Magdalena Escalante: Youthful activist, ardent protestor, concerned citizen, charming non-conformist, Maggie is on a mission to revamp religion in America, to take it back to its pre-institutionalised roots, to its purest state, before mankind took hold of it and entrammelled it with scores of unecessary ceremonies, rules, and prescriptions, and ultimately fashioned it into something which she feels it was never meant to be. And Miracle, her unexpected windfall, is the vehicle for achieving it all. Little does she know that James Wagner's trials will  inadvertently interrupt  her plans and whisk her -- and Miracle -- toward other, more mind-blowing, ends.
J'nea of Bejodeth: The saucy Ergosian prison trusty with smaragdine eyes and a fiery disposition, who carries the brand of her past sins upon her right cheek. Moody, critical, and headstrong with her peers, she's alternately ancillary and nurturing to the weak and the wanting. And with her own duality a seeming complement to Wagner's, the pair are drawn into a highly tempestuous friendship/rivalry that proves useful and indispensable to both. Middle daughter of arrow-making parents, she grew up around the bow, and is highly adept in archery. Sage people, however, won't discount her finesse with all manner of weaponry -- including her wit, her spite, and especially her sharp tongue (which is equally deadly).
The Vofspar Warrior: The feral, felid she-beast whose chanced encounter with Wagner results in a violent and unpromising outcome for both. She, matriarch of the most vicious race of blood-hungry werecats, and he, a pink, hairless, comparatively frail human -- in flight and in capture they seem to share a common link in a long chain of misfortune and misery. But is it just one link? Or are their destinies intertwined in other, more inexplicable ways?
The Vofspar: The savage, opaque-eyed werecat of the Ergosian woodlands--barely surviving their first encounter, will she and Wagner cross paths again?
Skol: Daemonic juggermaut of the Great Arena, no Ergosian has ever faced him and lived!
Skol the Sunderer: Legendary terror of QieLahr's Great Arena, to face the daemonic Skol in the ring is nothing short of a death sentence. No one has ever survived a bout with him, and as such, no Ergosian really knows anything of his true outward hideousness but for a few whispered descriptions slipped by those Ergosian trusties who have risked to glance into the beast's subterranean cell. Skol's lethality on the field of battle, however, is widely known and hugely feared.
Jonathon R. Mazzio, M.D.: Head Psychiatrist and Director of the Howsley Centre for Mental Health in Bishop, Indiana, who takes a vehement interest in James Wagner's pre-phase case. Perplexed by Wagner's earliest symptomatology, utterly floored by its unstoppable veer into medical and physical impossibility, Dr. Mazzio must ultimately let go of science and rationale if he is to save his patient from the phenomenon that has usurped his body, his personality, and his very life.
Jon Mazzio: How will he come to grips with a phenomenon that has no precedent in modern science?
Miracle: Who is he? What is the source of his power? And what is his past connection to Wagner?
Miracle: The strapping healer/shaman of dubious origin who, having amassed a growing grass-roots movement in the American southwest, suddenly abandons his ministry in order to travel cross-country and seek out the distrait Wagner on the eve of his cosmic shanghaiing. Armed with esoteric knowledge and an abrasive attitude -- and claiming past ties to Wagner -- Miracle seems to be the only being capable of not only preparing Wagner for his ordeal to come, but of actually possessing the wherewithal for wresting his essence back from the brink of otherworldly influence.
Wagner (Voknor): Long-troubled earth man mystically ushered to the mediaevalesque world of Ergos, where he is forcibly integrated into a culture steeped in warfare, slavery, and racial prejudice. A previously thoughtful man, now vexed by an  unpredictable violent streak and an inexplicable ability to augment the biological healing process in himself and in others, he must learn to temper and disguise his newfound proclivities while acclimating himself to the potentially lethal conventions of an archaic and highly superstitious society.
Balgor, Son of the Realm: Self-proclaimed bastard and hearty Ergosian fighting man, the scrappy yet good-natured Balgor encounters the newly-captured Wagner as a fellow captive in a NuRac gladiator prison. Enjoined by GrumTor, the dour NuRac Slavemaster, to train and prepare the callow newcomer for the impending arena games, the realmson has little notion of just how influential his unfledged charge will become -- not only to his own livelihood, but to the fates and futurity of every inmate in the camp, and perhaps to the realm as well.
