So after taking some feedback on my previous version, I decided to focus on one aspect of this character and highlight him as an assassin. His story has gotten a few minor updates to reflect this. I like this look a lot better than the previous one, and so do my friends I've shared this with, so hopefully this one impresses you guys too!
I lightened up most of the tones in his brand new armor compared to the last one, which makes any exposed fur really stand out. And the hues play off of the new Merciless weapons, which look wicked enough for him to use, particularly the sword. I dyed the hood Shadow Abyss because it matches his fur color and hides the awful fading texture that otherwise makes the hood stand out too much against the other armor pieces. Originally I wasn't going to use any brown, but the Magician gloves have a brown section that can't be dyed, and the gloves were perfect for the look, so I kept brown as a main color.
Copypasted for reference, new stuff near the bottom:
Vanidicus is a mesmer of weak power, but great cunning and creativity. Born in Flame Legion, he was trained as a soldier, but in his spare time he practiced his illusionary magics and dabbled with dark powers, learning to siphon magic from other beings and weave it into a myriad of terrifying illusions and hallucinations. He became adept at seeing the interlocking threads of a spell as it forms, and silently ripping out sections to cause the spell to fall apart.
He met Crinitus this way, both of them still in their youth; the white charr was practicing his destructive casting, and the mischievous mesmer kept pulling apart his spells, causing them to fizzle uselessly. As Crinitus' frustration grew, unable to understand what was happening, Vanidicus approached him and admitted to toying with him, finding his reaction greatly amusing. After Crinitus bloodied his nose with a well-placed fist, the two quickly became friends, and later on, mates.
Through the combination of swordsmanship and reality-warping magics, Vanidicus became a noteworthy assassin, and often took on solo missions against the High Legions, tracking down and executing key members in isolation. He initiates with a vivid waking nightmare on his target, causing them to behave in ways that leave them easy prey for his blade; often the victim begs to be slain, to be put out of whatever horrors they are suffering.
Over time, the dark magics eroded away at Vanidicus' mind, and he started having recurring nightmares. The illusions he placed on his enemies became more sadistic and lasted longer, and his playful mischievousness turned into barely-restrained malice. His research took him further and further into taboo, eventually warping him so hard he gained shadow abilities, at the cost of losing his sense of self and purpose. He suffers from terrible hallucinations often, and constantly needs guidance from Crinitus to stay rooted in the present and in his physical form.
Today he serves Crinitus loyally and without hesitation, the white charr giving him purpose, encouragement, and comfort. In return, he acts as Crinitus' guardian, caretaker, assistant, and partner. He uses some of his mate's vast power to perform intricate tasks Crinitus can't do himself, and helps run their shop. Though outwardly he may appear intimidating, he is quiet and alert - unless Crinitus asks him to do something, to which he will complete the task with fervor. He scouts ahead of his mate when they visit other cities, teleporting around to ensure their route is safe.
Vanidicus' own personal torment recedes for a time whenever he shares it with an enemy, and so he constantly looks for outlets to satiate the urge to release his terrors. Though Vanidicus no longer seeks out members of the High Legions in particular, he does take on hitman jobs, when offered the right price - or when Crinitus asks him nicely. His primary enemy targets come from Flame Legion, members of the Godforged that drove him and his mate out. He also stalks through cities at night, breaking up fights and subduing criminals, using his powerful illusions to strike fear into the hearts of the guilty. Most of the time he appears and disappears long before the local guards arrive, vanishing back into the night. He wears a mask not for anonymity, but to highlight his sinister red-ring-of-death pupils; he doesn't wear it when he isn't planning to engage in a confrontation.