death_gone_mad: Shhh (Default)
It's been a while, and Canon plus Word of God has revealed some new details. It's time I update this journal with new lies about Amascut.

Powers and Immortality

Amascut is most definitely a goddess. What this means is not exactly known, though. Gods, according to canon, are immortal, yet they can be killed using one of the Elder Artifacts, tools used by the Elder Gods to create and shape the multiverse. The local neighborhood of the universes, anyhow. Amascut and her brother Icthlarin are unique among the Young Gods, however, as they did not attain godhood by killing another god or by prolonged exposure to the power of the Elder Artifacts. The twin aspects of death were born gods (if the canon if the Kharidian religion is reliable). Their adopted siblings, Het, Crondis, Apmeken, and Scabaras are also unique, as they were granted godhood by their and Amascut's father Tumeken. But, it probably doesn't effect their immortality or lack of it. Even then, death via an Elder Artifact is not a sure thing, as at least one god has escaped such a death by giving up his physical form and going incorporeal.

Still, I have written Amascut as possesing a human body that is not extraordinarily invulnerable, at least not anymore invulnerable than a human. But, since she is/once was a goddess of rebirth she has divine regenerative abilities. She has so far come back from an atomic explosion at close range and self-immolation using her own very destructive powers. So what are her godly domains? It used to be Death, Physical Rebirth, guiding the body into the afterlife, and bringing death through life where her brother's were Death, Spiritual Rebirth, guiding the soul into the afterlife, and bringing life through death. Amascut has renounced her role as Goddess of Rebirth, through, and is now goddess of Death, Destruction, and Slaying/Exterminating.

In relation to the other gods in her canon, Amascut and Icthlarin, godly children of the gods, lie on the second lowest power tier, above the tier where godly creations of the gods, such as Het, Crondis, Apmeken, and Scabaras or Avatars of the gods rest. Where this puts Amascut in relation to other gods and anthropomorphic representations at [community profile] milliways_bar is unknown, of course.

Being at such a low power tier still means she can wield immense power, which has mostly manifested itself as fire based magic, intense searing columns of light from the sky, and mind control/body control/memory alteration psychic-like powers. It's odd that stories about the actual god of power and control never say he wielded such powers.
Appearance

Amascut has been described on separate occasions as handsome and statuesque. Amascut is most likely vain about her appearance as she has never disguised as someone not young and not beautiful. She is around 5'11" tall with a very athletic build. However, there are some jarring details to her appearance that can be noticed from afar but are less noticeable from up close due to some perception/attention alteration hoodoo she has got going on at close ranges. She is dark skinned, and how dark can depend on her disguise, but has red hair. She has red irises which usually go unnoticed (and unmentioned by me) because of the perception/attention alteration hoodoo usually effects all the people close enough to see the color of her eyes anyhow.

She usually wears dresses, and they tend to be of the ankle length, free flowing and light type. She also prefers sandals but because of the Milliways clime, she keeps boots in her room upstairs for the colder months. She also keeps (and sells) boots at home, but those are for different purposes.

As for her smell... she may have a slight odor of a dead cat about her which she tries to hide. Aura wise, she is a divine being connected to death, but she tries to tone that down to a nondescript feeling of unnatural power for those sensitive to auras and such.
LIES

Amascut introduces herself as Sarah Black in [community profile] milliways_bar (if she ever gets around to it), an odds and ends merchant who teaches various arts of combat on the side. It might be harder to get her to admit that some of those odds and ends are weapons and ammunition. Well, most.

As for the goddess Amascut herself, she is supposed to be cursed. No one is supposed to be able to remember her name, although priests that tend to the worshipers of the Menaphite Pantheon seem to have no problem remembering her name. Neither does anyone important to plot. Names, memories, and attention are power for the gods, and its easy to see why Amascut's ex-followers would want to curse her so that the world would not remember her name. Yet, something must be perpetuating the myth that the curse stuck.

Amascut is not above erasing other people's memories, especially memories about herself. She is perpetuating the myth about the curse on her name by using memories of her name as inroads to other people's minds and devouring memories as she sees fit.