Papa Olask: He disregarded two Vorshallic ages; will the third one finally make a believer of him?
Papa Olask: The oldest and longest held Ergosian prisoner in QieLahr, the NuRac prison/gladiator camp. A self-apprenticed apothecary and man of physic, Olask is the head ministrant in the most primitive of surgeries, where he tirelessly tends to his fellow inmates under the most squalid and blood-riddled circumstances imaginable. A practical man and a true altruist, he has no notion of the unwilling earthly thaumaturge suddenly in his midst, and no ken of what it will mean to him to have Wagner's secret assistance.
Tamek, Sentinel of Vishkor: As a high-ranking Ergosian religious hero, Tamek is valued and vaunted by his NuRac captors who use his imprisoned status as a symbol of the conquered Ergosian race. Even so, he remains a spiritual patriarch to his people; and, to Wagner, he becomes both an advisor and a reluctant abettor in Wagner's many machinations to regain his freedom.
Tamek: To him, honour and allegiance are key. How will he act when he discovers that Wagner bears the device of his enemy?
Bilahdu: His loyalties are like his pantaloons -- they come with no strings. But can even this master strategist come up with a plan to defeat the NuRacs?
Original digital images by Jim Larkin, scusi, Andres Rodriguez, joseasreyes, Scott Griesel, Darja Vorontsova, Carlos Restrepo, nyul, Ivan Grlic, YorkBerlin, Kathy Gold, Stanislav Popov, Cathy Yeulet, Artem Skorokhodov, Chris Fourie, Andrejs Pidjass, Lev Dolgachov, Stepan Kildishev, Rui Valede Sousa, Ben Heys, Pualmatthewphoto, iconspro, Lauren Rinder, Milos Stojanovic, RyanJLane, kirayanova, psnoonan, petrichuk, b_knight, HASLOO, Brad Mathis Photography, and Piotr Stryjewski; Special thanks to Melissa Sweets and Rob Miller. Adaptations by Pomeroy41144.


Nettie: She just wants to have fun... little does she know that there are grim life lessons to be learned.
Pete: Happy with his patchwork family, will he find his calling as a neophyte in Miracle's ministry?
Bilahdu: Rotund in stature, melodramatic in disposition, and yet nimble and cool-witted on the field of battle, Bilahdu is a walking contradiction. A blowhard and a barely functional man-child in his personal life, in combat he is oddly the most versatile and gainful of warriors. Masterful in all forms of altercation, he likewise has an eye and a memory for assessing every move, manner, strength, and shortcoming of any fighter he has ever observed. If only he could master his marriage to wife, Skagra, with equal finesse.
Pete (the Pup): A single child from a neglectful home, Pete -- green-lighted by his parents to run away at fifteen (let's just say that they didn't try to stop him) -- has found family and purpose with his three travelling companions. Nettie is his incorrigibly quirky girlfriend who likes to embellish his face with a grease pencil; Maggie and Miracle are his unofficial -- and unlawful -- surrogate guardians. Collectively, the three of them helped Pete to discover that rules and structure and ethics were exactly what had been missing from his life. And being around every day to bear witness to Miracle's impossible wonder-works isn't too shabby either.
Nettie: Goth girl, Emo girl, retro-80s punker -- however you want to label her (by the way, she rejects all of those descriptors), Nettie is undeniably a wild child. But in a good way. No, really. Unexpectedly wholesome underneath the whacked-out hair and make-up, she's nevertheless a bit devilish in her own right, and will push the envelope on just about everything until you cuff her to the nearest drain-pipe with her own celtic wristlets. Friend and girlfriend to Pete, she accompanies him in trekking and crusading with Miracle's and Maggie's travelling salvation show.
Balgor: a fighting man of the highest calibre -- how is it that the fledgling Wagner nearly bests him?
[Note:  All character likenesses contained herein are merely suggestive, and are for entertainment and amusement purposes only.]
Ponahr of the Orb: The sensible seamstress whose unselfish efforts helped to save many a wounded warrior. But does the decrement of one eye give her insight into other things?
