Created as a weapon by the ancient sorceror-primotologists of the Iron Triangle Nation, the Cutsman still stalks the underhalls of the city of Mehxaiyul, a spectre of blood and blades.
The Cutsman, In Short
The Cutsman is humanoid in its outlines, and in the dark (its most common habitat), or from a great distance, it resembles a very tall (it stands about 7 feet tall), thin man wearing very strange armor- armor seemingly composed of blades.
However, closer proximity to the Cutsman reveals that it is not at all a man, and it is questionable as to whether there is anything left in this bizarre and murderous entity that even approximates humanity.
The creature's seven-foot-tall frame seems elongated and spindly- if it were indeed a man, it would be a spindly, emaciated one. It carries itself in an odd posture, its shoulders stooped and its legs bowed so that it resembles a kind of fiendish ape.
The creature's flesh is hidden from head to foot in an elaborate 'armor', a very unique armor indeed- for the Cutsman's armor is made entirely of overlapping hinged blades, of various sizes and shapes, like a thousand pairs of rusty, chipped scissors, shears, calipers, knives, scalpels, saws, and other blades for which there is no conventional description. Some snap together like fins, others are layered like scales, and others simply hang together to form intricate multi-layered plates. The blades are arranged across the Cutsman's body like plates of armor- a large section covering its pectoral region and stomach, its legs and arms, its upper chest and neck, and other minor collections in other regions.
In the interstices of this scissor-armor, violet-pink flesh can be seen, looking puffy and irritated. Jagged, dark-purple veins can be seen standing up against the skin, trembling with the force of the Cutsman's racing blood. Trickles of blood well and drip from an infinite multitude of small cuts which lace the creature's skin.
The creature's elongated, blade-cased arms end in horrible claws, each of the six talons a scissor-blade or curved knife. These 'hands', if they can be called such, are the monster's primary weapon, and it wields them like a man wields a sword, though with the inhuman dexterity and speed necessary to dice a human being into shreds.
The Cutsman's head is elongated and strangely-shaped, rather more like that of an insectile creature or a huge mantis than a human. It's face is encased in a smooth, dull mask of iron. There are no visible openings or indentations in this mask, nor any indication of how the creature sees or senses its way, save for a thin line straight down the center of the mask, and the stamp of an ancient and complicated primotological symbol whose meaning is lost (though sorcerors and those studied in symbology may perhaps percieve a connection to Injjrag Hruy, the Hidden Path of Frozen Stars).
It has been reported by those few who have who have encountered the Cutsman and lived that the crease down the center of the mask is, in fact, a line of division- the Cutsman's mask was reported to split open like the wing-casings of a beetle (or, perhaps more aptly, like scissors) to reveal its true face, something so unbelievably abominable that it drove men mad to look upon it.
On the back of this mask there are three pairs of blades forming a fan-like shape, like a bizarre headdress made of scissors.
All over the monster's body, coating its blades, claws, and spines with a dull stain, is dried blood, both ancient and new, both its own and that of its victims. More gruesome souvenirs of the Cutsman's run-ins often adorn its blades, such as severed portions of its slain foes and the ropy remnants of their ichors and organs. In places upon the Cutsman's body, strange mosses and fungi grow, coating small portions of the monster's surface with alien encrustations.
The thing's smell is abominable, a combination of rotting human flesh, strange ichor and the unnatural scents of alchemical raegents and pleromatic emanations, and an indefinable tang which reminds all who smell it of something unnameable.
Though the creature moves fairly silently, when it comes closer, the sound of squeaking metal and squelching flesh, coupled with a noxious insectoid buzz which seems to follow the creature everywhere.
Origin of the Cutsman
Buried deep within the underhalls and endless catacombs which lie beneath the city of Mehxaiyul in Ozhun, below the sub-basements, cesspools, and cisterns of the city, below the heavy, fortress-like arches and pillars of the ruins of the Commanderies and the super-intricate, heavily-carven and glyphed architecture of the late Yorae Dynasty (marked with the sharp-edged, webbed, masculine glyphs of that empire of antiquity), there lie the crumbling, nearly-vanished ruins of the Iron Triangle Nation.
In this stratum of the underhalls of Mehxaiyul, buried within layer upon layer of iron-reinforced stone, and layed out according to complex pleromatic factors, there is an ancient vault, its innermost walls made of a strange, black, frictionless stone, marked with the ancient ecsoi-spiral glyphs of the Iron Triangle Nation (which sages, for the most part, have yet to translate). This black chamber, not entered by human beings in over 1,400 years, was the High Laboratory-Shrine of the Sorceror-Primotologists.
