by Max Barry

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14

The Emperor (rewrite in progress)





THE EMPEROR
ASPECT OF GLORY AND FEAR







CONTENTS
Overview
Early Life
Rise to Power
Reign and Ideology
Personal Life
Miscellaneous Quotes
Trivia






"What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to have a heart, a soul? Could it be that I possess none of these qualities - that in place of a heart, I have but a perpetually blazing furnace, and in place of a soul, I have a screaming, maddening void, hungering for the spark of humanity that others possess? Perhaps - but if that is indeed the case, then the world and all that is decent and virtuous within it exists solely to be devoured by a carnivorous machine. A sad prospect, is it not?"


Narcissus (Khoryaz romanisation: Narshiss Imperator; birth name: Alexius XKV66; born 5th Jan. 2299) is the ninth and current Emperor of the Divine Supremacy of Khoronzon, having held the throne for seven years. Acting as its supreme political authority, the commander-in-chief of its armed forces, and, alongside the Grand Apostle of the Shrouded Ones, the joint religious leader of the Cult of the Black Firmament, he is seen as a representative of the Outer One's will on Earth - an almost divine figure, revered and exalted by all who serve him. Despite his relatively recent coronation, following a violent insurrection against his predecessor Alexius II, his reign has been a major transformative force throughout Khoronzon, characterised by a great strengthening of national pride and unity, rapid technological development, and heavy emphasis on manifest destiny and ascension to a higher stage of being. Described as a ruthless, warmongering tyrant by his opponents, he fully embraces the labels as badges of honour that set him apart from lesser leaders, doing what is best for his nation without concern for foreign ideas of moral validity. As the youngest Emperor ever to take the throne, he is often viewed as an embodiment of youthful radicalism - incidentally, a value highly exalted by his regime - who will lead Khoronzon into a revolutionary new age, coming as an avatar of destruction and rebirth.



PHYSICAL⠀INFORMATION

AGE:
    28 y/o


HEIGHT:

    Current: 229cm - 7'6"
    Pre-aug: 196cm - 6'5"


WEIGHT:

    Current: 212kg - 467lbs
    Pre-aug: 79kg - 174lbs


AUGMENTATIONS:

    BIO/Talos-T5
    BIO/Proteus-T3
    BIO/temp/Khimayra
    ☹︎♓︎♑︎♒︎⧫︎♉︎♌︎❒︎♓︎■︎♑︎♏︎❒︎



COGNITIVE⠀INFORMATION

PSYCHEVAL:
    P6-228-A


PSIONICS LEVEL:

    Archon 7S


THEURGY LEVEL:

    Archon 9S


AUGMENTATIONS:

    PSI/Akhlys-T5
    💧︎□︎❖︎♏︎❒︎♏︎♓︎♑︎■︎
    ☜︎⧫︎♏︎❒︎■︎♋︎●︎



BIOGRAPHICAL⠀INFORMATION

BIRTHPLACE:
    Sanctum District 2,
    Shugara


EDUCATION:

    Officially Tier 4A
    Privately ongoing


MIL. SERVICE:

    Penal conscription
    (2315 - 2317)
    LUX Black Corps
    (2317 - 2320)


CONSORT(S):

    Aisa SSK81
    (from 2320)

POLITICAL⠀INFORMATION

IDEOLOGY:


ROLE:

    Head of state/govt.
    Divine representative
    Commander-in-chief


IN OFFICE:

    2320 - present (7 years)


PRECEDED BY:

    Alexius II (executed)





































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Narcissus in his school residence, age 12

[[On the 5th of January, 2299, during the first yearly A-class spawning in the Hatchery Complex of Sanctum District 2 at the heart of Shugara, the neonate that would become Emperor Narcissus was born. His numerical designation was X86K08V66, abbreviated as XKV66 to serve as his name. As was expected of a fully developed A-class, he was born in perfect health, without flaws or defects - the result of a full year of meticulously engineered and optimised gestational assembly, designed over decades of the highest grade of eugenic selection, to build the new generation of Khoronzon's finest elite. Placed under the care of a creche-nurse along with eleven other A-class neonates, he was given a "true" name at 6 weeks of age - "Alexius", after the currently-reigning Emperor. A rare honour to be granted to an infant, even one of his grade - yet, according to the Complex's data logs, the nurse in question simply believed it "fitting", seeing a grand future ahead of the child. And so, after sixteen months had passed and the time came for him to leave the nursery, the young Alexius entered his first year of education, already with the promise and expectation of greatness at his back.

