A Realm Dynast who'd been groomed for Exaltation his entire life... only to Exalt as a Night Caste Solar
A Realm Dynast who’d been groomed for Exaltation his entire life… only to Exalt as a Night Caste Solar
Born on the Blessed Isle, Hugo was a scion of House Tepet. His mother, Tepet Morena, and his father, Tepet Horatio, were both powerful Air-Aspect Terrestrials, and they had high hopes for their young son. An ardent student of the Immaculate Faith from an early age, Hugo studied hard and trained hard as an Acolyte at the local Order Monastery. He enlisted in the Tepet Legions at a young age, where he excelled as a skirmisher and scout. Upon making corporal, he applied to and successfully screened for the Gunzosha Commandos. He rose to the rank of Fang Sergeant and was assigned to the Second Reconnaissance Talon. In Second Recon, he was a part of that ill-fated force that invaded the North.
His Fang of five Commandos was answerable directly to Dragon Colonel Tepet Lisara as her personal eyes and ears. She ignored Wing Major Tepet Kenshin’s recommendations for deployment of the Commando units and deployed the Commando units as she saw fit. The Army Intelligence officer compounded her error by ignoring the pleas of both Kenshin and Hugo that she was being led into a trap. Hugo’s close personal interaction with Lisara ensured he knew exactly how her failure to notice that trap caused the blunders that trapped half the Legions against a rock and the Bull’s Legion. Hugo’s Fang volunteered for the desperate rearguard action being fought to hold the line and allow the wounded to evacuate, knowing full well it would be a one-way trip.
It would seem, though, that Hugo wasn’t destined to die desperately holding the line for his beloved House. Instead, he was invested with one of the roughly thirty remaining Night-Caste Solar Exaltations. He used that power to hold back the Icewalker companies long enough to ensure that the thaumatages could evacuate nearly and entire Dragon of his wounded bretheren to the Blessed Isle. The Tepet line would have broken, and those soldiers would have perished without Hugo’s Exaltation as a Solar. He managed to conceal his nature long enough for his Caste Mark to stop burning, and he returned to the Realm a confused man, celebrated as a hero by those he had saved, but as Tepet had been shattered, his name remained unknown to the Realm at large.
When he realized exactly what he was, Hugo’s world was shattered. He wept, he brooded, and he kept to himself, eschewing the luxury accorded to a newly-Exalted Dynast. He reached the point where he was about to commit ritual suicide to cleanse his soul from the taint of the Anathema when he asked one last question – was it evil for him to have used this power to save the lives of his brothers in arms? That gave him enough pause to stay his hand, and he reflected deeply on it. He eventually concluded that he still had free will and that he could refuse to abuse this power. Instead, he vowed to continue to live his life as if nothing had changed, to be the best man he could be, and if he didn’t use this power for evil, he convinced himself that he wouldn’t be evil by extension. Enrolling in Tepet’s Immaculate Monastery of the Air Dragon School in the hopes of taming his power and finding his answers with the Immaculate Faith, Hugo set forth on a difficult path for himself, ever cautious not to betray his true nature. Fortunately for him, as a Night Caste he could expend power without the obvious tells of a Solar and was naturally gifted in the arts of deception. Combined with a hearthstone that simulated Air-Aspect anima which he wore ‘as a decoration until a proper stone could be found’ he could pass as an Air-Aspect.
At the monastery, he studied directly under Grand Master Tepet Maxim. Hugo sought all the knowledge of the Usurpation he could in his scant spare time. He was mostly occupied by his studies into the Immaculate Arts. He was, however, unable to conceal his nature from Maxim, who knew what he was almost immediately, but let Hugo live as an experiment for several reasons. First, to see exactly what happened when you put a Solar through genuine Immaculate training. Second, he had seen Hugo turn to the Immaculate Faith for his answers, and he wanted to see if the good in his heart could overcome the Anathema he now carried. Lastly, Maxim told Hugo only half-jokingly that it had taken him thirty years to track down his Exaltations last incarnation, and he didn’t want to go through that again. Hugo was able to meet Maxim’s expectations, and Maxim permitted him to remain, going as far as to give Hugo his nickname of ‘The Enduring Hurricane’ for his fast-paced style of combat and, by the standards of young, newly-Exalted Terrestrials, incredible stamina.
His life at the monastery was not to last, though. Maxim knew better than Hugo that as an apprentice, he could hide what he was. After that, though, upon reaching Paisap’s Stair Hugo would stick out like a sore thumb. He would be quickly killed once his masquerade was up, and Maxim did not want to see that. Instead, he took Hugo aside and gave him the best advice he could. He told Hugo that despite the evil taint of the anathema he carried, Hugo remained a good man and as devout as he could be in the Immaculate Faith. He then told Hugo that he had to leave the Realm, for it wouldn’t be long before someone figured out what he was. Hugo thanked him, swearing that he would remain a good man and would not descend into the debauchery and madness that the Solars had at the time of the Usurpation. Maxim believed him, gifting him with an Infinite Seed as both a meditative aid and a way to continue his studies of the Immaculate Arts before he sent Hugo North, to the one place in Creation where a Solar would be genuinely safe – the territory of the Icewalkers, ruled by the Bull of the North.