The Sidereal Exalted are Chosen from a young age. From the moment they are born, they are destined to inherit the power of the stars. This is a great advantage – they can be trained from a young age to handle the difficult and stressful life that awaits them – but also a great weakness. If their enemies discover them, they will certainly take advantage of the weakness of a child. Some are discovered. Some are slain by the Silver Pact. Others are manipulated. A few are corrupted. It sets the cause of Heaven back by years. These special children need protection, but the Chosen themselves are far too busy to spend their lives raising infants.
To protect their future selves, the Sidereals created the Custos. Each of them was once human. They were transformed by a sorcerous ritual: turned into immortal living golems and set to watch over young Sidereals until they come of age and obtain their fated inheritance.
Five hundred years ago, more or less, Adach Molo lived farther north, along the River of Tears. He was a crab fisherman, waiting for the creatures to scuttle from the water just before the river reversed direction every two weeks. He would beat away the seagulls and ward off the claw striders with torches. His companions could fill a sack with crabs. Then they would all run like hell to avoid the larger predators that came to feast on gulls and striders.
One day he noticed a young woman standing just beyond the treeline, watching them. She approached him in his hovel, praising him for protecting his comrades. He couldn’t believe she had survived the onslaught. She just smiled, and asked whether he liked children.
Over the next few years, Molo learned much and trained hard. He grew wiser and more patient. He learned about the Sidereals and the ways in which they protect the world, and swore to uphold their vision. When he was at the fullness of his strength and conviction, the one who had recruited him performed a great ritual. A prayer strip was bound to the inside of Molo’s skull. Its power sustains and protects him as he safeguards the children who will safeguard Creation, one at a time. He has protected and taught nearly fifty of them.
Now, Molo lives in a very small, very clean house in the town of Pech. His ward is Vatli Butterfly.
Adach knows that there are many other Exalts hidden in the Pearl. He doesn’t know exactly who, but given past experience, if he just stays out of the way, they’ll all leave before they threaten Butterfly.
The thing people remember most about Molo is his intense expression. His dark eyes stare into the soul. He most often wears a simple white cloth cap and a long white robe with buttons down the front. He has light brown skin and a medium-length beard with a moustache. His hair is salt-and-pepper grey.
Calm, taciturn, and intense. Adach Molo is patient with everything but impatience. His neighbors see him sitting in the square, playing games of Gateway, talking with the old folk, smiling at the children who run past. They know that he babysits for the Vatlis once in a while.
With Butterfly he is both tender and firm, stern and understanding. He can still be a little intimidating, because of his size and scowling face, but Butterfly knows that if she is good and clever she can still get a smile out of him.
When his wards are threatened, nothing will move him from their defense.
Intimacies: “Protect my ward” (Defining), “Teach the new Sidereals” (Defining), “The secret must be kept” (Defining), “Children” (Major, Positive), “Watch over the young” (Major), “The Silver Barbarians” (Major, Negative), “The Fivescore Fellowship” (Major, Positive), “Don’t be hasty”, “Crabs are delicious”
Adach Molo is perhaps not the best teacher ever to walk Creation, but he is very patient, and very knowledgeable. He demands discipline, and his wards generally rise to the challenge. He is well-versed in ancient history, the powers of the Chosen, the ways of gods and elementals, and the various philosophies that people follow across Creation. He knows many of the secret pathways that crisscross Creation. He has memorized the principles of geomancy, alchemy, astrology, geometry, and more, not that he has practical understanding of how to use them. He plays Gateway like a pro. He does not pass all of this knowledge to each of his wards, but tries to find “teachable moments” where the memory might stick most effectively.
Each of the twenty-four Custos are tied to a particular constellation, determined by the prayer strip used to create them. Adach Molo is tied to the Mast, the sign of endurance. It is perhaps because of this that he has survived through so many decades, where many other Custos have had to be replaced. Molo is incredibly durable, needs no sleep, no food or water, and ignores poison without even noticing it. He could run non-stop from one corner of Creation to the other if the sea were not in the way. His mind, too, is like this. His willpower is inexhaustible, and his convictions are unwavering.
In a fight he is an unstoppable juggernaut. He can be wounded, but not knocked back, and his wounds do not impair him. He fights like an expert with a spear, both held and thrown. He has an instinctive feel for tactics – putting himself between his foe and his ward, escaping from encirclement, fighting alongside any ally who might be present.
As a Custos, Molo’s skills and feelings are frozen in place. He will not age and weaken with time, but neither can he learn at a deep level. Even his recovery from injury is slowed. His Intimacies are unchangeable. He has no access to his own essence, but he can hear when others with awakened essence expend theirs, like the ringing of a bell. The more essence, the farther away it can be heard. In places like Lookshy or the Imperial City a Custos would hear an unending carillon, impossible to distinguish. In the Pearl, Molo can pick out individual exalts and sorcerers quite clearly.
- Vines Climb High, the reincarnation of the Sidereal who changed him into a Custos. Studious, tactful, devoted.
- Wind Hunts the Wolf, one of the Sidereals who grew up under his care and is still active in the East. Stately, detached, thankless.
- Ixatak Toklat, one of the elders who plays Gateway with him. Likeable, crude, dependable.
- Lakot Xutka, an informant assigned by the King of Kindness to watch this neighborhood. Lewd, strong-willed, deceitful.
- Molo has been tracking Kotala Fesho. Does he know what she is yet? How would he react? Would he attack her to keep Butterfly safe, or just try to squeeze her out of the Pearl?
- Who first assigned Molo here? Is this person still active in the region?