Name: Altair Ibn-La Ahad
Species: White Keep Rat
Birthday: Friday, November 4, 2011
Keep Rats are born very small, but they are much larger than normal rats once they have finished growing. An adult Keep Rat reaches the height of a man's knee, though the males tend to be slightly bigger. As is usual, their powers grow as they do. A newly hatched rat will be nearly deaf at first, but by a year of age, will be able to fully control its powers. These powers allow Keep Rats to hear extremely well and to understand all languages. It may be these very skills, and their large sizes, that cause normal rats to shun them. Maybe their intelligence factors into it as well, but it is a sad fact that all animals avoid them. Some think this alienation is what causes Keep Rats to live alongside humans, the only ones who do not ignore them. A few younger rats may adventure into the wild from time to time, but once they have reached adulthood, Keep Rats remain almost exclusively in the castle or around its grounds. Visitors to the Keep often think the Keep Rats strange pets or regular magi companions. The rats never seem to feel insulted by that but rather take great amusement in this misapprehension. Some of the more mischievous ones might even play along a bit until the can shock the poor fellow with some unexpected words. Even though some enterprising magi have tried to find out, no one knows where Keep Rat eggs come from. One never sees a pregnant Keep Rat around the Keep, and yet rats that have been seen around regularly sometimes show up with an egg all of a sudden. Like various other things around the castle, Keep Rat eggs seem to appear when no one is looking.
There are numerous intelligent creatures around the Keep, but none more so than the Keep Rats. While most sentient creatures are visitors among the magi, the Keep Rats have formed a whole society among their human companions. Keep Rats are cheerful, good-natured beings with a strong sense of humor. Though they're usually napping or listening to people's conversations, Keep Rats do like to help humans when they can. Their nimble front paws work as well as hands, and they enjoy being helpful. These rats are often found in the kitchens, or running various tasks, although they prefer the main library the most. They listen closely to all the conversations held there, not odd as Keep Rats learn at extraordinary rates, and can pick up a new language in just a few minutes. Those rats that one sees most often, however, are the ones who have contracted themselves to a magi companion. They can usually be identified by the armor they wear, and they are quick to flourish the swords they carry if they feel the need to impress someone. Anyone underestimating them for their size will be in for a surprise, as they can use those weapons deftly. They rarely strike for lasting harm, preferring to only ridicule those that would insult them. A Keep Rat’s first contract is usually struck for them by their parents, while she is still in her egg. A suitable companion is found and a deal is made that will benefit both sides. The details of that agreement can vary wildly, but there are several points that will always be part of it: there are strict rules against mistreatment, and the young rat will be allowed to bow out of the contract at any time, should life as a magi’s companion not be to her liking. The parents and their extended family will keep good watch over the youngling, to make sure the contract is kept to the letter. Many Keep Rats grow up to accept their contract as the calling of their life, following it with great dedication. Interestingly, the contract is more important to them than the one it was struck with, and so they have no qualms with it being passed on to another person, as long as the terms remain unchanged.