Calm and composed, Etios usually prefers to stay solitary but would not mind some company now and then. He has only one goal in his life, which is to be reinstated as a member of his House with full honour. He is a centaur of few words, only talking when it is necessary. He likes to train in his off time, honing his skills with different weapons. He usually stays distant to his emotions but a even a small reminder of his memories can show the softer side of this otherwise steel cold centaur. He prefers to be more of a practical person and judges people on the basis of their skillset. He does not discriminate between races and is a very open-minded person.
This is an unusual beginning. The history of the most chivalrous house of Centaurs ever since their first appearance in the third warring age, is where I would begin my biographical narration. You see, we centaurs are a pack of imperious individuals who value family, friendship and fidelity over anything else. So spontaneously, the first born of our kind, the respected members of the noble house of Oculus, were supposed to be the same. In fact, they were supposed to be the example for other centaurs to follow… they were supposed to, but they were not.
Lord Oculus Eurus, the progenitor of the House of Oculus, the first ever imperial mage of his kind, was unlike his predecessors. He was a peace-loving and kind leader. But this mellow administrator was equally fierce, under his pale blue armour. His combat skills paired with his knowledge of Arcane arts made him nigh invincible in the battlefield. He was responsible for the truce between the Alfens and Centaurs that ended the third warring age. Although this decision was highly criticized by his three brothers- Zephyrus, Boreas and Notus, they could not influence their younger brother’s determination as strong as Adam’s steel. A determination to fulfil his dream of everlasting peace and prosperity for his race. While this lead to a temporary period of tranquility among the people, but inside the House of Oculus, bad blood brewed amongst the brothers and was passed down through the generations.
About a hundred years before I was born, my tribe saw a shift of power. Oculus Megasthenes, the successor to the chair of Oculus and the centaur-kind as well as a descendent of Eurus, was fatally poisoned during a ceremonial feast a night before his ascension. His loss was a huge shock to the House… but that was what it showed on the surface. His cousins and descendants of Zephyrus, Boreas and Notus had a celebration that night. Later that year, Oculus Trojan, the blood of Oculus Notus and the puppet of the conspirators was elected as the Chief.
In the years following, the lineage of Eurus faced cruelty in the hands of their own brothers unbeknownst to the outside world. They had decided to keep quiet fearing rebellion. After all, the very tribe which led them, was going against their motto of ‘family first’. But things were to change… for the worst.
BIRTH OF THE FALLEN
I was born to Oculus Xanthos and Scylla of the Boreas lineage. I was the second born, first being my elder sister Phobos. I remember her to be the exact opposite of what a centauride is supposed to be. She was muscular, energetic and used to participate in activities which our race had deemed male-oriented. Yes, she was often jeered for her masculine lifestyle; in fact she had cut her hair short too, but she did not let a few teases affect her lifestyle. She was a brave centauride and a crafty imperial mage. Importantly, she inspired me the most, and I loved her alot. Yet, my parents never seemed to care enough for her. I could not feel any bond between them like I felt between them or any of my younger siblings. I was a diligent young one among my generation. I revered our legacy and cherished my bonds with all my family and friends.
At that time, the chief was of Zephyrus lineage, Oculus Balios. He, as I recall him to be, was a living filth. The only things that interested him were feasts and females. I was already twenty eight years old by then. I was strong and responsible. I had honed my combat prowess, training under various masters of the arts, including my sister and Oculus Anemoi, the skull collector. I had a natural instinct of survival. Around this time, Balios had started to mingle with my sister even though she showed no interest in him. The vile old fool really got my nerves but I was advised by my younger brother Xanthos II to not to take any hasty step which could endanger our political position. Young Xanthos was a prodigy. At just nineteen years of age, the boy had displayed his immense skills as a tactician and a diplomat. But unfortunately for me, there was a limit to which I could control my ever-growing spite and disgust for our nefarious chief.
One fine day, Balios had called for Phobos in a general assembly. Within a short period of her arrival, Balios unabashedly forced himself on my sister in front of dozens of people. This had to stop. Infuriated as I was, I barged inside the hall and with all my might, pushed him away from Phobos and followed up with a punch which pulverised his nose into a mess of flesh and blood. I had made my statement clear with that, but I never knew that it would initiate a chain of events that was going to haunt me till my last breath.
THE NIGHTMARE BEGINS
I had ridiculed the Chief that day publicly, not to forget, causing him a grievous injury; and hence I was supposed to receive a punishment. It came in the form of exile to the Academia of Arcane arts where I was supposed to stay until I had become an imperial mage. The Chief was visibly agitated with the Council’s decision but agreed to it. I had read a lot about the type of magic that we centaurs could do. A few mages of my House had even demonstrated me some of the spells that we could cast. They awed me.
