THE SHINIGAMI TEMPLATE
I. Basic Information» Name:
Kudlak Kuchiki» Alias:
N/A. » Age:
977 (Looks: Early 30's.)» Gender:
Gotei United - 2nd Division, Kidō Corps: Hadō specialist. Researches, develops & tests combat Kidō in the division.» Appearance Written:
Kudlak's appearance calls out to an exaggeration of the Kuchiki
image: that they are decorated, even revered Shinigami, but Kudlak has ornamented himself in a manner perhaps unbecoming of their noble flock.
He is of a fair height- just barely 6'0", with a broad but leaned build, fair-skinned and tender. Kudlak looks the part of a scholar; his eyes are darkened under their lids, with hands softened by countless brushes against delicate paper, and though he walks with an echo of majesty it is a tired, jaded sort. His deep sienna
colored eyes look out on the world with a quiet, patient disdain.
Kudlak's hair is long and very lush; it has a wavy consistency but a silken texture, giving its initially wild look a tasteful overtone using its luster and the scholar's careful use of cosmetics. His hair is always down, obscuring the right half of his face somewhat and proceeding ten inches past his collarbones, their untamed locks shackled only by Kudlak's traditional Kenseikan worn in a circlet-like band in his hair.
Kudlak's uniform is quite visibly modified. He has an obvious love of gold and crow's feathers, both of which augment- or defile-
his otherwise pristine Shinigami attire. His Gi is framed about the sleeves and lapel with overflowing black plumage, wholly obscuring his similar black-instead-of-white undergarments.
The sleeves of his hakama descend into ruby-set golden vambraces, which match a matching set of gold rings set about his ankles, three for each foot. Kudlak's footsteps cause them to jingle with a sound similar to that of a Khakkhara
monk's staff, which is ill-complimented by a golden corona headpiece framed behind his head.
Kudlak is a senior Shinigami if not a veteran, but it should be noted his decorations are not of any official nature, and are mere jewelry: one of these otherwise gaudy objects fulfills a purpose however. A broken quarter-mask partly obscures the right half of Kudlak's face. Underneath its cover is a gnarled burn scar of twisted, pinkish-colored skin, burned unmistakably by the flames of Hadō.
Beads, gold and raven-plume feathers adorn the rest of Kudlak's otherwise frail and pasty body much in suit, giving him an onerous look of bitter decadence. » Appearance Image: See title.
I. Personality» Personality:
Kudlak is socially known in Seireitei as a reclusive and brusque mage amongst Soul Society's 2nd division. His presence is always very scarce, he keeps all communications strictly factual without opinion and is an unapologetic minimalist in all social dealings. There is some rumored mystery about Kudlak and his reasons for relative secrecy: his lust for privacy is excessive, and tawdry talk of him even doing something illegal in all his alone time is not uncommon, at least in places where he's known.
When present- usually for mandatory squad activities or Kidō projects- Kudlak has an extremely calm presence, despite his ostentatious attire and glum expression. In a practical atmosphere, he's among the first to volunteer for squad duties, never hesitating to explore a research opportunity. As far as all appearances goes, Kudlak just seems to be a very private man devoted to his work.
His home is a rather small room in his grandfather's otherwise empty mansion. He doesn't have a spouse, keeps only two servants, and has no apparent vices or dubious habits to keep hidden in his quiet, cobweb-filled home. Despite having a minor noble's wealth, everything but Kudlak's wardrobe is old, decaying and surprisingly humble.
Any curious eyes that look into the half-masked mage are either bored by his disappointing normalcy, or infuriated by the lack of exciting substance to the man; he's utterly boring!
Even his most riveting Kidō research is formulaic and wordy, with nothing exciting or outstanding written in his notes...
... Because, like many things, Kudlak's notes are a front.
Kudlak is a rare kind of man in Soul Society: not just for his wealth or for being an adopted
Kuchiki, but because he has the peculiar oddity of retaining past experiences from his human lifetime.
Kudlak was a Demi-Hollow before being cleansed and sent to Soul Society almost a thousand years ago. However, his shackles to his grave- which was but a rotted, wooden stake covered in his own blood
- were of a truly exceptional strength; he had bitter, vastly begrudging ties to the world of the living. His regrets and almost immortal hate complicated the passage of his soul.
The Konsō ritual impressed upon Kudlak did indeed cleanse his soul, propelling him into Soul Society; however, something was always wrong,
with much of Kudlak's early life as a spirit overshadowed by strange feelings of Deja Vu and misplacement. Slowly, bit by bit, Kudlak had attained something he only understood by the time he had lived decades in Soul Society as a plus-
-that he could remember
his human lifetime.
Blurred visions haunted his dreams, and flashed whenever he shut his eyes in the familiar warmth of a passing breeze.
When Kudlak began to recall his human lifetime, he also developed spiritual pressure and a need of nourishment, which saw him into the Shinigami Academy during the 16th century and into the rest of his history. But the events after that greatly changed who Kudlak was...
It doesn't matter so much who he was in life, because his personality is not the same. In truth Kudlak's memories are very fractal and damaged. Like an amnesiac, he only recalls a vague outline of these memories, and shows odd behaviors... such as an unexplained familiarity with Arabic, tastes commonplace in old Turkish culture, and various broken recollections that have influenced his personality greatly.
