- "...for within every path, every consequence, every dilemma, the King at the Crossroads lurks..."
- —Excerpt from the Lexicon Horrifica (Hereticus Extremis)
Janusothasymyr, better known simply as Janus, is a Greater Daemon of Tzeentch of such capriciousness and infamy that only the truly insane or passionately zealous dare invoke his presence. One of the oldest scions of the Lord of Change, Janus represents the crux upon which all fates hinge: choice. He is the personification of every branching path, every unforeseen consequence, of every myriad future brought upon by the simple act of choosing. Because of this trait, he is capable divining the future and all it's many variables, and to those who summon him he promises the gift of foresight. However, one should never trust the Wayfinder, for he delights in the havoc created when mortals are tricked into making the wrong decision...
A Matter of Choice
As many have proven, one's fate and the future in general is not a static thing, but rather it changes and diverts endlessly, separating into endless timelines of what could be. As it is subject to change, it is subject to the whims of Tzeentch, for he is the Lord of Change and all things that mutate and alter are his to command. However, fate is changed by choice, by the decisions of the individual, and thus Tzeentch is the Architect of Fate, not the Master of Fate, for he can pull the strings and predict what the future holds, but in the end the integral fact of cause and effect is too much for even a Chaos God to fully control. Within that sphere of influence lies an unceasing amount of random probabilities and would-be outcomes, the endless array of consequences brought on by even the simplest of decisions. It is said that from the constant stream of choices, Janus was born into the Warp as harbinger of self-made fate, the purveyor of what could be.
Scattered accounts of Janus' existence and manifestation within the Materium exist throughout galactic history, though most are largely mythical in nature. Across a thousand different worlds, even on holy Terra itself, there exist ancient legends and folktales of a being that appears upon the eve of some great dilemma, sometimes to give council, other times to offer warnings. Despite their differences, these tales usually end in the same way; with the making of decisions that result in tragedy and catastrophe.
Unfortunately for the greater galaxy, these myths seem to be little more of that accounts of ill-fated dealings with the infamous Wayfinder, and in recent years these encounters seem to have grown all the more plentiful. Many recent reports speak of ambitious sorcerers and power-hungry warlords going to great lengths to summon Janus, in an attempt to predict or prevent their fate by consulting the daemon. Very few emerge from the encounter unscathed, most suffering horrible fates, though not through the direct intervention of Janus but rather through their own misinformed decisions.
The Keybearer and His Key
Janus is known by many titles, but perhaps the most obscure and little-understood one is the title of Keybearer. Many assume this name is bestowed upon Janus due to his ability to "unlock" the fates of an individual, as it were, but those who study the forbidden realms of the daemonic believe it may have far more literal connotation. Within several unholy texts of the Lord of Change their exist references to an object known as the Abrir Cerradura, a great Key said to have been fashioned by the Architect of Fate himself. It was said with this great Key one could effortlessly unlock the hidden doorways between the Materium and Immaterium, as to allow the forces of Change to spill into the material realms and claim them as their own. In order to protect this great power from the jealous fellow Chaos Gods, Tzeentch is said to have hidden the Abrir Cerradura within the essence of one of his most random and unpredictable of servants.
Many believe "the most random and unpredictable of servants" is a reference to Janus, though that description could very well be applied to any number of Tzeentchian Greater Daemons. There is even a theory that the Lord of Change only bestowed the title of Keybearer to Janus as a means of confounding those that would seek his Great Key. Furthermore, if Janus truly is the Keybearer, it still remains unknown whether or not he holds the Abrir Cerradura or merely knows of it's location. Some particularly devoted Daemonologists theorize that Janus is the Great Key, and if summoned and bound in the correct manner, he would literally become the Abrir Cerradura.
As to the function of the Great Key, all evidence seems to point out that it is capable of near-instantly opening up Warp Rifts in places where the skein of reality holding back the Empyrean is thin. To any self-respecting worshiper of Chaos, this ability would be a literal godsend, as it would eliminate the need for mass sacrifices and lengthy rituals. For this reason alone many seek out the King at the Crossroads in order to acquire the mythical Abrir Cerradura, though none have succeeded. Janus is nothing if not wily, difficult enough to bind, let alone catch.
Tales of Janus
THE CHOICES HAVE YET TO BE MADE
- "I can hear him in my head... he's laughing at me..."
