Cyn Walker, Daughter of Ether

Background

When her name was Sofie Wandelaar, Cyn lived in Amsterdam. She worked in hardware, building sensors and antennas for wearable electronics. She gave the drug scene a pass, didn’t care much about the city’s beautiful architecture – her mind was in her work. It wasn’t so much the devices themselves that fascinated her, it was their implications. One piece of metal sang to another over long distances, all because of the way they was shaped and the geometries that connected them. Cyn dove in deeper. She synthesized occult symbolism and modern antenna design, made a receiver that could pick up signals sent through the nonexistent ether of the world, and Awoke.

She found a similar group of mystics, the Children of Ether, by following their guerilla broadcasts. She joined them to fight against a world that would have swallowed her up and made her a cog in its engine of conformity. She took the name Cyn – she always preferred Cynthia to Sofie, and Walker was an Anglicized version of her family name. Her natural talents for materials science and long-distance correlations were much appreciated, and while she was young, she quickly gained the respect of her peers.

Then there was The Incident.

Cyn’s inspired antenna designs were receiving low-frequency transmissions that she couldn’t localize. They came from everywhere. At first she thought they might be part of the Earth itself, but one of the other Children suggested another possibility: they could be from another dimension. Cyn spent over a month building the perfect receiver for these transmissions. She built an amplifier and a frequency-shifter. She covered herself in receivers and waited to hear the sound of another world.

She vanished. For five days her mind vibrated in sync with the Splinter itself, and she felt the presence of the Maker. Then she fell to the ground, looked up, and saw a sky full of gears.

Appearance

Cyn Walker 500

Cyn has pale peach skin, blue eyes, and pale blonde hair. Her build is thin and athletic. When she is first encountered she is likely to have her hair a bit askew and dirt on her face.

The clothing Cyn had with her when she arrived is black, with fishnets and a tiny lace-covered hat. With her ability to adjust the properties of matter, she can wear just about anything and still be comfortable, so she’s likely to adjust whatever she’s given to suit her fashion sense. She has a set of goggles with a dozen different multi-colored lenses.

Demeanor

Amazed, honest, and unconcerned. Cyn is pretty sure that everything around her is a result of an overly powerful magical approach or a flaw in her design, and that it’ll all go away eventually. Some of her imbalance is probably due to the five days she spent exposed to the mind of a Primordial. She was a little self-absorbed and hyperkinetic before The Incident, and still tends this way now. (It’s hard to be magically awakened and not end up a little self-absorbed.)

The essence that flows through the Splinter is a gushing torrent compared to the weak quintessence that flows and pools on Earth. Cyn is going to cackle madly when she realizes how much power could be at her fingertips here. Then she’s going to be very, very careful, because no one wants to blow themselves into a third alternate universe.

Intimacies: We all need freedom (defining), Keep power secret from those who would steal and abuse it (major), Be grateful when assisted, All learning is connected
Catchphrase: Who knew I was so inventive?

Capabilities

Cyn is a brilliant electrical engineer and physicist, specializing in antenna design. She’s great at mathematics and computer programming. Cyn will eventually be able to adapt her skills and learn how to manipulate essence. In addition, her programming skills could make her the best automaton designer in the Splinter. Both of these adaptations will take time. The design of existing automata is not user-friendly, and essence, as it turns out, works almost nothing like electromagnetism. Before she makes progress on either of these, she’ll need to accept that she’s in an alternate universe rather than a hallucination.

Back in Amsterdam, Cyn little hiking and rock climbing. She’s fairly fit. She’s good at fine motor control. She’s friendly, but not what you’d call a force of personality. Cyn speaks multiple languages, including Enochian, a language that will be known here as the Tongue of the World Before. Those from Creation would call it Old Realm.

As a Daughter of Ether, Cyn was adept at two types of magick. One is the manipulation of physical matter. Cyn can alter the density and composition of materials, make them stronger or weaker, see what they’re made of, and shape them. She can’t work with the magical materials, nor with living beings. Her other magic deals with the connections between places. She can find and hide things and people, connect locations so that people can speak and see each other, and teleport vast distances. She can combine these arts to duplicate objects, make short-lived communication devices, and move objects with great precision and skill. Her handbag holds a truly unbelievable number of gadgets. She also has enough training in the ways of raw magic and physical forces that she can see forces and absorb essence, but not more than that.

