Caeso Antius UrsusAlliance:
Nil (see artwork)Other Images:
82kg (181 lbs)Hair Color:
Soot blackEye Color:
Chestnut brownSexual Preference:
Straight Distinguishing Marks:
Tattoos on the top of each hand, marking him as a convicted criminal.
Enchanted rings that summoned dogs, a miniature ship that grew into a full-sized vessel when placed in water, ‘pleasure enhancing’ devices for adult recreation, a strange fish encased in ice that whispered at night… Caeso claims to have once held all manner of outlandish treasures. Some of these assertions are pure fabrication, while others did indeed grace his possession at one time, though in the long run it matters little either way. The sum total of his worldly wealth was confiscated when he was indicted for treason.
Caeso has since looted a few items from the Arena storehouses and armouries, providing serviceable if mundane equipment:
- A set of worn, comfortable leathers that provide excellent protection against scrapes and gashes: perfect for adventuring, but meagre protection in an armed conflict.
- A light wicker shield.
- A hooked spear that serves as both a polearm and magical focus. Sturdy but otherwise unremarkable, Caeso has nevertheless taken to the weapon, and has started engraving the shaft with decorative runes.
- Two knives, more for use as tools rather than weapons.
- A small wooden totem that serves as a secondary focus.
- Various sundries: water skin, coin pouches, flint, and cord.
Energetic, sarcastic, and humorous, Caeso is not what most people expect from a scholar… or a slave, for that matter. Bitterness and anxiety have done nothing to stymy his restless vitality, merely redirect it into constant activity, and Caeso is always looking to strike a deal or steal a march on his rivals. There’s also a more sociable side to Caeso, and he’s ever ready to share a story over food and drink. Sometimes it’s the history of a fabled relic, other times a tale from his adventuring career… and other times still, it’s a complete lie. Caeso insists that he has a strict code of conduct – one truthful story for every exaggerated one – but it’s seemingly impossible to tell which is which.
If Caeso were to describe himself in a single word, though, it’d be survivor. Worldliness often comes with pragmatism, and his past has taught him that cruelty and ruthlessness are needed to survive life’s more sinister twists and turns. Coupled with his status as a convicted traitor, it goes a long way towards explaining his difficulty in re-establishing networks or alliances. There’s always a dark edge and predatory gleam to his mannerisms, as if he shares his stories and meals with one hand, while the other cradles a dagger behind his back. Regardless of whether these impressions are merited, most people prefer to keep him as a fair-weather friend, easily acquainted and just as easily cast off. Biggest Fear:
A Royalist restoration, which would see him returned to slavery or incarceration. Talents/Flaws:
- Arachnid Cult
: Although the cult’s membership is down to one person, ready access to monstrous spiders is still a handy resource to have. Contrary to popular belief, it takes years of careful study (not animal magic) to control the giant arachnids, though this isn’t quite the boon it seems: with nobody to help command them, Caeso can only manage one or two of the primordial creatures at a time.
The obligatory ‘loremaster’ of every adventuring cohort he’s ever joined, Caeso knows how to put his learned background to good use. Natural history and archaeology are his specialties.
Whether it’s fleeing a losing battle or escaping a cave in, Caeso has an uncanny knack for slipping away just in time. He can’t work miracles, but Caeso always knows when it’s time to cut and run, and is usually agile enough to pull it off.
The adventuring lifestyle taught Caeso to be passably competent with polearms, staves, and light shields. He’d be a poor match for any veteran, though.
A fugitive to the resistance and a foreigner to the barbarians, Caeso is a pariah in all but name. At best, he’s considered an ally of convenience; more often, he can only rely on himself.
War-torn cities are never the safest place to begin with, but Caeso’s aversion to urban exposure goes into the realms of irrationality. Large public spaces – plazas, temples, courtyards, marketplaces – fray Caeso’s nerves to breaking point. This isn’t a problem on the open road, but in a metropolis like Cydilla it’s a constant source of anxiety. Mage:
YesUsed spells: Fireball:
A perennial classic, the fireball spell conjures up a sphere of flame that detonates with explosive force when thrown. Many mages (especially non-humans) consider it artless and crude, but there’s no denying its efficacy. Distant Potential:
It’s a fever dream that causes him to wake drenched in sweat, an ache he can never quite pinpoint, a muse that torments rather than inspire. Caeso certainly has the potential to develop his magic further, but it won't unlock on its own: it would require time, resources, and a great deal of meditation. History:
Mage, scholar, treasure hunter, cultist, slave… Caeso has an extraordinary tale to tell. It even happens to be true, for once.
