Green Sun Rising
Literal Cat Burgler. Nieko. Nekio. Nieikioi?
A Changing Moon Lunar cat burglar and bondmate of Chishio Zicha, she was a minor antagonist in the Nexus Gold Pact Arc, and served as an ally for the Markuran Range Town and Great Forks arcs.
Neiko Whisperstep was first introduced in the Nexus Gold Pact arc as a mysterious figure robbing mercenary companies across the city, including the Bronze Pioneers. In order to secure Jurgen Icefist’s loyalty, they tracked down the thief, sorting through Neiko’s disguises an aliases, and eventually using their own artifacts as bait. This started a chase that eventually lead to Neiko’s hideout, an abandoned Shogunate Mausoleum in the Firewander district. There, they confronted and outwitted a hired Nemissary guardian, and finally tracked down Neiko, where they discovered that her Exaltation was bonded to Chishio’s. They also learned that she had been stealing from mercenary companies on behalf of Sunset Heron Bodhisatta, her mentor.
Although suspicious of and defensive toward the party, she agreed to return the stolen silver to the Bronze Pioneers, desiring to avoid further conflict and recognizing she had been caught. She also took part in the writing of the Gold Pact Treaty, recognized both by the Empty City Circle and the Gold Pact as a neutral party. However, when the party departed to Malfeas, she remained in Nexus.
Her next appearance was in the Makuran Range Towns Arc, where she was contracted to steal The Heart of the Mountain, a Hearthstone of the Celeren Elemental rumored to break mind-control. This brought her back into contact with the party, who, unknown to her at the time was ordered by Ligier to start the Second Thorns War. Although, again, initially suspicious, she found kinship in Mei-Ling, and enlisted the Malefactor’s aid in stealing the Heart of the Mountain. The two of them were successful, and she considered remaining with the Circle to learn more about them and about the nature of her bond with Chishio. However, she fled in disgust upon seeing the carnage that resulting from their actions in Celeren.
Several months passed, during which she returned to Nexus and the party went on their quest to defeat the Erlking. They were not without contact, however—she reached over the bond, twice—once, to deliver a message from Chishio when he was trapped in a Shadowland by the Fae, and the second time after he nearly died after eating the Tainted Heart that protected the Erlking’s own Heart Grace.
After the Erlking Arc, the party returned to Nexus to recruit Jurgen Icefist for their mission in Great Forks. Surprisingly, Neiko volunteered to accompany with them without knowing their mission, leaving her gang behind and expression a desire to learn to read. Upon arriving in Great Forks, she started to earn her reputation as a skilled thief again, flouting the laws of the reigning god of crime and city don, Basilius, as well as assisting the party with missions every now and then. She also attracted the attention of Blood and Silver Prowler, first befriending the Abyssal in her Iason guise, and later becoming a crypt-bolt poisoned hostage after accidentally interfering in a duel with Prowler and Chishio.
Only some details are known of Neiko’s past. Visions in the Tomb of the Raven Knight show that she turned to crime at a young age, an orphan in the streets of Firewander. During this time, she also made an enemy of an important member of the guild, accidentally witnessing him disposing of a rival in the Firewander Wild Pocket. This lead to the death of one of her friends, a younger girl who she protected. It’s also known that the Guild member in question was a prime player in her Exaltation.
Neiko is generally cheerful, mischievous, and curious, constantly seeking new experiences and challenges. She has great confidence—often overconfidence in her own abilities, and prefers to prove it by theft and trickery, even stealing small valuables from friends to test their alertness. This tendency can get her in trouble—she can charge in to situations on impulse, acting on emotion before thinking. She’s distrustful of authority or anyone who might have a hold on her, secretive about her actions even to friends. This is a contrast to her innate optimism—although she might not think much of people, she doesn’t seem to believe anyone is truly, genuinely evil.
To her friends, she’s deeply loyal, willing to sacrifice her life to protect those she cares about. To enemies, she’s a non-lethal prankster, preferring to trick her enemies into disgracing themselves or causing their own downfall.
However, under the confidence and love and risk, there’s fear of separation and abandonment—having lived in Firewander, where lives are cheap, and growing up as an orphan, she doesn’t want to be alone again. She also has a quick-temper, provoked by both injustice toward others, or poorly chosen words or actions by friends.
