Deus, tribally known as Gyla, is a prominent member and veteran scout legionary of Caesar's Legion and the leader of the Speculatores, a covert detachment tasked with protecting, dictating, and securing the conquered Legion territories of the Four States Commonwealth and beyond. The paramount chieftain of the once mythical Lowell clan, he was raised in secrecy beneath the Lowell Observatory before the arrival of the Legion in Flagstaff. Observing the total destruction and death Caesar brought in his wake, he lead his people down from the 'cursed' hills of Mars, layed their weapons at Caesar's feet, and willingly assimilated themselves, becoming the 52nd conquered tribe in 2270.
After many years of loyal, unfaltering service as a scout for the main legion as well as the frumentarii, Caesar, the mighty tactician that he is, appointed Deus the illustrious role of Occultus Speculatore. With this new role, Deus operates from within the Legion capital of Flagstaff where he leads the forces not active with the main legion. In the Legion hierarchy, speculatores are essentially equal to the frumentarii, however, they operate within two different worlds: while the frumentarii lead by Vulpes Inculta spy, infiltrate, and invade enemy regions, the speculatores are ordered to keep the peace within post-conquered lands, quelling uprisings, negotiating trade, bolstering war surplus, and more.
Deus and his men uphold Caesar's will, his reserves, training, and the breeding grounds, and strive to establish a faux pax Romana allowing free trade and liberties to thrive throughout Legion controlled lands. United under the Legion's red and gold banner, civilization will return to the wasteland, by force if necessary.
The Lowell was the original tribe of Deus, who were quietly settled within a personal bunker beneath Mars Hill in Flagstaff, Arizona. A secretive but curious people, they were the descendants of the eponymous Lowell family who sought refuge from the Great War in a private atomic bunker beneath Astronomer Percival Lowell's Mausoleum on Mars Hill, their family crypt turned bomb shelter. After 200 years the site became known by Arizona wastelanders as the "Observe", a place to be avoided at all cost.
According to Arizonian tribal legend, the Lowell Observatory site is a haunted, sacred, and 'Tatu' location and is deathly avoided by all locals. Wanderers from the likes of chieftains to children have disappeared after entering the area, where the only thing left of them is their eyes; ripped from their skulls and dangled along the encircling fences. Not even birds approach the site as they have also learned that if one of their own flies beyond the fences, they do not return.
To survive as a small society with vulture-like raiders surrounding them, the Lowell descendants used deception and cunning to mythologize the Observe in the minds of their enemies. Whenever a curious wanderer entered the gates, no matter their reasons or cause, they would be shot down with arrows, cannibalized, and have their eyes plucked and showcased as a warning. The Lowell tribe have heavily bobby trapped the Observe with audio triggers, pitfalls, snares and others which are all designed to alert the tribe and simultaneously kill trespassers in a swift manner.
Decades of using guerilla warfare kept the tribe safe and it was rare for anyone to even look in the direction of the Observe as that was seen to be unlucky. It is not uncommon for a curious child or foreign wanderer to enter the Observe once in a while, but it is certain that they will not leave.
Children of the tribe get their name at a special naming ceremony at age six, because children are generally seen as no more than vessels and child infantility is commonplace in the wasteland. It is considered an achievement if they make it to the age and may choose a name for themselves or more honorably, take their parents name in earnest. Throughout the five years prior, they are known simply by their gender identity which is either male or female or by the name of their parent.
“Even now as I clench my fingers, I still feel the spit of the monster left from long ago.”
When he was around five years old, his father, Lowell Too-Sternface, who was a formidable hunter for the tribe, decided to bring his only child out on his first nighthunt. They would put fires in holes to smoke out prey, lay traps beneath leaves, and would scale trees to capture sleeping birds. An hour into the hunt, the boy spotted a large lizard scampering in the dark, and wanting to impress his father, he gave chase. After hunting down and clubbing the creature, the child wrestled with it and clutched in his arms. However, as he was returning it proudly to his father, the lizard which was cradled like a newborn, awoke and bit down hard on the child's right bicep. This sent him into a furious rampage as the child pulled at the beast, now known to be a Gila Monster, who clung tightly to the boy and pumped venom into his system. In a blind rage, the child stretched down and gnawed at the creature until its head and body separated. Frantically, the child bit and wrung the Monster around the neck and ripped the head and body apart; the Gila Monster died, but its jaws were still firmly clasped around the arm of the child. Too would hear the shrieks and rushed his son back to the Observe for critical care, praying to the gods for his life.
