Born to a white father and an Ascian (roughly analogous to Native American) mother in a company-run frontier town, Jaeger never knew his mother but joined her people after his father's apparent death. As an outsider, he had no real role among them until he became a sin-eater, a ritual scapegoat. Some time after this, he was inducted into the secret society of Finders, an elite group of highly skilled scouts, problem-solvers and observers. He went to prison for accidentally killing a man, and then was sent to the army, where he met Brigham Grosvenor. Since then, Jaeger's fate has been closely linked to Brigham's wife, Emma, and their children, Rachel, Lynne and Marcie.