Eric Aaronson and the Dubious Reasons
Sol Invictus is a Feline Hengeyokai & head of the Pathless Keir
Sol Invictus ( soːl inˈwik.tus) is a Hengeyokai cat born 23 Sun of the 10th moon in the 6 FC (First Council). He Is the last surviving member of the Aburia Gentes. Sol, as all Hengeyokai, has three forms: Cat (his primary form for the first 12 years of his life), what he calls his “true self” (a hybrid form of his feline and human natures), and his “human” form.
Cat: All Hengeyokai are born and maintain their animal forms until they hit adulthood. Sol when in his cat form is only about 23cm tall, stands on all four legs. Silver short fur,green eyes. Sharp pointed ears.
Hybrid: Sol stands at 5’11" and weighs about 135 pounds. Sol still maintains most of his feline features, just draped upon a humanoid frame. As he was taught the ways of disguise and etiquette from the Stranger & his Father, his clothes are a mixture of Eladrin noble dress & tribal drab. He is usually barefooted as he prefers all four of his claws to any shoes or gloves. On his 16th birthday, the Stranger gave Sol his own custom-made rapier. It was with this rapier that Sol knew the future of his people – and of of the valley – was not going to be won with diplomacy alone, nor would simply surviving maintain their existence. His trusted jewel-leafed and onyx-vine blade is never far from his side.
Human: His human appearance is almost of that of his hybrid form: he has long straight silver hair, and instead of fur he appears with ashen, pale skin. Most of the time he is forced into wearing shoes, and his eyes are vibrant green, as always. When he is in this form it usually means he is undercover or trying to hide in plain sight.
Born to Hide
Some have said Sol is a creature of the shadows because he was born under the largest shadow of all—his Father. Commodus Invictus, Leader of Aburia first saw a need for the disparate Hengeyokai tribes to unite as a means of survival from the ravages of war that perpetually tore through Na Pali, but soon saw the potential for solidarity and organization. Commodus spent his life working to bring the surrounding tribes together and forged one large council, wherein all tribes were represented: Dog, Cat, Wolf, Rabbit, Falcon, Raven, Monkey, Fox, Badger, Otter, Coyote, and Rat clans all signed articles of alliance and swore oaths to the Pater. Sol’s birth was foretold by Old Hare to be something grand and joyous. All Hengeyokai of the Pater saw it as a blessing of new blood and new life; Sol was the symbol of the first generation born into a valley unified by his father.
Like most Feline Hengeyokai he spent his youth in the trees, learning the ways of his people: respect for the wilderness and its primal order, reverence of the ancestors and spirits that inhabit the natural places of the world. The Aburia are raised that there are no true boundaries, and as a juvenile Sol ventured far beyond the lands of his village. He was a physical prodigy—Sol was the fastest of his litter (the cadre of Hengeyokai youngsters born on the same year), and was youngest to climb his family’s sacred tree. He took the Masked Rite after he successfully sneaked up on his father at the mere age of twelve years.
Sol was brought to all of the council meetings and followed his dad on most of his diplomatic trips around the valley. After passing the Masked Rite, Sol’s father presented him with an unnamed Eladrin, dressed in the raiment of a noble. Commodus explained that this stranger was to be his private tutor: Sol would be trained in the diplomatic arts of worldly affairs, as well as the martial arts of tactics and warfare. His father hoped Sol would follow his footprints, to be a voice of the people, to become a great diplomat. And while Sol did share his dad’s charisma and social skills – he quickly gained his own capable followers and loyal friends – Sol believed he saw more than his father: he saw the power of judicious military might. With the the teachings of the Stranger he learned how to utilize the various abilities and skills of the many tribes, and how to use native knowledge of Aburia to their advantage.