Kudlak fears that these recollections are strictly illegal, as no Plus to enter Soul Society is allowed to retain their memory, nor has Kudlak really benefited from retaining his memories; he believes that he died violently
and feels a deep regret he cannot explain. In a sense, he has retained some of the feelings he had as a Demi-Hollow, but there are no longer shackles to embody them.
A deep paranoia pervades Kudlak's life; his memories make him fear his fellow Shinigami, for if they observed any partiality or conspicuous behavior in him, the most talented Gotei agents could very well discover his condition- which could, at the very least, result in the true loss of his memories: something Kudlak wishes to avoid at all costs.
He still senses his fear, regret and hate for something he cannot identify... this powerful feeling of having left something undone both haunts and drives Kudlak.
In fond times spent alone under the glint of candlelight, Kudlak recalls the soft touch of a woman; the praise of a respected, aged elder; the howl of men he loved as brothers and fellows. He recalls a faceless, shadow-bathed enemy embraced by the bent and treacherous twists of wicked branches in the dark forests of a nameless but familiar woodland, the verdant greens of which are quickly swathed in fresh blood...
Visions of both harmony and horror trouble Kudlak. He wishes to fulfill what he failed in life, even though he cannot recall what it was; his soul purification ritual renders him unable to truly remember,
beyond extraordinary circumstance. And he knows this.
But still, he feels as if there are real people and loved ones pleading for him to succeed, even though they have likely gone on or cycled repeatedly through reincarnation many more times than he...
Kudlak in truth is a bitter man who resents
Soul Society at his heart, because it is a threat to his true goals... but in principle, Soul Society is logically at harmony
with his alignment: he is a lawful conservative,
with tendencies that favor tradition, discipline and work ethic.
While he speaks almost no opinions, Kudlak is a vocal and known conservative, who warns of too much tolerance of other races such as the Quincy and Vizards; he is a moderate authoritarian traditionalist, who has said many times that he favors the old laws- that the first incarnation of Soul Society was its purest.
... It's an ironic lie, however, for Kudlak harbors a deep misgiving and grievance with this very institution that he appears to dutifully serve.
Kudlak abhors the Soul King for having caused him to lose his memories of life, despite that he still has a chance at satisfying his unfulfilled mortal wishes; he will never be able to do this openly, and hates this fact. It's an impediment to memories of his perceived family, country and true loved ones. The culture of "adoption", amnesia and indoctrination in Soul Society disgusts Kudlak to his core...
But at his heart, Kudlak is a man of active patience. He is a man of moderate intelligence and unique abilities; he believes that in his magic, his Zanpakuto and his influence within the Gotei, he can strive to attain a station of power he wishes to use ultimately to abandon
and even betray
the Soul Society in order to regain his complete mortal memory and go rogue to satisfy his unfinished human regrets in vengeance.
I. History» History
The beginning- an evening of cool, crisp morning air on the coasts of Turkey, overlooking the swell of the Mediterranean sea and swathes of Ottoman ships. This was Azir's
beginning: the son of an Ottoman sailor, steeped in the rich sciences of algebra, architecture and even alchemy.
It's the 15th century; the year is 1450, and Azir had just begun to work on his father's ship. The ambitions of his country were vast. Mehmed the conqueror- a warrior king who would be remembered for a thousand years after his deeds as a hero of all lands touched by the Ottoman- was setting in motion a campaign to conquer Constantinople, an ancient bastion of Orthodox Christianity, which would be renamed to Istanbul in the successive ages.
The years pass swiftly. Life in Turkey was prosperous in Azir's time; crops were plentiful, the science and growing industry of Ottoman architects and engineers was being employed abroad, and men were building many new things using mathematics. Mosques, ships and siege-weaponry were some of the most impressive things in Azir's young mind.
More years pass; as a young man, Azir discovers he was not a truly legitimate son of the empire, but a son of his father's conquests into faithless lands. Pirating Slavic vessels, Azir's mother had been a simple captive, who perished shortly after his birth in the shadows of slovenly brothels.
Azir was troubled by the dark side of the otherwise faithful, virtuous and powerful face of his country: the Ottomans were a creative, powerful and thriving force he had been proud to be a part of. In the chaos of his disturbed identity- Azir was able to renew himself in the faith, closely following the words of the Quran before taking up sword and sail as his father's successor.
As a young man... Azir had matured from a carefree youth, to a troubled adolescent, and finally a hardened warrior of the Quran bringing Ottoman sails to faithless lands. Azir defended Mehmed's trade routes and crushed pirates in hails of cannon-fire and shrieks of steel beside his fellow Ottomans for some two years, before his life headed into abrupt misfortune: the decline of the Ottoman was beginning soon...
Azir's ship docked at Targoviste in 1462; the air was hot with the perpetual rebellion of Transylvania, a land that should've collapsed beneath the dingy fingers of its unpatriotic lords, the Boyars- but somehow remained under the defiant crown of its famous dictator... Vlad Tepes II, the "Son of the Dragon".
While the Ottoman army mobilized in the interest of Mehmed's conquests, Azir's role in the military was different and vastly complicated by things as simple as wind or rain: as an ennobled corsair, Azir's own judgement was used to hunt pirates, guide lost merchant boats and patrol the empire's precious trade routes. But- ...