In raw power Cyn is outclassed by even the youngest of Exalted. In terms of flexibility, though, she’s impossible to match. Back on Earth Cyn would have been wise to use her power covertly. It’s channeled through tricks and devices that don’t really seem like they could be impossible. She’ll stick to that approach here as well, at least at first. She thinks she’s in a Paradox Realm, a world that will punish her for blatant displays of magick. If she figures out that nothing here is waiting to punish her, the gloves will be off.

Cyn is outside of fate, being a part of neither Creation nor the Splinter.

Connections

  • Cyn’s compatriots, the Children of Ether, may well be looking for her. They may even have some people who are able to find her.

Questions

  • Can Cyn reverse her accident and return home? What would she need in order to try?
  • How will the gods of fate react to Cyn’s presence here (or in Creation)?

Fate: Do the Impossible

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Feather Black, the Explorer

Background

As one of eight children, Feather didn’t get a lot of parental attention when she was growing up. This let her slip out every now and then to go “investigating” in the local neighborhood. Soon enough, childhood games turned into real exploration, and Feather started bringing home interesting trinkets from the Imperial Years. She apprenticed to an archaeology firm (Kelvan Prospecting) and saw the world.

When the apprenticeship was over, Feather spent her saved money to travel to River Isle. She scouted the ruins of the Legion, bringing out fascinating journals and coded manuscripts. Sometimes she went with others, sometimes alone. She opened enough safes and sold enough old jewelry to stay solvent. Knowledge was what she really cared about.

The search for knowledge brought her to House Volan. In the hills nearby she found a strange silo, built underground, scarred on the inside with fire and lightning. In the research facility there she found a diagram in a hidden safe. It showed fifteen pieces assembled into a semblance of life and a resounding power. She had suspicions about what it meant, but she knew that her brother and his friends would be able to find out for sure.

She didn’t make it out of the facility unchanged. The Unhesitating Tiger of Lightning met her at the exit. She froze, captivated by its eyes. It stalked up to her and, as she breathed in, carefully poured itself into her mouth. No explanation, no message – just an infusion of power and a need to act. Feather can still feel part of its mind in the corner of her own, giving her courage, driving her forward.

She doesn’t sleep much any more.

Appearance

Feather Black 500

Feather and Tenor don’t look a lot alike, being step-siblings. Feather’s skin is much lighter, peach-colored and tanned, and her hair is a dirty blonde. Her eyes are a steel grey. She wears thinner black clothing, mostly cotton and leather, and likes to decorate with her namesakes. She uses a little dramatic eyeshadow and wears obsidian earrings. She smiles a lot.

When her energy runs low and she begins to drift off to sleep (once a week or so), Feather’s eyes will begin to crackle with lightning. Her hair will wave on unseen currents.

Demeanor

Upbeat, cheerful, and driven. Where her brother Tenor is dour, Feather is perpetually optimistic. However, since she was Chosen, the presence of the Tiger Mind presses on her. In shorter interactions she seems more normal. Those who spend longer periods of time with her will see that she’s rarely content to sit and wait for something. Since she almost never needs to sleep, this means she gets a lot done. Sometimes a frightening amount. The Tiger Mind demands action, and Feather agrees.

This isn’t to say that she moves forward at the expense of others. Feather is much more likely to take action at her own expense than she is to endanger others. She’s used to traveling on her own, or being a guide-and-bodyguard to more elderly explorers. Keeping an eye out for others is important to her.

Intimacies: Get Things Done (defining), Tenor helped raise me well (major), Protect those who need it (major), Leave no stone unturned
Catchphrase: AHA!

Capabilities

Feather is an excellent explorer. She can navigate on land or at sea, knows how to pack supplies and build shelters, and has a sixth sense for dangerous situations. She’s in good shape, knows how to use a hunting rifle, and can track game in several kinds of terrain. She enjoys long-distance running.

