A stylized illustration of Hildebad. No clear photographs or
first-hand accounts of his exact appearance exist.
Unknown, presumed male
Nicknames & Titles:
The Black Cardinal
"♪~Cadet Rousselle ne mourra pas,
Car avant de sauter le pas,
On dit qu'il apprend l'orthographe,
Pour faire lui même son épitaphe~♪"
-Hildebad von Cunigast
Hildebad von Cunigast, often nicknamed the Black Cardinal, is the first and current occupant of the Fourth Seat on the Council of Seven, as well as the duly-appointed Spymaster of the Guild of Eisenstern. An enigmatic figure even among members of the Council, Hildebad's race, nature and provenance remain ambiguous. He works tirelessly, out of sight, to expand Eisenstern's intelligence network at every available opportunity, and is said to personally be a highly-skilled infiltrator and assassin - these rumors remain unsubstantiated, however, as he is rarely seen or heard from.
Very little is known of Hildebad's history, and his origins prior to the formation of the Guild remain undisclosed. What is known is that he was a founding member of the Council, and was selected for this position by Kresge himself. The Guildmaster has typically sidestepped this topic when pressed, remarking that "Hildebad was a perfect fit for the job", and denoting him as "an old friend". Even post-Eisenstern's inception, his role within the organization has remained unclear. While he does issue orders to the covert branch via typically indirect means, and regularly attend Council meetings, his whereabouts and occupation outside such events are unknown. During times of direct Council intervention, he has generally been recorded as present - however, while his kill-count in combat operations tallies up to approximate equivalence with the remaining Council members, no conclusive evidence of his direct combat participation is extant, and no corpse the passing of which was attributable to him was ever recovered.
In his few recorded appearances, Hildebad has been described as "polite, yet disconcerting". The mask he constantly dons prevents any sort of facial reading, and while his tone of voice is rather formal, it also carries with it an inexplicably eerie quality.
"Hildebad von Cunigast, Fourth Seat on the Council of Seven, reporting attendance."
"My realm is the clandestine. My mannerisms are conducive to my work."
"The stars, they twinkle oh so brightly... were I to snuff them out, my job would be a far easier one."
Whatever ideological leanings he may possess remain uncertain.
As previously mentioned, Hildebad's actions outside of official matters remain speculatory. On occasion, he has been known to quietly sing, typically in a somewhat archaic dialect of French.
As Hildebad has never been seen to engage in combat (or even draw his weapon), both his preferred method of fighting and his exact level of martial prowess remain unknown. As a member of the Council, he is presumed to have approximately equivalent abilities to his peers, though the form they take remains the subject of speculation.
As it happens, Hildebad is not a particularly skilled mage or swordsman. He is, in fact, neither a mage nor a swordsman at all, despite what his position and apparent weapon of choice would imply. He could perhaps best be described as a philosopher - a man of conviction, and of cogitation. The key outstanding feature he possesses may be summed up as understanding, on a wholly intrinsic level - the de-facto mental encapsulation of some crucial, functionally inunderstandable figment by which reality operates. It is by means of this understanding that his capabilities manifest - via the comprehension of such knowledge, he has made certain aspects of being pliable to himself. He is not a reality-bender, for that would imply an alteration of fibre - instead, he operates on an alteration of perspective, so to speak. He may reinterpret the laws of physics and narrative cohesion to suit his needs because functionally, they already do.
The benefits such a unique and eldritch perk brings are as numerous as they are esoteric - the chief principle to be influenced here being that of existence itself. Expressed most often on his own form, Hildebad only actually exists for as long as he wills it to be so. If he does not wish to be wounded, he isn't. If he does not wish to die, he remains alive (though exactly what definition of life he now falls under is certainly up for debate). This is because it is impossible to wound or kill something that, functionally, is alive and unharmed by its very definition (or simply does not exist). Similarly, he may influence the state of others in a number of ways, though he finds it far easier to affect himself (due to the measure of understanding that must be gleaned of each foe to influence them). This is handily bypassed by what may be considered his signature technique, and is in fact the reason for the obscurity that continues to cloud his combat record - the rather uncreatively named Field (viz. below).
The specific, named techniques employed by Hildebad, if any such things exist, are unknown.
While Hildebad does not employ magic in a conventional sense, and thus does not conform to a traditional framework of spells, there exist several named, recurring actions he may undertake during combat.
Hildebad's typical combat opener. It is, in effect, an act of immersion - via a simple redefinition of positions, Hildebad may sequester any number of targets, regardless of makeup or sentience, into a functional mindscape, which may take on a variety of forms and de-facto sizes depending on intent. Purely theoretical in nature, this realm is not a pocket plane or universe in and of itself - rather, it is a perspective-altered "image" of baseline reality in which Hildebad may speculatively redefine variables in a manner akin to a demiurge-styled creator deity. It is functionally impossible to defeat him while in such a state, and routes of escape are few and far between - no action may have an impact without his express acknowledgement and approval, regardless of the means by which it is undertaken. Opponents may attempt to run, only to find themselves inexplicably remaining in place despite the sensation of movement. Bullets and blades will simply pass through him or cease to exist on impact. Time will be slowed, speeded up, or simply discarded entirely - all according to his direction.
A simple combative technique that may be employed without the assistance of Field, it is nevertheless rarely utilized due to Hildebad's preference for fighting on his de-facto home turf. Effects the manifestation of the effects of a cut. Notably, this occurs without the manifestation of cutting force, thus rendering material composition and conventional durability of targets irrelevant. Does not actually require the use of a blade, but is far more convenient to visualize when one is present for usage as a fulcrum - the primary reason for Hildebad's usage of a rapier. May manifest in a variety of exact permutations, from the infliction of papercut-esque incisions to the simultaneous bisection of every planetary body within a galaxy-wide space.