In the thick of night, with most of the Ottoman empire far away on the fringes of the countryside, the unthinkable came; the armies of Vlad, a ruthless force of vicious infamy- known for nailing turbans to the heads of men, for burning the sick and old, and killing the Ottmans in heinous atrocities-!
Caught by surprise, Azir rallied with his crew and the militiamen of Targoviste, making a final stand in the city's mosque: a humble dome of clay that would stand in rubble as the gravestone of a vast tragedy.
Azir was overwhelmed with all the people of Targoviste; he was defeated, beaten, tortured, then impaled on the peak of a stake to slowly bleed out under the crisp orange sun. This was the last dawn that Azir would ever see: a once beautiful, hope-inspiring sight, which contained his darkest hours as a grisly taunt to his broken spirit.
Azir's torments didn't end in death; he knew he would succumb to his fate slowly, sinking and bleeding down the massive stake driven through his abdomen. He watched in horror as even women and children were impaled, too, skewered with their infants in their own arms to glorify the devil Vlad and his savage minions-! Azir had only ever thought them to be barbarians, but...
They were so infinitely worse.
As delirium and hazy distortions set in on his mind and within his eyes, Azir's mangled body scrambled atop the peak of its stake: a mocking, nameless idol of torment on which his corpse would hang for weeks. He fought to resist- to somehow free himself, and fight- for he couldn't suffer the cries, death throes and pained howls of his dying countrymen. No one had been spared...
Not the sick, not the old, not even burdened mothers and their children...
They even slew Azir's fiance, affixed to a stake just a few feet taller than his, facing him but out of his reach as a final jeer to truly disparage his desperate mind during his most bleak, horrific and torn hours of dying woe. But he kept reaching out-! Cold, feelingless fingers flexing and digging into the air, pawing at the bloodied wood beneath his body, gripping at his sides for his broken sword...
It was a mercy that the darkness to claim Azir Eqbal's senses snuffed out his every fear, tension and grief-struck nerve into the silence of nihility: after a long struggle, he died abruptly of exhaustion and trauma. But Death is not the end...
Under the scorching mid-day sun, Azir once again awoke to the sight of Targoviste. The once replete darkness of senseless unconscious broke and tore through into a new state of being: one that was surreal, weightless and eerily clean, all with a quality of vapid restlessness to every hollow breath that Azir took.
It was in this state- walking about in rags of his once-noble, pristine uniform, draped in the green of Ottoman standards- that Azir constantly revisited his grave. He visited the graves of his neighbors, compatriots and the rotten husk that resembled his dear lover, whom he'd prepared to settle with in the now-ruined village that Vlad had torn apart like wildfire through forests.
Azir's mind began to crumble, as a Plus...
Heavy chains weighed down his body, anchoring his torn heart to his mangled and desiccated remains.
After the ravens and harsh sunlight had their way with the bodies, Azir had only warped mummies and rotted black bloodstains to look upon; the people he had spent his life
with no longer resembled themselves, and there weren't even gravestones or so much as carvings in the stakes to identify their names.
Azir realized with a heavy woe that they would all be forgotten, and his spirit was being held here to witness the atrocity of Targoviste, staring endlessly across the rubble, ashes and bloodied stakes filling his vision by the thousands.
After counting everyone... Azir was wholly, dreadfully sure that some 24,000 people had died
and been impaled, none of which could be given proper burials or even a parting memory. They were nothing, scattered like sand in the winds- and their murderers were so fierce and swift, Azir had slowly began to doubt that even Mehmed the Conqueror could defeat the Devil of Targoviste.
He had died.
Sometimes, he met someone else, but they never lingered long; many of the spirits who littered the stake-covered grounds soon departed, guided by their faith into the true hereafter. But Azir stayed longer than all of them: after all, it was his
fault that they died! Azir cursed himself, and his luck, and almost even his god...
But he tried to hold out hope.
In his best moments, it was all a dream.
In his worst moment, a guide in black told him it was real.
Azir, in the winter of 1462, after months of watching over the stake-littered grounds already passed over by Mehmed... was approached by a Shinigami; a supposed "servant" of god, in foreign attire, come to guide the souls of the murdered into their next life. But Azir rejected the man, and held up his chains, claiming that he could not leave while God still had chains on him! This was his repentance, his damnation...
And he convinced himself that he deserved
A brilliant commander could've won somehow, surely...
A better man might've fortified the village, or evaded Vlad...
Azir- he hadn't even seen him coming... his militant skills were limited to naval warfare, to sailing swiftly and countering piracy, not engaging the guerrilla infantry of Vlad the Impaler and his deadly night assault.
He blamed himself: he was the only commander in Targoviste, and he had failed so miserably. Perhaps he had even disgusted God with his failure. That, he said to the Shinigami, was why he had to stay there and suffer-
-but the Shinigami had no patience for the mad spirit's constant lamentation and terrible grief, and immediately pressed his Zanpakuto's tsuba to Azir's forehead: he was ejected into the next life, going through a searing fraction of a second in which all his memories were bathed in purging fire, in searing agony, in relived grief before everything...
... was suddenly- hazy...
And a new life had begun: placed now in Rukongai, where a daft and stumbling man of Azir's likeness stumbled abound without even a single memory of himself.
