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“What was our people but this leaf? When our mighty tree, our empire, bloomed, we were filled with life; feeling ourselves to be insurmountable. It was to be an eternal rule of the Sun, with us at the helm. But, come fall and winter, and the leaf turns brown, dying as the tree starts to slumber... and then, when this weakened, decrepit leaf is given to a misguided caretaker, is it crumbled and turned to dust.”
- - Tacitus
Tacitus Callidamates Demaenetus Sagaristio is a Shiarchon druid in service to Harstag, the Simulacrum of the Hunt. Becoming a champion of the Simulacrum upon him leading a group of other Shiarchon defectors away from Abyssus, Tacitus has remained an Avatar of the Hunt for over two thousand years. Due to this long servitude and his overall advanced age, he has often acted as a mentor to many of his fellow Avatars throughout the years, even despite some of them technically outranking him.
Born in the Orichalcum Elf Imperium some four thousand years before its fall at the hands of Constantius, Tacitus functioned within the Imperium as a priest dedicated to Aurārel for most of his life and was greatly respected by the people he administered. Despite having been historically a vocal supporter of the Castus family, during Constantius' regency over the Imperium, Tacitus began to express doubt in the future of his people; with the abolition of the Order of Sol and the religion of Aurārel being steadily replaced by that of Caligaduro Provectus as the two most prominent issues on his mind. When the Imperium finally fell and those still loyal to their new emperor followed him to Abyssus, Tacitus - even with his doubts still just as present as before - accompanied the rest of his people on their exodus, still retaining feeble hope in that they were doing the right thing for their people as a whole.
The next three thousand years saw Tacitus' outlook on the place of his people in the world change drastically. In his eyes, the transformation into the Shiarchon had rid their people of any semblance of proper sophistication, and that it had given them very little in return. In fact, he had also taken personal insult to the fact that his potency with heliomancy had begun to fade as his people steered further away from Aurārel, while he himself retained his faith in the goddess and still continued to follow the old religion in secret alongside his most faithful followers. It was also by this point that Tacitus had lost all confidence in Constantius, coming to actively resent the man for the downfall of the Imperium - even if still outwardly acting as if he was still loyal to him. Tacitus and his followers were able to have their practices go unnoticed for several centuries until on a rather typical evening some members of his congregation got careless and were caught worshipping to Aurārel by a visiting military officer, who they then killed in a desperate attempt to hide their transgression. As the followers responsible recounted the incident to him, Tacitus immediately realized the gravity of the situation, and, fearing for the lives of the people who had put their trust in him, ordered all of his followers to gather in preparation to depart from Abyssus itself.
Managing to cross the border into the Tropical Lands, Tacitus and those of his followers who had managed to reach his main group travelled in the wilderness until reaching a point that he and the other leaders among his congregation felt to be far enough from Abyssus. However, as they were setting up camp, two of Tacitus' followers asked him to come and inspect a structure that they had found nearby. What they had found was an ancient stone temple of unknown design, and as Tacitus entered it he could conclude that it was some sort of an ancient tomb. Moving closer to inspect the heavy looking stone coffin in the middle of the structure, he was quickly alerted to a sound coming from behind him; a spectral deer nearly his height stood quietly watching him at the entrance to the tomb. As a further shock to the Shiarchon man, the deer then spoke to him and addressed him by name, while also recounting many of his life's most important moments. Before Tacitus could respond, the deer spoke again, this time introducing itself as the Simulacrum Harstag and expressed an interest in Tacitus - the extent of which had him now offering the man a place as one of his Avatars of the Hunt. Having travelled all this way to escape the corrupting influence of one Simulacrum, Tacitus angrily declined this other Simulacrum's offer, stating to the otherworldly being that he and his followers would never turn their back on Aurārel. In response, Harstag calmly rebutted Tacitus' claims of his followers' devotion to his goddess, and explained that they instead believed in Tacitus himself because he had protected them for so many years; choosing only to act as devout followers of Aurārel as a form of showing their gratitude towards him, as they didn't want him to lose the smallest fraction of hope he had left.
