Ebenezer Larkham

The Prince of Nightmares

Ebenezer "Nezer" Larkham

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Sarah sat bolt upright in bed when she saw the shape sitting on her window sill. "Nezer? Oh my god, I thought you were dead!"
"Yeah," the shape answered. "I was. Still am, I guess. It's kinda hard to tell."
"But you're here in my room," Sarah said. "How did you get in here anyway?"
"It's not really your room, and I'm not really here either," the shape answered. "Well, I mean I am, but it's complicated."
Sarah thought about this for a second. "This is a dream, isn't it?"
The shape nodded. "Yeah; it's the last one you'll ever have. See, there's a lot of bad stuff in the world, stuff we never knew about before, and now I'm one of the ones that's gotta keep it from hurting people. But to do that, I've gotta do some bad stuff of my own every now and then."
"Nezer, don't talk like that. You're scaring me," Sarah said.
"Yeah," the shape answered. "That's what I do now. I'm sorry, Sarah, but if it makes you feel any better you can try pretending it's not me."
The shape stepped away from the window sill, and in her last moments, Sarah didn't have to pretend.

Personal Code

Code of the Schoolyard

  1. Respect your elders, but don't tell 'em anything they didn't ask about.
  2. Help your friends, even when they don't want you to.
  3. Never let the bullies get away with it.

Design

A number two pencil that has clearly seen better days, carved out of Willow wood—representing the fear and loneliness associated with his Estate. The pencil rests atop an open Chamomile blossom, representing Nezer's determined personality.

Miraculous Abilities

  • Aspect 0
    • 5 Permanent Miracle Points
  • Domain 4
    • 5 Permanent Miracle Points
  • Realm 0
    • 5 Permanent Miracle Points
  • Spirit 0
    • 5 Permanent Miracle Points

Gifts

''Gifts are unique special abilities possessed by the Noble.

Keeper of Monsters

(Lesser Change, Simple, One Target, Limited, Uncommon, Loose Collection of Estates): 4 CPs
This Gift changes the form of inanimate objects, giving them a body identical in form and mobility to that of their Nature Spirits and binding them to Nezer's service. Anchors notwithstanding, he can only control one such being at a time using this gift, though he may create as many as he likes—and of course, spirits may be persuaded into service through other means.

Immortal

6 CPs
Any time a force would bring harm to Nezer, the targeted part of his body turns to formless shadow, allowing the attack to pass harmlessly through. There is a price, however: on the night of each full moon, he must kill a mortal in their sleep with a fatal nightmare. If he fails to do this, he becomes mortal until the next full moon.

Elemental

2 CPs
Nezer becomes a pure expression of his Estate. This usually takes one of two forms. In the first, he enters someone's mind, manifesting the worst nightmare they can imagine. In the second, he stays physical, but appears to each person as the embodiment of their deepest, most personal fears.

Louisville Slugger (Focus)

(Aspect 5 (baseball bat), Simple, Local, Limited): 1 CP
This miraculous baseball bat allows its wielder to perform Aspect 5 feats as simple miracles, provided that the feat could be performed with a baseball bat.

Limits

Limits are handicaps under which the Noble operates; but in adversity there is power, and limits grant extra miracle points.

Focus: Louisville Slugger

A General Limit ( +0 MP )

Though it contains only a fraction of Nezer's miraculous power, the Slugger is a potent weapon in its own right—and that weapon can be used by anyone.

Restrictions

Restrictions are much like limits, but less universally problematic; they grant extra miracle points only when they become a major problem.

Eternally Underage

A restriction of (Aspect) (+1 MP when appropriate)

For all the power that Nezer has, and all the growth that it has forced him to undergo, he is still a kid—and is treated as such by the world at large.

Revelatory Trait: No Shadow

A General Restriction (+1 MP when appropriate)

Due to an early misuse of his Keeper of Monsters gift, Nezer has no shadow. Given that he works mostly at night, this is not usually a problem, but it tends to be alarming to those who notice it.

Ruby

A General Restriction (+1 MP when appropriate)

Ruby, the solidified Nature Spirit of Nezer's shadow, does not actively work against Creation; in fact, she's quite fond of the Chancel, and has a lot of respect for Joseph. She harbors a deep resentment towards Nezer, however, and works to undermine him as best it can.

Bonds

  • His Familia: 5
  • His home, the Chancel: 4
  • The sanctity of his Estate: 3
  • Salira: 3
  • Ruby: 3
  • Ensuring that schools are safe places: 2

Sample Miracles

  1. Ghost Miracles - Inspire a feeling of nonspecific but insistent dread; conjure a ghostly vision of terror.
  2. Lesser Divination - Know the worst nightmare that someone has ever had.
  3. Lesser Preservation - Keep a person trapped in a nightmare, unable to wake up without serious outside intervention.
  4. Lesser Creation - Send a small group into a terror-filled sleep.
  5. Lesser Destruction - Cure someone of recurring night terrors; Greater Divination - Find out who has had a very specific type of nightmare, regardless of where they are or how long it's been.
  6. Lesser Change - Swap a person with a subject from their nightmare, trapping them in the dream world and bringing the dream creature into the real world; Major Preservation - Curse all members of a given bloodline with the inability to forget their worst nightmares.
  7. Major Creation - Paint a terrifying portrait that seems different for each viewer, inspiring a fortnight of terrible nightmares in anybody who sees it.
  8. Major Destruction - There is no longer a safety net between the mind and the body; if someone dies in a nightmare, they die for real.
  9. Major Change - Nightmares become extremely addictive; slasher movies and other frightening things become more popular as people work for their next fix.

