Twelve-year-old Zelia is the daughter of galactic explorer Elise Lor. She grew up helping Elise with archaeological expeditions on dozens of worlds, digging up ancient artefacts and alien technology. Bright and resourceful, Zelia always thinks she knows best, but isnt as experienced as she tries to make out.
Sharing her mums hatred of weaponry, Zelia believes that the best way to overcome fear is to learn about the universe. That doesnt stop her from being terrified of spiders after being trapped in the web of a gigantic temple-weaver when she was a small child.
- Technical Pacifist: She's perfectly fine with destroying their enemies with improvised or unconventional methods, but will come down with all the righteousness she can muster whenever her companions try to defend themselves from the various aliens trying to kill them with an actual gun. This is explicitly based on the Insane Troll Logic that a lot of the archeological sites she visited are battlefields, and being armed didn't save the dead soldiers, therefore weapons are worthless. None of her companions take this entirely seriously. By the third book she still won't use a gun herself, but their adventures have finally beaten it into her head that her initial stance was unreasonable in a galaxy full of people trying to kill them.
The son of a loyal Imperial Guard officer, thirteen-year-old Talen ran away from home to avoid being enlisted in the military. He fell in with the Runak Warriors, a feral gang who lived in the tunnels beneath Rhal Rata, the largest hive-city on Targian. Used to thinking with his fists, Talen finds it difficult to trust anyone, but has a good heart. Once he is on your side, you couldnt ask for a better friend. Talen has little experience of the galaxy, hiding his insecurities beneath bluster and bravado. His only link to the past is the toy soldier his older brother gave him before going off to war, a treasure he will guard with his life.
Like all Martians, Mekki is happiest when tinkering with technology, and is able to communicate with the machine-spirits that dwell inside computers and cogitators. A talented inventor, eleven-year-old Mekki created the special robotic frame that supports his paralysed arm as well as servo sprites, a swarm of tiny robot helpers. Even though they grew up together, Mekki and Zelia have never been close. Mekki prefers the company of machines to humans and often finds it hard to make friends. He can be incredibly tough on himself, especially when things go wrong.
A member of the mysterious ape-like race known as the Jokaero, Flegan-Pala has been kept as a slave for decades. Able to create advanced weapons and gadgets from piles of junk, the orange-furred alien escaped his cage when the Necrons attacked Targian. Grumpy and cantankerous, Flegan-Pala doesnt trust Zelia and her band of Targian refugees, his mood only worsening when Talen gives the jokaero an insulting nickname; Fleapit! With retractable fingers and toes, and a genius level IQ, Fleapit is the group's only hope for survival when they crash on an inhospitable world but what secrets does he hide?
Bearing the mark of Ghyran, the Realm of Life, thirteen-year-old Elio is a born healer. His knowledge of potions and cures is second to none, and hes often to be found with his nose in a giant book of herblore. But hes not just interested in plants: Elio has a keen fascination with all things living, from the tiniest biting insect to the mightiest man-eating manticore. He may not be much of a fighter, but Elio is clever, thoughtful and considerate.
Bearing the mark of Hysh, the Realm of Light, eleven-year-old Alish is restless, inquisitive and highly intelligent, with the instinctive ability to understand and repair almost any mechanical device. But her true passion is for inventing: in her workshop she has designed and built countless contraptions, from clocks and counting machines to a full-sized airship. The one thing Alish wont make is weapons: she prefers a creative solution to any conflict.
Bearing the mark of Chamon, the Realm of Metal, fourteen-year-old Kiri is as strong and steadfast as steel. Raised in the barbarian slave camps of Aqshy, Kiri learned to fight as soon as she could walk, honing her skills with a catapult. Somehow, this harsh life hasnt made her cruel or resentful – Kiri is honest, stouthearted and brave. But she does struggle to trust other people, preferring her own company to that of a group.
Bearing the mark of Ghur, the Realm of Beasts, twelve-year-old Scratchs true name and background are unknown. For some time hes been the pet and plaything of Kreech, a mean-spirited Skaven Packlord who has kept the boy alive for devious reasons of his own. Scratch has lived underground in Kreechs warren, fashioning clothes to make himself resemble the rat-lord he both fears and admires: his hood has ears and a straggling tail, and he paints whiskers on his face with water and mud. He may have lost the ability to speak like a human, but Scratch is a sly, sharp-witted child, as cunning as any Skaven.
Bearing the mark of Aqshy, the Realm of Fire, twelve-year-old Thanis is tough, hot-tempered and fiercely loyal to her friends. With her flame-red hair and imposing stature she can make newcomers feel nervous, but deep down Thanis is a gentle soul: vigilant, steadfast and determined to do good in the world. Growing up an orphan on the streets of Lifestone, she was forced to fend for herself from an early age. But she found companionship, first with her best friend Kaspar, then with Vertigan and the others at The Arbour, whose lives shed do anything to protect.
Bold, devious and cruel beyond measure, Kreech is the Packlord of Clan Quickfang, an increasingly powerful Skaven faction. Kreech is unusual among the Skaven in that he has a fascination with humans, or man-things, and particularly their ability to create and think imaginatively. Kreech sees himself as superior to his fellow Skaven, able to control his animal instincts and act rationally. He has now entered into partnership with an enigmatic noblewoman, who promises power and riches if Kreech will help her achieve her mysterious goals.