This was by far the most droll and miserable time of Azir's life; he had to either come up with a name, or be issued one by the authorities of Soul Society. He took on the name 'Kudlak'- a word that came from the hazy gibberish of his troubled, yet oblivious mind.
And therein, all that seemed to await him was a simple daily life...
He worked, scrubbing Sake-drums; he cooked, feeding Shinigami and Rukongai residents. He really just worked whatever job he could-
-but he struggled to find a passion for anything,
and some ten years into his time in Soul Society, he began to feel a deep unrest. He couldn't sleep. He didn't need to eat, and appeared to lack spiritual potential, but beneath his unremarkable surface was a serious problem: the seal on Kudlak's memory was quickly breaking-down.
He had nightmares of Targoviste. The experience was far worse then, when he had no names for faces and no sense of why any of the massacre was happening. Literal demons impaled him on spikes, over and over, every night he slept...
But as time passed, the nightmares dissipated into other things; sometimes, he was sailing a ship. Other times, his fingers were sinking through the black tresses of his heart's true love. He began to remember smiling at a strange flag in a different place, a different climate, a different... culture.
And though he looked for a long, long time- Kudlak never found any of it in Soul Society. It didn't resemble his "memories" at all- which he understood only to be dreams, until his condition progressed...
Kudlak, in the midst of filleting fish inside the back of a plain Rukongai restaurant, came to a sudden and chilling realization: he started to remember time.
Faces and names never quite intersected in his broken memory, but... all his progression amounted to a powerful realization: that each broken shard had a piece in a sequence, and that it could only have been his prior lifetime.
He was sure such a thing was intensely forbidden...
He'd lived in Rukongai for thirty years; nobody knew their mortal lives.
It was all about the Court of Pure Souls, the politicians of the central forum, and countless other institutions acting as fingers, hairs and nails for the Soul King's many decrees: a monarch he had never seen, that he didn't respect, and honestly could conjure no opinion or bias toward.
They were a faceless, powerful figure placed so high-up in the tall white towers overlooking Soul Society that they would surely be forever irrelevant to Kudlak...
And that's when he had the idea that set his whole life in motion: that as long as he did not reveal he had remembered, his memories were safe, and he could continue to piece together the fragments until he could remember something meaningful about just why he felt so restless. He couldn't find peace in Rukongai. A simple, safe daily life-
-somehow, he felt he did not deserve it.
But not long after, Kudlak discovered the sensation of hunger: something that had been alien to him for a time longer than the mortal life he struggled to envision. He wasn't sure if it was his resolve to remember, or his defiance of the amnesiac norm, but something about his changed heart quickly reflected in a swelling of his spiritual pressure.
Clay cups would shatter near Kudlak. His uncontrolled spiritual pressure disturbed birds, caused headaches in other simple citizens, and was quickly noticed by passing Shinigami... although, they didn't properly process him for two years, in which Kudlak ended up spending most of his wages on food instead of rent, living on the streets as a vagabond.
One day, though- a formal letter was brought to Kudlak's hand, by a senior academy student: the very school he was about to join. Kudlak was suddenly off the streets and in a dorm, for the potential worth of his "uncontrolled powers". He didn't understand spiritual pressure at all- nor did he feel special- but he was so overwhelmed with suddenly having both food AND shelter, he felt a deep obligation to study intently.
Within the academy, Kudlak greatly excelled; he ruthlessly competed with his peers and strove with unusual determination to achieve a hazy concept of excellence. The sense of feeling such an expectation upon himself... it stirred something familiar, mortal
and compelling within him-!
Kudlak was soon practicing with a standard-issue Zanpakuto of his own instead of a wooden sword; however, it was also at this time that Kudlak began to show a distinct bias for Kidou. His knowledge and proficiency standard off excellent in basic courses- but as he proceeded to the highest challenges of the academy, Kudlak struggled in both Hakuda and Zanjutsu, making a poor sparring partner.
But his knowledge and use of magic remained promising; late into the academy, he competed with his other fellow students, encountering a noble among his fellow students- one Komaru Kuchiki. They were to be his opponent in a tournament of free-form combat, in which the students were meant to apply their every skill learned through their Shinigami training in order to seize victory.
Yet- he had to fight a noble! The Kuchiki reputation was fierce, and Kudlak felt like an outsider in his own skin, but no less was he expected to fight and likely lose to this young rival. It meant he would almost assuredly flunk and have to spend another year in training before he could wear the black standard of the Shinigami ranks. But...
When he was actually fighting, Zanpakuto in hand, and the words of incantation fluttering off his lips- everything changed. Every doubt evaporated into a flush of blue flames. He didn't need to be a skilled swordsman: he only needed his blade to block the slashes of his opponent, before finishing them off quickly in a final explosion of roaring red flame.
At the end of the duel- Kudlak was astonished to realized he had not simply won, but utterly overwhelmed Komaru: a combatant who was supposedly powerful in every capacity expected of a trainee Shinigami, but had fallen to Kudlak's one distinguished talent... Hadō, specifically the Sokatsui and Shakkaho used in skillful succession.
The display was an uproarious upset; initially, Kudlak was both praised and slandered, with claims that he had cheated before the match. But when these claims were investigated... Kudlak was proven innocent, and stood in a much quieter air of ennobled prestige. After his ensuing graduation- he was approached, by none other than the grandfather of Komaru Kuchiki.
