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This article contains plot details from the latest books.
“Time to see who can cause the most chaos." "Well... when you put it that way!”
Keefe Sencen (pronounced Keef Sen-sin) is a member of the Black Swan and an ex-member of the Neverseen. He joined the Neverseen as an attempt to infiltrate their organization and tear it down from the inside as well as to sneak information to the Black Swan.
He's the son of Lord Cassius and Lady Gisela. Fitz Vacker is his best friend, and he's always wished he was a Vacker. He sees the Vackers as his family and spends a lot of time with them. Keefe's real family doesn't treat him well. He has a very fragile and somewhat sad past, as his father was verbally abusive and his mother, a member of the Neverseen since before his birth, only used him as a pawn in her "game", although she has shown kindness to him multiple times in the books. In Exile, he admits to Sophie that he often hides behind his jokes and teasing. He often uses jokes and teasing to pretend like everything is okay, even though deep down it may not be. Making jokes and teasing is just his coping mechanism.
Some interpret the name Keefe as meaning noble, gentle, handsome, and cherished, although there are many meanings for this name throughout different cultures. For example, in Gaelic, the name translates as "male descendant" or "related by blood". It is often used for the oldest child of a family.
His love interest is Sophie Foster, considering many gentle moments between the two and his constant teasing. He has shown to be extremely tender and loving towards her, even small hints of jealousy when she confesses her crush on Fitz Vacker in Flashback. Keefe has often been interpreted to show his love for Sophie in many moments throughout the book series, though she doesn't appear to know it herself. Also, in his Keefe's POV extra story he admits to Ro that he indeed has a crush on Sophie. Keefe and Ro show many hints in the story like when Ro always says, “Go talk to your girl.”
“You did not insult the Hair!”
—Keefe Sencen, in Book 1: Keeper of the Lost Cities
Keefe is tall with messy, artfully and carefully disheveled blonde hair and startling ice blue eyes. He is very meticulous with his hair and is known to have several Elvin hair products. So many, in fact, that when they are looking through his bedroom in Lodestar, Tam says, "Dude - this guy uses more hair products than I do!" Sophie has described him as very handsome and has remarked that many other girls probably find him attractive. He is said to have broad shoulders. He has a lean, slim frame and, as of Nightfall, a scar under his ribs from King Dimitar's attack. Sophie also noted his "rather impressive amount of muscle tone." Sophie also states that he has very long and dark eyelashes. Many girls in Foxfire have crushes on him.
Photo 1: Keefe on the cover of Exile by Jason Chan
Photo 2: Keefe on the cover of Neverseen by Jason Chan
Photo 3: Keefe in Neverseen by Courtney Godbey
Photo 4: Keefe in Lodestar by Laura Hollingsworth
Photo 5: Keefe in Nightfall by Laura Hollingsworth
Photo 6: Keefe and Sophie in Flashback by Laura Hollingsworth
Photo 7: Keefe on the cover of Legacy by Jason Chan
“Right. Because our family doesn't decide who we are. We decide who we are. Believe me, it drives my parents crazy. And sometimes that's the only thought that gets me through the day.”
—Keefe Sencen, in Everblaze
Keefe is an Empath, which means that he can feel other people's emotions. He can also feel Silveny's emotions and he talks to her, but in a different way than Sophie, who can understand what Silveny is transmitting to her. Keefe can feel Sophie's emotions without physical contact, but he needs physical contact for everyone else. He received his ability from his father, although Sophie's emotions are stronger than most elves because the Black Swan tweaked her genes. In Nightfall, he learned that, when Sophie enhances him, he can tap into Sophie's emotional center and help control her emotions, sending a calming blue wind through her mind to comfort her (similar to what Silveny does to Sophie to help calm her emotions).
Like Sophie, Keefe has a photographic memory. This is why he has skipped a level (Level One) and can get away with ditching Foxfire sessions without falling behind. In Nightfall, Lady Gisela says that Keefe inherited it from her.
Keefe can mimic, and he has demonstrated that he can do perfect impressions of Sophie Foster, Lady Gisela, Councillor Alina (formerly Dame Alina), and Magnate Leto. He is not actually a Polyglot; he learned to mimic by imitating his mother, Lady Gisela, who is a Polyglot. He was able to mimic Sophie's voice well enough to steal the caches and give them to the Neverseen.