It begins in Ard Carraigh, City of Spires. It is a place where a vast gulf exists between the wealthy elite and the struggling poor, yet also a place where each must forge their own fortune. When a child comes of age, they are given the mandated allowance and thrown into the slums to fend for themselves. It is forbidden for the elite to aid the lower caste, even where it concerns their own children; one must claw their way up from the muck before they can claim their birthright. Such was the case with Caeso, who is yet to be reunited with the rest of his family in the upper echelons of Ard Carraigh society.
Like many ambitious youths, Caeso hoped to win his fortune by exploring the plentiful ruins in Ard Carraigh’s neighbouring wastes. In this endeavour, he had a considerable head start: despite the city’s culture of brutal meritocracy, exceptions are made for the rare souls who display magical potential. Granted one of the city’s precious few scholarships, he had the benefit of an extensive education, and by the time he left the academy Caseo had an excellent grasp of archaeology and natural history – both priceless resources for any adventuring party. Coupled with his innate skills as a mage, it wasn’t long before his adventuring career started to take off.
The wasteland ruins are a perilous place, though, and the death toll was (and still is) horrifying by most nation’s standards; often equipped with just a knife and rope, ambitious slum-dwellers have only their courage to defend themselves against all manner of ancient traps, monsters, and desperate rivals. Caeso was the sole survivor of several disastrous expeditions, thanks chiefly to his quick wits and agile escapes, while his learned background made sure he knew the value of any loot he claimed. Little by little, he invested in better equipment and started making a name for himself, working his way up the food chain until he stood alongside professional treasure hunters. Ascension to the elite caste seemed tantalising close. The tragedy is that Caeso would have almost certainly made it, had he not stumbled upon his ‘big find’.
Every adventurer dreams of finding a clutch of dragon eggs – the power of kingdoms, just like that! – but Caeso and his companions found the next best thing: a dormant nest of ancient, monstrous spiders. Far beneath the ground, hidden in a city of strange statues and grotesque effigies, they found the arachnid eggs seemingly frozen in time, waiting for new caretakers to awaken them. More than just a prize to be sold, the eggs presented a pathway to power, a means of spawning their own private army. Drawn in by the charismatic leader of the group, Caeso and his companions hatched a mad plan to elevate themselves as conquerors. Ard Carraigh would be spared, of course… but the sprawling city of Cydilla would be their first target, a fitting capital for a new empire.
The rest, as they say, is history. The adventuring party formed the Cult of a Thousand Eyes, a conspiratorial society that hoped to conquer the metropolis of Cydilla by secretly breeding an army of monstrous spiders in the sewer system. In their defence, the bizarre plan came reasonably close to fruition, and over the years they slowly learned control the creatures, while also cultivating enormous nests in the unseen depths of the city. Unfortunately(?), the later stages proved too risky and the deception was discovered all too early. A short but ferocious battle ensued in the dark passages beneath the city, and a band of Cydillan champions ultimately destroyed the Cult, crushing the very heart of their operations. All but one nest was put to the torch; all but one cultist put to the sword.
Caeso’s story could’ve easily ended there, but Cydilla is a place where commerce ever prevails over justice. Rather than squander two valuable resources – a human mage and a clutch of rare monsters – it was decided that both should be put to work in the city’s grand arena. As the last surviving person with the requisite training to control the arachnids, Caeso was pressed into slavery rather than executed, though it’s open to debate whether this fate was kinder or crueller than the alternative. For two years his monstrous arachnids have delighted and repulsed arena spectators, always under the watchful eyes of suspicious guards, but the recent conquest of the city has finally put an end to Caeso’s captivity. Granted a reprieve he never dared hoped for, he now strives to ensure the old regime remains deposed – an act of self-preservation more than vengeance. O/O's: Linked in my profile!Et Ceteras: