Vatli Butterfly, Sidereal-to-be

Background

When Butterfly was less than a year old, her parents died in an accident. She doesn’t know exactly how. Her family at home couldn’t take care of her, so they sent her to live with her auntie and uncle and Adach Molo in the Pearl. Her auntie likes to say that they named her Butterfly because she came to them on the wind.

Her auntie and uncle lost their only child before Butterfly arrived, so she doesn’t have any real brothers or sisters. She spends the mornings with her tutors, and the afternoons with Adach Molo, who’s like her… well, she already has an uncle, but he’s more like her father, except… you know what she means. He takes good care of her and talks to her about gods and stars and things. In the evenings, if her parents are busy, which is a lot, Klatang ‘Emashi who lives down the street comes to take care of her. Sometimes she even brings V’neef Detla with her, who lives in Sandpiper and is Very Important. They’re the best big sisters a little girl could want. They go to market, and play in the street, and splash in the lake in the moonlight.

None of that is wrong, exactly, but it’s not the full truth. Vatli Butterfly has a special fate: one day, about eight years from now, one of the Sidereal Exalted is going to die. Butterfly, whatever her name will be then, will inherit the power of the Maidens of the Planets. Her “aunt” and “uncle” are really much more distant relatives who were chosen by the Fivescore Fellowship to watch over this special little girl until her destiny comes to her. Adach Molo is a guardian and teacher set to watch over her until this day comes.

She doesn’t know any of this. She’s just six (and a half), and her exaltation is almost a decade in the future. She’s grown up here with loving caretakers, the best of tutors, and a very busy life.

Unfortunately, there’s a wrinkle in her life, unknown to her and others. It puts her at the center of a very dangerous event. Butterfly’s aunt and uncle are in a cult, one organized by the deathknight known as Peacebringer. They tell her that they are out with friends, playing Gateway, and leave her with ‘Emashi. In reality, they’re talking with these families about the importance of giving in to death when it comes, and of ending the cycle of pain that is reincarnation.

Appearance

Vatli Butterfly 500

Butterfly has light brown skin, black eyes, and black hair. She wears a bindi and has just gotten her first ear piercings, with tiny earrings. She wears mostly heavily-patterned skirts and vests that she’s growing out of, with the occasional gauzy cloak. Her favorite color is green. She is often barefoot.

Demeanor

Butterfly is the very model of a polite little girl who hasn’t had to wear her first veil yet. She bows to everyone who looks like an adult before speaking to them. She says “please” and “thank-you,” listens with rapt attention when people talk to her, plays with dolls who have extraordinarily complex fictional lives, and thinks that boys are kind of gross.

Overall, Butterfly is a very happy little girl. There are times when she’s tired and stressed and angry, of course. Even girls who don’t have a half-dozen tutors to please get that way. On the whole, though, her family and friends find her a joy.

If there’s one thing everyone prefers that Butterfly would grow out of, it’s that she has a real talent for ferreting out the truth, and no compunctions about saying it. Her aunt and uncle tell her that the truth is very important, and she believes them 100%. Adach Molo says that sometimes life is “nuanced,” but “nuanced” turned out to mean you lie to people, so “nuanced” wasn’t very nice.

Intimacies: “Always tell the truth” (Defining), “Klatang ‘Emashi” (Major, Positive), “V’neef Detla” (Major, Positive), “Aunt and Uncle” (Major, Positive), “Adach Molo” (Major, Positive),

Capabilities

Some day she’ll grow up big and strong, and Adach Molo says she needs to be ready for that. He’s her teacher. He’s not like the tutors who help her learn maths and languages and calligraphy, or like her sensei who teaches meditation and martial arts. Adach Molo teaches her how to be a grown-up: how to be polite when she should, and strong when she’s hurt, and clever in Gateway. He teaches her the secret history of the world and swears her to oaths. (None of them are binding – yet.)

Strenuous training only goes so far when someone is six years old, though. She’s not going to beat anyone up, or even do more than scream if someone grabs her hair. Butterfly is strictly a non-combatant. She does use her training to “play spy”, though, and she’s surprisingly good at sneaking around and watching people. Her aunt and uncle know about it and think it’s adorable. Her neighbors have no idea how much she actually knows about them. For instance, she knows that Klatang ‘Emashi turns into a fish! It must be a big secret because some of her friends talk about it too.

