The Familiar


Ren is a typical-looking raven. His voice is masculine.


Ren first appeared in the Umbra after Alex died at the hands of Xifeng Lin, helping Will and Jacob reach and rescue him. He was the messenger of the “good” path, a messenger of hope, instead of a messenger of death, like the other raven Alex could have chosen, Jared.

After rescuing Alex, Juggler tries to kill Jacob. When Will, Alex, and Jacob talk him out of it, Ren restores the missing piece of his soul so that he can move on into death.

Once he follows Alex into the physical world, he discovered he belonged equally to Alex and Sonia, and did in fact function as a link between them. However, when Kate revealed Ren was the rapist of Sonia’s mother, reincarnated, she used the weapon of the Chakravanti to sever the link between them, solidly making him Alex’s familiar.

He has the following abilities, which Alex is aware of by now:

Enemy Ways – By rolling Perception + Stealth, Ren can get a sense of the nature of enemies in the area. Usually he can pick out their number and type—with extreme successes, more can be learned.

Morse – By succeeding on a Wits + Empathy roll, difficulty 8, Ren can tap out a message in morse code to Sonia and/or Alex. Both of them are capable of hearing and understanding it instantly.

Open Seal – By rolling Willpower, Ren can preternaturally open any closed door or container and most locked ones—a useful ability for a bird with no opposable thumbs.

Razor Wings – This is, for all intents and purposes, Ren’s only offensive ability. He can turn his wings as sharp as a razor and fly at an opponent to do damage—he rolls Dex + Flight, -1 die. Damage dealt is Lethal.

Swallow’s Return – This ‘autopilots’ Ren back to Alex in the event he’s too exhausted or injured to find his way home on his own.

Corvid Senses – -2 Difficulty on rolls involving sight, and +2 Difficulty for rolls involving smell.
Guide’s Empathy – +1 die to any Empathy roll involving Alex.

Ren is not a Corax. While he has some of the Corax Gifts, he can’t shift forms, he is the size of a normal raven, and he can talk.

Ren has the ability to drink the eyes of a corpse (don’t make that face, he’s a carrion-eater). The right eye will show him the cadaver’s life, while the left eye will show him its death. He is also able to regurgitate some into Alex or Sonia’s mouth to show them what he has seen (which, with their abilities, they may experience differently). Ren is unable (or unwilling) to drink both eyes on a single corpse.

Ren also counts as a unique focus—he is sometimes able to reduce the difficulty of magic rolls by 1 for Alex when in contact with him—this is especially true for Entropy magic. And yes, this is cumulative with the -2 above for affecting the other party. Many attempts to use magic on Ren are also much easier.

Lastly, Ren can sometimes absorb Paradox, though anymore than 2 points becomes dangerous for him. He can dissipate small amounts on his own, temporarily store and then return the paradox at a safer time.


Song of the Earth Dreamchain