This, however, is not considered a special ability.
Keefe is an amazing artist. His parents (particularly his father), however, don't appreciate his talents, and even tell him art is a waste of time. Sophie mentions multiple times that she thinks his drawings are incredibly realistic, so much that they look like photographs. During Nightfall, Keefe gives Sophie a painting of her with Grady and Edaline, and one of her, him, Fitz, Dex, Biana, Tam, Linh, and Wylie, and Sophie is blown away by how beautiful they are, being speechless and hugging him as a result.
Keefe always seems to find ways to annoy Dame Alina (while she was principal of Foxfire) and many other people. Every time, it's something new. Gulons, reekrod, muskog, etc. He loves pranks. He also pulls them on his abusive father, Lord Cassius. His most famous prank was the Great Gulon Incident. (Details are highly confidential, and have not been revealed in any of the books so far).
"How? After all the times you've lied or ignored us or betrayed us? How do we ever trust you again?"
Keefe can often be reckless. At the end of Book 4: Neverseen, he joined the Neverseen, stealing the caches from Sophie after he overheard the password in a private conversation between her and Fitz. He was later allowed to rejoin his friends. He also challenged King Dimitar to a fight, although this was not strictly necessary. Some motivations behind the challenge may be guilt and/or protecting Sophie.
Keefe often tries to do a lot to help his friends. Some interpret Keefe as having sacrificed everything for his friends, although this is just one interpretation. He joined the Neverseen to be a double agent and give information back to the Black Swan. Keefe's plans didn't work well, however, and he ended up discovered. In the end, he did steal the caches back, but they ended up being fake.
“I seem to remember you having a bummer few weeks and then everything went back to Perfect Vacker-land. So where's my perfect fix? Why does it keep spiraling and spiraling and spiraling?”
—Keefe Sencen, in Neverseen
In the first book, Keefe is known to have a goofy personality and has a reputation as a troublemaker. In Exile, however, Keefe has a more important role, and you get a glimpse at his more compassionate side when Sophie is upset about Alden's broken mind. In Everblaze, he does a great deal of aiding Sophie with whatever mysteries she has to solve involving the Black Swan. At the end of the book, Keefe fights his mother and begins to harbor a deep grudge against her. In Neverseen Keefe takes on a darker, more angry edge in some areas of the book, especially when it has to do with his mother. This book gives readers a glimpse into what it's like to be in Keefe's world. You see his sensitivity and struggle to hold himself together. After learning that his mother had a Washer hide many of his memories of her when he was a child, he joins the Neverseen in order to find answers and help Sophie and the Black Swan. In Lodestar, it is revealed it was also to infiltrate their organization.
In Book 4: Neverseen, Keefe feels betrayed by his mother and fights with emotions of regret, grief, and guilt, causing him to lash out at his friends, telling Sophie and Fitz that the best thing they could do would be to go away. He still seems to love his mother deep down but refuses to admit it. Keefe is desperate to gain the memories stolen by his mother, and when he does, he believes that he was never meant to be a hero, but a villain. He had later found out that it wasn't only his mother who was part of Neverseen, it was also Alvar Vacker, whom Keefe looked up to and previously called his "hero". Keefe decides to join the Neverseen so he can work as a double agent, but he did not tell anyone that until the next book Lodestar. When Keefe joins the Neverseen, Sophie secretly follows him, and he tries to protect her from Brant and Alvar. Keefe ends up sacrificing Sophie's cache, given to her by Oralie at Kenric's request, and steals it by mimicking her voice because he overheard her and Fitz talking about the cache's password, "221B Baker Street". He tells Sophie he can't be who she wants him to be. He begs Sophie not to hate him, and his last words before Sophie leaves are "I have to do this. Please don't hate me." He gives her a necklace with one temporary leaping crystal so that she can escape home.
