(W.I.P.) Mr. Kramp

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(W.I.P.) Mr. Kramp

Post by IamLEAM1983 »

Kinda had to crap this out of my system... Consider it part info dump and part hopeful. I was able to twist basic Halloween lore into a non-seasonal character with Jack Green, so let's see if I managed to do the same with Xmas...

Name: Mr. Kramp
Age: possibly as old as other demons, and some angels
Gender: male
Species: former demon, honorary Fae

Strengths: Oberon's personal bodyguard, butler and general snoop, Kramp has been allowed to transcend his demonic nature and to transition into complete Fae status. As such, while he does display an appearance most would consider to be demonic, he is immune to displays of faith, blessed objects or close contact with places and people of importance to religious or spiritual groups.

What started as Oberon coaching his new pet in the art of steering the Wild Hunt's sleigh ended a few centuries later into a command of whips that would make Indiana Jones fairly jealous. Kramp has been known to dish out traditional slashing strikes with his thick iron-capped leather lanyards, but can also perform low sweeping strikes to knock the ground out of his opponents, or pinpoint-control strikes to coil someone's limbs or restrain them altogether. In this case, only a mental command from Kramp causes the whips to slacken and release their catch. As can be expected, dual-wielding whips gives him an impressive amount of zone control, making it difficult for most of anyone to close in for mêlée strikes.

In particularly auspicious moments, Kramp has been known to slash incoming bullets in half. He can only stop low firing rates, however, so focused fire would penetrate his defenses within seconds. The modern era necessiting a few updates, Kramp has also spent a few years following a few of those Chimeras who remained involved in martial or military operations. Having picked up a mercenary's worth of skillsets, firearms of most handgun and rifle varieties are all things he can pick up and use on the fly – provided his hands are gloved.

Where Oberon packs a Berserker-worthy bloodlust in desperate circumstances, extreme duress tends to bring out the sadist in Kramp. As Fae can be expected to be a mite more resistant than the average human, he's occasionally been known to walk directly in the line of fire, a leering grin stapled to his face, seemingly finding further fuel and impetus in the extreme pain he endures. There's a certain point where harming him essentially seems to do more harm than good, from the point of view of the opponent... When this happens, Kramp has about ten minutes of blissful disregard for injury to look forward to. Seemingly embracing his pain in a fairly masochistic sense, he's terrified more than a few would-be murderers of the King of Winter into laying down their arms and waiting for the cops.
Weaknesses: as can be expected, Kramp displays all weaknesses associated to the Fae, from an acute sensitivity to iron to the need and general compulsion to barter with others. As knowledgeable as he remains about the Planes Below, he is effectively persona non grata in the Pit and could not be counted on as a guide during astral voyages or physical displacements.

If he does have one sizable problem, it's of sometimes trying to purposefully incite those who might disregard or disobey the rules of hospitality and nonviolence that hold over any Fae Court. His sadistic streak running deep, Oberon is well aware of the fact that Kramp needs a regular outlet. For this reason, he tends to appoint his main man for “bagman” duties – such as the kidnapping of fugitive Fae in need of an appearance before the King. This isn't always enough. The only thing that soothes Kramp's need to inflict pain in reasonably long intervals other than doing so is pleasant or law-abiding company.

Deny the urge, in a sense, and it eventually goes away. Even when it is present, the urge can be problematic. Malks have the benefit of killing their prey, while Kramp's sadism leaves him reluctant to inflict the final blow on anyone. Being dead means you can't feel pain anymore, so what's the point of killing you? The former demon has a hard time taking termination orders seriously in those rare times where Oberon does issue them. He always has to find a way to drag it out.

Then there's the fact that he just isn't the classiest of guys. Oberon might dress him to the nines and make sure that even his weapons pack some eye-pleasing pizzazz, his off-the-clock hours see him swig beer, munch on junk food and smoke bad cigars as only a former Pit demon could. Seemingly operating in a state of near-constant arousal, he tends to whiplash between glacial professionalism while working in front of the Court and crass indulgence while standing in the rinks.

Just about the only thing that's preventing him from offending Oberon with an accidental display of extreme sleaziness or slobbish behavior is the fact that the king's planned ahead and left him the formerly demonic ability of supernaturally tidying up his appearance with nary a thought.

