- "Pain is an illusion of the senses, despair an illusion of the mind."
In the gladiatorial arenas of Vos, many a warrior has been forged in the fires of mortal combat. The most illustrious survivor of these death pits is Megatron, the first leader of the Decepticon faction. However, the once-glorious city-state has spawned many fearsome warlords and criminals, including one which its annals have seen purged from their every page - Misanthropy.
Once fighting in the earliest days of the pits, the figure known as Misanthropy began his path to nihilism as a young and patriotic warrior. Under the patronage of Vos' governor, Starscream, Misanthropy carved a bloody name for himself in the brutal world of the arena. When civil war erupted between Vos and the neighbouring city-state of Tarn, Misanthropy was appointed the command of the Havocon Division - a squadron comprised entirely of the most savage and skilled gladiators and criminals the city had raised and convicted - and during one of their frenzied raids on Tarn's military zone, Misanthropy looked east to see the sky on fire - his beloved Vos burning under a barrage of Tarn's nuclear arsenal. He ordered his men to fall back to the shattered husk that was once home, and forced his patron's hand into ordering a retaliatory strike. Even as both cities were engulfed in stellar fires, Misanthropy would not capitulate, and bade a bitter farewell to Cybertron as he boarded a commandeered starship in a bid to find outside help in ending the war. What he was to find, however, was not Vos' salvation, but the universe's doom.
A New Purpose
It was on his voyages that he was discovered by the prowling Unicron, long before the monster planet stumbled upon Megatron's squadron of wrecks. Unicron changed Misanthropy into a new being, both inside and out, gifting him with strength beyond strength and wisdom beyond wisdom. After touching his very spark, he appointed the newly reshaped warrior a prodigious task – to assemble and lead a cult of soldier-clerics, which was to be known as the Archaicons, each one of their ranks representing the pinnacle of a combination of martial prowess and religious zeal. Their aim was simple, though limitless in its scope – to aid Unicron in his goal of utterly annihilating the universe, leaving no trace of any existence scattered in the infinite void.
Misanthropy fought his way across many battlefields, against stranded outposts of Autobots on far planets, choosing the best warriors he could find to be taken to Unicron. Initially, only three were deemed proficient enough to become members of the Archaicons, though - Shadow Moses, who was to become the group’s tactician, in charge of ordinance and ballistics; Saint Vitus, a warmongering agent provocateur capable of turning entire worlds into battlefields with a whispered word; and Manhattan Project, whose responsibilities lay with maintaining the Archaicon stockpiles of tactical thermonuclear, biological, chemical and metallurgic weaponry and warheads, so that entire worlds and planetary systems could be marked out and obliterated at Misanthropy's command. After the last of these, Shadow Moses, was reshaped and reborn, the four-strong squad headed for Cybertron – only to arrive too late. The Autobots, led by Rodimus Prime, had arrived to vanquish Unicron, and aided by the Matrix of Leadership, they had succeeded. Without their master to appoint more of their kind, the Archaicons were forced to rely on the initial strength and prowess of their new recruits, hoping that one day, these new additions would be reborn in Unicron's light as they had been.
Since his appointment as Unicron’s chief herald, Misanthropy’s name has become something of a whispered curse, spoken in hushed tones by parents to their wayward children, by superstitious soldiers fearful of the next day’s battle, by scholars in high ivory towers disputing his very existence. His history is long and varied, winding from city to city and world to world. His dealings with the mindless Tyranid race are the stuff of legend, as no other being has ever been able to so much as communicate with their ravenous hordes; whilst his history on Cybertron, and in Vos in particular, are the subject of much rumour, some even suggesting that he was born through budding, the son of Vos’ highly-regarded former Governor, the illustrious Shotmaker. Little is known for certain, as Misanthropy is rarely seen speaking of himself, preferring to allow his actions to speak for themselves.
When he is roused to speech, however, Misanthropy has a way with words like no other. With his impassioned oratories, he is able to turn even the lowliest grunt into a frenzied zealot, hungry to fight for the greater good of the Unicron, often not even realising the goal for which they have been incited to fight. It is his skill with words, as well as his formidable battle prowess, that has seen his following spread even to those to whom the notion of Unicron is abhorrent, and Misanthropy now enjoys a position of power within the coalition known as the Renegade Decepticon Dissidents, a group which he helped to found, consisting of highly skilled and fiercely aggressive transformers who have formed a loose association with Megatron’s Decepticon forces on Cybertron.