Another aspect of the curses upon her is that she is not supposed to be able to posses a body for any useful length of time. Neite, her ex-High Priestess, assures the player that Amascut will be forced out of her current body any day now. Or any year now. The curse worked, and it still works, Amascut didn't break it. However, if Amascut is pressed for information on the curses, she will say that she is trapped in her present body by the curse. It is a more believable lie.
death_gone_mad: Shhh (Default)
So, few pieces of lore pertaining to Amascut from the new quest:

Amascut and Icthlarin stood at the Gates of the Underworld on the far side of the river that divides the Realm of the Dead, Noumenon. Icthlarin would shepherd all souls through the Underworld and to the Afterlife, but to the worthy Amascut would offer reincarnation as an alternative. It is Death's responsibility to take souls to the bridge over the Noumenon, and it was up to Icthlarin and Amascut to decide what to do after the soul crossed the bridge.

As it currently stands, only Icthlarin waits at the gate. Amascut has populated the Underworld with devourer beasts that consume wayward souls, so now it seems the gates function to keep the beasts in the Underworld and out of the rest of the Realm of the Dead. The Afterlife still lies beyond the Gates and the beast-filled Underworld, so Icthlarin's job of shepherding souls across the Underworld is still important but much more perilous.

Icthlarin still hopes that Amascut can be redeemed.

Speculation: This could entangle Amascut in the respawn game mechanic and the importance of the player character. The mention of the devourer beasts might legitimize the Spirit Beast/Corporeal Beast as one of Amascut's pets as well. There was a lot of speculation in the weeks before the Spirit of Summer quest update that Amascut was the Devourer draining away the ghosts in the wilderness.
death_gone_mad: An angry Sphynx cat (hiss)
Yay! Canon! Accessible canon!

I have complained in the past that one of the most important sources on Amascut's backstory was inaccessible to me since, well, I am too cheap to pay for a runescape membership especially since I don't give myself the time to actually play the game. So I have been relying on other players to bring that aspect of canon to me.

I am talking specifically about Neite, a cat that wanders around Sophanem, and after A Tail of Two Cats, the world. She's important to Amascut's backstory because she was one of Amascut's last chief priestesses and she was present at Amascut's 'fall'. Anyway, some kind soul has posted Neite's dialog during A Tail of Two Cats on the wikia, so here it is incase the copyright bugaboo revisits the wikia and causes the deletion of the dialog and transcript pages.

Neite )

So, the curses that Amascut's priestesses put on her are: Her name is forgotten, any corporeal form that she wears will eventually reject her, and she will never have willing worshippers. Her deeds will be remembered, though. However, it seems that Amascut has overcome these handicaps, as the people of the desert remember both her deeds and her name and she does have a few willing minions who are under no illusion about who she is. This may also be her motivation for her actions during Stolen Hearts and Diamond in the Rough. But who knows until more desert centered canon comes out.

Here I note that Neite is another name for Nit, the Egyptian goddess of the primordial waters, war, hunting, and weaving. She also protects the bodies of fallen warriors, much like Amascut was supposed to, and kind of what Neite and all cats in Runescape are supposed to do, at least against Amascut. Neite was sometimes depicted as a woman with the head of a lioness, simular to Sekhmet, another war goddess, and of course Amascut herself, who is probably Sekhmet inspired. Neite seems to be a creative war goddess, where Sekhmet is a destructive war godess, though.

