The Ragara family have a well-earned reputation as hard workers. Van and Uto were brought up to respect a strong work ethic and dedication to a job. As children they were fascinated by flying machines, and voraciously read everything they could get their hands on. When they were seven they were building paper gliders and little metal-and-rubber-band whirligigs. By the time they were twelve they were saving their money to buy parts for a powered glider. By fifteen, they had built it. It worked like a dream.
Van and Uto stayed together as they grew up, working as engineers. They were fine designers, but better mechanics. When their family joined the war effort, they were moved into the science corps. They pulled the occasional harmless prank, and took their punishment gladly. The troops’ morale was the better for it.
In the early years of the war they worked for a time with Yushoto Koletta. Both of them found her to be arrogant and dangerous. Their glider might have just killed its pilot if it failed; her inventions could kill thousands or millions. They breathed a sigh of relief when she was prevented from experimenting on the Behemoth – and then froze in terror when they heard she had defected to join River Island. They’re also familiar with the work of Jek Eikar, whom they find a bit unstable. His work isn’t really science, in their minds – it’s more like dangerous magic. They’ve never met him in person.
Their largest work to date is the airship named No Memory. (Uto wanted to name it I Can’t Recall; Van almost let him.) They call it a “vanishing zeppelin,” and in another age it might revolutionize warfare. They built the same technology into Miia‘s High Horizon, another masterwork of theirs. Right now it’s the only thing that could get them to River Island safely, and they’re the only people who can keep it working. They’re in this to stop Koletta and her inventions from destroying the world. Let other people go after General Karal; they know who the real threat is.
Van and Uto could be mistaken for twins. They’re both umber-skinned, dark-haired men with dark eyes and soft wrinkles. Uto tends to have more of a beard, Van stays clean-shaven. They’re both fairly tall and svelte. Van doesn’t own much clothing beyond his work wear. Uto has a closet full of clothing for nights on the town, but all of that is back home. He brought just the basics on the No Memory for this flight. Both have broad smiles that they can hide instantly.
The brothers are serious men. Their work takes priority over relaxation or fun. They back each other up to the hilt – if you’ve asked one of them a question, you’ve asked them both. They wake up early, go to sleep early, and take great pride in their hard work and its tangible rewards.
All of that is on the surface. Underneath, they’re both pranksters at heart. Oh, they’re still hard workers, and still proud of their work – but they’re not beyond playing a joke or two on people, or on each other. Cans of water balanced on top of a door, pens that leak oil, hollowed-out spare maintenance manuals filled with ball bearings, fake technical acronyms that spell out dirty words, all of it fills their workroom with laughter (and the occasional swear). Luckily, they understand the difference between a harmless joke to lighten the mood and a serious malfunction that could cost someone’s life. Both of them take safety seriously.
Intimacies: “Leave things better than you found them” (Defining), “Each other” (Defining, Positive), “Don’t take yourself too seriously” (Major), “Don’t reveal our power” (Major), “River Island” (Major, Negative), “A long project is its own reward” (Van), “Life is more than books” (Uto)
Van and Uto are phenomenal engineers and repairmen. They don’t often invent new things on their own – the “vanishing” technology in No Memory and High Horizon is their pride and joy – but they are very, very good at taking something that someone else made and improving on it. They boast that they’ll fix anything made out of metal, and if it’s not metal, they’ll paint it silver and fix it.
Years ago, just after the death of the Terrible Crystalline Behemoth, Van and Uto were selected by the Indomitable Metal Ox to become Amalgams of their genius and its power. They hid this power carefully, knowing that the people they worked with would have exploited them if their status became known. Because of their caution they haven’t had the opportunity to explore their capabilities very much. Van knows that he can shape metal with his hands alone, and cannot be hurt by a hot stove or a sharp knife. Uto is much heavier than he looks – his bones have been strengthened with living metal. He can also be stubborn and unbending; he thinks of this as his “Iron Will,” and because of it he is usually the one to negotiate with outsiders. Both of them can identify a metal on sight, even a new alloy, or tell that a lead crown is plated with gold.
Beyond their careers and Amalgam status, the brothers have very different hobbies. Van enjoys painting and reading, and knows a few snippets of Old Realm from his adventure novels. He’s better at staying calm and being attentive. Uto prefers spending a night out with friends (not that any of them stayed after the gods died), and is more social and outgoing.
Both of the brothers also have the quiet feet and fine motor control needed to pull off a good prank.
- Ragara Dar, the third brother, who died when they were young. Audacious, precocious, funny.
- Ragara Malkea, their mother, who taught them the family trade. Tolerant, perceptive, encouraging.
- Tinsheet, a fellow Amalgam who visited them a few years back. Secretive, urgent, disappointed.
- Nellens Fenda, who supplied the brothers with parts even after the war ended. Huge, intimidating, soft-hearted.
- Van and Uto aren’t great inventors. Did someone else invent the vanishing technology? If so, who? If not, what gave them the inspiration?
- How might the brother’s Amalgam powers be used if they had more practice?