An asura medical researcher with a debilitating, terminal condition.
Date of birth: Day 3, Colussus, 1302
Place of Birth: Rata Sum
Occupation: Necromantic researcher
Coppik is short, even for an asura, and his build certainly doesn’t suggest much in the way of strength, but he (somewhat deceptively) doesn’t look unhealthy. He has grey skin with darker facial markings and a distinct lack of hair. He’s young, only in his mid-twenties, and it isn’t difficult to tell by looking at him. For the most part, he looks rather unassuming – or, at least, save for the odd effect his magic left on his eyes.
Coppik is driven and ambitious. Neither of these are terribly unusual qualities for an asura, however. Unlike many, he rarely will speak about his own intelligence or skill and will let most opportunities to point out the intellectual deficiencies of other races slide by entirely. This is not to suggest that he finds other races able to match asuran intellect, but rather that pointing it out would be much like mentioning the fact that the sky exists. Even a bookah should be aware of that.
He is a fairly friendly and sociable asura, which is to say he acts somewhat modest (even though he isn't) and treats non-asura fairly (even though they’re clearly far less intelligent). He doesn't talk down to other races or blatantly assume any sort of ineptitude from them. He does not point out their (obvious) faults, or many of the other little issues that the other races often see from asura. Additionally, his background as a medical researcher marks him as someone who is interested – and concerned even – with discovering the cure for a number of horrible diseases, injuries and ailments. However, this compassion should not be overstated. Coppik is currently far, far more driven self-centered desires.
That is not without reason though, given his terminal condition. He feels the world is not remotely a fair place, that his illness has caused him to miss almost all of his life, and he is keenly aware of the approaching conclusion of his own mortality.
He has spent far too much time considering his own mortality. While he’s able to fight and enter into dangerous situations, if things look truly bleak, there is a danger that he will simply just break down. This is not just a problem that affects him on missions, however. Too much time focusing on his mortality and shortened lifespan tends to result in depressing him. He’s historically been good at pushing it aside and remaining cheerful, but sometimes the bottled emotion gets to be too much. Related to this is his fear of loss. Anything he can have that gives him joy, and something approaching a ‘real life’, is incredibly precious to him and he would not want to lose it.
Due to those fears, while he has no desire to become the Supreme Overruler of Tyria, he does want to become more powerful as a magic user. This is partly because he views his magic as his best chance of curing his disease, extending his life to make up for it, or otherwise finding some sort of way to cheat death and protect those things that are precious to him. Plus he feels that the world just sort of owes him it at this point.
His motivation and drive has left him willing to see things through to the end, even if they may seem rather hopeless. Anything that could help him with his research, be that in a directly or indirectly (such as earning coin to fund it), he will not easily give up on.
The progeny of two successful asura, his father from the College of Statics and his mother from the College of Synergetics, Coppik had a fairly delightful upbringing for the first three years of life. His parental units were members of a successful krewe, who at the time were studying the alchemical practices of hylek. While that required a fair amount of field work, during the year following his birth, his parental units remained in Rata Sum where they performed tests and analysis on field samples. After that year, they returned to the field to continue their work and brought their progeny with them.
At the age of three, Coppik began to complain about occasional flashes of pain. His parental units initially feared that he had come down with an illness while exposed to the hylek, but the reality was actually far worse. Both of them had been carriers for a rare genetic condition known as Gegitt’s disease. The symptoms that the progeny displayed would only become worse as he continued to age until he suffered an early death. There was not, and currently still is not, a known cure.
This was traumatic news for both him and his parental units. The symptoms remained mild for the first few years after the discovery, and they continued their lives as normal at first. However, it wasn’t long before Coppik began to worsen. Their progeny’s constant pain and weakness left fieldwork out of the question and Coppik’s parental units resigned themselves to strictly lab work for their krewe.
Despite his condition, Coppik entered a well accredited precollege at a normal age. He already had one fellow progeny-friend, Imxii, who was the daughter of two members of the same krewe his parental units were part of. However, she was still a few years younger and still went with her parents on field excursions. Even when she reached the age to attend precollege, she was enrolled in a different one. Coppik’s parents continued to work with the krewe, but continual strain from their refusal to travel on most excursions left an increasing rift between them and the other krewe members.
Coppik was somewhat distant while attending precollege, which was well noted by his professors. He put in little effort to get to know many of the other progeny and, arguably even worse from an asura’s perspective, he didn’t put much effort into his studies. For the most part, very little interested him for the first few years. He performed passably, but in no way excelled at anything. This changed when a course run by a Synergetics alumnus began to focus more deeply on the Eternal Alchemy.
