Raksha Keller, simply known as Keller, is a panther shapeshifter, one of the best operatives in Circle Daybreak, and the protagonist of the book Witchlight. Keller and her team are assigned the task of locating and procuring the third Wild Power, who is revealed to be a lost Harman witch named Iliana Dominick.
Iliana is prophesied to be the Witch Child; a Harman destined unite the shapeshifters and the witches by marrying the son of the First House of the Shapeshifters, Galen Drache. However, after finally meeting the two, it is revealed Galen is actually Keller's soulmate, thus putting the alliance between the witches and shapeshifters in jeopardy.
Keller and her twin sister Rashel were the daughters of an unnamed shapeshifter and a human woman named Melisande Jordan. While Rashel was born a human, Keller on the other hand was a shapeshifter like her father. Because she was too young to control her shapeshifting, Keller was stuck in a halfway form. Feeling constrained by his inability to shapeshift at will and assuming that a shapeshifter child would be too much for his wife, Keller's father took her and abandoned the family. Ultimately, he abandoned his young panther daughter, leaving her on the street in a cardboard box with a note saying:
- People die . . .
- Beauty fades . . .
- Love Changes . . .
- And you will always be alone.
Keller was found by a nurse and taken to a hospital nursery. However, she was adopted by Circle Daybreak after they read reports of her in the newspaper. Since then, Keller has worked for them as a form of "repayment", although Keller had always mistakenly assumed she had been abandoned by her mother rather than her father.
After being taken in by Circle Daybreak, Keller has become one of the organization's top agents and developed a reputation of never losing. Her teammates include the witch Winfrith Arlin and the vampire Nissa Johnson, who refer to her as "Boss". They are recognized as Circle Daybreak's best fighting team.
Other novels Edit
Thicker Than Water Edit
Strange Fate Edit
Keller is set to appear in the final novel.
Stuck in mid-shift with cat ears and a tail, Keller is abandoned by her human parent as a baby. After being rescued and raised by Circle Daybreak, Keller decides to work for the organization to pay them back for taking care of her as a child. Like the cat she shifts into, Keller is always very independent.
Keller is a born leader, surrounded by an aura of authority. She is strong-willed and has her head firmly on her shoulders. Keller is often brusque and to the point - when she knows what she has to do Keller just does it, not wasting time on minor details. Because of this, she can be seen as impulsive. She has a natural ability to command others' respect, but she does not give out respect easily herself. When Keller devotes herself to something she gives it her all.
Keller can be an impatient person, finding it hard to deal with people who do not keep up with her. She has a fierce temper and can come across as blunt and hard-hearted, holding herself somewhat apart from others. She also initially believes things like love and affection to be a sign of weakness and hardens herself to them, though it's implied that this stems from the emotional pain of being abandoned by her parents as an infant. Her aloofness is also clearly a defense mechanism against being harmed by others. Keller becomes more sociable and willing to open up to others after meeting her soulmate, Galen, and befriending Iliana, finally accepting she doesn't have to do everything herself. She is also protective of others and has a strong sense of duty, readily putting her life on the line to defend her charges and complete her missions.
Keller bears many similarities to Rashel, her twin sister, particularly regarding her temper, independent streak, stubborness and protectiveness.
Physical Appearance Edit
Keller is described as having long, black hair, fair skin and grey eyes. She has a fierceness about her and moves with a predatory grace, said to look like a "half-tamed panther" even in her human form. Both Galen and Alex Dominick describe her as being "pretty". In her animal form, Keller becomes a huge, black panther, with powerful muscles, sharp claws and fangs, and gleaming yellow eyes. When she is mid-way through transforming, she appears mostly human, but has yellow, cat eyes and sharp canines, and can look rather frightening as a result. Keller looks a great deal like Rashel Jordan, which makes sense, given that they are revealed to be twin sisters.
- Raksha's given name is derived from a Hindu demonic creature, the rakshasa, which were known to feed on humans and blood. However, their own name comes from a Sanskrit term meaning "protect me", in keeping with Keller's role in defending Iliana. They were furthermore noted as being able to use illusions and change form (like a shapeshifter). Not all rakshasa were evil, such as Vibhishana, a rakshasa noted as being a good-hearted being, and the brother of one of the most famous rakshasa, the wicked King Ravana of the Hindu Ramayana epic. Raksha was also the name of the she-wolf who raises Mowgli in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, who, like Keller, is depicted as a fierce fighter and very protective of those she loves.
- Her surname Keller is of German origins, from the Latin 'cellarius', generally translating to 'cellarman' or cellar master' - a person who oversaw the cellar or stores of a building such as a castle or monastery. It can also be an Anglicized form of the Gaelic name O'Ceileachair, meaning 'uxorious' or 'companionable'.
- Keller's shape, a black panther, is in fact one of the rarest animals on the planet. Technically, it is not a separate species of big cat, but either a leopard or jaguar with a rare skin/fur pigment called melanism, also known as melanistic leopards or melanistic jaguars. A few other melanistic big cats are also referred to as panthers, though melanistic leopards and jaguars are the most well-known. Keller is confirmed to be a melanistic leopard, specifically, as when Galen touches her to take on her animal form, he becomes a leopard (though with traditional golden coloring).
- As Keller's mother was human, it is well that Keller had been found and taken in by Circle Daybreak. With a human parent, Keller and her family might have been executed had the Night World found out. This fact also means that Keller is technically a hybrid; however, like most hybrids, one parent's set of genes became dominant over the other - in Keller's case, her father's shapeshifter genes.
- Keller's twin sister Rashel is ironically sometimes compared to a cat herself; she was also nicknamed 'kitten' by their mother, uses the alias 'the Cat' as a vampire hunter and her catchphrase is "This kitten has claws". However, She cannot transform into an actual big cat, as Keller can.
- The 1942 horror film Cat People and its 1982 remake of the same name also features a woman who can transform into a panther, although in her case, she cannot control her abilities.