arrested for fighting back...
- Crowbar Combatant: Her first weapon in the story was a crowbar. The Bleeding Irises cult takes it away near the end of chapter 2, and she's had to make do ever since.
- Defeating the Undefeatable: She's the first person ever to devise a valid plan to defeat and kill a Shadow. It works better than could possibly be expected.
- Fiery Redhead: Her hair's a bit on the pink side, but everything else about the trope fits. Her aura even reminds Eli of fire, a comparison that she likes.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With James and Eli. She may still be rough around the edges, but she's noticeably much nicer to James and Eli than to anyone else, and they happily cover each other's backs.
- Frame-Up: Implied. As Avril's reading her own case file, the last memory she has is of the girl she supposedly murdered yelling a warning that "they are out to kill you."
- Friend to All Living Things: Surprisingly. She runs up to a horse, that has apparently lost its rider, and pets it, all without startling the animal, and she does it in the same way that expert animal trainers handle horses.
- Hidden Depths: She's an excellent amateur cartographer. She drew a very accurate map of the city while she was on watch as of the latest updates. James praises her for this.
- Instant Expert: She can and will master any weapon she gets her hands on without any previous on-screen practice or use. In the latest update, she not only manages to subdue a Bleeding Iris sniper, but she takes the sniper's rifle and mows down not one but two Bleeding Iris cultists, consecutively, in a situation where she could not afford to miss, and both shots are kill shots, even giving one a Pretty Little Headshot. It is later justified when it's revealed she actually has Order military training.
- I Work Alone: She's been trying this since chapter 1. It hasn't worked out for her.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's rude, crude, obnoxious, and won't hesitate to sacrifice you to the super-natural horrors of the world setting to save her own skin, but she's the first human ever to both treat and refer to Eli as a person.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Beaten, bloody, desperate, and with the beginnings of a concussion, she was still willing to fight James to escape The Order when he had a shotgun in her face. After noticing two members of The Order also had shotguns aimed at her, she wisely backed down immediately and offered no resistance. James then came to her defense against Marcus.
- Le Parkour: Does this all the time. Considering the setting, this method of travel makes perfect sense.
- Little Miss Snarker: The occasions where she won't snark are few and far between.
- Living Emotional Crutch: She serves this role for Eli. The closest he's ever come to having a good night's sleep has been clinging to her arm.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: The Masculine Girl to Eli's Feminine Guy.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Very narrowly averted when she found out anathema are "human" in just about every respect.
- The Paragon Always Rebels: She used to be a member of The Order, until she rebelled and killed a fellow "cadet." The particulars are not yet clear.
- Parental Abandonment: Her mother is never mentioned, and her father disappeared inside "the fog."
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Perfectly justified, after seeing the aftermath of an Order purge and knowing the Order considers her a "heretic," she wants to simply run and hide, leaving the town far behind them. James tries very hard to convince her that this will only make things worse for her in the Order's eyes.
- Sins of Our Fathers: While her tenure under The Order has never been nice, it really started going bad when her father "disappeared" presumably having betrayed The Order, even though her innocence was proven in what passes for Order "courts."
- Sour Outside, Sad Inside: The more we learn about her back story, the more her abrasive personality makes sense.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: She doesn't work well with anybody either, at least not until she, James, and Eli become Fire-Forged Friends, although she's still rough around the edges.
- These Hands Have Killed: There's a damn good reason she fears The Order. She used to be a member and killed a fellow "recruit." She's shocked James didn't know about it.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Her treatment of Eli has been slowly, but surely, improving over the course of the story. Scary thing is, even at the beginning, she's been the best example of humanity he's ever seen.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: If you value your life, do not mess with Eli.
- When She Smiles: Her smile is a rare, heartwarming experience.
EliA meek kid with a strong sixth sense. He enjoys cooking and reading.
- All-Loving Hero: He is literally incapable of being cruel to anyone. Makes the actions of the Bleeding Iris cultists just that much more despicable.
- Apologizes Alot: He's constantly apologizing for everything. This behavior becomes completely understandable once you learn just what kind of abuse he's been through.
- Aura Vision: He's got this. He sees people by their "light."
- Because You Were Nice to Me: He's unquestionably loyal to Avril. Compared to everybody else he's ever met, (or the way she treats everybody else) her treatment of him is exceptionally benevolent.
- Big "NO!": He yells out his utter refusal to comply with the Bleeding Iris cultists who are trying to push him around while tormenting James in front of him. The cultist who was pushing Eli around, doesn't take it well, and pulls a gun on Eli to be shot in the head by Avril.