- —Last Words of Sorcerer-Lord Arklem the All-Knowing, prior to his inglorious death at the hands of his own Acolytes
Daemons, particularly ancient ones, are known to be unreliable and erratic at best, and yet Janus brings a whole new meaning to the term capricious. Manipulative and cruel, Janus' prime motivation seems to be the suffering of those that inhabit the Materium, particularly torment caused by unfortunate circumstance. It is said that he finds the greatest of pleasures in watching those who listen to his predictions believe they are capable of altering their own fate, and every time that fate is the end of them, it is said that his fell laughter reverberates throughout the Warp. Ironically enough, these tragedies occur not through any deception on the Wayfinder's part, for Janus never tells a lie, though he is selective about which truths he tells. When called upon many expect that he can see the future as a straight and simple line of events, when in reality for when others see one future Janus sees multiples upon multiples, all in constant state of flux. So he gives only one of these outcomes, tells half-truths, and in some cases in deliberately cryptic, but he never outright lies, for only under the compulsion of extremely potent sorcery will he ever reveal the full truth. He tells his summoner of their future, of one of their futures, and watches events unfold from there, cackling with delight every time his victims desperately try to change their fate, and as a result of their actions, only make their future all the more horrifying.
However, sometimes even Janus himself is duped, and certain individuals manage to pull through their per-ordained trials unscathed or even better for it despite his fell council. Though it is rare, when this occurs Janus is said to fly into a terrible rage, swearing to bring this fortunate individual to an extremely unfortunate end for denying him his fun. From here on he no longer advises but directly intervenes, deliberately setting events into motion designed to utterly destroy the target of his vendetta in mind, body, and soul. Out of all those precious few who become the targets, even fewer survive, for the wrath of the King at the Crossroads is great indeed.
When manifesting in the Materium, Janus' form in bizarre to say the least. His upper half consists of nine gangly humanoid bodies, sheathed in blue-grey skin and all conjoined at the waist to form a circular formation. Each body bears two long arms, ending in hands with spindly, talon-tipped fingers that constantly twitch and gesture, giving him eighteen such limbs in total. This entire mass of daemonflesh is precariously perched on two slender legs, seemingly incapable of supporting such strange anatomy yet supporting it all the same. These legs are garbed in a long kilt that appears to made from overlapping layers parchment, upon which are scrawled lists upon lists of names in neat, precise rows. Supposedly, these names represent all those who have ever consulted the Wayfinder, and every time he is summoned, a new name appears.
Janus has nine heads, one per each torso, which are all humanoid in appearance as well, save for the fact none have any features save for lipless, fang-filled mouths. Yet at the same time, faces crawl along his exposed flesh, across his many torsos, along his legs and arms, even across the bare flesh of skulls, rough simulacrums of human features that flow across blueish skin, forming and reforming in a constant state a of flux. These visages constantly mutter and spout off half-formed dialogue, whispering of things yet to be and yet to come in a thousand different languages.
First and foremost amongst Janus' powers is the ability to discern the myriad fates, to see what consequences the actions in the past, present, and future will have. This power appears to be largely individualized, as Janus apparently can only divine the futures by focusing on a specific person, rather than simply seeing all futures simultaneously, which would explain why he actively seeks out potential victims. This power is also what makes the Wayfinder so notoriously difficult to capture, let alone defeat, as he can predict the most likely actions of his pursuers and be either well prepared or long gone by the time any decisions are made. For this reason alone, no one has ever successfully bound the daemon Janusothosymyr.
Like many Greater Tzeentchian daemons, Janus is well practiced in the arts of sorcery, though he is merely proficient while others of his kind are masterful. While this gives him some offensive capability, Janus usually prefers to simply flee when confronted, his sorcerous skill giving him the ability to both levitate and teleport at will, allowing for quick escapes when needed. He also has exhibited the ability to shapeshift while within in the Material Realm, usually disguising himself as some wise soothsayer or ancient oracle in order to trick unsuspecting souls into making disastrous decisions.
Those whole deal with Janus walk a dangerous path, but sometimes the temptation of knowing one's own myriad futures is too tantalizing to resist.
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- "No matter you might tell yourself, you remain the puppet, Tzeentch the man behind the stage, and I the cackling audience. Now dance puppet, dance!"
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