Cacus

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IamLEAM1983
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Cacus

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Name: Cacus
Age: approximately 2800 years old
Gender: male
Species: Pride demon

Strengths: as the former head of Cacus & Bune, Pride’s main auditing body, Herbert’s old boss - and now current advisor - embodies the surprisingly civilized and fastidious nature of Pride’s internal workings. To him the spoils went, when the Goat found the distribution of certain legions or the behavior of certain high-profile Named associates to be satisfactory - and to him went the task of ensuring that his orders would smoothly transition into concrete results. With his cabinet dissolved and his post now a thing of the past, Cacus now is something more of a valuable asset for greater North American employers or watchdogs like the Vienna Council, to tap into. His insight into wide-ranging societal movements rippling across the basin of the world’s Infernal refugees usefully plugs into Melmoth’s own financial savvy, allowing the pair to provide enforcing bodies like Wyvern Holdings with the necessary intelligence to act upon criminalized natives of the Pit.Otherwise, Cacus is every bit the stereotype for a senior peer in a rapacious legal advisory cabinet, combining age, experience and self-assurance into a set of skills that seems casual, but concretely hides the ability to keep his men in line. Ephesian and Associates is poised to grow, and while neither Cacus nor Wormsworth are worried for Lyman’s prospects, they both know that success will attract flies of a sort. Other, less scrupulous types are going to slither closer, and with Wormsworth now acting as Pride’s Terrestrial figurehead, someone will be needed in order to either banish most of these unfortunates, or flag them for Holden Hall’s attention.

Considering his position, his mantle expresses itself a little differently from Wormsworth’s. Cacus’ Ego seems like a surprisingly mundane feature of his psyche, as he’s much more balanced than his former maverick cabinet member. There still is a hard nugget of vanity lurking somewhere in there, but it ties more into his personal accomplishments than the source of his abilities. Concretely, Cacus is skilled in the art of manipulating the Egoes of others, particularly those of his former charges and of mortals. Flattery and condescension become effective weapons and assistive measures when deployed by him using the fullest extent of his willpower, enabling the receivers of charged compliments to either ignore grievous injuries or find energy and impetus enough to push past previously crippling personal slights. In practice, it means he can insult his enemies into shooting themselves or falling on their own swords, or lift an ally that seemed to be on the brink of death, and enable them to find something approaching a second wind. He can still dish out mundane platitudes and insults, with only his overall demeanor informing others on the nature of his intent. Considering, and with his apparently mid-tier Pride standard wings largely ignored, he serves as a knowledgeable source regarding the mortal experience - and the ways in which Pride can either bolster or hamper mortal works and deeds.

Weaknesses: not being able to leverage his own sense of self-worth as a literal shield, Cacus is comparable to a mundane in terms of vulnerability, with only possession guaranteeing him a momentary escape from Extinction. If he reaches Earth using either the enemy’s gates or the resistance’s, he’ll be subject to the same dangers as anyone else.Like Herbert and Zeke, Cacus is a man of creature comforts. His largely tend to involve whiskey, tobacco or golf, with severe slights directed towards his three passions being enough to either push him to act against those who would’ve insulted him, or to butter up those who might be able to act on his behalf. As could be expected, he also takes pride in his cabinet’s accomplishments and is now beginning to understand that the future of his reputation lies not with Bune, who remained loyal to the Goat - but with Herbert and his allies. Cacus takes special pride in his cabinet’s streak of successful cases and in the sense of order which he feels he helped to instigate. With it having been destroyed by his former liege, he now feels compelled to offer his skills to the purported enemy. Considering, he feels obligated to keep a short leash on the cabinet and to remain on Holden Hall’s retainer, in case further collaboration were necessary.If anything, his Ego drives him to action. This can be beneficial, but with reconstruction being in its infancy, Pride also opens him up for access by the city’s enemies.

Appearance: Cacus’ appearance has varied over the course of History, with his first noteworthy presence in myth and legend being traceable to Roman culture. Time’s distorted the memory of his influence into stories of a fire-breathing giant fathered by Vulcan - Hephaistos, if you’re Greek - but the Pit’s own boisterous and slightly fussy take on a private firm bigwig actually traces his origins back to dragonkind’s halcyon days. Looking at him, it isn’t too hard to see why.