This led to an infatuation with the Eternal Alchemy as soon as he made the connection between the duality of life and death within it. By gaining a greater understanding of their connection, he was certain that he could find a way, even if unconventional, to cure his condition. Experiments focused on biology, physiology and the Eternal Alchemy suddenly became captivating to Coppik. He focused himself strongly in those areas and showed a staggering improvement in his performance.
A Troubled Progeny
That infatuation with the Eternal Alchemy led to two other developments during his precollege years. It was what first began to lead him to the practice of necromancy, so that he could exploit the duality of life and death. It is also what led him to begin resenting the Alchemy. While he was certain that the answer to his condition was to be found locked away within it, he could not work around what seemed obvious: it was also because of the Eternal Alchemy that he was cursed in the first place. His view of the Eternal Alchemy has never changed, although he keeps it as a closely guarded secret. After all, as far as he is concerned, the desire to alter the Alchemy was the one thing that the Inquest had right.
Coppik became more withdrawn as he grew. He still remained friendly with fellow students, but his condition was worsening. Pain was constantly with him and the flares had grown stronger. By the time he had reached a decade old, his parents had also officially broken away from their former krewe, leaving him fully separated from his earliest friend, Imxii. While he attempted to stay in contact with her through letters, replies were scarce and eventually ceased entirely.
Coppik’s necromantic skill was growing, too. While he had a revulsion against reanimation even while young, he took well to blood and spectral magic. He also focused his time learning about pathology and how his magic could affect it, and he delved deeply into genetics.
Some years after his parental unit’s krewe broke apart, he also felt that summoning entities from the mists would be an excellent way of gaining further knowledge and power. This resulted in what could, at best, be described as a “failed experiment”. While attempting to call forth a powerful Shade, he called forth something else entirely. Coppik cannot recall what actually happened, but his parental units were able to get to him in time. He was injured and the markings on his face were made permanent, as was the change to his eyes. Summoning and reanimation took another blow, and the asura ceased further attempts for a very long time after that point.
The experience did help ground him, though. He had a limited amount of time to be alive, but some sort of ‘get-knowledge-quick’ scheme was simply foolishness even if it remained appealing. It would take work and dedication. It further reinforced his stubbornness, but at least imparted some amount of wisdom.
The rest of his time before he entered college was relatively normal. At least, as normal as he had been before. There was still some level of bitterness and his personal studies still focused exclusively on necromancy and medical fields. Fortunately, that did nothing to actually hurt his collegiate chances. After all, the purpose of precollege, besides providing an academic foundation, is to ensure that progeny can find the fields that interest them. Coppik most certainly did that.
College of Synergetics
When it came time to apply to the Colleges, Coppik didn’t even bother to submit to Dynamics or Statics. He knew exactly where he wanted to go and he knew it was probably the only one that would accept him, anyway. His razor-focus actually did pay off in that respect and he was quickly accepted.
Socially, while mostly positive, his collegiate life was something of a mixed bag. Several attempts to initiate relationships were all met with the same reaction: effectively more polite versions of “No, you’re crippled and dying.” After enough of those, Coppik simply gave up on the idea of being with anyone until after his condition was cured. He figured he had enough data to show it was the logical course of action, and he felt it would save him a lot of strained emotions. It did, actually, and he was able to move on with his life well enough.
At that point, Coppik had fully accepted his perceived reality that he simply wouldn’t have a “life” until he’d successfully cured his disease, so he focused himself exclusively to his research. He made acquaintances and learned how to successfully navigate social situations with strangers well enough. He was able to make friends, but none of them were ever close. His research superseded them.
Academically, Coppik never actually stood out. He did poorly in any generalized course outside of his field, although he did excel within his focus in medical studies. However, while he performed well, many of his professors thought his strict focus on Gegitt’s disease was disappointing. While they understood and most were sympathetic, it was the near-universal opinion that he was wasting his time. Even his greatest mentors insisted that while his life was limited, his bright mind could accomplish a great deal in the time he had.
A Young Krewe Leader
After graduating, Coppik began searching for a krewe who had interest in solving Gegitt’s disease. While several medical krewes showed interest in him, none of them were willing to devote time for his personal project. There simply was no demand or interest in solving a disease that was, aside from a handful of cases, already solved. Research for the sake of research was one thing, but to have barely any use come out of it simply could not be weighed against the cost such an undertaking would incur.
