In his past life, he was a Shifter of the rare Human/Markhor variety. (A Markhor is a species of goat/antelope found in the Himalayas, or in the world of Thar Shaddin, the mountains westward and across the lake from Odeijani. Its most distinctive feature is its long, corkscrew horns.) Now, his corpse has been refashioned into a drum, through the magic of the Greatweaver Anja.
Dimensions: Two feet across, eight inches deep, with an open bottom.
The frame of the drum is a sturdy cylinder, crafted from maple. It is decorated with sacred elements from Odeijani Markhor mythology, hanging from rawhide strings: An elephant’s tooth, a white-water stone, and a crane’s feather. Also hanging from the drum is a beater made of cedar, with a head of leather. It is about 10 inches long. The skin is Markhor, painted in the centre with raw walnut extract and other berries. The small painting depicts two golden Markhor horns, joined as corkscrews embracing, and shining in the light of a calm, hourglass eye. There is much room on it for more painting.
Powers or Strengths:
Zou’s spirit lives within the drum, as does the spirit of his father, and his father’s father, for sixteen generations before him. There is great wisdom to be had there, for one who knows how to listen.
In human life, Zou had a deep affinity with the cycle of the rains. His abilities to that effect resided dormant in his human mind, until his horns came out. His horns acted as channelling spires, allowing him an impressive degree of telekinetic control over the rain/precipitation processes of nature. This influence could reach for up to two miles if Zou was at his mental peak (though it dissipated steadily from his bodily core and out towards the edge of this radius). This allowed him to draw nearby rain clouds, aid in the precipitation of rain clouds from bodies of water, and, through great and prolonged effort, even shift bodies of water that fell within his sphere of influence. It should be noted that this power was not elemental: it was bound strictly to the guiding spirits of the rain cycle, and it did not extend to the water itself as a physical or magical entity.
Now, in his new life as a drum, this rain affinity can be re-awakened, and it is stronger than before. This is done through side-stepping. When played steadily and monotonously for an extended period of time, the drum can send the drummer, and those who choose to listen, into a trance. When within this trance, the listener can follow the paths of the world’s rain cycles, and affect them with relative ease. However, it should be noted that Zou’s help in this regard will not be unconditional. He has great respect for the rain cycles, and will not invoke his powers when he does not agree with the cause.
Zou is a very intelligent, philosophical drum. It is possible to speak to him, and he will reply, telepathically. He likes to theorize at length on matters astral and material, and finds few joys greater than an earnest intellectual discussion.
When Anja created him, she Soused him together with a live rat, to fulfil the “one living and one dead” requirement of web-forging, and she used the letters of introspection to bind them. This had a number of interesting effects. When side-stepping with a drum trance, one can go into oneself, and “scavenge” for knowledge, power, or understanding. One might discover surprising things about oneself, hidden fonts of strength, or even more well-hidden weaknesses. Perhaps even one’s very purpose in life could be revealed in such a trance. Also, trances can bring one into unity with a collective “rat spirit”. Rats can become allies, helpers in both the spiritual and the physical sense. However, the rat spirit will not support you on a path to self-destruction or personal gain. The rat spirit is one of community and of growth, and it demands your respect in this.
Side-stepping with the help of the drum can also be used for physical teleportation or disappearance. The great danger with this is that it becomes so very difficult to find your way back, once you’ve leapt headlong into the astral plane in this manner. Even experienced side-steppers find themselves on a somewhat more intense, spiritually focused path under Zou’s influence, and can easily forget the frame and scope of the physical world when its limitations are first stripped away so completely.
Zou is limited in his magical powers by the very strength of his spiritual bond to the rain cycle. He cannot simply drown large areas of land in torrents of forced rain, or deny a sea its intake of water for some petty reason that has nothing to do with the spirits of rain. His affinity carries with it great responsibility, the continued contempt of which would literally destroy Zou’s very soul. The same limitation applies to the rat spirit.
He’s a drum.
Zou was born into Pal Tahrenor deep in the mountains, the sixteenth in a long line of Zous. His father, according to an ancient custom long since forgotten outside of their mountain dwelling, committed ritual suicide upon the moment of his birth, impaling himself upon little Zou's horns as the child exited the birth canal. In this way would the father return himself to the birthing cycle and enter his own child. Thus was Zou carrying fifteen cycles of Zou within himself, within his soul.
Soon after birth, little Zou displayed his obvious love for three things: water, music, and philosophy. Unfortunately, in his mother's opinion, this was not enough. Even late into adulthood, his love for the opposite gender was sorely lacking. With no ability to breed, he was considered by his clan to be useless, and his mother, unloving and practical woman that she was, kept him only as long as she considered it necessary under the conventions of a family-oriented society.
He suffered a rather lonely childhood, and was the victim of many beatings, the most severe of which left him with nothing but bone for a nose. The carving away of flesh from the face is one of the most demeaning acts a Markhor shifter can commit upon a fellow clansman, and he suffered it alone, with no wish or will to retaliate. His natural ability to regenerate could not keep up with the repeated removal of flesh by his tormentors, and he was eventually left with nothing but stark, dry and lifeless bone for a nose.
At age sixteen, with a storehouse of knowledge in his mind, and on his back in the form of books, and a thirst for adventure, young Zou set out for the world beyond his birthplace. Years of wandering led him to many wondrous places, and served only to increase his thirst for knowledge.
Finally, he found a life in Marn as a mentor. At first, he had not planned to remain in the city, considering it sheltered and closed-minded in the most appalling way. Soon, however, a reason to leave became a reason to stay. He reckoned that here in Marn, more than anywhere else, young minds were in need of his services, and he began to develop a careful social network, teaching true world history, music, philosophy, and even magical theory to the children of willing and discreet parents. Careful to keep his magical craft a matter of secrecy, he imparted its existence only to a select few, and otherwise kept his social encounters to a minimum.
Following a tragic and unlikely death at the hands of two tomato stalks on his front porch, Zou was dead for a good while, until Anja managed to wile his corpse out of the Marn City Morgue, and use her web-forging skills to create him anew as a drum.
Characters who have been approved and are currently playing.
1 post • Page 1 of 1
Wisdom begins in wonder, whereas ignorance begins in a will to change things. Our will is a function regulated by reflection; hence it is dependent on the quality of that reflection. And mortal reflections will never match infinite wonder.