Alias Born as Skolusk
Age Estimated to be 42-43 years old
Alignment Neutral Evil
Social Class Commoner
Occupation Court Advisor to Emperor Leofric de Hollemark
Weapons None yet.
✥ physical appearance
Kupselion is an anomaly for a Xeïtros. Since he was removed from his people at such a young age, he has not altered his body in the pursuit of beauty the way many Xeïtros do. His bones and flesh are unadorned, his true shape largely untainted but for one important difference: he has fully functional eyes. Placed in his bony, gaunt face are a pair of ink-black eyes, ones which he grew himself. They are rather sensitive to light, so he often keeps them narrowed, but their very existence is an almost unparalleled accomplishment for any Xeïtros.
Aside from this, Kupselion is what a Xeïtros would be without any alterations- he is 6'4", thin, with long, stick-like arms and legs and protruding ribs. His skin is like alabaster- white and underlaid with a delicate tracery of blue veins, especially in the areas of his hairless scalp and his long, spider-like hands. His face is angular and bony and would be considered beautiful amongst the Xeïtros, especially as it's accentuated by finely-pointed ears. An added bonus is the thick, purple-pink scar that runs from his right cheek bone, between his eyes and over to the left side of his forehead. He has long slits for nostrils, which run vertically up his face in a way that is somewhat reminiscent of the nasal cavity of a skull. His lips are thin and as pale as the rest of his skin and underneath them are dark, pointed teeth, vaguely resembling a shark's. He has a long neck, jutting collarbones and a spine like the ridge of a mountain range. The skin of his neck is somewhat discoloured in a ring just above the slope of his bony shoulders, darkened from the scars that resulted from being kept in an iron collar for several years. He also has scars on either wrist which are about four inches long each. They are thick, dark and irregular from having been opened multiple times and are a hard to the touch. If you were to run your finger over the scars, you would feel as if you were strumming the string of a lute, for the scar is raised. His fingers bear sharp, dark claws, which can secrete a slight poison in combat situations.
Though he has given himself quite good posture at this point, Kupselion often has to bend over when rooms aren't large enough to accommodate his height. Thus he seems to be constantly looming over people, with those eerie dark eyes and a set of vicious teeth hidden just behind slightly-smiling lips. The effect tends to be rather unnerving, especially since most people don't know what kind of creature he is. Even so, he isn't always so frightening- he normally seems to be quite dignified, slow and thoughtful in his speech and possessing of a latent, unspoken power. He can also put on airs of being kind, reassuring or ambivalent.
Kupselion enjoys fine clothing, favouring embroidered and brocaded waistcoats and tailcoats, clean culottes and shiny black shoes, or banyans when he is at ease. He is also adjusting to Ashokan clothing, though has found he enjoys the pretty women's clothing over the men's vestments.
Another thing worth noting is Kupselion's voice. While in the servitude of Cyriacus, he read that it was preferred that men have a deeper voice, so he gained permission to alter the structure of his throat and lungs so that he might have a powerful voice. The result is that, despite appearing like an under-nourished wraith, he speaks like the archetype of a great king and can project his voice quite far and to great effect. He is also eloquent, speaking articulately and slowly and with a great wealth of knowledge from all the books he has read under Cyriacus and on his own.
Kupselion is an ambitious man. Even in his youth, he was more independent than others, but had he stayed in the darkness under the mountains, he would never have developed much and would have, in time, been cowed by the society he was in. So, in this way, he views it as a stroke of luck that he was stolen away and taken to the world above. It opened a whole new world to him so that he might satisfy his curiosity and find a place to form his ambitions. When he was first allowed out into the world proper, and when he began to learn about the accomplishments of human society, he was in awe of it, for the Xeïtros would never have been able to create such large things or to have such great movements and momentous events. Thus he wanted to be a part of this above-worlder genius, and more than that, to be one of the key players in it. For the moment, he doesn't entirely understand what he wants to do, just that he wants to accomplish something, he wants to leave his mark in this world, become something great and unforgettable. He is determined to stop at nothing to have this; the ends will justify any means, no matter how ruthless they are.
Despite his admiration for the accomplishments of humanity, Kupselion has no qualms about killing people. He prefers to kill those who deserve it, for he has a strong impulse towards justice beating in his abused heart. However, he cannot deny enjoying the act itself: the blood on his tongue and the rush of magic that follows from consuming the life of another. When it comes down to it, he'll kill whoever he needs to, thinking of them as sacrificed for a great cause: his cause, whatever it may be. Even so, he refuses to kill children. He feels some affinity towards them, perhaps because part of him is still trapped in the ever-curious and hopeful mind of his child-self, before he was captured and taken away. He doesn't know how to act towards them, he simply feels that it's cruel to snatch away a life hardly lived.