Butterfly has an extensive secret life unseen by her caretakers. It’s woven into all the moments of her days, a narrative like a fairy tale that crosses through her days and weeks. She watches the merchants of the marketplace and sees who they talk to. She sees Bakdan-O when he appears on the shore, and he sees her watching him. They even talk sometimes. She sees the little worms climbing up the plants to become butterflies, and thinks about her name. She sees V’neef Kharavi going to the dragon temple, and Ten Thousand Verdant Shoots going to the ballet. She makes up many stories about them, and a surprising number are right. Butterfly probably knows more about the social situation in her part of the Pearl than anyone else.

Supporting Characters

  • Vatli Axta, her aunt. Composed, intrepid, wistful.
  • Vatli Xotep, her uncle. Insightful, curious, sad.
  • Xupa Crawfish, a slightly older friend of hers whose parents live next door. Jealous, sisterly, kind-hearted.
  • V’neef Olan, her sensei, who is starting to suspect that Butterfly is something special. Creative, stingy, cultured.

Questions

  • How did Butterfly’s parents die?
  • Butterfly is quite the eavesdropper. Has she heard anyone talking about the missing tribute or the diverted prayer from the dragon lines? If so, who was talking? What about ‘Emashi? Does Butterfly know about her recent adventures?
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Keymaker, Chosen of Secrets

Background

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.

Appearance

Keymaker 500

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.

Demeanor

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)

Capabilities

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.

Supporting Characters

  • 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.

Questions

  • 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?

Silent Feather, Chosen of Endings

Background

The Bureau of Destiny sometimes finds that certain things stand in the way of fate. Sometimes those obstructions are creatures from beyond Creation, or their corrupt allies. More often, though, they’re powerful individuals who simply have goals that conflict with the Bureau’s. It’s not their fault that their goals would lead to the collapse of the Tapestry. It’s not their fault that the Bureau can’t simply explain to the situation without revealing themselves and compromising their operations. But just because something isn’t your fault doesn’t mean you can’t die for it.

Enter Silent Feather, assassin for the Fivescore Fellowship. As the servant of Endings, Silent Feather has removed obstacles to fate in the North for more than four decades. She has evaded both Lunar barbarians and the spymasters of the Realm. Her work has helped to keep Wyld incursions to a minimum and eliminate several demon cults. Her ability to remain unknown is thanks in no small part to the Arcane Fate that hides all Sidereals.

Currently, Silent Feather has been told that the fate of Slumber’s Grasp is imperiled – her superiors had scant other information with which to proceed. Silent Feather therefore cast a prophecy and considered the results. Hear them now:

If Thenor rules in perpetuity, Slumber’s Grasp will slowly fall into ruin and revolt. This valley will be a slowly-widening crack through which the enemies of creation may enter.

If Jasper becomes king, he will rule poorly, and Slumber’s Grasp will itself become a pawn of darkness.

If Ralia becomes queen, she will rule well for dozens of years – but in time, the Silver Pact will gain a stronger hold in the North.

Athela is fated to die within the next ten years. If she becomes queen, Slumber’s Grasp will become divided amongst her grandchildren, and the kingdom will be the weaker for it. Here, too, the crack will grow.

If the ruling family dies, the Realm will take control of Slumber’s Grasp within five years, and rule it in their typical manner.

Silent Feather’s superiors in the Bureau of Destiny, on hearing this prophecy, have informed her that they lean toward killing the royal family and letting the Realm sort out the kingdom afterward. Silent Feather is uncertain. Given the impending civil war, she isn’t sure the Realm is capable of taking power, nor how well they will hold it. The fate of the Realm is often obscure. She has enough leeway and respect from her superiors to make the decision herself, but she cannot wait long.

Until she is certain of the proper path, Silent Feather is staying with Anvil Loves the Forge, a fellow Sidereal, and waits to learn more about the people she has been sent to kill.

Appearance

Silent Feather 500

Silent Feather wears leathers over padded chain to keep out the northern cold. Her face is obscured by a dark hood. Beneath it, she has pale skin with olive undertones, and dark purple eyes indicative of her caste. She carries a bow in the style of the local people, and a ceremonial sword that is her only artifact.

Demeanor

Getting Silent Feather to talk is fairly difficult. For the most part she keeps to herself, and only opens up with those she thinks will forget her existence – or those who will die soon. When she does open up, she comes across as highly intelligent and philosophical. She gladly debates matters of metaphysics and morality. The only person who can easily make her angry is Anvil Loves the Forge, whom Silent Feather secretly resents. It’s unfortunate that she must rely on Anvil as her local contact. The two are outwardly cordial to one another, at least for now.

