beccastareyes at AIM/Plurk/DW/GmailGame Cast:
Slayers (anime)Canon Point:
around 20Reference: http://kanzaka.wikia.com/wiki/Zelgadiss_GraywordsSetting:
Slayers is a fantasy anime (based on a series of light novels) that manages to strike a tone between comedic and light drama. The setting obviously owes homage to fantasy RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons and their inspiration. The overall tech level seems to be 'roughly medieval/renaissance', with a few places having simple gunpowder weapons. However, high magic and the laws of comedy often mean that anachronisms like ice cream and cruise ships are common.
Humans seem to be the dominant mortal civilization, though fantasy staples like elves, orcs and dragons (and anime staples, like beastmen) also exist. Most non-humans seem to live in their own societies, though beastmen can be found occasionally in human towns, and more often as mercenaries. Species such as the golden dragons and the (mostly extinct) ancient dragons have left advanced magical relics, but most of the remaining golden dragons seem to live in isolated regions, and rarely interact with humans. Magic can also change people (and animals) into chimeras by grafting things on, and can even clone people, though most of these uses are seen as unethical. Many humans seem biased against the various monstrous creatures, with some regions even showing hostility towards beastmen.
The world in Slayers is one of four known to its sorcerers, though travel between them is extremely rare. The world (and the other three) emerged from the Sea of Chaos, a sort of formless void of possibility, which at the same time was a presence known as the Lord of Nightmares (which is not well-known to mortals). With the world, came the god Flare Dragon Ceipheed, who wished to maintain the world, and the dark lord Ruby-Eye Shabranigdo, who wished to return the world to chaos. 5000 years before the present, Ceipheed and Shabranigdo's battles came to a head, destroying the central part of the supercontinent, and resulting in a stalemate. Shabranigdo's soul was split into seven pieces and sealed within humans by Ceipheed, with the intent that mortal death and rebirth would dilute his power. Ceipheed, however, was exhausted by this and returned to the Sea. Both Shabranigdo and Ceipheed left their lieutenants, however. Shabranigdo had his five subordinates and the race of mazoku, immortal creatures that feed on negative emotions and keep their true bodies on the astral plane; Ceipheed had her four Dragon Lords, the intelligent species of dragons, and the occasional Knight of Ceipheed, a human possessing some of her power. (Less-intelligent species of dragon exist, but mostly seem to be treated as a smart animal and menace to the area, rather than a civilized race. The analogy I'd use is that 'dragon' is a bit like 'primate' or 'ape', rather than 'human' in terms of what you expect from one: humans are apes and primates, but not all primates are apes and not all apes are humans.)
Both the mazoku and the Dragon Lord grant magic (black and holy magic respectively), as do the five elements (earth, air, water, fire and astral -- usually collectively referred to as shamanism). White magic (used primarily for healing, protection and exorcism) is a thing, but was revealed in interviews to be a specialized form of astral shamanism (to separate it from holy magic). Chaos magic -- magic that calls on the Lord of Nightmares Herself -- exists but is the rare thing people quest even for a mention of it, rarer even than knowing who the Lord of Nightmares *is*. Holy magic is also rarely known by humans, due to events in history (that are mentioned later).
Regardless of its source, magic works by granting humans the ability to invoke a power to get an effect, as humans lack the spiritual strength to power things like fireballs on their own. The nature of what they invoke informs the spells -- black magic spells are always
destructive -- but not the ethics. One can be a good person and cast black magic; using a mazoku's power doesn't taint one with evil. In fact, black magic is pretty darn useful for fighting mazoku, as only it, holy magic, chaos magic and astral shamanism can act on the astral plane. Care must be taken when using black magic against mazoku that the spell chosen isn't throwing the mazoku's own power back at it (which doesn't work), though clever use of black magic can draw off a mazoku's power.