He had disowned Komaru as his successor.
This man, one Yoroito Kuchiki, had cast his heir aside the moment they had failed him.
Kudlak was humbled in the mansion of Yoroito; it was a decadent, but tasteful and quiet place, littered with lush green plants without flowers. The halls were full of bamboo gardens and polished white stones; Yoroito saw great majesty in the refinement of ordinary things to extraordinary quality.
And for that reason, he offered to adopt Kudlak as his new successor.
Not out of genuine interest, however-
-not even out of pride, desire, or the need of a successor.
Yoroito simply believed Kudlak had won what Komaru had lost, and that to cling to his lesser heir after their defeat would've been pathetic, even if they had shared blood. He was far more interested in the Kuchiki that the duel's winner could've been; the kind of man Kudlak would become, in following centuries.
Acceptance would've meant losing some freedoms and taking on many burdens, but in becoming Yoroito's heir, Kudlak gained many opportunities and connections. Like some souls adopted into families across Soul Society, he too came to resemble his Kuchiki kinsmen, eventually awarded his own Kenseikan. Kudlak's newfound nobility quickly saw him into his desired squad: the Kidou corps of the old Gotei 13's division of sorcery, working to master the art of Shinigami magic.
Almost in record time, Kudlak had even attained Shikai and a formidable knowledge of Kido; he immediately had a place in any battle. Moreso, he had a place in most Kido research, even if as a mere grunt; if he was the bottom rung, it was always on a lofty ladder of ambitious and prestigious scholars like himself. He had much of what he wanted. Life, for a time, was very tame and pleasant; yet as he awakened to his Zanpakuto, Kudlak awoke just as many troubles as he did powers, realizing the bleakness of his role in Seireitei and the dire anger growing in his own heart for all of Soul Society.
Kudlak came to discover a troubling past behind his adopted grandfather, who seemed just as enigmatic as he was pragmatic; he was a barren, bitter man who had lost an arm to a Vizard in the earlier ages of Soul Society, when Shinigami who wore Hollow masks first began to appear. He wasn't so much hateful of them as he was traumatized by the experience- but it remained that it forever limited his fighting ability and excluded him from opportunities in his youth.
Under Yoroito, Kudlak enjoyed greatly improved access to any resources he desired. To these ends he exploited his abilities -- but the stronger he became, the more urgency he felt: he felt like a monkey reaching out to try and grasp at the moon during a deep night, unable to fathom the cosmological distance between it and the luminous sphere it so coveted. He did not believe he could ever return to his former life, yet he could never think of releasing it...
Kudlak's ambitions drove him to overuse Choronzon's powers; he became slightly disfigured by fractal scars caused by it, and came to realize the danger of using his Zanpakuto to excess. He often fought Hollows on any expedition, mission or skirmish he could get into; he was a Hadō researcher, and so it could hardly be argued that he shouldn't be testing his magic in live combat. This freedom allowed him to slowly become skilled in Choronzon's use. Its power wasn't overwhelming magic itself, but rather the use of magic an enemy could never understand, expect or predict- his style of casting in combat changed immensely to match Choronzon's abilities.
Kudlak begun with simple desires; as a Hadō researcher, he didn't doubt he could eventually amass enough power to destroy the Court of Pure Souls and even perhaps the Soul King himself, if he could just muster the power to work such a cataclysm. However, his research taut him much, such that this goal was ostensibly impossible...
Unwilling to give up his goals- Kudlak instread pushed frontiers in more fringe research, such as modifying old spells or inventing utility-based spells deriving from Hadō. His goal was first to create traps, insidious curses and other less honorable but powerful means of displacing power in Soul Society. This research was productive, but failed Kudlak's hopes. He came to realize he could not change his world one person at a time and that even if he could, it was too long a battle for him to realize the goals he'd fought for by the end of it.
Many, many projects pushed by Kudlak met similar fates as those before... he learned, but what he discovered only opened up more questions, as true science often does. Something that was at first a very emotional and passionate outlet for him was becoming his suffering. He became reclusive, spent time by himself, and withdrew from the world increasingly as his research became stifled.
Kudlak did not discover the research he desired.
Everything was either too difficult or impossible by principle.
... And it drove him mad; he sunk into vices and dishonorable conduct, drinking and making a rowdy ruckus with mere infantrymen in bar-fights he seldom won. Even so, Kudlak was accepted at home: Yoroito, though bitter and even selfish for his name in the clan, only saw how hard Kudlak worked on his research and that he was commanding more and more magic to his disposal. He was a well of encouragement for the raven-haired mage.
But then, there soon came a day when Kudlak could no longer depend on Yoroito. Aged, crippled and sick- he died at a ripe age and left Kudlak almost everything, save some things to settle old debts and continue kindling ties with the main clan. Kudlak had a wonderful, clean mansion all to himself, complete with servants... most of which he fired immediately.
Kudlak spared no time for anything but research; as he lacked friends and had now lost a surrogate father, there was nothing to do but make good on his promises and be a respected Kuchiki soul-reaper. To these ends Kudlak did not pour decades into his old research; he poured the centuries
into them. sometimes fixing old research and other times breaking entirely new frontiers into what he saw as impossible.