Ponahr of the Orb: The genial, one-eyed Ergosian seamstress whose stitchery skills have doubled countless times as sutural ones in Papa Olask's infirmary in the aftermath of QieLahr's bloody arena games. Having once worked on Wagner's wounds, she promptly took to the saucy newcomer and won his friendship and respect at first outing. She wears a highly polished mineral of unstated  -- albeit benign -- quality in her empty socket, and frequently makes light of her single-eyed lot in life.
Madya: Forever loyal to her general, Mirko. What is it that makes her so fierce in combat?
Madya: Trusted scout and long-proven warrior in the service of Ergosian rebel, Mirko of Vargath, Madya is a battle-hardened and life-tempered woman whose heart -- though she hides it -- is still of considerable proportion beneath the many gauzes and dressings of past shortfalls and disappointments. Seen only briefly in OSAS, her presence will expand in Book Two.
Pelori: Her heart is big and her hopes are bigger. When her best friend, Madya, embarks upon the quest, where will it leave her?
Pelori: A young, yet proven, scout and soldier in Mirko of Vargath's ranks, Pelori has learned much under the tutelage of her comrade, Madya -- some of it even martially related. Her youthfully naive perspectives on hope and love and purpose are the perfect complement to Madya's cynicism and sullenness, and together they have weathered many a skirmish and many a heated argument on human nature. Pelori bears the ribbon scar of a past throat injury that damaged her larynx, and as a result her voice is forever raspy.
Veracia: Serendipity brings her uncommittedly into the fold. What will make her stay?
Veracia: Book Two will introduce Veracia, a cheeky, combative, roguish loner who puts herself in the way of the Soork-quest for no other reason than that she wants to chisel her way into an effort that, while larkish and unpromising to her, seems to mean so much to those who continue to maintain the quixotic hope of being able to restore the realm to its former state. Beautiful and deadly and flagrantly resourceful, Veracia will add her skills to the fray just for sport -- but will discover a connection that she hadn't anticipated.
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Fostoch of Orrd: Although slimy and unlikable, his role quickly becomes crucial and enigmatic. But what, exactly, is his mystery?
Fostoch of Orrd: Licentious and mercenary and not all too pleasant overall in personality or in countenance, Fostoch is nevertheless an accomplished equilibrist in that he is highly dexterous and can extract himself from many a dicey predicament, especially whenever underhanded strategy and physical adroitness are required. Known as "the Agile One," he is shrewd and lubricous, and these traits -- combined with his uncanny limberness -- often make him a necessary evil when infiltrative results are needed, albeit at a price. 
AuwNiir: A slick, high-ranking, hugely respected Commander in the NuRac military, AuwNiir is also the discerning owner of one of the most successful stables of Ergosian-comprised gladiators. He, of the grey-skinned race of NuRac conquerers, is all business when it comes to his arena-bound chattel, and he will not tolerate dissent or insubordination. But even more, something in his possession seems to be a crucial clue to unlocking Wagner's grandest mystery. Or does it? 
Darzah: Is she destined for grander things? Or will she fail her greatest challenge?
Darzah: A competent fighter and a witty, sensible woman, Darzah enters the story amid a furious scrap between Wagner and an overzealous adversary. An incidental encounter at first, her presence will find an expanded venue in Book Two, where her true mettle will be tested.
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AuwNiir: Does he possess the secret to Wagner's cosmic abduction? Or is his role merely coincidental?
Jotal: Manservant and aide de camp to the Ergosian rebels' greatest hero, what exactly is his burden that increases by the day?
Jotal: Congenial and generous to strangers, fiercely duteous to -- and protective of -- his master, Jotal is also keeper to the secret of the insidious affliction that is partially responsible for impeding the Ergosians' once-promising rebellion effort. There is no more loyal and trusted manservant in the Ergosian populace. But is loyalty enough to protect a master who is rumoured to have become increasingly debilitated?
Uthok: Not terribly pleasant in aspect -- or in odor -- Uthok nevertheless has a good heart, an evolving sense of humour, and battle skills that no one wants be on the wrong side of.
Uthok the Bonecrusher: Named thus for his large hands and his savagery in warfare, Uthok has cemented for himself an impressive reputation through his particularly ruthless methods. And, as he possesses only a middling sense of humour and a temper that is quick to rise, you don't want this fellow upset with you. Someone should have warned Wagner...