Four days the child was bedridden, fighting for his life as radioactive venom corrupted his blood. At many points it was believed that the boy had succumbed to his wounds, his heart slowing to a dangerously low beat. The child had violent convulsions and impasses of silence, constantly shifting between states of life and death. At moments the boy would awaken and flail his arms as if he were again locked in combat with the Gila Monster. The high priest, Howell Heynleyn, struggled tirelessly to keep the boy fed, hydrated, and comfortable, and had it not been direly insisted by Too, the priest may have given up on him. The young boy fought and fought but his breath came to a pause, and the father believed that his only son had passed.
Guilt-ridden, demented, and abashed, believing his child's death was his fault, Too Sternface fled from the Observe into the darkness of the wild wasteland. Wielding a sharpened wood spear known as a "Taya", Too went berserk and destroyed anything in his path from petrified trees, fauna, rocks, and especially brutalized any gecko he had come across. Bloodied and exhausted, with broken fingers from repeated striking, Too returned to the rest-side of his son and collapsed. However, something inside the child kept fighting, not wanting death to win. Rising silently from the rest, the boy breathed the breath of life once again. Outstretching his hand, the boy woke his fading father beside him. Seeing that his son had risen from the grave, Too, who was laying on his stomach asleep, rose to his knees and began ranting and raving. "He lives he dies! The moonchild rises and the sun lies!" The father screeched in a hushed cry, tears falling down his face like a waterfall.
Throughout his early teenage years, he and the other younger tribals were trained as birdhunters and plantpickers and would be tutored by the elder members in the secretive ways of life. Normally, a child would grow into the role of their parents who constituted multiple roles, from scouts to guards and so on; unfortunately for him, Gila had killed his mother, Newy, during birth and so his hunter father Too was his only option.
“These are no stars, these are suns come to burn the darkness.”
Early in Caesar's campaign of Arizona who was on the warpath to conquering Flagstaff, the Lowell observed the Caesar and his legion from afar. Watching and waiting, the Lowell saw the total decimation brought by his passing. They could have most likely avoided confrontation altogether, however, Gyla was impressed by what he had seen and had seen the progress Caesar brought to the once ravenous Arizona wasteland.
Deus, known then as Lowell Gyla, become the paramount chieftain of the Lowell tribe in 2270, rising above his subordinates to take hold of the kratocracy after he usurped power from the dementia-afflicted chief Lowell Cognosce. The Lowell was traditionally governed by a nepotistic monarchy, with only pureblood or inlaw members direct descendant of the original Lowell family leading the tribe. This changed when Gyla rose to power as the authority at the time had wished to stand and fight Caesar's Legion if they ever came against the Observe. Acknowledging that if the mighty bull had come to their lands, they would be gored and trampled by the organized empire, so he took control by force of will and the support of his compatriots. There were naysayers and loyalists but Gyla succeeded in the end. So marveled and distinguished was his prestige that he was considered cursed, and it was seen as a bad omen to even touch him, his clothing, or his weapons.
Deus has had many diverse roles and positions within Caesar's Legion since being assimilated in 2270 at age sixteen. Beginning like most auxiliary recruits, he started training as a recruit legionary.
Since the start of their self-inclusion in the Legion, many of the legionaries were skeptical and resentful of the Lowell tribe and Deus. They had been, until then, a myth to the Arizona tribals already subjected to the empire. They had their traditional hairstyles cut, face paint scrubbed clean, earrings removed and all prior tribal idiosyncrasies prohibited. In earnest, the Lowell welcomed these changes with smiles on their faces and pride in the hearts; they believed they were being purified in the light of the skyfather and made anew, shaped in his image. How could a tribe possibly take pride in surrender, thought the Arizona dissenters who fought tooth and nail but lost though they at least tried in their eyes? To the Lowell, the skywatchers, they believed Caesar to be one with the sun, their god of gods. They had believed that a prophet from the heavens would one day fall to the earth and cleanse the world: this prophet they saw as Caesar.