Silent Feather is a staunch member of the Bronze Faction. She generally reports back only once her task is completed, to report her success and acquire new objectives.

Intimacies: “The Maiden of Endings” (Defining), “Peace brings strength, strength brings peace” (Major), “The Fivescore Fellowship” (Positive), “Those without honor” (Negative), “Death is a part of life”, “Learn their stories before you kill them”

Capabilities

As an assassin and tracker, Silent Feather is capable of moving silently, finding people across great expanses of tundra and forest, and killing swiftly from concealment. She is an excellent archer, and uses her agility to stay mobile. She is a reasonable strategist. She arranges never to be in a fair fight: if a target proves sturdier than anticipated, she’ll return a few minutes or an hour later for a second shot rather than risking her life in combat. Like most Sidereals, she speaks multiple languages and has excellent calligraphy. She knows the stories of the first age well, and is well-read, but mostly as a hobby. She has few social skills.

There are several ways in which Silent Feather’s essence moves through and empowers her. She can cast auguries, leap and run great distances, and substitute nearly anything as ammunition in her bow. She can arrange to have been elsewhere when events turn sour, and knows when danger is coming her way. She can send those who have tired of life to a quiet, eternal rest. She knows instinctively where she will be needed next. However, her true calling is in the martial arts.

Silent Feather has studied the martial arts style of the Wood Dragon, mastering it from root to flowers. Beyond being able to see and strike at spirits, Silent Feather can pin them in place with her arrows. She strikes directly at her target’s lifeforce, bypassing a portion of their armor. She can heal herself with remarkable speed. She can mark her targets and follow them through winding streets or secret passages. She can move her hands in a complex mudra to distract her foes. Her most devastating and costly technique is to she can fire an arrow that literally severs the soul of her target, causing immense spiritual damage that bleeds over into the physical world.

Her sword, Abandonment, looks and acts like an ordinary blade. It has but one costly evocation: it can remove an incapacitated target from the tapestry of Creation, destroying its soul forever. She uses this power only against creatures of darkness, or when her mission absolutely requires it – her superiors know well the risks of oblivion.

Silent Feather leans heavily on the fact that Creation will forget her existence. She can move without being heard or seen, but is actually fairly poor at keeping cover identities and disguising herself.

Supporting Characters

  • Jeweled Bird, her superior in the Bronze Faction. Precise, thoughtful, merciless.
  • Ranvo the Unheard, the ghost of one of her previous victims, who haunts her still. Angry, callous, repulsive
  • Cloud-climber, a servator spirit who takes messages from Feather to Yu-Shan. Refined, cooperative, discrete.
  • Hilja, the servant who thinks she’s somehow a family cousin. Modest, busy, scatterbrained.

Questions

  • How long does Silent Feather have to make her decision? When will fate call her away to her next mission?
  • Where did Silent Feather come from originally? What made her into the Bronze faction’s assassin?

Anvil Loves the Forge, Chosen of Serenity

Background

Anvil Loves the Forge came to Slumber’s Grasp twelve years ago, just after the death of Prince Selno and Princess Ralia. She had apparently been hired by the castle blacksmith, who quit after the prince passed away, leaving Anvil as his replacement. In the grieving period, no one bothered to question the assignment. She has served there ever since. Everyone agrees that she produces excellent work.

After discovering the young Princess Klara in the forge and returning her to her nannies on several occasions, Anvil caught the notice of the royal family. Princess Athela heard the wisdom of the ages in her voice. While her presence is not welcome among the regent’s courtroom advisors, Athela still seeks Anvil out for advice and encourages her children to do the same.

Anvil’s primary assignment in Slumber’s Grasp is to watch over Turning Wind. The Bureau of Destiny considers him exceptionally important, as he represents the last remnant of a long-departed god of fate. She is also charged with keeping the local Fair Folk in check, and rendering what aid may be needed to any others of the Five-score Fellowship who come her way. The royal family would be stunned to find out how many of their visitors knew their blacksmith.

Anvil Loves the Forge is too attached to the ruling family to let Feather kill them all, but she knows that she can’t take Feather in a fight – or even get into a fight without facing censure.

