Nu Ze, Poet of Gloom

Do you believe in true evil?
  I have seen it before,  
keeping as close to the ground as it could...
 
Eyes of pure malice...
the voice of calamity.
  Nu Ze (Xivi: ?:!), also known as "Voice of Calamity", or "The Jester that Hides", is a legendary figure in many a classic Albian tale. He appears in major and otherwise epic scripts as the voice of damnation, often narrating major disastrous events in history.   Several versions depict him at first as either a slinky callous man or as an unassuming child. However, it is widely accepted that his appearance changed drastically when the witch Xusfia cursed and transformed him into her furry greaves and shoes.   Scattered documentation of sightings has been recorded in texts all over the kingdom since then, spreading his name far and wide as the malevolent jester whose words bring ruin.
Current Status
Cursed to compose epic poems for a witch
Children
Eyes
Turquoise
Skin Tone/Pigmentation
Furry black
Neer Zuli
Neer Zuli by Yurii & rikia

Major Appearances

 
Endless Immortal War
 
Nauseous gnawing nerving madness
Eerie envy earnest pain
Rapture rival risking malice
Lurking leering lonely rain
— Nu Ze's 'Opus Written', verse I
  Nu Ze was first mentioned in the Marred Scripts as a young boy who the Endless Immortal War had orphaned. The legend about his accursed transformation has been passed on by hearsay alone, making it the most unreliable part of his tale.  
One of the more popular versions introduces a boy named Neer Zuli. He was the son of two powerful Sigami masters during EIW. Already at a tender age, he had begun to receive premonition that told of inevitable disasters.   Using the words of Sigami, Neer crafted poems that rang across the human kingdom, foretelling the doom of mankind. His parents grew contempt for their son, seeing him as the one to blame for the events, calling him "a spy sent by the gods". However, he was also a threat in the gods' eyes, and those too sought to smite him.   Rejected by the adults who towered over him and hunted by the gods from above, Neer eventually lost his sanity and fled deep down into Gallana Amon. It is there - crawling on the ground - that he happened upon the mythical witch, Xusfia.   Neer meant to foretell her future, at which the witch quickly acted to halt the boy. She transformed the wretched thing into a being that could stay as low as possible while continuing to deliver his poems of doom and gloom. The witch thus gave him the Xivi name Nu Ze, separating him from humanity forever.
  Consequently, he would appear in several holy scripts like the Black Teachings as the lower garments of the witch Xufia, already taken his monstrous form.      
Xusfia
Xusfia and Nu Ze by Yurii & rikia
Ironia's Birth
 
Vicious vengeful unrelenting
Hasty healing hollow hymns
Fearing foreign fingers touching
Crude caressing candid whims
— Nu Ze's 'Opus Written', verse II
  The opening chapter of Black Teachings introduces the lonely, frozen birth of Saint Ironia of Sheleg with a prophetic poem from Nu Ze. The Poet of Gloom appears with Xusfia to congratulate Ironia and foresee the dark life that awaits her.   He uses heavy metaphors such as {...naked to the mountains through the flood} to symbolize what arduous trials she would have to endure before her purpose is fulfilled. He also provides similies to equate the beginning of her life with the end of humankind's immortality - {...a birth that came from decay, inviting the snowy day}.




Great Exile of the Witches
 
Sanguine symbolic sandy beaches
Jilting journey jeering fail
Dim and damning daunting ventures
Magnum opus written -----
— Nu Ze's 'Opus Written', verse III
  The witch and the poet appeared once more in the years leading to the Great Exile of the Witches in 333. As the lamia refugees walked the beaches of the southern coast, they were accompanied by Nu Ze's scornful voice.   His words laid waste to the hearts of the witches, causing their sorrow to blemish the sands they stepped on. The coast absorbed so much of their suffering that it had turned completely black and eroded, earning its more modern name as the Ghastly Coast.      
Second Civil War
Nu Ze
Nu Ze by Yurii & rikia
 
I am not long for this world
Last night I saw the Jester hiding under my bed
He softly whispered two words to me:
"Friendly fire"
— Civil War soldier's last journal entry
  In more recent history, Nu Ze no longer appears in epic proportions as before, but rather only to individuals. This more intimate approach has been reported by several humans who met gruesome deaths shortly after.   Most of these testimonies had spread towards the end of the Second Civil War of Album, when chaos and death flooded the human kingdom. Soldiers on the frontlines would claim to have witnessed the "Jester" who had suggested their imminent demise.   It was only after the war ended that Nu ze's name and legend were truly immortalized in Album's consciousness and culture.        

