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Whylo Aristar (Planar / male tiefling / thief13 / allegedly an Anarchist / NE)
Whylo Aristar probably never did an honest day's work in his life. Part of that probably came from being a tiefling, and another part from growing up in Ribcage; arguably the most corrupt gate town in the Outlands. The third factor in his success as a knight of the cross trade was his vanity. Whylo always wanted to be the best.
As a child, Whylo bullied other youths and bribed his way into their confidence. He lied, cheated and generally tricked people into liking him, not as a nice person, but as a blood who could always get anything he wanted. He wasn't a particularly smart child at school, so his success came as a surprise to many. Though his tutors never managed to prove it, they always suspected foul play. Maybe Whylo bribed smarter kids to put his name on their exam papers, or maybe he altered the marks afterwards, but he must have done something, because he always came top.
Whylo always liked working with his hands. He was naturally light-fingered, and would've made a good pickpocket. His mind however, was set upon loftier goals. "Why stop with petty crime" he thought, "when grand larceny's so much more profitable?" And so it was that Whylo became an apprentice to the forger know as 'the Quill'.
Forgery proved to be his greatest strength. Whylo rapidly excelled his master at the art, and all of his old teacher's business started to trickle his way. The Quill at first was proud of his prodigy, then jealous, then downright hateful. Whylo anticipated treachery, and got in first, cooking up false evidence that implicated his master in all manner of nefarious schemes. Of course, those papers found their way to the authorities, and thus the threat competition was eliminated.
Over the years, Whylo gained a greater and greater reputation. It's said it was he who supplied Sigil's Anarchists with the documents they needed to pull off one of their grandest schemes: the time they 'proved' the Sensates had been fiddling their inns' tax returns. The Fated nearly started a war when Erin refused to pay up. To this day, it's a bone of contention between the two factions; each still think the other tried to peel them.
Whylo's forgery just kept getting better and better. One time he sold an entire yugoloth legion to a baatezu horde, much to the chagrin of the tanar'ri who were leading them. In another famous peel he kidnapped the entire research project of a Guvner high-up who thought he'd discovered an Axiom. Whylo's agents swapped his papers from some the tiefling'd prepared earlier, and the knight sold the lot to the modrons. 'Course, the version he'd left behind didn't actually work, and caused some embarrassment when the Guvner presented his work to a symposium of the Fraternity's greatest scholars.
Whylo's ambition still wasn't satisfied. He wanted to be the greatest; the very best forger in the multiverse. To be honest, he wasn't that far off it to start with, but he wanted to be the Power of Forgery. Whylo reckoned that if he could peel old Sung Chiang (the self-proclaimed Lord of Thieves) then he'd be pretty much there. So that was what he did.
It took many years for Whylo to draw up the letter. He used all sorts of ingredients that he'd gained at great cost. Well, the cost didn't often fall upon him; he had too many pawns for that. Next he tricked a few mages and priests into waving powerful enchantments over the document. Then he sent it off to Sung Chiang.
It's dark exactly what the letter said, but it's thought it was supposed to be from Mask (a Lesser Power who reckon's he's the Lord of Shadows and Intrigue) challenging Sung Chiang to a contest of theft. It's also dark whether the old Rogue tumbled to it, but witnesses claim Sung Chiang sent an Avatar marching straight off to Mask's Realm to give the upstart an earful.
Did Whylo's plan work? In the sense that Sung Chiang looked mighty foolish, maybe it did. But the forger's not been seen since. Even the chant doesn't agree what happened to the foolhardy blood.
Some say he just got scragged for his past crimes, and he's at Factol Sarin's pleasure in the Vault. Others reckon that Sung Chiang had the sod stolen and Whylo's now enjoying a stay at the Teardrop Palace, for eternity. Still quieter whispers claim that Whylo simply vanished, and he's gone somewhere safe while he becomes a Power.
The quietest whispers are often the most insistent.
The Adamant are a vocal section of the Believers of the Source. The Godsmen as a whole are all about ascending to Powerhood, and the Adamant believe they've found an answer.
"What's the best way to become a Power?" ask the Adamant. "How about acting like one?"
It's such a simple idea, that many berks never thought of it. Now, acting like a Power doesn't mean you have to speak in a booming voice, build a kip in a really inaccessible place and refuse to talk to mortals. They're trappings that come with the job of Powerhood, not a means to get there.
No, the Powers have got where they are by being single-minded. They've attained the zenith of all they embody; the ultimate in perfection of their sphere. There's no better poet than Bragi, no blood wiser than Brihaspati, and no one sharper with the katana than Hachiman. They've got where they are by being the best at one (or more) trades. So that's the way a body looking to ascend's got to go too; by being perfect.
Gear your life towards your goal; eat, drink and breathe your way to the top. Do nothing that doesn't further your path, and beware of anything and anyone which will hinder you or even push you further away again.
The Adamant've got case studies of many bloods who were the best at what they did, and more often than not these sods simply seem to disappear. They're called 'the Missing', and Whylo's just one of them. Some Adamant have even taken to praying to the Missing, and the chant is they're receiving spells. While none of these Missing sods has been seen with a Realm or even an Avatar, the Adamant say they're due to be the next Powers.
But it's not that easy. The Adamant also believe you've got to be careful exactly what you choose to attain perfection in. Some of the Powers are testy bloods, and take offence if it looks like a mortal dares to challenge their domination of an area of life. Other Powers are more than happy to give a blood a helping hand, and might even take the cutter on as an apprentice or proxy. It depends on the Power. 'Course, if a cunning blood chose an area that no Power claims (though they're precious few these days) he'd have an easier ride to the top.
So the moral of the Adamants is to be your very best. If that's not good enough, then you'll just have to be even better next time. Perfection is everything, and less than perfection means nothing.
Copyright 1998 by Jon Winter