The world of men ended, changed and then resurrected anew; Soul Society changed in vast reform and upheaval; Vizards once more walked Seireitei streets; everything
changed but Kudlak, who lived in the past and hid in his research the entire time...
The ages were of no concern to him. He had watched great Captains rise and fall. Rather than see their honor, he abhorred the 'waste' of their lives; they fought, suffered and worked for indefinite scores of years, only to die or retire. The simple, working life was a wasted life to Kudlak- even of the glorious kind.
With dust and cobwebs abundant in his mansion, wearing age-old clothing from expired fashions older than himself and for the sake of a life he cannot even wholly recall, Kudlak gave up most all other things to focus on his research; the only trouble was, he needed wars to pressure the elite of Soul Society into funding his research, but in recent decades that has not been so difficult...
Kudlak has set out from his dry, dusty-old tomb of a home to go beyond the limits of research and development. He sets forward with the black grimoire of Choronzon to accuse, judge and change the world through its powers of measure and mete, with newly swollen ambitions and a dogged conviction to utterly destroy all systems which make amnesiacs and slaves out of dead souls like the one he one was.
I. Equipment» Equipment:
Kudlak wears a large amount of cheap, gold-plated tin. He wears an abundance of crow-feathers grafted onto his uniform as well; none of his additional equipment seems to serve a practical purpose, however, besides aiding his farce of making himself appear gaudy and opulent.
I. Racial Techniques/Abilities/Skills» Racial Abilities:
Kudlak commands only the basics of most Shinigami powers; Shunpo, Kyomon and the utilization of Hell Butterflies are all things he is capable of. He is notably poor at performing the Konso ritual to pass deceased souls; his specialty is Kido, completely and utterly, and so his other skills have only been cultivated to a level necessary for which to graduate from the academy.
I. Sealed Powers » Zanpakutô Name:
Choronzon » Zanpakutô Spirit:
A baffling, eldritch entity, Choronzon is less so a 'what' and moreso a 'why'. Grafted into the mindscape of Kudlak's inner world is a puzzling mountain of strange sights: twists and weaves of plain, industrial metal into constructs men could not create by mortal keen, adorned by blood-soaked tapestries of sanguine silk that bleed down mountainsides of trash, junk and scrap, the sprawling mass of which is supported by many fresh and gore-wetted yet oddly fleshless carcasses, blended in with the perpetual gravesoil of Kudlak's disturbing inner realm.
Choronzon, as an entity, is technically the summit of this macabre mountain: it is the voice of distorted innovation at the very peak of the gory, esoteric scrap-yard, where a radiant corona resembling some kind of chrome-lit halo rests where the tip of the mountain meets the bleak, drained and empty skies.
Kudlak is always addressed in disdain by Choronzon. This is not a personal dislike, but a symbolic one: Kudlak is referred to by his own Zanpakuto as an 'offender', considered to be ignorant, guilty and mired in iniquity. Choronzon does not speak much in words- but in his churning landscape of corrosion, bones and shuddering bloody silk, he seems to mock the flesh and all material desires, yet only to make better beholden the uncertain truth which lights the mountain's peak.
Choronzon, as an entity, embodies a secret which Kudlak does not quite understand yet: it is the instrument made by Kudlak's own soul to destroy everything that he is as a Shinigami, as so to attain his heart's purpose. Kudlak resents the damage to his human memory and wishes, vengefully, to resume his mortal desires- even though this is an action that would surely damn, defame and destroy him for what will likely be eternity.
Kudlak's only hope against such peril is the bitter justice of Choronzon's metallic, scraping voice: that if he can find true righteousness in his course, he might attain a pure form of his desires, even though he will be the enemy of his own kind. It is to this end that Choronzon becomes the 'Accuser' in Kudlak's hands, a weapon of dark justice that secretly betrays Shinigami power to the core and harbors untapped abilities meant to embattle Soul Society.
It is to these ends that Choronzon questions and challenges Kudlak, so that he will have the strength to muster such conviction- even if he can only attain a Pyrrhic victory, to stand on the side of his own justice no matter how bleak or bitter reality will become as a result of his growing defiance and concealed desires of sedition.» Inner World:
Kudlak's inner world is a bizarre, depressing desert contained on a miniature planet; it would be possible to walk across its entire equator in just a couple of hours, conveying it is a tiny sphere, yet it still possesses a heavy gravity which makes all travels across it burdensome, painful and tiring.
The skies of this world are truly hollow, in a bleak and sorrowful depiction of dead ochre-hues as if heaven had failed to become dusk, and found itself forever trapped in broken twilight. This crepuscular world provides ample but dim, hopeless light, in which one can distantly see a deep red sun in the far-off distance akin to a red giant... only this one is small, and assuredly dying throughout the course of the aeons.
Only tiny, shriveled little rivers no wider than a human's fingers course this planet, which is littered with useless mounds of toppled-over scrap that appear to have once been towering, lofty sky-scraper buildings. There's similar scrap all over the small planet- all rusty, decayed and bent by forgotten cataclysm. Petrified mounds of fungus and heaps of bones lie hidden amidst the sands, half-concealed and stretching far below miles into the ineffably dense planet Kudlak's inner world is seated upon.