But just when things were about to resettle, the news of the murder of Oculus Anemoi, the Councilman of Eurus Lineage, delayed my journey. Old man Anemoi was among the few elders whom I deeply revered, not just because he was my mentor, he was the person who had been there for me through my highs and lows and guided me to the right path. He was an adept warrior and a highly skilled imperial mage. For him to be stabbed through the heart with the least signs of struggle did not seem to settle well with me. Irrespective of that, what was more concerning was the raging lineage of Eurus. They had suffered enough in the hands of their cousins, and were surely ready to pounce upon the assassin who robbed them of their elder.
I myself was individually investigating upon this in the few days I had before my departure, when one fine day, I chanced upon a letter which bore the Chair’s seal on it. It was addressed to my father. The seal was broken, so I assumed that my father had already read it. I decided to do the same. I pulled out the off-white sheet of paper and held it between my fingers as my eyes scanned it. With every word I read, my disbelief in the reality kept making me go weak on my fours. Try as much I could, but I was unable to cease my eyes from welling up.
The scum that Balios was, had imprisoned Phobos, my sister-- my elder sibling. He now had the knowledge of her real identity which even I was unaware of, until the time my unfortunate eyes chanced upon this woeful letter.
Phobos, was not a centauride. As much as I did not want to believe this, but my beloved sister was actually a transgender centaur. Balios had given my father two options- either kill Anemoi, the Euran Councillor, or he makes Phobos’ secret a public knowledge. I trusted my old man. He lived by the centaurion oath and was a role model for me. There was something I was not able to see, He could not be responsible for Anemoi’s death. But it was too late now. I knew what Balios was going to do next, and it came that evening.
The apathetic monster betrayed my father’s trust and exposed Phobos’ identity as a Trans Centaur. The news was welcomed with shock and jeers as I could see my sister in tears, helplessly watching her own kind speak ill of what the nature had made her. But Balios did not stop here. He proceeded to frame my father for Anemoi’s death by announcing that the old Euran had the knowledge about Phobos so in an attempt to keep it a secret, my father, Oculus Xanthos, had murdered the wise old centaur. The crowd erupted in anger as my father vehemently denied the facts. The general assembly had quickly degenerated to a mini battlefield as swords were unsheathed. I was overwhelmed.
From the corner of my eye, I caught Phobos galloping away. Torn between my duties as a son and a brother, I stood frozen for a few moments. I decided to give Phobos a chase, hoping that my father would be able to take care of himself for the time being. I was faster than Phobos, it took me only a few minutes to catch up with her. She was bawling. I could feel her anguish. Her cries were sending unsettling ripples through my chest as she collapsed. I knelt down, catching her by the shoulders. She was breathing heavily. I had a terrible intuition about this but all I could do that time was cradle her, to comfort her.
Her soft palm was on my jaw as I saw her smile for the last time before she closed her eyes. No words were spoken. Her hand fell to the earth, devoid of any signs of life. My beloved Phobos had cried herself to death. Her skin turned pale and cold beneath my arms that were wrapped around her. I ran my fingers through her short chestnut hair, the same as mine. It felt empty… I felt empty. I felt wronged.
Time seemed to have zoomed past me as I sat in the desolate woods with Phobos in my arms. I was struggling to return to my senses, I was never shaken so much in my life until then… I was trying to feel grief, I was trying to embrace the torment of loss. But all seemed to be vain in front of the seething rage that was burning my soul. I was dying...dying to avenge Phobos. Nothing was left of me inside my centaurion vessel.
The imperial mages in my tribe had always told me about another kind of magic which was considered forbidden. My curiosity had led me to Phobos, who told me all about dark magic. And there I stood, her body lay at my feet as I stared at her face. I could not let her death to be futile, could I?
So I did the unthinkable. Simply put, I cut open her lifeless throat and siphoned out the lukewarm stagnant blood. The crimson fluid sent a burning sensation down my own gullet. I felt her warmth revitalising, sending a new wave of energy across my gait. I could not help but suck out more. My eyes welled with tears of remorse… I felt myself again, but I had changed. I had transformed into something which I had never imagined, even in my worst nightmares.
With the new gush of strength in my body, I unattached my blood stained lips from Phobos’ throat. My head tilted backwards as my eyes met the heavens. I let out a roar… I wanted Balios to know that I was coming, and there was no stopping me. The skies seemed to echo my voice in the form of thunder, as huge drops of rain started to wet the land on which I had met with so much misfortune. I galloped through the torrents of water that the firmament was showering down on me. My tears blended with them well as they continued blinding me with fury. It was already dark by the time I had reached our settlement again. And a new news awaited me….. And it was terrible.
The gates of our House were open, I could see by the torches that the pillars bore. The ground was stained red. My hooves skidded on the mud as I came to an abrupt halt. My eyes beheld yet another gruesome scene. And this was equally devastating.
My father, my mother, my seven little brothers and three little sisters. They welcomed me- with glassy eyes, pursed lips and face twisted in agony. Their necks rested on the hilt of our familial lances, in the stead of their bodies. I froze yet again. My heart, thumping loudly in my chest, was the only indicator of me being physically alive. I tried to gulp but choked, the air was stifling… once again, all emotions seemed to have distanced themselves from me.