In Book 5: Lodestar, Keefe impersonated Magnate Leto at Foxfire and led Sophie inside "his" office. After that, every night and later on in the book, every morning in his Neverseen hideout, he has a telepathic conversation with Sophie. It is in this scene that he reveals that he is a double agent and is actually on Sophie's side. Later Sophie, Tam, and Fitz find one of the hideouts and find Keefe and three others (Brant, Ruy, and Alvar), ready to capture them. When Tam and Fitz get trapped behind a force field, Sophie decides she has no choice but to inflict on them. Then she wakes Keefe up and Keefe begs to take Alvar with him back to Fintan so he can gain his trust and steal his cache (along with Kenric's). As Sophie disagrees, begging Keefe to leave the Neverseen and come back with them, but Keefe steals their leaping crystal to Alluveterre and escapes, bringing himself and Alvar back to the Neverseen. Towards the end of the book, Keefe finally flees the Neverseen while Sophie is at the Peace Summit and he finds her at Lumenaria and is there when Mr. Forkle dies. It is also revealed that Keefe's blood is the key to open a mysterious door, possibly part of the Lodestar Initiative. At the very end, Sophie learns from Keefe that her parents may be in danger. She light leaps to their new home and discovers that it has been ransacked. Her parents aren't there but her little sister Amy is. Amy sees Sophie and all she says is "Sophie?"
In Book 6: Nightfall, Keefe is no longer associated with the Neverseen. When he and Sophie make contact with Lady Gisela through his blood-sealed imparter, she answers. Lady Gisela says she needs him to go to Ravagog and deliver a message to King Dimitar. When they get there, Keefe declares himself to be a Mercadir. King Dimitar challenges Keefe to a sparring match where the first person to draw blood from the opponent three times wins. If Keefe wins, they get they the starstone hairpin that they want. Keefe wins by a hair, and he learns that his mother, in the message, told Dimitar to challenge Keefe to a fight to "prove that he's not worthless like the others." In addition, his mother told Dimitar to assign Keefe a bodyguard (if he won). He ends up being assigned Ro, King Dimitar's daughter.
In Flashback, Fitz and Sophie confessed their feelings for each other. Keefe has been interpreted by some to be heartbroken. He was a little jealous and acted uncomfortable at first but then decided that it could make Sophie happy so he said he was "fine," though he may not have been. Keefe is also known to his bodyguard as Lord Hunkyhair. Tiergan and Keefe also recovered some blurry memories of a sunset, a couple of trees, a bunch of black fabric, empty glass vials, and a pair of green eyes, possibly Green Door House man's, or Amy's, meaning that he has met a human before.
- SOPHIE (close friend/possible love interest)
“You can ignore it all you want, Foster, but sooner or later you're going to have to solve the triangle. Or should we get real and call it a square?”
Sophie and Keefe met midway through Book 1: Keeper of the Lost Cities and since that time the two have become good friends. Keefe always wants to join Sophie on her adventures and is there for her various times throughout the series. In Book 2: Exile, Keefe and Sophie get to know each other better.
Neverseen hinted a couple of times that Keefe could possibly have a crush on Sophie, due to his constant teasing and subtle compliments. In Book 4: Neverseen, it becomes quite obvious that Keefe likes Sophie, becoming jealous of Tam, who he believes is trying to join the "Foster Fan Club". They share many close moments, and he even goes as far as to give her a necklace that he had originally made for his mother, in order to protect her from himself. Also in Neverseen, when Keefe says "Hold hands and look into each other's eyes", he reveals that he is quite jealous of Fitz and knows Sophie has romantic feelings for Fitz.
He also seems to confide in Sophie more than the others, as well as stalling his own reckless plans for "only her". They also shared two "window slumber parties", where they both sleep at their respective windowsills, covered in blankets, just to enjoy each other's company.
Sophie is heartbroken when Keefe joins the Neverseen, and, trying to honor his last wish, tries as best as she can, not to hate him. In Lodestar, they often communicate telepathically while Keefe is with the Neverseen. When Mr. Forkle passes away in Lumenaria, Keefe was there to hold Sophie in his arms, keeping her together. He also gave her his cloak to keep her warm a couple of times
When Sophie finds Amy after her parents are taken, Keefe asks if she is okay and asks if Sophie still hates him. Sophie replies, "I'm never going to hate you, Keefe." In Book 6: Nightfall, he continually hints that he likes Sophie. Keefe often visits Havenfield, and the share some sweet moments which hint at more than what is said.