It's funny how the names of Egyptian dieties come up in Runescape. Heru and Apep have shown up as Amascut's lackeys, and Khnum (Egyptian Niete's consort, one of them at least) was contracted by Amascut (in her Lady Keli guise [which some players insist is a reference to Kali]) to kidnap Prince Ali in Stolen Hearts. Heru, ironically, is another name for Horus, who is probably the inspiration for Tumeken, Amascut's father. Or maybe Tumeken is Ra inspired. Who knows, the superficial difference between Ra and Horus seems to be how primordial Ra is and some players speculate that Tumeken may be one of the Elder Gods for his ability to father and create gods, something that the other gods haven't done (save for Elidinis, Amascut and Icthlarin's mother, technically)

Researching the Egyptian Neite and her primordial-ness made me think of Kali and the primordial-ness attributed to her, as the goddess of time, destroyer of all things, or the inaccessable Durga. And the weaving and creativity and warriorish-ness of Neite reminded me of Athena, another crafty warrior goddess. These goddesses of the hunt and warrior goddesses are neat, but they always seem to be wrapped up in so much mystery. It makes me wonder what was happening with the Indo-Europeans at the time of the Æsuric-Devic split. That seems like a magical time in the history of humanity, almost. If only I had a time machine.

Of course, these are not goddesses of marriage, or women who settled down, so, INSTANT MYSTERY!

Anyway, the change of heart with regard to potential copyright violation by the runescape wikia editors has also led to the dialog of the dead slayer master Catolax to be written up as well, and it contains the following Amascut related canon.

Catolax )

This bit specifically justifies that area of effect aura of ignorance that I have written Amascut as wearing. And I wrote it in without knowing this particular part of canon. Yay me! Of course, there are clues about it. The player knows who Amascut is and what she is and what she has done, and that Sumona is just a disguise. But the player forgets all that when he is talking to Sumona, even over long distances through the Slayer Gems or the NPC Contact Spell. Such is the power that she possesses.

Note that the game's devs love playing with the idea of perspectives and the filters people will put on reality, so no NPC wil ever know or tell the absolute capital T TRUTH.
death_gone_mad: Shhh (Default)
wait, I knew about [community profile] daemonmuses already? It was in my autocomplete.

Anyhow, in case I want to stick Amascut into [community profile] daemonmuses, her daemon is a male spotted hyena named Yandu. from Hausa Daemonology, a demon notorious for causing paralysis, most times a black hyena (a genus to which superstition grants the ability to mute dogs anyhow), but sometimes a legendary blacksmith who killed his enemies by cracking open their skulls and who crafted the kankara (thunderstones). Can be appeased by the sacrifice of a bird of a specific color and gender, according to the demon's whimsy.

That being said, here's some potential backstory that bubbled up in crackchat:
an amusing thought re:settling. Amascut's daemon spent so much time as a lion when Amascut was young that everyone was sure he would settle that way, but, nope, hyena.
death_gone_mad: Shhh (Default)
contumaciousFelidae
mnemonicPhagocyte

CF: >.< I AM NOT A FUCKING CAT I AM NOT A FUCKING CAT I AM NOT A FUCKING CAT!
MP: WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS THING?

Timeline

Feb. 5th, 2011 02:01 am
death_gone_mad: Shhh (Default)
Read more... )






<tr>
<td>0</td><td>Second Age</td><td>-</td><td>Event</td>
</tr>
death_gone_mad: Amascut raises her eyebrow at you, you weirdo (dubious)
Said stuff

Marrentil is an herb which has the same effect on gods as catnip has on cats. Amascut, being formerly a very catlike goddess, is doubly affected. Ohgodiloveyouletmerubyouallovermyface*frothsfrommouth*

Marrentil, in Runescape canon, when burned as incense is used to incur special favor from the gods, especially in prayer. It is also used in antipoison potions.

Atlantean wine by itself can get her buzzed, and when marrentil is added can get her drunk.

Atlantean wine comes from Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, better known as the canon of London Below from which Door [livejournal.com profile] iopenthings, Ingress [livejournal.com profile] smallestopener, Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar [livejournal.com profile] mr_v_and_mr_c, and the Marquis de Carabas [livejournal.com profile] youowemeafavor come from, and where AU Tom Riddle [livejournal.com profile] young_tmriddle has holed up as Lord Ostium and husband to Lady Door.

