Anzu's childhood was idyllic. He never really wanted for anything-- there was always food on the table and in the fridge. His mother didn't work, so she was always home. Flitting about the estate they stayed in, cleaning, baking, and singing. The only thing she ever seemed to care about was loving them-- Anzu, his brother, and his father. His father was the polar opposite-- a cold, mysterious man that kept all his secrets locked behind a locked door, reinforced with six inches of steel. The man spent all day and night in his study, polishing his antiques and studying strange relics that seemed, at least at the time, to have appeared out of nowhere.
Once, Anzu's father told him about the time he was born. He said it was a day he'd never forget, unlike his brothers birth which he didn't care to remember. His father was gazing out the window with a smile as savage as if he were a wolf with fresh blood running down his chin. He was seeing something Anzu couldn't...
"I'm sad to say I wasn't there in person.. but I knew the moment you entered the world. The very earth itself knew. The rivers themselves ran red with blood, and flocks of birds fell dead from the sky.. my little devil."
Suffice to say, Anzu and his father were never really close. The way the man looked at him even was unnerving, with awe in his eyes like Anzu was just another one of his relics to be dusted off and stuck in a glass-shelf.
As children, he and his brother seemed inseperable-- they were light and dark, summer and winter. Anzu was always the one picking fights and running his mouth, always the one with bruised knuckles and split lips and bloody noses, and in most cases Irra would end up involved (whether he wanted to be or not, as the older brother, he felt it was his job to keep his Anzu out of trouble) but he could normally talk his way out of any problem. A diplomat at heart, he hated confrontation and approached most situations with one hand stretched out happily, the other clutching a dagger behind his back--metaphorically.
As they got older, they began to stray further and further apart as they became interested in different things. And after Anzu turned sixteen, things were never the same again. No one had been home, or so Anzu had thought, so he snuck into his father's study and went into his drawer to steal the key to the garage. The weather was perfect, so he thought he'd take the dirt-bike out to the hills and enjoy it. As he rode down into the creek, his bones vibrating from the purr of the engine, his eyes were on the clear, blue sky. Not a cloud in sight.
The hills were good to him, not a soul around, so he went wild. But just as he was making his eighth go at riding up the side of the hill with blue grass to launch into the air and soar like a bird, his path was blocked by none other than Irra, tragically handsome in a suit. His brother has tracked him by his cell-phone. Again.
"Joyriding again?" The way he said it made it sound like Irra was celebrating a great hunt. Anzu couldn't stand his brother in that moment.
"So?" Anzu put as much venom in his spit as a cobra.
"You know dad doesn't like it when you take his stuff," Irra chided.
"He doesn't like anything I do--or you do--for the record. Why don't you hang out a while?" It was a last ditch effort for peace, one of the few that Anzu would offer his brother.
"Don't be stupid."
Anzu knew Irra wouldn't try to take it from him- he wouldn't dare, the last time they'd fought, he'd left his older brother with a broken rib. He gripped the throttle of the bike predatorily, baring his teeth. "Piss off,"
Irra must have seen something in his eyes that scared him, because he suddenly becked down the hill three steps and stuck his hands in his pockets, a sign that he was nervous. "I don't know who you are. You're not even human."
The words had made him fume-- "Enjoy the rain, bitch." The words came before he could stop them-- and the rain fell before he even saw the dark clouds creeping across the sky. Lightning and and thunder battered the world.
If he'd known his brother was telling him the truth and not just trying to be an asshole, he might have reacted differently. But he had no way to know until it was already too late. A month later, Irra moved out. Six months later, and Anzu admitted his secret to his mother. The secret that made Irra so scared of him, that made his father gaze at him with such awe..
But she only laughed, pulling the pony-tail out of her hair to let the ringlets of gold--the same shade as his own-- fall around her shoulders. She took his bruised hands in her perfect ones, and then she told him she knew he was special.
"Where you were born, roses grew from barren soil to make a cradle, and the wind sang you the lullaby that I wasn't able to myself.. Baby, you're an angel."
Shortly after, Anzu learned that his powers weren't all about good and light. There was evil in him that he didn't recognize. No, not evil. But fear. Something totally out of his control.
The night of the incident, he was dreaming about his school. Everything was ordinary; He was walking along the sidewalk with his hands stuffed in his pockets, a warm, summer scented breeze coiling around him and tugging at his pajama pants. He knew he was dreaming, he knew he wasn't really there. The people--all of them familiar faces--ignored him completely.
Anzu took his time walking across the front lawn towards the entrance of the school-- which didn't really look like his school at all, anymore. More like the entrance to an ancient Roman temple, all hand carved pillars and arch-ways. There were a tale carved into the walls all around him in intricate detail, one he knew all too well. Memories from his life up until this point. The halls were carpeted with blood red.. and then, suddenly he was walking ankle-deep in real, human blood. It was still warm--and he knew it was human because all those familiar faces that he recognized outside were piled before him. Pieces of them, anyway.