Gamühr: Will her flawless recollection of oral literature and tradition spark a valuable memory?
Gamühr the Bard: Poet, fabler, ranconteur extraordinaire, Gamühr was naturally suited for the role of moderator and ringmaster of the bragging matches that became a nightly leisure routine among the Ergosian prisoners of QieLahr. The Ergosians like nothing better after a grueling day than to gather among friends and rivals in order to enjoy some truly stirring, rousing, competent yarns. As they will forgive most subject matter, no matter how far-fetched (so long as it is delivered with proper verve and finesse), Gamühr satisfies them better than most, with her golden tales spun from the straw of their squalid reality.
Grandio and Graspa: Powerhouses with big hearts and little common sense, they will take to the Soork Quest without regard for their own safety. But can they quit bickering long enough to succeed?
Grandio and Graspa: The battling brothers, Grandio and Graspa are wild and headstrong and entirely too fond of scrapping. In fact, at any given moment, they're likely to be trading swings with other young toughs for no other reason than that they enjoy fisticuffs. When worthy sparrers are scarce, they generally resort to beating up on each other. Valuable players in OSAS's QieLahran uprising, they'll have expanded roles in Book Two.
CHARACTERS
Maggie: Is her fellowship crusade in danger of being upstaged by true miraculousness?
Amilla: Can she overcome her dislike of Grandio and Graspa enough to join the quest?
Amilla: A resident of the remote village of Venigskat, the captious Amilla (introduced in Book Two) is quick to develop a distaste for the questing brothers, Grandio and Graspa. But when she realises that they are more than the infantile fools that she initially mistakes them for -- and are indeed in earnest in their intent to help save the realm -- she is faced with a decision to assist them in the dangers ahead or to return home to bolster her people and fortify their homes.
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SyKrahvo: Is the Soork making him more crazed, or is it simply his lust for power over all?
SyKrahvo: One of the three Supreme Commanders of the NuRac military, SyKrahvo is the only one of his rank who possesses -- and can control -- the fabled Soork, a godly weapon that can stir the elements. A calculatingly ambitious soldier-turned-officer, with the Soork's influence he discovers that there is nothing and no one that can stand in his way of gaining ultimate supremacy over all races. Nothing, that is, except for a touch of hijinks in the Soork itself that lends itself to "secondary" influences.
Gralok: Will he be willing to go to the full extent to obtain a Soork for the Ergosian resistance?
Gralok of Nogsburg: The wry, hoary-bearded scout and foot soldier in the loyal service of Mirko of Vargath (one of the two chief generals of the Ergosian resistance against the NuRac conquest), Gralok has seen more of warfare and its grisly aftermath than any man should have to. As a one-time comrade -- and a good-natured antagonist -- of Balgor's, they are purposely paired (in Book Two) for the journey north, come quest-time.
Kobek: A fellow quite off his rocker, but steeped in experiential knowledge of the Soork. Hmm... how does one go about cracking such a nut?
Kobek: Libidinous old lunatic from Leordahn, Kobek is the quintessential hermitic nut with hidden talents and an invaluable knowledge of Soork usage that he's not too keen on sharing. That is, not unless you strike the right bargain with him -- which usually involves the services of comely maidens who don't mind sinking to new lows with a creepy, concupiscent old kook. In other words, it's likely that his secret insights and proficiency will remain all his, because no self-respecting gal would stoop that low. But since his short-term memory is spotty, maybe he can be convinced that the conditions of the deal have already been met..?
James Wagner: psychologically ravaged man of earth; inexplicable warrior, healer, and instigator on Ergos. Is there some cosmic purpose to his dual existence?
Dessy of Orlahn: Tempting street escort with an agenda? Or simply the proverbial hooker with a heart of gold?
Dessy: Introduced in Book Two. A playful, witty, and occasionally brassy, Orlahnian street girl with beguilingly dark eyes and admittedly murky prospects, who possesses one incredible bright spot to her sordid existence that might just be the means to shake herself free of a life of dismal  irrelevance -- and even help to tip the impending conflict toward the Ergosian side.
J'nea of Bejodeth: Alternately helpful and hostile to Wagner, is she to be trusted?