Standing about five feet five for something approaching a hundred and eighty pounds, he sports scaly red skin, a Western dragon’s elongated and blunted muzzle, reverse-jointed lower limbs similar to Aspasia’s - if hers ended with digitigrade paws. For the last several generations, he’s packed a silvery ring beard and a pair of golden pince-nez glasses kept perched on his upper jaw’s midpoint. Add expressive yellow-tinted eyes and a maw filled with slightly crooked teeth that seems far too intent on settling into genial grins, and you might get the sense that he’s a sympathetic, or at least expressive sort. If his first few generations spent in the flesh involved loincloths and robes and if he mostly followed along with the times, he now usually tends to stick to dark tones of gabardine and tweed. His own custom-designed kilt complements his lower half, with an integrated slit near the belt-line leaving some breathing room for his spaded tail. White spats otherwise cover up his feet, with the whole ensemble being topped off by a flat cap, newsboy cap or tam o’ shanter. Beyond the obvious stereotypes, Cacus seems to have transcended the erroneous myths that enshroud his origins and has laid a rather solid cultural claim on clan-specific gaelic pride. Having fueled inter-familial disputes for generations by buttering up or riling up this or that elder, he’s transitioned from an Eldritch Roman expat that used the Infernal plane to skip behind his roots’ establishment and put down roots in pre-Roman Britain. Any Scots-adjacent Hope local could consider Cacus as looking something like their average weird uncle with a nationalistic bent, and that’s something he’s more or less voluntarily fostered since the late Neolithic Era. It isn’t too hard to imagine him with pint or pipe in hand, infiltrating either Clan Campbell or Clan Mackenzie’s respective territories along the seaboard, stoking local egoes over slights that would today seem trivial or driving Clans MacLeod and McDonald towards survival after years of near-famine on the Isle of Skye. Cacus’ congenial appearance and behavior are his greatest weapons, considering, in that his efforts at either causing or preventing bloodshed both amused and pleased the Black Goat, who conveniently forgot that such profound involvement with Humanity was bound to be nearly as transformative as Melmoth’s financial sojourns proved to be.

Behaviour: looking at Zeke and Herbert, you’d expect Cacus to be cut from the same cloth, with some slime and a generous helping of self-satisfied vanity causing them to give off sleek and polished impressions. Cacus is their polar opposite, which in some ways isn’t too surprising if you’ve paid attention to Cordatus’ mundane colleagues or Leonard Ephesian’s former peers. Courtroom wolves in designer suits tend to be young or well-established lawyers, whereas those in Cacus’ position have long-since established their worth. Their defenses are lowered over time, and something approaching a human element is reinserted into their practice. He exemplifies this with easy grins, scoffs and shoulder clasps, and with a mild, if vigorous dedication towards athleticism. His slightly paunchy physique might make it look a bit strange, but Cacus was well-known in the Pit for his long solo walks across the wastes, motivated by nothing else than the need to clear his head and leave both his cabinet and Pride’s seats behind for a while. If a brisk pace can’t be assumed, then Wormsworth could attest to Cacus’ love of golf. With a few appropriate stones, some lengthy landscaping efforts and the further suffering of thousands of damned souls, he’s had an eighteen-hole course arranged near the rear entrance of his cabinet. This suggests that for all of his chummy attitude, Cacus does have a bit of a cruel streak.Generally speaking, he happens to be one of the safer demons to transact with. However, he does tend to display a bit of a sadistic streak towards anyone who falls for his ego-stroking wiles and uses them to justify their own committed atrocities. This, notably, applies to both demons as well as mortals - and his slightly goofy take on cruelty usually involves letting the freshly Damned reach the Pit of their own means - only to then have them captured and shaped into new golf-related implements…

This is one of the rare instances where his self-gratification becomes his chief concern, as Cacus’ golfing standards are exacting - and he is known to be a sore loser… A rumor is circulating amongst Cacus & Bune’s transferred juniors, to the effect that there still are a fair few souls, both living and dead, with whom the cabinet patriarch somehow consents to being sporting. With anyone else - the Goat included - Cacus feels justified in cheating at every turn, and enjoys using this as a means to test his vis-à-vis’s ego. Seeing as his near-constant cheating while out on the green is something of a test in disguise, he’s well-known for bristling and proverbially raising his hackles if ever accused of fixing the odds, and for occasionally adding a few mild hexes to hapless players’ tee-offs. If you’re off to the links with him and he happens to hide his contempt of you behind grins and hand-clasps, you might as well expect a particularly foul run - if not a twisted ankle or two. 

Goals: in some ways, Cacus might strike the locals as behaving in an analogous manner to Judge Mantus’ uncompromising dedication to the rule of law in Hope’s Night Court, if packaged differently. Being something of a consultant, he’ll only ever act as a barfly in Herbert and Zeke’s usual post-courtroom haunts, only then to use his HPD-allotted badge to trot either around Central or in Holden Hall’s new facilities, waiting for whatever will come first - either a good chair to rest in for a glass and a smoke, or someone with questions relating to the emerging ties between the Infernal refugees and mortal law. As he otherwise considers himself a retiree, all he really wants is a few Vienna Accords-afforded centuries of off-time, covered by his own private fortune and consisting of casual eighteen-hole sets with friends, long walks around Centennial Park - along with the distant screams of those Damned who, in the grand scheme of things, truly did have it coming.Unfortunately, Cacus might also strike a few Crime Serial fans as being a mix of the exact doses of nosiness and self-confidence required to turn someone who should be swallowing flies in the shade while nursing a glass of iced tea into an Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple wannabe; someone who’s sworn off the Game, as he calls it, but who can’t quite seem to stop himself from returning to it...