Even in the midst of such well-"bred" peers, Alexius appeared exceptionally gifted from an early age. Developmental reports from his initial stages of schooling suggested that something had gone unexpectedly "right" with his brain during conception, as he excelled rather considerably beyond most of his grade in matters of education. In measures of physical health and fitness, he proved similarly adept, and he soon progressed well beyond what was expected of him at his age in both physical and mental aspects. However, as is so commonly the case among A-classes, less-than-desirable traits began to form in his mind as time went on - a superiority complex started to take hold as a result of his unusual competence, along with general arrogant tendencies that would come to stick with him throughout his life.]]

Narcissus at the Nexus Academy, age 16

True to his mythical namesake, Narcissus was gifted with great physical beauty, and subsequently developed heavily vain and arrogant tendencies, which were amplified by his exceptional scholastic aptitude and ease in manipulating others to his will. His superiority complex and domineering personality were a source of constant tension between him, his peers, and school authorities, and he would sometimes come into conflict with them, the outcome of which more often than not serving only to reinforce his worldview. His instructors would describe him as "exceedingly prideful, egotistic, and disruptive, yet certainly possessed of great talent". Due to this talent, he was placed in advanced education programs aimed at prospective high-ranking class-P citizens, and was eventually sent to the Nexus Academy, located in the eponymous Nexus of Shugara and known for being one of the country's most esteemed schools, where his skills would be refined and put to use in a position of high merit and prestige. It was in this period that his attitude of superiority would be supplemented by a grand sense of vision, and thus transformed into a long-term desire to rule.

Narcissus' charisma and merits made him very well-respected among his peers, but even among the foremost students in Khoronzon, there were few people he saw as his equals, and he had few close friends as a result. Conversely, he was all the more attached to those he did sufficiently respect. One of these, from whom he was virtually inseparable, was Iranon Syorin, a similarly brilliant and self-obsessed aspiring artist and mystic who was training to join the Ministry of Truth. Despite being more academically accomplished than Narcissus, he was something of a delinquent, and spent much of his time ditching classes to take LSD supplied to him by connections from the Ministry and use it to pray, paint murals, and write poems in the alleyways of the outer Nexus. Narcissus often joined him after they met, and would discuss his developing worldview with his intoxicated companion and the rest of their small circle. While nationalistic feelings were ubiquitous in Khoronzon at the time, Narcissus went far beyond the norm, advocating for manifest destiny, idealising war, conquest, and autocracy, and calling for a renewal of the national culture to promote greater unity and purpose. By the time his schooling ended and his conscription began, he had become a strong-intentioned radical, with plans to stir up the status quo and bring the country into a new age.

During his conscription period, Narcissus' extant romanticism of war was further elevated, and he demonstrated a significant level of skill early on in his training. Stationed near the Southern border of his province of Sohna, he participated in various peacekeeping skirmishes against separatist uprisings within the Eastern Sun Conglomerate and was granted decorations for valour and leadership, while on the other side of the conflict, the platoon he gained authority over became the subject of several stories of war crimes, with his unofficial second-in-command Vasilias Lathi, a former low-life turned talented soldier, being especially known for his brutal enthusiasm. By the time his two-year service was complete, he was assigned to work for the Ministry of War at the city of Exorias, and eagerly took to his new post, hoping to build up his new-found influence and use it to set his plans for the future into motion.

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Digital avatar of LUX
OOC credit: Anders Røkkum

The Khoronzonite Emperor at the time of Narcissus' completion of secondary school was Alexius II, part of a continuing line of reformists who sought to ease up relations with the rest of the world and spread the doctrine of Khoronzon through more peaceful means, making compromises with their values in the process. According to Emperor Alexius, the constant state of tension and conflict with outsiders was eating away at the nation, and while he would never fully join their sphere of influence, he wished to make peace and amend Khoronzon's status as an extreme international pariah. This utterly disgusted Narcissus, who believed in uncompromising Khoronzonite world supremacy and hated any form of pacifism and cooperation with the "free world".