- Blessed with Suck: He's got some rather nifty super-powers. The price for those powers, has been a horrifically abusive life, and everybody going after his blood. Quite a few, literally. Oh, and a nigh-unstoppable "Shadow" trying to eat his soul.
- Broken Bird: The list of abuses he hasn't been through is a very short list, and it shows.
- Death Seeker: Avril accuses him of being one when he asks to be left behind one time too often.
- Avril: "I don't have a death wish, but YOU do!"
- Identical Stranger: It's later revealed that he looks a lot like Simon, Marcus' deceased younger brother.
- The Insomniac: Due to horrific nightmares. Without Avril serving as a Living Emotional Crutch, he can not sleep soundly, and it shows.
- Interrupted Suicide: It would seem so when Avril found him. There was a ready made noose over a trap door in the room where they met.
- I Will Only Slow You Down: He believes this. Avril strongly disagrees. Which is quite telling after seeing how many others she's been more than happy to "leave behind."
- Living MacGuffin: He believes he is one. He's right.
- Made a Slave: In all but name some time before the story began.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: He cooks, he reads, and he's very submissive while Avril is the Action Girl.
- Memento Macguffin: All that he has left of his mother is a piece of the blanket she gave him.
- Morality Chain: He's the only thing keeping Avril as a good person.
- Mundane Object Amazement: Eli is thrilled upon being given a bag of raisins, and immediately dreams of making oatmeal-raisin cookies.
- Parental Abandonment: He knows who his mother is, but she seems to have disappeared when he was 10, as the last birthday he celebrated with her was his tenth. His father has yet to be mentioned.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: When his eyes glow red, RUN. He won't hurt you, but something else that just showed up, will.
- Sleep Cute: He passes out clinging to Avril's sleeve, and the entire audience unanimously went "D'aww."
- Sorry I Fell on Your Fist: He's taken on this attitude as a direct result of his horrific abuse.
- Spider-Sense: He can detect the incoming supernatural horrors of the world setting long before anyone else can see or hear them. Unfortunately, this very aspect of his being acts like a magnet for them.
- Staring Down Cthulhu: While protecting James, he manages to stare down The Shadow. It was even backing off, until it smelled Avirl's blood and then decided to go after her. What makes this act extra-badass is that the last time they were in a staring contest, the Shadow nearly made his eyes explode.
- Thou Shall Not Kill: Enforced. Just the thought of killing someone or something gives him immense physical and psychological pain, even if done in self-defense. He has an epic Freak Out when James offers him a knife for self-defense.
- Vague Age: Seems he's been treated like a slave for so long, even he doesn't know his age. His last birthday was at age 10.
- When He Smiles: His life's been so rough, he doesn't have much to smile about, but when something makes him happy, it's absolutely adorable. Even James is touched.
James O' BrianA stoic man and expert gunslinger. Contracted as a guide for the Order.
- Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: James plans to tell the Order that as far as he's aware, Avril and Eli got killed by The Shadow.
- Et Tu, Brute?: He seemingly plans to tell the Order that Avril and Eli are dead, presumed eaten by The Shadow, while they continue their journey without him, however, the next morning, the Order show up and Avril is angry at him. Subverted when it turns out James didn't lead the Order there after all, they just got there themselves, and James is in just as much trouble for breaking the contract he had with them.
- Grumpy Bear: While he's not exactly hostile to Avril and Eli, he's not exactly pleasant either.
- The Gunslinger: Lampshaded. He's Famed in Story for his skill with guns.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: He wears extra belts on his right pant leg at the thigh, which may be a holster.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: To take down a Bleeding Irises rifleman who has Avril pinned, he shoots the cultist through the neck, either severing the spine with a single bullet, or having the bullet exit out the top of the cultist's skull. Lee Harvey Oswald is proud.
- Instant Waking Skills: Combined with Unconscious Objector. If someone tries to wake him up by shaking him, he will grab and draw his gun on that person before he realizes what he's doing. Eli learned this, first hand.
- Knife Nut: When he's not using guns, he's an expert with a hunting knife.
- Knight in Sour Armor: He's still a good person, according to Eli, he's just not very idealistic.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: When a group of bleeding eye cultists got the drop on them, after narrowly escaping The Shadow, he advises his party to surrender. Subverted just two pages later when he advises Avril to drop her flashlight, right on a trap wire.
- Memento Macguffin: He wears a ring given him by his mother.
- Mercy Kill: He killed Simon, Marcus' younger brother, because he was fatally wounded and Marcus couldn't bring himself to do it.
