- The Forever Man -
"It lives in the sea of fire . . .
I "fake-joined" the Video Game Swap 2016 at Craftster, which simply means that, while you still have to follow the rules for said event, instead of actually exchanging the item(s) that you made with another member, you're creating them for yourself. Said swap has been finished for a while now (the send-out deadline was October 8th), but, while I wanted to at the time, I never signed up when the thing was active because I was already ridiculously behind on my "I Love Disney" fake swap, and I couldn't very well take on even more fakery when I hadn't yet honored my existing commitment. As Ms. Manners will tell you, there's a certain degree of etiquette that must be observed, even when you're in the midst of shamelessly flaking, or else civilized society as we know it will collapse. Anyway, when it comes to fake swaps, you're allowed to join them after-the-fact, which is what I did in this case, and, as 2016 was almost over when I decided to bite the bullet, I gave myself a very short deadline (December 29th) to get it done.
The object of said swap was to make a couple of video game-themed crafts (one medium, one small), and, for the smaller project, I chose to make a "Siamese Vulture Bat" (which is my made-up name for the creatures; as far as I know, they don't have an official moniker) from Sega's 1992 Genesis and Game Gear Chakan: The Forever Man video games. Said titles were based on the Chakan graphic novels, which were written and illustrated by Robert A. Kraus (R.A.K. Graphics.) As they're just lesser "fodder" enemies, that can be encountered in the Elemental Plane of Fire, Siamese Vulture Bats aren't very exciting, gameplay-wise. They simply flit about on their wings, trying to nip at Chakan with their twin beaks, and are relatively easy to dispatch. However, as I enjoy both multi-headed monsters and animal fusions/mash-ups, this particular creature design appealed to me and had been on my "to make" list for years until now.
Chakan was his world's greatest warrior and he boasted that no one could best him in combat, not even Death himself. Amused by such audacity, Death confronted the braggart and offered a wager: if Chakan could indeed defeat him in battle then he would grant the arrogant man eternal life, but, if Death was the victor, the Reaper would claim Chakan's soul as his prize and make him his slave forever. Certain of his abilities, Chakan foolishly accepted those terms and the two crossed blades in an epic battle the likes of which the world had never seen before or since. After several days of nonstop fighting, unbelievably, the mighty Chakan somehow managed to topple the supposedly invincible Death! Naturally, the dark lord was furious, but, he kept his word and made Chakan immortal, however, the Reaper is a notoriously poor loser, so he also tainted his "gift". Death put his mark on Chakan, twisting the man's visage into a gaunt and hideous shape and causing his eyes to glow with a hellish red fire--his new face terrified all that he met and most people shunned and feared him from that day forward. Even worse, Death proclaimed that every night of Chakan's neverending existence would thereafter be filled with torment. In his dreams, Chakan experiences all the pain of the innocents that suffer at the hands of supernatural evil entities. For example, if some unfortunate soul were being devoured alive by ghouls, Chakan would see and feel everything that they did as though he was the victim--traumatic and painful as they were, these empathic visions were also useful in that they also typically gave The Forever Man enough clues to find and exterminate the perpetrators. Mercifully(?), Death offered one hope of escape: if Chakan could successfully hunt down and slay every single supernatural evil in existence, stopping their predations on humankind, he'd finally know peace again and Death would allow Chakan's unlife to end. After many centuries of horrible toil and struggle, The Forever Man did finally manage to eradicate all of the arcane horrors populating the land, sea, and air. Believing himself freed at last, the weary Chakan attempted to commit suicide by running himself through with one of his swords, but, was dismayed to find that he still couldn't die. Death appeared once more before the frustrated Forever Man, laughing, and gestured at the multitude of stars twinkling in the night sky above. The Reaper then mirthfully revealed to Chakan the true scope of his curse: some of the other worlds spinning in orbit around those distant suns were like his, each of those planets crawling with its own unique evils that Chakan would never be able to reach and cleanse. Short of finding a starship (and Chakan's homeland was not technologically advanced--The Forever Man possessed nothing more sophisticated than edged weapons and alchemical potions), or some other means of visiting those remote places, his task was impossible to complete and Chakan's suffering, like his life, would be endless. Never gamble with the Reaper, because Death always wins.
Interestingly, at least to someone like me who treasures trivial knowledge that has no value to a sensible person, this particular creature has a different appearance in the two version of Chakan. In the Genesis game, the Siamese Vulture Bats are crimson and appear to be made out of living fluid magma, while in the Game Gear adaptation they're solid and ash-like in color. I'd speculate that the weaker 8-bit Game Gear hardware probably couldn't handle the flickering magma color effect that the 16-bit Genesis creatures sported, which was why their appearance was altered on said handheld unit, but, in my mind, I like to pretend that the reason the Game Gear creatures are gray is because they've been airborne for so long that they've cooled into animate stone monsters while the Genesis ones are still "fresh" having recently emerged from the rivers of fiery lava.
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