In the Barnes and Noble exclusive version of Nightfall, Keefe admits that he likes Sophie. Ro remarks that "he's got it bad" for her. He also was "dreaming about a pair of gold-flecked brown eyes" and told Ro that he would be whatever Sophie needed "until she was ready for more". He seems to admit that he will tell her soon, and at the beginning of Flashback, he continues to flirt with her and compliment her. In mid-Flashback Sophie and Fitz admit their feelings for each other and become a (not dating) couple, proving Keefe too late to tell Sophie his feelings for her. He says he is happy for them and congratulates Sophie, but his behavior reveals that he may be upset.
Fitz is Keefe's best friend. The two are very close and have known each other throughout their school lives. Their friendship began in Level Two at Foxfire when Keefe was the weird guy who skipped a level, and Fitz was the guy who kept disappearing all the time. No one wanted to hang out with either of them, so they became best friends. Keefe is often at the Vacker house, Everglen, playing base quest, playing Bramble, or just hanging out. Fitz says that he and Keefe became friends because they were both eccentric and they did not fit in.
In Lodestar, Fitz is obviously angry at Keefe for joining the enemy. He was described as "afraid" rather than angry. They grow further apart, with Fitz feeling unable to trust Keefe and Keefe in turn mostly communicating with Sophie. At the end of the book, they reconcile, but there is still tension between them.
In Nightfall, Fitz and Keefe has been interpreted to have a lot of tension between each other, fighting a silent war. Throughout the book, it is hinted to be over jealousy, most likely over their relationships with Sophie.
In Flashback, their relationship as friends is still very rocky as they get further away from being the friends they once were. This is mainly to jealousy in some of the previous books concerning Sophie and to Keefe running off to the Neverseen. Afterward, there was a lack of trust between them.
Keefe meets Dex through Sophie. In Everblaze, when it is revealed Dex is a Technopath, Keefe begins planning various schemes with him. Keefe and Dex both like to tease Sophie and Fitz about being Cognates. Keefe often jokes with Dex about pranking Councillor Alina (when she had been the principal of Foxfire Academy) with elixirs and using his Technopathic skills to make elaborate schemes, which Dex always declines. Dex and Keefe seem to become really good friends during Neverseen, sharing a Lufterator when fleeing to the Black Swan. The two both use the nickname "Wonderboy" for Fitz. This is most likely due to many girls liking Fitz, including Sophie. They have also grown closer as friends as Fitz and Keefe's friendship becomes more strained.
Biana is the sister of Keefe's best friend, Fitz. They are childhood friends, and they have hung out with each other for many years. She saved his life in Everblaze, tackling Lady Gisela, who tried to shoot him with a melder.
She is shown to have a romantic interest in Keefe, even though it is not implied that Keefe had returned any feelings for her.
In the fourth book, Keefe admits that he has kissed Biana before in a dare, describing it as "mostly on the cheek." It can be noted that the "mostly" rather than only was brought by Biana turning her head on the cheek kiss (which was a dare) and having him catch the corner of her mouth. Keefe cares a lot about Biana and it is clear that he does not wish for her to get hurt.
- LORD CASSIUS (father)
Lord Cassius is shown as a very controlling and verbally abusive father. He often states how disappointed he is in Keefe, but his negative intentions have never extended farther than that. Later, after Keefe knows about his mom being in the Neverseen, he says he is surprised his dad "turned out to be the good parent". Lord Cassius wrote a book about Empaths called The Heart of the Matter. Keefe describes his dad as not so much an author but "torturer of innocent readers."
In Lodestar, Lord Cassius seems to be softer on Keefe as he asks Sophie to tell Keefe that "If he ever comes back he'll always have a home." Sophie, though, does state that Lord Cassius was verbally abusing Keefe, along with Lady Gisela.
- LADY GISELA (mother)
Lady Gisela often states her disappointment in her son, but it extends farther than that. At the end of Everblaze, it is revealed that she is part of the Neverseen. In Neverseen, Keefe learns that his mother has had someone Wash his memories so that he wouldn't remember her affiliations with the Neverseen. Broken, hurt, remorseful, and feeling a tad bit guilty, he joins the ranks of the evil group in order to retrieve his memories. In Lodestar, she's shown to have once cut open Keefe's skin to take his blood and blackmailing Keefe into not telling anyone.
In Nightfall, she's shown to be extremely manipulative. Again, she forces Keefe to spill his own blood.