It was the first time a dream had slipped from his control; and it spiraled into chaos quickly. He turned around to leave, and found that he was enveloped in darkness. There was nothing around him.
Nothing at all. He was alone.
And then he wasn't. He turned around again, and he saw himself. Only.. it wasn't really the face he knew. There was ink running from the doppleganger's eyes and spilling into it's mouth, which was twisted into a nasty grin he usually turned on other people. It reached out and grabbed him by the shirt
And then, he woke up and flung out of bed. But he was alone. Or so he thought. He almost climbed back into bed with a thundering heart when he saw the inky foot-prints leading away from the side of his bed, and a large, nasty smear on the doorknob of his closed door.
Without thinking, he flew from his room. But it was already too late. The thing had come into the world by his power, made it's mark on the world, and left Anzu with the knowledge that he'd brought about the death of his entire family. His father dead in his study, clutching one of those relics he loved so much. Throat halfway across the room.
Irra curled on his side in a puddle of his own blood.
His mother, a twisted masquerade of what was once a beautiful human across the kitchen floor, crucified with knives from her own kitchen set. She was smiling.
Feeling numb and hating himself for it, Anzu packed his bags and stole away into the night in his fathers 1967 Camaro. The Chevrolet is the only thing that remains of that haunted place-- not long after, he returned, and as a result the place was destroyed. The once beautiful state lies in a crater in the ground, the trees dead, the gardens decomposing. Nothin' left but ghosts, Anzu would say.
It's been a long time since the death of his family, but Anzu is still as bitter as ever. He's good at hiding it behind a coy smile--when he chooses too. He's good at hiding a lot of things these days-
His first encounter with Them- was in a dream. Little did he know- They'd been watching him for as long as he'd been slipping into his dreams. Since the day he was born. Watching and waiting while his powers grew and he became his own man.
And then, when They thought he was reaching the peak of his prowess-- they snatched him from the world and dragged him back to Their Queen, through the veil into the otherworld. Anzu--being, Anzu-- put up one hell of a fight, but all he'd accomplished was turning the ground black and barren at the portal gate he was chucked through and bloodying his own nose off one of Their foreheads.
If he'd known then he was about to come face to face with one of the most ancient and malevolent thing he'd ever encountered, he might have saved his strength.
By all first accounts; Aibell is beautiful. Easily the most beautiful among all the sidhe mounds across all of the Emerald Isle. It is within her power to make you believe it with such ferocity that it's a chore to even rise to anger around her. But beyond her glamour- She is usurper and betrayer. Devourer of the wicked Mongfhionn, who'd once stood against Niall, son of Eochaidh Airem. In devouring her, she'd taken all she was into herself, her sorcery and her evil--her very being.
It is Their right to claim the souls of those they please--artists, beauties, warriors, and sorcerers- at least, They'd tell you so--but Anzu was owned long before he'd come into this world. He represented the less tangible and mystic aspects of the People; the blood of the Old One's coursed through his veins, he was not meant to play nurse-maid in a Fairy Fort, or polish boots, or stand beside a throne.
She knew this, of course. But She also knew that the boy didn't have a clue what he was. And She was right.
First, She offered a place at Her side; the role was simple. That of the Black Druid, the last of whom She'd insisted was vacationing somewhere warm. The Black Druid-- the Fear Doirche, was second only to the Queen. The catch? He'd have to go where She pointed him and do what She said, both protector of Her name and collector of unique artifacts-- children, like him. Dreamers, and mages.
Anzu spit on her. But without so much as a flinch, She rose from that throne of Hers and had him up against a wall before he could suck in a breath. She made damn sure he couldn't breathe-- but She wasn't kind enough to kill him. The Queen kissed him long and deep, and then when She began to draw back-- his soul went with Her. It was the kind of painful he can't even describe, can't even summon to vivid detail within his mind- it was like vomiting up broken glass, or maybe a belly full of nails, or red hot iron. Screaming only made things worse, but it was about all he could do.
The second thing She did, was twist fate around him in geasa after geasa, so that even if he wasn't going to be a happy camper-- there was little he could do about it. At least, not against Her directly. Then She had him thrown in a six foot by six foot room without windows and left him to rot for the next two years.
At least, two years- give or take a month or two- flew by in the world he'd left behind. In Aibell's sidhe? He was prisoner in darkness for at least fifteen years without aging a day, and in those fifteen years- he eventully broke and accepted Her offer.
Anything to get away from the black he'd come to know like a friend he was secretly sick of, but hadn't the heart to tell.
Anzu is the human form--the incarnation--of an old Irish god and former High King of the Tuatha; he was half Danaan, and half Formorian. He was also a builder, a smith, a champion, a harper, a warrior, a poet and historian, a sorcerer, a physician, a cupbearer, and a brazier.