Influence

 
Did you hear about Gilfred?
  Apparently, he thought it amusing to place a shoe with a hawk's eye under his father's bed!
He was caught in the act. The poor fool probably won't see the light of day for a long time.
— Albian citizen
  The fifth-century MA brought dark times for the people of Album, who had seen no rest since the Day of the First Snow. The popularized myth of Nu Ze was among the most discussed and often proven to be fatal to those who claimed to have seen the sentient shoed jester.   The legend evolved so that finding a jester's shoe under one's bed or dresser was considered a mark for death. In some cases, people had admitted to placing such a shoe in an attempt to cover their planned homicide. Eventually, the act of planting jester shoes had been made a serious offense punishable by imprisonment or worse.   The whereabouts of Nu Ze - or the witch for that matter - have been a mystery to most since their disappearance around the end of the fourth-century. Though one would do well to check under their bed, were they to hear the faint voice of the 'Jester that Hides'.  
One Missing Word
  The poems of Nu Ze were considered a grave sin even to memorize. Most of them were forcibly forgotten and removed from the knowledge of humanity, though a few linger still. Out of the three Zala Ins, the one titled 'Opus Written' is said to be missing its last word and would spell an unthinkable disaster for humanity if ever uttered in its entirety.


Cover image: Nu Ze by Yurii & rikia
Character Portrait image: Nu Ze by Yurii & rikia

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
6 Feb, 2022 21:39

This is a really interesting entry for the bard challenge! I absolutely love the folk feeling to it, the fact that he was changed into a pair of shoes has some very like russian folklore vibe for some reason, which I find very neat. I'm a bit rusty on feedback, but I'll try my best!

Introduction

I find it interesting that he is called "The Jester that Hides", I'm curious about the Jester name came from as the figure doesn't seem very Jester-y to me. Similarly, I'm curious as to where the depiction of a "slinky callous man" comes from.

Endless Immortal War

I very much enjoy the fact that you've made a section that tells part of the story! I am curious as to where people think this gift comes from- was it god given, a curse, a blessing or other?

Ironia's Birth

I really enjoy the fact that you included a little stylistic approach! Ngl I would've been curious to read more about the style, but I'm aware this requires a lot of effort so it makes sense to keep it at that.

Great Exile of the Witches

Formatting wise, I'd add a few spaces so that the header is aligned to the left. That or make the above picture a bit smaller. I like that the witch and poet have this omnious role, though I would've like a more detailed explanation of how perception of Nu Ze evolved across time. Who first told his story? And why?

Second Civil War

It feels like it is only around the Second Civil War that Ne Zu got the nickname of the Jester. I'm curious about the name, and I'm also wondering how come Ne Zu suddenly stopped appearing without the witch. Obviously sometimes things just happen, but its more fun when there's a reason!

Influence

Very cool section!I love the quote, though I had a bit of trouble understanding what you meant when you initially wrote "The poor fool probably won't see the light of day for a long time.". I'm assuming this means Gilfred ended up in jail. Also, when you say "The legend evolved so that finding a jester's shoe under one's bed or dresser was considered a mark for death.", does that imply it was used as a threat or by assassins perhaps? Or is it solely superstitious?

I'm also curious about studies that may have been done about the character and myth, from an academic pov- though thats just personal curiosity!

Conclusion

I'm quite a fan of the character, though I feel like a lot more can be said. The art is really fun as always, and really brings that eery vibe to the article! Top choice of music too, way to go :)

Author of Arda Almayed - check out my SummerCamp articles here!
9 Feb, 2022 19:54