For self-defense, Feather uses a pair of steel knives. She uses the gifts of the Lightning Tiger to fight like a tornado. She can leap at tremendous speed past opponents, strike multiple times in a second, discorporate as a bullet passes through her, and ignore other lightning-based assaults. She never loses focus and never slows down. Feather does particularly well against groups of opponents or single, slow-moving targets that she can carve up. She hasn’t fought many people as fast as she is, or who can keep their heads on straight long enough to target her.

If there’s one way Feather has really changed after her Choosing, it’s that she doesn’t bother with idle chit-chat any more. If her allies want to go out to a bar to talk, let them – she’s more likely to stay back and keep studying, or to scout the nearby terrain. Everything needs to be for a purpose. This has the potential to make her life lonely and difficult.

Connections

  • Feather worked for Kelvan Prospecting, a group of so-called archaeologists who are more like tomb raiders. They’d still be interested in working with her if the right occasion came up.
  • Ruyito Pen is an aged pathfinder on River Isle, god-blooded and sharp-nosed, who competed with Feather for some of the Yushoto Family’s ruins. The two ended up with a grudging respect.
  • Speaking of which, the Yushoto Family would love to string Feather up, if they could get their hands on her. There aren’t many of them left, but they pack some impressive armament.

Questions

  • How will Feather and Stratus get along? Both are “treasure hunters” to some extent, but their attitudes couldn’t be more different.
  • Feather will think Sam is just the best and cutest. How will Sam react to the most optimistic person she’s ever met?
  • What are the other fourteen parts of the Weapon?

Fate: Ascension

Tenor Black, the Mechanic

Background

Tenor is the oldest of eight children. He’s had four parents. He’s used to dealing with bull. With his parents busy at work, he was often enlisted to get the others in line and keep them organized. Millie picked him up for exactly this reason. Tenor is Millie’s lieutenant – she puts the plans together, he gets the rest of the team to make it happen. The rest of the crew respects him both as an organized leader and as a mechanic.

All this happened before Tenor was Chosen by the Calamitous Vulture of Smoke. Most Amalgam Champions meet the Beasts in real life, face-to-face. Tenor met the Vulture in his dreams. It circled around him as he walked for five nights through a broken landscape of rust and scrap. When he reached the end of the road, he was vaporized by the Luminous Godkiller Weapon. The Vulture told his ashes, “Not all that is broken should be fixed,” and Tenor woke up shaking, oily smoke rising from his body. He’s quiet about his status, but everyone basically knows by now.

Most of Millie’s workstaff goes home at night. Tenor and Janek live on-premises, partly because they’re both Amalgam Champions and have a better chance of stopping thieves than the other mechanics. The two of them have formed a brotherly bond in their evenings together. Janek dreams of soaring through the skies on Millie’s hidden airship. Tenor’s more cynical. When they leave, he’s planning to stay. Maybe Millie will let him keep the garage open.

Tenor hasn’t yet admitted that the fates of Amalgam Champions rarely include peaceful lives or ordinary jobs.

Appearance

Tenor Black 500

The first thing everyone notices is that Tenor is short: 125 cm tall. His skin is like smoke quartz, partly due to genetics and partly due to twenty years of grime that’s now permanently part of his complexion. His shoulder-length black hair is typically unkempt. His eyes are black, though in the shop he wears goggles most of the time so it’s hard to tell. Tenor’s clothing is somewhere between Janek’s denim overalls and a button-down business shirt.

Demeanor

Amalgam Champions often have personalities that match up with their patrons. Janek is strong and stubborn like the Metal Ox. Tenor’s sister Feather is energetic and quick-witted like the Lightning Tiger. Tenor, as a Smoke-aspect, is pragmatic and pessimistic. He’s quick to suspect that something won’t work, and he’s not quiet about it when such failures could impact a worker’s health. It’s part of what makes him such a good foreman. Truth be told, though, he’s a little afraid to let people fail at all.

Tenor really tries to let things roll off his back. He’s getting fairly good at it. The short jokes don’t bother him any more; people talking about his sister stopped bothering him the first time she kicked someone’s ass for it. He can still be prone to outbursts if someone has been needling him long enough.

