Kaya, a.k.a. the Ghost-Assassin, is a Planeswalker with a growing reputation as an accomplished ghost hunter. She is also the nominal guildmaster of the Orzhov Syndicate on Ravnica. Kaya has a family name, but for some undisclosed reason, she can't use it.
Appearance and characteristics[edit | edit source]
Kaya is a dark-skinned, young woman with dark, frizzy hair. At the time of the War of the Spark, she is close to thirty years old. Kaya usually wears a thief's leathers and a pair of long daggers on her wrists. She is a confident, roguish duelist with the ability to become partially incorporeal, allowing her to slip through solid items and to touch and assassinate spirits. As an exception to the rule that planeswalkers can't bring organic materials across the Blind Eternities, Kaya is able to safely transport one creature or person, by ghosting into her spirit form and simultaneously extending her necro-magic to include her passenger, much like she does with her clothes or daggers. When she does this, it leads to a merger of body and personality. The process, however, tends to cause extreme nausea for Kaya and her passenger upon separating at their arrival point.
Kaya acts as though she is driven by a desire for money, but often her sense of justice is greater than her desire for personal gain. It just happens to be convenient when her personal and financial ambitions align. After becoming the Orzhov guildmaster, she released any debt she found unfair, taking on the burden of the debts herself, showing a remarkable degree of selflessness that wasn't fiscally aligned. She believes all beings deserve fairness, regardless of stature, and took her Gatewatch oath on that belief.
Kaya is centered in both black and white mana. When going intangible, the affected portions of her body turn a transparent purple. When going fully intangible, she notes it causes her heart to stop beating for the length of the duration, possibly being a threat if overdone.
Kaya's entourage[edit | edit source]
History[edit | edit source]
Tolvada[edit | edit source]
Kaya's homeplane is Tolvada. She was born in a village with less than hundred inhabitants. She is descended from a noble lineage, though she and her kin had never stood on ceremony. Kaya's family relationships can be best described as "complicated". She once had a relationship with someone called Janah. She doesn't miss Janah, but she misses the feeling.
The blue sky of Kaya's homeplane is shot through with scintillating cracks, like a zig-zagging rainbow, and the world goes a little madder every year. When she met with Nicol Bolas, he had promised her he would heal the sky in return for her assistance in killing the Obzedat on Ravnica. Looking back, Kaya suspects that the troubles on her homeworld have been created by Nicol Bolas himself.
Fiora[edit | edit source]
Kaya initially appears on Fiora while taking an assassination contract for the ghost of Paliano nobleman Emilio Revari's mother. As she tangled with the spirit in its former home, she uncovered the reality that Emilio was directly responsible for his mother's death. Disgusted by this act of kinslaying, she ended her battle and led Emilio back into the house under the false pretense that the specter had been slain. Once the nobleman had been lured inside, Kaya revealed that she knew the extent of his crimes and left him to the wrath of his slain mother. With the Revari contract settled, she could now attend to a much larger payday. Her next job came through a contract from Marchesa to assassinate the ghostly King Brago. Utilizing her incorporeal powers, she successfully infiltrated Brago's dining room and plunged her rondel dagger into his spectral neck. In the aftermath of her triumph, Kaya was confronted by Brago's captain of the guard, Adriana. After several swings of Adriana's sword passed through Kaya's unharmed body, the ghost assassin retaliated with an elbow to the jaw. Kaya would leave Adriana otherwise unscathed, departing from the dining hall with remarks of Brago's tyranny.
Ravnica[edit | edit source]
Kaya resurfaced on Ravnica as part of the Orzhov Syndicate. Bolas hired her to kill the Obzedat and become guildmaster of Orzhov in exchange for him helping her "troubled family". Promised the support of Teysa, Kaya worked with Ral Zarek, Hekara and Vraska in an attack on Orzhova. While the others distracted the Orzhov troops and thrulls with an attack of rot zombies through the sewers, Kaya passed through the Orzhov defenses of the catacombs mostly without a problem, although she has some difficulty defeating a couple of giants. When she found them, she killed the Ghost Council easily, but while doing it she suddenly felt all the Orzhov contracts physically weighing her down. Through a loophole in Orzhov law, she had become the new guildmaster of the Syndicate. In addition, she discovered that Bolas has maneuvered her in this position, and that she now had to do his bidding in return for aid to her broken home plane, as originally agreed, but also for extrication from her current predicament.
Most of the Orzhov refused to acknowledge her status or respect her authority. Despite Teysa warning against it, Kaya freed many people from the debts they owed the guild, particularly the bound ghosts. On the other hand, she also heightened the tithes on the population to compensate for the economic losses caused by forgiving so many debts, raising them from 10% of people's incomes to 40%. This quickly led to riots, which had to be quelled by Azorius forces; in order to pacify the masses, she brought the tithes down to 18%. Kaya's habit of forgiving debts and raising taxes made her even more unpopular and caused Teysa to end their partnership, further undermining her position.