There is a similarity between his hunger for greatness and his hunger for blood and the power that accompanies it: it is the similarity of a single thread which weaves its way through his being. This is the bloody thread of appetite, which manifests in just about anything he does. Not only does he desire his food and his power, but also knowledge, excitement, love, sex, experience. Deep inside, underneath all the gilded structures that make him sociable, he hides a gaping maw, which is ready to suck in everything around him nay, even the whole world.
Perhaps this is why he took the break up with Lorialette so terribly. He could not get enough of their love, long after it had ended for her. He still broods over this, nursing the wound (as he nurses every other) indefinitely. In response to the failure of monogamy, his appetite has changed: he now refuses to submit to the idea of a committed relationship and sneakily avoids it, sleeping with anyone he finds beautiful (at this moment, largely men) as if to sample all the flavors in the world.
✥ abbreviated history
- Kupselion was part of a race called the Xeïtros that lived in the Do'suul Mountains. Originally, he was called Skolusk. The Xeïtros are known amongst the above-ground races for having magical abilities to be able to alter their own bodies at will. Anyone who drinks their blood will momentarily gain this ability.
- Thus, in his adolescence, Skolusk was kidnapped by chance by a human man named Darden who wanted to save his wife, Salina, from illness by giving her the blood of a Xeïtros. The whole event was frightening to Skolusk, who had no understanding of what the outside world was like and why he had been pulled from his home. Even so, he was relatively well cared for in this farmer's house (at least compared to other Xeïtros that are captured for the harvesting of blood).
- After about 2 years, Salina was healed and Darden decided to sell Skolusk. So, he put him in a wooden chest and took him to the market, showing him to only select people. One of these people was an old wizard called Cyriacus, who had a castle, named Ané Calliah, in Morrim bought with money he'd made from years of using magic to copy and illuminate books. He taught Skolusk how to talk, gave him the name Kupselion, told him about the world and placed a magic-suppressing spell on Kupselion to keep him in line. However, he did allow Kupselion to use magic to grow functional eyes, which took years to be completed. Even when they were done, it took Kupselion years to adjust to them and figure out the nature of sight.
- Cyriacus taught him how to read and before long, Kupselion was enthralled with stories, especially historical accounts. Cyriacus also began to take him out into the world. Kupselion was amazed by the calibre of human accomplishment, as well as the immortality of certain historical figures, who lived on in people's minds years after their death. He became resentful of the fact that he was not able to participate in this and he decided to kill Cyriacus, whose magic-suppressing spell had weakened just enough for Kupselion to undertake subversive action: he widened a vein in the wizard's head, creating an aneurysm, until it burst. This left Cyriacus braindead and defenceless. Kupselion killed him by tearing out his throat and he drank of human blood for the first time, thus beginning the first step in regaining his strength.
- After escaping the castle, Kupselion wandered for a time, seeking his first step towards greatness. He found it in Orl'Kabbar, where, after murdering a corrupt judge with his new friend, Neriasis, he joined a quest to retrieve an artifact called the Telhamite Stone. This intensely magical stone was being sought to regenerate Morrim, then still suffering from famine.
- Soon after joining the expedition, he met Lorialette one magical evening. She joined the quest with him, but disappeared partway through. This left an emptiness in Kupselion that he did not comprehend until later.
- The quest led them into the caves of the Dulassiin, a cult that had sealed themselves off from the world in an attempt to maintain their utopia. Their mission led to them being captured and exchanging one of their party, Calliope, in exchange for the Telhamite Stone. They returned to Kinaldi in the highest honors and Kupselion was given a job as advisor under Empress Isra. He managed to curry her favor enough that she passed a law making it illegal to enslave and harvest blood from Xeïtros. Kupselion was put in charge of a task force enforcing this law.
- While trapped by the Dulassiin, Kupselion met Nashikh, a Xeïtros who had been enslaved by the cult. She escaped with the party and has since been living in the dungeons of the palace.
- After almost a year in Isra's service, Lorialette abruptly came to see him in his office. She was distraught, but he calmed her, and they kissed soon after, committing to a relationship.
- Not long after, however, Kupselion murdered a sadistic stableboy after a royal ball. Isra caught him, but far from being shocked, she transformed into her Hag form and demanded to join in his murders in the future. They hunted down, tortured and killed bad people for about a year. After a falling out, however, Kupselion feared for his life and went to Sammeln, a wealthy Ophite for help. Sammeln orchestrated the overthrow of Isra without incriminating Kupselion, and Leofric de Hollemark became emperor.
