Home > Unlocked (Keeper of the Lost Cities #8.5)

Unlocked (Keeper of the Lost Cities #8.5)
Author: Shannon Messenger



ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS Sophie’s given after Fitz brings her to the Lost Cities is a registry pendant—a simple choker-style necklace containing a special crystal that allows the Council to monitor her whereabouts. I wrote that detail into the series because it felt logical that a world in which anyone can travel all over the planet on a beam of light (and where light leaping can go tragically wrong) would have safety precautions in place to allow someone to be found in an emergency.

But the Council uses the pendants for more than simply tracking a person’s location. In fact, the registry keeps files on everyone in the Lost Cities, monitoring all kinds of different things. (That’s why members of the Black Swan and the Neverseen sometimes alter their feeds to hide what they’re up to.)

So, I thought it might be fun to give you guys a peek at your favorite characters’ registry files. I have a feeling you’ll be surprised by some of the details you discover in them! And remember—these are the Council’s official records, so there may be times when you know things that they haven’t figured out yet. Don’t let that confuse you—just enjoy being smarter than the leaders of the elvin world.

(*whispers* You might also notice that certain files have been edited, both by the registry and by a certain powerful Technopath—and some files can’t be accessed at all.… The elves have tricky security!)




You are accessing CLASSIFIED Registry files. Unauthorized viewing is punishable by Tribunal.



REGISTRY FILE FOR Sophie Elizabeth Foster



KNOWN ABILITIES: Telepath, Polyglot, Inflictor, Teleporter, Enhancer

RESIDENCE: Havenfield


ADOPTED BY: Grady and Edaline Ruewen

MATCH STATUS: Unmatchable

EDUCATION: Current Foxfire prodigy

NEXUS: No longer required

PATHFINDER: Not assigned. Restricted to Leapmasters and home crystals.




NOBLE ASSIGNMENT: Regent; leader of Team Valiant; point of contact for the alicorns

SIGNIFICANT CONNECTIONS: Cognate to Fitz Vacker; fealty-sworn member of the Black Swan; human family under the protection of the Council; former Wayward at Exillium

ASSIGNED BODYGUARD(S): Sandor (goblin); Flori (gnome); Bo (ogre—temporarily reassigned); Tarina (troll—indefinitely on leave); Nubiti (dwarf—indefinitely on leave)


In what was hopefully a first (and last) for our world, Sophie was born and raised by two humans (formerly known as Will and Emma Foster, relocated once as Connor and Kate Freeman, and again as [REDACTED FOR SECURITY] in an area of the Forbidden Cities that the humans call San Diego, California. She had one human sibling (Amy Foster, relocated once as Natalie Freeman, and again as [REDACTED FOR SECURITY], who was briefly a resident of the Lost Cities and was allowed to retain her memories of that time. But there is no genetic connection between Sophie and her human sister, or between Sophie and her human parents. Sophie’s embryo was created from the genetic materials of two unknown elves and implanted into her human mother by a member of the Black Swan who goes by the false name Mr. Forkle. He posed as both a human fertility doctor and a neighbor in order to monitor Sophie’s development, as well as her safety. He is also presumed to be responsible for triggering her telepathy at the age of five human years, as well as planting classified information into her memory, and revealing her location to Alden Vacker when she was twelve human years old. The possibility of Sophie’s existence was first discovered by Quinlin Sonden and Alden Vacker after the term “Project Moonlark” and a strand of unregistered elvin DNA were recovered during a memory break performed on Prentice Endal—though the Council believed the evidence to be an elaborate hoax. Alden spent years secretly searching the Forbidden Cities for the girl (often with the help of his sons, Alvar Vacker and Fitz Vacker) before finally receiving a human newspaper article that led him to Sophie. Fitz Vacker brought her to the Lost Cities and explained the truth about who and what she was, and also revealed that she would need to leave her human life behind. She was given access to a birth fund, a registry pendant, a nexus, and an Imparter—plus numerous other basic necessities. Later she was given a home crystal to Havenfield. Sophie’s residency was provisional at first, but she has since been granted full citizenship and continues to attend Foxfire Academy.


Sophie has brown eyes (with small flecks of gold in them) instead of a shade of blue, like the rest of our species. No one, including her creators, seems to be 100 percent clear as to why—though most suspect the condition is related to certain modifications made to her genetics during the Black Swan’s experiments, many of which were based on alicorn DNA.


In what appears to be a nervous tic of sorts, Sophie is often seen tugging on her eyelashes. She’s been quick to assure everyone that it doesn’t hurt, but she does often appear to be trying to break herself of the habit. So far, she’s had little success. And it’s hard to blame Sophie for that, given the numerous stressful things she’s been through—and continues to endure.


Originally the Council ordered that Sophie’s human identity be “terminated” and that her human family be made to believe that their eldest daughter had passed away. But Sophie was concerned about the emotional toll her family would pay while grieving for their lost child, and she convinced Alden Vacker that her human identity should instead be “erased,” with the humans relocated to someplace their memories wouldn’t be triggered. Alden and Della Vacker oversaw the relocation, moving both parents, their daughter, and their pet (a large gray cat evidently named Marty) to a location with no ties to their previous lives. And Della was careful to ensure that their new lifestyle was what humans would classify as “very comfortable.” Sophie had also specifically requested that her family’s new home have a yard large enough for a dog, so Della gifted the family with a beagle puppy. Our records indicate that the dog has been named Watson.


Sophie brought one small purple backpack with her when she left the Forbidden Cities, and it was filled mostly with human clothing. The only other items were a scrapbook of family photos, a gadget called an iPod (which Dex Dizznee has made numerous adjustments to), and a bright blue elephant stuffed animal that she has named Ella and apparently cannot sleep without. All other items from Sophie’s human home were packed up and meticulously recorded before being stored in [ADDRESS REDACTED FOR SECURITY] in Mysterium, which Sophie has visited once with Councillor Terik in order to retrieve a childhood journal she’d left behind and realized was important. (Councillor Terik asked her why and was not given an answer.)


Sophie’s unconventional upbringing—as well as numerous other suspicious circumstances—led the Council to order Councillor Terik to descry Sophie during her first year in the Lost Cities. Alden Vacker brought Sophie to Councillor Terik’s private office in Eternalia, and she cooperated fully with the descrying. But the reading results were inconclusive. Councillor Terik reported afterward that he could definitely sense something strong when it came to Sophie’s potential, but what that actually means remains unclear.

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