History: in many ways, Cacus is a product of the Hereafter’s unique relationship with the mortal concept of time. While the Fall occurred in early Antiquity, it didn’t take long for the Black Goat to realize the potential offered by the virgin stretches of eons dating back to the emergence of Earth’s first sapient species. There might be a fork in Spacetime that would have afforded dragonkind a reprieve from the temptations offered by the Vices, but our perception of History remains sadly blind to it. Like most other Pride demons, Cacus is an offspring or mental construct of the Goat’s, having begun as a few unspoken fatuous compliments festering in the minds of those who would eventually go on to create the Sidhe’s ancestors.

Having spent millennia amongst these winged creatures and oftentimes assuming the guise of one of them, adapting to the end of the dinosaurs’ rule and the breaking-off of his host population into different groups wasn’t too difficult. He followed those who would eventually splinter off between Victim and Cordatus’ forbears, soon blending in with the Western dragon gene pool commonly encountered across Western Europe. Considering, his having been mistaken for a fire-breathing giant by the Tiber Valley’s first few Neolithic populations isn’t too surprising. From there to Cacus as a figure of myth and legend, time and the repeated use of his wiles were all he required to seat himself in the margins of History.

Stoking Romulus’ ego having proven easy enough and realizing that both great and terrible things didn’t require much more than a bit of prodding to be put into motion, Cacus left Italy a scant few years before the emergence of Rome as the epicentre of a developing country. The Western dragons he’d deceived into having them consider him a member of their brood pointed him to their Scottish brethren, stating he’d find plenty of headstrong humans and anthros there.As expected, the pre-Celtic world’s late Bronze Age populace proved to be more than a little receptive to Pride’s siren song. Having blended in, Cacus spent centuries stoking whichever village or up-and-coming chieftain struck his fancy, as well as driving whoever displeased him to either outright ruin, or general duress. Little did he know, however, that in acting out the part of an invested clan member, he’d eventually come to genuinely care for some of them. He’d need further centuries to admit it, but his efforts to drive the MacLeods and McDonalds up the proverbial wall in the face of famine quickly turned into a relentless regime of psychological boosting. By the time the Isle of Skye’s mortal populace had warded off famine, anyone with an ounce of working wits could’ve seen that the now-aging demon truly did care. Unlike Melmoth, however, he wasn’t able to turn his posting into an excuse to keep refining his burgeoning humanity.

Having still managed to fail thousands of innocents who’d counted him as a friend under one guise or another, Cacus was unable to stop the Goat from interpreting this as the mark of a Fiend with a particularly exquisite grasp on sadism. Recalled to the Pit to assist him in the act of mediating with - and against - Heaven in Limbo, Cacus was offered an honorary Barony and allowed to return to Earth for the express purposes of devising a means to systemize the Pit’s endless wheedling and cajoling of less-convinced Celestials who’d grown sick of Limbo’s front lines.On a tighter leash than Melmoth, Cacus spent centuries working towards the establishment of Cacus & Bune’s first mortal shell, with the eponymous Bune having followed along. If Cacus was the garrulous Scot who plunked coin purses into the laps of disaffected youth under the promise of seriously attending Law school, Bune was the one whose main task consisted of Damning these new recruits by degrees. Operating under the names of Frederick McCullough and Bernard Lancaster, both Eldritch barristers considered Edinburgh as their port of call.

From 1748 through to 1886, both demons changed bodies and families - with Cacus worrying Bune with his insistence on sticking to a credible family tree.By 1886, Horace McCullough had died from a stroke while crossing the street - and Cacus had been recalled to the Pit. Channelling his frustration of having been forced to abandon his mortal family - and the few Cambions he’d spawned - Cacus rediscovered his old yen for ironic cruelty and took to discharging his ire on whomsoever thwarted his cabinet’s machinations. Still, as a silver lining, he didn’t stop himself from visiting harm or misfortune onto even those up-and-comers from Pride who wished to see him fall in order to improve their own social status. On the other hand, he also met the recently-spawned Herbert Wormsworth, and unwittingly seeded him with a small, measly measure of human empathy.

By the time both demons had equal access to the contemporary era, Cacus and Bune’s partnership had turned brittle and had then begun to fall apart. Justice and due process were of key importance for Cacus, who considered that even Pride could sometimes fall prey to underhanded tactics from Heaven’s envoys. What he desired, in his own words, as to offer every party involved a straight and honest deal. Bune had fallen in with the Goat and now only desired to offer Pride as many wins as possible, even if Limbo’s rules of engagement were ignored in the process. Herbert missed Cacus’ very public falling-out with Bune by a mere few in-Plane days, and was left unaware of his former boss’ eventual imprisonment. 

Initially, Cacus hadn’t been gagged. Even if tied up, chained and bound for one of Pride’s new carceral keeps, the old snake used the best weapons he had on hand and kept the spirits of his fellow prisoners as high as he could muster. Eventually, a few carefully-dosed words of inspiration were enough to push his fellow band of captured mortals, Void Weavers and renegade demons into a prison riot, but the exhausted Squids couldn’t muster up much of a defense against the keep’s orderly and refreshed Knights. Having been recognized as an agitator better kept away from the mortal plane, the Goat more than likely intended to have him obliterated, effectively killed once and for all without the benefit of a possessing body out of which to resurrect. 

Thankfully, Meris, Aspasia and Herbert happened to be in the neighbourhood, on that fateful day... 

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