choiced: (you weren't going to leave me behind rig)
Zelos Wilder ([personal profile] choiced) wrote2017-01-18 06:01 pm
Entry tags:

app for [community profile] tushanshu

Player Information:
Name: Amaraq (Am most of the time)
Age/18+?: over 18!
Contact: [plurk.com profile] Amaraq, but DW message to [personal profile] choiced is probably more reliable right now.
Other Characters Played: Previously played Skulduggery Pleasant at [personal profile] skeletonenigma; currently don’t play anyone.
Most Recent AC Link: N/A

Character Information:
Name: Zelos Wilder
Canon: Tales of Symphonia
Canon Point: There are two possible endings to the game. In one of them, Zelos survives; in the other, he betrays Lloyd’s group and essentially commits suicide-by-cop at the hands of his friends. Word of Creator says that true canon combines these two endings, and I'm taking Zelos from the point where he’s attacked the group to try and get Lloyd to kill him, but Lloyd's just refused to do so.
Age: 22

Type of Character: Canon character
Reference: Wiki!

Headcanon will be highlighted in red! Content warning for mentions of suicide, especially in the personality section.

Setting Concepts:

The Kharlan War: Four thousand years before the start of canon, there was one world called Aselia, with two countries bitterly locked in a long and brutal war. Because war traditionally makes people do stupid things and ignore giant risks, Aselia began to die, and a half-elf kid called Mithos used super special snowflake summoner powers to separate the world in two. (Those powers aren't relevant to Zelos, as he isn't a summoner.) The idea was to help conserve the resources that were left by prioritising one world over the other, then switching priority over time, like an hourglass -- and for a while, it worked. The two worlds, separated by a dimensional curtain which only allows passage in certain specific circumstances, are called Sylvarant and Tethe'alla. By the time canon starts, the two worlds are largely unaware of the other’s existence except in fairy tales and legends. Zelos was born in Tethe'alla, and he was told about the existence of Sylvarant as part of his political position.

Mana: The source of all life, and the primary ingredient for magic artes. Mana is an invisible force present in everything living, and it’s essential for any society on Aselia to flourish. During the Kharlan War, it was thought to be an infinite resource flowing from the Great Tree. In reality, the war had gone on for so long, and used up so much mana in building brutal weapons of mass destruction, that the Great Tree providing the world with mana withered and died, leaving behind a single Seed. Part of the reason Mithos split the two worlds was so that he could share out the remaining mana between them while he tried to germinate the Great Seed. His plan stunted cultural growth, but also let both worlds survive.

The sharing out of mana means that one world is always flourishing, and the other always declining. During canon, Sylvarant is the declining world. Tethe'alla has many forms of magical technology comparable to roughly modern-day Earth, save things like connected computer systems; Sylvarant has none.

Half-elves: Half-elves (children of elves and humans, or children of half-elves) have been discriminated against in both worlds for as long as anyone can remember. Part of this is resentment that half-elves inherit their elven parents' greatly increased lifespans, and part of it is based on the history of a particular group of half-elves called Desians who wreak havoc wherever they want. (Mithos the Hero is exonerated as the one who ended the Kharlan War peacefully, but his being a half-elf is not part of the histories anywhere; most people assume he was human.)

Elves usually have pointed ears and a wide variety of unnatural hair colours like green and blue. Half-elves will usually have one or the other of these traits, but not both. Zelos shares his fellow Tethe'allans' distaste of half-elves, but grows out of that bias by the end of the game thanks to Lloyd, Raine, Genis, and the others.

Aionis: Elves and half-elves are born able to sense and manipulate mana in their environments, thus being able to use magic. Humans can't. Aionis is a rare substance that, when smashed into a powder and ingested by humans, gives them the ability to manipulate mana likes elves and half-elves can, so they can use magical artes. Zelos has taken aionis, and so has access to a few elemental artes when fighting.

Exspheres: Exspheres are gems that can be mined from deep in the ground (at least in the flourishing world, which has the capacity to build and maintain mining equipment). When attached to a person's skin, exspheres generally give their wearers some enhanced strength, speed, mobility, and agility. Exspheres equipped on their own are dangerous to their wearers, though, eventually lobotomising them. Key crests are charms carved into a special inhibitor ore that, when worn around the exsphere, help regulate the flow of mana and stop the dangerous side-effects from happening. Removing an exsphere that was never given a key crest makes a person's mana go berserk, transforming them into a giant monster.