- Mr. Exposition: He's the one explaining most of the world setting. Justified as he's very familiar with that particular city.
- Nom de Mom: It's implied that his father was abusive, so he started going by his mother's surname instead.
- Not Afraid to Die: No matter how Marcus tries to rattle him with his impending execution, he just sits quietly, even when grabbed by his collar and shouted at. This only serves to make Marcus more belligerent and self-righteous.
- Only in It for the Money: He was hired to bring them in by the Order. He doesn't have to like it.
- Perpetual Frowner: Justified. There's not much to smile about.
- Team Dad: Provides food, protection, and even emotional support to Avril and Eli.
- The Stoic: He rarely shows emotion.
- Too Many Belts: He's got belts on his pant legs.
Marcus Martinez/ Marcus MendozaGrinning and merciless, Marcus is ready to do what it takes to get the job done. He and James appear to know each other.
- The Bully: He has to be physically restrained to keep him from attacking and harassing anyone he thinks can't fight back, and he's always making up flimsy excuses to justify himself for doing it.
- Church Militant: He works for The Order.
- Evil Gloating: He just can not resist stopping to taunt at each and every one of his victims or potential victims, and if they refuse to cower, he just gets more violent.
- Freudian Excuse: The reason he's so resentful towards James and Eli may have something to do with his younger brother Simon, whose death he believes the former is responsible for, and who happened to look a lot like the latter. Simon was also an anathema, and his death is what caused Marcus to hate them so much.
- Hate Sink: There's very little to like about him, except killing a member of the Bleeding Irises.
- Jerkass: He's incredibly abrasive to everyone.
- Kick the Dog: His first meeting with Avril, who was clearly a victim of the Bleeding Irises, has him point a gun to her head, sadistically promising to kill her, then when she retaliates, flees and is apprehended by James, steps on her head, after she surrendered.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: His summary execution of the Bleeding Irises cultist that was pleading for her life was well justified.
- Knight Templar: Is firmly convinced that The Order is righteousness incarnate, and that everyone who isn't a member, or completely obedient to the group without question doesn't deserve to live.
- Laser-Guided Karma: He stepped on Avril's head while she was already suffering from a concussion. A Strider showed up soon afterwards and tried to do the same to him.
- Playing the Victim Card: When he's cornered and about to face some Laser-Guided Karma, he loves to guilt-trip James, or whoever comes after him, with the death of Simon, his "little brother." Not helped by the fact that James killed Simon not out of malice but because he was dying anyway, and Marcus couldn't bring himself to do it.
- Psychological Projection: Every complaint he lobs at James... fits perfectly on himself. It is yet to be revealed if he is aware of this.
- Trigger Happy: The man loves his guns.
Bleeding Irises Cult:
- Asshole Victim: Yes, their lives suck the sweat from a dead-man's balls Good Morning, Vietnam, but it's incredibly difficult, if not outright impossible, to pity them considering the level of atrocity they commit on a regular basis without regret, remorse, or comprehension of the resentment they breed by doing so.
- Call a Human a "Meatbag": They insist on calling Eli "a bloodbag." Really stupid of them to do so when they're not wearing their masks and could pass as innocent humans. Then again, they are thoroughly Stupid Evil.
- Card-Carrying Villain: You can't really get more villainous than these guys. Not only did they do unspeakable things to Eli, they have a history of "hiring" couriers, and then sacrificing said courier to their pet Shadow.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: After Eli has James and Avril come to his aid, the first thing the cultist who was just rescued by Eli thinks is that Eli only did it to have the pleasure of killing him personally.
- Evil Is Hammy: Upon being introduced, the cult's leader doesn't just try to kill James, he makes a massive spectacle out of it. Not only promising vengeance for the loss of the village that the cultists themselves provoked for going after the Order, but claiming James is an agent of the Order, and shouting that they "should not be fooled by a disguise." James's Seen It All expression really sells the scene.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: They experimented on Eli, thinking they could use him to control A Shadow. It does not end well for them.
- Eye Scream: Their victims all suffer from this after meeting their "god." A few members suffer the same fate after foolishly choosing to "sacrifice" Avril.
- High-Altitude Interrogation: One of them does this to James. For bonus points, he drips some of James' blood down so everyone hears the Eldritch Abomination horde down below.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Repeatedly. First there's The Shadow incident. Then there's the fact that their experimentation with Eli has got their own "god" after them. Now, as of the latest update, they order a captured Avril to drop her flashlight, and she does, right on top a trip wire that sets off deadly traps on the staircase where the main characters are being held leading to the death of all the cultists holding them captive, allowing James to free Eli from a siphon.
