On the Shoulders of Giants
In a court of malachite and basalt, the odors of charring meat and the frantic prayers of manacled slaves fill the air. Octavian stands ten feet tall, but seems a giant even when seated on his alabaster throne, its whiteness long since stained indelibly black by the oil that oozes from his stone- hard skin. He is monstrous, muscular and elephant-tusked; he wears little more than a loincloth from which the skull of a slain Solar Exalt hangs on a strand of jade beads, a cracked hearthstone set in its forehead. The black oil that coats his skin—that drips down to blight the earth beneath his feet and to spoil his feasts—is also a potent venom that annihilates the senses. But his brutish figure belies a calculating intellect. Once a champion of the demon princes, he rose to become a general of their monstrous armies, and from there he amassed his own empire. He commands a full quarter of a layer of Hell, an empire whose size staggers the imagination.
Over the centuries, Octavian has waged war against rival lords of Hell, fought single-handed against champions of the gods, torn dragons asunder, and ripped the wings from
behemoths. Yet he remains unsatisfied. He loved, once, when the world was young, but no longer pursues con- quests of the heart. All that remains to him is testing his strength against the world, and he has reached the limits to which he can do so in Hell. He grows weary upon his throne, lacking the temperament for governance. He seeks new nations to conquer and new worlds for his empire to encompass, making him an eager ally for sorcerers seeking a battle-champion or bodyguard. Even when bound to stand guard duty or murder some insignificant mortal, the Living Tower views each foray into Creation as a glimpse of what he will one day command.