A thousand years before the present, Shabranigdo's subordinates hatched a plan to return their master. Four of them placed themselves at the cardinal points of a part of the world (in canon called the Subcontinent), blocking three of the Dragon Kings (and the magic they granted) outside, and a piece of Shabranigdo's soul (in its human host) inside. The fifth subordinate, Chaos Dragon Gaav, then awakened the piece, leading to a fight between Gaav and Shabranigdo versus the Water Dragon Lord and a Knight of Ceipheed (plus various mazoku, dragons, elves and humans). The piece of Shabranigdo and its host were frozen (and was later called the Demon King of the North), and Gaav was placed in a human body to suffer the same fate as his master, but the Water Dragon Lord lost most of her power, leaving only a small remnant of her memories. During the war, the elves also developed Zenaffa armor, which renders the user immune to magic by sealing off their astral presence. Human attempts to duplicate this led to magically-immune formerly-human chimeras known as Zanaffars. One, known as the Demon Beast Zanaffar, attacked the city of Sairaag some time in the past, and was defeated by a swordsman using a magical weapon known as the Sword of Light.
The present day canon has lead to an upsurge in Interesting Times. A second piece of Shabranigdo was discovered within the soul of Rezo the Red Priest, a famous white magic user, and destroyed by use of chaos magic (by sorceress Lina Inverse), the Sword of Light (by swordsman Gourry Gabriev), and the sentiment of a great-grandson (by Zelgadis Graywords, who probably hates being remembered as 'Rezo's relative' in this setting post). Reports of Rezo's demise left off the details, leading to Rezo's follower, Eris, putting a bounty on his three 'murderers', and leading to a chain of events that re-awakened the Demon Beast Zanaffar combined with a clone of Rezo, and lead to Sairaag's destruction before Lina Inverse was able to kill Rezo's clone.
Lina's use of chaos magic lead to one of Shabranigdo's subordinates, Hellmaster Phibrizzo, attempting to use her ability to call on the Lord of Nightmares to return the world to the Sea of Chaos. He did so by engineering a conflict between Inverse and Gaav (whose increasing humanity made him uninterested in playing with his former allies). When that failed, he went for the old-fashioned 'torture everyone Lina cares about' until she cast the spell… which ended up backfiring due to what seems to be the Lord of Nightmare's capriciousness: Lina survived, Lina's friends survived, Phibrizzo was killed. Phibrizzo's death removed the barrier that had been in place for a millennium, opening the magic-rich Subcontinent to the rest of the world and vice versa, and leading to trade and travel. (And also bringing Lina into conflict with one of Gaav's old subordinates, dragon politics, and beings from another world, which leads to nearly summoning their Dark Lord to this world, because someone thought it would be a good idea to store that Dark Lord's subordinates as legendary weapons, such as the Sword of Light.)
Shortly after, a messy political situation emerges when refugees from the 'hidden' kingdom of Taforashia (founded by an offshoot of people from Sairaag, long ago, and lost for ten years due to a plague) shows up at the same time a duchess from Ruvinagard appears to be creating magic armor, including attempts to reproduce the Zenaffa armor. This goes… about the same way it did last time, when the armor consumes its host and makes for the capital of Saillune, as part of a deal it struck with one of the Taforashian refugees, Duclis -- it seems that aid meant for Taforashia was stolen, and he wants revenge on Taforashia's neighbors for not caring enough to figure out what happened. Thankfully, Taforashia's prince Pocel was carrying a replica Sword of Light (the result of Taforashian studies) that was enough to do the job in the hands of an expert swordsman (and it happened that Gourry Gabriev was involved) and Saillune's Crown Prince Philionel was able to talk Duclis down.
Taforashia was later unsealed, after it was revealed that the original sealing was done by Rezo the Red Priest years ago to procure captive guinea pigs for experiments on souls (and also to keep people from dying; Rezo could multitask). Rezo had preserved his own soul, which allowed him to survive his own death, but also preserved the piece of Shabranigdo as well, a fact he neglected to mention until after
Prince Posel volunteered his body so that Rezo could unseal and cure Taforashia's people. Rezo did, however, make sure that Lina and the rest of group that the mazoku Xellos named 'the demon slayers' -- Gourry Gabriev, Princess Amelia wil tesla Saillune and Zelgadis Graywords -- were on hand to kill him again.