Foundation of The Manāt
At the age of 16, he gathered to him those who shared his feelings and formed The Manāt. Because many Hengeyokai had the unseelie tendency to barter information, Sol kept the organization of The Manāt a deadly secret. The Pater also had rules that made any type of outright militia an excommunicable taboo, out of fear of being targeted as a potential threat by one of Na Pali’s warring kingdoms. Adopting the title “Feral Prince,” Sol would lead The Manāt in all manner of guerrilla engagements, spreading disinformation in disguise as often as hijacking supply shipments. His abilities of espionage, infiltration, and assassination grew quickly, learning how to blend in with nobles and the lower class alike. With every successful sortie the spoils swelled, more Aburia merchants offered fine wares of indeterminate origin, and The Manāt grew in power and reputation—until murmurs of the “Feral Prince” and “Silver Ghost” were to reach Commodus. Furious, his father banished Sol from his house, never to return.
Mactus Dux Felis et Corona Felium Praesignis
I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.- Jules Verne
Hurt, but resolute, Sol continued to lead The Manāt in more daring and risky endeavors to grow their regional power, amassing arms and supplies from both Shae and Urdyk. At 22, when emissaries of The Lord of Cats came to hold audience with Commodus and the Pater council, Sol was surprised that the agents in mystical hooded cloaks, bearing magical weapons and the banner of the Honored Order of Felines wished to also share an audience in his simple hovel. Over an evening meal the three panther emissaries queried Sol of his exploits, both legitimate and operations of The Manāt, unnerving the Feral Prince at their accuracy of information and knowledge of his activities. The felines assured him they were simply there to meet the famed Silver Ghost, as Sol had earned the curiosity of the Lord of Cats himself. With a promise of the Lord’s blessing, the emissaries left as quickly and quietly as they came. To Sol and his allies, this was an omen.
The Frozen Tear
With emboldened courage and steadfastness in the righteousness of his purpose, Sol prepared The Manāt for their most ambitious endeavor yet: to infiltrate and commandeer a strategic watchtower holding in Shae lands. To prepare, Sol would retreat for three days to meditate and practice the tradition of the Spirit Hunt, communing with spirits of the world and his many fey ancestors. His reverie broken with the shudder and blast of an enormous explosion, Sol awoke to the distant screams of dying people and the faint smell of smoke. Tearing through the treetops he could see the lands of his father’s village aflame, and witnessed scores of military units attacking and killing his people. He rushed to Commodus’ house, only to find that his father, mother, and siblings had been slain. Grabbing the ancestral stones from his family’s shrine, Sol ran to the the Stanger’s house, but was too late; he witnessed his master battle a slender and tall fey with pale blue skin in cobalt regalia, who felled the Stranger in one swift, brutal blow. Sol tried to avenge his master, but the being easily subdued the Feral Prince, teleporting themselves to a lonely, hoar-frosted glade, stating “I am Jack Frost, kitten, your nightmare and your savior. This is your tear drop." He bestowed upon Sol an ice-cold crystalline medallion, chuckling, “This is for you to never remember me by. I will come for you some day—never forget it, my young lad. Oh-ho-ho yes, and we shall have our fun.” With that, the faerie and his demense faded and Sol was left alone in a burned-out clearing that once was his home, surrounded by the corpses of his allies, friends, and family.
Sol wandered his way to a distant town where discovered the whole valley had been burned and savaged by some mysterious force. No one could say who was to blame, but all of Aburia, all of the villages in the Pater, all had been exterminated. With no home and no family, Sol left the kingdoms and valley of Na Pali, determined to find answers. He knew he would kill this “Jack Frost” some day, but he was nowhere near strong enough. He wondered why the Lord of Cats had not protected the Pater. The Lord Felis to which they prayed, the Lord of whom they had crafted legends, the Lord that sent his personal envoy to meet him. How could this have happened? Why?
Cat in a Boat
In agreeing to help them liberate the district of Shadowshore from the compact of Emil Darktus and the Bloodghost Syndicate, Sol scored an unexpected bonus: after interrogating the Bloodghost leader, Sol discovered that Jack Frost is a very powerful, capricious fey, allied to the Eladrin Winter Court, and as an agent serving the interests of the Prince of Frost. Sol hopes that continuing to serve with the Dubious Reasons will provide him allies further his search for Jack Frost, and the elusive Tevildo, impostor claimant to the title Lord of Cats.