RICH BENTON is a college student who volunteers his time at the Old Arbor Mission. At night he often patrols the college town’s slum area, Old Arbor as The Cardinal, a masked hero who believes it is his calling to protect the poor and homeless there. It is a calling he did not choose, but was chosen for him — a reluctant hero, at best. He wants so much to help those suffering in Arbor City but questions what one young man can do. Armed only with the ability to fly and some faith, he must face what the poor and homeless continually confront on the dangerous streets after dark every night.
CHRIS McCOY has known Rich Benton since middle school and dated him since high school. They both attend Concord Ecumenical College in Arbor City. Chris is also his best friend and confidante, who knows the secret of his dual identity. She is studying nursing and enjoys horseback riding.
DETECTIVE JUSTIN TRUTH is a middle-aged detective on the Arbor City Police force. Never married, police work is his life. He enjoys hanging out with his boyhood pal, Prosecutor David “Otter” Ottenberg when not on the job. While knowing police work inside and out, his life had been lonely and discouraging in recent years. Then, he meets up with The Cardinal during his first adventure. Young and idealistic, The Cardinal brings a spark of life back into his life. Soon, The Cardinal becomes his secret partner on special cases.
DEB DEMUR, Newspaper Editor, has worked her way up through the ranks at the Arbor City News. Like Det. Truth, she finds herself married to a career which takes up most of her life. Used to thinking of journalism the old-fashion way after more than 20 years in the profession, she finds advancements in technology stretches her. While the future of journalism somethimes seems questionable, it remains her first love. The Cardinal to her is a mystery — a masked “hero” who seems too good to be true.
MAYOR MADDY THRALL had been a single mom seven years ago, struggling to make ends meet. She had always said if she were put in charge she would make the world a better place for those the poor and the victims. Then, a rich, handsome stranger offered her that very chance. The road to the political top in Arbor City felt so good she forgot to ask if there was a catch. When time came to pay up, she was forced to sell her soul to keep her job.
REVEREND CHARITY had grown up in Arbor City. When his father went to prison, he helped his mom raise the rest of the kids. Working most of his waking hours afterward, he put himself through college and then seminary. His instructors said he could have gone on to pastor many large congregations and make good money. But, Rev. Charity chose to go back to the poor area he had come from to give hope to others who struggle there today. Besides being a pastor to the poor, he is a spiritual mentor to Rich Benton.
RAE is a teen mom. Her life has been rougher than most. It has taught her to distrust almost everyone, but especially those in authoriity. She gets by anyway she can financially. She knows what men will pay for. Despite her tough exterior, she has found one person who she has a soft spot for, a masked hero in red.
ANTONIO is one of many dangerous people in Old Arbor. His kind have control over that slum area. Drug dealers, weapons handlers, gangs, and even worse criminals refuse to give up their territory. Local politicians either can’t or won’t help stop the problem. Police are too understaffed and underfunded to be able to clean up Old Arbor. However, as the criminals see it, the greatest threat may be coming from a balding minister and a kid in tights.