“I am Deus, of the Lowell tribe. Aeternit imperi, true to Caesar!”
Gyla, having his cultural, spiritual, and historical identity erased, took on a new name after being subjugated into the Legion: Deus.
This title he had seen on an Arizona seal at the Observe as a tribal, and it had imprinted itself within his consciousness; on his naming day he stood before his new tribe and proudly proclaimed his new name and began his life as a legionary. No more was he Lowell Gyla, paramount chief of the Lowell, son of Too and killer of Newy, the Moonchild Twice-Rise: Now he was a legionary with purpose and ambition, and was prepared for the future and the adversity that accompanies it. The moment he placed his weapons at the feet of Caesar, he knew he was making the right choice for himself and the future of his people.
Legionary training was very hard for Deus. Not one to do war drills and exercise, besides scouting and hunting as a tribal, he found it difficult to meet the high standards his training officer, known as Centurion Silus, wanted from him. Always degraded for his relatively low strength and slender stature, he was nicknamed 'Worm' by his superior. After failure and eventual success, Deus managed to survive recruit training.
One of the initial duties Deus attended to during his diverse tenure in the Legion was the creation, sorting, minting, counting and legitimating of coinage used as currency by the Legion. It was a fairly understated position, but none the less was important to the structural integrity of the ever-growing empire, as Caesar wanted to instate an economical trade currency within his borders. Even though caps are still widely considered the general post-apocalyptic standard of payment, within Legion trade territory, genuine Legion coinage is worth more and highly appraised and valued. It is not uncommon, however, for fraudulent coins to be found mixed with original mintages, and hunting down and punishing the culprits was also a duty Deus had to attend to. The majority of current day coinmakers are descendants or former members of the Lowell tribe.
“I shall hoist the colors for the will of the Legion.”
In 2271, after the position became available due to death, he inherited the role of a Vexillarius, a standard-bearer who would carry the symbols of the Legion on the march as well as during battle. Deus disliked the position, however, his loyalty to the empire caused him to perform the role to the best of his abilities. During his time as the flag bearer, he preferred to wear a mask or face covering to hide his identity. Despite the role being an honorable and prideful position, Deus felt ashamed and uncomfortable in the role as he constantly felt eyes watching him, which made him nervous. He was the one who watches and despised the opposite. After three years carrying the standard of the Legion, Deus would then return to a role of a scout and scoutmaster, training new recruits in the role of a scout.
“I have fathered many boys. They will grow into fine legionaries”
An important duty of a legionary is to bring upon the next generation, and Deus has fathered many offspring in the pursuit of this goal. It is unsure how many he has fathered but he at least has seven males and a single female child to his loins. The eldest of the children is named Percyval, born in 2274 to a Ghost Pepper surrogate slave known as Arielle. The boy is the eldest child of Deus' bloodline and is being refined in his shadow as a future scoutmaster and speculatore, poised to take the Legion to new heights in the future. However, the child is barely seven years of age, but despite this, much emphasis and training has been put upon him by his clandestine father.
The only daughter of his, Charon, whose surrogate mother was a Painted Rock tribal known as Gigi, is six years old and being groomed in the ways of a Priestess. When she is older she will have her life dedicated to the religion of the Legion and the godhead of Caesar as the son of Mars. She will indoctrinate children born into the fold, and new recruits subjugated into the Legion, alongside other priestesses of Mars. It is assumed that she will become a midwife to a high ranking member of the Legion, when she is of a healthy breeding age, though it can be expected that this will not include a Praetorian guard. Presently, she is under the tutelage of the priestess and is rarely seen outside their grasp.
“Legion to the front; Speculatores to the back.”
There are a lot of rumors and speculation within the Legion as to who Deus and his Speculatores are and what their roles are within the empire. The prevailing theory is that they are assassins, who are called upon to assassinate targets hand-picked by Caesar; this is not entirely true. In truth, they are not professionally trained assassins: they could be more closely associated with operatives, enforcers, propaganda agents, patrolmen, but most importantly they operate as the cement that keeps Caesar's Legion from crumbling from within. Established in the heart of the Legion capital of Flagstaff, Nevada, the Speculatores work tirelessly to keep the empire standing.
