A Master of Life, and Former Hierarch of Sacramento, Animus was one of the most well-respected members of the Consilium. Despite frequent struggles with depression and an often-painful past, he has proven time and again that he will stop at nothing to protect the city, and the people, that he cares so deeply for.
Animus is 30 years old and 5'10". His build is significantly more muscular than average, and it is clear that he remains physically active. He typically wears a t-shirt and jeans, and wouldn't be caught dead in anything more formal. His most prominant feature is a long scar that runs the length of his right forearm.
The impressions of something animal wrap around him, just beneath the threshhold of notice. Under strong emotions, animal tendancies begin to surface in his movements and behavior patterns.
Animus' features take on a lupine cast, as a mournful wolf's howl echoes from somewhere in the distance.
May or may not be false.
- Animus understands fear in a physical sense, not a psychological one.
- Animus has been possessed multiple times.
- He might even be possessed now.
- Animus has killed fellow Arrows during training bouts.
Halloween of Fred Matthews' junior year of high school started like any other day. He ran track, and usually practiced in the evenings. This evening was no different ... until he stumbled through a Verge. It didn't take long for him to attract the attention of a murderous spirit. A werewolf came to his rescue, but not before the spirit cut a deep gash along the length of his arm. The shock of the experience resulted in his Awakening to the Watchtower of the Stone Book, and he bears the scar to this day, a reminder of the dangers of leaving too much to chance.
He soon joined the Silver Ladder, finding a resonance with its goal of claiming the Imperium Mysteriorum for all humanity, and took the shadow name Animus.
Animus threw himself into the study of the Primal Wild's ruling Arcana. Slowly, he began to piece together what had happened that night and even began to develop his own library of spirits. He also saw in the Life arcanum a chance to hone himself, to ensure that he would never again be caught helpless. He also soon bonded with a twilight familiar, a wolf spirit named Guards-the-Pack.
Animus spent the next twelve years on the fringes of Ladder politics while he continued to advance his own knowledge and abiity with magic. Eventually, he learned of the disappearance of Sacramento's Consilium, and the troubles faced by the Mages who had returned to the city. He left with little hesitation, determined to help any way he could.
Animus arrived in Sacramento to find the situation even more serious than he had thought.
Peter Cartright, the Hierarch of the fledgeling Consilium, had just been murdered, and Magister Iodor Undrichmann assigned Animus to work with Blackfire's Cabal, who were currently investigating a disturbance in Disovery Park. The Cabal traced the disturbance to ten obelisks within the park's Shadow reflection, activating one by one, each strongly resonating with one of the ten Arcana. In an attempt to disrupt the ritual, they decided to move one of the obelisks, with disastrous results. The obelisk triggered, severing Blackfire's soul and burning his body to a husk. When Animus regained consciousness, he was alone.
A Mysterious Attacker
Upon returning to the Material Realm, Animus was met by Joshua Morris and Zero. Fiddler awoke soon after, having been thrown across the Gauntlet. The four of them met with Calligan Wellmer, the head of the Free Council, who instructed them to return and learn what they could about the Obelisks. When they reported back, they found Calligan barely clinging to life. Animus brought him back from the brink, then he and Joshua unsuccessfully pursued his attacker, an Asian mage riding a red ducatti.
Neutralising the Obelisks
After getting in contact with the Mysterium, Animus, Joshua, and Fiddler sent to the city of Carson to help Ruby, Captain, his three Sleepwalkers, and Armstrong with an archaeological dig. There they turned up ten stone keys, each resonating with one of the Arcana. They took these to Armstrong's garage, where Apotheosis joined them as they prepared to once again enter the Shadow Realm.
When the group reached Discovery Park, the obelisks exuded Ananke, constructs that fought to prevent interference with the ritual. After a long, bloody fight, they destroyed the Ananke and placed the keys within the obelisks, stopping the cycle before it could once again erase the Consilium.
Animus, Joshua, and Armstrong returned to the Hostel HI to investigate the attempt on Calligan's life, only to discover that Calligan had been murdered. Animus learned what he could from a pain spirit, then allowed it to feed off him as payment. The investigation turned up little because the Guardians had already purged the house, but Armstrong found a shaving from the old refridgerator. The three of them then met with a Guardian named Ekko, who had arranged a diplomatic meeting with some of the city's vampires. There they learned that Calligan's murderer was Eric The Ancient, an ancient vampire that had been preying on some of their own people as well.
The Living Stones
Animus, Joshua, Armstrong, Apotheosis, and Ruby formed a Cabal, the Living Stones, and gained official recognition from the Consilium. The Cabal was ill-fated, however, and slowly eroded as members died or left the city. Eventually, Animus and Joshua, the two remaining members, were pulled into an investigation of the Tower Bridge. Soon after Joshua, too, left the city, and Animus left the bridge to the Mysterium, but not before discovering a powerful veiling effect and another powerful spell that appeared to be forming a bridge to the Abyss.
Shortly after, the Consilium met to discuss the troubles plaguing the city. But first, Dr. Primoria proposed a restructuring to chose Councilors by Path as is traditional, rather than by Order. Andrade acceeded after most of the Consilium through its support behind the motion, and Animus claimed the Thyrsus seat. During further discussion, it was revealed that the dream Rosh had had, as well as various disconcerting feelings shared by many other Consilium members, were the result of an Abyssal Intrusion that had failed to fully manifest but might still come to pass.