- ALDEN (Father Figure)
Alden is like a father to Keefe, always allowing him to stay over and making sure everything is working out for Keefe. Alden loves Keefe like his own child, and Keefe loves Alden like a father. When Alden's mind is broken, the grief is agonizing for Keefe.
Grady is Sophie's father and has always been mistrusting and disapproving of Keefe. He always calls Keefe "That Boy" and doesn't like it when Sophie hangs out with him, thinking that he's a bad influence. When Keefe ran away to join the Neverseen, Grady got more upset at him. In Nightfall though, after Keefe returns from his bed rest, Keefe talks with Sophie and makes her feel better. This causes Grady to "study Keefe as if he'd never seen before in his life." This hints that Grady might be getting used to Keefe.
- EDALINE (Sophie's adoptive mother)
Throughout the books, it is shown that Edaline is very kind to Keefe and feels a little sorry that he had to experience such a rough and unloving childhood.
- SANDOR (friend/Sophie's Bodyguard)
Keefe is constantly teasing Sandor and trying to make trouble for him. He always calls Sandor 'Gigantor.' Sandor acts annoyed but is actually very fond of Keefe and sometimes trusts him. He also shows signs of wanting to protect Keefe as well as Sophie.
Keefe is jealous when Tam and Sophie interact, even though the two of them do not have any romantic interest in each other. Keefe also doesn't want Tam to take a reading of him, which makes it hard for them to trust each other. Keefe often calls him "Bangs Boy," and says "his (Keefe's) hair is cooler (than Tam's)." Tam refuses to talk to Keefe until Keefe submits to a shadow reading, which he has yet to do. In Nightfall when Keefe is apologizing for betraying everyone Tam tells Keefe he is not worthless but parents like theirs can make him feel that way. He says that he forgives him but that doesn't stop him from teasing Keefe throughout the remainder of Nightfall.
- RO (Personal bodyguard (or babysitter) /friend)
Sophie, Keefe, and Lady Cadence deliver a scroll to King Dimitar from Lady Gisela (Keefe's mom) that requested that Keefe proves he is worthy and that he gets a bodyguard for extra protection. Keefe and Ro have many similarities such as liking to cause trouble. Ro thinks that Sophie and Keefe are adorable together "especially when she gets the look in her eye that she wants to rip his head off". In the Barnes and Noble exclusive edition Ro refers to Sophie as Keefe's "little girlfriend" and teases him about his crush on Sophie. Keefe does not correct her when she says this.
"From that point on, he only had one goal: To be whatever Sophie needed. Not the hero. Not the one taking charge of everything. Just a guy ready to listen and help and be there for her. A friend. Until she was ready for more." - Keefe Sencen, Nightfall's Special Edition Short Story, last page.
"'Whoa, back the T rex up!" -Keefe Sencen
"'Right. Because our family doesn't decide who we are. We decide who we are. Believe me, it drives my parents crazy. And sometimes that's the only thought that gets me through the day.'" -Keefe Sencen, page 444 of Everblaze
"Art is about honesty. That's why I made sure I have the best hair."-Keefe Sencen, Page 643 of Nightfall
" Have you? Because I seem to remember you having a bummer few weeks and then everything went back to Perfect Vacker-land. So where's my perfect fix? Why does it keep spiraling and spiraling and spiraling?"-Keefe Sencen, Neverseen
"I'm Batman, so I could be your hero any day."-Keefe Sencen, Neverseen
"Dude, you did not just insult the hair." - Keefe Sencen, Neverseen
"It's all about the hair!" - Keefe Sencen
Character Bio by Shannon Messenger
Keefe is Foxfire Academy’s ultimate troublemaker—though of course, he claims he had nothing to do with “The Great Gulon Incident.” What on earth is it?! Confident and cute, with infamously awesome hair, he’s always ready with a joke—whether the situation calls for it or not. But those close to him know that his smiles often hide the heavier things he’s struggling with, like his less-than-awesome family. He’s Fitz’s best friend, but he also feels a strong connection to Sophie—and not just because he loves teasing her. His ability as an Empath allows him to read her feelings, which makes him understand her in ways no one else can. And he’s always there when she needs him, even if he sometimes makes questionable decisions.