Of all his lives, Keymaker remembers his most recent one the best. He died at fourteen, just a year after being Chosen, as a victim of the Great Contagion. He remembers his final day with perfect, painful clarity.
Reincarnated into the chaos after the Fair Folk invasion, the Keymaster was forced into service by one of the many groups of Raksha who were late to leave Creation. They were not kind to him. His family was stretched into impossible, distressing shapes before his eyes. The Fair Folk fed on his emotions as well as theirs. They told him to build them a massive ziggurat to their majesty. He was beaten when he could not shape the loose sand of the Western shores into stone for them.
Then he was rescued and Chosen in one moment. A riding of the Dragon-Blooded arrived and forced the Fair Folk out, with one other along for the ride: Wekaho, Chosen of Journeys, the woman who would become Keymaker’s mentor. In that one moment the weave of fate opened to him and he saw. He understood the carefully orchestrated, years-long plan that had led to his freedom and the death of his oppressors. It was as if a needle had been threaded with destiny itself. He pledged his life to the cause of the Fivescore Fellowship before he even knew what they were.
Many years later, no longer an apprentice, Keymaker became a mentor to new Sidereals, and occasionally to the few Solars who still reincarnated. The West is his ancestral home. He has concentrated his efforts there (with the blessing of the Bureau of Destiny, of course). His subtle manipulations have encouraged order-reinforcing trade routes to form on the outskirts of the archipelagos, sacrificing a few sailors each year to wind and chaos in order to safeguard the islands themselves. Such plans are the way he works: always a tradeoff, always the greater good, risks amortized over years. His methods were time-consuming and sophisticated. If he lost as many as he saved, still a few were saved, and he was content. A measured retreat is preferable to a mad rush forward – one can always gain ground later.
Still, sometimes he is inspired to step into the maelstrom himself. Not every child can be saved by a plan begun ten years earlier; some need help now. As a case in point, consider Athanor Isle.
The lesser gods of fate reported to him a great and fearsome disturbance in the Tapestry. He came to investigate, and saw, in a manner that is not truly sight, a dark vortex drawing in the light of the Chosen to extinguish them. With little time to weigh his options, he turned to another group of Chosen. They were nearby, but not quite in the storm. A little nudge, a little misdirection, and they were sent into the vortex. Will it prove to be more light than the darkness can consume? He wishes he knew. For now, he stands back, beyond the vortex’s border, and peers inward at what he can only dimly see: the lives of the Chosen locked in battle.
Keymaker has light skin and brown hair, including a goatee and moustache. Dramatic eyebrows shade eyes that are a vivid green. Cracks run across his face, scars from a battle some four hundred years ago that will carry over even to his next life. In his official capacity he wears charcoal robes with green trim, and a black necklace forged from the heart of a raksha.
Serious, perceptive, and calculating. Keymaker doesn’t joke around. His work long ago consumed his life. He’s used to a phenomenal amount of bureaucracy, and to hiding his work from others so that he can operate without red tape. (He realizes, with a touch of ironic humor, that the rest of the Fellowship does so as well.) He loves the feeling of a plan coming to fruition. On the rare occasion when he losing his grip on the threads of a particular plot, his heart sinks and panic creeps upward from his chest to his eyes.
Keymaker is a member of the Gold Faction, though cautiously so.
Intimacies: “The Good of the Many” (Defining) “Uncover secrets” (Defining), “Don’t give a straight answer” (Major), “The Silver Barbarians” (Negative), “Adolescents” (Positive)
Keymaker’s age makes his expertise wide indeed, but it is only deep in a few specific areas. Wekaho taught Keymaker well – taught him to hide his old name, to predict and prophecize, to wield geometry and iteration as weapons through technique and meditation. He knows how to navigate bureaucracies, analyze trade routes and plans, and see the hidden ambitions in treaties. He speaks all the major languages of Creation, as well as Old Realm. His calligraphy is perfect. He can sail most vessels, and navigate anywhere in Creation, but never learned to ride a horse. His eyes and ears are sharp, as is his mind. When circumstances require he can be quiet as a mouse, evading even the most alert sentries. At some point he stopped being able to make a good cup of tea – he suspects that it may be some petty bit of vengeance from the pattern spiders.
As with many Sidereals, Keymaker is a master of the martial arts. He is the lineage-keeper of Cerulean Mirror of Shapes Style. Practitioners of this style learn to see the patterns in their opponents’ movements, both in space and in time. The longer they observe an opponent, and the more the battle shifts across the terrain, the more certain their victory. They also take advantage of the crystalline nature of reality to reflect themselves across rooms and chasms, striking their foes from impossible angles. Those who try to escape them find themselves back in the fight. Those whose armor covers every inch find the masters of this style striking them from within. Cerulean Mirror of Shapes Form reflects the master back in on himself, resulting in a many-armed, many-legged, many-headed creature that looks in all directions and redirects attacks to nearby targets.
- Fen Thanh, the current incarnation of his old mentor Wekaho. Energetic, outgoing, admonishing.
- Unending Wave, his opponent in the Silver Pact, who seeks to find his younglings before him. Vicious, clever, unforgiving.
- Kahaka Mahanu, his servant while he watches the events at Athanor unfold. Graceful, erudite, compassionate.
- Yellow Flame, an old student whom he has asked to watch his usual duties. Attentive, businesslike, suspicious.
- What would make Keymaker join in this fight?
- Does Keymaker realize that a deathlord is the cause of the events on Athanor? Does he know which one?
- Is Keymaker doing more harm than good overall?