Having been promoted to Vice-Overseer of the Ministry of War in Exorias, Narcissus had considerable political influence and rank, which he used to establish a network of dissidents without too much scrutiny from the central government. Emperor Alexius' views were fairly unpopular in the Ministry of War, and it wasn't hard for Narcissus to use his exceptional charisma and radical ideas to stir up his subordinates, aided by his former assistant Vasilias, who became a notorious general in the Army and held the Emperor's policies in equal contempt. Working in parallel with them from across the country was Iranon, who was stationed in Aira for the Ministry of Truth and gained a devoted following of idealistic radicals who were alienated by the administration's discouraging and suppression of their zealotry. Before long, the offices of War and Truth in Exorias and Aira were turned into the headquarters of the upcoming revolution.

Once the first phase of gathering a solid, dedicated base of supporters was deemed adequately complete, Narcissus and his faction moved on to the execution phase of their uprising. Referring to themselves as a singular entity known as LUX, they began actively sabotaging the government from within. Though the Ministry of Order was comparatively difficult to infiltrate and subvert, they nonetheless found crucial support - most notably in I█████ V██████, a highly skilled Surveillant Officer who proved instrumental in shielding the organisation from oversight and seeking out its targets. Together with Vasilias and Iranon, Narcissus put forth the "Manifesto of LUX", which listed a number of plans the organisation had for the Khoronzonite state, including:

- Promotion of unity, conquest, and transcendence as central values of the Khoronzonite national worldview, towards which progress is to be directed.
- Prideful assertion of Khoronzonite cultural and political superiority over the regressive ways of foreign civilisations and their peoples.
- Total eradication from Khoronzonite life of the rights-ideology and any similar humanistic exaltations of the worthless on fabricated moral grounds.
- Unrepentant, unhesitant, and unconditional primacy of Khoronzonite interests above the interests of all other nations.
- Condemnation and punishment as national traitors of all who stand in the way of Khoronzon's destiny.


And punished as traitors they were, as assassination after assassination fell upon the Emperor's most loyal followers. The upper echelons of the government were in turmoil, while LUX continued to gloat, manipulating surveillance systems from within to dodge crackdowns and remain concealed as they flaunted their victories. Meanwhile, preparations were made for their eventual victory and the subsequent restructuring of society under Narcissus' reign. The hybrid android-supercomputer KVN-21 Abaddon, the first ever sentient synthetic being - albeit with sentience derived from being built around a human brain - was constructed for this end, purpose-built over the years of the coup to oversee the new political-economic structure and ensure a swift, smooth transition from Alexius' administration to that of Narcissus. As Alexius' regime grew increasingly cornered, with more and more of Khoronzon's institutions falling under LUX's control and the beginnings of Narcissus' reforms taking effect, the final blow was imminent. One by one, the Ministers were snuffed out of hiding and struck down, and when only the Emperor remained, Narcissus himself would execute him in a public broadcast, announcing his takeover, ending the unrest and promising a new age for Khoronzon.

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Seal of the Ministry of Providence

Narcissus' main goal upon taking power was simple - removing the stains of appeasement and regression and bringing Khoronzon into a new age of progress, discovery, and conquest, as outlined in the Luxist Manifesto which now serves as a somewhat less formal variant of a constitution. To this end, he has taken a number of measures to steer the nation towards his vision, which include:
  • Creating the Trinity System, a combined digital and spiritual management complex "built in" to every Khoronzonite citizen through microchips and religious initiation, divided into three parts - the Guardian Network under the Ministry of Order, for mass surveillance and internal government monitoring; the Oversight Network under the Ministry of Providence*, for economic planning and organisation; and Spirit Web under the Ministry of Truth, for spiritual conditioning through the psychic "links" created by Initiation, and to solidify the psionic capabilities of the populace - this last branch resulted in a significant increase in the Ministry of Truth's political influence, elevating it above the other Ministries

    • *Creating the Ministry of Providence by merging the Ministries of Vitality, Transportation, Infrastructure, and Labour, turning them into departments and placing Abaddon as the new Minister

  • Significantly loosening various restrictions on scientific research and spiritual initiatives, primarily ethical in nature, in order to promote accelerated advancement and empowerment

    • Within science, promoting major advances in the field of genetic engineering, aimed at the development of advanced bio-constructs and the improvement of Khoronzonite physiology

    • Within religious "extrascience", besides amplifying psionics through the creation of the Spirit Web, using the newly empowered Ministry of Truth to refine and enhance the practice of theurgy through █████████ ██ █████ █████

  • Expanding the military and enacting sweeping modernisation programs across all branches

  • Extensively developing high-speed rail networks to allow for greater connectivity and more efficient resource distribution across the country


In progress...