The only purposeful, rich or remotely distinguished place in Kudlak's inner world is Choronzon itself- a terrifying and eldritch entity embodying a great mound of human failures, amended only by their bones and blood so that it can support a questionable halo of light at its peak, from which its eerie voice weakly calls to beckon Kudlak- whether he is in meditation or slumber when he hears it. » Zanpakutô Appearance:
At a glance, Kudlak's Zanpakuto does not appear to be a weapon at all. Choronzon hangs down from his sash, directly in the middle of his front. It lacks a proper sheathe and sits in a plain scabbard of polished black leather, adorned in gold embroidery depicting vines, leaves and thickets.
If drawn- Choronzon reveals it is a 12-inch ruler,
comprised of faded ebony with crude, misshapen notches down its length. The only metal component of the doubtful weapon is a single strip of sharpened steel at its edge: it may only cut at this sharp end, but certainly not by much.
Choronzon's appearance, while diminutive and not formidable, is pristine. Its aged, grey-black wood is polished, and its measurements are written in silver numerals that belong to no known practice but seem, rather, to be foreign or even alien script. Its maintained appearance conveys it does not suffer neglect or disrepair despite its odd appearance...
It may be that Choronzon doesn't wish to be a sword at all, defying its purpose as a Zanpakuto. » Sealed Zanpakutô Power:
Choronzon, as a ruler, has an ability to measure spiritual pressure. When raised near a source of spiritual power- its numerals will shine with a dull white light, although because its 'numbers' are placed randomly down its length with no sense of what they mean, it's unlikely anyone but Kudlak would be able to understand Choronzon's measurements. Kudlak, however, can accurately read them to measure another's power: this will work even if they are concealing their spirtual pressure, as the spirit of Choronzon excels at uncovering hidden knowledge. The ruler's scale and digits alter not only according to the target, either, but to all that surrounds them - enabling the best in comparisons.
I. Shikai» Shikai Release Phrase: "Accuse, Choronzon."» Shikai Appearance:
Choronzon, through-and-through, is not a sword in a literal sense: its shape as a ruler when sealed is a very direct statement, and when it becomes a book
in release, its already abstract meaning takes on a new dimension of complexity...
Sealed and slumbering, Choronzon will gauge the world on a measure of comparison, regarding any single subject it is leveled towards in the utmost scrutiny justified by its surroundings. But to suit its true purpose, Choronzon's abilities of measurement and scope transcend the limitations of the simple ruler, becoming a grimoire...
But, Choronzon is not a book of idle knowledge or happy misgivings. It takes on a macabre shape: Choronzon chooses to bind its cover and its enlightenment within under a guise of rotten, stretched skin, strained black with decay. Quivering eyelids slide back-and-forth on many nodules across the cover to reveal the gaze of many glowing, orange-red eyes, all with slitted pupils rendered hazy by a glowering malevolence. Any hand to grip its covers will soon be covered in ants, centipedes and otherworldly leeches; blood drips from Choronzon's gore-stained pages whenever its contents are put to use...
Choronzon seems almost to demonize knowledge itself- dispensing it as much as poisoning it, and enlightening its reader only so much as it damns them.» Shikai Abilities:
Choronzon is a Curse-type
Zanpakuto, which exclusively afflicts its user. It is difficult for a Shinigami to wield it correctly, with bizarre powers that tread a line between madness and genius... and even if its dangers are known to those who face it, Choronzon's true nature is a fatal enigma one cannot realize without dying. When used, the forbidden tome affords Kudlak a variety of strange powers:
- > PERDITION: Choronzon's primary power is simply the corruption of a Shinigami's soul. All its powers derive off something given up in this spiritual decay; a Shinigami's Hakusui, under its effects, mutates to no longer be a clean vent for expelling reiatsu. Its user's Hakusui spreads as fractal 'cracks' across the body, increasing their expulsion of Reiatsu but draining their health. The damage to the Hakusui is only a temporary inconvenience- but the true bite of Choronzon is the poison it spills into the core of a Shinigami, the Saketsu, causing the initial site of their Soul Chain to turn sickly, diseased and eventually necrotic. Were Kudlak to master Choronzon's powers... these same abilities would become an increasing threat to his life. All uses of Choronzon derive from this self-destruction.
+ Increased ability to exert spiritual pressure; augmented Shinigami powers.
- Slow drain of user's life-force during release.
- Unknown long-term consequences that imply the destruction of Choronzon's owner, if they ever master its power.
- > OCCULTISM: While released,
Choronzon mutates the deepest essence of Kido, converting ALL Shinigami magic used to the DARKNESS element. If the Kido already has an element, such as Fire or Lightning, the original element will always turn into a secondary element; Darkness is always the primary element. This is visually apparent- all spells cast will visibly exhume shadowy miasma and violent black flames, taking on shapes of horror torn from the underworld. However, the power or use or these spells is not improved by this change and all spells work at the same level of power, performing the same effects. The only disadvantage is that elemental effects- such as fire burning, or lightning electrocuting enemies- are weakened by over half their original power whereas no new effects are gained to compensate this loss.
= Converts all Kido to the DARKNESS element.
= Any element a spell had becomes its secondary element.
= Spell power, use and cost is totally unchanged.
- Strips Lightning and Holy effects from any spells which have them, making them solely DARKNESS.
- Any side-effects of previously elemental spells, such as fire-related or electrocution effects, are weakened to half their prior effectiveness.