Desians in the declining world run human ranches, which are basically human concentration camps. The purpose of the ranches is to make and refine exspheres, which feed on the suffering of the prisoners.

Cruxis crystals: Cruxis crystals are a much more powerful form of exsphere. When they're equipped, they slowly transform the wearer into an angel. This means wings, divine light, functional immortality, super-powerful angelic artes, the works. The method for making them was lost, though, so there’s a finite amount of them left and they’re all, as the name implies, in the control of Cruxis. Cruxis crystals without proper key crests turn their wearers lifeless – devoid of all memory and emotion, acting only in explosive self-defence.

Cruxis: aka the most dysfunctional and drama-filled family of all time. Mithos Yggdrasill, the half-elf kid who split the world, is the founder and leader of Cruxis -- an organisation made up of angels, people who successfully equipped cruxis crystals and survived the transformation. Martel, his older sister and an angel herself, was killed by humans who were trying to take the remaining mana for themselves and continue the Kharlan War. This jumpstarted the mother of all fifteen-year-old tantrums from Mithos, who quickly backslid from his good intentions and noble goals despite the influence of his two older angelic compatriots, Kratos Aurion and Yuan Fa-Kai.

To put it simply, Yggdrasill and Cruxis want to revive Martel, whose soul was fused with the Great Seed. To that end, they manipulated the development of both Tethe'alla and Sylvarant, mainly through the use of religion -- the Church of Martel. Thanks to their machinations it's widely believed that Martel is a goddess, and that Mithos the Hero asked for her help in sealing away the Desians who 'caused the Kharlan War'.

Desians: In the scriptures of the Church, the Desians are the group of No Good, Very Evil half-elves who were sealed away at the end of the Kharlan War. They come out to play when Martel’s power wanes, and exist to cause nothing but suffering and misery. In reality, they work for Cruxis, and believe themselves to be superior beings who will be offered places in Yggdrasill’s coming Age of Lifeless Beings (in which everyone gets turned into a lifeless angel and this, somehow, will end all discrimination ever). The Desians exist to make sure the Chosen of Mana encounters suffering on their Journey, thereby hastening the development of the cruxis crystal they're equipped with (more on this later). Desians run rampant in the declining world, so Zelos doesn’t have much direct experience with them, but probably heard about them and their human ranches from Colette and the others.

Renegades: The Renegades are an organisation composed mainly of half-elves who oppose Cruxis and Martel’s resurrection, because resurrecting Martel means destroying the Great Seed, ending even that meagre flow of mana, and dooming both worlds forever. It was founded by Yuan, one of Cruxis's original angels alongside Mithos, shortly after Yuan found out Mithos was planning to institute the human ranches. One of their plans involved helping Tethe'alla develop to the point of widescale magitechnology, and Zelos was working with them for years before the start of canon. It's thanks to the Renegades Zelos knows about Sylvarant and Cruxis's true face.

Magitechnology: A form of technology that draws on magical power. During the Kharlan war, magitechnology used mana from the Great Tree, which is what ultimately killed it. With so little mana available to each world in the millennia since, magitechnology during canon draws on the power of exspheres. Tethe'alla is rife with magitechnology while Sylvarant has none whatsoever, and Zelos frequently calls Sylvarant a 'backwater' over the course of the game.

Chosens of Mana: Within each world, there's a Chosen mana lineage. The legend goes that when the world declines, it’s the Chosen's destiny to go on a Journey of Regeneration, releasing a series of seals that let mana flow properly again and regenerate the world. The legend says that if the Chosen completes the journey, they transform into an angel at the end of it, fuse with Martel, and ultimately die to complete the regeneration and save the world.