Political Opinions

"Our socialism seeks not to end oppression across the world, or bring about an age of love and peace between all races of humanity. Our socialism is the means by which we will become the world's oppressors; it is a great cudgel, formed of the whole of the people, with which we will crush those who stand in our way."

Narcissus' political thought has colloquially been termed "Luxism", originating from the days of the coup while he was operating under the LUX collective pseudonym, presented at the time as a radical new strain of thought to counter the weakness and decay of the existing state ideology. It may also be thought of as a set of overarching plans, both short-term and long-term, that Narcissus envisions for the Khoronzonite nation. On a more base level, it can be described as highly militaristic, nationalist, and centralist state socialism, with emphasis on manifest destiny expansionism, a consequentialist view of morality, and hierarchical council-based stratification of societal roles determined by demonstrated, state-evaluated competence and specialisation, to be actualised through computer-assisted mass micromanagement. On a more esoteric level, the doctrine of Luxism is one of world conquest and transcendence of the unified Khoronzonite people beyond mere humanity into a new stage of being almost akin to a colonial super-organism, destined to rule over the Earth and beyond, through social, genetic, and religious-psionic engineering.


In progress...
    Pro and Anti
    • Pro: war, violence, ultranationalism, expansionism, autarky, world conquest, eugenics, socialism*, bullet trains, space colonisation, scientific progress, theocracy, extravagance, vanity, unitarism, ethnic homogeneity, social engineering, nuclear power, social credit scoring, AI planning, transhumanism, consequentialism

    • Mixed/neutral: environmentalism, gun control, gunboat diplomacy, recreational drugs, essentialism

    • Anti: peace, democracy, private property, feudalism, decentralisation, communism*, primitivism, ethical limitations, human rights, international cooperation, religious freedom, individualism, cosmopolitanism, humanism, moral absolutism

    * Socialism vs communism in this context means a planned economy (in his case, centrally planned by the state) without private property and surplus value extraction on the one hand vs fully-actualised Marxism without nationality or stratification on the other. Narcissus would be considered a communist by many, but this would technically be inaccurate, and he generally rejects the notion. Additionally, like most historical Khoronzonite leaders, he has never expressed any sort of ambition or aim to eventually establish something similar to "true" communism.





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An untitled artwork by Narcissus
OOC credit: H. R. Giger

Narcissus resides in the Apex section of the Imperial Cathedral, a large fortress in the heart of Shugara's Nexus that also houses the rest of the Inner Circle and serves as a major religious and administrative centre. During periods when he is not occupied by various duties, he usually tends to spend time with his Inner Circle, by himself, or with his numerous pets, his favourite of which is a genetically engineered aberrant creature known as Khimaira. He is known to be a proficient organ player, and the Imperial Cathedral features one tailored to his proportions, which he occasionally records himself playing on special broadcasts for the public; he also engages in visual art, usually in the form of digital drawings, and tends to favour surrealism and abstraction, as he often considers realistic depiction-art to be "mundane" and "lacking vision". He is, however, significantly less prolific in either of these pursuits than Iranon Syorin, and despite his notorious ego, he considers them to be the latter's specialty rather than his own.

Appearance

Narcissus is considered by Khoronzonites to be extremely beautiful, with long, flowing black hair, scarlet eyes, and virtually flawless porcelain skin. His face is chiseled and slightly gaunt, with noticeable cheekbones and somewhat sunken eyes. As an unaugmented man, he was of above-average height and rather slim build; following his enhancements, he has become bulkier and more muscular, yet retains his slender appearance due to his outlandish height. His arms and legs have both been significantly elongated, as were his feet, which now serve as an additional segment for his legs; in addition, his fingers are considerably longer, and end in retractable claws that can extend up to five centimetres. In very rare occasions where foreigners look upon him, they typically see him as a freakish mutant, but Khoronzonites view his "exotic" appearance as further cause for admiration, as his greatness being on a different level from humanity is reflected in his inhuman yet sublime aspect.