Appearance: with a lean build of some five feet six for about a hundred and ten pounds – ten of which are packed in what looks like a solid little permanent beer gut – Kramp tends to feel like the antithesis of Oberon, to the uninitiated. He's been called a “crotchety-looking” Blue Chimera by others, as his lower body is noticeably caprine in appearance and he does happen to pack flaring ears that might be reminiscent of those that can be found on Aspasia's kin. With a narrow and long face and oddly large eyes for that face, along with a hooked nose that would look more natural on a goblin, and lips that seem as though they've been carved to more or less open in a permanent leer while he's speaking, he doesn't cast the most becoming of appearances. Add a bald pate that seems covered in old boils and scabs, along with unkempt mutton chops and an unruly goatee as well as facial hair that seems impossible to keep at anything more than a five o' clock shadow's level, and you've got most of the demonic picture. Where Aspasia's horns might look properly maintained, his look like his body can't put calcium to good use in a regular enough pattern, creating uneven surfaces. Instead of curved horns, some people have commented that his grayish forehead looks as though two stalagmites decided to burst out of it. His tail also carries a fairly diseased look no matter how you might bull him into assuming healthy life choices, as if mange were eating at the tuft of black hair at the end of it. That appendage is noticeably more serpentine or saurian in its appearance than any faun's, sometimes affecting fairly feline bobbing motions. It stands almost erect when Kramp is carrying out his functions or stands in a position of superiority to someone else, and sways on a low arc when discretion is required.

With it being partially prehensile, Kramp has also used his tail to fleece items out of people's pockets, on occasion, or to escape bonds. His tongue is also serpentine in nature, and he also hasn't been shy about being able to use it to free himself out of tight spots.

You'll typically find him decked in black, white and red livery – pie tails and all – with the exception of his gloves, which he prefers in red leather. In a manner similar to Aidan's claymore and pistol tattoos, Kramp has had his whips magically embedded into his forearms, a precise shucking motion being all that he requires to will them into being in front of his hands. All he has to do is grip their handles during the split-second of gravity-defying stillness that usually follows this deployment. He otherwise adds a red-rimmed black top hat to the mix if he heads out and despite all his excesses, tends to appear in a constantly pristine state before others. You might get to see him stuffing his face with Cheetos or downing a twelve-pack's worth of beer during an evening, but the usually superficial and debonair act of brushing lint off of one's chest and shoulders tends to work wonders, in his case – thanks to Oberon. Stains disappear, yellowed teeth return to their toothpaste-commercial white sheen and even rumpled clothes seem to return to their freshly-pressed state.

Some have speculated that the current America-born Oberon's influence is to blame, but Kramp, despite his obvious Germanic origins, tends to have a rather thick New Jersey accent. Then again, his Bond to Oberon makes it so each version of the monarch leaves strong imprints on him. The last time he sounded fittingly German in origin was about five hundred years ago.
Behavior: somewhere between A Clockwork Orange's Alex, the Grinch and Tex Avery's wolf, there's Krampus – Père Fouettard to some, Hans Trapp to others, Rupert or Ruprecht, Black Pete to a select few... He's carried a patronymic like we change our shirts and pants, standing on existential ground that is still rather flimsy despite all the good the Vienna Accords have done for most supernaturals. Perhaps as a consequence of his moonlighting occupation, he changes names on the fly, carrying enough glamored or otherwise enchanted passports or bits of enchanted paper to travel the world under a handful of different names.

Standing as Oberon, Odin or Santa Claus' wetworks guy, depending on who you ask, his job is to find those rare people Old Man Winter can't find for himself and drag them before London's Court. If he can't do that, then he has the Court-appointed mandate of making these unfortunate souls squeal until they do come of their own volition. European households and some American and Canadian manses might believe that he exists to punish primarily naughty children, but the fact is that children aren't ever anywhere close to deserving a whipping.

Well, not one from his whips, anyway. Giving a troublesome kid's rump a good slap is another thing entirely...

Considering his origins, the bulk of human evil feels like a walk in the park to him. Brazenly confident at all times, he strolls across shady neighbourhoods the world over, usually well aware of the fact that seeing a horned freak like him is enough to keep idiots away. With casual gene-splicing and Transgenics having muddled Humanity's aesthetic map, however, he's been accosted a few times before, only to reveal just how he loves being the titular devil in the expression “Dancing with the devil under pale moonlight”. Middle and higher-class areas vary in their interest to him, as he largely gets a kick out of displays of blind arrogance or misplaced superiority. There's nothing he likes more than being chewed out by an impatient fuckwad who figures he's some sort of flea-bitten Transgenic, or being refused service in a restaurant, paradoxally enough. Where we might be offended, he'll leer or grin the blathering idiots responsible out of the room, only to later do everything he can in order to scare the living daylights out of them.