In reality, releasing the seals only reverses the mana flow between Tethe'alla and Sylvarant, like turning the hourglass over. The Chosen is assigned a cruxis crystal at birth, and affixed with their cruxis crystal (without a key crest) at the beginning of the Journey. They suffer enough during it at the hands of Desians for the crystal to transform them into an angel in extremely painful leaps and spurts controlled by Cruxis. At the end of the Journey, once the crystal has turned them lifeless, and if their mana signature is compatible enough with Martel's, then Martel can be resurrected within them and take over their body. Or at least, that's what Yggdrasill believes. No Chosen was ever compatible enough before canon; Colette, Sylvarant's Chosen, is the first, with a 99.9% match.

In Tethe'alla, which has been flourishing for the last 800 years, the position of the Chosen has become much more political than religious. Zelos is considered by many to have the final say on official Church doctrine, as well as many more mundane day-to-day rulings. He's something like a cross between a celebrity and a prophet, and his orders in Meltokio are overruled only by the King. He has his assigned cruxis crystal, but when Lloyd and Colette's group meet him, the crystal's hidden and he's wearing an exsphere. He puts the crystal on later in the game so he'll have the power of an angel.

Personality:

When Zelos was eight years old, his mother was killed saving his life from a half-elven assassin. His father committed suicide not long after. Both parents were distant and dismissive towards Zelos even before all of that, and the very last thing Zelos's mother told him before she bled out on the snow at his feet was that things would be better if he'd never been born.

In case it’s not obvious, this does not a healthy and well-adjusted childhood make.

On the surface, Zelos is a skirt-chasing, narcissistic man with an inflated ego. He shows off, he's frequently full of himself, and he dismisses things and people he doesn't think are important. A lot of the way he acts, however, has roots in what happened to him when he was eight. He acts full of himself as an overcompensation for the fact that no one, not even his parents, loved him unconditionally as a child. His parents were forced to marry as part of the Chosen lineage, so Zelos's father never saw Zelos as anything more than a duty fulfilled, and Zelos's mother saw him as a constant reminder of her duty to a man she didn't like. The way Zelos's father acted while he was the Chosen became Zelos's mask for dealing with feelings he didn't want to confront, even though Zelos hated how his father acted, because it was what made his mother so miserable. It probably comes as no surprise that Zelos grew up with a very deep sense of self-hatred.

In addition to the explicitly terrible parts of his childhood, growing up as the Chosen in Tethe'alla pretty much decided Zelos's life from the crib. He got a lot of privilege, deference, and unquestioned obedience, but on the flip side of the coin he also had a buttload of responsibility he never signed up for dumped on his shoulders the moment his dad died. He was trapped in a life he hated, and he hated the life because of what it did to his parents. A lot of the reason Zelos acts as lazy and carefree as he does is an overcompensation to having every single aspect of his existence planned out for him. His dream is not to be the Chosen anymore, not to be saddled with the responsibilities and burden of that destiny -- to be free to do whatever he wants with his life. So he acts both like someone accustomed to privilege and being obeyed, and like someone who's never had any expectations laid on him whatsoever. The two mindsets combined create some of the weirdly disparate behaviours he exhibits, like how he’s easily charismatic enough to navigate the political waters of Tethe'alla's elite, but more often than not acts like he’s too stupid to do exactly that and expects things to get handed to him on a silver platter.

He's not stupid, not by a long shot. He graduated top of his class from the Imperial Research Academy, and while he explains that's because he paid people to cheat and take his tests for him, we know that can't be the whole story – he’s extremely good at math, for instance, on the same level as the genius in the group. More likely it's part of the list of achievements he doesn’t actually consider to be achievements, since being the best at everything he does is what's expected of the Chosen, not of Zelos. Acting like he's an idiot makes people underestimate him, and he probably gets a small thrill every time he gets to surprise someone with the truth -- though that thrill would never last for long.

