Kaia-Kotiro, the Seeker

First among equals

  Where no one else dares, the Seekers go.   One of the largest and most successful Kaia guilds of recent times, the Seekers have made a name for themselves with boldness, skill, and wisdom. The Kaia-Kotiro is the rank bestowed on the leader of the Seekers, a title they hold to guide the Seekers onto new ventures and ever-greater glory.    


Kaia-Kotiro are expected to be knowledgeable not only of the caverns they explore and how to survive them but also how to navigate to complex world of merchant, patrons and nobles to make sure such an expedition happens in the first place. The traits of a Good-Kotiro are wisdom, energy and personal charisma. Skill with arms is a distant sixth or seventh on the list.   The Seekers have a mixed response to the occult. While certainly useful, even the free-thinking Seekers find certain aspects of it to be... Suspicious.   Beyond that, each Kaia-Kotiro is an individual. Each person who votes has their own ideas of what they find useful at that particular time. As such, the qualifications of the role are fluid and change with the times, helping the Seekers adapt to whatever their circumstance.    


The Kaia-Kotiro is determined through a simply majority vote cast by senior members of the Seekers. These votes happen when the former Kotiro dies or a vote of removal is called then successful. Any senior member can step forward to add their names to the ballot and in true Kaia spirit, the process after that is a mostly informal and spirited affair.   The Kaia and the Seekers in particular pride themselves on being free spirits and free thinkers: only merit and character is considered. The same rules that apply during an Insult-Spar are in effect for the entire process. Seekers, even senior members, have been thrown out for failing to adhere to them. A Seeker who cannot treat his fellows fairly is not fit to lead them.   The votes are gathered and tallied by a group of respected Seekers who are formed especially for the occasion. Once the count is done, the vote is announced and considered complete with very little fanfare. There is no particular formal crowning ceremony but the Seekers will take the excuse to throw a party.  
During a couple of these feasts, sometimes a proper and professional Spar is arranged with the new Kaia-Kotiro as the target. Skilled entertainers are brought in and take turns to mock the new leader. These Spars follow certain guidelines and how (and when) to use an insult is deeply ingrained in the culture of Araea. In general, it is thought that there's no need to make an unpleasant world any more unpleasant.   Read about insults in Araea

Dismissing a Kaia-Kotiro

  Should the Kaia-Kotiro be seen as having failed in their duties or otherwise no longer be fit for the role, senior members of the Seekers can call for a vote to dismiss them. Even calling the vote requires a certain number of supporting voices but past that it is a majority decision.  
There have been a few other circumstances that have required a new Kaia-Kotiro to be named; inactivity or incapacitation having been the ones to come up so far. At least once, a Kaia-Kotiro has stepped down and there is no shame among the Seekers in knowing when one's time has passed.   One Kaia-Kotiro simply stopped going to work and instead cared only about his personal pleasures. He was swiftly stripped of his rank and barred from the Seekers. To this day, the Seekers are wary of his kind of personality.

Past Kaia-Kotiro

  While not an exhaustive list of all Kaia-Kotiro that have passed through the Seeker's halls, some remain notable or important enough to warrant attention.   AituńĀ, the First   The first Seeker and the first Kaia-Kotiro. Found a fragment of the Key of the Black Star and vanished soon after.   Kaihan, the Wealth-Bringer   A former merchant, Kaihan was instrumental to several key negotiations and keeping the Seekers afloat in some of their darkest moments. Once the crisis had passed, Kaihan stepped down and relinquished his title, considering his work to be complete. Often held up as exemplary Kaia-Kotiro.   Jharl'n, the Lost   The last Kaia-Kotiro. He still lives, but suffers greatly from an advanced stage of Desolation that he contracted during his last expedition. The Seekers are still mixed on his legacy, but continue to care for their former leader.  
The Kaia   Explorers and dare-devils, the Kaia plunge the dark unknown to blaze new trails and find out what is out there in the caverns. Despite all the time humanity has lived in the cavernous realm beneath the Surface, most of the world remain unknown to them.   The Kaia's work never end. There is always somewhere else to go, some new wonder to find.   Read about the Kaia  
by Carey Dunne
Some tunnels are stranger than others
  The Seeker's Mark.  

The Current Kaia-Kotiro

  Ivory Rose is the current Kaia-Kotiro of the Seekers, an endlessly cheerful woman with a formidable mind. She is famed not only for her personal magnetism and ability to draw people in, but for her technological innovations. She has been the brain behind several of the Seeker's recent advanced and tools, as well as in other fields.    
    She enjoys solving problems, and divides her time between research and notorious experimentation. Nothing seems to dampen her enthusiasm and spirits, nor her belief that things will inevitably become better- but only if they fight for it.    
There's no problem we can't overcome. No chasm we can't cross, no darkness we can't pierce.   Don't be afraid; be the flame and the light.
    Those same traits tend to get her into trouble, as she is more then happy to plunge into the Far Deep in search of wonder, discovery, and adventure. Some worry that she is heedless of danger and naive. But together with her wife (and bodyguard), Ivory Rose has been a successful and popular Kaia-Kotiro.    
  Ivory's companion and closest advisor, Cath.   Always trying her best to keep Rose out of trouble.

Cover image: by Finnian MacManus


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23 Jul, 2018 18:57

It's always a good thing to get to read one of your articles. Very impressive article Qurillion. Well formated and thought out. Images are on point. I'm almost feeling like this could be a better fantasty Metro 2033. Though I swear I've said that before about Araea.


Check out my worldbuilding in the Ethnis Universe!
23 Jul, 2018 19:09

<3   Thank you kindly, it's always fun when people enjoy the articles! Definitely encourages me to keep writing and trying to do better with every new prompt!

23 Jul, 2018 19:15

I like how your articles are woven into another. I instantly remembered the article about the Kaia when I saw that.

23 Jul, 2018 19:27

My cunning plan is working then. :D

23 Jul, 2018 20:54

I love how expansive and thought out the lore for this rank is! I especially enjoyed learning about previous holders of the rank, and how different they are from one another!

23 Jul, 2018 21:30

Thank you! :D   I thought it would bring some interesting perspective, and link into other things like the Key. Sounds like it worked! :)