One of Princeps Gaius Septimus’ singulares, Araris Valerian is arguably the greatest swordsman of his generation. During First Calderon, Septimus tasked Araris with protecting Isana. After the battle, he disguises himself as a coward and sells himself into slavery, where Bernard purchased him. Araris works as a blacksmith and tinker at Bernardholt, where he poses as a simpleton named Fade, continuing in his duty to his lord and lady—Septimus’ final wishes and Isana, respectively.
Araris is a spectacular metalcrafter and possibly the best swordsman in the realm. Araris uses his metalcraft in tandem with his formidable swordplay, hardening and sharpening his sword enough to cut cleanly through metal, stone, and Vord chiten alike. He is able to manifest his metalfury as a coating of metal over his skin to protect him from attacks. This gives his skin a silver appearance and causes his voice to sound oddly metallic. The defense is only skin deep, as his eyes and the inside of his mouth are unaffected by the crafting. The metal skin is not impervious, as shown when Araris sustained injuries through the metal skin when fighting the Vord Queen.
Furies of CalderonEdit
When Tavi drinks a lot of water to wake himself early, Fade alerts Bernard of the old Legion trick. Later, during the furystorm when Kord and his sons work their crafting on everyone in Bernardholt, Fade disrupts it by spilling soup on Bittan.
He accompanies Tavi and Amara in their flight from Bernardholt to the Rillwater, where he and Tavi escape through the forest on the eastern side of the ford. He and Tavi are captured, and more and more of Araris’ knowledge and personality begin to show through the façade of Fade’s persona.
Fade is nearly constantly there to support Tavi, and when Tavi faces Aldrick on Garrison’s walls, Fade intervenes, defeating Aldrick handily. However, even a great swordsman can be outthought, and Fidelias uses a rope to hang Fade, nearly killing him. Odiana, fulfilling a debt to Isana, saves Fade’s life in the immediate aftermath of Second Calderon. Afterward, Fade presents Tavi with the blade Tavi had taken from the Princeps’ Memoriam, an act of fealty, and Tavi realizes Fade is really Araris Valerian.
Gaius Sextus walks in on this scene, and offers to purchase Fade from Bernard and Isana during the ceremonies the following day, though Isana refuses. While the ceremonies took place, Fade accompanied Tavi in driving of Dodger's little flock home.