War

Age: 16

Likes: A strong drink, suplexing, writing fanfiction

Dislikes: When Pestilence finds her fanfiction, being alone


Themes: Personal identity, security, armed conflict, heritage, and nation-building

The leader of the Riders and the only first-generation immigrant of the group, War’s haunted eyes and tough demeanor belie the playfulness of a girl who struggles to balance between growing up too soon and catching up on her lost childhood too late. Her future was taken from her at an early age, so War lives in the moment, burying a deep, implacable sadness in sports and drinking and video games. The other Riders see her as a sort of wise-woman figure, a role for which she is woefully unprepared — she spends too much time worrying about who she really is to play the part.  Though quick to anger and extremely protective of her younger sister Death, she is surprisingly slow to violence due to her early experiences with bloodshed. When she does pick fights, though, watch out! Mercy is not a concept she understands.

Pestilence

Age: 17

Likes: Positive energy, drugs (allegedly)

Dislikes: “I dunno, everything else, I guess”


Good At: Being tall


Themes: Religion, conquest, demography, social justice, the spread of ideas.

A gentle giant and a lovable stoner who’s too laid-back for his own good (or anyone else’s). Pestilence is the son of two unremarkable, well-off parents from the old country, and has spent his entire life in his new homeland — but for some reason almost everyone seems to distrust him. His teachers insist he’s trouble, even though he rarely makes any; the police hassle him at every opportunity they get; taxi drivers and social workers are struck by a sudden and terrible déjà vu. Pestilence has strong convictions and will passively resist anyone who stands against them; it’s rumored that when the immigration bureau sent his parents the eighth late notice for his resident alien registration, Pestilence mailed them a drawing of a smiling cockroach flying a UFO.

Famine

Age: 15

Likes: Cleaning the clubhouse in a maid outfit

Dislikes: When Pestilence tries to teach him fake stoner vocabulary, going home to his dad


Themes: Opportunity, entrepreneurship, gender roles, equality, respectability, institutional privilege

A wide-eyed, impressionable, easily-impressed little dude, Famine has it pretty well compared to War and Death — he’s a naturalized citizen and grew up in his new country, speaks with the local accent, and could almost pass for a native if given the chance. But this “almost” is what torments him: he’s the only child of a single dad, he’s an unremarkable student, he’s just a little too awkward to be well liked at school, and there’s always just barely not enough money to get by without cutting corners. Fortunately (or unfortunately), Famine doesn’t believe the deck is stacked against him. A better world is always within reach! He believes that with a little gumption and a lot of hard work, anything is possible! (“Anything” includes winning the affections of Death, who he has a massive crush on and who — of course — won’t give him the time of day.)

Death

Age: 15

Likes: Her laptop, anything than can be fixed, IRC

Dislikes: Famine on good days, herself on bad days


Good At: Electrical engineering, roasting Famine and Pestilence


Themes: Lived experience, erasure, self-determination, industry, the meaning of labor.

Death couldn’t care less about politics or identity because she lives for one thing and one thing only: to make something even cooler than the last thing she made. She has a gift for electrical engineering, but talent doesn’t necessarily equal competence–at her early age, she’s still kind of figuring out how everything works, and sometimes everything, well, doesn’t. Everyone but her thinks her talent is going to make her rich and famous someday, but a few early, horrifying years in a refugee camp made her keenly aware that she’s never going to have the same opportunities as other kids her age. She often has to balance her pathological fear of missing out with her obsession with catching up. These experiences, and the toxicity of online communities, bestow on her both an acerbic wit and an unbearable loneliness.