In some ways, you could argue he enjoys provoking people into giving him a reason for pulling out the big guns. He's the guy who chews with his mouth open or who loudly snores during a boring flick, who picks his nose in public or who manifests his romantic interest towards a near-stranger with schoolyard-level pantomimes. He's the guy who toasts the comely lady two tables down the aisle precisely because he knows her boyfriend's going to notice it and is largely a harmless if unrepenting troll. What Fae would join the rest of Humanity into finding pretty weird is how he remains a steadfastedly moral person.

Punishment, Kramp believes, loses its edge in the absence of morality, of basic right. What makes his Oberon-sanctioned romps and his personal trawling of the city's worth of ordinary assholes justifiable would be the couple hours he'll spend either collaborating with or annoying the crap out of the local do-gooders. His own private romps have value because those he really does care for the most are proportionately sensible. His own sadistic penchants have value to him because the pain he willingly endures and distributes is pain that won't be doled out on the undeserving.

At the same time, he tends to argue that he fills in an important symbolic function of Winter. He's the awkward uncle who manages to offend the entire family with his drunken antics – but who goes on to offer genuine support. He's the rare breed of Black Friday rabid freak that punches and gouges his way through crowds not because of his own benefit, but because kids he knows are in desperate need of a little cheer. He's the one guy in all of Winter who would willingly commit the worst of atrocities if this means that Mab would be kept at bay and the mortal plane, kept safe and sound.

The ends justify the means, in a sense – but his ends are strangely noble, especially considering how one of the first incarnations of Oberon wrested him out of Lucifer's hands after winning a perilous gamble. At first, he wondered why anyone would bother with a Fiend of such low rank as he was. Eventually, however, he came to understand that all that pent-up evil, all that gibbering malevolence that had never known the complexity of a mortal existence, was a fertile soil for someone looking to create a cleaner with a conscience. Once he'd stopped gyrating and flashing his tongue out of equal parts animalistic defense and the instinctual urge to offend and that a mind actually emerged, he began to understand that Oberon had his reasons.

Besides, if you were to ask what he thinks of himself, he'd say he's Fae. So many nuances have been brought into his life over the centuries and he's been carried through an emotional maelstorm that has nothing in common with his feral and ridiculous state of nature, to the point where his initially demonic existence is nothing but a blur, now.

Crawling everywhere, being trampled all the time, being angry at something without knowing what it was or why he had to be angry at it, being stuck in blasted landscapes and under eternally pregnant skies... The mortal plane beats that any day of the week, he believes.

Goals: on paper, to punish the “naughty ones”, as folklore has so narrowly defined his purpose and existence. In truth, kids don't even qualify for his attention in the correctional sense of the term. He couldn't care less about little cheaters or whiners or bullies in the making – his job doesn't give him the power to banish bad outlooks or childish naiveté with a few slaps on the ass. Real life is what knocks sense into bratty kids.

In-between opening letters, receiving visitors and managing the castle's staff, he gets to stick his ear and nose to the ground for Winter's sake. Being the penultimate response before the Archduke's involvement if a Wild Hunt fails, he tends to veer wildly between moments of all-expenses-paid excess (and oddly high levels of productivity through it all) and his basic housekeeping duties. Once a year, he also acts as the king's failsafe measure if for all of his time-bending efforts, he finds himself unable to visit all of his related Changelings. A thousand or so kids around the world happen to have the same so-called Yuletide imaginary friend, who shows up if the main man can't make an entrance.

If Fae law has been broken and if innocents have paid the price, he'll come to collect the refund – usually in sores, broken bones, cuts and psychological attacks, while making sure those responsible plead for it to end.

A plea which, without fail, he denies. He's even gone so far as to take some of his Winter-mandated playthings to the ICU after being done with them, if time and distances permit it. The Christmas Devil is anything but unfair and can demonstrate just enough compassion to show that he understands how a personal epiphany can be painful – and occasionally necessary.

The only person who has the power to give him an absolute kill order is Oberon himself. Even then, Kramp would attempt to complete his primary mandate in making sure that his actual victim-to-be understands why he has to go ahead with what remains torture and assassination.

History: in all likelihood, Kramp's Infernal history is without consequence. One among droves of faceless Fallen and Pit-born demons, he never saw the Lightbringer's visage until the very day of his choosing by a King Oberon of several centuries prior. Rome was still a whisper and Greece was in its infancy that the then-Celtic King and Queen of Faerie had already understood a very simple logistical point : that they were only two people. The Wild Hunt's nature was one of collaboration towards a single goal, which limited the search radius. Even if two hunting parties were assembled and Titania momentarily acted in Winter's name, so much of the known world remained impossible to chart reliably.