The Subcontinent has a number of countries. A few, like the Elemekian Empire and Zephilia are mentioned only. Most of the action takes place in a number of semi-independent cities, such as Atlas City and Sairaag and doesn't focus on the politics between them. The most visited country is Saillune, a relatively large and peaceful country noted as being the White Magic Capital of the World. Despite this status and Crown Prince Philonel's deep love of Justice!, at least three assassination attempts on its royal family have been featured or mentioned (two committed by other members of the royal family), and every time the city shows up, something seems to be getting destroyed in it. Saillune does seem to be a stabilizing influence in the area, doing things like asking Zoana to stop scaring the neighbors and assisting Taforashia when it is hit by plague (and then again, when they discover a duchess in Ruvignald made off with the supplies). In general, conflicts are more likely to be small scale (bandits, the occasional power-hungry sorcerer, or less-intelligent dragon), or superhuman (mazoku plotting world destruction), and mundane Big Events such as war haven't figured much into current events. Hence the fantasy RPG dungeon crawl/campaign feel.
South of the subcontinent, below the Desert of Destruction that used to be the domain of Hellmaster Phibrizzo, things are seemingly less centralized politically. As mentioned, the Subcontinent had an excess of non-holy magic, so areas outside compensated by developing ideas like gunpowder further -- as a result, things are slightly more technological and less magical. After the barrier falls, we also see a slow importation of things like naval cannons instead of corps of sorcerers.
Areas to the west of the Demon Sea that borders the Subcontinent are unexplored in the anime. Personality:
Zelgadis is a dour person and rather a pessimist. In a comedic universe, he can usually be relied on being the 'straight man', if he's not the butt of the joke. He's got a decent chunk of both intelligence and common sense, tempered with cynicism and downright ruthlessness.
In flashbacks, we see that Zel was a lot more optimistic and generally cheerful: he believed that Rezo the Red Priest (his great-grandfather) was a genuinely selfless person helping the poor and sick and blind, and that Zel's actions of robbing from bandit gangs to fund Rezo's activities helped not only directly, but to avoid tarnishing a great man's image with even the hint of foul play. Needless to say, when Zel discovered that he had been used as Rezo's guinea pig without a thought for his own wants or desires, this crushed out most of Zel's belief in other people. He only retained a small glimmer of faith in decent people because his own gang still treated him as their friend and leader, with two of them (Zolf and Rodimus) being willing to follow him when he finally turned against Rezo. It took years for Zel to warm up to his current friends in the same way, especially since both Lina and Zel can be ruthless in pursuit of their goals.
Zelgadis can occasionally be roused to almost manic bursts of activity, usually regarding his cure. He is quite willing to ignore his common sense, cynicism and sense of dignity when it means that he might have a chance of humanity again. Rezo and his situation is the one thing guaranteed to make him snap at someone. Finding Rezo's soul in a jar, years after Zel assumed the priest had died, was one of the few things that caused him to break with his friends over what to do about it. To be honest, Zel wasn't sure if he wanted to finish killing Rezo or beg him to fix Zel's body. Both Rezo's definite statement that such a thing was impossible, and Rezo's restoration and second death seemed to give Zel some sort of closure (judging from the tiny amount we see Zel in the finale), even if he's still fully working through the ramifications.
While he's self-conscious about his appearance and identity as a 'monster', Zelgadis is very confident in his abilities and will even show off subtly. Zelgadis knows that he's a skilled mage and swordsman in a world where even being good at one is impressive, and that he has a number of useful skills and knowledge. He doesn't brag, but states things in a manner of fact way. This can even verge into the more useful aspects of his chimerism -- he will remind his opponents that you can't use a sword on him.