- Leofric did not trust Kupselion, suspecting his involvement in Isra's killing sprees. Hence, a lot of Kupselion's power was removed. Depressed and floundering, Kupselion confessed to Lorialette what he had done. She accepted him at the time, but Kupselion did not forgive himself. Evidently this put too much strain on their relationship, for, after Kupselion returned from a diplomatic mission to Angkar (in which he served no purpose except to be away from Leofric), Lorialette was gone.
- In the winter of 10AR, Kupselion attended a dinner in place of a friend in Orl'kabbar. There he met up with Neriasis again, and they teleported back to the Orionopolis to have sex all night. They have since been seeing each other while Kupselion freely involves himself with other people.
Details about Kupselion's past are somewhat unclear, even to him. He isn't sure where exactly in the Do'suul mountains he is from, and at this point he can't truly remember his parents' names, nor can her remember the names of anyone in his skvetskin. He can remember that his name was Skolusk, not that it means anything to him any more. At the very least, he suspects that he's from the eastern sections of the mountains and he remembers that his father had ridges running the length of his skull and that his mother had large, lacy fans of bone growing like moons from her shoulder blades. He grew up in the darkness of the caves and he had no interest or care for the rest of the world. At the time, it seems he thought that there was nothing beyond the caves, that they were the entire world, but the sensation is difficult for him to recreate.
He remembers that it was quite obvious from the start that his hearing and magical sense were somewhat weaker than other Xeïtros' were. Whereas others could sense a bat fifty feet above them, he would be completely unaware of its presence. Even so, it was soon discovered that he had somewhat stronger magic than the rest. By the age of eight or so, he was healing his own wounds even while others were still trying to figure out how to use magic.
He was also an inquisitive creature, going off to explore the tunnels and caves alone, sometimes bringing his friends, whoever they were. He loved learning new things and remembers particularly the time he discovered a bed of glowing fungus far from the home-caves of his skvetskin. Several others were with him, and some could not even see the light, a few were frightened by it or could not comprehend it. Skolusk was the only one who was truly intrigued. He searched it with his sense and knew it was a fungus but was drawn, rather unnaturally for a Xeïtros, to the light, entranced by it. He found that the fungus was bitter in taste and likely not edible, and he tried to bring some back to his skvetskin but there were scared by his behaviour. The samples eventually rotted and he was never able to find the cave again.
Some years after that incident, Skolusk's life was turned upside-down. He was about ten years old (he guesses this because he had just entered adolescence) and was wandering the tunnels far from home when he came across a squat, blundering creature that was something like him. The creature breathed heavily, wore objects all over its body and used something hard and sharp and cold to attack him. This object was used to cut him across the face, and while he writhed in pain, the creature picked him up in its arms and carried him out of the tunnels. Skolusk fainted and when he awoke, he was surrounded by light.
He was confused and in pain. His hands were tied, he was restrained by a rough cord that was wrapped around his neck. He tried to make sense of the creatures' mangled speech, of the sounds and sensations around him, but nothing in his ten years of living had prepared him for this. He passed out multiple times but each time, he woke up to the same nightmare: he was on a rattling, moving platform drawn by four-legged monstrosities, there was noise everywhere and his blood flowed hot from multiple places on his body. He could sense no limit to the space around him and each waking brought new sensation- dirt, strands of something covering the ground, great tall pillars with sheets of rustling things growing all over them.
Finally, he woke up in a place that seemed to be more stable. The ground had stopped moving and the surroundings had become quieter and dimmer and had stopped changing. He was in a small space, something like a cave but made of unfamiliar substances, and there were other creatures there. He sensed the one who had taken him, as well as three others- one that resembled the females of his kind, and two that were small, and were clearly young. A hard collar had been fastened around his neck and it was attached to something that constrained him to a small space. The air was full of unfamiliar smells, but at times he sensed things that were familiar to him- blood (usually his own), mushrooms, meat, stones, water.
These creatures kept him alive. They gave him water and gave him meat and substances he couldn't recognise, they forced life down his throat when he was unwilling to do it himself. They tended to his wound, which he could not deal with himself out of confusion and weakness. The young things sometimes even sat by him, talked to him in their strange language, kept him company. But, almost every day, blood was taken from him. The first time, an incision was made on his left arm, and blood fell from there into a bowl, which he sensed was given to the female. She used the magic in it to heal some ailment he could tell she had in her body. For her, each day was a battle fought against a larger war. That incision was opened and widened time and time again, until the flesh there became hard with scarring, at which point his captors opened a new one on his right arm.
