Daniel is the main character. He starts the story as four-years old, but the story quickly jumps to him being twelve in the second chapter. He is of average height and weight, with sandy blond hair and fair skin; nothing very remarkable about him, with the exception of his eyes. Daniel has two different color eyes, one steel blue and the other a rich green. He lives on Azule, in Azule City with Jason Maxwell but everybody calls him Bookman. Daniel’s real parents are gone, his mother murdered when he was two-years old and abandoned by his father for reasons he is yet to learn. The only family Daniel really knows is Bookman, his surrogate father.
Daniel leads a mostly solitary life with his only friend, Kristen Mithra, neighbor and childhood friend, living across the street from their bookstore, well, and of course Wallis, his pet chamelos. Daniel is Gifted and knows it. He was taught by his mentor and protector, Farzin, when he was very young, how to hide his Gift but also how to hide from the government’s forces, especially the Inquisitors. Daniel uses his Gift carefully and sparingly, to find things other people have lost, in exchange for money and food. He does this to help support himself and Bookman when not in school. Those that ask for his help typically require extreme confidentiality because the lost item puts them in a precarious position. As a result, they pay Daniel well for his services and his discretion.
Daniel’s strongest desire is to be in a family, a real family. Bookman is a wonderful surrogate father, but he has his own demons to contend with that frequently require Daniel to take charge of their little family. He just wants to be a kid with a mother and a father like everyone else he sees. He isn’t very strong or very brave; he doesn’t do anything particularly well, isn’t good at sports and isn’t very good in school, he just kinda there; he’s just Daniel.
Wallis is Daniels pet, his confidant, and his dearest friend. Wallis is a chamelos, an indigenous creature to Azule and rarely seen. They tend to live in the forests in the Outlands around Azule city and tend to stay away from cities and factories and man, and have a very peculiar self-defense mechanism. Chamelos’ can sense what other creatures fear the most, and then appear to change into that shape. They don’t really change shape; they just project the image into the attacker’s mind, looking substantial and real to their assailant. Like many of the things on Azule, chamelos’ have psychic powers; can sense fears and emotions. Wallis has the habit of sensing the emotional state of Daniel and change his fur color to match that which he feels, red for anger, greyish white for fear, deep blue for contentment, . . .; he’s like a walking rainbow.
Daniel first met Wallis when one of the dreaded piranha spiders of Azule made it into the city and into their bookstore. The giant piranha spider, the size of a medium sized dog with hundreds of razor sharp teeth and insatiable hunger, had cornered Daniel in their bookstore and was ready to take out a bite when Wallis come in from nowhere. The chamelos confronted the piranha spider, sensed what it feared most, and then projected the image of a rock-hopper, a large aggressive bird that always lives near the piranha spiders, being their natural predator. This made the spider pause and give Daniel time to escape, the small boy and chamelos fast friends ever since.
Our story starts out with Farzin Arash, Daniel’s protector, mentor and surrogate father. Farzin was the chief of assassins for the Resistance, the group that was trying to bring down the dictatorship that ruled over the entire Pateras solar system. As a level eight Gifted, he probably had the strongest psychic powers on the planet. Farzin used his Gift to not only teach Daniel how to use his powers, but also to protect the small boy from the government that hunted them at every turn. Farzin was given the responsibility of protecting Daniel on the day that Daniel’s mother was abducted by the very government they fought against. Daniel’s mother begged Farzin to take the boy, protect him, and prepare him for what was coming. And as Farzin was not accustomed to failing any assignment, he protected Daniel, and trained him at every turn. Quickly, the assassin turned protector realized that Daniel was likely the strongest Gifted he’d ever seen. He did his best to keep Daniel safe, unfortunately at the expense of him having a normal childhood. They hid in the Outlands and moved from village to village, never making friends, never having a home, just constantly on the run; not the way a four-year old should live. Farzin would give anything, will give everything, to keep this small boy safe.
Kristen Mithra is Daniel’s only friend on Azule. She’s two years older than him, 14 and lives across the street from him. She is frequent companion on his adventures across Azule City and is someone that Daniel respects because of her courage and self-assured confidence. She isn’t afraid of anything, even the street bullies that plague the streets around their homes. Kristen won’t back down from anyone or anything and isn’t afraid to try new things, even if it’s likely that she’ll fail. Kristen is everything Daniel wants to be, and inspires him to be better than he is.
Kristen will become an unwilling participant in the great adventure that Daniel is about to embark upon. She will get pulled into danger, experience pain and terror, and will quickly wonder how she was forced to grow up so quickly.
Jason Maxwell – “Bookman”
Bookman is Daniel’s surrogate father. He was once a close friend of Daniel’s parents, even though they never discuss this. Farzin left Daniel with Bookman when the young boy was four-years old, and Daniel stayed with Bookman ever since.