Zelos is extremely flirtatious, taking after his father, who was the Chosen One before him. However, unlike his father before him, Zelos has self-imposed limits, separating him from the behaviours he hates. Zelos’s father was a notorious ladies' man, keeping several mistresses on the side, one of which resulted in Zelos’s half-sister Seles. Seles and her mother are both half-elves, and Seles's mother was the one who orchestrated the attempt on Zelos's life when he was eight, hoping that his death would make Seles the Chosen One instead. Zelos has Feelings about half-elves thanks to that, though he does have a soft spot for Seles (she's his sister, and just as much a victim as he is); and, more indirectly, he also has Feelings about his father's adultery. As a result, Zelos's flirtations are usually less lecherous than they seem at first. He doesn’t persist if the recipient says no or is obviously uncomfortable. When Colette became lifeless during her angel transformation and was incapable of responding to anyone, there’s a notable lack of any flirtations from Zelos, implicit or otherwise. He even gets angry at Sheena for suggesting that's something he would do. The only exception to this rule seems to be with Sheena, and since Sheena is more than capable of holding her own and punishing Zelos every time Zelos goes too far, this is more likely an unconscious self-punishment on Zelos’s part -- a good way to stop him from becoming his father.

(I’m still putting the serial flirtation as part of his permissions here, just in case there are players who don’t want to deal with it, since Zelos can come on very strong.)

Zelos is bisexual, leaning towards straight because of his responsibilities as a member of the Chosen mana lineage. One of the game mechanics allows him to flirt with every woman in both Sylvarant and Tethe'alla, but he also seems to have no problem whatsoever labelling Lloyd, Regal, and Genis his ‘hunnies’ alongside Colette, Sheena, Raine, and Presea. Given how Zelos acts around Lloyd during some parts of the game, there’s a good chance he’s attracted to Lloyd too, although he never brings that up because any idiot paying the slightest attention can tell there’s no coming between Lloyd and Colette. Despite Zelos's responsibility for the Chosen mana lineage, Tethe'allan society doesn't seem to have any hang-ups about bisexuality and homosexuality, so as long as Zelos fulfills his duty it doesn't impact his opinion of himself -- aside from being Goddess's gift to everyone instead of just one gender.

One of the few things Zelos has strong feelings about right from the get-go, unsurprisingly, is what role parents should take with their children. It’s why he dislikes Lloyd’s dad, Kratos, and why siding with Kratos in the game costs affection from Zelos. In Zelos’s eyes, Kratos abandoned his son, and then tried to make his son fix his mistakes – all without so much as a 'by the way, I'm the dad you've been wondering about all your life, and I care about you'. Kratos embodies a lot of the things Zelos can't forgive his own dad for, making any association with him a point of contention in the group.

Because his mother explicitly rejected him and his father implicitly rejected him, Zelos suffers from a dangerous lack of self-worth beneath the fun-loving and happy façade. One of his wishes in the game is that the assassin from when he was eight succeeded in killing him, because then Seles would be the Chosen and obviously she would be much better at it. That's dangerously akin to wanting to shove the responsibilities of a position he hates at his half-sister, though, so Zelos has avoided her ever since they were kids, and convinced himself that she hates him. (She doesn't.)

By the end of the game, Zelos is suicidal. It's been a low-key thing throughout his life, enough for him to believe – or want to believe – that he doesn't particularly care about anything, least of all himself. And it's that low-key desire which drives him to spy for three different opposing factions, because the danger doesn’t factor into his decisions at all and he genuinely doesn't care what happens to him when he's caught. If he can play the field, that increases his chances of getting what he wants, and if it doesn't work, it doesn't matter, because he'll be dead and beyond caring anyway. That attitude only changes when he meets and starts traveling with Lloyd’s group, and it doesn't change overnight.

In spite of literally everything mentioned so far, Zelos is basically a good man who doesn’t want bad things to happen to people who don't deserve them. He just hasn't had reason to struggle with questions of morality up until he makes friends with Lloyd, Colette, and the others. That was not something he expected to happen, and the question of what decision to commit to plagues him for the duration of the game. When he reveals himself as a traitor and tries to get the group to kill him just before his canon point for Tushanshu, it’s a culmination of that lack of self-worth and suicidal desire from before, not a decision to commit to Cruxis and Yggdrasill. When Lloyd refuses to kill him, that opens up the avenue for Zelos to make a purely moral decision -- and he does. He picks himself up and goes to help them. A lot of Zelos's self-worth hinges on Lloyd throughout the game; this seventeen-year-old kid, who seems utterly incapable of not forgiving someone and never once suspects that not everyone traveling with him shares his idealism, is the first person to see through Zelos's mask. Zelos goes from dismissing him at the beginning of the game to wanting to move heaven and earth for him near the end, and the change is made even more stark by the deciding factor of the two endings. If Lloyd doesn't question whether he can trust Zelos, Zelos survives. If he questions it, Zelos dies.