Once again, I tried to feel… but all I felt was empty.
Thankfully, our noble chief Oculus Balios was present at the place. My ears picked up a roar of impish laughter that bellowed from the balcony of the upper floor. There was no mistake, it was him. He appeared from the shadows of the building which once housed my happiness and my life. His face was was perverted into a hideous smile in the light of the dying torchfire on that rainy night. His lips parted, he was about to say something. I wanted to hear him, I wanted to ask him why? But something had taken over my senses…. Wrath.
Using my new found power of dark magic, I had subconsciously propelled myself towards the balcony as soon as Balios’ head had popped into my view and with one fell sweep of Pistos, one half of my twin swords, I had decapitated the former, crashing into the walls of the building. Blood sprayed from his ruptured maw as I pounced on over it with my face digging in the headless nape. Blood never tasted so good before
It should have been over, I had killed Balios. But I seldom felt at rest.
My tormented soul was not satisfied with one, even though that one meant the most. I could hear the trotting hooves close in on me. The chief must have had his loyalists ready for action.
The more the merrier I thought. My soul was hungry for more blood. All these pathetic creatures did not have a right to exist anymore. I wanted death, I wanted to kill---
Something scream inside me. My new self was bewildered. I had dropped my twin swords. My arms felt weakened by this unknown entity.. And so were my feet. Etios Oculus might have died within me, but he had left a part of himself in my soul. Collapsing to the ground I realised, for the first time, I had failed as a centaur… I had failed as a son, I had failed as a sibling, I had failed as a guardian. Most importantly, I had failed myself.
I watched the doorway across the hall crash open as my fellow Centaurs rushed at me with their weapons bare. Never had I imagined my death in this way, but with the given circumstances, I rightfully deserved it. No matter how wronged I was.The variety of blades came down at me, but stopped just before they could strike me. That treacherous night, I was not allowed the privilege of reuniting with my beloved family. Everything felt ghastly silent except for the hollering raindrops and a single set of hooves striding down the hallway. I kept my head bowed, my own kind ending me had made it heavy with shame. Counting my last moments I sat there as the footsteps I heard came to halt right in front of me.
A familiar voice which I had thought I would never hear anymore, it was Oculus Anemoi. The confoundment made my head feel light enough to glance above. And there he was, in flesh and blood, the Euran Councillor and my mentor. For a split second when our eyes met, I could see the disappointment in his pair. I was told by him that my father had failed to kill him and had tearfully confessed everything to the wise old elder. Anemoi had decided to settle things for once with Balios, who was a bane to everyone by then, so faking his death was a part of the plan. Unfortunately,he had not thought that Balios would move so fast and my family had to pay the price of it with their lives. Anemoi wanted to give an exemplary punishment to Balios and return the peace and trust amongst the Centaurs just like his ancestor, but again, he had not predicted me to have acted so quickly. The old man was sorry as well as disappointed in me. I had no words in my defense. I had faltered, and I accepted it.
The very night, Oculus Anemoi was declared the Overlord of Oculus in a hasty ceremony where he declared my execution for my crimes which included unrightful assassination of the chief and use of dark magic. Unlike the customary executions where the offender was executed publicly, I was taken to secluded corner of the forest. Only two people were present other than yours truly. The headsman and the Overlord himself.
‘I cannot kill what is already dead. You are no longer the Etios I knew, he had died the night before. I want you to know who you are and what you have become, till then let yourself be known as the Fallen One amongst our race.’
Those were the few parting words from Lord Oculus Anemoi. I had become something that even my teacher could not comprehend. I was left alone in the cold morning, naked and ragged, in the company of my twin swords. I looked at myself for the first time since yesterday. The clear water of the pond beside me was reflecting my structure distinctly. Truly I had changed. I ran my fingers through my hair… they had become snow white, while my skin had turned deathly pale and conformed into a grotesque shape… all this time, throughout the harrowing night and through the dawn, I had been unknowingly-
ROAD TO REDEMPTION
I had traveled across the forest, stopping by at smaller settlements to replenish my resources. My pale skin would often scare the peaceful tribes while the warriors who challenged me to combat, never lived to see a tomorrow. I was christened as the Wandering Fantam of the woods by these local settlers. Over the years, I had journeyed far and wide, met people from all the different races, like that one weaponsmith fey who gifted me a bow or that friendly nordic smith who built me my ebony black armour which has been new companion in my journey to seek myself.
I come to hear of my tribe from time to time, Lord Anemoi has been doing well, I feel at ease a little bit, every time I hear about an Oculus or come across them, they do not identify me as I would introduce myself with my alias Diatheses. I have hope that one day, I could redeem myself and be welcomed back in my family as one of their own. Till then I shall be known as the Fallen One, the Wandering Fantam, the Pale Nomad, Oculus Etios.
Bounties and his immediate surroundings.
Equipment and Weaponry
- Black full body armor with a weathered black cape;
- Iron horseshoes
- PISTOS and EMPISTOS (Twin swords)
- Traditional bow.
- Melee Combat