Kaya and Teysa attended the guild summit on behalf of the Orzhov, and witnessed its dissolution after the murder of Isperia. Afterwards, she helped Ral Zarek engage the Golgari, to conquer a location that was needed for his manipulation of the Implicit Maze. During the attack, she was almost killed by one her own priests who called her a traitor. As he returned to Orzhova, she found that the hierarchs had pressured Teysa to arrest her. With the help of Tomik Vrona, who thought that Teysa was making a mistake, Kaya discovered that all the hierarchs owned debts to the true heir of Patriarch Karlov. She turned the tables, had Teysa arrested and offered the hierarchs a deal.
War of the Spark[edit | edit source]
Ral Zarek activated the Interplanar Beacon to bring other planeswalkers to Ravnica for help, but it turned out that was exactly what Bolas was counting on. Once the Beacon was active, Bolas brought the Immortal Sun to Ravnica, trapping the planeswalkers there. Having become aware of Bolas' treacherous nature, Kaya defected from him for good.
Bolas' invasion began shortly after that, and the Eternals of the Dreadhorde marched forth from the dragon's Planar Bridge. She befriended Teyo Verada, a newly-ignited planeswalker who had just arrived on Ravnica. With the help of a Gateless street urchin named Araithia Shokta (nicknamed Rat), Kaya and Ral helped explain the situation to Teyo. Alongside many other planeswalkers and Ravnicans, Kaya fought against Bolas' forces.
She tried to rally the Orzhov Syndicate against Bolas, and she met with the Syndicate's ruling triumvirate, consisting of the human pontiff Armin Morov, the vampire tithe-master Slavomir Zoltan, and the angel warrior-executioner Maladola. She faced resistance from them, but the Syndicate's chief enforcer – the giant Bilagru – convinced them that Bolas posed an existential threat to all of Ravnica and, by extension, to the Syndicate's economic interests. (Unbeknownst to Kaya, Bilagru had been persuaded to help her by Orzhov representative Tomik Vrona.) Swayed by Bilagru's arguments, the triumvirate agreed to have the Orzhov Syndicate join the fight.
During the invasion, the trapped planeswalkers got together with Ravnican leaders to strategize. At Jace's recommendation, they decided to split up into teams to focus on specific tasks. Kaya, Teyo, and Araithia were sent to persuade the guilds that still remained neutral (Selesnya, Gruul, Golgari, and Rakdos) to join the fight against Bolas. They received an audience Emmara Tandris, acting guildmaster of the Selesnya Conclave, who initially refused their plea for help. However, her decision was overruled when Trostani awakened and ruled in favor of helping the Gatewatch. The group then went to speak with Borborygmos of the Gruul Clans, and Araithia convinced the cyclops to support their cause.
They were joined by Ral, who accompanied them to the Undercity. In Vraska's absence, the other leaders of the Golgari Swarm squabbled for control of her throne, but Vraska returned and united them. Despite Ral and Kaya's suspicion of the gorgon, Vraska pledged the Golgari to the fight against Bolas. With the help of Ajani and his team of planeswalkers, they were able to evacuate many civilians to the tunnels beneath the city, where they would be safe from the Dreadhorde.
After that, Vraska, Ral, Kaya, Teyo, and Araithia journeyed to Rix Maadi to negotiate with Rakdos. The demon lord was initially hostile due to the death of his emissary Hekara, and the blood witch Exava ordered the group to leave. However, the Orzhov representative Tomik showed up with Hekara's corpse, and the Rakdos cultists resurrected Hekara as a blood witch. After defeating Exava in a fight, Hekara used her newfound authority as a blood witch to lead the Rakdos against Bolas.
Once all ten guilds were on board, Nissa performed a ritual at the ruins of the Guildpact Chamber: with the help of a representative from each guild, she was able to repair the leylines that empowered the Living Guildpact (which had been disrupted when Bolas destroyed the Guildpact Chamber by opening his portal there). Kaya served as the representative for the Orzhov Syndicate. Using a device that Niv-Mizzet had constructed before his death to preserve his consciousness, they were able to resurrect Niv and grant the power of the Living Guildpact to him. Niv came back to life just in time to save the others from the God-Eternal Kefnet: using his newfound power, Niv was able to completely incinerate Kefnet in a torrent of flame, although the strain of channeling enough energy to kill a god caused him to fall unconscious.
Kaya survived the battle and was present during the Planewide Celebration that followed. Seeking to atone for her past mistakes, she joined the Gatewatch. Later, she was confronted by Niv-Mizzet and the other guildmasters (with Tomik now representing the Orzhov Syndicate in her place). They decided to spare the planeswalkers who formerly worked with Bolas but defected before the battle, on the condition that they make amends by hunting down the planeswalkers who stayed loyal to Bolas or defected too late. As her penance, Kaya was assigned the task of assassinating Liliana Vess, who the guildmasters had condemned to death for killing thousands of Ravnican citizens with the Dreadhorde.