A third hand was needed, someone who could move faster and call less attention, but also someone who could carry forth the fury of the King's judgment. Small offenses had never called for a Hunt, but high treason against the Fae was and still is a crime that absolutely calls for blood. In times in which the mortal authorities were still kept safely in the dark from the supernatural world, relying on gifted mortals or peacekeeping forces was an impossibility.

For this early Winter King, Hell was Annwn (AH-Noon), and despite the fact that most of its denizens responded to different names, they functionally were the Lucifer and Leonard we know today, amongst many others. The Fae had always stood at a slim advantage before the Hellspawn, as compared to the remainder of the world's inhabitants : they could barter, bypassing the laws which made transactions with the high principalities of Hell. On May's Eve, on a dark night now long since forgotten, the Olfather summoned Heaven's traitorous son to his Court.

Lucifer initially attempted to swindle the ruler out of his safety, proposing him with demons of small stature and high intellect; worthy servants forged in the fires of Hell's covetous hatred. Sensing their duplicitous nature, the Olfather denied Lucifer's offer. He'd keep looking.

Then came the brutes of the Pit; creatures of basic cunning and terrifying strength. They, too, Odin denied.

Then whispers, small spirits made out of tempting thoughts and ruinous decisions in embryonic form. Lucifer promised they'd be able to drive the Yule King's enemies to their own doom. He also denied them.

Days and days passed, the Fae stringing the demon along and testing his patience relentlessly, sometimes coming within an inch of signing their pact. He pushed Lucifer to the brink, forcing him into a duel at first, then followed with further tractations. Mentally exhausted, Lucifer had no cards left to deal. He offered his runts, his droves of unwanted wretches that were barely good enough to possess old and frail epileptics. Out of all of them, Oberon singled out the one who had the most spunk, the most offensive of pantomimes and the most humanoid of postures. Glad to be rid of such a dissapointing mark, Lucifer left without enacting his revenge or thinking of damning the one-eyed old man.

As for Oberon, he'd snagged what he'd wanted. What began as a rabid monkey who seemed unable to stop gesturing obscenely first became a pet. Attention was denied to the beast and it was locked away for weeks, sometimes months, until its behavior softened. Food and social interaction became rewards for a creature who was starving for stimulation but had no real need of either food or other people.

From a pet, the demon became an infant in a deformed body. From there, a ghoulish-looking boy. Time passed, and the demon's basic nature became more of an underlying factor than a defining characteristic. Centuries passed until the Fiend became a man. A twisted man, but a man still.

By then, Aldergard and Faustus were living in Constantinople and Meris was making progress in Dalarath. Instructed into thinking of Oberon as a close friend more than as a tutor, the former demon bore witness to Oberon's decision of owning up to his fatherly responsibilities – a burden repeated in the thousands.

By modern-day standards, Oberon began crisscrossing the Earth leaving alimony for his estranged mortal companions and descendants. For all of his magic, he could only move so fast and cover so many households. The May's Eve demon followed suit, covering those places the Olfather couldn't. It took a while before the powerful if irresponsible father noticed the way his protégé was spending time with his kin, and to realize that it had seemingly taken it upon itself to give a few object lessons in proper behavior to the more problematic households.

As Christianity implanted itself and the concept of gifts came into being as part of Christmas, Oberon began leaving fruits and small toys, along with his yearly stipends – and moved his visits to the twenty-fifth of December. It would still be a few years before the May's Eve demon would become the Christmas Demon, and further generations before Krampusnacht was first celebrated in its official form across Europe. The name Krampus essentially meaning “crotchety” or “bent over”. By the time it did implant itself, however, the former Fiend had become a silent and frequently overlooked partner in the Olfather's yearly sortie. Generation after generation, the adoptive Fae saw parts of his general personality be altered with each new coronation and death of Oberon. From a vitriolic Germanophile, the immigration waves to America shifted his apparent focus. Once the new Oberon did prove to be American in origin, however, he began to identify with the new Olfather's homeland, retaining his memories and skills, but otherwise adopting a decidedly modern approach.

Never having been involved in struggles such as the Battle of Hope or the Quigley Road Massacre, he was never raised or designed as a regular first-response investigator. As the situation grows more complex in America and the Fae find themselves forced to strengthen their holdings in the continent, however, Oberon is faced with the need to consider that he, like Spector, is likely to develop professional or personal ties with some of the East Coast's primary superhuman contingents.
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