The Tuatha Dé Danann are a race of nigh-intangible immortals that came to Ireland from far off places. Some say they came from another planet entirely. Others, say they've always been there. Christians will tell you they're the angels that took no side during the War in Heaven, so God who could not stand them, cast them to the earth. The truth? Only the oldest of them know, and they're not saying anything.
The Formorii on the other hand- are giants and jötnar, some of which rose from the sea and others that came from Scandinavia. Destructive and vicious, they are dark where the Tuatha are bright, hideous where the Dé are beautiful. For a time, they were foes- and then the Tuatha conquered them in battle, claiming dominion over them. It was that or death- so the few surviving Formorii surrendered themselves.
Over time, they bred- the Formorii and the Danann, and the result of this union was the twisted Aos si--The Fair Folk, The Good Neighbors-- Them. And they spread wide and far into the world, becoming known as the Seelie and Unseelie court in Scotland, and the Tylwyth Teg of Wales. These days, the Tuatha are little more than echoes of an ancient past. Some claim the Old One's still move among the courts of the sidhe, hidden in their way. But they're just rumors, anyone that utters the name of the Danaan is quick to assure. They died out long ago, taking all their ancient power with them..
Being the human form of a god has granted Anzu with a slew of weapons that answer only to his call and ties to places he's never even heard of, might never even see. In essence, it has made him immortal- in the sense that he won't age as long as he continues to sustain himself with magic. But the well timed thrust of a kitchen knife or a bullet to the head can still kill him.
That said, he has an edge over mortal men and more than a few supernaturals. Going so far as to test his speed and endurance against vampires and his hunting prowess against werewolves, when they'll have him.
On the other side of the spectrum, he is a dreamer and one of the last surviving members of the Druid faith, well versed in magic that doesn't involve flinging around fireballs or lightning streaking from the sky to fry his enemies.
His is the power of binding.
Through his magic, he can bind himself to an animals form. Unlike Lycanthropy, it's entirely his choice when he changes, rain or shine. And he's not limited to just one form. But his favorite to take is the likes of a breed this world won't see anywhere else. A Warhound- of the like that used to leap into the fray of battle at the side of their masters and companions to drag men from horseback. It's basically a bigger, badder version of an Irish Wolfhound.
It is both magic, and faith. Both of which are lost to this world- in the Old World, the druids served as the link between the gods and humankind. These days? They're just dead, along with most of their practices. It is Druidry that has let him bind himself to the Earth, and that allows him to change forms, and divine the future from seemingly random patters in a cloud front, or a school of fish.
He has a number of Druidic tattoos, all of them in the form of celtic knotwork. Two intricate bands of it on his middle finger; the first at the base, between his knuckles. The second higher up, just below his fingernail; one is a ward against magical tracking, scrying, that sort of thing. And the other is an alarm, just in case someone manages to get his location anyway.
There's more knotwork on his leg, from knee to the top of his foot and down the back of his ankle. A painful display of the lengths he'll go to up his magical prowess-- these celtic knots allow him to siphon energy from the earth and convert it to his own. Offering him a nigh unlimited source of power to draw from.
Bound to the earth as he is, as he must be in order to influence change in the world around him, he can summon earthquakes on a whim and bring rockslides cascading down the sides of mountains. When he's barefoot (which he often is) he can stretche his senses into the ground and outwards, as far as his presence will let him. Sending out and receiving pyschic messages, tracking energy signatures and movement, and easily sucking power through the soles of his feet to heal any wounds he might sustain.
He can also push his will onto the natural world; taking control of animals and plants. With a little effort, he can even temporarily override the bind between familiar and master, turning it to attack. A simple combination of binding magic, a psychic invasion, and the tether connecting the animal to the world, that connects all physical things to the mortal plane.
Probably his greatest power lies in the realm of dreams- he's a Dreamer, able to control his dreams and walk through others, changing things as he goes. Implanting scenarios and nightmares and psychological horrors. His power goes so far as allowing him to put people to sleep, trapping them in a dream and following them in.
That being said, he's never had cause to commit psychic warfare, and isn't prone to invading the dreams of others when he's got a massive playground in his head already.
He is not the only Dream Walker- there are many across the world, by different names. But he is the only one he knows of that can shape dreams into reality, actually dragging things out of his conscious mind to give them form. A great boon- but also a chore, as this means he's just as likely to manifest a living, breathing nightmare as anything else.
An da shealladh- The Sight of the Seer. Anzu was born with this; the power to see what's hidden. Through glamour and charm alike. It goes further than simply being able to spy a Lesser Fae from a mile away, though. He can see the dead, damned, and wandering, gateways to other realms, and magical energies from people, places, and objects alike.
This ability also means, sometimes he can look into a person's face and tell they're lying, he might even know what they're going to say before they say it. In truth, this is simply his glimpsing a few seconds into the immediate future. Useful- but it's not something he can turn on or off. And sometimes an event will trigger a true vision, which usually ends with him on the ground.