The hunt for Liliana[edit | edit source]
Still bound by the debt contracts she inherited from the Obzedat, Kaya contemplated declaring all those debts forgiven. But she knew that such an act would destroy the Orzhov, and feared that the delicate balancing act that was Ravnica would topple with it. The contracts also prevented her from planeswalking away. However, Tomik Vrona discovered a legal loophole that allowed Kaya to temporarily transfer her Orzhov contracts and guild responsibilities to him. With Tomik now the acting guildmaster, Kaya was free to planeswalk away for short periods, and so Kaya and her entourage along with Jaya Ballard set out on their quest. Kaya used her necro-magic abilities to envelope and transport Rat on their journey. The group first traveled to Gobakhan to help Teyo Verada, as it was his first time to intentionally planeswalk. Afterward, Jaya guided them to Caligo on Dominaria in search of Liliana but soon left after refusing to go further.
Liliana was found outside the House of Vess working in a nearby garden and in a trance. While Rat went off to learn more about the mansion and its inhabitants, Teyo attempted to remove the gold collar from Liliana's neck which jolted her back to her senses. Liliana fought against Kaya and Teyo but was knocked unconscious by Rat. They discovered that an imposter Liliana Vess controlled the estate by wearing a choker with a blue sapphire amulet that contained a large and very powerful djinn. Liliana regained consciousness and agreed to let Kaya kill her in exchange for defeating her imposter and freeing her people.
During the fight, Rat stole the sapphire amulet and destroyed it which released the djinn named Zahid. Seeking vengeance, Zahid attempted to kill Teyo who had been using his shield magic to contain the entity. While Rat retrieved the Spirit-Gem and returned it to Liliana, Kaya tried to kill the djinn but was knocked across the room. Liliana then used the Chain Veil to subdue Zahid whose only request was to take Liliana Vess as his prisoner. Realizing Zahid was referring to the imposter, Liliana agreed, but Kaya killed the mistress out of mercy. Zahid was forced to leave empty-handed.
After the conflict, Liliana answered Kaya's questions and was allowed to live, although proof of a kill would be needed. Teyo suggested that Liliana give up the Veil, who reluctantly did so with a little help from the Spirit-Gem. Before returning to Ravnica, Kaya and her entourage promised to meet Liliana in Paliano on Fiora. Teyo used his shield magic to transport the Veil and delivered it as proof of Liliana's death.
As promised, Kaya, Teyo, and Rat traveled to Fiora and met with Liliana who had changed her name to Ana Iora. There they began to help Ana on her path to redemption. Asked where they would go next, Kaya explained that she had unfinished business on her homeworld of Tolvada.
Artifacts acquired[edit | edit source]
Kaya uses two long daggers that shine with a pale-purple light and can become incorporeal like herself.
Planes visited[edit | edit source]
Planeswalkers met[edit | edit source]
Story appearances[edit | edit source]
In-game references[edit | edit source]
Quoted or referred to:
Trivia[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Greg Weisman (November 2019). "War of the Spark: Forsaken." Del Rey.
- Django Wexler (July 11, 2019), The Gathering Storm, Chapter Six.
- Kaya, Ghost Assassin
- James Wyatt (January 2019). "The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Ravnica'". Wizards of the Coast
- Django Wexler (September 11, 2019), The Gathering Storm, Chapter Fourteen.
- Kelly Digges (August 3, 2016). "Laid to Rest". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Django Wexler (June, 2019), The Gathering Storm, Chapter Two.
- Greg Weisman (April 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica". Del Rey.
- Django Wexler (July 31, 2019), The Gathering Storm, Chapter Eight.
- Greg Weisman (May 29, 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica – Desperate Operatives". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Alison Luhrs (August 10, 2016). "Tyrants". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Blake Rasmussen (December 17, 2018). "Ravnica Allegiance Promos and Packaging". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Django Wexler (July 18, 2019), The Gathering Storm, Chapter Seven.
- Django Wexler (August 28, 2019), The Gathering Storm, Chapter Twelve.
- Nicky Drayden (February 20, 2019). "The Ledger of Hidden Fortunes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Django Wexler (August 14, 2019), The Gathering Storm, Chapter Ten.
- Django Wexler (September 18, 2019), The Gathering Storm, Chapter Fifteen.
- Django Wexler (October 16, 2019). "The Gathering Storm, Chapter Nineteen. Del Rey.
- Django Wexler (October 23, 2019), The Gathering Storm, Chapter Twenty, Del Rey.
- Greg Weisman (May 8, 2019). "War of the Spark — Old Friends and New". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Greg Weisman (May 22, 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica – Rallying the Reluctant". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Greg Weisman (June 5, 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica – Operation Desperation". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Oath of Kaya
- Greg Weisman (June 12, 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica – Ashes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (January 3, 2019). "Is there any trivia you can give us about Kaya's presence on Ravnica?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (July 23, 2019). "Can I get some birthday trivia lore wise on Kaya?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
[edit | edit source]
- Wizards of the Coast (August 4, 2016). "“additional story contributions” credit for Monique Jones.". The Official Magic: The Gathering Tumblr. Tumblr.
- Monique Jones. (August 4, 2016.) "6 Questions You Might Have About Magic: The Gathering’s Kaya, Ghost Assassin Answered", Colorwebmag.com