Unlike the common legionary who is exempt from the use of modern technologies, Caesar has allowed the speculatores the ability to use the radio to relay messages, information, and formations. This technology ensures that back and forth communion between the ever-moving main Legion army and the Legion around the Four States are connected. When needed Caesar can contact the capital and request supplies, currency, and more legionary reserves.
A gesture the Lowell clan used to say 'hello', as they were primarily a silent and observant people who preferred not to make noise in fear of discovery, was known as the 'Lens' hand signal. For this signal, the participant would close their left eye and surround their right eye with their right index and thumb, imitating the motion one would use if looking through a telescope or binoculars. Deus and fellow members of his old clan still use this gesture to communicate on a personal level, and it has gradually become the informal gesture of the speculatores. It is a silent signal and barely noticeable by those not in the know, and is essentially the only Lowell custom still carried on today by their descendants.
The Lovell tribe mostly comprises the members of the Speculatores, however many other tribes have been welcomed into the fold, especially former frumentarii, veteran legionnaires, and promising scouts.
“I serve my lord, Caesar, above anything. His will shall be done.”
To this day he serves Caesar, and has command over legion organizations in Arizona, works on projects of cartography, trains recruits in scouting and speculatore practice, and also operates as a scholar marking down interesting and historical events in large volumes. In the span of a decade, Deus has been instrumental in the organization and longevity of the Legion's hold in the Four States Commonwealth. Deus was adamant and would send legionaries out to repair and fortify prewar radio towers, send emissaries to conduct peaceful negotiations, and offer safe havens and protection for passing farmers, merchants, and caravanners.
With plans set to be developed in the future, including restoration of dilapidated neighborhoods and main trade highways, as well as preparing viable farmlands for agriculture, the Legion has a purpose for the wasteland. A great civilization cannot possibly sustain itself by raiding and salvaging, so the speculatores have put great emphasis and support for farmers arriving and working in the Four States. They wish to restore the wasteland and shape it in the image of Caesar.
From time to time he stills looks to the stars for guidance, still feeling connected to his ancestors.
Deus is generally a stoic and calm person. Describable as a dark horse, and seen as one who listens rather than speaks, Deus prefers the comfort of absence than the presence of people. Not one to conversate, he is very reserved in person but is very stern in order. A leader not of charisma but of awe, Deus has a way with words and can manipulate and overpower those with his precise speechmaking.
Deus is regarded as an intelligent and cunning speculatore and is a highly experienced planner, director, and manager. Particularly good at planning long term, he prefers to have a tightly written schedule to structure his days. Because he was raised in an environment where silence was the key to their mystique, and subsequently, their survival, Deus is almost deafeningly silent. Rarely does he give his opinions to others, nor does he engage in gossip or hearsay. Nocturnal, Deus prefers the comfort of the night where he may pass as a shadow without display. A reader and scribe, he finds solace in books and has learned to read and write efficiently during his time in Caesar's Legion and will write unbiased journals of all speculatore activities and conquests.
It is said that Deus has never taken the life of another human being himself. This statement has been debated by many within the Legion, and no one knows the truth for sure. It is true that he has ordered the death of many profligates, traitors, criminals, the dissolute, and even enacted damnatio memoraie on his men, however, he has never been witnessed as the hand that swings the blade, or the finger which pulls the trigger. For the deaths he did order, he was not terribly fond of crucifixions, and preferred to order public beheadings as capital punishments as they were swift and just in his reasoning.
“The sun has sent their child to cleanse the wastes of filth and degeneracy.”
Caesar. The leader of the Legion and the conqueror of 87 tribes. Admired by Caesar as more than a man, he sees the dictator as a living deity, descended from the stars which he once worshipped as dogma. After witnessing Caesar and his Legion as a tribal, he chose to join the man peacefully, bring his tribe down to the man and surrendering.
“The Legate was an excellent man if not a little overly ambitious. May he rest.”
