Whois Keb?

Sultana Keb Casaubon, Enchanting Princess, is a sturdy young gel who was born in the Ramtops in the Kingdom of Lancre. Crackling with magic, the Ramtops often serve as origins for magic-users around the Disc, as well as delivering a steady stream of eager hardworking youths with dollar signs twinkling in their eyes to cities like Ankh-Morpork. In this way, there is little enough unusual about Keb. But it does not tell the whole story.

Many years ago, there was a stubborn and rebellious young Lancrastian lass who ran away to Ankh-Morpork, certain of making her fortune there. After a year away, this solitary girl came home on foot, penniless and drenched from a pouring rain. Her mother caught the girl up in her arms only to step back with a disapproving look. "Who is the father?" she asked. The stubborn girl refused to answer, even when Nanny Ogg asked the same question a few days later when the child was born. Nanny assumed that it was because the girl had once again, as she often had in childhood, ignored her neighbor Nanny's very good advice, and had failed to get the young man's name and address.

The rain had cleared on an early spring Circle Time. Nanny, cradling the infant girl in her mother's arms, explained that at such a time, precautions needed to be taken. Keb's grandmother quickly assisted Nanny Ogg in putting various herbs and a ring of iron nails around the wooden cradle her grandfather had carved. But Keb's rebellious mother threw the nails and the herbs away, thinking they were dangerous for the baby and only old wives' tales to begin with. She wasn't going to let an old baggage interfere with her baby like that.

Night fell, and two figures crept into the cottage. Giggling amongst themselves, one of them lifted the baby from the cradle, and out they snuck once more. The infant woke and gave a single cry that was smothered with her blanket; her grandmother woke up at last and ran to check on the baby. She was hysterical and slapped her daughter for ignoring Nanny, but she didn't know what to do. The young mother was convinced it had to be a practical joke. Nanny Ogg was summoned and feared the worst immediately. She dispatched a pair of her sons to check around Lancre town, though she figured it was well-nigh pointless. She herself immediately hiked to Bad Ass to see her best friend, Granny Weatherwax, for there were some things that Nanny Ogg knew better than to deal with on her own.

Granny shared Nanny's general outrage that the girl had been so foolish, and from their conversation one might have assumed the baby had no chance. But all the while they were arguing over it, Granny was carefully selecting various household implements, and Nanny was choosing from what Granny left behind. The mother may have been very stupid--but the child was thus far innocent, and deserved a chance. The two witches marched to the dancers, carrying a pot, a frying pan, an iron rod, nails, all sorts of things. Granny gripped the frying pan very tightly as she faced the danger.

They walked through a frozen, endless land in between the Dancers, until they heard a baby crying. "That's young Keb," Nanny said. She hurried her pace. There knelt a beautiful woman with the two thieves on either side of her, and the infant laying in the snow in front of her, wailing. Nanny demanded the child's return, interrupting the Queen's ritual, while Granny stood behind her and stared with steely eyes.

"She is mine," the Queen said easily. "In a few moments, it will be irreversible." Nanny was about to say something, when Granny gave her a nudge and stepped forward. In a few simple words, she'd convinced the Queen to agree to a contest--to let Keb choose whom she would go with. The queen leaned over and whispered in Keb's ear, promises. Riches. Kingdoms. Glory. Keb just cried louder and louder. Then Granny picked the baby up and snuggled her close, patting her back gently. The wails became sniffles and then stopped altogether.

"We'll just be going then," Granny said. But the Queen, outraged that she had been tricked, grabbed for the child. Granny blocked the grab with the pan--the only bit of iron she'd gotten through the dancers. But it touched the side of Keb's right hand, burning with a sickening sound before Nanny managed to pull away and run for the place they'd entered. Granny stayed behind just a little longer. Nanny never found out what happened after she ran for it, and Granny never told anyone. But a moment after Nanny crashed with Keb onto the floor of Lancre Forest, Granny followed.

Young Keb grew up in Lancre, and though she was wise enough to listen to the witches and learn from them once she showed magical talents, she was just as stubborn as her mother. The burn on her hand left a mark of bright red that changed color depending on the magical ambience and the temperature. As a young teenager, Keb went to Ankh-Morpork alone, on an extended errand for Nanny. There, she was officially mugged and dragged into an alleyway. But one of the thieves stopped in the middle and whispered her mother's name. Already, at thirteen, she looked like her mother--the brown eyes, the dimples, the loose brown curls. She looked back at him in wonder...but it was some time before she truly believed that she'd met her father at last. Her mother had yet to return to Ankh-Morpork; her health had been compromised by the journey home. But she had given Keb enough clues about her father that they were able to prove to one another the truth of the matter. Keb was introduced to her paternal family, The Casaubon Family, the daughter of Murky Casaubon.

But though she did eventually become very close to several of her relatives, she and Murky were rarely together. And Keb's rebellious spirit struck; she refused to go back to Lancre right away. She wrote home to Lancre to say that she was going to abroad instead of coming home as was expected, and, funded by her newfound family, travelled to Klatch in the company of pirates that happened to be associated with them. The beauty of the desert land captured Keb's imagination, though she still loved her home in Lancre and the conveniences of Ankh-Morpork. And what truly captured her heart was the reverence for cats. Her own pet cat had travelled with her all this time, and here Princess Lottie was treated by all with the respect that Keb felt was due. She firmly believed that if you're going to bother worshipping anything, you might as well worship cats. Keb eventually decided to open a shop, the Bizarre, to sell her teas and other witchy services in her newly adopted land. It wasn't long after she opened her little shop that she found a small, slightly scary girl named Kiki in need of a family. Keb doted on Kiki, spoiling her with candy and sharp swords. The two of them made their way in Klatch. Eventually, Keb made herself into quite a prominent citizen, and despite her foreign appearance was elected as a magistrate for two terms.

After the death of her maternal grandparents, she inherited the cottage in Lancre. Her mother left Lancre to live in Ankh-Morpork sometime after Keb left home. As Magistrate, Keb had helped to nationalize the shops, so her home in Klatch became public property. She lost the election and moved back to Lancre for a time. But eventually the call of the glorious land of Klatch was too strong, and she returned to serve her nation in the post of Nawab--under the direction of her own daughter Kiki, who had in the meantime been elected Magistrate herself. She now still makes her living through witching, but also writes for the Papyrus. She travels between three homes regularly--her house in Lancre, the Palace in Klatch where Pharoah has given her honors, and her Uncles' homes in Ankh-Morpork.

A witch with an obsession for books, she is quite intelligent, though often very naive. How she managed to stay that way when part of her tutelage was under Nanny Ogg is a tricky question, but she did all the same. Like most witches, she relies on nature (but would happily argue that all people do) as much as magic--using one in the service of the other, or both together, however you look at it. Though she respects and admires Granny Weatherwax, her love of books and fascination with the more sparkly aspects of magic make her seem more like a wizard in the older witch's steely eyes.

Keb's two most loyal pets are her cat, Princess Lottie, who is usually found snuggled up in her arms or draped over her shoulders, and her fruitbat, Flyta, who is usually begging for fruit a foot behind her and struggling to carry a mass of items for the packrat witch. She has also befriended an aquamarine moon dragon by the name of Shimmer.

Keb's personal obsession is enchanting and deluding. She can usually be found hovering on her broom, deluding and enchanting things, or offering her services in exchange for shiny things. She is learning many sneaky tricks from her various uncles and other family members in the Casaubon clan to enhance her magical abilities. Sometimes what seems like magic is simply knowing how to trick the eye.

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Last updated: 08:30 am Tokyo Time, Monday, March 27th, 2006.
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