- Hypocrite: They take anyone they think might be a member of the Order, force him into a Siphon at gun-point and then use Blood Magic to connect him to the burned coprses of their fallen to make him feel the pain of their suffering in their last moments, just to hammer in how badly they're hurting, before condemning that person to execution, but when they're dealing with anyone else, even a child, they're perfectly okay with inflicting slow, agonizing suffering, for little to no reason.
- I Did What I Had to Do: The Lone Survivor tells that treating Eli like a "blood bag," and worshiping a Shadow was their only hope of survival, and the guy truly regrets it.
- Knight Templar: They're just as bad as The Order that they hate, if not worse. They lead "hunts" to find people they don't agree with, take anyone that they capture alive and attach them to a Siphon while calling them "demons," and calling themselves helpless victims. Of course, they ignore their own long laundry list of sins and crimes, such as sacrificing people they specifically hire to be their couriers to a Shadow.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Marked Avril and Eli for sacrifice. The Shadow decided to go after them first.
- Mercy Kill: The Lone Survivor begs for one. Considering his circumstances, strangely, it's not an unreasonable request.
- Moral Myopia: For the group at large, going out and "hiring couriers" or taking anyone they can catch, and giving them gruesome deaths by sacrificing them to a Shadow, or hooking them up to a Siphon and sucking out their blood, or both? That's just fine. One of their own dies, even as a result of a Mercy Kill, or those they've been victimizing retaliate? This Means War!!
- "Who is it? The Order? Collectors? Haven't you killed enough of us yet?! I will find you, carve you up and feed you to the hounds one piece at a time!"
- Never My Fault: When they summon The Shadow and set it loose on Eli and Avril, the moment the Shadow decides to go after the cult first, one of the cultists turns to Avril and says "what have you done?" shortly before The Shadow grabs him and makes his eyes explode. Worse, a Lone Survivor from a combination Order purge and abomination attack has the gall to tell Avril "Why can't people leave us be?" and when Avril replies "Wild guess, you keep feeding people to A SHADOW" replies "WE HAD TO!" as if they're all somehow being mind controlled, which they're clearly not. Avril does not take it well.
- Playing with Syringes: Both literally and figuratively. Poor Eli.
- Stupid Evil: They not only suffer from Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, they continue to harass and provoke the main characters when it would be much better, for their continued well being, to get out of the way and let them run. Worse, they capture an Order scout, tie him to a Siphon, sacrifice him to a shadow, and are ultimately completely dumbstruck that the Order retaliates.
- Tears of Blood: This is their motif. They wear masks highlighting this. Considering the entity they worship, and what it does to its victims, it fits.
- They Just Don't Get It: Whatever madness has taken over the world has clearly robbed these people of any form of pattern recognition. Every single time they go after the main characters, something very bad happens to them, yet rather than getting the word out to leave them alone, they just keep on harrassing, abusing, and antagonizing them, and continue to be utterly surprised when things don't go their way.
- Ungrateful Bastard: If you ever come to their aid in any way, for any reason, their first response is to attack you. Avril found this out by taking a brick to the face. That particular cultist took a bullet to the face soon afterwards from Marcus.
- Unwitting Pawn: If the lone survivor's story can be believed, their heinous acts were at the beck and call of a supposedly even worse group, "The Collectors" who told them that Eli's blood plus "the Fog" was all they needed to get essential supplies like food and medicine. They were either wrong or lying.
- Villain Has a Point: They might not have turned to worshiping a Shadow if the Order wasn't full of Jerkass Knight Templar wannabes.
- What Were You Thinking?: James says this word for word to the bleeding iris cultist interrogating him when he says that Avril jumped off the edge stating that it's a completely predictable result of them being left in a room, unattended, directly exposed to The Fog.
The Collectors:A group of people dressed in white, presumably lab coats, that seem to be an even worse group than the Bleeding Irises cult.
- Eviler Than Thou: As bad as the Bleeding Iris cultists are, these guys are worse. When the cult's leader refused to turn over Eli, the anathema, they deliberately screwed with the cult's magic ritual to use Eli's blood for essential supplies so The Shadow would go berserk, hoping to simply steal him away in the chaos.
- Light Is Not Good: They wear white clothing and are even more depraved than the Bleeding Iris cultists.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: They first offer to buy Eli from the cult in exchange for food and medicine. When the cult refuses, they try to simply steal him.
- Playing with Syringes: They horrifically experimented on Eli.