Estate Correspondences

People are, to a greater or lesser degree, afraid of a great number of things—but very few people have nightmares about losing their wallet. That's the heart of the matter: nightmares are intensely personal things, each one drawn from the darkest parts of the heart where our secret fears nestle. The Estate of Nightmares is the embodiment of paranoia, despair, and horror: and for those with the courage, it is the means of conquering those fears. It is in our nightmares that we face whatever scares us most of all, perfect terrors of our own design, and it is only by standing up to them that those terrors may be conquered.
To a lesser extent, the Prince of Nightmares can influence things that cause nightmares: scary movies, haunted houses, Halloween and the like. Generally speaking, though, he can only affect the degree and form of the nightmares they cause.

Personality

Noble or not, Immortal or not, Nezer is nine years old, and that youth colors his outlook on the world. He sees things simply, without the veil of years. Right and wrong aren't as simple as they used to be, but they're not as complex as grown-ups make them out to be either. For instance: once a month, he has to kill someone, and one of the first people he killed was Sarah, a girl who used to be his best friend when he was a mortal. In his old life, he never would have done that, and even now he knows that it was a bad thing to do. But he also knows that the best way to keep everyone he cares for safe is for him to stay alive, and that means he has to kill. After some of the things he's seen and come to know as a Noble, dying in one's sleep is something like mercy. He killed Sarah to keep her from seeing some of the world's real horrors, and to give her a chance at dying for something. Lesser evils to battle greater evils: he accepts this as something that must be done, and doesn't obsess over it as much as one might expect. He does what kids do: he feels the pain of the thing, heals, and moves on. One of these days, the mantle of Nobility may leave him a hollow shell, every scrap of humanity gone, but if so that day is a long time distant, and in the meantime he does his title honor.

History

Nezer's family didn't even have time to reach their new home before the wreck. They made the mistake of moving to the area where a Chancel was being built, and his parents were the last two lives claimed by the process: his father just before midnight, his mother just after. His Commencement came hard and fast, sweeping him into a world where innocence was a vulnerability and beautiful, unknowable monsters gnawed at the edge of the world. To an outside observer, survival would be an unexpected accomplishment, but an Imperator is not an outside observer. They see the inner truth of things, the hidden depths, and Nezer's was no different. He was chosen for his ability to adapt, even when the world had no right to expect it of him. In his time as a Noble, he has grown into his role, making the hard choices that a warden for the world must make: choices so many seem to forget that children are capable of. There may come a day when he just wants to be a kid again, but until that day arrives he is willing to do whatever it takes to fight off the Excrucians, the biggest bullies of them all.

Anchors

Salira

Ebenezer has only suffered at the hands of his Estate one time since his Commencement. It was the first night in his new role, and he dreamed of the night his parents died. He saw the whole thing happen from outside the car, suspended in the air, frozen and silent, unable to shout a warning. He saw them die, helpless to change the outcome, and then the nightmare ended. It did not, however, leave. The image blurred and swirled, taking a new shape: a faceless man made of shadow. The nightmare spirit called itself Salira, one of the Hauntings of Lost Things, and it served as Nezer's teacher in his early days. Salira taught him the ways of his new Estate, knowing that a foolish master would be a thousand times more dangerous to Nightmares than a cunning enemy. In time, Nezer rewarded Salira by bringing it into the real world, where it still serves him as a butler and occasional advisor.

Notable friends and Enemies

Ruby (love-hate rivalry)

One of the first nature spirits Nezer ensorcelled with his Keeper of Monsters gift was that of his own shadow. In time, when he felt that a bit more muscle would be helpful, he dismissed the hold he had on her, adopting a bulldozer spirit instead. These two decisions have caused him no end of frustration. Ruby, as the shadow spirit called herself, was Nezer's opposite in nearly every way imaginable. While Nezer believed that doing bad things in the name of good was harsh but acceptable, Ruby didn't believe in compromise. Nezer believed that people conquered their fears by facing them, whereas Ruby felt that as a Noble he should use his power to abolish fear directly, skipping the middle ground. She still serves Creation; protecting the world from the Excrucians is one goal they agree on. On everything else, however, she considers Nezer a fool, and does her best to "teach" him by undercutting his every plan that doesn't suit her.
On Nezer's side, he feels a sense of responsibility putting her into the situation. Before, she was a simple shadow, unburdened by the hate and power that he forced onto her. To make up for it, he has ensured that she has a home in the Chancel, and that none of his Familia do her any harm on his behalf. And though he'd never openly admit it, except perhaps for Relena, who in all honesty could figure it out on her own, he has a kind of crush on Ruby. She's his opposite in so many ways, but opposites attract, and there's no one in Creation who understands him the way she does.

Goals and Motivations

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