Zeloutihue: Lunatic of Lliaq

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Content warning!
This article contains child abandonment, blood, and graphic violence
So many, many, many things I could not do with my hands, and so I dreamt that they would do all the things that they should. And now to my dreams, the world opens all its seams.
— Zeloutihue
  Zeloutihue, known to many as the Lunatic of Lliaq, was an occultist that was exceptionally skilled in the practice of dream magic. She made many advancements in the occult study of dreams, and while she was feared by many, there are those who seek to follow in her footsteps. Following her ascension to become the plane of Zokatash: The Lunatic's Lake, the madwoman's remains have been collected and spread across Qet as powerful relics.  

Extra Info

Age
34 (Before ascension) 43 (As Zokatash)
Gender
Female (She/Her)
Ethnicity
Lliaqeu?
Height
5'6"
Weight
118lbs
Appearance
Thin, bald, enveloped in a dreamlike glow. Coils of text in an unknown language wrapped around her body.
 

Outcast

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Lliaqeu? culture is strongly individualistic, and those who cannot look after themselves are typically left behind by those who can. This is especially true for the disabled, whose parents are wont to abandon or outright kill them— some simply doing so out of hatred or disgust, and some with an awareness of how others may treat the child, should they decide to raise them anyway, choosing to spare either the child or themselves from those hardships. Not all disabilities are readily visible, for people such as Zeloutihue, one would never know them to be disabled just by looking. Zeloutihue possessed one of these "invisible" disabilities— her hands were beset with constant pain, as if something had lit them alight with a fire that could never be put out. The more she used her hands— be it to crawl, play, or eat, the worse these flames grew. The fire would subside to its usual rage over an agonizing period of days, weeks, and sometimes months— depending on just how much her hands were utilized prior.   By the time she had reached the age of four, her parents had become aware of her disability. It was around this time, while Zeloutihue and her family had gone to one of Lliaq's many marketplaces, that the young girl was separated from her parents. Whether or not her separation was planned by her parents, they did not go back to find her. The girl remained within the marketplace for the next few days, hoping to meet with them again— but she never would. Eventually, she was caught stealing food from one the market's many vendors. The man, rather than alerting the guards, began to leave food for the girl— and after learning of her situation, took her in.  

Apprentice

It didn't take long for Zeloutihue's adoptive father— who she came to know as Koliq— to take note of her disability, and the pain it caused her. One day, Koliq put his hands on her and a strange feeling ran from her heart, and down to her fingertips. For the first time in her life, she was unable to feel the fiery pain that assaulted her at all hours. Her hands and arms were numbed. While the spell only temporarily dulled the pain— it was more relief than Zeloutihue had ever felt before. She had to know— how had Koliq done it? Koliq smiled at her.  
Strength can be found in more than just the body. There are worlds only the mind can traverse, and powers beyond mere flesh and bone.
— Koliq
  Koliq would train Zeloutihue in eldritch magic, notably his own area of expertise— that of blood magic. First, she needed a source of power, one that Koliq provided in the form of a blood-red amulet set in a blackened metal frame. If one were to look close, they would notice a faint blue smoke swirling through its gem. This amulet had been procured in his younger days, through means he refused to share. He warned the girl that gaining this power required sacrifice— and that neither of them could know what, exactly, the amulet would require if she were to accept it.   Zeloutihue barely hesitated before donning the amulet, and before either of the pair could react, a horrid tone rang out as the amulet embedded itself in the girl's manubrium. Gasping, she fell to the ground, gripping her chest as she felt the horrid sensation of her own heart stopping. Koliq rushed to her aid, and quickly discerned the problem— and utilized his own abilities to restart the girl's heart. Yet, no matter how many times he forced it to beat— it would not continue to do so on its own. And so, he continued to manually pump the girl's heart in order to keep her alive. As he did so, he taught Zeloutihue how to tap into the power she should now possess— and maintain her heartbeat herself. Should her concentration ever lapse, her heart would cease its endless march— and she would die.   For the next few years, the pair would take turns sleeping so that Koliq could maintain the girl's heartbeat as she slept. He would train Zeloutihue in the way of blood magic— sticking to spells that healed and supported its targets, including the pain reduction spell he had used before, provided she kept it secret from the outside world.  
They will not understand, even if you use it for good. They will fear you— even hate you— and blame all their ills on your magic, for they do not know its limits, and have heard many a tale where it is used only for evil.
— Koliq
  The pair would also seek ways to ease Zeloutihue's conditions— both her pain, and her heart. Unfortunately, there was little that could be done for the girl's hands— the best solution was to enable her to use them as little as possible, thus diminishing her pain. This meant that Koliq had to care for her even while awake, but he did not mind this. The pair also dedicated themselves to uncovering a method through which Zeloutihue might maintain her heartbeat while asleep— which they eventually determined could be achieved through dreams.   Zeloutihue would eventually access the Dream and, after some time, cast spells from within. After even more training, practice, and study, she would be able to cast these spells instead in the waking world as she slept. Now, she could finally take hold of her life.  

