Born to a Parisian cobbler in 1771, Etienne duBois grew up during a time when anger toward the French aristocracy’s high-handed arrogance and ignorance of the state of the lower classes was escalating. Only slightly better off than the beggars and the common laborers, Etienne’s family worked hard just to survive. Etienne underwent his Chrysalis in the summer of 1789, amid the uproar that accompanied the storming of the Bastille.
A nearby motley of Unseelie trolls, redcaps and nockers, already in the process of sating themselves on the creative anarchy that surrounded them, felt the surge of Glamour that encapsulated Etienne and rushed to his side. They found the fledgling redcap in the throes of his transformation, beset by a group of soldiers who were venting their outrage at the mob on an apparently helpless target. By the time they were able to rescue Etienne, the new changeling’s face was a bloody, pulpy ruin that even healing Glamour could not completely repair. From that day forward, Etienne became an avid supporter of the cause of revolution, finding his thirst for blood and savagery more than satisfied in the social upheaval that marked the French Revolution and the subsequent Reign of Terror.
In 1792, Paris saw its first guillotine. Etienne was enchanted with the instrument and quickly insinuated himself into the ranks of executioners. Calling himself “Le Visage du Peur” (The Face of Terror), the redcap delighted in doffing his executioner’s hood long enough to allow his victims a quick glance at his scarred and mangled face, his private revenge for what he suffered during his Chrysalis. He took special delight in the execution of those aristocrats exposed by his kenning as Kithain. To them, he would announce that his guillotine’s blade was tipped with cold iron. This was not true, but Etienne reveled in the look of sheer despair on the faces of these doomed fae.
Like so many others during those bloody and fickle days that marked the Reign of Terror, Etienne eventually found himself accused of treason and slated for execution. He and the few remaining members of his motley fled Paris for the French countryside, where they established a dubious reputation as highway robbers. Stories of the foul deeds perpetrated by a band of outlaws led by The Face of Terror soon made their way into popular folklore.
Etienne’s death has never been documented, although rumors abound that he met a fate both vicious and bloody. Many Unseelie commoners — redcaps in particular — regard him as a folk antihero. In areas of the world that are wracked by civil disorder and public rioting, there are always rumors among the fae that The Face of Terror has been reborn.