the fact that he was changed into a pair of shoes has some very like russian folklore vibe for some reason
Sure I can see it. I'll take that compliment!  
I'm curious about the Jester name came from as the figure doesn't seem very Jester-y to me.
This refers to the shoes being jester shoes-shaped.  
Similarly, I'm curious as to where the depiction of a "slinky callous man" comes from.
Yeah I didn't go into detail with that interpretation. I'll add something for it soon.  
I am curious as to where people think this gift comes from- was it god given, a curse, a blessing or other?
They connected it to Sigami (word magic), though they definitely called it a curse.  
Ngl I would've been curious to read more about the style
Not 100% sure what style you're referring to, but I could probably produce more of it lol.  
Formatting wise, I'd add a few spaces so that the header is aligned to the left.
Fixed. Thanks!  
though I would've like a more detailed explanation of how perception of Nu Ze evolved across time. Who first told his story? And why?
I should expand on that more, true.  
I'm curious about the name
He gained the nickname of "The Jester that Hides" when people started seeing him under their furniture as jester shoes.  
I'm also wondering how come Ne Zu suddenly stopped appearing without the witch.
There's definitely a reason for that, it's just not mentioned in this article (for a reason).  
I had a bit of trouble understanding what you meant when you initially wrote "The poor fool probably won't see the light of day for a long time.". I'm assuming this means Gilfred ended up in jail.
You assumed correct :)  
Also, when you say "The legend evolved so that finding a jester's shoe under one's bed or dresser was considered a mark for death.", does that imply it was used as a threat or by assassins perhaps? Or is it solely superstitious?
More in a sense that it was used as an excuse not to look too deep into the death, since it was destined to happen (abuse of a dark prophecy).  
I'm also curious about studies that may have been done about the character and myth, from an academic pov- though thats just personal curiosity!
That's a great idea! I'll give it some thinking.  
I'm quite a fan of the character, though I feel like a lot more can be said.
More will be said, but I am mostly satisfied with how much I've expanded on for now. The main idea for me is to keep a good mystery. Though, more will be said ;)  
The art is really fun as always, and really brings that eery vibe to the article! Top choice of music too, way to go :)
Thanks :) Yurii and I had a good time working on it.   Thank you for reading and for your in-depth critique! It's always GREATLY appreciated to get some constructive feedback from you!


Let us unite against the enemies of Album!
7 Feb, 2022 13:23

Great article! Layout wise it was very easy to read through with the various quotes dividing up the text. It is also quite nice that you left some mystery as people don't know the full true story themselves. The concept of sentient prophetic shoes is a cool and intersting one.   I especially like how they people used the myth to cover up the fact that they were planning something nefarious themselves :p

Feel free to check out my latest challenge article the Avaronian Empire if you want to see what I am up to!
9 Feb, 2022 19:15

Thanks Kevin! I had a lot of fun writing him, happy to hear you liked it.


Let us unite against the enemies of Album!
7 Feb, 2022 20:02

OMG i love it. Its such an interesting character concept, I wonder what happened to Nu Ze and the witch...

Visit Daeliha, Iphars & Khulgran
Love to code, but this one is driving me crazy!
Hey look, I have a SC prep article
9 Feb, 2022 19:16

Thanks!   I wonder about that too...


Let us unite against the enemies of Album!
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
7 Feb, 2022 20:47

Fascinating story and great illustrations! I love the idea of "prophetic shoes" XD And the symbol of the shoes being used as threat against people. You didn't really mention what Nu Ze thought of everything that happened after he met the witch. Is he a prisoner forced to ho along with her desires or has he become an accomplice? I she angry against the humans for the way he was treated?

To see what I am up to, here is my civilisation challenge article.
9 Feb, 2022 19:17

The questions you are asking here are exactly what I wanted you to wonder about, so that's cool :) It's probably gonna be revealed/hinted at in future articles.   Thank you for reading!


Let us unite against the enemies of Album!
7 Feb, 2022 23:44

Okay, that introduction paragraph got me good. I love that he's a legendary figure, seemingly "evil", and then you just go and throw the fact that he got turned into a furry pair of boots at me?? Amazing. I'm so intrigued xD   I'm loving the styling and layout of this page, it's super eye catching and well thought out! You did great work with it.   It must be quite the pair of magical furry boots that he was turned into, still able to speak prophecy and poems! Did people think it was coming from the witch as she travelled, or was it very clearly the pair of monstrous footwear?   I also really love the mthys/legends/superstitions born out of this. The whole thing of placing jesters shoes under someones bed is fantastic xD   This was a wild ride of an article, well done!