Descent

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Zeloutihue was isolated for most of her childhood, as she was unable to participate in schooling (which included intensive military training), or aid Koliq in his work (which also required physical feats she was incapable of). Even when it came to games— most kids enjoyed physically driven sports and challenges that the young girl could not participate in, only observe. The few friends she had made were fleeting, steadily growing apart in favor of their able-bodied companions who were able to join in their preferred pastimes.   She could see it in the way others looked at, spoke of, and reacted to her— she lived in a culture heavily influenced by the extreme stoic philosophy of Tichan Zilopnou.? One that saw anyone unable to pull their own weight as lesser. This reality would become especially apparent to her at the age of 16, when she joined Koliq on a trip to the local market. There was a misunderstanding; Koliq accidentally bumped into a man— and was accused of thievery after the man's poorly fastened coinpurse fell to the ground. An argument broke out, and, having had enough of Koliq's words— the man stabbed him in the chest, and disappeared into the maze of stalls, merchants, and marketgoers.   As Koliq slowly began to bleed out, no one stopped to lend him aid. Zeloutihue herself was incapable of picking the man up, or applying an ample amount of pressure to the wound— assuming nothing vital had been injured.  
Don't, child— I can see the look in your eyes. If you help me, these people...these people will not understand. You will never know peace again— and neither will I.
— Koliq
  But Zeloutihue would not let her adoptive father die, and with little hesitation, reached a hand towards the bleeding wound. Blood flowed from her fingertips, forming tendrils that snaked through the man's body, recruiting Koliq's own veins to rise up and sew the wound shut. The bleeding was stopped within a near instant, and the man was able to stand on his feet soon after. Passerby who had happened to witness the event were now staring with looks of fear and hatred in their eyes. Koliq wrapped an arm around Zeloutihue, and ushered her out of the market. The pair would not speak until the next day.  

Retaliation

In the days following the incident, distasteful rumors about Zeloutihue and Koliq would spread, and Koliq would see fewer and fewer customers in his bakery. Before long, it was no longer enough to live off of— and the pair had to work what odd jobs they could just to eat, taking on new roles regularly as the rumors lead to conflict in their work. After about a year of this, Koliq would arrive at the bakery only to find it burned to the ground. Zeloutihue, furious, expressed a desire to seek out the perpetrators— and punish them.  
Zeloutihue's face darkened upon hearing the news. A moment of tense silence followed, before she finally spoke, in a low growl. "They deserve our wrath, nothing less. I will burn them as they burned you."   Koliq placed a hand on the girl's shoulder. "No. Should you find them, raising a hand against the culprits would only cause them to raise their swords against you and I." He looked into her eyes. "Do not give them something to fear, with fear comes resolve— and with resolve? Retaliation."
— Zeloutihue and Koliq
 