Intimacies: Keep everyone in line (defining), Janek is a good kid (major), Don’t let the assholes get to you (major), I’d like to be in charge some day
Catchphrase:

Capabilities

Tenor is tenacious and energetic. He doesn’t have a perfect memory, but he studies things overnight until people think he does. He doesn’t have Millie’s constant peripheral awareness, but he makes up for it by getting into everyone’s business and continually checking in. People may accuse Tenor of overcompensating for his height, but in reality he compensates just about right for his areas of skill.

Tenor’s specialty is in contingencies and backup plans, like auxilliary batteries, fire suppression, and overflow gates. This gives him a great overview of everyone else’s work. He knows where everything could fail. From flight runes to pneumatic bracing, he could step in and do about 80% of the jobs around the shop.

The gifts of the Smoke Vulture are something that Tenor has been experimenting with in his spare time. He can breathe out a noxious cloud of smoke that’s enough to send Janek into a coughing fit. He can see just fine through smoke, and even smoked glass like his goggles (though they still somehow protect his eyes from the light of plasma cutters). He’s better at accessing the more metaphorical powers: passing unnoticed by “clouding minds”, creating confined disasters, and finding the flaws in all kinds of things. The better he understands things already, the better he can find flaws, but the harder it becomes for him to create accidents.

Tenor has been in his share of fights. He’s not interested in fighting fair. He’ll gladly pick up a wrench and break some knees (or crack some nuts) if someone seems like they’re going to be a serious problem. These days he’s starting to see himself as above brawling, especially given his increased resilience since his Choosing. Tenor’s more likely to leave someone staggering around in a mental haze than to bother fighting them these days.

Connections

  • The work crew at Millie’s, despite how they bust Tenor’s ass over little things, will back him to the hilt if anyone gives him any shit.
  • The Black Family is not one of the historical Great Families, but there are a lot of them, and they stay close. Tenor has cousins in most major cities.
  • Local mayor Rella Cathak owes Tenor for a job he did in her town last year.

Questions

  • How big a disaster could Tenor create with his powers? Could he reverse them to stop one, or is that not within the purview of Smoke?
  • Does Tenor know how Janek feels about Feather?

Fate: Savior

Janek Ragara, the Guardian

Background

Janek was always strong. He was raised on a farm, and worked hard. He knew his strength well, and was always careful to avoid hurting others. The Ragara family still had a sense of nobility about it, he was told. They weren’t the rulers of the Continent any more, but they should still hold themselves to higher standards.

When he was fifteen his parents’ farmstead was visited by the Indomitable Metal Ox. It walked through the field, knocking over fences. It paced by their house and crushed the chicken coop. Despite his parents’ fearful cries, Janek ran out to stand between it and the neighbor’s house, and told it that it couldn’t just go breaking everything.

It Chose him as one of its own, then folded down into the ground and disappeared.

After that, he couldn’t really work on the farm any more. Neighbors talked. People came by wanting him to fix their tractors, or bless them, or heal their children, and he couldn’t do any of that. While his parents loved him, they didn’t stop him from packing a bag. Janek went from town to town doing odd jobs until he found Millie Eikar. She spotted him for what he was right away.

Since then he’s been at Eikar Welding. Learning to work with metal has opened up his gifts. When he’s not working or practicing, he often reads – mostly histories and old technologists’ diaries, as that’s what Millie has around. He is engrossed by stories from around the Day of the Broken Sky. He thinks often of what the people who designed the Weapon might have done if they had chosen differently. He also spends a fair amount of time talking philosophy with Tenor Black. Tenor is technically his boss, but their shared status as Amalgam Champions helps to even out a lot of status differences.

Appearance

Janek Ragara 500

Janek has light skin, the tan from his youth as a farmhand fading now that he’s been working inside for years.  He has military-cut brown hair and deep, intense brown eyes. Unlike many of the other workers, he stays clean-shaven (not that it’s difficult for him) and bathes daily. Most of his clothing is work-related. He has quite the baby-face.

Demeanor

Thoughtful, friendly, and compassionate. His parents never much liked the rest of their family. They taught him to be kind, to trust people, and to take good care of his friends – and not to trust those who seem noble. He’s still a bit naive.