As befitting his personality, Narcissus' clothing of choice varies from lavish, extravagant pieces to form-fitting, minimalistic designs to show himself off; regardless of style, his attire is near-invariably meticulously tailored to accentuate his silhouette. He tends to favour extremes when it comes to colouring - pitch black and brilliant white, nothing in between, often accentuated with streaks of vivid red and gold which usually take the form of adornments and jewelry. While he uses makeup somewhat more liberally than most, he still prefers not to be overly excessive, limiting himself to heavy black and red eyeshadow. At the centre of his forehead, he bears a carving of a simplified Khoronzonite sigil, though this is usually concealed by either his hair or a jeweled diadem.

Khimayra, Narcissus' favourite pet

Abilities

Following his augmentations, Narcissus has become immensely strong, fast, and resilient. He is capable of running at up to 85km/h over short distances, withstanding most small arms fire, punching holes in brick walls, and even lifting small cars. His new legs came at the cost of a small degree of balance, which he considers a worthwhile tradeoff, finding the exhilaration of speed to be preferable to easier stability. On top of brute resilience, he also possesses fairly advanced regenerative capabilities, with relatively minor wounds closing within minutes, while severe injuries such as lost limbs can be recovered from in days or weeks.

He has a sort of symbiotic relationship with Khimaira, and can fuse with it in order to exacerbate his abilities. In this state, he can regenerate at vastly higher speeds, project tendrils from his skin and mouth, freely dislocate his joints, and "melt" and reshape features out of his skin in a manner similar to his pet, on top of gaining further strength and stamina. He prefers not to employ this outside of utter necessity, as it tends to cause exhaustion and pain, often leaves Khimaira inert for extended periods of time, and sometimes results in injury as wounds closed with Khimaira's assistance may occasionally reopen upon it exiting his body. Research is still underway to further facilitate and improve the process, to make Narcissus and Khimaira true symbiotes.

Personality

In progress...







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"Do I believe in equality? Of course not. A society of equals is like a sheet of metal; shaped by the overwhelming force of a central will, it becomes a spearhead. Even when the bloodlines of old have been consumed and scrambled by machinery, even when all have been made to live for the whole and the whole alone, equality remains but a fever dream of the downtrodden. I intend to do the treading, and I will not answer to those I tread upon."
- On egalitarianism

"In some ways I suppose I could be called [a Marxist], though just about every proper Marxist in existence would call me a fascist traitor and a revisionist. Not that I mind - that's precisely what I am. I couldn't care less about their visions of 'global emancipation'. The destiny of humanity is to be trampled under the boot of the New Khoronzonite, not to live in some egalitarian world haven."
- On Marxism

"Contrary to what some may believe, I do actually go on hunts that don't involve butchering thralls in Shugara's pits. While those are admittedly fun, I find more "conventional" hunts to be more exhilarating - by which I mean going alone into the woods to test my augmented capabilities against local megafauna. It makes me feel like a vicious predator, in a way very few things do."
- On hunting

"Providing for the needs of the citizenry does not mean allowing weakness or uselessness - quite the contrary. If certain elements within the nation lack the means to be productive, strong, and dignified, they should be given them, and compelled to use them to their fullest extent. Anything less would be a disgrace to the whole."
- On welfare

"In a perfect world, every man would be his own political commissar. But we don't live in a perfect world, and it takes a few such as him to lift everyone else up and push them forward. It's no small feat, holding your cause close to your heart through the worst of times and reminding your other comrades why they must press on."
- On his father

"Believe me, I wish I could call myself a God-Emperor. Being considered an almost-demigod doesn't have the same gravitas to it. I just don't quite deserve the full title. For now, at least..."
- On divine rule

"There's always a way out of degenerated leadership if you have the competence and bravery for it."
- A helpful life tip from the Emperor

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- While fragments of the Outer One's "true name" have damaging or otherwise distorting effects on reality if uttered aloud - though this is technically impossible for conventional vocalisation - Narcissus is capable of warping his surroundings to a small degree simply by stating its simplified name, Ahxh, in basic Ashkhorol. He has seemingly always had this capability, and while it doesn't have much of a practical purpose outside of making his speeches more intimidating, it does raise questions as to the true nature of his being.

- He enjoys equestrianism and has a personal Ashva mount, specifically engineered to suit his proportions, named Proioxis. It can sustain incredibly high speeds over long distances, with a top sprinting speed of 153km/h, and overall is quite easily the most formidable Ashva specimen in existence. It lives in a fortified stable in the Nexus Cathedral, and is often kept sedated through rituals and generous application of heavy-duty drugs.

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Approved by the Ministry of Order
Department of Archives and Record Storage


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