Bookman is obsessed with literature; books are everything to him. He’s disgusted with the idea of reading literature from a holographic data cube or on a vid-scroll. That feel of the book, the smell of it, the sound of the binding cracking as the open it, that’s part of the experience of getting lost in something like Moby Dick that Bookman loves; something that technology can never replace. He runs the only bookstore in Azule City and it’s not very successful, primarily because of the bouts of severe depression that plagues him, because of the loss of his daughter, Chara. She was Gifted, like many on Azule, and was captured by an Inquisitor one day, one terrible day. Chara was torn from Bookman’s life, never to return, and that brought about a darkness that would descend on Bookman and leave him in tears, unable to interact with others. This forced Daniel to be the primary caregiver, taking care of the old man as best as a young boy could. The only thing that would seem to help Bookman during these bouts of depression was a shattered ceramic vase that had been meticulously glued together; a gift from Chara to her father many years before. During these dark days, Bookman would hold onto this vase and hug it as if he were hugging his lost daughter, and this seemed to always help him, a little. This vase was Bookman’s most prized possession.
Jonas is a rogue privateer/pirate/thief/rebel /criminal/champion. He’s sent by someone, we aren’t sure until later in the book, to get Daniel and deliver him to Jonas’ employer. Jonas just missed Daniel in Azule City at their bookstore, and ends up following them across the solar system. He finally finds them in the crystal mines of Kryos and helps them to escape from the military forces that ring this moon.
Jonas is man, maybe in his early twenties, who has learned to depend on himself and only himself. He is a loner that doesn’t trust crowds or communities or society. He is happiest on his starship, the Argus, alone in the deepest recesses of outer space. He doesn’t believe is luck, or fate, or psychic powers, or anything he can’t touch or feel. He is truly the definition of the ultimate skeptic and an important part of the events that weave themselves around Daniel.
Skydda Levnad is an alien, an insectoid that looks like a seven foot tall walking ant, and a warrior of the Krillian Empire, one of the five sentient races in the galaxy. His exoskeleton is hard as the hardest armor, bright red in color, and covered with barbs that can emerge from nowhere. Skydda is assigned by his hive Queen to find the Finder, the wielder of the Crystal Tear, and protect him with his life. For a Krillian, service to his hive Queen is everything. If the Queen were to tell Skydda to kill himself, he would do it and be glad that he can be of service to the Queen. Serving the Queen and the Hive is the only thing a Krillian lives for, everything else is unimportant.
Skydda and Daniel will develop a peculiar relationship, each teaching the other about different things, Skydda teaching how to be a warrior, and Daniel teaching how to be a friend. Each have difficulty learning what the other teaches, but endeavor to try.
Korisi Kerdos is a Zantarian, another of the five sentient races. He looks like a tall, muscular, walking alligator. His body is covered with green leathery scales, with short stout legs, large body, long pointed snout, and row upon row of sharp yellow teeth. He, like all Zantarians, has a long muscular tail that he can use like a third leg, or in battle, an effective weapon.
Zantarians are traders, and value profit over everything else. They have a cultural history of sea-faring adventurers on their home planet of Zantara. They were very warlike, but, having survived their turbulent history, have moved from warfare to trading. Their trading ships range throughout the galaxy and are known as the toughest traders anywhere, warfare and body counts now morphed into profit.
Korisi captains the crystal freighter, the Alitheia. His first mate is his wife, Chorna. He also has two Eirini, another of the five sentient races, and two humans as crew. He has a booming laugh that fills the corridors of his ship when he lets loose and a general joy of life and battle.
Korisi and Daniel have an interesting relationship; a stout friendship that started with trade and ended with Daniel saving the Zantarian’s life. Korisi and the Alitheia appear throughout the book
Alexor Macab is the self-proclaimed president and head of the government that rules over the Pateras system. He claims to be democratically elected, but when all of your opponents mysteriously disappear just before the election, one has to question how democratic. President Macab is a dictator in every sense of the world. He has a thirst for power and wants to control everything around him, not because he needs to be in control, rather he wants to hold the reins because he is paranoid that everyone around him is out to get him. By maintaining absolute control, Macab is able to guarantee his own personal safety.
The only thing that Macab wants more than control is Ancient technology. The Ancients are a race of beings that lived on Azule and Dormas Prime centuries before man ever even knew of these planets. Their technology was based on crystal technology and it’s believed psychic technology as well. Macab is obsessed with the Ancients and wants everything he can find or learn about them. With this knowledge, Macab hopes to build an unstoppable military force that can take over everything. In this way, Macab will ensure his own personal safety forever.
Nas Dardanos is probably the strongest Gifted on the planet, and Macab’s person lap dog. Nas is the commander of the Inquisitors, and personally responsible for the security of the Pateras system and Macab’s plans for galactic domination. The only thing more disturbing than Nas’ insatiable desire to give pain to those beneath him, and in his view everyone is beneath him, is his appearance. Nas has no pigment in his skin; he’s an albino. His skin is snow white, pale as a ghost, which gives him a menacing look that everyone fears. Add to this his eyes that are colored red, blood red. No one really knows if they’re naturally this color, or did he have them altered; no one is brave enough to ask. The effect of these eyes on people is to bring instant fear, and if they’re trained on you, probably a likely painful death.