Some of this has been enhanced by Janek’s brush with the Metal Ox. He wants to see broken things made whole, people protected, and The Right Thing done. Because of this he’s suspicious of Soulsteel Justice Warrior, and will think that the Component is redeemable. He’s also likely to put himself between any danger and Sam Eikar.

Intimacies: We can make things better (defining), Be good to my friends (major), Defend the weak (major), Feather Black sure is pretty
Catchphrase: What can I do?

Capabilities

Janek is very strong. He can lift an anvil under each arm and carry them around without much trouble. His skin can turn blades and is fire-resistant. He also has hidden depths of tranquility and mental fortitude that have yet to become important, but may come into play very soon when he’s trying to keep people from killing one another.

One of Janek’s jobs in the shop is shaping the largest pieces of metal. Millie could do it with an alchemical working, but it takes too long to use that for everything. Rather than using main strength, Janek can massage things into place, folding sheets of steel and placing rivets without stressing the metal. He can also sharpen tools just by running a finger down the edge, and repair broken chains with a quick twist. When some of Millie’s less friendly workers (now unemployed) tried to start a fight with Janek, he shoved one back twenty feet, pushed another harmlessly through a metal door into a cabinet, and took a third one’s belt buckle away without touching the belt.

Janek’s main shortcoming is that he’s not very bright, and he can be easily manipulated. His stubbornness matches badly with these: once he has an idea in his head, he doesn’t like getting it out.

Connections

  • The Ragara Family sees Janek as a lost investment. They’d be happy to recoup it with his children, but preferably before then.
  • A traveling Technologist, Fizal Uthden, would love to study Amalgam Champions in great detail. For some reason he’s hit on the idea that Janek would be an excellent experimental subject.
  • His cousin Siobhan Ragara lives not too far away, and has had a run-in with the Orthos. She might come to him for help if she’s heard of his powers.

Questions

  • Would Janek go with Millie once the airship is done, or stay with Tenor?
  • What would it take to convince Janek that the Component is a real danger?

Fate: Sacrifice

Millie Eikar, the Inventor

Background

Like her ancestor Jek, Millie has the Knack. She’s been a tinkerer ever since she was small, putting together elaborate string-and-pulley systems to get food and supplies up to her workshop in her parents’ attic. She worked with tin and pliers, gears and springs. Millie built her first clock when she was five.

These days she’s a welder and an inventor. More than that, she’s a Technologist. She sees the flows of the alchemical elements and reads the essence-conduits under the ground. She and her crew specialize in larger projects: airship propellers, manse hulls, dam reinforcements. She has a few specialized clients (mostly the more prosperous Great Families and the New Empire) and turns most others away. Eikar Welding is a well-known name – if you’re rich enough.

The company could make more money if she took on more projects. Publicly, this is in case emergencies come up. Sometimes an airship crashes nearby. Sometimes there’s an automaton who needs a little work done. You never know what might happen around here.

Secretly, however, Eikar Welding is building its own airship. It will be the first new ship on the Splinter in over a hundred years. They have a tight-fitting hangar underground, invisible beneath a layer of topsoil and scrub grass. From the inside, it’s clear that the hangar’s ancient bay doors once concealed a gigantic humanoid form. Millie started building the ship on a lark, imagining she’d never finish. With some help from Janek and Tenor, though, and some ancient blueprints that Feather recovered, they’re nearly finished. It’s so close she can taste it. Millie dreams of having the wind blow through her hair and feeling the clouds on her cheeks. Sometimes she’ll stand outside the workshop, face toward the sky, eyes closed, just imagining.

Appearance

Millie Eikar 500

Millie is a middle-aged woman with pale, ruddy skin and eyes that shade from blue to brown. Her hair is dark brown. She wears it back so that it doesn’t get singed by a cutting torch or caught in a gear, but half of the time she has a welding mask on anyway. If she doesn’t have helmet-hair, it probably means she has to deal with rich customers that day. Her clothing tends toward the traditional and utilitarian.

Demeanor

Calm, pragmatic, and no-nonsense. Millie treats her employees and her cutomers very professionally and directly. She’s the same with her friends, which might be why she doesn’t have a lot of close friends. If you never saw her put the finishing touches on a project (or after a few glasses of whiskey) you might think she doesn’t have a sentimental bone in her body.