Cathedris, the world of God-husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
9 Feb, 2022 19:26

Okay, that introduction paragraph got me good. I love that he's a legendary figure, seemingly "evil", and then you just go and throw the fact that he got turned into a furry pair of boots at me?? Amazing. I'm so intrigued xD
Glad you liked the idea and the quote! I was having the same reaction when I thought it up :)  
I'm loving the styling and layout of this page, it's super eye catching and well thought out! You did great work with it.
Always high praise from you, although I didn't lean into the design as much as I did on some of the previous articles. This one is more style-light.  
It must be quite the pair of magical furry boots that he was turned into, still able to speak prophecy and poems! Did people think it was coming from the witch as she travelled, or was it very clearly the pair of monstrous footwear?
That's a very good question! Xusfia doesn't tend to speak a lot, so that might lead some people to think of that, though he does have a strong presence even being a pair of shoes.  
I also really love the mthys/legends/superstitions born out of this. The whole thing of placing jesters shoes under someones bed is fantastic xD
Yes!   Thank you for reading and commenting! I appreciate it :)


Let us unite against the enemies of Album!
9 Feb, 2022 16:48

I love the pictures, I love the tales and damn you did a very good job with the prophecies. Songs and poems reaching into time, space and other kingdoms, telling tales of the doom of humankind... very good indeed.

You want to hear the voice of fire? I got you covered with my actual entry to the bard challenge: Amara Silverharp. You wanna see what we did for Summer Camp? This way please: Eddie's Summercamp
9 Feb, 2022 19:34

Thank for reading! Glad you liked the idea hehe


Let us unite against the enemies of Album!
10 Feb, 2022 00:45

Great job on a darker tale. The myth and urban legends surrounding him, the magical transformation into shoes of all things. And the art wonderfully compliments it all. good work.

As always, it would be appreciated if you would stop by my challenge article The Storm Giant Empire and leave some feedback.   If you are looking for things to read from summer camp there is also my Summer Camp 2022 Reading Challenge.. Happy worldbuilding.
10 Feb, 2022 21:30

Thank you for reading!


Let us unite against the enemies of Album!
11 Feb, 2022 17:11

An interesting article and well formatted and with nice art. :) This seems like a character where we would have some difficulties to judge whether they were actually real and what's told about them is actually true, much like the characters of the epics like Odysseus or Siegfried. I saw from your answer to Amélie that you're about to disclose more about the character - I too am curious! Maybe the cursed shoes made him nothing more like an object to be used at the witches whim?

My world is Samthô - a 'as realistic as possible' fantasy-world, that's still in its childhood stage.
A current addition to Samthô is my contribution to the rivers ant waterways challenge: Paunis
17 Mar, 2022 19:57

Thank you for reading and for the insightful comment! I do plan to drop hints in future articles so stay tuned hehe.


Let us unite against the enemies of Album!
13 Feb, 2022 17:13

Wow. That's really a very special bard approach. A "bard" transformed into a pair of shoes. And then such a likeable one ;). No, I like the concept and it's very original with the witch. And yes, it seems a bit "Russian", which is definitely not bad. On the contrary, there are very beautiful and deep Russian mythical characters with a special flair of their own.   But back to the article. No wonder that this one has entered folklore (at least I imagine that already in the Second Civil War not every one of the personal meetings was really one, but later on there was also one or the other attribution ^^). And that with such a folklore jokes in this regard are punished is clear and for me extremely understandable. Just like the story with the missing word.   In this sense, many thanks for the truly inspiring article that breaks away from normal thought patterns.

17 Mar, 2022 20:00

Thank you so much for your comment! I'm glad it got you invested in my world a bit :) I see the Russian parallels now and it's giving me some ideas for the future :)


Let us unite against the enemies of Album!
14 Feb, 2022 18:25

An awesome dark magic folklore style character. He's very entertaining to read about, to the point that I wanted to know just a little bit more about the calamities he prophecied - to learn how his words connection to Ironia's birth and the exile of the witches. One thing that is not clear to me, is that his words seem to be partially banned (indicating that there is more to them), but on the other hand he is used in many epic scripts as a narrator. Was it attempted to eradicate all memories of him completely, in contrast to just the poems?

If you have some time, I would much appreciate your feedback on my entry for Adventure April: Carbon Copy Paradise
17 Mar, 2022 20:02

Thank you for reading! To answer your question - he narrates some epics, yes, but it's not really his (the real poet's) words. He's just used as a tool to tell those tales. My world is full of lies so it's never clear what's what (that's part of the theme).


Let us unite against the enemies of Album!
15 Feb, 2022 17:13

Beautiful art and layout, which really adds to the slightly creepy, dark tone of the article. I love the little snippets of the verses throughout the article too.

17 Mar, 2022 20:03

Thank you, doctor ;)


Let us unite against the enemies of Album!