The horror known as the Cutsman began here, over a thousand years ago. The Iron Triangle Nation, in its endless war against the Six-Fingered Lords of Djunzul (in the days following the Great Curse, these loathsome and half-human lords, the progeny of miscegenation between men and a strange primordial race of armored amphibians, established their tyranny over the southern coasts of Bukdek), enlisted the aid of the sorceror-primotologists, masters of the mystical science of primotology and of the ways of magic, scientists of the pleromatic flows and the strange paths of the mystical emanations. These sorcerors brought forth many strange and wondrous magics, and recreated wonders of science and magic not seen since the Great Curse changed the world and brought an end to the age of the savage war-kings.
In the time of the fifth war against the Six-Fingered Lords, a new and mysterious project was begun in the Laboratory-Shrine. It was not strange for the doors of the great laboratory complex to be shut, or for its towers to be unlighted for weeks, but there were other signs of something strange occuring within the Laboratory.
During this time, the leader of the sorceror-primotologists and the unquestioned master of the Laboratory-Shrine was the Master-Abbot Hllunchul the Crimson Dunzyuc. Myanxha's The Blue Histories (one of three remaining texts which give any idea of the history and travails of the Iron Triangle Nation, which remains shrouded in mystery) describe the Master-Abbot as a primotologist non pareil and a devotee of Enoe, the Beetle God of the Blue Mask (who the modern Ozhuniyac consider to be a greater aspect and an avatar of one of their bizarre gods), and thus kept strange hours and stranger customs. He is described as a cold and unloving man, a man of hard stares and humorless frowns, who found companionship not among fellow men but among tomes, charts, statues, and shrines, who found fascination only in the alien trajectories of the primotological paths and the serpentine cycles of pleromatic symbols, in the invocation of strange otherworld gods and in the chiming of the magician's bells, in the science of the chill stars and the invisible worlds and planes beyond mankind's natural understanding.
It was the Master-Abbot who had conceived of the new project of the sorceror-primotologists, a grandiose theory which he submitted to the almighty leaders of the Iron Triangle Nation. He provided them the assurance that 'within a year, the Six-Fingered Lords shall tremble before our power'.
The plan was more than just ambitious, however. Within the depths of the Laboratory, the Master-Abbot, along with a hand-picked cadre of primotologists, had begun to create a god.
Hllunchul's plan called for the synthesis of life through primotology, the use of the mystic sciences to create a post-mortal frame, and the infusion of this frame with pleromatic essence. This body was to be arranged and arrayed so that it could control and reorder the pleroma, more than any human being's ability without the use of sorcery, implanted with ancient machines to strengthen it against the power of the pleroma it wielded. With this god-thing, the Iron Triangle Nation would have a potent weapon, a trump card with which to smash and finally conquer the Six-Fingered Ones.
But Hllunchul had ulterior motives. For Hllunchul, Master-Abbot of the Primotologists, was not only a cold and cruel man, and a devotee of sorcery, but also a power-hungry, ambitious, devious, and calculating mastermind, a Machiavellian plotter who sought to take the throne of the Iron Triangle Nation for himself. His plan was this: he would create this powerful new being, a being under his own control; with its power, he would lay to waste the Six-Fingered Lords, and then he would turn upon the Iron Triangle Nation itself, using his god-thing to take power for himself and create a new nation ruled by a nobility of primotologists, with himself as enlightened autarch.
The primotologists gathered their ingredients. In secret, they prepared their sacred laboratory, laying down ritual designs and purifying the space. They called upon Li'mul, the Yellow Plane of Experiments, to rise in concordance with their mortal dimension and emanate into their doings. Then, they began.
The first months of the project entailed the growing of what was to be the body of the creature. Using the corpse of a beheaded man and the remnants of an aborted foetus, they created a general frame. They grew, constructed, and also summoned alien and bizarre organs, and created a necrotronic frame in which the human parts and alien portions combined into a hideous mass. This frame was immersed in a strange fluid, two parts liquid skimmed from the Pits of Dajjal in far-off Tsanra, one part human blood, and one part pleromatic sciofluid brewed in the cauldrons of the primotologists themselves.
When their hideous embryo had become ready, the fluid was drained, and the twitching, tentacular mass of veins and arms and ropy, sticky flesh (barely recognizable as having human outlines) was hauled with hooks into the specially-consecrated chamber, where the cruel machine-tools of the primotologists began their work. Dissecting the man-mass, they began to implant the mysterious machines gleaned from the days before the Great Curse.
More denigrations and bizarre rituals followed- the Invocation of Hnur'ggul the Nine-Handed, the calling upon of the powers of many strange gods and beings of the Outer World, many blessings and invocations of strange planes, dimensions, and emanations, the infusion of the corpus with pleromatic energies and the alignment of its aura, and then, finally, the fashioning of the creature's armor.