Frustrated, he decided to put together his own krewe. The trouble with that, however, was the incredibly few number of people who were even willing to join it. The brightest asura he knew left to join other prominent krewes, and no others showed interest in a non-glamorous krewe run by an in-experienced leader. Thus, Coppik ended up with those who had to join: near-failures at best, who were unable to find work in any other krewes and were otherwise facing careers outside of research.
Coppik’s parental units, who had gone on to form another successful krewe by that point, were both doing quite well for themselves. They offered Coppik his initial funding, which was enough to acquire lab space and the basic equipment that he needed to perform his tests. Although his krewe was far from ideal, they at least made slow progress. They were also able to supplement their funds with small medical research side projects and a minor amount of clinical work. It was difficult and they barely were able to scrape by, but for two years they managed it.
However, during an unscheduled late-night test to increase the output of the lab’s power generators by the krewe’s technical lead – a Dynamic’s alumnus who barely managed to not utterly fail out of the institution – an overload occurred. The krewe’s databases were fried and most every piece of equipment in the lab destroyed. While Coppik retained some hard copies of the research data, he lost most of the work. With all of the equipment damaged, few funds remaining and no source of income, Coppik was forced to disband the krewe and revoke his ownership of the lab space.
On his way to submit the paperwork necessary to turn over his lab, he was run into (literally) by an asura named Gopf. During this meeting, Gopf suggested that Coppik relocate to Lion’s Arch to continue his research. He could potentially join a company or set up some sort of a practice there as a doctor, and have a greater range of samples than he could potentially have in Rata Sum. Desperate, the idea appealed to him.
After turning in the paperwork, Coppik returned to his parental unit’s home to inform them of his plans. Although hesitant, they ultimately supported the idea, but offered him a safe place to return if need be. Coppik then sold nearly everything he owned that didn’t have strong sentimental value and he struck out toward Lion’s Arch.
Life as a Mercenary
Coppik arrived in the city with little more than a few changes of clothes and his medical-scanning golem. He initially sought out a place to stay and he settled in for a few days. However, before he was able to find anything workable, he heard tell by way of a message from an old friend in Rata Sum that the Durmand Priory just gained access to a new shipment of books. Among them was a new, though still rare, tome on unconventional necromantic medical applications. It was a bit of a trip out into Lornar’s, but he was able to find a caravan who gave him transport for fairly cheap.
He did not find the book he was looking for, because although they had received a new shipment, none of the tomes were available for public viewing at the time. While that was disappointing, he did met another asura named Reeth. Along with bluntly proclaiming that she found him attractive – something that made Coppik somewhat uncomfortable, given his stance on avoiding relationships at the time – she mentioned that she worked for a mercenary company that could use his skills as a medic.
He signed on with the Firstwatch Irregular Company, a mercenary group that was initially stationed in Lion’s Arch. Not long after he joined them, political issues with the city forced the company to become far more nomadic. Initially believing this to just be a temporary setback, Coppik did not part ways, and he continued along with them for more than half a year. It was an incredibly eventful period of time, at that.
During those travels, Coppik found himself facing a wide variety of foes. He faced off against the Molten Alliance and assisted in a raid upon a one of their many weapon facilities. He scoured through the ruins of Orr, assisted with missions into Frostgorge, and even found himself stationed on the edge of the Brand for a time. Despite the harsh limitations imposed by his condition, his medical knowledge came in useful all the same. Perhaps even more importantly, his raw ability as a powerful necromancer showed capability beyond healing.
In some respects, this was one of the best periods of Coppik’s life. He made friends, he saw much of Tyria – something he had never really been able to do before – and he even worked past his emotional blocks to fall in love with Reeth, one of the only asura to accept him despite his illness. For a time, he actually managed to have something that felt like a life, something quite close to actual happiness.
Yet, there were problems. Being outside of Lion’s Arch limited his research drastically, and he fell far behind even as he was devising creative solutions to his problem. Worse than that, the intense physical activity played havoc upon his body. Regretfully, by the time the company returned to Lion’s Arch, the damage had been far too great to him. Only a few weeks later, he found himself progressing into the next phase of his disease.
Returning to Rata Sum
With his pain intensified, flares more common and paralysis setting in, Coppik was forced to quit the company and return to Rata Sum. This was an incredibly difficult thing for him, as he left behind good friends and someone he had come to love. This, in a way, caused Coppik to regress back into his emotional bottle once again.
