He has two. When not wearing the Ring of Change, he is short, green-eyed and somewhat plump. When wearing it, he looks just like the Shogun of Banhoesea. He wears the formal dress of an Admiral of the Fleet, an elegant cutlass at his side.
Martin Ashe used to be an honest man, a customs man working for the capital city of Banhoesea. He did not have to fear the press gang because of his job, he was paid enough and he had a beautiful and capable girlfriend named Emma. They were the perfect couple to each other and trusted each other completely. Shortly before their wedding, when they were walking hand in hand on the beach, Emma told him her last and greatest secret. For years she had been a member of the outlawed, feared and reviled cult of The Children of Ma-O. He knew that he should hand her over to the police to face prolonged torture and execution, but he loved her too much and could not resist her when she asked him to join the cult.
The next evening he was met by other members of the cell that his girlfriend belonged to and he took a sacred oath to Ma-O, an oath that went against all he held dear, an oath to stir up trouble until Ma-O was free to return to the world. Two of them held him underwater until he thought he could hold his breath no more, and then hauled him out. Over the next few years, whilst in public he went on the same as before, in private he did all he could to shake the state without being uncovered as a cultist.
Amongst other things, he permitted drugs, weapons and firecrackers to be smuggled in, secretly knocked a small hole in the local lifeboat, spread untrue rumours and more then once set up a fake lighthouse and wrecked ships upon the reefs that bedevilled the shores of his country. His girlfriend encouraged him and did her bit for the cause, helping robbers to rob the local bank. It was after wrecking a three-masted ship from Vallermoore upon the Bilious Reef that he found a plain iron ring amongst the loot and debris washed up on the shore.
When he put it on it changed to a gold ring set with a Captains seal and it whispered in his ears words that only he could hear, telling him of its powers as The Ring of Change. His heart soared at the thought of the damage he could do to the state and the crimes he could commit with this magical item. After using it for a short time, and framing an innocent man for murder in the process, he attempted to use it for longer, and very nearly lost his life and soul in the process. He was able to shed his disguise without being caught and crawl away to his house where he lay sick and sad on his bed for three days and nights before recovering.
That Sunday he told his Priest of Ma-O of the relic and demonstrated his power for a short time. He told him of the dangers if it was used for too long and the Priest told him that he would take it to the three Cardinals and see if they could speak to Ma-O Himself and gain His help. After months of waiting the Priest came back with the ring and said that the Cardinals had asked for Ma-Os help, and Ma-O had seen the potential for endless trouble and granted his help, powering the ring with His power. As long as Martin Ashe was faithful to his God, his God would keep him safe. His life force would not be drained nor his soul devoured, however long he kept wearing the ring for.
The next thing was to work out whom to replace, and they decided upon the awesome plan of replacing the Shogun himself, the ruler of the entire De Madden Company who ran all of Banhoesea. The Shogun thought himself invulnerable to attack; safe as he was upon his flagship in the main harbour, protected by locked oaken doors and well armed, dedicated sailors on watch. But unknown to him, two of those on watch on the quarterdeck were themselves cult members and turned a blind eye to the small boat approaching from the land.
It was a hot summer night so he had left a cabin window open. Deep in slumber, he did not hear the padded grappling hook when it hooked into his windowsill, nor the soft footfalls of the assassins doing the will of the Great Demon of the Ocean. He did wake when they clapped a hand over his mouth and stabbed him with a poisoned needle, but by then it was too late. His body was taken out, wrapped in iron chains and dropped into the deep waters of the harbour, and, disguised by the ring, Martin Ashe took his place. The cult of Ma-O had struck at the very height of the state without anybody noticing.
As the new Shogun and Lord High Admiral, Martin started stirring up trouble between Banhoesea and the Kraken States. Relations between the two superpowers of Acqua had never been exactly warm, but now thanks to his machinations they became positively icy. Disputed islands were taken over by Company Marines, treaties honoured by both sides were broken, and insults flew back and forth.
In an effort to avoid war one of the more powerful of the Krakens by the name of Pearl came as a diplomat to try and sort things out before trade was totally disrupted.
She found herself trapped in the harbour and killed when they hurled cannon balls and bombs into the water,. In a gross insult to the Kraken States, her squid body was hauled out of the water, cut into tiny pieces, made into calamari and distributed to the shops and restaurants to be eaten.
Because of the actions of the Fake Admiral, things are only one more misstep away from a major war, a war that would sink whole fleets, cost a huge amount in amethyst, treasure and lives on both sides, go on for decades and maybe even break Ma-Os chains so He could return once more to the world with his full powers.
The Ring of Change, powered for him by the evil of Ma-O, the Demon of the Ocean.
As a man totally dedicated to the cult of The Children of Ma-O he will not stop until he has plunged the entire region into a bloodstained war that will go on for a very long time.