Zelos doesn't plan to surround himself with people who are better than he is, but that's exactly what ends up happening, and it's the reason why he makes the right choice after everything else has been stripped away. Lloyd's dream for the future gives Zelos hope that he can have a future, and that one day he can match the others.

Because of Zelos’s canon point, he’ll see Keeliai as a bit of a reprieve. He doesn’t have to make any life-changing decisions here, doesn’t have to face anything, doesn’t have to plan for a future he might not have. It’s like a temporary death, only he gets to move around and explore a new world during the interim. Best of all, no one’s going to know who he is – though he’ll probably complain about that a lot near the beginning.

And then he finds out Raine’s there. Whoops.

Appearance:
1 2
And a couple with the wings!
3 4

Abilities:
Swordsmanship skills: Zelos's equippable weapons are swords, daggers, shields, and defensive gauntlets. He’s a proficient swordsman even without access to his other abilities.

A little more uniquely, because he always has either an exsphere or his cruxis crystal equipped during the game, he can use his sword/dagger to send small waves of damaging energy at his opponent (Demon Fang, Sonic Thrust or Light Spear). Zelos is stronger and faster than average, and he can jump higher than normal and fall from heights that would kill unenhanced humans without issue. The cruxis crystal he’s wearing by the time of his canon point confers even more benefits, further explained below.

Exspheres also allow for defensive techniques that look magical, but can’t be, as humans can use them as well as half-elves. For Zelos, that technique is Guardian, which instantly summons a flickering green shield around him capable of deflecting most physical and magical attacks.

Magic artes: There’s a variety of elemental artes Zelos can learn during the game, thanks to his earlier ingestion of aionis. However, when left to his own devices, his AI prefers fire and fighting on the front lines. Because of that, realistically he'd probably have the following abilities in Tushanshu –
- Fireball/Eruption: Fireball is a novice-level spell that summons three balls of fire in quick succession and hurls them at an enemy. Eruption is the evolution of Fireball, and it turns a small marked space of the ground into an erupting volcano complete with magma/lava. Both of these spells require roughly 3-10 seconds of Zelos concentrating beforehand which cannot be interrupted (the exact prep time is randomised based on stats).
- First aid: Heals most minor wounds on either himself or someone else. As the name implies, it’s good for use as quick healing in the field until the injured party can be brought to a proper healer, which Zelos isn’t. Requires the same prep time as for Fireball and Eruption.
- Lightning: Novice-level spell that summons a bolt of lightning down onto an enemy. Requires prep time.
- Wind blade: Novice-level spell that strikes an enemy with sharp, localised damaging gusts of wind. Requires prep time.
- Stone blast: Novice-level spell where small stones burst from the ground under an enemy. Requires prep time.

Combination magic/blade attacks: The elemental artes explained thus far all require preparation time, and fail if Zelos's concentration is broken. They're best used when he's fighting in a group for that reason. He does have a few attacks, though (Lightning Blade and Hell Pyre) which don’t require any prep time at all – just a blade. They’re not as powerful as the full artes, but add extra electricity damage with a bolt of lightning and fire damage with a ball of fire to Zelos's attack, respectively.

Angelic artes: Equipping a cruxis crystal with a key crest transforms the wearer into an angel. Once the transformation is complete (and it’s not yet complete at Zelos’s canon point), Zelos will be able to turn all his senses on and off at will, summon intangible angelic wings of mana that allow him to fly, sense mana, turn on and off basic survival functions like sleeping, eating, and breathing, and let him beam thoughts telepathically into someone else’s head. (This is one-way telepathy – no angel can read anyone else’s mind, nor can they read anything from another angel that angel doesn’t want them to hear. This is also in his permissions.)

The cruxis crystal stops aging and confers functional immortality. All other things being equal, Zelos will live forever. This doesn’t mean he can’t be killed, however – if someone stabbed him right where the cruxis crustal is at the base of his throat, destroying the crystal, he’d pretty much be dead. And a serious enough injury anywhere else that doesn’t get healed in time could also do the job.

