It’s Gothic Week at Necromancers of the Northwest, a whole week devoted to this classic genre of fiction (not to be confused with gothic architecture, which is a whole different thing. Or the Goths (the barbarians), or the goths you see at your local Hot Topic, either).
When it comes to Gothic fiction, the monsters tend to be more human, and sometimes the humans can be a lot more monstrous. So today seemed like a good time for a Top Ten-style article providing some Gothic-style monsters, with tragic and conflicted motivations.
1. Isabelle Tyson, Alchemical Perfectionist. Once an accomplished and celebrated alchemist, Isabelle’s career has fallen into ruin due to her obsession with discovering the formula for what she refers to as the “perfect mutagen.” Supposedly having concocted a batch once on accident, the woman claims that it had all the normal benefits of a mutagen, heightened to new levels, while also enhancing her mental faculties, and even unleashing some small amount of her inhibitions. She has not yet been able to recreate the concoction, but has spent a small fortune and all of her time attempting to do so, producing mutagens that are each more flawed and dangerous than the last.
2. Adam Thorburn, Werewolf Outcast. A natural lycanthrope, Adam was born with the curse of lycanthropy, and so can control his shape better than most. In fact, he was raised in a pack of werewolves, and was quite comfortable with both sides of himself… until the day when he was exiled from his pack for reasons he refuses to speak of to this day, even to those who know his secret. Overcome with shame, he despises his human side, while his own self-loathing causes him to avoid his lycanthrope side.
3. Grafaldasharn, Covetous Dragon. This ancient dragon has a truly massive hoard of treasure, but it does little to console her constant pining over a single particular piece of treasure, an enchanted hand mirror, which was stolen from her years ago, the only piece of treasure she has ever lost. She has expended great amounts of effort, and even resources in excess of what the mirror itself is really worth, in an attempt to track it down, but so far all her efforts have been in vain, and its absence is slowly driving her mad.
4. Desmond Lorenz, Tormented Zombie. Desmond died of violence some time ago, and was raised as an intelligent zombie by his killer. The necromancer himself was later slain, and Desmond was left to his own devices. Relatively well-preserved, he remained recognizable, and soon his old friends and colleagues took notice of his apparent return. Unfortunately, he was changed by the experience, with no memories of his life, and no desire to reconnect with anyone from it. Further, his friends picked up on the changes, both physical and mental, and began to suspect something was amiss with Desmond, attempting to bring in a priest to cure him of possession. To avoid persecution, Desmond now attempts to fake his old life, while desperately trying to keep his appearance from literally rotting away.
5. Gabrielle Simon, Ghoul Gourmet. Formerly a gourmet chef and restaurateur, Gabrielle died of ghoul fever and rose as a ghoul herself. Cooking and food were her passions in life, but in death her undead nature prevents her from eating anything but human flesh, with anything else tasting like ash in her mouth. Even attempts to prepare her cannibalistic meals in a more refined fashion end in failure… mostly because she can’t bring herself to wait long enough to do so.
6. Adrian Matthews, Smitten Deep One. Adrian was raised as a human, but learned in adulthood that he was actually a deep one hybrid. That was quite some time ago, and he has fully transformed into a deep one now, and lives out his life in the shallows, still more man, at heart, than deep one. Recently, he has fallen in love with a young girl who collects seashells, but he is afraid to approach her, due to his shape, and also loathes the idea of fathering children who will one day suffer the same transformation he himself faced.
7. Sasha Bancroft, Vampire Socialite. A beautiful and elegant vampiress, Sasha has her pick of men in the town, and can charm, manipulate, and generally wrap them all around her little finger with ease… and that is the problem. Bored with meaningless and shallow relationships in which she controls her partner almost like a puppet, she yearns to find someone who is capable of challenging her, a peer who she can truly see as an equal.
8. Noemi Kahler, Forlorn Hag. This reclusive hag pines for a love that she lost long ago, a young knight that she had an unlikely whirlwind romance with. She spent the time disguised as a human, but while she intended at first to betray the knight, she instead fell in love, and when she finally revealed her true nature, he fled. Now bitter and obsessed, she makes a point to gruesomely torture all those who remind her of the man who got away.
9. Nathaniel Elliston, Lively Ghost. Nathaniel is a carpenter who met his end in a tragic accident, and returned from the grave as a ghost. Surprisingly lucid for a ghost, Nathaniel nonetheless refuses to accept that he has died. He has moved back into his house (very much upsetting his poor widow), and putters around it, going through the motions of living out a normal life, even though he can no longer accomplish most of those things, in his ghostly state.
10. Isaiah Franklyn, Antisocial Wererat. When Isaiah was bitten by a wererat and afflicted with the curse of lycanthropy, it was a blessing in disguise. Already a self-imposed outcast, Isaiah had little use for other people, and when he began to change, he would spend as much time as he could in rat form, living among the rats in the sewers beneath the town. He considers the rats there his friends, and he is slowly growing insane, developing plots to overthrow the town’s human population and hand it over to his rodent brethren.