Zel's relationships with most people tend to be self-serving. He seems to take delight in being seen as a 'heartless sorcerer swordsman' and being distant, and he avoids cities when he can. Early encounters with the people who would later become friends often featured him going off on his own errands at inconvenient times. He still occasionally pulls such stunts, but has a better idea of what is and isn't acceptable to his friends. Zel also has some professional integrity on various mercenary jobs -- or at least the pragmatism to note that a mercenary that breaks contracts left and right will be unemployed.
The general strangeness of the Tu Shanshu 'universe' won't faze Zel: while he's never left his world before, he is used to being thrown into strange circumstances usually without any warning (besides running into Lina Inverse again), and he has no strong ties to any one place within his world. He's also been suspended between life and death before, thanks to Hellmaster Phibrizzo. The most trouble he'll have will be adapting to staying in one place, as that is something he's never done in his life. Coming after the events of the series, he also may be tempted to pursue the otherworldly magics he encounters, as he recently learned that his primary goal (becoming human again) was probably unobtainable in his own world. Whether or not he can take them back to the waking world is an open question, and one he will probably not consider.
Also, if I understand the February/March update correctly, if someone tells Zelgadis that his current body is a copy that was made by the locals, he is going to be Very Upset if he comes to believe (correctly or incorrectly) that they could have reconstructed him as a human. Really, Zel would have forgiven a lot if he had shown up without the various chimera features that he's had for years. As it is, if he comes to that conclusion (which depends on what he learns and how he (mis)interprets it), he will consider it a goal to get that technology and use it, whatever the cost. Appearance: http://kanzaka.wikia.com/wiki/File:Slayers_Revolution_Zelgadis.jpg
It may not be apparent in the picture, but Zel's skin has the texture of stone, and his hair the texture of wire (coarse enough that he can use it as a thrown weapon). Abilities:
Zel is a jack of all trades and master of... well, actually a few. He's a good enough swordsman that he can at least keep pace with a dedicated swordsman. He can both use and throw a dagger. He also has a bag of tricks that seem to encompass things like picking locks, making maps, playing the guitar, ocean navigation, chess, and being familiar with all sorts of information, including seemingly useless things (for instance, he knows what gunpowder is before seeing it).
Zel is also a sorcerer of some power and skill. Astral shamanism is his primary area of focus, and he's able to cast the Rah Tilt, the most powerful spell in that school. He also seems to know a few spells in the other schools of shamanism, including some seriously powerful earth and water shamanism, and some white and black magic (though he will not be able to cast some black magic away from his world: Zel can't call on the power of Dynast Grausherra if Zel is here and Dynast is in his own world). I can provide a complete list of spells known if asked, but it suffices to say he's powerful enough to kill a human, or even a more supernaturally warded creature, like a low-powered mazoku, and has a wide breadth of spells and the endurance to cast several big spells in a row.
Zel is also a chimera, being 1/3 blow demon and 1/3 rock golem. His golem bits give him rock-hard skin, wire hair (that he has used as a thrown weapon), and increased strength, endurance and weight (not so good for things like swimming, but you can't shove him around). His demon bits increase his speed, letting him occasionally get the drop on people, and his senses. He also has increased magical endurance (he can cast more spells before running out of steam). Inventory:
Zelgadis was kitted out for traveling with a pack containing some maps and papers, writing supplies, a sextant, a water pouch, a set of lockpicks, a divining crystal used mostly for finding hidden doors, his bedroll, a few other camping supplies, and some (gold, silver, and copper) coins from various kingdoms. He also has his sword and a dagger. Suite:
Earth. One floor is fine with Zel: he's used to not having much space since he mostly either camps or lives out of inn rooms. Also a quiet place with less nosy neighbors suits him fine.In-Character Samples:Third Person:
Zelgadis had told Amelia it was okay when she asked after the battle.