After some time, Skolusk began to notice patterns. He saw that light and dark fluctuated and that the creatures based their lives around this, repeating similar actions every day. He noticed that their speech was not as mangled and incomprehensible as he had originally supposed- certain sounds turned up again and again and he figured out that the male was called Darden, that the female was Salina and that the young things were Anissa and Abiah. He learned a few words and phrases, with the encouragement of Anissa and Abiah, such as "yes," "no," "food," "water," "help," and "love." The last word meant nothing to him at the time, just that Darden and Salina said it to each other a lot, often when Salina was healing himself with his blood.
He estimates now that he was there for about two years, until Salina finally healed herself. At that point, Darden saw no use for him and put him in a box. This box was moved about for a while, opened a few times, each time to a different face, until he sensed the face of one who he would come to know very well: the wizard known as Cyriacus. When he opened the box, he looked in for a long while. Skolusk felt his face with his mind, seeing that he was old, with a protuberant nose, great tufts of hair coming from everywhere but the top of his head. Then the box was closed and Sjolusk was bundled off and emerged in a different place. Another cave, this one dark and constructed of stone and overall more comfortable to him.
Cyriacus' treatment of him was much different than the family's. During the light-hours, he took great pains in feeding Skolusk, then teaching him words, as well as his new name: Kupselion. He was kept largely isolated from Cyriacus' waitstaff- they seemed to fear him anyways. Once Kupselion could comprehend this language, he was taught what had happened to him:
Darden's wife had been suffering from an ailment of the lungs and had heard from a healer that the only way to deal with this was to find to blood of a Xeïtros (known to him as an Antrokharin), which was presented as an impossible feat. Darden did not give up though. He stumbled along into the caverns in the Do'suul mountains, fully intending to raid a whole svetskin if he had to. He got lucky though, and found Skolusk, who was young and defenceless while still having a great potential for power. Skolusk had been carried away in a cart, taken across the land, tied up in a house and kept as a source for blood. He learned that, compared to what was done with other Xeïtros, he had been in pretty good conditions. Others were usually kept in isolated, squalid rooms, drained of their blood repeatedly to near-fatal levels and generally died within a year or so due to infection, loneliness and stress. He had the luck of a resilient body, a family that fed him and kept him company and took only small amounts of blood from him. In the end, Selina had been cured and Darden knew that he could keep his family happy for many years with money made by selling Skolusk. Cyriacus had come along to find Darden showing select people the animal he kept in a wooden chest, offering it for sale. Cyriacus was on old wizard in sumptuous robes who made his fortune by mass-producing manuscripts years before and so could afford to buy the creature and bring him back to his castle, Ané Calliah, which was situation in the eastern portion of Morrim. Cyriacus had named him Kupselion, after the old word for the wooden chest he'd been bought in, "kupselē."
Cyriacus' intent was to try to find a way to distill the magic from Kupselion's blood, so that he might find a fluid that was stronger, concentrated, more potent. He had more refined ways of collecting Kupselion's blood, pumping straight from his arm and into various apparatuses full of holes, curls, tunnels and movements that entranced Kupselion's mind. Cyriacus was also intent on making Kupselion autonomous, partially out of interest in what would become of him, partially out of the desire to make use of him as a servant of sorts. So, he patiently taught him about the world, explaining concepts such as age, time, nations, governments, history, friendship and love to the otherwise clueless Xeïtros. This whole process took perhaps two or three years, during which time Cyriacus suppressed Kupselion's abilities to use magic. Once Kupselion knew more about the world, Cyriacus decided to further the experiment by encouraging Kupselion to grow eyes. The whole process took at least two more years. During this time, Kupselion paid minute attention to the widening of this sense. The blurs of light and dark that had once been all he'd seen began to refine into lines, shapes and images. He combined this with his magical sense and learned what the new information meant- how light worked, how it revealed the shape and a texture of an object and how he could move around the castle in coordination with his newfound sight. Then, colours began to appear, gradually at first. Yellow and blue first, coming in dimly, slowly. Then, red and green, a full spectrum that blossomed all around him. That experience overloaded his mind, rendering him mute for many months. It took him at least seven years to understand the workings of his eyes, combining the sights with the sensations he got from sight and echolocation, re-learning from Cyriacus the words for objects, the habits of light and dark, of colour and how this connected with sound and scent and touch.
