This page is kept more-or-less current, and thus contains SPOILERS for recent chapters.

See also: Minor Characters and Miscellaneous Beings.


Sparrow Applebaum graduated in 2010 and has been scrambling to figure out the independent life ever since. Local to Massachusetts, she moved in range of the city to share an apartment with fellow geek Bianca.

Started as an unpaid political-nonprofit intern, became a minimum-wage StuffMart floor associate, eventually hired by the Cohen Being Research Division. Miranda sees something in her.

Conceived with donor sperm by Sharon Applebaum, formerly of a Wiccan lesbian-separatist commune. With this upbringing Sparrow didn’t get much exposure to Jewish traditions, other than the obligatory year in Hebrew school.

Age: 22-23
Identities: Lesbian, Jew-ish, fangirl, leftist
Home: Boston area, MA
Job: Research associate, Cohen Broadcasting
Likes: Cats, pie, Doctor Who, arguing about politics
Dislikes: Dogs, people who are wrong about politics


Bianca Washington graduated in 2010 and has been working at a Boston-area library ever since. Housemates with her college roommate Sparrow, who helped her through a severe sophomore-year depression after the death of her father.

Thoughtful, empathetic, generally cheerful, although she’s prone to letting responsibilities weigh on her too hard.

Had a brief flirtation with Poe before starting to date Emma in earnest. Bianca’s mother and grandmother really wish she was straight. Her sister Gabrielle is more accepting, and has taught her nephew Jason the same.

Age: 22-23
Identities: Bisexual, strong black woman, ex-Methodist, otaku
Home: Boston area, MA
Job: Library assistant
Likes: Animals, suits, convention cosplay, having a girlfriend
Dislikes: Insomnia, depression


Patrick used to belong to Stuart Cohen, until in a fit of drunken experimentation Cohen erased his own name from the Contract. Terrified and shell-shocked, Patrick fled, eventually following Sparrow home because she “smelled nice.”

Unlike Beings with a normal transition between Masters, his memories of his previous incarnation are sharp and emotionally charged. At first he was twitchy, moody, anxious, and cross. Having Bianca as his new Master has been slowly healing.

Claims to be a fantastic fighter. His actual record is pretty evenly-balanced between wins and losses.

Human form: White male young adult
Animal form: Domesticated dog
Master: Bianca
Likes: Battles, Miranda, reuniting with Beings he used to be friends (and/or rivals) with
Dislikes: Cohen’s experiments, being alone


Miranda Lake has a classy sense of fashion, more money than is healthy, and a talent for the language of Contracts. (Most notably, she has a limited ability to teleport.)

Raised by her mother Jessica Lake, who died of cancer when she was nine. Taken in by her estranged father Stu Cohen. He wasn’t great at parenthood, mostly letting Patrick be the one to bond with her.

Miranda dropped out of college and got her own Being behind Cohen’s back. For a while she was trying to steal Patrick, but has reconciled herself to Bianca’s Mastery.

In the meantime Cohen has redeemed himself enough that his daughter has let him in on a few of her secrets. He also bequeathed his Being research to her.

Age: 19-20
Identities: Not focused on relationships, conflicted biracial, rich girl
Home: Boston, New York, various summer homes
Job: Head of the Cohen Being Research Division
Likes: Gothic literature, Pokémon, complicated hairstyles
Dislikes: Feeling abandoned



Poe lurks with Miranda, and does a lot of spying on her behalf. He’s calm and reassuring when she’s angry and overwhelmed.

Since Miranda doesn’t like people knowing she has a Being, he spends a lot of time posing as her boyfriend.

Alternate forms include a much older man (to buy drinks), a glamorous woman (to be distracting), and a faux Stu Cohen (to sneak around the Being Research Division). Many years ago, he did similar fakeouts for a Master named Hannah.

Moving on two legs is hard for a bird. If there’s something around him that can be tripped over, it will be.

Human form: Black male young adult
Animal form: Raven
Master: Miranda
Likes: Flying, doing Miranda’s hair, making friends
Dislikes: Walking


Timothy/Camellia Mattei is a cult survivor with a strong drive to help people. Bigender, comfortable as both “he” and “she.”

Raised by her brother Emir in an apocalyptic cult focused on the Cat. After his death, Camellia shook off the last of the cult’s dogma and struck out on her own…and the Being came with her.

By day Timothy administers a branch of Everybody Gets A Loaf And A Fish, a Catholic hunger-relief charity. By night he throws himself into queer femme karaoke, and provides Being-related support as much as his double life will allow.

Age: 28-29
Identities: Catholic, Turkish-American, female-attracted, bigender
Home: South Shore area, MA
Job: Charity administrator (now quietly-dismissed)
Likes: Helping people, singing, flowers
Dislikes: Mixing his job with her social life


Reseda combines a healthy vault of curiosity with a snarky sense of distance. While most Beings are strongly attached to the present moment, she has a talent for taking the long view of things.