Realizing the harsh, yet oddly comforting truth in the Simulacrum's words, Tacitus accepted Harstag's offer. However, before the deity was fully ready to bestow the title of Avatar upon Tacitus, the latter was required to travel as a test to the Great Eastern Wall in search of the final resting place of Arjorn, an ancient Wane of massive proportions. Departing on his journey after giving thanks to his followers and offering them some guidance for the timespan he was to be gone for, Tacitus eventually reached his destination, the massive skeletal remains of Arjorn resting against the mountainside. As Harstag had instructed him, Tacitus began to prepare a ritual to summon the deceased Wane's spirit back into the mortal world. The spirit of Arjorn materialized as it was supposed to, and following Harstag's instructions, Tacitus engaged the Wane in a verbal duel in order to bind the spirit to an amulet. After four or more gruelling hours of this verbal combat, Tacitus eventually succeeded in binding the spirit - the difficulty of which had taken him by surprise. It was then that Harstag appeared in his true form to the tired Shiarchon man, congratulating him on succeeding in his monumental task and fully embracing him as one of his Avatars of the Hunt.
Standing at a height that towers over most others of his kind, Tacitus overall possesses a physique that, while resembling that of an average Shiarchon, is, in fact, more detached from the norm than one would realize at first. His long-standing connection to Harstag as one of the Simulacrum's champions upon the mortal world has caused multiple transformations to take place in his body, with him taking on more Saiteir-like characteristics over time; two sets of horns sprouting from his forehead, and a noticeable increase in muscle mass coinciding with his unnatural height growth. Denoting his status as a feral Shiarchon, Tacitus has abandoned the more traditional clothing of his people and is instead often seen wearing grey robes lined with heavy furs.
In comparison to many of the preceding Aspects of the Bear, and especially to his most recent fellow Avatars, Tacitus is an exceptionally calm individual; exemplified by him maintaining a mellow and placid tone in his voice whenever he is speaking. Additionally, while definitely not above feeling and directing utter resentment and hatred towards others, Tacitus tends to still show some small measure of respect towards people that would be considered his enemies. Quite surprisingly for a Shiarchon, he is also genuinely kind-hearted, and has almost none of the arrogance that the Orichalcum Elves were often described to have. Also, while he has served Harstag as an Avatar of the Hunt for multiple centuries, Tacitus' loyalty to the Simulacrum can be discerned to be tumultuous at times, given his enduring devotion to Aurārel.
While having gradually lost the ability to use heliomancy due to his own transformation into a Shiarchon, Tacitus nevertheless remains a powerful mage, having replaced his lost school of magic with that of luxomancy. Additionally, during his servitude to Harstag, Tacitus has become privy to many druidic rituals pertaining to the Simulacrum of the Hunt, and has overseen the summoning of his master into the mortal world multiple times. The most notable power that Harstag has granted Tacitus is his ability to transform into a giant bear-like beast resembling Arjorn, and he achieves this, in fact, by using the bound Wane's power to do so. However, while to a bystander this power may seem similar to therianthropy, it does differ significantly from it; the form isn't assumed through a process that physically changes his body, and thus could very well be likened to summoning an illusory appearance. While shapeshifted, Tacitus is frighteningly powerful and durable, while also being able to further enhance the danger he poses by wreathing his claws in light magic.
- Harstag - ...now and forever.
- Hirce Kerene - I still remember each of your predecessors by name, and I hope that I will do so for you as well.
- Leo Ironhelm - Humans are so very fragile against time, but something tells me that you and your deeds won't be forgotten.
- Longinus - Hirce spoke of you, Crusader. I am beyond glad that you have survived to this age.
- Septimus - I hear whispers of your survival, and I can't help but hope that they hold true.
- Tibalt - You and Constantius were the same in so many ways. Both of you betrayed Koldenwelt, yet you also had the same potential to do much good in it.
- Julianus - A continuation of madness.
“[An eternal hunt for the Sun! A great amusement!]”
- - Wulven