Misanthropy’s forces have come to base themselves on Jupiter, in a gigantic citadel known as the Fortress of Solitude, a towering stronghold carved from an asteroid which had become caught in the planet’s orbit. The Fortress of Solitude is held in its position by vast chains linking it to Jupiter’s tiny, yet impossibly dense, solid core, chains whose links are taller than Misanthropy himself, forged for him by his toweringly huge bodyguard, The King In Yellow. Misanthropy is rarely in this bastion personally, leaving its upkeep and defence to his subordinates. Instead, the Fortress has become home to the many research labs used by Manhattan Project, Golden Ratio and Gram Negative, as well as to the crypts used to inter the bodies of those Archaicons who have fallen in battle. The citadel is also home to a vast hangar, housing Misanthropy’s flagship – indeed, his only starship – the World's End, a vessel older than the Vos-Tarn War. In fact, the vessel is the very same one in which he left Vos after the war with Tarn, although it has been rebuilt considerably since then, having become a massive and formidable attack craft as well as having a large assembly hall in its hull, in which Misanthropy is able to address his gathered minions before battle.
For years, one of the more notable aspects of Misanthropy’s appearance was his choice of weapon – a large sword, which, whilst technically a bastard sword, has often been referred to as a broadsword. The blade itself was a gift from the Tyranid race, bestowed upon him by the Hive Fleet known commonly as Kraken. As with all Tyranid technology, it is entirely organic, made wholly from a hard chitin durable enough to cut through Cybertronian alloys, and having been grown by one of the Tyranid hive ships especially for Misanthropy’s use. The bonesword, as it has come to be known, is an image which can strike fear into the hearts of the most hardened soldier, as the sinister nature of its origins coupled with the destructive power of its owner are a grim reminder of the future of all life in the universe. The blade has since been destroyed in battle, however, its place in Misanthropy’s clenched fist have been taken by the Craoí Dubh Engine, an arcane device recovered on Cybertron.
Return to Vos
Recently, Misanthropy has returned to Cybertron, visiting Vos once again at the behest of Dynamax, the current leader of the RDD. His mission was to retrieve the Craoí Dubh Engine, an ancient artefact capable of shaping the matter around it, fuelled by strong emotions. During the mission, Misanthropy, along with his close friend Dreadspawn, slaughtered the last of the Havocons, Misanthropy’s former regiment during his life in Vos, who had taken control of what little was left of the city. Upon recovering the Engine, Misanthropy and Dreadspawn refused to hand it over to their commanding officer Dynamax, though Misanthropy was able to convince his leader to allow him to wield the device, promising that his familiarity with both the folklore of Vos and the technology of ancient Cybertron would enable him to wield it to its fullest extent. Since then, the Engine has replaced Misanthropy's bonesword as his weapon of choice, though this may be in part due to the latter weapon having been broken in single combat with the renegade Havocon leader, Genocide, having shattered upon striking the Engine, which Genocide had stored in his chest. These days, Misanthropy is constantly surrounded with a dull pulsing green glow, the Engine taking the form of an archaic sword in his hand, echoing the shape of his former weapon.
Downfall of the Reich
Misanthropy's next venture was to be enacted on the planet of Schlachthoft-Funf, a world ruled by a fascistic group known only as the Reich. These five rogue Cybertronians had perfected the gestalt process, merging to become the tyrannical Fuhrerprinzip. Reluctantly entering into an alliance with several Autobot units, including the Iacon Elite Guard, led by Evolution Prime, the Archaicon leader was able to take down Fuhrerprinzip and the forces he had gathered around himself. Offering the sparks of the five members of the Reich to Unicron as a sacrifice, Misanthropy whisked the lifeless body of Fuhrerprinzip back to the Fortress of Solitude, where he hopes to have it modified to be able to hold the spark of the notorious freedom figher Na hOcras. Misanthropy knows that such a weapon of war in the hands of the Hibernium resistance against Iacon would greatly aid both the fall of Iacon's hegemonic power in Hibernium, and the fall of Iacon itself. However, it is yet to be seen whether this process will succeed, or whether the body of Fuhrerprinzip will serve as little more than a baroque and gargantuan trophy.