Her previous form was the delicate, soft-spoken, and graceful Lily. Her Master, Brother Alvah, led a cult that believed drinking her blood would provide immortality. (Spoiler alert: it didn’t work.)

When she Contracted with Timothy, he needed a bro more than a pretty girlfriend, leading her to become the brash, outspoken, dapper Reseda. She’s confident and ready to take on any mission.

Human form: White female young adult
Animal form: Cat
Master: Timothy
Likes: Fighting, flowers, ear skritches
Dislikes: Transphobia, boredom


Arthur Bennett is an outspoken conservative who doesn’t like Beings. Or homosexuality. Naturally, he secretly has both.

As a US representative, wreaked havoc with the Rabbit to drum up support for his security policies. It got him tangled in the schemes of both Ann Walker and Stuart Cohen, both smarter than him and better at planning.

When he lost re-election he was immediately snapped up to be a pundit, making him less valuable to Walker. By this point he had aligned himself with Cohen anyway, partly because he knew some of Cohen’s own damaging secrets, partly because he had a crush.

They’re dating now. He’s even sort of handling it okay.

Age: 43-44
Identities: Real AmericanTM, gay
Home: Western Massachusetts, later New York
Job: U.S. Representative (R-MA), then TV pundit
Likes: Tax cuts, flag pins, America
Dislikes: Social services, remembering his ex-wife’s miscarriage, most Americans


Cybele is adorable and pink. She’s good at charming people. Intimidating them, not so much.

Normally takes the form of a young girl, the same age as Bennett’s unborn daughter would’ve been. But she’ll use other forms for all kinds of reasons — to impersonate Cohen, to sneak around the halls of Congress, to do impressions of pop stars.

The cuteness makes it easy to overlook how alert, savvy, and quick-thinking she is. She’ll spot and dodge any trap, and is good at improvising new strategies on-the-fly. She knows everything Bennett knows…but that includes things he doesn’t want to admit or think about.

One of her past Masters was George Washington. Bennett inherited her from this hippie. How times change.

Human form: Adorable young black girl (mostly)
Animal form: Rabbit
Master: Arthur Bennett
Likes: Singing, dancing, anything pink, cookies
Dislikes: Cages


Jany Balachandran is the youngest Being-owner on record. She’s tough, a hard worker, idealistic…and slowly learning to think beyond her initial knee-jerk reactions.

At 15, inherited the Lizard from her paternal grandmother, Haseena. At 17, found out how her mother and father were using her Being to get extra money, and left home. Still gets love and support from her brother Naresh (who has his own checked past, but is doing better now).

Her big plans to visit the US for a major anime con were fraught with mistakes, wrong assumptions, and jet lag. Eventually she gets pulled into Ann Walker’s orbit, which puts an end to her financial worries, but gives her a lot of new ones.

Starts off wearing hairbows and cute dresses. Switches to a dapper-butch look, including a Significant Haircut.

Age: 17-18
Identities: British-Asian, Muslim, otaku, lesbian
Home: Woking, England, United Kingdom
Job: Walker Industries test subject
Likes: Dragons, anime, girls in pretty dresses, making out with Kara Lynn
Dislikes: Secrets, con lines, thinking about kinks


Kara Lynn in her larger forms has been mistaken for a dragon. Over the centuries and various Masters she’s managed to serve from Britain to India and back again.

With Jany she starts off quiet, highly responsive to orders, and suffering from mysterious freezing-up blank-outs. After those get resolved she’s a little more animated in general, and shows surprising initiative when her Master is out of the room.

Has been slowly encouraging Jany to accept and embrace various traits she’s ashamed of.

Human form: Tall East-Asian-ish young woman
Animal form: Lizard (iguana, chameleon, and more)
Master: Jany Balachandran
Likes: Dancing, acrobatics, cuddling with Jany
Dislikes: Upsetting Jany, blanking out


Ann Walker runs her own business conglomerate and does experiments with Beings on the side. Legally blind, and enjoys intimidating people with her seeing-eye tiger.

Walker believes only four Beings will make it through the apocalypse, and is working on thinning out the competition. So far she has at least three in custody. (The Bearded Vulture, the Cormorant…and, eventually, the Cat.)

Obtained her Being by convincing its former Master, Frederick Oliver, that she would make good use of one.

Age: A lady never tells
Identities: Legally blind, confirmed bachelorette, part of the 1%
Home: Chicago
Job: CEO of Walker International
Likes: Technology, cats, money
Dislikes: Her rival at Cohen Broadcasting, bad web accessibility


Ann’s Being, named Blake after the poet, is whatever Ann Walker needs at that particular moment.

Tiger? Check. Disarmingly cute little girl? Done. Duplicate of Walker herself? No problem. Fit, shirt-avoidant young man? Easy. Woman calculated to appeal to a shy South Asian lesbian? Can do. Multi-eyed eldritch furbeast? Got you covered.