Atlantean, physically, is a golden white wine that glows as if it were being held up to the sunlight. That is to say, it is not aggressive, phosphorescent glow but more like the refractive inner glow and warmth that a diamond is said to have. It does glow in the dark, but it does rather "like sunlight on a swimming pool". More of the flowery language used to describe it here

It's effects... Well, drinking it is like "tasting the sunlight of bygone days," it is "magic," and induces a feeling of joy and memories of big blue skies presided over by the friendly bright yellow sun.

Yeah.. whatever...

Well, in millicanon, it is capable of inducing drunkenness in gods. Demeter got drunk of it, Yreal regularly drinks it, and mere mortals get the hangover from hell from it. Amascut, being a former goddess, but affected greatly by her healing factor, can get buzzed off it but only for a moment. Poor Amascut.

Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters... I will say buzz with the marrentil See here
death_gone_mad: Shhh (Default)
Sooo, I was googling random stuff... well, not random stuff, just a phrase that popped into my head... and it lead me to a very interesting article on Kali that just totally resonated with some ideas I had for Amascut's future-plot/past-plot

Anyway, the article mentioned the Romani patron saint, Saint Sarah, or Sara-la-kali. In one story, she was the dark skinned Egyptian (the Roma, or Gypsies, were once thought to be originally Egyptians) maid of one of the Three Marys. The Three Marys and their companions were refugees from Judea who made the trip to Gaul during the first century AD on a boat without sails, oars, or rudders and included Mary Magdalene and Martha, sisters of Lazarus, Lazarus himself (Yes, the same Lazarus that was lamented and resurrected by Jesus), Mary Salome, mother of James and John, Mary Jacobe, or Mary of Clopas, and Maximinus, one of the 72 given power over demons by Jesus, often conflated with various later saints of the name Maximin. Another story states that Sara-la-kali was the chief of the the Rom tribe living at the mouth of the Rhône. The Rom at the time had the tradition of carrying a statue of Ishtari or Astarte to the sea to receive the goddess' blessing. One day before one of these benedictions, Sara received a vision informing her of the arrival of "Saints who had been present at the death of Jesus" and that she should rescue them from their distress. Sara was there when the Three Marys and their companions arrived and rescued them on a raft constructed from a cloak of Mary Salome's which had been thrown overboard and floated onto the beach.

Another version, popularized by recent novels, especially The Da Vinci Code, claims that Sarah is the daughter of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Interesting.

Anyhow, the 'Kali' in the name 'Sara-la-kali' is something more than coincidence. The Rom/Roma/Romani have had their origins sorta pinned down to the Indian Subcontinent were Sara/Kali/Durga worship was common and practiced in much the same way described in versions of the story of Saint Sarah as Ishtar/Astarte worship. In fact, ceremonies performed at shrines to Saint Sarah in France are very similar as well. Sara-la-kali could be interpreted as Sara the Black, in reference to her dark skin. Kali is derived from Kāla apparently, a Sanskrit word associated with black, time, and death. Kali is sometimes known as "the black one", and is seen as an aspect of/conflated with/confused with Durga who is at times depicted with a black face.

Now for a whole mess of connections to Amascut as she's depicted in canon, fanfiction, and by me in Milliway's bar. Amascut is a goddess of destruction and death in a mythology that vaguely represents Egyptian mythology. Her closest analogue in Egyptian mythology is Ammit, although Ammit doesn't take an active role in destroying the world as Amascut did in her last days as a goddess. The god/demon Ammit just destroys the souls deemed unworthy of going on to the afterlife by Anubis/Inpu (who is a very close analogue to Amascut's brother, Icthlarin. Both are jackal headed and gods of the dead and the afterlife) after weighing the heart against the feather of Ma'at. Ammit does this in some traditions by devouring the hearts and souls of the unworthy. The most popular name for Amascut in game is The Devourer, presumably because she does something similar to the dead if she can get to them before Icthlarin does. The connection between Amascut, Ammit, and the Sara/Kali/Durga entity here is only that they are all goddesses of destruction.