The cruxis crystal also lets Zelos use an angel skill called Judgment. Like other elemental artes, it takes some prep time, though he seems to be a little more immune to his concentration getting broken; and when he casts it, giant beams of light spear through the ground randomly in a wide arc around him, damaging anything that gets caught in them. Judgment can also turn into Divine Judgement if Zelos has taken a lot of damage in a short amount of time, which is much more powerful and spreads even father out.

Inventory:
- Cruxis crystal, a small red gem and a key crest worn on Zelos's chest
- Sword and shield as seen here. The sword, Last Fencer, is given to Zelos by Seles after beating her in the coliseum. Technically this only happens after Zelos’s pull point, but that’s a matter of game mechanics, and there’s no reason Zelos wouldn’t get the sword from Seles as soon as the coliseum battles unlock.
- A wing pack, a small piece of magitechnology that fits in your pocket and works exactly like an Infinite Bag of Holding. One wing pack can conveniently carry an entire transport boat.
- Within the wing pack, a rheaird, a one-man flying machine used mainly in Tethe'alla to get places very quickly. It usually needs a source of magical energy to work, which is why it wouldn't be able to get very far from the turtle.

Soul Gem:
A gem that looks like this, set into a thick bracelet on Zelos’s right wrist that looks something like this.

Writing Samples:

Third Person:

I trust you.

Of course you do, Zelos had answered, immediately and without needing to think about it, thanks to countless years of practice. Why wouldn’t you? I’m incredibly trustworthy. But scarcely two minutes later, on the way out of Flanoir, he stopped walking, watching the others go on ahead.

Why? Why did Lloyd trust him, when it was so obvious he couldn't? What, exactly, did Zelos bring to the party someone else hadn’t already, aside from a propensity to lie and cheat and backstab? He'd overheard Lloyd and Kratos talking the night before. He'd heard the reconciliation. The trust, real trust, despite every single time Kratos betrayed them.

The thing was, Kratos never lied. He was honest in his betrayal. No wonder Lloyd trusted him; all he had to do was say he was on their side. Give some sob story about how Lloyd's mom died, and all transgressions were forgiven. Zelos, on the other hand, lied to them every single day. If Lloyd was going to get help reuniting the worlds, shouldn't it come from the people who cared enough not to lie?

Zelos never cared about anything. He'd fooled himself for a while, sure, but he couldn't fool himself forever; he never had a place in the group. They were better off without him. Lloyd would even agree, if he was given a good enough reason.

"Zelos?"

Like protecting Colette. Lloyd's dad did nothing but engineer the suffering of people around him, and Lloyd still somehow turned into a force for good. Zelos wasn't a force for anything. He couldn't blame that on anyone but himself.

"Hey! Chosen!"

Zelos started and looked at Sheena, who’d turned back to face him with her hands on her hips. For an instant, he couldn’t even summon his usual smile. Failure as a friend. Failure as the Chosen. The only thing he hadn’t failed at was trying to get out of being the Chosen, and he'd only done that by helping put both worlds in jeopardy.

"Yep." Zelos summoned the smile he was looking for and sauntered over. "Just wondering what we should do once we save the world. Maybe a night in Altamira. What do you guys think?"

I trust you.

You shouldn’t. But thanks for giving it a try, anyway.

Network:

Helloooo, residents of Keeliai!

[Here’s someone who’s not really bothered by the news that he’s not in his own world. He’s smiling, perfectly relaxed, like he does this all the time. Not at all like someone just had to explain to him how the console connects to every single other console in the city, not just one other. The wonders of magitechnology.]

I'm sure you hear this all the time, but your women are beautiful. Don’t worry, I got the hint, they’re off-limits, but I mean it. All you lovely ladies out there, you’re gorgeous. It’s amazing you have a way for me to be able to tell everyone that at once, this... whatever this is. Seriously.

[His smile brightens, giving the impression he really means it, and then he waves a hand.]

Oh yeah, and it looks like I’m not the only Foreigner here. Anyone want to show me the ropes? The kedan are great, but there’s only so much you can get out of them.

Additional Information - CRAU Characters:
Game Origin:

CRAU Changes:

Additional Information - Canon OCs:
Character Premise:

Canon Relationships?:

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