After months of work, the creature's semi-solid body was loaded into the Pleromatic Oven of Xyichul, where, as it the interstices of its gooey body howled and released alien screams, the bladed armor (meant to align and distribute its pleromatic essence in the most effective way) was sealed onto its body, melting flesh and metal together into one mass so that it would never again be free of the terrible pain of the armor.
The creature, still screaming and howling, flailing in agony, was locked down, and upon its abominable countenance (which no primotologist looked upon, for fear of madness, though they as sorcerors had witnessed things which made normal men gibber with insanity) was pressed down a mask of hot metal, joined forever with the bizarre muscles of its face.
The god-thing, then silenced, was then slid into a heavy iron casket. Through the center of the casket was driven a huge consecrated sorcerous rod. This would be the final infusion, performed beyond the eyes of any man, carried out by otherworldly servitors and emanations so that no man would have to witness what they would subject their newborn weapon to.
The doors of the inner laboratory opened. Out of it stumbled the sorceror-primotologists, led by the Master-Abbot Hllunchul the Crimson Dunzyuc, all pale and coated in perspiration, shaken to the core by the horrors which they had witnessed in the creation of the thing within.
But as they entered the main courtyard of the Laboratory-Shrine, they heard a shrieking noise from within their laboratory. The Master-Abbot turned and gazed within, and new instantly that the experiments had failed, that his plan had failed.
With a gasp, he died.
The abomination was upon them.
The Cutsman Into the Darkness
The primotologists and Hllunchul payed the ultimate price for their hubris; their failure to produce a man-god produced instead a manmade demon, a hideous thing full of rage and hatred and self-loathing.
The monster they had created had been conscious, unbeknownst to them, since they had hauled it from its broth of life, watching each cruelty and denigration with each of the thousand thousand eyes upon its flesh and with each of its strange inhuman senses. It had known pain and torture in the uncaring hands of sorcery, mutated by primotology and swollen with energies of which it had no understanding.
As the hideous thing lay skewered within its iron cask, its rage exploded. With inhuman strength, it tore loose the lid and pulled the spear from its chest. It lay waste to the Laboratory-Shrine of the sorceror-primotologists and with terrible vengeance slew them all in a three-day blood feast, hunting each sorceror through the locked Laboratory (for only Hllunchul knew the keyword to unlock the magically-sealed gates) and tearing them apart, devouring their remains to sate its hatred.
This horror could not be concealed from the outside city. Knowing that a strange terror was taking place inside, and having no love for sorcery, they were not unhappy to block up the gates of the Laboratory forever, blasting apart the bridge which led to its doors. Soon afterward, news came to the capitol of the massacre of the sorceror-primotologists by some wayward creation of sorcery; the lords of the Iron Triangle Nation were only too happy to destroy the citadel of the primotologists, burying forever the secrets of those nighted halls.
But there remained one within the ruins of the citadel who lived beyond the destruction of its creators. Lurking in the darkness, the creature stalked the crumbling halls of the locked up Laboratory-Shrine.
Some have said, since those days, even beyond the fall of the Yorae and the rejuvenation of the society of the Ozhuniyac, that the Cutsman is the vengeance of the Iron Triangle Nation against the Yorae usurpers. Others say that the creature is the ghost of a fallen warrior, forever bearing the blades that slew him.
All know, however, that the Cutsman is murderous and unstoppable. With inhuman celerity and demonic strength, the creature haunts the undercity of Mehxaiyul, roaming the ancient halls and ruins where now only the bravest dare to explore.
The creature is childlike in intellect, consumed with self-loathing and sadness, but unable to reach out to the humans who it meets (who react to the bloodstained apparition of knives and flesh with horror), it is also filled with an all-consuming hatred of mankind. Its simple brain is unable to reconcile the notion that the beings who tortured it are not the same as those who recoil from it in terror, and thus, it murders all who come near it.
Animals, however, are spared the creature's deadly blandishments. The Cutsman does not recognize them, and even when attacked by them, responds to them with a childlike wonder, seeking to discover what manner of being they are; more often than not, these attempts end in tragedy, feeding the furnace of the Cutsman's self-hatred.
Paradoxically, perhaps, the creature also sometimes apes the rituals and behaviors of the people who once dwelt in the silent halls it now stalks, standing at crumbling market-alcoves as if observing produce, bowing before faceless statues of forgotten gods and offering blood at their altars, walking the streets and nodding its head as if in recognition of a passerby. The monster has no need for sleep but still sometimes lies or sits within ancient houses in imitation of the restful.
The Cutsman retains none of the power which it was constructed to wield. Untutored in the ways of using this power, the Cutsman has no other weapons but its deadly body, but thus far, this has been enough.