Amascut is depicted in places as a woman with a lioness' head. Ammit herself is sometimes depicted as having a lion's mane. Ishtar/Inanna/Astarte (goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex), mentioned above in the stories of Saint Sarah, was also depicted as a woman with a lioness' head. Now, those wanting to keep the analogies between the game's Menaphite pantheon and real world mythologies pointing at the Egyptian pantheon point to depictions of Sekhmet (A warrior goddess, Avenger of Wrongs, Lady of Slaughter, Bringer of Plagues) and Bast (also a warrior goddess, goddess of protection, ointments, and cats) and say Amascut was like Bast before she went mad, and like Sekhmet after, almost succeeding in destroying the world as Sekhmet almost did.

Funny thing about Ishtar/Inanna/Astarte, she has stories that are very similar to some of those of Demeter/Kore and Aphrodite. Ishtar once descended into the underworld and was imprisoned there, causing everything to become unfertile and all sexual activity to stop. Kore, Demeter, and the explanation for winter anyone? The difference, though, was that Ishtar forced her way into the underworld by threatening:
If thou openest not the gate to let me enter,
I will break the door, I will wrench the lock,
I will smash the door-posts, I will force the doors.
I will bring up the dead to eat the living.
And the dead will outnumber the living.

which the fanfic Age of Zaros has Amascut do in her attempt to destroy the Empire of the Empty God, Zaros. Incidentally, Durga of Hindu mythology creates a similarly massive army to defeat Mahishasura and his army. In Aphodite's case, Ishtar is a goddess of love and sex, but had a series of disasterous relatonships, one of which eventually turned into the story of Aphrodite and Adonis. Ishtar is also a prostitute, a route I was thinking of sending Amascut down. Now if only I could find out who operates the Milliway's brothel. X-23 only seems to be a bookkeeper and bouncer of sorts.

Before this derails further into more discussions of parallels between and mixing of the polytheistic religions (and even monotheistic religions) of the Indian subcontininent, Persia, the Fertile Crescent, Egypt, and the Mediterranean Sea (Heck, I can even involve the Norse with this with an Asura/Ahura/Æsir connection, among others), I'll stop right here. The rise and fall of empires and the movement of people like the Roma across these particular lands makes such discussion deep, involved, and at times confusing.

Onto pseudonyms for Amascut. Well, Amascut itself is interesting. In fact, the name for the Menaphite deities seem Latinized or Hellenized, much like the way some Egyptian deities had their name Hellenized. The Runescape wiki points out that Amascut carries the meaning "to gather, hoard, enlarge" in Latin. Perhaps this is an allusion to Amascut gathering souls and devouring them? Anyway, because the Sara-la-kali story, I think Sarah would make an awesome pseudonym filled with just the type of deep and not so obvious symbolism I love using. It has an awesome connection with everything I have mentioned up above. Plus, Sarah is a pretty meek name, despite its historical significance. Tis a perfect cover.

I know there is a Kali coming into the bar. I know her app was accepted or something. (Batya, when is [livejournal.com profile] forewarned_is gonna walk into the bar?) I know I shouldn't use that one, nor Ammit nor Sekhmet nor Ishtar nor Durga. That is just pushing Amascut's knowledge of a foreign universe which I already decided she knows nothing about too far. But Sarah and Sara is commonly used in her world, I am sure (in fact, Sarah was the name of the first herblorist and medicine maker in her world).

In a thread with Naruto, Amascut was given the psuedonym Red or Aka, perhaps short for Akane. Akane translates into 'red root', or Rubia cordifloria, the madder plant. The meanings of Akane, red, and madder have been confused/played with for comedic effect in animes before, so why not use it as a possible pseudonym? Besides, why not play to the anime trope of the dark skinned red haired woman? It fits Amascut somewhat.
death_gone_mad: Illustration from a kid's book about Egypt featuring Ammit and Anubis (huge)
Amascut's entry on the Milliwiki

Amascut is a goddess (or was, depending on your definition of god), but for baseline humans and other species/living things that don't have supernatural senses, it will be very difficult for them to tell she is a goddess. First, she is trapped in a human body. Second, there is that pesky curse that prevents others from remembering who she is. Hence why I use ███████ in place of her name while IC, even during narration.