- > JOY OF PAIN: Any time Kudlak is injured while Choronzon is released, it will respond by engorging with a pitch-black reiatsu that surges with eerie glee. This power augments the ease of spell-casting, allowing Kudlak to completely skip any
spell's incantation ONCE per injury.
+ Each time Kudlak is injured- from any source of harm- he is able to skip one spell's incantation without the Kido losing any power. This may only be done once per each injury he has accrued in a single thread.
- > MORTAL ELEGY: Choronzon's powers grow greatly as Kudlak nears his own death. Roughly, the percent of health he has lost is equal to the percentage by which his Kido spells are empowered. In addition, if Kudlak is casting Kido in a state of injury so severe that he will die if struck by another attack, all of his Kido-related skills are treated as if they have been raised by ONE skill level higher than normal (i.e; Advanced -> Master), but only while he is near death. Any self-healing will strip Kudlak's mortality buff.
+ Greatly empowers Kido if Kudlak is casting it while hurt.
+ If Kudlak is so wounded that he is likely to die if hurt again, all of his Kido spells are treated as if they are one level higher than they actually are.
- The benefits of this ability are lost for at least one post if Kudlak's injuries are healed, regardless of what heals him.
- If Kudlak has healed in a fight, but is injured again afterward, MORTAL ELEGY will re-activate on his next post.
- > CHORUS OF NIHILITY: While Choronzon is released, any incantation spoken by Kudlak is rendered incomprehensible. Even the motion of his lips is blurred; Choronzon obscures Kudlak's incantations in enigma, and deprives his enemy of knowledge. The names of what spells Kudlak casts are also obscured, rendering it almost impossible for anyone to determine what spell he is actually casting... even if it is a forbidden Kido. Those who listen closely to Kudlak's incantations will hear disturbing echoes of eerie gibberish which send chills down the spine.
+ Kudlak's incantations are rendered incomprehensible; enemies will not be able to understand what he says or even the length of the incantation. Lip-reading will also fail: the motion of Kudlak's mouth will appear blurred and unsettled. In addition, it becomes impossible to discern what spells Kudlak is even using except by recognizing their effects.
+ Abilities which anaylze kido, reveal hidden properties to energy or even any kind of bypassing spiritual scan will completely fail against all of Choronzon's effects. Even if an analysis is forced, its recipient will be punished by receiving a ghastly wail of disturbing, false knowledge and gibberish with horrifies the senses.
+ Conceals the use of Forbidden magic, potentially allowing Kudlak to get away with using illegal Kido if no-one can identify his spell's effects.
- The effect also applies to allies and Kudlak cannot control the effect. Choronzon stifles the truth from anyone but its owner.
- Can be bypassed if one possesses Master or higher Mental Deduction or Willpower as well as having an ability that can forcibly scan / analyse Kudlak's Zanpakuto.
I. BankaiNot yet attained.
I. Skill SheetWill fill out after a tier is assigned.Skill SheetGeneral Skills
- Durability: Adept
- General Speed: Adept
- Strength: Beginner
- Weapon Skill: Beginner
- Hoho: Beginner
- Kidō: Advanced
- Zanjutsu: Adept
- Hakuda: Beginner
- Willpower: Adept
- Mental Deduction:Advanced
- Pain Endurance: Advanced
- Focus: Adept
I. Role Play Sample» Roleplay Sample:
A deep pleasure rustled through the Yokai's every nerve. Devouring was fine- but somehow... the inquisitive fiend had felt every meal to be lacking, as was the nature of the Yokai, but its growing wits urged it to try a new way to satiate itself: beating-up and draining humans slowly seemed as rational a solution as any...
Tentacles lurched forwards, curling over not just the arms and legs of the pair, but spreading over their bodies with tiny, slimy appendages very much like leeches that cling to the skin of the two travelers. As the tentacular appendages clutch against their skin... a cold bite would gnaw into their senses; small, physical bites dip into their bodies too, but only as so to access their mana circuitry.
Then- it comes... from their desperation to survive- from their fear of dying and ambient magic- mana is ripped, from the pair through the Yokai's natural feeding appendages...! A blue glow hums through each of the young men, flickering and unsteady, but slowly dimming. Throughout it all it would become an agonizing process: Sheol was not gentle.
This toll was not easily paid- every drop of mana would also cost each of the mortals an incredible, searing pain that raked through their nerves like a hot knife stirring-up their spinal cord and brain-pulp...
... but when the two glowed no more- and by compare, Sheol was looking engorged and swollen with his meal!- their battered, mana-sucked bodies are dropped listlessly to the ground. First the limp Ookami rolls unconscious from one of Sheol's leech-like nets of tendrils- ... then, Mokare would follow, released carelessly like an emptied fruit.
Above, veins bulge and throb across the Yokai's slimy black hide; it quivers, with obvious pleasure, but suddenly pauses. Tufts of corrupted purple-blue mana puff away from it- an excess it couldn't absorb, which was dissipating into the world... it appeared there was a flaw to this process.
But nonetheless was Sheol utterly satiated, and elated with devouring pleasures; the shadowy fiend lumbers to one-side, continuing into the Wychwood's verdant depths in a stupor of potent, but fleeting delight of predatory glee.
No more psychic conveyance follows- rather, there's just a dull, hollow groan that echoes from the gaping hole that was Sheol's face...