Appearance

Anvil Loves the Forge 500

Anvil has dirty blonde hair and blue eyes. She has peach-colored skin, with a warm tan that points to an origin farther toward the shore of the Inland Sea. Her well-worn hands and muscular arms fit her job as a blacksmith well. She often wears a secretive and knowing smile.

Demeanor

Different people see different sides of Anvil. The royal family sees her as stable and practical, someone they can rely on. Friendly, if perhaps a bit staid. When she is about in the city, she is clearly content, enjoying herself and relaxing with in one of the many taverns that welcome her. With her lovers she is tempestuous, never keeping the same one for too long. They tend to move on easily, as if they forgot that she ever existed.

Underneath these various facades, Anvil is a compassionate and high-energy extrovert. She embraces the uncertainties of life. She enjoys her post here in the North, where it’s busy, but not too busy – but she also generally finds a way to enjoy things wherever she is. She especially enjoys the difficult but rewarding process of smithing at a forge. She often works on multiple projects at once.

Anvil Loves the Forge is a staunch member of the Gold Faction. She reports to her superior via burnt prayer on a weekly basis.

Intimacies: “The Joy of Creating” (Defining), “Duty” (Major), “The Royal Family” (Positive), “People prying into my business” (Negative) “Be spontaneous, not stupid”, “The Mad Prophet is under my protection”

Capabilities

An accomplished smith and a true artist, Anvil Loves the Forge is capable of working nearly any metal and of carving stone or wood. She speaks a dozen languages, and writes with beautiful calligraphy. She plays several stringed instruments, loves dancing, sings frequently, and gives a surprisingly good speech when she cares to. She can carry herself with grace in a noble court, but greatly prefers taverns and rooftop gatherings, where she isn’t happy until she’s spent a little time with everyone. If she were more manipulative, she’d be exactly what the Bureau of Destiny wants. She isn’t. Physically, she’s strong, but not particularly quick or flexible. She’s not brilliant, but she is highly alert and notices changes in people quickly.

Anvil has a deep and powerful connection to her essence. She can weave fate and destiny as well as she forges iron. She can even remove deleterious events from a person’s recent fate. In an emergency she can swiftly create objects from nothing. She can bind spirits of fire and hold the perfect prayer ceremony. Anvil’s connection with others is practically infectious. Her voice is pitched to make the perfect first impression, even with gods and those who are determined to dislike her. If she tells people who they love, who they respect, what they desire and what they despise, it generally becomes true. She is cautious with this, having ruined lives in the past and regretted it.

Anvil Loves the Forge is a student of the Sidereal Martial Arts. Unlike many of her fellow Chosen, she has little natural aptitude for them, and her morning exercises only help so much. So far she knows only a handful of techniques from the most grounded of styles, which harmonizes with the Five Magical Materials. She can transform herself into orichalcum, moonsilver, starmetal, or jade, becoming durable, swift, deadly, or adaptable as her needs demand. She’s difficult to strike, and even harder to harm, but she has difficulty striking quicker foes.

Supporting Characters

  • Jakka, Anvil’s current lover. Young, idealistic, fearless.
  • Aamu, who supplies her with raw metal. Talkative, complaining, practical.
  • Riku, her superior in the Gold Faction. Refined, strong-willed, paranoid.
  • Helka, an old lover who remembers Anvil well. Indulgent, independent, inflexible.

Questions

  • Does Anvil know about the Iron Queen? If so, why have her higher-ups in the Gold Faction not revealed her existence to the rest of the Sidereals?
  • Will Anvil reveal Silent Feather’s mission to others and risk censure?

Eight-Ways Ready, Chosen of Battles

Background

Let it be known that the Bureau of Destiny sees fit to appoint a representative in the southeast this season.

The representative is to travel to Sounding Sands Province, therein to Renzenkalteth Prefecture, therein to Ieska‘s Bastion, known to the local populace as Red Jade Canyon.

Close examination of the Loom of Fate has revealed unexpected weft in the tapestry indicative of active external presences or imprudent shaping of local reality. The representative is to take all measures necessary to ensure the continued integrity of the tapestry, including:

  • Personal investigation of the matter
  • Moving Wyld Hunt assets and other Realm interests toward the target
  • Alerting local embedded operatives, to the extent that their discretion allows
  • Filing such paperwork as may be required

These measures alone should be considered a sub-minimum effort. Additional measures are to be undertaken at the discretion of the representative.

