The Caeres, Kairos, The Oracle of Caeres, The Sacer Vates, the Oracle, the Seer, whatever. Our mans is all titles and no names that the living can remember.
Mercurial and mysterious, the Caeres creates no “Great Works” of his own, as far as anyone can tell. She commands no armies and governs no territories, and no one alive today remembers who she is, where she came from, or how long she’s been with the Archive. Most people don’t even know what office she occupies, because—like most Archivists—she hardly ever works.
Unlike most Archivists, the Caeres doesn’t spend his free time quibbling with his peers for power. The running joke in the Archive is that “the one person we see less than the God-King Himself is the Oracle of Caeres.” He only makes an appearance when he is needed, though these interventions typically don’t make sense until after the fact.
She is someone who holds many cards but plays very few. When she does, she would rather give others the glory of making history by ‘massaging fate’-- passing on a secret message, a forgotten relic, a key piece of intel, and so on. The annals of the Imperial Archive all have her touch on them somewhere. When Kairos can’t be found, one can only imagine that they are out there, somewhere, watching and waiting while their delicate machinations unfold.
The other Archivists recognize her power, and often consult with her behind one another’s backs on matters of politics, military strategy, and petty blackmail. But the Seer gives no innocent answers– if he gives them at all. Most people come away from their meetings with a poem or a proverb, and no meaningful directions for where to go next.
When he does offer more than pretty words, one can’t help but feel like they’re being used as pawns in a much larger game. The Seer does not lie; he gives counsel that is sound on paper and in practice. He has made kings, moved mountains, and brought empires to their knees. And yet she has ways of turning the sweetest success to ash in the victor’s mouth. Some chase headlong after their ambitions, only to become locked in bitter wars of attrition, while others win pyrrhic victories and lose it all. Others yet will live their whole lives owing their good fortune to the Oracle of Caeres, and only years after their death will anyone realize the significance of his involvement. Most are just left wondering what, exactly, the Oracle has in mind for them…
Frey is the unwilling martyr (can any martyr be said to be willing?) of a
n industrial hellscape manufactory world. She used to be a mechanic, a forgettable cog in the manufactory’s labor machine. She wasn’t singled out because she was particularly disobedient, nor was she distinguished among her peers as gifted, respectable, or charismatic; she just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Dissent brewed in the manufactory, as it always does, in places where the straw boss can’t see. But by the time the manufactory’s Foreman caught wind of the rebellion, it was too late. He sought out the Oracle of Caeres for advice, desperate to get his colony back under control before the Powers That Be took notice and got him under control.
The Oracle was not interested in resolving petty administrative disputes. She blew him off with a nonsense prophecy: the Foreman could crush the rebellion, but only if he could find its head and cut it off. “You’ll know the false idol by her mark: yea high, dark hair, brown eyes, work-related injury scar on her right shoulder,“ or something like that. He made up a description of a rebel leader that was so specific and yet so statistically average that it should have been impossible to find… Or so he thought.
It came as something of a surprise to Frey, then, when the orderlies dragged her out of the ironworks and brought her before the Foreman. She had every mark the Oracle said she would–everything but the scar. Delirious with fear and frustrated out of his mind, the Foreman decided that if he could not find his figurehead, then he would have to create her.
Frey gained a scar that day, and lost everything. The awful spectacle was like a spark to a powder keg. The works went up in flames, as the factory floor descended on the Foreman.
Frey was not thinking about anything but her own survival when she crawled out of the wreckage, days later. She disappeared. Ironically, the rebellion was crushed, in the end–it lost its figurehead–but perhaps not in the way that the Foreman had imagined.
For her part, Frey isn’t interested in being made into something that she’s not. She left home bitter, lost, and angry with the hand that she was dealt. The Foreman might have been taken care of, but, it seems, there’s still another who hasn’t answered for what they did to her...