Watch her work on the airship for a few minutes, however, and you’ll see a different side of Millie. She’s a pragmatist by trade, but a dreamer by nature. Years of keeping that in check have made her a little uptight sometimes.

Intimacies: We were made to fly (defining), Don’t screw up the business (major), Protect my employees (major), Keep an eye on Janek and Tenor, Work before pleasure, Feather would make a good supervisor.
Catchphrase: Make me a deal.

Capabilities

Millie is a consummate multitasker. She can weld a seam, carry on a business conversation, and calculate stresses and strains in her head all at the same time. She’ll also spot people doing a shoddy job (or a good one) out of the corner of her eye from a hundred feet away. Her employees dread the days she’s on the floor, but they also learn a lot from her.

Physically, she’s starting to show her age. She’ll huff and puff after a set of stairs. Socially, though, she’s as sharp as ever. She’s a shrewd negotiator and drives a hard bargain.

As a Technologist, Millie focuses primarily on alchemical workings that enhance her workshop. Within a kilometer of the garage, she can call metal to her and move it about, direct electricity, open holes in the ground, and clear smoke and steam from the air with an angry shout. She knows a handful of protocols that allow her to send messages long distances, bind alchemical spirits, and enhance materials with alchemical power (such as using tiny puffs of steam to keep clothing comfortably warm, or producing ever-lubricated bearings). She learned one defensive protocol that drags weapons and projectiles magnetically down toward the ground, but hasn’t spent much time on combat-related considerations.

Connections

  • The Cynis Family, most powerful of the remaining Great Families, holds Millie’s largest contracts. Large vehicles come every month to bring more raw materials and to carry Eikar Welding’s work to the Imperial City.
  • Because of Janek, the Ragara Family has also paid Millie a fair amount of attention and offered a number of contracts. She’s taken a few of them, but is wary of their intentions.
  • With many ancient blueprints buried in ruins these days, Millie relies on Kelvan Prospecting to bring her fragments and details from long ago.

Questions

  • How will the Great Families react to Milile’s airship plan?

Fate: Leadership

Soulsteel Justice Warrior

Background

Not every technologist goes mad in the same way. Oh sure, most of them end up ranting and cackling to the heavens while lightning rains down around them and either their creations or their miscalculations destroy them. Others, though, have subtler internal turmoil. They see things they can’t change and can’t bring themselves to let go: the injustices of the world. Of these technologists, the vast majority have… let’s just say a poorly calibrated idea of justice and a poorly calibrated voltmeter. Their creations are twisted mistakes that do nothing to improve the Splinter.

Apparently, though, at least one person managed to create beauty and balance from their madness. The last act of the Warrior’s creator was to forge themselves into a piece of virtuous soulsteel that glows with the rainbow light of compassion. This metal sits at the heart of the Warrior.

Soulsteel Justice Warrior is an automaton created to make the world better. Is it imperfect? Yes. Is it all-knowing? No. But it never stops trying, and it never makes excuses. The Warrior has walked the length and breadth of the Blessed Continent like the ronin of old. No, not like the ronin – like the stories that were told about the best of them. In every town it seeks understanding and offers aid. When there is a need, it acts. When there are threats, it faces them, or helps the people band together to face the danger as one.

The Warrior is loved in story and hated by tyrants. Many citizens of the Continent fear it, for its visage is not beautiful, and they cannot see its heart – but just as many will say how they were touched by its words and assisted by its strong arms.

Recently the Warrior was in a village that lay in the path of the Component. The Component seemed to be seeking someone or something. The Warrior strode forward when the people were afraid, and asked it to leave, because it was frightening the people. Unfortunately, someone made the mistake of leaping past the Warrior and attacking the Component. It began laying waste to the village. The Warrior tried to stop it, and was injured – rendered temporarily insert by the force of its furious eye beam. Now the Warrior seeks out Eikar Welding for repairs, and warns others of the Component.

Appearance

Soulsteel Justice Warrior 500

The Warrior is eight feet tall. Its body is made of black, grey, and off-white materials that seem scavenged from a trash heap. Huge glass eyes rest above simply-carved teeth in a wire jaw. One can see right through it from certain angles. The Warrior could hide in a garbage pile well, if not for its size. Its voice is unexpectedly fluid, and somewhat higher-pitched than one might expect.

