by Lauren Perkins
Don’t call me Keiko. That name does not suit me. Of all the things that I am, I am least a ‘respectful child’. I chalk my naming up to a running joke my parents must have had; their mockery of their youngest daughter her immortalized ball & chain. But as I fed my intellect, the more I found their opinions of me fading into irrelevancy. If only I could find the words to make them understand my work, my talents, and my place in this world, releasing the potential inherent in all living tissues! The very secrets of life itself lay ahead of me now. They are mine for the chase, and I am a woman possessed by…but I digress, as words do what they’ve always done and betray me.
I took an “accelerated” route with my education, my aptitude arranging my apprenticeship under a well-respected master alchemist in Korvosa. It was at that point that I decided to rename myself Locke. I have always felt as though there were wonders secured deep inside, kept from me as a cruel joke. I knew that if I continued to improve my alchemy, I would discover the right keys to unleashing them. Despite his great knowledge and my family’s preference for his discretion, my teacher was ultimately limited by his care for public perception; specifically his superstitious reverence for cadavers. With some sadness, I realized that he did not possess the keys I was searching for. Simply put, he had nothing left to teach me and it was time for me to continue my search alone.
Taking my leave from my instructor, I stayed in the city and set up a simple store front selling my own alchemical goods. This practicality funded my investigation into the nature of animals, the humanoid races (via discretely acquired corpses) and eventually my own living tissues. I had to keep my investigations a secret lest I be confused with the narrow-minded nonsense that is necromancy. I made few friends along the way, most of the time relationships hindering the progression of my research. I did however manage to stay in contact with my old master, really at his own insistence; his letters the equivalent to a weekly weather check.
When the local criminal element asked for protection money, I did the most logical thing. I hired a local tough to teach me how to use the spear as I’ve always heard it regarded as a very simple yet incredibly effective weapon. When the would-be extortionists returned, and I downed some of my recently developed mutagen formula and… let’s just say I had new subjects for an incredibly hurried yet entirely illuminating vivisection. I have never regretted taking the efforts to learn how to properly defend myself, and I am often called upon to use these skills more that I would like.
One day a quite distracting letter arrived. I knew from the overly used scents and flourishes that it was from my older sister Ameiko; always the bard. In it I found that our parents had died and I was being called home to help settle affairs. Begrudgingly, I sold off my business interests, recorded an extra copy of my findings in the tome I’ve dubbed my key ring, bid farewell to my scant friends, and booked travel back to the town of my birth, a place I had not set foot in since childhood; Sand Point.
So here I am writing as the ship bobs around me. I may be a little “different” than Amieko remembers, but I have never made apologies for who I am, and I do not intend to begin now.