He moved into a small lab space with the funds he earned from working with the Firstwatch, and shortly after the move, he received a letter from Imxii. He had reconnected with his old friend a few months before and she had a lead for him: the Peacemakers were looking for someone to assist with a new plague that had been spreading throughout Tyria. It seemed she held some sway and, while he was only minimally interested in the work, he knew it would help him build a reputation. That reputation could earn him further funds and… He took the job.
That resulted in Coppik being one of the asura who perfected one of the cures for the Crimson Fever. It was an impressive credential to add to his name, but with the plague defeated, Coppik was still left with little direction beyond his hyper-focus on curing himself.
Progress and Drifting from Society
Thanks to his help with the Crimson Fever, Coppik was able to gain the good graces of the College of Synergetics. In exchange for assisting with some of their more esoteric courses, and acting as a resource for some students, he was able to maintain a sufficient amount of funds to live. His own research continued to progress with a very notable success: he was able to mitigate his anemia by continuously rejuvenating dead blood cells with his necromancy. While the solution currently has limited practical application outside of treating oneself, it was still seen as notable among his necromancy-specialized colleagues in Synergetics.
Despite those successes, Coppik found himself draw deeper into his research, now that he could continue it with fewer external concerns. He became something of a recluse, with his appearances in public largely restricted to his required duties for the College.
Gegitt's disease is a rare autoimmune disease known to affect only a handful of the asuran population. The total number of active sufferers is believed to be only in the single digits, and are believed to be the final generation to be afflicted by it.
Signs and Symptoms
As an autoimmune disease, Geggit's disease attacks the body in two ways: at the peripheral nervous system and red blood cells. While those with Gegitt's disease are known to suffer from a variety of symptoms, such as flares of pain, fatigue, poor metabolism, and ultimately death, these are directly a result of those attacks. Usually the symptoms become visible within the first few years of a progeny's life.
The attacks on the body's nervous system result in peripheral neuropathy. This can result in flares of pain, known to occasionally be strong enough to render the sufferer unconscious. The greater danger comes from the damage done to the nervous system over the course of the asura's life. Eventually the damage will become severe enough to render the nerves mostly inoperable. In the disease's later stages, the asura will be rendered paralyzed with pain at constant flare levels. Eventually this will become too much for the body to handle and the victim will die. This normally happens between two and a half decades to three and a half. A more accurate average is not known at this time due to the lack of data samples.
While not the fatal element of Gegitt's disease, the body's attacks on its red blood cells result in hemolytic anemia. This weakens the metabolism of the affected asura and also results in fatigue. Due to the inefficent distribution of oxygen to the body's cells, the asura experiences a near constant muscle pain.
Perhaps the most unfortunate result is that it also slows down the body's ability to heal itself. Due to Gegitt's disease's attacks on the nervous system, the body is unable to repair the damage done to it as quickly as it would otherwise. This hastens the later stages of the disease.
Gegitt's disease is an genetic autosomal recessive disorder currently only known to be caused by hereditary means. Two asura who are carriers, usually with only a single copy of the mutated gene, have a 25% chance with each pregnancy to pass along the disease to their progeny.
There is no known cure for Gegitt's disease. The gene can be suppressed shortly after pregnancy is initiated, but treatment otherwise is intended to reduce the effects and ease the pain of the suffering asura. Immune suppressants have shown some success at slowing down the damage inflicted to the affected asura's body, but only by a small amount and with a significant loss of the body's defenses against pathogens. Pain medication is often prescribed to lessen the day to day pain, with stronger medication is prescribed to combat flares. Blood transfusions do assist with the anemia caused by the disease, but the levels required often make it impractical for the long term.
The first known case of Gegitt's disease was discovered in 1286AE. The disease was named after the first asura known to be afflicted with it, Gegitt, who was a progeny of four years at the time. The cause for the initial mutation is still unknown.
A small krewe of medical researchers focused on the new discovery for a number of years before ultimately concluding that further research on a cure was not warranted. Scans showed that a very small number of asura were even carriers, much less actually affected with the disease. There had been no known cases of it prior to Gegitt, and he was the only known case for five years until the second was discovered.
By 1303AE, the genetic mutation that caused the condition was discovered, and two years later, a means to eliminate the gene in embryos was discovered. The disease was considered defeated, and mutated gene would be bred out of the population after several more generations. While several asura remained who were afflicted by it, research on it largely ceased at that point.