The Malpais Legate
“A powerful warrior, I hear he cannot be defeated. We shall see at the Dam.”
Deus has never met the man in person, but he has heard many incredible and somewhat implausible stories of the monster and the feats he has performed.
“Caesar's shadow. Could lead in his steed if need be, but my future would be in danger.”
Lucius and Deus have never seen eye to eye. For an unexplained reason, Lucius was always openly opposed to the near-meteoric rise of the small tribal to a high ranking cog in the Legion war machine. Deus himself believes he has the resentment of the cohortes praetoriae as a deep routed wound that still hurts them today; when the Lowell tribe submitted peacefully to Caesar, they arrived within Caesar's camp at night and had bypassed the guards and even the personal guard. If they had been assassins, they would have easily been able to assassinate Caesar and put the praetorian to shame.
This action still resonates in rumors and murmurs and Deus believes that they still harbor a grudge against himself and his clan. More proof of the fact is that no Lowell tribals have ever reached the rank of praetorian, no doubt due to the disgust of their leader. In Deus' closely guarded opinion, he believes that Lucius is all talk and no tunic and only rose to power through nepotism and not by skill alone. Whenever in the same vicinity, Deus always strives to avoid conflict and de-escalate the situation before it erupts, but Lucius is always the instigator.
“My first commander. Reports say that he has died in the field; I doubt that.”
“A traitorous deserter, though he does have a very appealing first name, I must say.”
“I warned him about that dreaded old world war machine. What a shame.”
Testaclese of Albuquerque was an odd centurion with a mysterious, and some would say undocumented, history. Not much was known about his life, his actions, or how he made it to lead a centuria. Deus was very skeptical and observant of the man, seeing him as a possible malcontent even for a legionary. Many are unsure how Testaclese became a centurion in the first place: Some say he was appointed to his position due to nepotism, others due to misunderstandings, and many other theories, while Deus himself believes it was for absurd comic relief. Unfortunately, the man did not heed the warnings of Deus, and would ultimately succumb to his innate inner urges... Deus one day plans to send a retrieval crew to collect and lay the poor man to rest, as he was still a centurion, however, his current whereabouts and location are unknown.
“My men say a woman fell Servius... A woman!? Surely these are erroneous reports..?”
Deus is a thin, handsome, and youthful faced man, customarily dressed in the armor of a speculatore, and is never without a hooded garb. Deus has a lean, near-slender build and has never had the figure of a formidable fighter, as he was groomed in a world of hiding and waiting than a world of training and strife. Cunning and words, not fighting and swords, is what got him to where he is today and as such, he lacks the traditional legionary form. Physically fit with high endurance, however, he is easily able to march or run miles unhindered. With a toned physique, tight-shoulders, and long-limbs, he is a strapping five-foot-eight man of athletic stature.
Covering vast sections of his neck, chest and shoulders are scaly, itchy patches of skin. Deus silently believes this to be a side effect of the bite he received as a youth, which he assumes has cursed his body, however, it is, in fact, a mild case of eczema. These embarrassing blemishes are always covered by a sort of garment or cloth, as he dares not show them to the world. Scarless besides the bite, Deus is otherwise spotless and pristine when clean and dressed in speculatore uniform.
As a teenager, Deus had let his unkempt hair grow very long and began wearing it in a knitted and matted bun to free his face from obscuring strands. As well as his hair, he let his beard grow to a tremendous length. As a rule of the tribe, the men grew their hair long, and the women would keep theirs short. The men took pride in their hair and would grow it long and generally tie them on the top of the head in a knot. Years of growth had birthed an untravelable forest on his head, which, if a hand had been combed through, would be tangled indefinitely. The first time he cut his hair in his life was when he decided to ascend to chieftainship, and wanted to begin again as a new man, slicing off his dreaded hair and beard with a sharpened stone. The Lowell had believed that the hair of a person was sacred and could be used to curse the owner if their hair was acquired by an outsider. As such, when the hair of a Lowell tribal was cut, they would collect the fallen strands and dispose of it personally by fire or by burial leagues away from the Observe. Deus himself chose to bury his hair, traveling a while west before burying it in an unmarked crevasse.