Chishio: Chishio is Neiko’s bondmate—the other half of the Solar/Lunar connection that has extended for generations. As far as pairs go, they are an unlikely one—she is compassionate, emotional, and eloquent, he cold, careful, and taciturn. Thus, their relationship can be best described as strained. She is legitimately horrified by his necromancy and disregard for human life, his actions at Mishaka and casual murder of Crixos Windblade causing her to break contact with him for weeks at a time. At the same time, she has trouble believing anyone is entirely evil, a conviction strengthened by the faint memories of emotion she feels over the bond. Thus, she waits, and watched—sometimes seeking his company, sometimes spurning it, uncertain what to do—what she can do—about their connection. Is his protection of her motivated by compassion, or self-interest? Why did he teach her to read? Is he still capable of feeling? Of regret?
Seren: Neiko’s new partner in crime, Seren and Neiko had an immediate kinship—both clever, impulsive, mischeivious street rats from Firewander. Their relationship can best be compared to that of an older and younger sister—although Neiko probably wouldn’t appreciate that comparison. They crack jokes together, pull pranks together, and after distancing herself from her gang, Neiko is relieved to have a true friend in the new land of Great Forks. Lately, Seren has become Neiko’s combat tutor, teaching her martial arts, though the Scourge is determined to protect her pupil’s innocence. The only sticking point in their relationship is Seren’s violent tendencies, and allegiance to the Yozi, but until something truely horrific happens, Neiko’s willing to overlook that for the sake of friendship.
Mei-Ling: The first of the Infernals Neiko truly got to know, Neiko’s both jealous of, and physically attracted to the Malefactor. Mei-Ling has Neiko’s love of pranks, theft, and poor impulse control, but has far more confidence—and experience in sexual relationships, and is also incredibly attractive. Thus, their mutual pride and occasion difference of opinion sparks fierce arguments. Still, Neiko would call Mei-Ling a good friend, god complex and demon worship aside. She’d also clarify, blushingly, that Mei-Ling was just a friend. Nothing more
Stazio: Neiko knows Stazio’s type. Slick, well-dressed, charismatic politicians or businessmen, utterly likeable, incredibly wealthy, and trustworthy as well—a snake. The demon worship is a strong negative as well. Thus, she tries to avoid him as much as possible, knowing full well his potential to manipulate and confuse her. At the same time, he seems better—more real, than your average suit. He also seems to share her anger at injustice. Perhaps there’s more to him than might appear at first glance—but she’d have to get closer to find out.
Thanatos: A giant, one-armed problem on so many levels. He’s a law-man—seemingly utterly inflexible in his sense of justice, and frighteningly intense. All of that screams “stay away” as loud as possible. However, he seems genuine—honest in his principles, and he’s clearly not benefitting from any of his beliefs. In fact, he seems way too nice to be a demon-cultist. Except when he’s angry. He’s also attractive. Very, very attractive. Distractingly attractive. And kind to children. In short, he’s a giant, friendly…specimen that , makes her feel confusing emotions. So she pokes at him whenever possible, or avoids him.
Theron: Theron’s a nice guy. Not her type—way too country, but nice. He’s funny in an insecure way, easy to pick-pocket, and sharper than he seems. He’s also got her disrespect toward authority, and frankly, it’s nice to meet a Lunar that isn’t ancient and creepy. He also makes Necromancy seem almost sane, which gives her a tiny bit of hope. Since he got involved with Seren, she’s been nothing but on-board with their relationship, and secretly hopes that he’ll calm her down a little. If he runs off on her friend again, though, she’ll claw his eyes out, and steal his balls
Heron: The stuffy old man was her first mentor, and she owes him for that, grudging as she might be to admit it. Heron was sharp, for a suit, and, didn’t try to take advantage of her, so she can admit more than a little respect. Not enough to join his cult, though.
Blood and Silver Prowler: A problem almost as much as Chishio, Blood and Silver Prowler confuses and enrages Neiko. They have so much in common—but Prowler is cruel and callous, though no more so than her own Bondmate. She’s everything Neiko admires and fears she’ll become. Right now, she wants revenge for being held hostages, but refuses to consider the fact that the Abyssal may have to die for the safety of thieves in Great Forks.