Demeanor

Open, impassioned, and compassionate. The Warrior speaks from its heart. It listens to others, balancing their words against their actions, and their need against the needs of others. It has spent much time in the wilderness, and can be very thoughtful when alone, but it prefers to engage others in discussion.

Soulsteel Justice Warrior feels a kind of connection with the Component: the kind one might feel for a brother gone mad, or a sadistic mother. Yes, the Warrior admits, the Component acted in self-defense – but then it went far, far beyond defense, and into terrible retribution. The Warrior fears that there is no moral center to the Component, just programming. It sometimes wonders the same about itself.

Intimacies: Do what is right (defining), Find out what is right (defining), Aid the meek and oppressed before the mighty (major), Hypocrites annoy me, Friendship is a gift and deserves gifts in return.
Catchphrase: Justice must prevail.

Capabilities

As an automaton, the Warrior has no need to eat, sleep, or breathe. Poison and disease cannot touch it. It does need rest and repair from time to time. Unlike most automata, it has true will and volition, and can think for itself. It is of average intelligence. While not quick-witted, it is fairly perceptive, and its eyes can focus at long distances. It has no senses of smell or taste. The Warrior can see dematerialized spirits by shifting in an extra optic lens, but normally disengages this lens, as it can prove distracting in ordinary circumstances.

The Warrior is very durable, but not invulnerable. Its heart may be indestructible soulsteel, but the rest of its body has been damaged and replaced a myriad of times. It does not heal naturally. The Warrior takes time to repair minor dents in itself as needed. For major injuries, it seeks out repair facilities.

When the time for battle comes, the Warrior unsheathes a mighty blade from its back: the grand daiklaive Virtue Signal. This blade appears to be black iron when sheathed. In truth, it is soulsteel. When drawn, it shines with a prismatic radiance like the Warrior’s own heart. Virtue Signal is the bearer of many potent evocations. It slices through armor. It banishes illusion. It strikes harder and more true against those with hateful Intimacies. Virtue Signal is especially potent when it comes to deflecting harm from others. When the Warrior defends someone from a protocol or spell, or from a charm with an anima cost, the sword will absorb the magical essence of the attack, dissipating it entirely. The Warrior can then raise the shining sword to the heavens and mark the one who attacked with revealing light, so that others might fall upon them with greater accuracy.

When the Warrior attends someone’s death, the love from those whose lives the person had touched becomes a palpable force. That person’s spirit joins with the Warrior’s daiklaive and lends its courage to the quest for justice for all time. Should the Warrior ever fall, those who pick up its sword will be hard pressed not to fight for its cause.

Connections

  • Eikar Welding have repaired the Warrior on occasion, most recently about five years ago. Millie is nervous about the trouble that can follow in the Warrior’s wake.
  • The Sesus Family hold much animosity for the Warrior. They would gladly ruin its works and melt it down for scrap.
  • The Warrior is known in song and story across the world. Many of the hard-working people of the Blessed Continent will recognize it, though whether they appreciate it or not will depend on their views.

Questions

  • How damaged is the Warrior right now? Will Millie be able to repair it before another confrontation with the Component?
  • How long ago was the Warrior created? Was it alive for the Graze?

Fate: Balance

Stratus Cathak, the Treasure Hunter

Background

The Godsfall Crater is, to this day, a frightening and unloved place. The clouds above part to avoid blowing over it. Batteries lose charge. Gunpowder refuses to catch. Metal rusts and oil curdles. Strange things dwell in the pit, said to be the impossible ghosts of shattered deities. Many believe that, but for the destruction of the Luminous Godkiller Weapon, this is the fate that would have befallen the entirety of the Blessed Continent.

Everyone else assumed that this place was utterly ruined beyond saving. Stratus Cathak came to find out. Young and alone, with the gift of foresight to guide him and keep him safe, he descended the walls of the crater and plumbed through the shifting maze of black stone that grew at its base. There he found black metal like none in the Splinter, bones infused with runes that pulled in light, fireproof funerary shrouds so thin they could be folded into a thimble, and still stranger things. He reasoned that anything that had survived the Holocaust of the Gods would be worth a king’s ransom.