Because of shaky prehistoric human concepts of taxonomy, Blake’s type is “any big cat that’s not a lion.” Tiger, leopard, jaguar, cougar — they’re all available forms.

Human form: Lots of them
Animal form: Big Cat That’s Not A Lion
Master: Ann Walker
Likes: Stripes, pleasing Ann
Dislikes: ???


Stuart Cohen runs his own media empire and does experiments with Beings on the side. As Miranda’s father and Patrick’s former Master, his personal life is a recovering trainwreck.

Used to be madly in love with Jessica Lake, Single Female Lawyer. After she got pregnant, he decided backing away and having no contact would be the best way not to screw up the kid’s life. It…did not work as planned.

A blackmail-based connection with Bennett turned into unexpected friendship, then Feelings. Having a relationship where he’s the positive influence is a new experience for Cohen. He’s enjoying it.

Age: 52-53
Identities: Jewish, invisible bisexual, part of the 1%
Home: At least four, not counting vacation properties
Job: Founder and CEO of Cohen Broadcasting
Likes: Alcohol, linguistics, Being research
Dislikes: Accidentally learning things man was not meant to know


Ilsa is a vicious Wolf who enjoys tearing throats out. Even humans might not want to get too close.

Her Master, a German car company executive, was Ann Walker’s go-to opponent for recreational fights. He was also an ally who helped her during European ventures, before an accident left him in a probably-irreversible coma.

Without any further orders to go on, Ilsa continues to work on Walker’s plans. But now she’s suffering from the same blank-outs Kara Lynn used to….

Human form: Adult white woman
Animal form: Wolf
Master: MIA
Likes: The moon, a good fight
Dislikes: Comas, smart mouths


The Donkey is the youngest Being. Currently known as Lúthien.

She was created in the 20’s (the original 20’s) with the name Saxon, by a carpenter named Joshua ben Joseph. After Josh’s death-by-crucifixion, the Donkey was passed to his best friend, Maria of Figham, and took over Josh’s role in the world.

Human form: Adult Middle Eastern woman
Animal form: Donkey
Master: Tansy Rosen
Likes: Archaeology
Dislikes: ???

Dr. Tansy Rosen is an archaeologist and Being-language-consultant for Cohen Being Research.

She is currently excavating a city-sized sigil, which was created, though she doesn’t know it, by her Being’s original Master nearly 2000 years ago.

Age: 38-39
Identities: Israeli Jewish, bisexual
Home: Israel, Boston
Job: Archaeologist
Likes: Ancient languages
Dislikes: ???


Emma flirted with Bianca at the library. Once Bianca figured out she wasn’t a stealth Being or running a scheme to steal Patrick, she responded. They’re doing the regular dating thing now.

Age: 24-25
Identities: Chinese-American, pansexual
Home: Boston area
Job: Elementary school teacher
Likes: Dapper women
Dislikes: ???


Henriette Gaillard is one of the researchers working for Walker. Advises Jany to tread carefully.

Age: 46-47
Identities: Trans woman, scientist
Home: Boston
Job: Being researcher, Walker International
Likes: Scientific advancement, alpine marmots
Dislikes: Making a fuss


p-vultureLightning is one of Ann Walker’s kidnapped test subjects. She hasn’t destroyed him yet, but not for lack of trying.

His human form has gotten less distinct (and more feathery) over the course of his captivity.

Human form: Young Near Eastern man
Animal form: Bearded vulture
Master: Keith Köhler
Likes: Near Eastern history, being hugged
Dislikes: Being locked up, the Wolf

Dr. Keith Köhler is a historian, and Master of the Bearded Vulture.

Has no idea where his Being went.

Age: 61-62
Identities: Straight white cis man, tenured
Home: Heidelberg, Germany
Job: Professor of Near Eastern history
Likes: Peer-reviewed research, being deferred to
Dislikes: Young upstarts, being left out of the loop


Cub
Cub is never far from Karen Park’s side. Sometimes in bear form, which can be disorienting on the streets of DC.

Rarely talks. His human form is modeled on a teacher who once bullied a young Park, and she finds it very fulfilling to see him silenced.

Human form: Adult white male
Animal form: Polar bear
Master: Karen Park
Likes: ???
Dislikes: ???

Karen Park is a politician, and Master of the Bear.

Has a bit of a rivalry with Bennett, and a longstanding battle arrangement with Walker. Left her office to spend more time with her family, and/or the Game.

Age: 63-64
Identities: Korean-American, grandmother
Home: Eastern Massachusetts
Job: U.S. Representative (D-MA), now retired
Likes: Being fights, her grandchildren, sun bears
Dislikes: Political obstructionists, surprises


Everyone who didn’t show up here is listed in Minor Characters or Miscellaneous Beings.