All Roads Lead to Amber
"We know very little, and yet it is astonishing that we know so much, and still more astonishing that so little knowledge can give us so much power."
Rhys has a medium build and stands at 178 cm. He has his mother’s blue eyes, short straight black hair these days an almost pale complexion. He has experimented with facial hair over the centuries, typically adding more and more as his identity in Shadow ages. Currently he is at a light beard which has no signs of gray. He wears glasses. His clothing choices are typically subdued and considered professional for modern Shadow Earth; a shirt and tie man.
Colors of Choice
Personal colors and heraldry in general are concepts considered archaic by Rhys. He has no intention of raising a personal army and running his banner against anything. However, to satisfy the family in Amber (and for the trump) he uses the colors of “lab coat white” and “foghat gray” with subtle accents of “death laser red”.
As with personal colors, Rhys does not see a point with any kind of personal symbol or mascot animal (who picks a unicorn, really?). If any kind of symbology can be attributed to Rhys, it might be a simplified ball-orbiting-larger-ball indicative of the Bohr atomic model, or an Earth-Moon system.
Rhys has made his home and base of operations in Earth since he came upon it sometime in the year 830 CE. He was drawn to it because it was and is a strong shadow. Everything in it was governed by patterns or Laws of Nature; a much more interesting place to study the Cosmos than Amber. There on Earth, Rhys lived in anonymity amongst the inhabitants for centuries moving around every 25 or 30 years to not arouse suspicion amongst the locals. He always lived as a merchant or an academic, never as an authority figure or a nobleman.
Rhys set about to discover for him self questions about substance and shadow, true power, and ultimate truths. As time passed, the world around him advanced in culture and technology. Rhys’ influence grew as well though he never took an active roll in the spotlight. Participation would interfere with the experiments. What made Earth a strong shadow? Where the shadows where his siblings frequented or resided as strong? What makes shadows stronger? What makes things Real? Where the people who lived in shadow Real?
Out of academic curiosity, when Rhys felt an intervening push was needed or something was missing, he’d drag in a shadow of himself or one of his siblings as needed. Most often, these people made history in one manner or another. Da Vinci, Tesla, and Oppenheimer were shadows of Rhys. Other siblings’ shadows made interesting plants as well. For example, shadows of Marek provided Tycho Brahe and Edward Teller to name a few, and shadows of Hexian provided Machiavelli, and Mac Arthur. Though, as it turns out, throughout history many of his siblings spent time here as well. Hexian had spent time there during many of the world’s major conflicts with records back to Roman times, and Marek lived there and Houdini himself. Jonathon was the last sibling to live on Earth, calling it his home as a renowned artist until his disappearance at the beginning of the 21st century.
After the Second World War, staying anonymous was becoming a challenge. Technology was making the world smaller and information was becoming highly accessible. Also, certain circles were clever enough to start to notice or even hypothesize (scientifically) the existence and nature of shadow. By then, Rhys was living in the United States (a country he helped found) as Dr. Reese Barringer, a well connected industrialist and the founder and full owner of the American Mechanical, Biometrics, Electronics, and Recycling Company (AMBER Co.). At the beginning of the Sorcerer’s rebellion, when Marek attacked Jonathan and Rhys through shadow, it was too much for Earth’s authorities to not notice that something was amiss; there were too many casualties. In 2017 CE, the nature of Rhys’ identity and nature were voluntarily made known to some of the most powerful offices on Earth along with the nature of Shadow, Pattern, and Logrus. Subsequently, he was commissioned to secretly oversee the project to prepare defenses against possible Shadow-based attacks: The Shadow Defense Project.
Since the 2017 CE, Rhys kept the family name Barringer in place of Barimen. Rhys married Nyoko Nagame, a fellow sorcerer (the only sorcerer native to Shadow Earth), in the year 2043 CE. Nyoko is beautiful, intelligent, confident, and dignified. Ultimately, however, Rhys was most attracted to her sense of wonder and her artistic form of sorcery. Her style of sorcery differs completely from Rhys’ clinical approach. Her spells largely were performed for their own sake, not as solutions to problems or as weapons; they were performance pieces which engaged all of the senses. For the project, she has had to adapt a purpose to her craft but she still hones her unique art form. Nyoko knows about Rhys’ family and about Amber, Shadow, and Chaos. She’s been to Avalon and Amber both on many separate occasions, as well as other places on shadow.
It was the year 2118 CE when Nyoko gave birth of Rhys’ first child, Tomo Barringer. At the Old Testament age of 105, Nyoko, who hasn’t aged since marriage at age 30, would become the world’s oldest woman to give birth. Tomo inherited much if her looks from her mother and much of her father’s intellect. Nyoko and Tomo are often confused for sisters or even each other, however, Tomo has much lighter hair. Tomo was a prodigy beyond anyone’s best expectations: having mastered six languages, two Ph.D’s, and an MD by the age of 24. She is an accomplished sorcerer and conjurer. Like her mother, she has knowledge of Amber, Shadow, and Chaos. She has traveled extensively across the Earth and her moon, and made more than one excursion to Mars. She has also made trips to Amber and to Avalon. Tomo has taken the roll of Chief Technical Officer in the family business and on the Shadow Defense Project.
Rhys and Nyoko would have two more children, fraternal twins, in 2135 CE. The twins were named Adam and Lilith, Adan being born 3 minutes before Lilith. They were born into a world nearly shattered from the events following Second Impact. The twins bare more of a physical resemblance to their father than does Tomo. Lilith has dark red hair and Adam has started to surpass his father in height. Since the defeat of Legion, Rhys has tried to afford some semblance of normalcy for Nyoko and the twins. The twins have finally had the opportunity to visit some places in shadow for the first time like Amber and Avalon.
The Shadow Defense Project
In 2130 CE, Earth met with catastrophe. Officially, the event is called Second Impact. An asteroid impact targeted Antarctica, triggering the collapse of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet. Effectively, sea levels rose 5 meters in a matter of months. The resulting climate change and costal destruction left an estimated 2.5 billion dead after three years. Unofficially, it was triggered by the appearance of a “giant of light” composed of Trump came from out of shadow, appeared in Antarctica, and was immolated upon arrival.
Over the next decade, Rhys started to build a monitoring system for the detection of powers: Pattern, Logrus, Trump, Shapeshifting, and Magic. This system was deployed on satellites that have complete coverage of the Earth and Moon, and over the next thirty years the network was expanded to include Mars and deep space as well. His three Pattern laboratories have been largely expanded to facilitate more labs, personnel, and to include strategic information centers which coordinate the deployment of forces to defend against attacks from Shadow. Rhys also altered the shadow to prevent powers from functioning properly without using a key. In addition to facilities, Rhys has recruited and trained numerous hedge wizards and recruited half the true sorcerers on Earth.
The Nations of Earth are working diligently to “catch up” from the events of Second Impact. Also, it served as a wake up call regarding the survival of the human species. The nations of Shadow Earth have made a considerable effort to spread the species off of the planet Earth, and have made sizable colonies on the Moon and Mars. Since Second Impact, the Pattern on Shadow Earth seems to attract powerful creatures from out of Shadow. In response, the Shadow Defense Project has created a series of countermeasures, most notably the advanced combat mecha named Mechanized Anti Shadow Units (a.k.a. MAS Unit or Moyokoma). These are 50 m tall mecha that feature advanced offensive and defensive systems that employ Sorcery and Pattern in addition to the standard state-of-the-art mecha systems.