The Order:For lack of a better term, the "government" of the world setting. They run the "districts" where most of the human survivors live.
- Church Militant: Their faith isn't just their driving principle, it's their form of government and their war cry.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Notorious for it. In response for one order scout being found tied to a siphon and becoming a victim of The Shadow, they retaliate by exterminating an entire village not leaving one stone lying on top of another.
- Kill It with Fire: Their primary method of dealing with "heretics."
- Knight Templar: If they consider you a "heretic" for any reason, they will hunt you, and everyone who cares about you down without mercy. Simply being born an "anathema" like Eli is often enough to make them destroy whole districts to get at you. It isn't even "guilty until proven innocent", it's "guilty until proven dead."
- Peace & Love, Inc.: They promise peace and safety to those in their protectorate. If they consider you a heretic, on the other hand...
The Shadow:The primary antagonist of the story. It wants Avril and Eli dead in the worst possible way.
- The Assimilator: It sucks up souls to try and make itself "whole."
- Deadly Gaze: Don't look into its eyes.
- Eye Scream: Your eyes explode when you do.
- Horror Hunger: When Eli manages to communicate with it, it specifically mentions that it doesn't want to kill people and steal souls, but is biologically compelled to do so, to become "whole," and actively begs Eli for help.
- Immortality: Doesn't matter what you do to it, it just will not die. The best you can hope for, is that it goes away for a while... or so it's widely believed.
- Kryptonite Factor: It's scared of, and possibly vulnerable to, Striders.
- Living Shadow: Its name is decidedly not for show.
- Logical Weakness: Striders have no eyes, are over 50 feet tall, and have a very bright "light." It's a living shadow.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Deadly Gaze, Immortality, Super-Persistent Predator, and if you manage to find an abandoned truck container, it can become gaseous to squeeze through the cracks. At which time, nothing can hurt it!
- No Body Left Behind: It explodes and disintegrates into little particles of "nothing" when Eli and Avril manage to use Blood Magic to entrance it so it wouldn't run when a Strider came along and stepped on it.
- Religion of Evil: The Bleeding Irises cult made it their "god."
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: There is but one being a Shadow will flee from, a Strider. Eli implies that a Strider can kill a Shadow should it actually manage to step on it. Eli gets proven right when Avril outlines a plan to make that happen.
- Super-Persistent Predator: If it sees you as prey, for whatever reason, it will not stop hunting you until you are dead, and it will kill anything and anyone between it and you.
- Tears of Blood: Right before your eyes explode.
The entities that walk the world after the fall
- Eldritch Abomination: None of them seem like they should exist with some lacking skin and others having bizarre bodily functions.
- Animalistic Abomination: Their name may be related to the physiological attributes they share with dogs
- Horror Hunger: It eats every part of a corpse, that even includes the bones
- Hungry Menace: they LIVE to eat
The director in charge of the Order unit sent to capture "a dangerous Anathema" which would later turn out to be Eli.
- Ambiguously Evil: It's unclear just whose side she's on, if not her own.
- Boomerang Bigot: She's an anathema, but hides it with contact lenses.
- Mask of Power: Almost literally. She wears an anti-eldritch amulet in the form of a mask.
- A Mother to Her Men: Unlike Marcus, she actually cares about the well being of her unit and her charge.
- Mysterious Waif: She plays her cards close to her chest.
- Sergeant Rock: A bit abrasive and aloof, but her unit respects her because when the chips are down, she does what she can to keep them alive.
- The Stoic: She barely shows any emotion. Possibly justified, since she's an anathema and has likely had to go through many hardships because of it.
- We Can Rule Together: In stereotypical villain fashion, she promises Eli a Right-Hand Cat position if he helps her take over the Order from within. Eli is both incredulous and indignant, thanks to the many, many insults Volkova's hurled his way.
Tiffany Liu:James' friend and favorite information broker. She supposedly has enough sway to even influence The Order to "look the other way" for the right price, provided the client's "crimes" aren't too serious.
- Big Damn Heroes: Shows up to rescue Avril when a fraud tries to frame her for breaking "authentic" Order merchandise in the underground market, and tries to turn the whole market against her. This turns out to be a bad idea for said fraudster when the market turns on him upon finding out his merchandise was entirely counterfeit.
- Friend in the Black Market: She's rather shady, but is James' primary contact when he needs info on the underworld's movers and shakers.
- Information Broker: She makes her living buying, selling, and exploiting information.
- Perpetual Smiler: She's almost always smiling, even in potentially dangerous situations. When she isn't, you know it's serious.