Coins for Sorrow, Coins for Pain

So, I’ve got The Thieves of Nottica on my mind.

That chapter (“Etcetera,” I think) where the Keymasters come to Cogshurst through the pipe is actually a very character defining chapter. And I find that amusing because it wasn’t that way originally. The chapter was rewritten so many times, it became character defining.

Each of the three Keymasters gives a coin to someone in this chapter, and it defines who they are. (And when I refer to “the Keymasters” I mean only Rigg, Hari, and Morganith, because Lisa hadn’t yet sworn in.)

First, Hari gives coins to a robot who offers his protection in exchange.

I like to refer to him as “the tax collector” because he goes around blackmailing people to get their money, but unlike most real life thugs, the robot actually keeps his word and protects the Keymasters so long as they’re in Coghurst.

Anyway, by paying “the tax collector,” Hari shows that she sees robots as people who can be given the benefit of the doubt. It’s a bit ironic when she’s the one who spends all her time tinkering. You’d think she would see them as objects, fiber, wire, scrap. But she sees the, er, “humanity” in them. Her answer to Morganith’s protests (“robots have to make a living too”) is an indication of this.

Rigg gives coins to a mutilated human who’s been tortured by the Hand after trying to help demons (and likely betraying his own friends when he was caught). It’s a foreshadowing of Kito and her pity for him.

Rigg is compassionate and forgiving. I feel it stems from her being a shapeshifter. She can change temporarily into a human and walk in their shoes, so she sees them as people, and she has more pity and compassion for them than Hari and Morganith, who are older and more jaded by a lifetime of fantastical alien racism.

Finally, we see Morganith give her coin to an old fisherman on the lake — after expressing zero empathy for the mutilated man just minutes before. This foreshadows Morganith’s lack of pity for Kito and it shows that she is more hardened than Rigg, especially given that she used to be a Crow and saw people mutilated all the time. Also, her admiration of someone who yanked a big fish out of the water with brute strength shows what traits she values in people. She loves people who can fight big monsters because she does that herself.

If Lisa had any money to give during Etcetera, I believe she would have given it to whoever painted that graffiti she loved so much.