It was natural Amelia had been concerned. They were friends, and Amelia was a caring person. And, well, after… after how he acted when Rezo told him that, it was probably natural that she'd care how he was doing. There hadn't been much of a chance before, given that they had to keep the re-awakened citizens of Taforashia alive while the cure for Durem sickness made its way from Saillune, and then fight Shabranigdo again
. If it hadn't been Rezo's damn piece, Zelgadis might have walked away.
No, that was a lie. He wouldn't have walked away for two reasons. The first was that was stupid
and leaving Shabranigdo alive and free was a danger to anyone who liked living. Especially if he tried to break the Demon Lord of the North out, or found where the other five pieces were hiding.
The second reason was that Lina, Gourry and Amelia would stay, and he'd grown fond of them. He liked knowing that there were a handful of people in this world that didn't care what he looked like. Hell, Amelia had even told him she thought he looked 'cool' and Lina joked around with him. If he died, at least he wouldn't have been lonely, and Zolf and Rodimus would have never let him live it down if he had let their killer go.
Maybe he should add a third reason: Zelgadis was starting to think that even Death was too scared to take Lina Inverse on, given her track record. At this rate, the woman was going to die in bed at the age of two hundred.
Zelgadis wasn't sure if he was okay. Rezo had told him that he knew of no way to do so, had even thought that it was impossible. At the time he had heard that, Zelgadis… well, to say he hadn't taken it well was an understatement. The only way he could function was to not
think about that. Especially when working with Rezo to clean up his damn mess.
But now, Taforashia's people were healthy, and rebuilding their shattered city. Relief supplies had come in from Saillune, and Amelia was indicating she was probably returning with them. Lina and Gourry were also indicating they were heading out again, to go find bandits to fight and restaurant owners to teach the meaning of fear. As for him…
… well, that depended on whether he believed Rezo. Who, without a doubt, knew more about magic than Zelgadis did. If Rezo was correct, there was no reason for Zelgadis to travel any more; he wouldn't find what he was looking for on the road. But he didn't know what he should be doing instead: his life had been lived on the road, even before he had set upon this quest. He'd always had a reason to do things, a goal: even taking mercenary jobs had helped fund his travels.
Well, he could always return with Amelia to Saillune. He had been her bodyguard, employed by her father, the Crown Prince. That meant Prince Phil and the kingdom owed him money, since Amelia had only broken a few bones and Zelgadis was pretty sure 'a piece of Shabranigdo destroyed a city and we had to stop it now' was not grounds for a broken contract. Since they had set out to look for Lina, Zelgadis had requested some special
additions to the language.
That was a plan, at least for a while. Maybe then he'd really be okay. Network:
[The camera turns on, showing a dark room. A figure wrapped in a light-color cloak is messing with they keyboard and the monitor
No I don't want a picture. How the hell do I turn the picture off…
[Cue a bunch more messing around with the console, before Zelgadis gets frustrated and drops his cloak over the whole thing, with a sigh
I'll figure it out later.
I'm interested in information, especially from other sorcerers. Not about the world: I got the whole spiel from the locals. About magic where you're from. What you can do with it. I'll trade in kind, if you're interested. You can contact me over the console, assuming I have it figured out by then. And I don't want visitors coming over to help me figure this out. It can't be that hard.
My name is Zelgadis, if that matters to you, and yes, I am a sorcerer.
[He'd figure out what he was going to do with the information when he learned about it. And the benefit of these machines -- or whatever they were, since they didn't look like machines, or magical items, and Zelgadis wasn't going to take his apart to figure it out without some idea of how to not break it -- was that he could avoid face to face contact. No one needed to know what he looked like, or that he wasn't human. The locals knew, of course, and probably didn't care, given that they could change their appearance, the lucky bastards. At best, humans might think he was a local as well, but he'd rather keep up the pretense for as long as he could.
Also, I hear this city has cafés. That would include coffee and tea, right?
[Because a sandwich, a hot drink and a book wasn't a bad lunch, and half the kitchen still intimidated him, so he was prone to relying on take-out and other restaurant fare, even if it would kill his budget.