Zeloutihue would concede, but in secret began to hatch a new plan. If there was no way to find the arsonists in the waking world— perhaps she could do so through dreams. And so, she began to teach herself to traverse The Dream, by escaping her own dreams and entering those of others. It took an entire year, but she was able to find the arsonist— who dreamed often of the burning bakery. Zeloutihue began to enter the arsonist's dreams every night, at first merely observing, then making herself known, before eventually attacking their dream-form. Having done this so often, she eventually realized she had drifted the arsonist's dream close to her own within The Dream— and joined them together. The next day she felt invigorated, stronger, and more rested— causing her to realize just how powerful dreams could be.   Over the next few years she would expand her knowledge of dreams, and determine new ways in which she might manipulate them. She entered the dreams of those who slighted her, and exacted revenge upon them in the sleeping world. She joined their dreams together, bolstering the strength of her own, and eventually learned how to consume them— and before long many in Lliaq spoke of the witch who stalked their dreams, of the terrors committed within, of sleepless, tired nights— and began to speculate about what other troubles in their lives she could have been behind. Talk of hunting this dream-witch began to spread among not only her victims, but those who blamed her for unrelated events. It wasn't long until Koliq himself became aware, and quickly figured out what was going on— leading to a fight between the two, during which he threatened to leave Zeloutihue on her own, in a fit of fear and rage. Of course, this was not something he meant— and he profusely apologized, but Zeloutihue would not forget. She swore off her dream-vengeance, and tried to put the incident behind her.   Those she had attacked, however, did not forget— and would corner the pair in the street one day. Afraid that Koliq would think these were new victims, and abandon her, Zeloutihue caused him to dream a pleasant dream— so that he saw the angry, shouting group that approached them as friendly passerby. By the time she realized the group's violent intent— her adoptive father had fallen to the ground, dead. Having witnessed the death of the man who was closest to her, and facing her own death beside him— Zeloutihue snapped. Utilizing the blood magic she had been taught by the man who now lay dead beside her, she caused the liquids within the mob's bodies to boil and writhe— continuing until their panicked screams finally subsided, and their steaming bodies fell to the ground. She then began to terrorize the people of Lliaq both in the waking and the dreaming worlds, until being driven out by a terrified, sleep deprived mob of soldiers and civilians alike.   She would travel the world of Qet, studying dreams with the intent to gain greater power than those who had hurt her, steadily going insane, lashing out against those that threatened her or simply caught her in a bad mood, and sharing her knowledge with those who she deemed worthy. Eventually, she would ascend, and become the plane of Zokatash— leaving the mortal plane behind for good.
 

Ascension

Zeloutihue is one of very few mortals to have ascended into a plane of existence, a feat that should not be overlooked. Her lust for power could not be contained by her mortal form, and in the end, she found a way to surpass it— and she now threatens the very existence of The Dream, by slowly cutting off portions of the collective dreams that create it in order to grow her own strength even further.  
What better dream to dream than to become the dream that all shall dream? That, is what makes my eyes gleam!
— Zeloutihue
 

Anatomical Artifacts

When she ascended to become the plane of Zokatash, Zeloutihue's very being exited through the top of her skull— leaving her body behind, as she no longer had any use for it. Occultists who she had taught earlier in life found the body, which they took apart to preserve what held the madwoman's latent powers and modifications, and split it amongst themselves.   These parts include her eyes, ears, skull, heart, tongue, skin, and hands— each of which being a powerful artifact in its own right. Zeloutihue's Skull, for example, allows its wielders to cause others to dream while awake— while her eyes allow their wielders to place them wherever they see fit, and see through each eye from great distances simply by focusing.  

Parts of Power

The myriad parts of the lunatic Zeloutihue's body can be found in the Qet TTRPG by those lucky enough to stumble upon them in their travels, granting them great powers they may never have imagined.
 

Comments

Author's Notes

Feedback is very much welcome! Whether on the content, or the formatting! Please, point out typos if you spot any! This is somehow the first time I've written a character with my own disability, meaning that some parts of her history are personal, which took some thought and care— leading to this taking much longer than usual. The main difference between her condition and mine, however, is that hers was from birth— and mine was the result of an injury.


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8 Sep, 2022 03:24

This was fantastic. Honestly this was a great read from start to finish, It had me hooked and i wanted to keep on reading more of it as I did so. A great article!

Come check out my entry for this month's challenge: Children of the Goddess of Love
8 Sep, 2022 09:50

A wonderful article! Also really terrifying and brutal. Its a very fascinating idea for a individual to become a plane of existence as her power becomes too much to be contained by her body. Thank you for sharing!

Check out my world World Behind the Veil!
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