The disappointing part is that there were no kings left who could properly ransom such things. Still, he made a small fortune selling them to traders and technologists. He assumed he’d be able to retire young – high risk, high reward. And yet he kept going back, again and again. He couldn’t stop himself. When he decided the crater was tapped out (or got scared enough of what he found), he moved on to abandoned Great Family manses, broken-down mansions of the gods on the Spire, and the ruins of the Imperial City.

He was stopping by some distant cousins to rest (and perhaps flaunt a little wealth) when he met Fulmine. She and their cousin Calcite were after an airship, of all things, and where couldn’t he go with something like that? What treasures could possibly lie beyond his reach then?

Appearance

Stratus Cathak 500

Stratus has light brown skin, brown eyes, and black hair. His face is gaunt – not underfed, but definitely thin. He tends to have dark rings under his eyes. He looks… pursued.

He dresses well, but in clothing that he’s taken from many different places. With silk, leather, cotton, and brass all at once, his eclectic look doesn’t always work. He manages to pull it off most of the time regardless. He wears earrings, and carries both goggles and a gas mask, a fact that strikes most people as odd when they notice it.

Demeanor

Stratus exudes bravado and snooty disdain. A surprisingly small amount of this is directed at the people around him. He saves most of it for the world itself. Still, he’s often unpleasant to be around. He’s the sort of person who can address you honorably and kindly and still leave you feeling like he thinks he’s superior to you. He’ll interrupt anyone and change the topic of conversation whenever he feels like it.

If there’s one thing for which he shows a healthy amount of respect, it’s how badly the world can mess you up, whether you’re careful or not. Put Stratus into a field situation and he’s immediately all about business. He also drops the snotty noble persona when he’s fast-talking his way into or out of something. He’s a good actor and impersonates others well.

Intimacies: The world owes me and it hasn’t paid up yet (defining), Don’t trust anyone who hasn’t proven themselves (major), Fulmine should stop telling stories and start making them, Calcite needs some serious help
Catchphrase: Don’t believe your eyes.

Capabilities

As an explorer and treasure hunter, Stratus knows how to handle himself in ruins. He can set up ropes, check for bad air, and read a variety of older codes. He’s athletic and has an excellent memory for places and words. He’s also good at staying still and quiet when danger comes by. His first choice is always to talk his way out of a bad situation, and he’s quite good at that. If words won’t do, he’d rather sneak than fight. He’s more proud of being clever than of being powerful.

Stratus has hauled multiple artifacts from the depths of various ruins and chasms. He has goggles with lenses that let him see spirits. When he’s going into a fight, he wears a filter breather that not only purifies the air, but helps him to respire extra essence. Most frightening (if others only knew) are a pair of earrings that he found at the bottom of Godsfall. They whisper with the Neverborn’s dark insights, words that never should have been spoken in this world.

In addition to these stolen wonders, he has a gun created for him by Calcite. It shoots a jet of scalding steam out to short range, but also creates a cloud of mist that obscures others’ vision. The steam cloud gets in Stratus’ way as well, but he has other ways to find his opponents. If he needs to he can also fight with a sword and with more traditional pistols.

Stratus’ particular version of future-sight points out opportunities for stealth and misdirection. He’ll know where a watchman is going to be looking, and how to get them to look somewhere else. He’ll know who is willing to take a bribe, and who is easy to fast-talk. It doesn’t feed him the right words to say, but he’s pretty good at that himself.

Connections

  • Several members of the Karal Family know Stratus as an honorable individual. This is part of his plan to plunder the ruins of Castle Karal for Karal Volan’s legendary blade Prowcutter.
  • The new gods. Several have come to the homes of their predecessors to find important things… missing. They’re often displeased.
  • The crew of No Memory are just about fed up with Stratus’ attitude. They’re not ready to throw him overboard, but they’d gladly leave him at the next port if they could convince Fulmine to do so.

Questions

  • How often is Stratus wearing the earrings that carry the Neverborn’s whispers? How far have they gotten with him? What secrets do they have to give?
  • What made Stratus such an ass?

Fate: Choice