Appearance: Amascut's body appears to be that of a late 20's/early 30's woman of middle eastern descent. Egyptian, if you want to get exact. Her hair color is atypical for the middle east; she has red hair. Well, the red hair phenotype may not be impossible to find among the Berbers and possibly the ancient Hittites, perhaps even among some Pharaonic dynasties (but let's stop discussing this before White and Black Power trolls come a'knocking). She still retains some ability to change her appearance, but she hasn't so far in canon changed her appearance to something other than a female human (though there was one time in canon were she appeared in a dream as a very sexy red shelled scarabite - well, sexy to the scarabite high priest in whose dream she appeared). She may not even be capable of physically changing her appearance. It may be a mind trick, after all. Her eyes are also very atypical. She has red irises.

Combat readiness, etc.: My mama always said that the devil was wise not because he is the devil, but because he is old. Amascut is very old, I am guessing at least 8,600 years old. In that time she has made numerous enemies (though she is saved somewhat by the fact that most of them can't remember her name) and I am sure there are many who wanted to use her or her undying body for various nefarious purposes. The fact that she is not bound in some dungeon being tortured hints that she is very good, at the very least, of escaping, and at the most, she is watched over by the gods so that no one gains permanent possession of the walking MacGuffin that Amascut can become in the right hands. Being that she's a former goddess of Bodily Rebirth and that she's currently a slayer master, I assume she has an intimate knowledge of the anatomies of various living things and can easily kill, maim, or disable various creatures, even mostly magical things and maybe even some simple mechanical automata. Technology wise, she will probably become fond of causing memory faults by repeating her name over and over. She is probably very skilled with medieval weaponry and destructive magics. In canon, she has caused her minions to burst into flames, so she may favor fire magic. An important thing to note is that she is mentally unstable. Whatever condition she is suffering from, she has had several millennia to get over it but hasn't. As a consequence, she fights nowhere near as efficiently as someone with her experience should (think of it as a severe case of enemy forgot to level up).  She should still be a very frightening opponent.

Powers: Whether Amascut was able to retain a few powers when she was depowered and trapped in a human body, was able to train her human body to perfom a couple of tricks, or has these powers as a result of the curses placed upon her and her name will be determined later. 

regeneration: As a former goddess of bodily rebirth or because of the Powers keeping her trapped in a human body, Amascut has a very rapid regeneration ability. To top it off, her heart is especially resilient. The rest of her body can be destroyed but her heart will be the last to go, surviving even her bones. Her body can regenerate from just a bit of heart tissue. She will try to get other gods and godlike beings to destroy her and free her, but obviously her efforts so far have failed.

bottomless pit: Once enough of her human body is destroyed, she can start exerting more of her godly power on reality. This manifests as the creation of gravity wells deep enough to become small black holes. Most will appear around her disembodied heart in an attempt to destroy it. She also likes eating souls/casting souls into the pit of eternal restlessness/despair/constant downward accleleration that is her stomach. Too bad she can't open her mouth wide enough to swallow people whole. XD

hypnosis/other mind tricks:In fanfics, she brought back people back from the dead body and soul in order to command the body to do her bidding and drive the soul insane. That may have been before the curses were placed upon her. In canon, she has hypnotized people in order to retrieve items from places that were warded against her. The curse of forgetfulness should affect all but the most godlike of demigods, and even then, holding onto memories of who Amascut  is would cause those who remember to forget bits and pieces of other memories. This curse doesn't apply to anyone or anything that existed more than 7,500 years ago (according to who's timeline? I'll leave that up to you if your pup even approaches that age).
 

P.S. (Pay attention all ye shifters and those with enhanced senses of smell) Amascut has a very well documented hatred/paranoia of cats. Her living quarters in game smell of dead cat, and it is likely those with sensitive noses will smell this on her scent. For those pups with cat forms, she is likely to smell a certain cattishness about you and as a result will not treat you well. Not that she treats anyone well, but cats receive special treatment from her.

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███████ , devourer of souls

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