The following years were spent training Kupselion to be more functional. Once he got used to his eyes. Cyriacus began to teach him how to read, and it took a long time for Kupselion to understand how the sight of markings on paper could be related to words. He didn't pursue the idea at first, until one frustrated afternoon when Cyriacus said "Don't you understand Kupselion, this is a way to learn! To know things!" This sparked a change in Kupselion. He wanted to learn, he wanted to know it all. Being taken away from his home had been no curse; he had been given a change to understand things that his people had never known, and he would make the absolute best of it. So, he studied hard and learned how to read and took to spending each night in Cyriacus' library, reading until the light of dawn came.
He read anything he could get his hands on at first, but he grew to enjoy stories. He had trouble imagining the events taking place, and complained of this to Cyriacus, at which point his master decided to start taking Kupselion out into the world. So, he showed him Morrim, piece by piece- fields, farms, stands of summer-bright trees and, after several years, the city of Fairin. Kupselion was done being confused by these things. He enjoyed the world at large, and was hungry for all those new sights, sounds, sensations and smells that came to him at every outing, even though at the start he couldn't understand half of what he was seeing. He ate objects almost indiscriminately, from bark to berries, from butterflies to beetles, and found that he liked almost all of it. When he came to Fairin, he was stunned at the diversity of humankind and was awed by the different races in Elenlond, which he had only ever read about. He felt the hum of life about him, he thought about the strength of blood and longed to try it, though her never got the opportunity. Despite his hunger, Kupselion began to remember pieces of what it was like to grow up in a community, surrounded by others. He began to long for it, almost as much as he longed for information, and with each sojourn out into the world, he wanted it more and more.
It was around this time as well that Cyriacus allowed Kupselion to tweak the shape of his lungs and vocal cords so that he might have deeper, more resonant voice. As a result of this, he lost a bit of the effectiveness of his echolocation.
One day, after one of these outings, Kupselion was taken by Cyriacus, the concept of a story was re-explained to him, and he learned that a lot of what he'd been reading hadn't been true. This angered Kupselion and from that point he stuck only to history and science books. It was history that he loved the most: he thrived off Morrimian historians such as Diodotus, Leotychides and Phloropoulos and through them gained a degree of respect for humanity. The Xeïtros, in his mind, never strived to be anything beyond themselves, while humans went ahead and created empires, monuments, cities, castles, wars, and all other things of greatness. The idea seized him, and he knew that he wanted to become as notable and powerful as one of these humans: he didn't want to be forgotten.
The idea fermented in his mind, and he began to feel a certain resentment for Cyriacus. He had grown a lot from his origins in the caves: he had given himself eyes and a deep voice, he had learned the keys to knowledge and, by now, he had begun to feel that Cyriacus was holding him back. The old man had never made any progress in distilling the magic from Kupselion's blood and had just about given up on it at that point. He was slowly becoming senile, had stopped paying most of his waitstaff and could hardly take care of himself. Noticing a slight weakening in Cyriacus' hold over his magic, Kupselion began to wear slowly at the old man's body, eventually deciding to work at a specific blood vessel in the wizard's brain, knowing that this was the only way to kill him because the old man was too powerful to be fought in combat. He widened this vessel, weakened its walls, until it burst and made Cyriacus braindead. At this point, Kupselion fell upon his body, bit his throat and drank the blood from him. He ate some of the old man's flesh, dressed himself in some old clothes. And so it was that, twenty-eight years after he was taken from his home, he went out into the world, determined to shake off the last remnants of Cyriacus' suppressing spell and become something great, something beyond what anyone could have dreamed.
✥ permanent body modifications
- Slight alterations to spine and limbs to create more upright posture, as opposed to natural hunched posture of Xeïtros (who often get around on all fours).
- Functional eyes.
- Vocal chords altered to make voice deeper.
- Thicker skin on soles of feet.
- Liver altered to more efficiently process alcohol and caffeine. Nonetheless, Kupselion has a pretty low tolerance for the stuff.
- Despite the fact that Kupselion's sense/echolocation are not very strong, he still enjoys intricate and ornate objects. One of his methods of relaxing is to sit before such an object with his eyes closed and feel his way around it. In Cyriacus' castle, his favourite object was an ornately carved chair in a study, so complex that he hardly ever seemed to lose interest in it.
- Like most Xeïtros, Kupselion does not understand music. It is a nuisance to him, as it makes it harder for him to use echolocation and generally is meaningless noise to him.
- Kupselion's favourite form of nourishment is, of course, blood and flesh, but he also has a soft spot for raspberries and insects. He tried both on some of the journeys out into the world when under Cyriacus' care and still finds them to be delectable.
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