Tug called Ankh and Animus together to scout out the city by air, after which Ankh requested that Animus see her and West at their Sanctum. Animus agreed to join The Neidan.. Soon after, Ankh began mentoring him as an Orphan of Proteus and Tug, distraught over his brother Falx's death at the hands of Banishers, joined the Cabal as well. At the same time, Ankh began mentoring him in her Legacy, the Orphans of Proteus.
The Arrows, Animus, and the Guardian Henry Pym planned a retaliatory strike against the Banishers, while West gathered the rest of the Mages in the museum for protection. Animus led the strike force through the Shadow Realm to the Kruegans' Sanctum, allowing the group to scope the place out and enter undetected.
The remainder of their plan, however, quickly unravelled when one of the Banishers spotted Animus. The group quickly launched into action, battling the Banishers in the Dining Room. After sustaining severe injuries, Animus panicked and fled up the stairs, only to be sealed away from the action by a phantasmal wall. When he broke through, Tug was lying on the floor unconscious, one of the Banishers poised to finish him off. Ankh and Ash were nowhere to be seen.
The Banishers demanded their own escape, in exchange for Tug's life. Unwilling to let his friend die, Animus agreed to the terms. The group had reclaimed the Sanctum, including a large library and Falx's ghost, but Animus' failures and his moment of weakness affected him deeply, throwing him into a depression.
A Consilium in Turmoil
Vector used the distraction of the assault on the Banishers to strike at the museum, bringing with him Niles Plotski. His target: a set of journals that seemed to hold the key to unravelling the spell on the Tower Bridge. Andrade handed over the journals on the condition that Vector stop hurting Plotski, who turned out to be her brother. For this act of betrayal she left the city in disgrace. In the aftermath, Animus realized that, despite his doubts following the Kruegans debacle, he might be the only one who could lead. An emergancy Consilium meeting was called, and Animus took the time to secure Deacon Eclipse's support and make sure Ankh was ready to claim the Councilor's chair.
At the Consilium meeting, Animus was named Hierarch with the only opposition being one of Zero's pranks. It shortly became clear that the Councilors' mistakes were causing a loss of respect for the positions. In order to restore that respect and ensure that the Consilium would continue to have leadership, he replaced most of them with more competent people. Discussion then continued to the Consilium's current problems and choosing a new Herald and Provost.
Hellen's Phalanx, an Arrow Cabal from Salt Lake City, arrived at the Neidan's doorstep seeking sanctuary, but were turned away once they revealed the full extent of their mission. But a careless joke one of the Phalanx made during the encounter set Animus to thinking, and he soon realized that he belonged much more to the Arrow than to the Ladder. The next few months were spent reflecting on the Adamant Way and spending time with other Arrows in their daily activities, culminating in a trial by fire in the depths of Granite Park's Bell Building. After a brutal fight, Animus slew the Necromancer, his former Cabal-mate Invictus, now reanimated as a revenant. Shortly thereafter, Animus was formally granted membership in the Arrow.
What should have been a great accomplishment, however, was quickly overshadowed by loss. While Animus was still reeling from his experiences in the Bell Building, Ankh left town without a word, breaking the bonds that had held the Neidan together and once again sending him spiralling into depression. After Ruby's and Joshua Morris' return to Sacramento, Animus had thought to reforge the Living Stones, but their first meeting quickly devolved into a tense argument, leaving the future uncertain.
Life moves on, as it must. Despite the rise and fall of Renascentia and many harrowing adventures, Animus continues to protect the city he calls home, now as Banner Warden to Catalyst.
Main Article: Awakening Continuum
In the wake of the assault on the Obelisks, the Banishers launched an attack on the museum, destroying the Consilium's leadership. As the sole surviving Thearch, Animus became the de facto Hierarch of the survivors. A month later, the spell on the Tower Bridge activated, corrupting the ley lines and allowing Abyssal Intrusions to swarm the city. Another two months of desperate fighting left the Consilium remnants huddled in Granite Park's Bell Building.
Tyria postcogged the Museum, only to be killed by a mob of Ractains and Fleshies before making it back to safety, the same swarm that would force the Mages out of their hiding spot. West took Joshua and Ash to attempt to learn what they could from Tyria's ghost. They would never complete their mission. The remaining mages split into two groups, one to hold the building's roof entrence and cover the second group's escape. Of the first group, only Orphan would make it out alive.
The refugees fled to Ankh's car, but some were too slow and became entangled in the mass of Abyssal entities. To free them, Animus shapeshifted them into hawks suffering a great deal of Paradox backlash in the process. Two mages fell, and, to save a third who hadn't quite made it inside, Animus jumped onto the roof of the car as it began to drive away. Their reprieve was short-lived, however.
Vector and Ollie quickly caught up to them, magically sending the car hurtling through the air. Rather than compound his injuries, Animus transformed himself into a hawk, but could do little more than watch as Vector and Ollie began to cut down his companions. Finally, he dove toward Vector, in a failed attempt to distract him long enough for Ankh to finish him off. Soon Animus, too, fell to Vector's blade, but Ankh shifted to a Cheetah and bore away his unconscious form. Vector and Ollie left Beverely to struggle with the Abyssal entity that she had inadvertantly summoned and finished off the remaining Pentacles.
Ankh carried Animus to the Church of Final Atonement and healed the few wounds he had that weren't tainted by the Abyss. Orphan soon found Beverely, and with the help of Fate, the church. But Beverely had been infected with Abyssal Spiders and, more disturbingly, had her connection to her Watchtower severed. She attacked the other three, passing on the infestation to Orphan. Ankh and Animus tried everything they could to destroy the spiders before they could take over Orphan's body, with no success. With no remaining options, the two shifted to avian form and flew away with heavy heart, the only survivors of what had once been a thriving Consilium.
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