Returning to Cybertron after the campaign on Schlachthoft-Funf, Misanthropy began to notice an air of unease amongst the ranks of the Decepticons, with many of those he considered allies becoming cold and aloof towards the Archaicons. Desiring answers as to the cause of this ill sentiment, he travelled to Kaon, seeking out Dynamax. Although he was unable to track down the leader of the RDD, he encountered Dreadspawn and Lord Gothika, both of whom had experienced similar ostracisation towards their units. Fearing the worst, Misanthropy suggested they band together, believing that the actions of himself and Dreadspawn actions in Vos months earlier had invoked Dynamax's ire. As such, the three took leave of Cybertron, taking their units and boarding the starship Misanthropy, en route to the Archaicons' headquarters on Jupiter. Once there, the combined forces of all three units began to prepare for a possible attack, knowing that their days may very well be numbered.
Their caution soon proved justified, for within days a fleet of Decepticon starships was spotted making its way to the gaseous planet, headed by the Lightning Saix, flagship of the Eisen Dragoons, a unit heavily involved with the RDD. Although the Fortress of Solitude is considered incredibly difficult to besiege, no citadel is impregnable, and the Eisen Dragoons were able to storm the fabled floating stronghold, assisted by several squads of soldiers in the employ of Dynamax. The collected defenders were ready for them, however, and several attackers were slaughtered by the tripwire defences set up by Manhattan Project. This was not enough, however, to repel the attackers, and the onslaught continued, more and more troops loyal to Dynamax pouring into the Fortress of Solitude. Misanthropy ordered his allies to flee, using the meagre but sufficient fleet housed in the Fortress' starport, whilst the Archiacons would sell their lives dearly to buy time.
Several of the Archaicons fell in the assault, the first being Saint Vitus, whose last action was to barrel down a narrow corrider in his alternate mode, firing recklessly in a kamikaze dive. His sacrifice allowed Gram Negative and Konzentrationslager to begin the Fortress' emergency override system, locking all doors and closing off vital corriders with nigh-imepenetrable barriers. This was to prove their last action, however, as both were butchered by Northclaw, leader of the Eisen Dragoons, as they attempted to rejoin their unit.
It was the stubborn tenacity of Dreadspawn which proved the turning point in the attack. Having hand-picked several warriors from both his unit, exitium, and those of Gothika Mortiis, he piloted his escape craft full circle, and instead of fleeing Jupiter, emerged from behind the attacking wave, effectively cornering the Dragoons and their footsoldiers in a hostile citadel. Seeing their grand attack falter, Northclaw ordered a retreat, fighting savagely through Dreadspawn's reinforcement wave to return to the Lightning Saix, allowing the defenders to mop up any remaining troops.
Seeing the hand dealt to them, Dreadspawn and Misanthropy realised they needed to seek refuge from the possibility of further attack. Once the fallen Archaicons were interred in Fortress' crypts, its vast tethering chains were cut, and it began drifting aimlessly in space, safe from any future concerted attack. With this done, the two units contacted Lord Gothika, and prepared to defect to the Predacon forces. A clandestine meeting with Transistors, one of Cybertron's most powerful Predacon warlords, sealed the deal, and the three units were incorporated into the Predacon war effort. It was at this time that Misanthropy once again began to dwell in Vos, knowing that Dynamax, who was oblivious to his past with the Havocon Division, would not think to search the area.
A New Force?
Knowing that he would have to face Dynamax in the future, Misanthropy began to consider his options. Although the alliance he had formed with exitium and Gothika Mortiis formed a strong core of warriors, the ranks of the Archaicons were sternly depleted, and further reinforcement was needed. Returning to Vos, Misanthropy began to gather recruits where he could, having already made contact with two enigmatic mercenaries on his last visit to the planet. These two, Vokshod and Tsyklon, had begun the task of contacting the remnants of the Havocon Division, in an attempt to organise the splintered army into a capable, cohesive force once more. Hearing that their legendary leader had returned, and knowing of the carnage he had wrought in vengeance for Genocide's false reign, many began to flock to the shattered arenas of Vos, in the hopes that the Havocons would become a new major power in the Great War, a new faction before which all would fall.