“I remember,” the old man uttered, breaking the silence of the dust laden room, “he was always such a clumsy boy, forever bumping and bashing into furniture and bookshelves. But he loved the stories I told of my work during the old war. It was the one thing that kept him still for more a few minutes. What harm could it do after all these years? What harm…..”
His voice drifted off and for a while I sat in the stillness, thinking he had drifted once more off to sleep. My own silent reverie was broken when be spoke again.
“Of course, I began to show him things,” he glanced quickly at one ancient storage chest branded with faded Germanic markings. I pretended not to notice, “but I made sure he didn’t touch anything, and always put things safely away before it was time for him to leave. His mother…… I blame his mother.”
I laid my pen on the notepad and waited. I had become used to his lapses, and used this one to remove my glasses, pinch my tired nose and clean the lenses. It had taken many months to earn the old man’s trust, and my patience was finally paying off.
He pointed at my glasses.
“Those! His mother said he was clumsy because he needed glasses.” he pointed a gnarled finger at his own cloud-filled eyes, “She said he couldn’t see correctly, and that is why he kept banging into things. She was wrong, of course. He kept hitting things because he was always looking, never focussing on one thing for long enough to watch where he was going.”
He gave a laugh, though there was no humour the hollow sound. “It’s not that he couldn’t see, but that he saw too much. But his mother’s words stuck inside him, and when I showed him The Oculus……”
He limped slowly to a bookcase and pulled down a green bound dusty tome. I waited as he blew dust from the cover and flicked from page to page, my heart racing as I feigned nothing more than polite professional interest.
He handed the book to me, the page open on a hand-drawn sketch of a diamond-shaped monocle, the faint tracings of arcane markings etched onto the lens. I almost leapt from the chair. How the old man failed to notice my shaking hands, I will never know.
“The Oculus shows you all things as they really are. If a man is good and true, you see the man. If he is…. less than true, you see that too. We theorised it was used before The Flood and the Fall of Atlantis to aid justice, and catalogued it as little more than an interesting trinket. Ha! Little did we know.”
He slammed the book, throwing a cloud of dust into my face. When it cleared and I had stopped coughing, a bright light shone from the doorway. My heart chilled.
His voice echoed through the room. The voice of Doctor Oculus. “It shows everything. It shows all truths. It shows who you really are!”
His outline shimmered and blinked in the doorway and suddenly he was there beside me, his hand on my shoulder. I never saw him move.
He looked down and I up. My pen fell from my fingers as I gazed into that awful monocle, the arcane sigils dancing before his face as I felt the pull of them tearing at my very soul. My body…. oh gods.
“Thank you grandfather,” he spoke softly. “I shall clear the mess up before I leave.”
Karl Leibensen, AKA doctor Oculus, is the grandson of Friedrich Leibensen, formerly of the Verbotenen Geheimnisse Sparte (Forbidden Secrets Division), one of several agencies tasked by Hitler to uncover mystic secrets and artefacts of the ancient world.
He owns The Oculus, an arcane monocle that allows him to see into the horrific Other dimensions. He can use the warped time and space to traverse short distances in the blink of an eye (akin to teleportation, but he must physically be able to cross the intervening space) and use the power of The Oculus to transform a target into a manifestation of their “true” self. This may mean a minor villain turns into little more than a lump of protoplasm with weakly flailing tentacles, but more wicked foes would likely gain a proportionally more powerful form.
Dirty little secret: The lens of The Oculus is two way, and who knows what despicable horrors are watching from the other side?
Notes: I do love ICONS random character generation. It throws up unpredictable combinations of abilities and powers, and it’s a huge chunk of fun to work out how they come together. Doctor Oculus is a perfect example of ICONS character generation doing its job, wonderfully.
Doctor Oculus, Karl Leibensen
Prowess 4, Coordination 3, Strength 4
Intellect 5, Awareness 9, Willpower 4
Stamina 8, Determination 3
Transformation Ray 4 (transform into horrific aspects of what they really are)
Specialties: Occult, Investigation
Catchphrase: “I see what you really are”
Connections: VGS, the Verbotenen Geheimnisse Sparte (Forbidden Secrets Division)
Epithet: “The man who saw too much”
Motivation: Uncover the real world
Enemy: Some other secret organization, unnamed