Deep in the midst of the last age, a clever smith designed a series of automata to protect the cities and castles of the Chosen. Over the years most of them fell into disrepair or were destroyed. The remainder were traded for favors, left to protect forgotten manses, or given as presents to favored mortals.
Iko and Fia have been protecting the castle at Slumber’s Grasp since before the ruling family kept records. They stand together near the portcullis, speaking with the guards from time to time, startling foreign visitors and delighting small children.
The binding on these automata is to the castle and its owners, a fact well-known to the surrounding kingdoms and bandits. They have been the final line of defense for Slumber’s Grasp in war. and a rude awakening for would-be thieves. They have also been well-beloved by the children of the castle for uncounted years, and the royal family considers them to be among the kingdom’s greatest assets. They have had little need to show their prowess in the past few decades. Many consider their strength to be exaggerated.
When Prince Jasper first returned to the castle after his banishment, Iko and Fya confronted him, warning him that he was no longer welcome. He threatened first them, then the king. When he tried to shove them aside, they threw him bodily from the entryway and barred the door against him.
These small metal people have burnished silver and gold metal “skin”, with gold and silver domino “masks” over their eyes. Their faces are immobile, forever smiling. Their voices are like a chorus of bells and chimes.
They seem a bit mad, honestly. Benign and compassionate, if one is a friend of the castle’s, but still… perhaps not quite all there. They speak in rhyme, poorly. They giggle. They tell unfunny jokes. The more they interact with the ordinary, the more sane they seem. The more they see of the bizarre and the outlandish – including the chosen of the gods – the more their minds drift.
Each of the automata identifies under both names, switching as the mood strikes them.
Intimacies: “Those who would harm the castle” (Defining, Negative), “Those who protect the castle” (Major, Positive), “Answer questions other than those asked”, “Those who bring beauty to the world” (Positive)
Iko and Fya are intelligent automata. They are self-maintaining, to a certain extent – they are not as powerful or coherent as they once were, but they are still constructs of the first age. They are strong. They are tireless. They are fast and durable. Their stare can force a bear backward or deflect a river. They can hear a moth’s flutter from across the castle. Iko and Fya might be stunned by brute force alone, but it would take a mountain falling on them to truly destroy them.
They speak every language in Creation, and give impossibly bad directions in all of them. They never forget a face, but they do need to be reminded of names. They are nearsighted and cannot see color. They are wise strategic thinkers, but their inability to answer a straight question makes their advice difficult to interpret.
Iko and Fia gain a major negative intimacy against each individual person who seeks to harm the grounds that they protect. They use these to reinforce their refusal to work with or listen to those who struck against them. This can sometimes be used to manipulate them in and of itself.
- Ülka, who polishes them and keeps the tarnish away. Dedicated, attentive, senile.
- Piia, an alchemist who studies them, to their amusement. Practical, inquisitive, promiscuous.
- Tilda, a guard who asks about the things they remember from the past. Affable, chivalrous, talkative.
- Isaakka, a merchant who covets them for the fortune they would bring. Slovenly, crafty, quick-witted.
- Jasper knows that Iko and Fya will still be there to protect the castle when he returns. How does he plan to deal with them?
- Can Iko and Fya be repaired? If so, why hasn’t Anvil Loves the Forge done it yet?