(Prime cloaker priest [it/its] / Hands of Havoc / CN)
Whatever shape he’s adopted, Malkalotl is rarely seen without his multi-coloured cloak. The chant goes that it has strange and powerful magics weaved into it, though it apparently doesn’t radiate magic. The truth of the matter is that even Malkalotl himself doesn’t know what the cloak is. Apparently it just turned up one day in the wardrobe of his tower, with a note attached saying it was from “a secret admirer”.
Drawn to bright things, Malkalotl fell in love with it at once, and is rarely parted from it. Of course, before he decided to wear it he checked it for magical dweomers, curses and psionic enchantments, but it turned up negative on all counts. Satisfied that nobody was trying to harm him [Caruther discovered to his amusement that Malkalotl reckon’s the cloak’s a peace offering from the titan Zadara, with whom the couatl’s crossed swords before], the couatl donned the cloak and now wears it most days, whether in aasimar or couatl form. And though neither Malkalotl nor the rest of the Harmonium know it, that cloak is responsible for many of the mysteries that surround the couatl.
To start with, nobody realises that the cape is very much alive. In fact, it’s one of those curious beasts from the prime known as a ‘cloaker’, and it calls itself Caruther. There’s more: not only is the cloak alive, but it’s also a powerful cleric of some power of deception (those trickster gods never do reveal their real names). It could be Loki, or Leira (if she ain’t dead yet), or anyone really. ‘Course, you’re ahead of me here; it’s Malkalotl’s anonymous cloaker friend who was responsible for his resurrection. But why? A strange bond between wearer and clothing? Not at all…in fact, the real reason’s much darker.
See, Caruther is an anarchist. Not just any old anarchist, one of the Original Anarchists… a cutter from the near-legendary Omar’s cell, no less. If your history’s failing you, you’ll doubtless be glad of the reminder that Omar was a cutter from the Revolutionary League who joined the Harmonium and made his way up to the position of Factol himself! In fact, he’d have remained unnoticed had it not been for his bizarre decree to dismantle the faction…even then, some of the Hardheads fell for the ploy, the chant goes.
‘Course, he was punished and punished harshly, but the rest of the cell escaped. Recent reports in SIGIS suggest that the remainder of Omar’s cell was captured, some 50 years on, but what the Harmonium don’t realise is that they missed one cutter, and that’s Caruther. Better still, the cloaker’s found its way into the successor to the anarchists, the Hands of Havoc, and onto the back of Malkalotl, one of the most trusted bashers of Sarin himself.
Enjoying his privileged position, Caruther listens and watches and learns the darks of the faction, and relays them to his contacts in the Hands of Havoc. ‘Course, this has to be done in the strictest secrecy, so the cloaker waits until Malkalotl decided not to wear him for a day (this happens maybe every week or so), and when the couatl’s left his home, the cloaker comes out of the closet, flaps over to the window of the tower, and issues a shrill keen, out of the range of normal hearing. This summons Ireeze, the air grue, and his entourage. High above the streets of the Cage the cloaker shares the darks that he has learned with the grue, and when he’s done he returns to his coathanger and waits for Malkalotl to return.
Caruther hasn’t been detected by Malkalotl because cloakers are natural (if bizarre) rather than magical, are neither good nor evil, and their thoughts are too alien to be easily spotted by the likes of Christopher Verdue. For Caruther, it’s a perfect way to infiltrate the faction; after passing numerous detect lie tests and psychic screenings Malkalotl is now so trusted that has access to all sorts of darks. The cloaker knows, for example, all about the recent troubles on Arcadia and exactly what caused them, and why the faction recently bought a picture from the artist Kilhans for thousands of merts; when the next raid on an anarchist stronghold is due; and all manner of other sensitive issues with which Sarin has consulted the couatl. The cloaker doesn’t share all of them immediately with Ireeze; it’s best to keep something in reserve just in case a bargaining chip is needed. The Harmonium realise that they have a stag-turning spy in their ranks (too many anarchists have been forewarned of raids to be a coincidence, they reckon), but they have no idea who it might be.
While Malkalotl’d wear Caruther just for his colours alone, the cloaker also uses some of its own magical powers to aid the couatl. It can create mirror images of itself and Malkalotl, or bend shadows to improve the couatl’s armour class… by behaving as a mere occasionally magical cape, the cloaker’s managed to become the latest spy in one of Sigil’s most secretive factions, and he’s done it with real style.
- Cage Rattlers: Berchta, Garroth the Blinded, Ireeze, Kilhans, Malkalotl, Christopher Verdue.
- Uncaged: Faces of Sigil: Djhek’nlarr (p24), Zadara (p18).
- Dungeon Magazine 55: Durkayle is detailed in the adventure Umbra (p32-39).
Source: Jon Winter-Holt, mimir.net