Only a century after its creation, a blink in the lifespan of the immortal horror locked within the ruins, the crumbling Iron Triangle Nation was brought low, invaded by another power, that of the great empire of the Yorae Dynasty. Sweeping over the land with dragon banners at their head and armed with the might of the entire western land, they destroyed the cities of the Iron Triangle, razed them to the ground, and built their mighty priestly cities upon them, piling cyclopean monuments and ecumenical fortresses upon the ancient remnants.
Through the underhalls of the new and great pious city of the Yorae conquerors strode the blade-skinned terror, the creature which would soon be known as the Man of Blades, the Knife Demon, the terrible and feared Cutsman.
This quest is Unique Lifeforms, jadies and lentilmen. I'm sure somewhere, in some world, you've got a creature that is the only one of it's kind. It's freak convention time! You'll get ten extra shiny XP for submitting, plus a shot at the coveted Strolen Medal of Honor.
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? Responses (18)
I turn it over to the harsh light of day.
I apologize, Cutsman, prepare to be ridiculed.
Another amazing tour-de-force from Captain Penguin's twisted imagination. Enough tantalizing details in the backstory to build an entire campaign around, names that suggest a mysterious Mesoamerican realm, and a creature that oozes horror and pathos from eveery tortured inch of its being.
Of course, we WILL mock it; the lesser lights always mock the greater, even as they are pulled into its orbit...
I salute thee, captain, for setting this loose upon the citadel.
Aah, the betrayer is betrayed by the creature he was going to use to do the betrayal!
There are two points of this submission that I like most: First bieng the fact that the Cutsman was 'awake' during it's macabre creation, and I especially like how it mimics the remnants of its creators, right down to kneeling before statues and sleeping.
I'd both love and hate to be in a roleplay where the party is slowly walking through these deserted, bloodstained halls, and they turn a corner to see this blademan knelt before the statue of a god, softly gargling and chirring a prayer.
The Man of Blades. The Knife Demon... The terrible and feared CUTSMAN!
'Aah, the betrayer is betrayed by the creature he was going to use to do the betrayal!'
Hahaha, I like that. :D
Six-Fingered Lords, Primatologists-sweet names! quite evocative!
The Cutsman reminds me of Bloody Smile a bit in tone and texture. However, one has nothing to do with the other so that doesnt affect my vote. I dont know why I say this, but its a tad long. You seem to want to tell us the tale of an entire world and era, and while the world and era rock(!!) in the detail and atmosphere, its dunno...a tad long for a lifeform, I think. But again, that is a 'cosmetic' critique. The content is great!
Man, what a tale!
Yeah, I was worrying that it might be a tad unwieldy, but as they say, the die is cast.
It is a tad unwieldy, but it comes in such a wonderous package that it is forgiven. The names are a bit exotic, but very evocative. The write up has drama and is fully explained. (aside: It has the makings of a good videogame with you trapped in an area with the Cutsman, running for your life trying to rig a trap for this thing.)
There are some tiny format issues (lacking in some line feeds between a few of the paragraphs) marring a beautiful post.
For once, a creature that I really feel sorry for. If someone cast a Heal Spell on it then it might make friends with them.
Interesting, sort of like Spawn meets Frankenstein's Monster meets the Outsider from Dean Koontz' The Watchers. While a tad long, it is an engrossing read and the names are pure Penguin. I am beginning to grow fond or pleromancy and sciofluids, primotologists and all of that. I am impressed.
I'm trying to strike the right balance between making magic seem bizarre, mystical, and ritualistic and making it seem alchemistic, scientific, sort of like technobabble is used in the modern age.
Teheh. Muro calls it 'long' but would call it a short submission if he posted it.
That aside it's a aboslutely wonderful submission.
Well. Under all the garnishings it is a golem gone wrong - the traditional tale of how the creation turns against the creator, as sort of a punishment for his selfish motives. The first golem tale I am aware of featured these motifs already.
It is an excellently written golem, with lots of background, but a golem still.
I beg to differ, though only on one point- in the 'first' golem story (though not the very first story of an artificial being), the Hebrew one, the golem does not, in fact, turn against its creator.
But anyway, whatever.
Releasing this sucker will require a bit more than players can provide. There would be kingdom-wide devastation if this bugger got loose. Better for everybody involved if they just left it alone...till it's inevitable escape anyway.
(How do I miss these...)
Oh Captain my Captain
Your twisted tale is through...
I tried to be critical, I even tried to be petty, it just didn't work.
I have to say, this is one of those things that makes gaming worth it.
I stand in awe of the horror that is the cutsman. Seven years it has sat without comment, but no more. A 5/5 and an hoh for you.
If the Cutsman were a book, the back of it wouldn't be too impressive. But the DETAILS of it are amazing. The prose is good, the world is great, the mood is perfect, and the location is ideal. 4.5/5