Be aware that Silver Pact representatives have been active in the local prefecture in recent decades. Be alert for societal infiltration and the potential of activated opponents. Be aware also that local spirit courts may not look kindly on attempts to recruit them into the investigation, and that this matter is currently in arbitration at the highest levels.

The Bureau of Destiny has elected Eight-Ways Ready as its representative in the southeast for this season. Zero additional representatives may be assigned to this prefecture as warranted by circumstances.

Thus it is known.

Appearance

Eight-Ways Ready 500

Eight-Ways Ready is a guard. She must be a guard – she has a sword like a guard, wears the uniform of a guard, spits and grumbles like a guard, slouches in the sun like one, salutes like one. Clearly she is a guard. Her skin color? Oh, just like the rest of them, I suppose – hired in Ember before Vaspasian’s entourage turned south for the winter. Her face? Stop asking me about the guards – what are you, sweet on her? Gah. Pay attention to your work.

Demeanor

In her cover identity of Nameless Guard #3, Eight-Ways Ready is respectful in the presence of authority, and slouched and crude in its absence. There is little to say about her that has not been said about every guard.

Underneath that, beneath layers of carefully cultivated mystery, Eight-Ways is a mid-level bureaucrat forced into a secret war between impossibly powerful operatives, with all of reality as its stakes. She would rather be retired – she should have been retired a lifetime ago, were she mortal. As a hereditary historian in Sijan, she would have been happy to live out her life learning about past wars rather than participating in them.

But Mars herself decided that Eight-Ways’ life should instead become interesting, a word uttered as a curse in the Bureau (and by Eight-Ways herself). Her birth name was buried for her protection. She never became a historian like her mother and her grandmother before her. She used to see glimpses of this life from time to time, in her dreams – quiet, calm, full of hope. Of course, that life and that world also ended, definitively and painfully. She no longer sees glimpses of the horrible fires and consuming maws of emptiness that consumed that world decades ago. She knows the price that the world would have paid for her quiet, calm life, and so when her great-grand-nieces and -nephews play in the streets of Sijan, sometimes she takes a little time to appreciate that. They live because of her sacrifice.

Eight-Ways Ready tries to be a little detached from the wars and skirmishes and atrocities that she is sometimes called on to witness – or even to initiate. She finds that role difficult.

Intimacies: “I serve so that others may live” (Defining), “Creation’s enemies are my enemies” (Major), “A good book” (Positive), “Any mention of the word ‘interesting'” (Negative), “Baltana Vaspasian

Abilities

Eight-Ways Ready is perpetually alert, with excellent attention to detail. Her memory is augmented by the presence of a few spirits that conceal themselves in her clothing and scabbard, and who whisper hints and names to her when she might otherwise forget. She is also a well-learned historian with access to records that go back near to the creation of the world. What she isn’t is particularly inclined to politics or socializing. She prefers a quiet night with a book to a loud night on the town.

While not yet prepared for the highest mysteries of the Sidereal arts, Eight-Ways Ready is a superb martial artist, practicing both Single Point Style (her preferred form) and Crane Style (when caught unarmed). When armed with a sword, she is unbelievably swift and deadly, as if her blade had a mind of its own. Her strikes go directly to the heart and throat. When unarmed, she fights defensively, protecting herself and others while striking back instantly against those who would seek to harm her. In either style she is capable of handling multiple attackers.

As Chosen of Battle, Eight-Ways is also familiar with the arts of war, and knows multiple patterns in which troops may be deployed to sap the strength of different supernatural foes. She can see and trap spirits, strike them or drain their power, or cajole them into service for a time. Some of these spirits are particularly good at inserting ideas into a person’s mind, though what they do with these ideas is their own matter.

Supporting Characters

  • Falta Imbeth, a fellow guard that Eight-Ways finds trustworthy. Kindly, secretive, decisive.
  • Yetsanikonti, a local woman who is actually a small god serving the Bureau in deep cover for a past misdeed. Overbearing, compassionate, mysterious.
  • Fastidious Pen, Eight-Ways’ supervisor in the Bureau of Destiny. Courteous, efficient, overwhelmed.

Questions

  • What will Eight-Ways Ready do if she discovers Multaniko‘s presence?
  • Is Eight-Ways Ready of the Bronze Faction, or the Gold Faction?
  • Is Eight-Ways Ready on this mission as a rest from her other work, or as punishment?